Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


Edinburgh Castle. 44 old one with France. So their young queen was betrothed to the Dauphin, and 6,000 French auxiliaries came to strengthen the power of Mary of Guise, widow of James V., who was appointed Regent during the minority of her infant daughter. During the year 1545-6, the Castle was for a brief period the scene of George Wishart?s captivity. Mary of Guise was imprudent, and disgusted the haughty nobles by bestowing all places of trust upon Frenchmen, and their military insolence soon roused the rage of the people, who were at all sword in hand, and the ports closed upon them. and well guarded. On March 28, 1559, Mary of Guise, with a sorely dinhished court, took up her residence in the fortress ; she was received with every respect by Lord Erskine, who, as the holder of the Queen?s garrison, was strictly neutral between the contending parties. The Reformers were now in arms with the English auxiliaries, so the French, who had waged war through all Fife and the Lothians, were compelled to keep within the ramparts of Leith, times impatient of restraint. Thus fierce brawls ensued, and one of these occurred in the city in 1554, between an armourer and a French soldier ; a quarrel having arisen concerning some repairs on the wheel-lock of an arquebuse, the latter, by one blow of his dagger, struck the former dead in his own shop. The craftsmen flew to arms; the soldier was joined and rescued by his countrymen ; and a desperate conflict ensued with swords, pikes, and Jedwood axes. Sir James Hamilton of Sbnehouse, who was now Provost of the city as well as governor of the Castle, marched at once to aid the citizens. He was slain in the m2Z8e1 and left lyinz on the causeway, together with his son James and the operations against which the fair Regent, though labouring under a mortal illness, which the cares of state had aggravated, watched daily from the summit of David?s Tower. Her illness, a virulent dropsical affection, increased. She did not live to see the fall of Leith, but died on the 10th of June, 1560. Her death-bed was peaceful and affecting, and by her own desire she was attended by Knox?s particular friend, John Willox, an active preacher of the Reformation. Around her bed she called the * Pinkerton is of opinion that this painting was a species of satire directed at the intrigues of the persons depicted. The figurt behind the Queen is believed to be that of a Scots Guard ; and the butterfly, inkstand, dice, and other minute accessories, are all rupposed to have a significance that would be re3dily understood at the time when the
Volume 1 Page 44
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