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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


66 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Holyrood. CHAPTER X, HOLYKOOD PALACE (continued). .Queen Mary?s Apartments-Her Amval in Edinburgh-Riot in the Chapel Royal-? The Queen?s Maries ?-Interview with Knox-Mary?s Marriage with Darnley-The Position of Rizzio-The Murder of Rurio-Burial of Darnley-Marriage of Mary and Bothwell-Mary?s Last Visit to Holyrood-James VI. and the ? Mad? Earl of Bothwcll-Baptism of the Queen of Bohemia and Charles I.-Taylor the Water-poet at Holyrood-Charles I.?s Imprisonment-Palace Burned and Re-built-The Palace before 1 6 5 T h e Present Palace-The Quadranglb The Gallery of the Kings-The Tapestry-The Audience-Chamber. A WINDING stair in the Tower of James V. gives access to the oldest portion of the palace, known .as ? I Queen Mary?s Apartments,? on the third floor, and forming the most interesting portion of the whole edifice, To the visitor, in Mary?s bedchamber there seems a solemn gloom which even the summer sunshine cannot brighten, ruddy though the glare may be which streams through that tall window, where we can see the imperial crown upon its octagon turret. The light seems only to lay too bare the fibres of the old oak floor and all the mouldering finery ; a sense of the pathetic, with something of horror and much of sadness, mingles in the thoughtful mind; and much of this was felt even by Dr. Johnson, when he stood there with Boswell on the 15th of August, r773.? With canopy and counterpane, dark and in shadow, there stands the old pillared bed, with its crimson silk and satin faded into orange, wherein slept, and doubtless too often wept, the fair young Queen of Scotland-she who spent her happy teens at the Bourbon court, her passionate youth so sorrowfully in grim grey Scotland, and who gave up her soul to God at Fotheringay, in premature old age, and with a calm grandeur that never saint surpassed. On the wall there hangs the arras wrought with the fall of Phaeton, now green and amber-tinted, revealing the gloomy little door through which pale Ruthven and stern Darnley burst with their daring associates, and close by is the supper-room from whence the shrieking Rizzio was dragged, and done to death with many a mortal wound. To the imaginative Scottish mind the whole place conjures up scenes and events that can never die. The day on which the queen arrived at Leith, after a thirteen years? absence from her native land, was, as Knox tells us, the most dull and gloomy in the memory of man. She had come ten days before she was expected, and such preparations as the now impoverished people made-impoverished by foreign and domestic strife since Pinkie had been lost-were far from complete. The ship containing her horses and favourite palfrey had been lawlessly captured by an English admiral ; but her brother, Lord James Stuart, supplied steeds ; and Mary, who was accompanied by her uncles, the Dukes d?Aumale, Guise, Nemours, the Cardinal of Lorraine, the Grand Prior, the Marquis d?Elbauf, and others, could not restrain her tears of mortification at the gloom and general poverty that appeared on every hand. She made her public entry into the city on the 1st of September, and her reception, though homely, was sincere and cordial, for the Scots of old had a devotion to their native monarchs that bordered on the sublime ; and now the youth and beauty of Mary, and the whole peculiarity of her position, were calculated to engage the interest and affection of her people. The twelve citizens who bore a canopy over her head were apparelled in black velvet gowns and doublets of crimson satin, with velvet bonnets and hose. All citizens in the procession had black silk gowns faced with velvet and satin doublets, while the young craftsmen, who marched in front, wore taffeta. The Upper and Salt Trons, Tolbooth, and Netherbow were all decorated with banners and garlands as she proceeded to Holyrood. The apartments she first occupied were on the ground floor, and BrantBme gives an amusing account of the manner in which the citizens endeavoured to provide for her amusement for several nights, to the grievous annoyance of her refined French atteqdants. There came under her windows,? says he, ? five or six hundred citizens, who gave her a concert of the vilest fiddles and little rebecs, which are as bad as they can be in that country, and accompanied them with singing psalms, but so wretchedly out of tune and concord that nothing could be worse. what melody it was ! what a lullaby for the night ! ? ?They were a company of honest men,? according to Knox, ?who with instruments of music gave her their salutations at her chamber window.?? Mary, with policy, expressed her thanks, but removed to a part of the palace beyond the reach of this terrible minstrelsy. She was only nineteen, with few advisers and none on whom she could rely, and was ignorant of the people over whom she had been called to govern. Protestantism was now the only legal Ah !?
Volume 3 Page 66
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