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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


AFTER the royal marriage and coronation of Tames 111. with Margaret of Oldenburg-both of which ceremonies took place with great pomp at Edinburgh in 1476, he unfortunately contrived to lisgust his proud nobility by receiving into favour many persons of inferior rank. Thus, deep and dangerous intrigues were formed against him, and by those minions he was soon made aware that his brothers-Alexander Duke of Albany, and John Earl of Mar-were forming a conspiracy against him, and that the former aimed at nothing less than wresting the sceptre from his hand, and getting himself, with English aid, crowned as Alexander IV., King of Scotland and the Isles-a fact since proved by authentic documents. Instead of employing his authority as Warden of the Marches in the repression of outrage, Albany THE ROYAL LODGING OR PALACE, FROM THE GRAND PARADE. I than once; he slew John of Scougal in East Lothian; and surrounded himself with a band of desperadoes, who at his behest executed the most nefarious crimes. The dark accusations under which he lay roused at length the suspicions of the king, who ordered the arrest of both him and Mar. Over the latter's fate there hangs a strange mystery. One historian declares that he died of fever in the Canongate, under the spells of witches who were burned therefor. Another records that he was bled to death in Craigmillar Castle; and the singular discovery there in 1818 of a man's skeleton built erect into the north wall was thought to warrant the adoption of the last account. In 1482 Albany was committed to the Castle of Edinburgh, a close prisoner in the hands of
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throne would ensure their total destruction, yet he escaped them. Aware that a day of trial was coming, and terrified by the unknown fate of Mar, some of his numerous friends contrived to acquaint him that in the Roads of Leith there lay a small vessel laden with Gascon wine, by which he might and also a strong rope, with a waxen roll enclosing an unsigned letter, urging, "that he should lose no time in escaping, as the king's minions had resolved that he should die ere the ' morrow's sun set," but that the boats of the French vessel would await him at the harbour of Leith. EDINBURGH CASTLE IN 1647. (From Gmda o/ Rofhiemuys Mu#.) U, the Castle; 6, the Castle ChapeL escape if he made an effort. It is supposed that he was confined in David's Tower, for we are told it was one that arose from the northern verge of the rock, where the height of the precipice seemed to preclude the possibility of escape. He had but one attendant (styled his chalmerchield) left to wait upon him, and to this follower he revealed his intention. From the vessel there came to him two small runlets said to contain wine, and they were camed to his apartment unexamined, The duke found that they contained malvoisie, U b,. To lull suspicion, Albany invited the captain of the guard and three of his principal soldiers to sup with him, and all these he succeeded in partially intoxicating. They sat drinking and gaming until the hour grew late ; and then the royal duke found that the moment of fate had come ! Snatching the captain's long dagger from his baldrick, Albany buried it again and again in his glittering breast ; he despatched the intoxicated soldiers in the same fashion, and, in token of his hostility, with the assistance of his chalmer-chield castle rock castles :
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