Imágenes de página

was not until over three centuries had elapsed that Bothwell found a defender, one Dr. Petrick, who published in German (imprint, Berlin and St. Petersburg, 1874) a complete vindication of Bothwell, which, strange to say, agrees not only in idea and expression, but often in the very words with the views taken by the writer, as set forth in "A Study: Mary, Queen of Scots," published at New York in February, 1882. With the indefatigable research of a German critic,-in this respect unexceeded and seldom equaled by historical investigators in other countries,—with an analysis of animus, argument, anecdote, allusion, and authorities worthy a chemist in search of arsenic in a corpse, and with the logic of an experienced lawyer, Dr. Petrick demolishes the corrupt testimony on which Bothwell has been condemned, and accumulates rebutting evidence on which he must be acquitted. If ever there was an ambitious, hypocritical, astute, and bold competitor for sovereign power, from which he was debarred by illegitimate birth, it was this Earl of Murray. Subservient to the clergy through policy, he found it the best investment of his life, and it served him not only while he lived, but has been equally precious to his memory. With their long black cloaks Knox and the preachers covered him, stained with political crimes, from the stigma of individual fraud, and calculated personal ingratitude to his forgiving sister, Queen Mary, and veiled the truth from the eyes of the people, and then threw their sanctimonious robes over his corpse, as a similar protection to his reputation, after he had been shot by Bothwellhaugh.

Murray was the favorite of the clergy, who are evil cattle to provoke, and invaluable friends if cunningly cultivated. Charles Martel preserved France from Mahometanism, but taxed the priesthood for the benefit of the troops which enabled him to triumph, and the priests consigned the savior of Western Christendom to eternal fire, obloquy, and misrepresentation. The Puritans and their descendants wrote the history of the United States, and they arrogate to New England the origin of a greatness due far more to New York and Hollandish-Huguenot influence. Even so it was with Bothwell. The parties he opposed in policy and in arms have furnished the particulars of his story.

One of the recent German biographers of Mary remarks that the blacker Mary's champions succeed in painting Bothwell the whiter they hope thereby to make Mary appear; but here is a fit application of the motto selected by the Marquis de Nadaillac for his great work, "Les Premiers Hommes et les Temps prehistoriques," "FACTA NON VERBA," adding (ii. 463, (1)), " Abuse is never argument, and it has always seemed to me that those who resort to abuse as a weapon do so because they have nothing more available.”

And here let it be remarked, although in a measure out of place, but for emphasis, scarcely one who united in betraying Mary and

Bothwell but expiated their sins by the assassin's bullet, in brawl or battle, on the scaffold by the cord or axe, in the gloom of a cell or a dungeon, or some other unnatural end.

[ocr errors]

Every human being is a product! Mary was the natural result of ancestry, education, elevation, time, place, and circumstance. The same remarks apply to Bothwell. Mary was not a worse woman than her grandmother, her mother-in-law, her sister-in-law, nor the majority of the ladies by position in France and in Scotland. To judge her by public opinion to-day would be just as reasonable as to subject the Bishops in Scotland just prior to her accession to the same touchstone that would be applied to the private and public life of a prominent clergyman in the Middle States at present. Burton is almost stunning in his revelations of the morals of the spiritual as well as temporal aristocracy of Scotland at that time. He tells us (iii. 186) during the reign of James V., father of Mary, "A great tide of profligacy had then set in upon Scotland, and the clergy were the leaders in it." "Priests," said Garibaldi, "are [and have been, in many instances] the greatest scourges of mankind." True! Aye!

"Some families (he adds, iii. 308-9) of the poorer landed gentry held in relation to churchmen a position that could not but subject them to humiliation. Their sisters or daughters were the known concubines of rich ecclesiastics, and held rank accordingly. For many of the clergy who lived in concubinage, according to the letter of the law, there was doubtless the plea that morally they led a life of married domesticity.

. . Every man who practiced it was a law unto himself. There was no distinct sanction drawing, as the law of marriage draws, an obvious, unmistakable line between domesticity and profligacy."

