The queen came out of her room only in the evening, to take her place at the
window which looked over the lake: at the usual time she saw the light which was
henceforth her sole hope shine in the little house in Kinross; for a whole long
month she had no other consolation than seeing it, every night, fixed and faithful.
At last, at the end of this time, and as she was beginning to despair of seeing
George Douglas again, one morning, on opening the window, she uttered a cry.
Mary Seyton ran to her, and the queen, without having strength to speak,
showed her in the middle of the lake the tiny boat at anchor, and in the boat Little
Douglas and George, who were absorbed in fishing, their favourite amusement.
The young man had arrived the day before, and as everyone was accustomed to
his unexpected returns, the sentinel had not even blown the horn, and the queen
had not known that at last a friend had come.
However, she was three days yet without seeing this friend otherwise than she
had just done-that is, on the lake. It is true that from morning till evening he did
not leave that spot, from which he could view the queen's windows and the
queen herself, when, to gaze at a wider horizon, she leaned her face against the
bars. At last, on the morning of the fourth day, the queen was awakened by a
great noise of dogs and horns: she immediately ran to the window, for to a
prisoner everything is an event, and she saw William Douglas, who was
embarking with a pack of hounds and some huntsmen. In fact, making a truce,
for a day, with his gaoler's duties, to enjoy a pleasure more in harmony with his
rank and birth, he was going to hunt in the woods which cover the last ridge of
Ben Lomond, and which, ever sinking, die down on the banks of the lake.
The queen trembled with delight, for she hoped that Lady Lochleven would
maintain her ill-will, and that then George would replace his brother: this hope
was not disappointed. At the usual time the queen heard the footsteps of those
who were bringing her her breakfast; the door opened, and she saw George
Douglas enter, preceded by the servants who were carrying the dishes. George
barely bowed; but the queen, warned by him not to be surprised at anything,
returned him his greeting with a disdainful air; then the servants performed their
task and went out, as they were accustomed.
"At last," said the queen, "you are back again, then."
George motioned with his finger, went to the door to listen if all the servants had
really gone away, and if no one had remained to spy. Then, returning more at
ease, and bowing respectfully--
"Yes, madam," returned he; "and, Heaven be thanked, I bring good news."
"Oh, tell me quickly!" cried the queen; "for staying in this castle is hell. You knew
that they came, did you not, and that they made me sign an abdication?"
"Yes, madam," replied Douglas; "but we also knew that your signature had been
obtained from you by violence alone, and our devotion to your Majesty is
increased thereby, if possible."
"But, after all, what have you done?"