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Elizabeth page 13

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Elizabeth, meantime, had complied with the demands of the Scottish lords; sent off money, appointed Bedford and Shrewsbury her lieutenants in the north, and reinforced the garrison of Berwick with 2,000 men. Finding, however, that the call of Mary on her subjects had brought out such a force around her as would require still more money and men to cope with it, she dispatched Tamworth, a creature of Leicester's, to Scotland, to deter Mary by menaces and reproaches. It was too late; and Mary, assuming the attitude of a justly incensed monarch, compelled the ambassador to deliver his charge in writing, and answered it in the same manner, requesting Elizabeth to content herself with the government of her own kingdom, and not to interfere in the concerns of monarchs as independent as herself. When Tamworth took leave, the passport given him bearing the joint names of the king and queen, he refused it, out of fear of his imperious mistress, for which Mary ordered him to be apprehended on the road by Lord Home as a vagrant, and detained a couple of days; and on Randolph remonstrating, she informed him that unless he ceased to intrigue with her subjects, she would treat him the same.

This bold rebuff given to the meddling Queen of England, and the demonstration of affection on the part of the people, confounded the disaffected lords; they retired with their forces, some towards Ayr, some towards Argyllshire. Henry and Mary pursued the latter division, which, by a rapid march, gained Edinburgh; but receiving no encouragement there, and the king and queen approaching, they fled towards Dumfries. Mary in this campaign appeared on horseback in light armour, with pistols at her belt, and at once greatly encouraged, by her courage and devotion, her followers, and astonished her enemies. As she drew near Dumfries the rebel army disbanded, and Murray and his associates fled to Carlisle, where Bedford received and protected them.

The traitors, being in the pay, and having acted under the encouragement of Elizabeth, hastened up to London to seek refuge and fresh supplies at her Court. But Elizabeth, who had brought herself into ill odour by clandestinely fomenting and assisting the rebellious subjects of both Scotland and France, now looked askance on them, and would not admit them to her presence unless they would free her from all blame, by confessing before the French and Spanish ambassadors that she had had nothing to do with their rising. As they knew that this was to mystify the continental Courts, they consented, but they little anticipated the result. Murray, the Duke of Hamilton, and the Lord Abbot of Kilwinning being admitted, on their knees declared that the queen had no part in the conspiracy, which was entirely of their own concocting and executing. "Now," exclaimed this truth-less queen, "ye have spoken the truth; get from my presence, traitors as ye are!" The confounded men were driven from her presence; and, assuming a lofty and dignified air, according to her true servant Cecil, she declared roundly that "whatever the world said or reported of her, she would by her actions let it appear that she would not for the price of the world maintain any subject in any disobedience against any prince. For, besides the offence of her conscience, which should justly condemn her, she knew that Almighty God might justly recompense her with the like trouble in her own realm."

The crest-fallen Scottish lords retired to the north, where Elizabeth suffered them to hide their dishonoured heads, supplying them, however, with the necessary means of existence. Mary summoned them to surrender, but failing to do so, she proclaimed them rebels. Randolph, who ought long ago to have been ordered out of Scotland, still remained there, and to console the queen his mistress for her defeat, he regaled her ear with the most abominable scandals against Mary that he could rake together or invent. Amongst others he did not fail to insinuate that Murray was become her enemy, on account of an incestuous passion which she had entertained for him, and the knowledge of which she would now fain extinguish by his murder. This atrocious calumny, which her very worst enemies could not believe, is one of many such still to be seen in his letters to Leicester, and Raumer, the Prussian historian, has stated it as a fact.

Mary, on her part, displayed a spirit of forgiveness equally surprising. She had called a Parliament for the purpose of attainting the rebel lords and confiscating their estates, but no sooner did Chatelherault and her traitor brother, Murray, exhibit assumed symptoms of repentance, than she discovered a disposition to pardon them, and would probably have done it, but for the persuasions of her uncle, the Cardinal of Lorraine, and the fanatic fury of the mob, who insulted the priests, disturbed her at mass in her own chapel, and at the preceding Easter had dragged out a priest in his robes, with the chalice in his hand, and bound him to the market-cross of Edinburgh, where they pelted him with mud and rotten eggs. These, in an evil hour, led her to join the great Popish league of France and Spain, by which she hoped to gain the support of the monarchs of these countries against England and her own intolerant people. By this ill-advised step she only roused the religious zeal of her Protestant subjects to a formidable height, and, increased the power of Elizabeth to wound her, whilst she gained no support whatever from the cruel bigots who, by their Bayonne alliance, covered their names with infamy and horror.

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