"And of many of the great, rich churchmen, such as Cardinal Beaton and his successor, it was known that they did not profess these humble domestic views, or place themselves in the position of dissenters from the Church, by affecting the life of married persons. They flared their amours in the face of the world, as if proud of the excellence of their taste for beauty and the rank and birth that had become prostrate to their solicitations. It seemed as if their very greatness as temporal grandees enabled them to defy the ordinary laws of decorum, while their spiritual rank secured to them immunity from that clerical punishment which it was their duty to pronounce against less gifted sinners."

If professed moralists were to undertake to apply the elastic laws of Moses and the real interpretation of the Seventh Commandment to the lives of Scottish magnates, and contrast Bothwell with those who ought to have set an example, they would have to pronounce a merciful judgment on him.

Mary Stuart-to whom might be applied with more real justice than to the lady for whom they were originally intended the lines of Alfieri, addressed to his beloved Louisa, Countess of Albany:

[ocr errors]

Bright are the dark locks of her braided hair,
Grecian her brow, its silken eyebrows brown;
Her eyes-oh, lover, to describe forbear-

Life can their glance impart, and death their frown!
Her mouth no rosebud, and no rose her cheek
May emulate in freshness, fragrance, hue;
A voice so soft and sweet to hear her speak
Inspires delight and pleasures ever new;
A smile to soothe all passions save despair;
A slight and graceful form; a neck of snow;
A soft white hand, and polished arm as fair;
A foot whose traces Love delights to show ;
And with these outward charms, which all adore,
A mind and heart more pure and perfect given ;
For thee thy lover can desire no more,

Adorned by every grace and gift of Heaven."

-Mary Stuart, the Fate of Bothwell, was a conscienceless flirt, but not altogether the bad woman that all but her devoted champions conclude. She was a good wife to her first husband, Francis II. The very ardor of her love killed him. After his death she had fancies, guilty in some senses, but not criminal. It is very likely that in the early time of her widowhood she had a sneaking kindness for Bothwell. The French proverb, "To agree too well is sometimes dangerous," applied to their case. Darnley, who made a trip to France in the wild hope of winning her, soon after Francis died, she would not look at. She preferred D'Amville, one of the noblest Frenchmen of the day, who was in love with her. He was married. It is insinuated that a suggestion was made to him that the obstacle of a wife might be easily removed. In spite of his passion he was a gallant gentleman, and tore himself away from the temptation. Chastelar and Gordon were fancies. Mary did not hesitate, as do most women of her kind, to sacrifice both to expediency, the first as a sop to public opinion, suspicions in regard to herself, and the second to the momentary pressure of politics. "What a pity," cried Knox, "the de'il should ha'e his abode in sic' a piece of bonnie painted clay !" "Mary," quoth Laurie Todd," was a deep, dissembling, polite woman."

"Bathsheba's [Mary's] was an impulsive nature under a deliberative aspect. An Elizabeth in brain and a Mary Stuart in spirit, she often performed actions of the greatest temerity with a manner of extreme discretion. Many of her thoughts were perfect syllogisms; unluckily they always remained thoughts. Only a few were irrational assumptions, but, unfortunately, they were the ones which most frequently grew into deeds." The Duke d'Aumale, in his "History of the Condés," styles her justly the "MEDUSA OF BEAUTIES,”-admirable, perfect comparison; excellent. "Ada [Mary] is the magnetic mountain of the Fairy Tale: she attracts every one; every one is wrecked, burned. She has nerves of steel and a heart of granite."

