Mary Stuart HTML version

Chapter 2
Among the lords who had followed Mary Stuart to Scotland was, as we have
mentioned, a young nobleman named Chatelard, a true type of the nobility of that
time, a nephew of Bayard on his mother's side, a poet and a knight, talented and
courageous, and attached to Marshal Damville, of whose household he formed
one. Thanks to this high position, Chatelard, throughout her stay in France, paid
court to Mary Stuart, who, in the homage he rendered her in verse, saw nothing
more than those poetical declarations of gallantry customary in that age, and with
which she especially was daily overwhelmed. But it happened that about the time
when Chatelard was most in love with the queen she was obliged to leave
France, as we have said. Then Marshal Damville, who knew nothing of
Chatelard's passion, and who himself, encouraged by Mary's kindness, was
among the candidates to succeed Francis II as husband, set out for Scotland
with the poor exile, taking Chatelard with him, and, not imagining he would find a
rival in him, he made a confidant of him, and left him with Mary when he was
obliged to leave her, charging the young poet to support with her the interests of
his suit. This post as confidant brought Mary and Chatelard more together; and,
as in her capacity as poet, the queen treated him like a brother, he made bold in
his passion to risk all to obtain another title. Accordingly, one evening he got into
Mary Stuart's room, and hid himself under the bed; but at the moment when the
queen was beginning to undress, a little dog she had began to yelp so loudly that
her women came running at his barking, and, led by this indication, perceived
Chatelard. A woman easily pardons a crime for which too great love is the
excuse: Mary Stuart was woman before being queen--she pardoned.
But this kindness only increased Chatelard's confidence: he put down the
reprimand he had received to the presence of the queen's women, and supposed
that if she had been alone she would have forgiven him still more completely; so
that, three weeks after, this same scene was repeated. But this time, Chatelard,
discovered in a cupboard, when the queen was already in bed, was placed under
The moment was badly chosen: such a scandal, just when the queen was about
to re-marry, was fatal to Mary, let alone to Chatelard. Murray took the affair in
hand, and, thinking that a public trial could alone save his sister's reputation, he
urged the prosecution with such vigour, that Chatelard, convicted of the crime of
lese-majeste, was condemned to death. Mary entreated her brother that
Chatelard might be sent back to France; but Murray made her see what terrible
consequences such a use of her right of pardon might have, so that Mary was
obliged to let justice take its course: Chatelard was led to execution. Arrived on
the scaffold, which was set up before the queen's palace, Chatelard, who had
declined the services of a priest, had Ronsard's Ode on Death read; and when
the reading, which he followed with evident pleasure, was ended, he turned--
towards the queen's windows, and, having cried out for the last time, "Adieu,
loveliest and most cruel of princesses!" he stretched out his neck to the
executioner, without displaying any repentance or uttering any complaint. This