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behaviour at this juncture, perfectly discovers the excess of his caprice as well as of his folly. He chose to reside at Stirling, but confined himself to his own apartment. And as the queen distrusted every nobleman who ventured to converse with him, he was left in absolute solitude. Nothing could be more singular, or was less expected, than his choosing to appear in a manner that both published the contempt under which he had fallen, and, by exposing the queen's domestic unhappiness to the observation of so many foreigners, looked like a step taken on purpose to mortify and to offend her. Mary felt this insult sensibly; and notwithstanding all her efforts to assume the gaiety which suited the occasion, and which was necessary for the polite reception of her guests, she was sometimes obliged to retire, in order to be at liberty to indulge her sorrow, and give vent to her tears. The king still persisted in his design of retiring into foreign parts, and daily threatened to put it in execution.
Alarmed by the rumours of a design to seize his person and confine him to prison, Darnly soon afterwards left Stirling in an abrupt manner, and retired to Glasgow. Immediately upon the king's leaving Stirling, and before he could reach lasgow, he was seized with a dangerous distemper. The symptoms which attended it were violent and unusual, and in that age it was commonly imputed to the effects of poison. It is impossible, amidst the contradictions of historians, to decide with certainty concerning its nature, or its cause. His life was in the utmost danger; but after languishing for some weeks, the vigour of his constitution surmounted the malignity of the disease.
Mary's neglect of the king, on this occasion, was equal to that with which he had treated her during her illness at Jedburgh. She no longer felt that
warmth of conjugal affection which prompts to sympathy, and delights in all those tender offices which sooth and alleviate sickness and pain. At this juncture, she did not even put on the appearance of this passion. Notwithstanding the king's danger, she amused herself with excursions to different parts of the country, and suffered near a month to elapse before she visited him at Glasgow. By that time, the violence of the distemper was over, and the king, though weak and languishing, was out of all danger.
The breach between Mary and her husband was not occasioned by any of those slight disgusts which interrupt the domestic union without altogether dissolving it. Almost all the passions, which operate with greatest violence on a female mind, and drive it to the most dangerous extremes, concurred in raising and fomenting this unhappy quarrel. Ingratitude for the favours she had bestowed, contempt of her person, violations of the marriage-vow, encroachments on her power, conspiracies against her favourites, jealousy, insolence, and obstinacy, were the injuries of which Mary had great reason to complain. She felt them with the utmost sensibility; and, added to the anguish of disappointed love, they produced those symptoms of despair which we have already described. Her resentment against the king seems not to have abated from the time of his leaving Stirling. In a letter written with her own hand, to her ambassador in France, just before she set out for Glasgow, no tokens of sudden reconcilement appear. On the contrary, she mentions, with some bitterness, the king's ingratitude, the jealousy with which he observed her actions, and the inclination he discovered to disturb her government, and at the same time talks of all his attempts with the utmost scorn.
After this discovery of Mary's sentiments, it was scarce to be expected that she would visit the king, or that any thing but marks of jealousy and distrust should appear in such an interview. This, however, was far from being the case ; she not only visited Darnly, but, by all her words and actions, endeavoured to express an uncommon affection for him : And though this made an impression on the credulous spirit of her husband, no less flexible, on some occasions, than obstinate on others; yet, to those who are acquainted with the human heart, and who know how seldom and how slowly such wounds in domestic happiness are healed, this sudden transition will appear with a very suspicious air, and will be considered by them as the effect of artifice.
She employed all her art to regain his confidence, and then proposed to remove him to the neighbourhood of Edinburgh, under pretence that there he would have easier access to the advice of physicians, and that she herself could attend him without being absent from her son. The king was weak enough to suffer himself to be persuaded; and being still feeble and incapable of bearing fa. tigue, was carried in a litter to Edinburgh.
The place prepared for his reception, was a house belonging to the provost of a collegiate church, called Kirk of Field. It stood almost upon the same spot where the house belonging to the principal of the university now stands. Such a situation, on a rising ground, and at that time in an open field, had all the advantages of healthful air to recommend it; but on the other hand, the solitude of the place rendered it extremely proper for the commission of that crime, with a view to which, it seems manifestly to have been chosen.
Mary continued to attend the king with the most assiduous care. She seldom was absent from him
through the day; she slept several nights in the chamber under his apartment. She heaped on him so many marks of tenderness and confidence, as, in a great measure, quieted those suspicions which had so long disturbed him. But while he was fondly indulging in dreams of the return of his former happiness, he stood on the very brink of destruction. On Sunday, the 9th of February, about eleven at night, the queen left the Kirk of Field, in order to be present at a masque in the palace. At two next morning, the house in which the king lay, was blown up with gunpowder. The noise and shock which this sudden explosion occasioned, alarmed the whole city. The inhabitants ran to the place whence it came. The dead body of the king, with that of a servant who slept in the same room, were found lying in an adjacent gara den, without the city wall, untouched by fire, and with no bruise or mark of violence.
Such was the unhappy fate of Henry Stewart, Lord Darnly, in the twenty-first year of his age. Had he died a natural death, his end would have been unlamented, and his memory would have soon been forgotten ; but the cruel circumstances of his murder, and the slackness with which it was, afterwards avenged, have made his name to be remembered with regret, and have rendered him the object of pity to which he had otherwise no title,
The history, character, and tragical death of this man, are transmitted to posterity by our author in the following words :.
The low birth and indigent condition of this man placed him in a station in which he ought
naturally to have remained unknown to posterity. But what fortune called him to act and to suffer in Scotland, obliges history to descend from its dignity, and to record his adventures. He was the son of a musician in Turin; and having accompanied the Piedmontese ambassador into Scotland, gained admission into the queen's family by his skill in music. As his servile condition had taught him supleness of spirit, and insinuating manners, he quickly crept into the queen's favour; and her French secretary happening to return at that time into his own country, was preferred by her to that office. He now began to make a figure in court, and to appear as a man of weight and consequence. The whole train of suitors and expectants, who have an extreme sagacity in discovering the paths which lead most directly to success, applied to him. His recommendations were observed to have great influence over the queen, and he grew to be considered not only as a favourite but as a minister. Nor was Rizio careful to abate that envy which always attends such an extraordinary and rapid change of fortune. He studied, on the contrary, to display the whole extent of his favour. He affected to talk often and familiarly with the queen in public. He equalled the greatest and most opulent subjects in richness of dress and in the number of his attendants. He discovered in all his behaviour that assuming insolence, with which unmerited prosperity inspires an ignoble mind. It was with the utmost indignation that the nobles beheld the power, it was with the utmost difficulty that they tolerated the arrogance, of this unworthy minion. Even in the queen's presence they could not forbear treating him with marks of contempt. Nor was it his exorbitant power alone which exasperated the Scots. They considered him, and not without reason, as a dangerous ene