"How many of our special views and consequent acts, for instance, arose from the accident of birth, the opinions of those among whom we are educated, and so on." "Man's interference with nature" is never successful. "As is well known, Nature never corrects herself." "What a confused mixture of malice and feminine weakness" was Mary. "Let a woman's heart seem ever so cold, glacier flowers will ever be found on it." "In love great pleasures jostle great sorrows." "No man's soul is alone, Laocoon or Tobit,-the serpent has it by the heart or the angel by the hand." "All the joints of his [Bothwell's or Mary's] life were torn, dislocated by these strong horses of Fate tied to his vitals and pulling in different ways." Darnley captured her in a moment of weakness, and her desire for him flashed up into flame as soon as she was caught, through the eye, by his physical graces and training. He was hand fasted to her early in April, 1566, but not actually married until 29th of July following. Meanwhile they lived on the most intimate terms. After marriage her love was extinguished almost as suddenly as it had been enkindled, by his weakness and vileness. All this time there is a strange, sometimes strikingly evident, and at others almost imperceptible, thread, fine as silk, but strong as Fate, connecting her with Bothwell. When at length her passion for this "REAL MAN" took possession of her, the long pent-up flood burst every barrier, and bore her away with it as helpless as an ice dam, which, between heat and freshet, is first crushed or broken down, then torn away, and finally borne off shattered and shattering by the raging stream. Every human being is a product! Not to trace cause and effect beyond her grandparents, what was her grandfather, James IV.? (Burton, iii. 80-81.) "He was one who pleased the world and bought golden opinions from it, diverting censure from his failings, which were many and flagrant. He was a libertine, and that in a form which was likely to set the fashion in that direction, one of the direst mischiefs which a king can do to a people; for, however self-willed they may be and disinclined to submission, a sovereign can always make himself the absolute lord of fashion. The same failings in his father were dealt with severely and scornfully, and a favorite mistress was bandied among the people by the contemptuous name of the 'Daisy.' This was the result of the sordid and unroyal ways of that king. The son's mistresses are seen in succession passing in splendor before an admiring people. At the beginning of his reign, while he is yet but a boy, his mistress, Lady Margaret Drummond, comes on the stage conspicuous in her grandeur, to become still more conspicuous in her fate; for she and her sister died. together at Drummond Castle, so suddenly and in such a manner as to convince all that poison had been at work."

What was her grandmother, Margaret of Lancaster, worthy sister of Henry VIII. of England? The marriage tie sat very lightly upon her. The story of her marriages and divorces, repeated and

glaring, have been too often related to need repetition here. One of her fancies, however, is seldom alluded to, and yet it must have been patent, because it is the subject of a picture reproduced in Pinkerton's "Scottish Gallery." It represents Margaret and the Duke of Albany, Regent of Scotland, together, and is supposed to have been painted in 1522, when the connection became notorious, and her brother, Henry VIII., and Cardinal Wolsey loudly accused her of adultery. Between the faces a butterfly is painted, the indication of "an amour voltige," to which a guard or attendant behind the queen is pointing with his finger. This fine picture, probably painted in the north of England, is half satiric and political. Margaret's husband, Angus, was in the English interest; Albany, her temporary lover, always in the French; and thus it was some English artist gave vent to his feelings against the determined opponent of his country. James V. was certainly as loose in his morals as his father and his mother. Burton says "He would, according to modern notions, be called a profligate." He left behind him six illegitimate children, amply endowed and highly placed, besides a number not acknowledged. The best known of those six was James Stuart, at first Prior of St. Andrew's, then Earl of Murray, and finally Regent of Scotland. Very extensive reading discovers no direct charge against Mary of Guise, Mary's mother, but she was of the house of Lorraine, in whose veins, prince or prelate, the blood flowed fiercely and furiously. Somewhere it is hinted that she stood in a peculiar relation to the magnificent Cardinal Beaton, and undoubtedly she did considerable flirting with Bothwell's father, if not more. These were the times and manners that justified such verses as Scott's, in his 66 Bridals of Triermain," Canto II., ¶ XVIII,—

"And still these lovers' fame survives,

For faith so constant shown:

There were two who loved their neighbors' wives,

And one who loved his own."

To this the author adds as a note an extract from Ascham's "Schoolmaster," written about the time of Mary's birth: "In our forefathers' tyme, when Papistrie, as a standyng poole, covered and overflowed all England, fewe books were read in our tongue, savying certaine bookes of chevalrie, as they said, for pastime and pleasure; which, as some say, were made in the monasteries by idle monks or wanton chanons. As one, for example, 'La Morte d'Arthure;' the whole pleasure of which book standeth in two speciale poynts-in open manslaughter and bold bawdrye; in which booke they be counted the noblest knightes that do kill most men without any quarrell, and commit fowlest adoulteries by sutlest shiftes; as Sir Launcelot, with the wife of King Arthur, his master; Sir Triestram with the wife of King Marke, his uncle; Sir Lameracke, with the wife of King Lote; that was his own

« AnteriorContinuar »