In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of. — Confucius

Story of the English - Helene Guerber

Mary, Queen of Scots

When Mary reached Scotland, she was disgusted at the rude manners of the Scotchmen. She was beautiful and charming, loved dancing and music, dressed elegantly, and wished to have a gay court, such as she had seen in France. But the Scotch had become so strict that they looked upon dancing as a crime, and fancied that such a queen must be very wicked.

The Scotch Protestants tried to make Mary change her religion, and Knox fiercely reproved her for her gaiety; but she would not listen to him, and went on hearing mass, saying that her people might worship as they chose, provided they let her do the same. As Mary had no children, the Scotchmen soon urged her to marry again; and she, hoping to make Elizabeth her friend, begged the Queen of England to find her a suitable husband.

Elizabeth, who was jealous of Mary because the latter was younger and prettier than she, now proposed several husbands whom she knew Mary would not accept. Among these was her favourite Leicester, who, despairing of ever winning her, was willing to marry Mary.

But she would not accept him, and finally chose her cousin, Lord Darnley, a Roman Catholic and the next heir to the thrones both of England and of Scotland.

Mary Stuart and Rizzio.

This marriage displeased the Protestants and Elizabeth, and Darnley proved so fickle and bad-tempered that Mary soon ceased to find pleasure in his company. To amuse herself she used to spend hours in her own room, with her ladies and her secretary Rizzio, a gallant young musician who pleased her by accompanying her gay French songs on his lute.

Before very long Darnley became so jealous of Rizzio that he burst into his wife's rooms one day, accompanied by several nobles. There Rizzio was murdered, in spite of all her entreaties. This crime so angered Mary that we are told she soon dried her eyes, muttering, "No more tears; let's think of revenge."

But although she now hated Darnley, she pretended to be on good terms with him; and once, when he was ill with smallpox, and could not stay in Holyrood Palace lest he should give the disease to their little son James, she went to nurse him in a cottage. One day, when he was nearly well, the queen went back to the palace, to see the wedding of one of her servants. That same night, while Mary slept at Holyrood, the Edinburgh people were awakened by a terrific explosion. They ran outdoors, and soon found out that Darnley's cottage had been blown up with gunpowder, and that he and his servant were dead.

It was, of course, perfectly clear that Darnley had been murdered, and the people began to mutter that the crime had been committed by the Earl of Bothwell. As he had been a favourite of the queen, some of them added that Mary had had a share in contriving the murder.

But when the case was tried, a few days later, and Bothwell came riding into the city with a large bodyguard of hired soldiers, no one dared accuse him openly, and he was acquitted. Shortly after, he suddenly appeared with a thousand men and carried off the queen to the Castle of Dunbar. There he kept her a prisoner until she consented to marry him, three months later.


Front Matter

Early Times
The Druids
The Britons
Caesar in Britain
Queen Boadicea
The Great Walls
The Great Irish Saint
The Anglo-Saxons
Brave King Arthur
The Laws of the Saxons
The Story of St Augustine
Three Great Men
The Danish Pirates
King Alfred and the Cakes
Alfred conquers the Danes
A King's Narrow Escape
The King and the Outlaw
The Monasteries
An Unlucky Couple
St Dunstan
King Canute and the Waves
A Saxon Nobleman
Lady Godiva's Ride
The Battle of Hastings
The Conquest
Lords and Vassals
Death of William
The Brothers' Quarrels
Arms and Armour
The "White Ship"
Matilda's Narrow Escapes
Story of Fair Rosamond
Thomas a Becket
Murder of Thomas a Becket
Richard's Adventures
Richard and the Saracens
The Faithful Minstrel
Death of Richard
The Murder of Arthur
The Great Charter
The Rule of Henry III
A Race
Persecution of the Jews
The Conquest of Wales
A Quarrel with France
The Coronation Stone
The Insolent Favourite
Bruce and the Spider
Death of Edward II
The Murderers punished
The Battle of Crecy
The Siege of Calais
The Age of Chivalry
The Battle of Poitiers
The Peasants' Revolt
Richard's Presence of Mind
A Tiny Queen
Henry's Troubles
Madcap Harry
A Glorious Reign
The Maid of Orleans
The War of the Roses
The Queen and the Brigand
The Triumph of the Yorks
The Princes in the Tower
Richard's Punishment
Two Pretenders
A Grasping King
Field of the Cloth of Gold
The New Opinions
Death of Wolsey
Henry's Wives
The King and the Painter
A Boy King
Lady Jane Grey
The Death of Cranmer
A Clever Queen
Elizabeth's Lovers
Mary, Queen of Scots
Captivity of Mary Stuart
Wreck of the Spanish Armada
The Elizabethan Age
Death of Elizabeth
A Scotch King
The Gunpowder Plot
Sir Walter Raleigh
King and Parliament
Cavaliers and Roundheads
The Royal Oak
The Commonwealth
The Restoration
Plague and Fire
The Merry Monarch
James driven out of England
A Terrible Massacre
William's Wars
The Duke of Marlborough
The Taking of Gibraltar
The South Sea Bubble
Bonny Prince Charlie
Black Hole of Calcutta
Loss of the Colonies
The Battle of the Nile
Nelson's Last Signal
The Battle of Waterloo
First Gentleman of Europe
Childhood of Queen Victoria
The Queen's Marriage
Wars in Victoria's Reign
The Jubilee