Young Folks' History of England eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 165 pages of information about Young Folks' History of England.

Mary of Scotland was two years queen of France, and then her husband died, and she had to come back to Scotland.  There most of the people had taken up the doctrines that made them hate the sight of the clergy and services she had brought home from France; they called her an idolater, and would hardly bear that she should hear the old service in her own chapel.  She was one of the most beautiful and charming women who ever lived, and if she had been as true and good as she was lovely, nobody could have done more good; but the court of France at that time was a wicked place, and she had learnt much of the wickedness.  She married a young nobleman named Henry Stuart, a cousin of her own, but he turned out foolish, selfish and head-strong, and made her miserable; indeed, he helped to kill her secretary in her own bedroom before her eyes.  She hated him so much at last, that there is only too much reason to fear that she knew of the plot, laid by some of her lords, to blow the poor man’s house up with gunpowder, while he lay is his bed ill of smallpox.  At any rate, she very soon married one of the very worst of the nobles who had committed the murder.  Her subjects could not bear this, and they rose against her and made her prisoner, while her husband fled the country.  They shut her up in a castle in the middle of a lake, and obliged her to give up her crown to her little son, James VI.—­a baby not a year old.  However, her sweet words persuaded a boy who waited on her to steal the keys, and row her across the lake, and she was soon at the head of an army of her Roman Catholic subjects.  They were defeated, however, and she found no place safe for her in Scotland, so she fled across the Border to England.  Queen Elizabeth hardly knew what to do.  She believed that Mary had really had to do with Henry Stuart’s death, but she could not bear to make such a crime known in a cousin and queen; and what made it all more difficult to judge was, that the kings of France and Spain, and all the Roman Catholics at home, thought Mary ought to be queen instead of Elizabeth, and she might have been set up against England if she might had gone abroad, or been left at large, while in Scotland she would have been murdered.  The end of it was that Elizabeth kept her shut up in different castles.  There she managed to interest the English Roman Catholics in her, and get them to lay plots, which always were found out.  Then nobles were put to death, and Mary was more closely watched.  This went on for nineteen years, and at last a worse plot than all was found out—­for actually killing Queen Elizabeth.  Her servants did not act honorably, for when they found out what was going on they pretended not to know, so that Mary might go on writing worse and worse things, and then, at last, the whole was made known.  Mary was tried and sentenced to death, but Elizabeth was a long time making up her mind to sign the order for her execution, and at last punished the clerks who sent it off, as if it had been their fault.

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Young Folks' History of England from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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