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his day. He was above the middle stature ; bis hair flowed luxuriantly over his shoulders in natural ringlets, and was of a dark yellow or auburn colour; his eyes were gray, and very penetrating ; his voice was sweet toned ; and the general expression of his countenance uncommonly prepossessing. He inherited a vigorous constitution, and kept it sound and healthy by constant exercise, and by refraining from all excesses in eating or drinking. He was buried in the Royal Vault in the Chapel of Holyrood House, where his embalmed body, in a state of entire preservation, was still to be seen in the time of the historian Keith.
The young Queen was crowned by Cardinal Beaton at Stirling, on the 9th of September 1543. Her mother, who watched over her with the most careful anxiety, had been told a report prevailed that the infant was sickly, and not likely to live. To disprove this calumny, she desired Janet Sinclair, Mary's nurse, to unswaddle her in the presence of the English Ambassador, who wrote to his own court that she was as goodly a child as he had seen of her age. ..
Soon after her birth, the Parliament nominated Commissioners, to whom they intrusted the charge of the Queen's person, leaving all ber other inter. ests to the care of her mother. The two first years of her life, Mary spent at Linlithgow, where it appears she had the small-pox, a point of some importance, as one of her historians remarks, in the biography of a beauty and a queen.* The disease must have been of a particularly gentle kind, hav. ing left behind no visible traces. During the
Sadler's State Papers and Letters, vol. i. p. 263.
greater part of the years 1545, 46 and 47, she resided at Stirling Castle, in the keeping of Lords Erskine and Livingstone. Here she receive ed the first rudiments of education from two ecclesiastics, who were appointed her preceptors, more, however, as matter of form, than from any use they could be of to her at so early an age. When the internal disturbances of the country rendered even Stirling Castle a somewhat dangerous residence, Mary was removed to Inchmahome, a sequestered island in the Lake of Monteith. That she might not be too lonely, and that a spirit of generous emulation might present her with an additional motive for the prosecution of her studies, the Queen Dowager selected four young ladies of rank as her companions and playmates. They were each about her daughter's age, and either from chance, or because the conceit seemed natural, they all bore the same surname. The four Maries were, Mary Beaton, a niece of Cardinal Beaton, Mary Fleming, daughter of Lord Fleming, Mary Livingstone, whose father was one of the young Queen's guardians, and Mary Seaton, daughter of Lord Seaton.
Mary having remained upwards of two years in this island, those who had, at the time, the disposal of her future destiny, thought it expedient, for reasons which have been already explained, that she should be removed to France. She was accordingly, in the fifth year of her age, taken to Dumbarton, where she was delivered to the French Admiral, whose vessels were waiting to receive her, and attended by the Lords Erskine and Livingstone, her three natural brothers, and her four Maries, she left Scotland.
The thirteen happiest years of Mary's life were spent in France. Towards the end of July 1548, she sailed from Dumbarton, and, after a tempestuous voyage, landed at Brest on the 14th of August. She was there received, by Henry II.'s orders, with all the honours due to her rank and royal destiny. She travelled, with her retinues by easy stages, to the palace at St Germain En Laye; and to mark the respect that was paid to her, the prison-gates of every town she came to were thrown open, and the prisoners set free. Shortly after her arrival, she was sent, along with the King's own daughters, to one of the first convents in France, where young ladies of distinction were instructed in the elementary branches of education.
The natural quickness of her capacity, and the early acuteness of her mind, now began to manifest themselves. She made rapid progress in acquiring that species of knowledge suited to her years, and her lively imagination went even the length of attaching a more than ordinary interest to the calm and secluded life of a nunnery. It was whispered, that she had already expressed a wish to separate herself forever from the world; and it is not improbable, that had this wish been allowed to foster itself silently in her bosom, Mary might ultimately have taken the veil, in which case her life would have been a blank in history, But these views were not consistent with the more ambitious projects entertained by Henry and her uncles of Lorraine. As soon as they were informed of the bent which her mind appeared to be taking, she was again removed from the convent to the palace. To reconcile her to parting with the ves
tal sisters, Henry, whose conduct towards her was always marked by affection and delicacy, selected, from all the noble Scotch families then residing in France, a certain number to constitute her future bousehold. The tears which Mary shed, however, upon leaving the nunnery, proved the warmth of her young heart; and that her feelings were not of merely momentary duration, is evinced by the frequent visits she subsequently paid this asylum of her childhood,—and by the altar-piece she embroidered with her own hands for the chapel of the convent.
In no country of Europe was education better understood than it then was in France Francis I., who remodelled, upon a magnificent scale, the University of Paris, only followed the example which had already been set him by Louis XII. The youth of all countries flocked to the French schools. The liberal principles which induced the government to maintain, at its own expense, professors, who lectured to as many students as chose to hear them, was amply repaid by the beneficial consequences arising from the great influx of strangers. A competent knowledge of Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Mathematics, Moral Philosophy and Medicine, could be acquired in France for literally nothing. Nor was it necessary, that he who sought for the blessings of education, should profess any particular system of religious faith. The German Protestant, and the Spanish Catholic, were allowed, in these noble institutions, to take their seat side by side. Henry supported the church as an engine of state, whilst he detested the arrogant pretensions and empty insolence of many of the clergy, and was determined that they
should not interfere with the more enlightened views which he himself entertained. In this, he only followed the opinions of his illustrious father, Francis, who used to remark, that monks were better at teaching linnets to whistle, playing at dice, tippling, and gormandizing, than in doing good either to religion or morality.
The host of authors, and men of genius, who flourished in France about this period, was another cause of its literary eminence. « Learning,” says Miss Benger, "far from being the badge of singularity, had become the attribute of a superior station.” “ There was,” observes the ingenious Pasquier, “ a glorious crusade against ignorance.” Many of the names then celebrated bave since, it is true, passed into oblivion, but the multitude who cultivated letters, show the spirit of the times. Beza, Seve, Pelletier and others, led the van in the severer departments of intellect ; whilst Bellay, Ronsard and Jodelle, showed the way, to a host of followers, in the cultivation of poetry, and the softer arts of composition.
Nor must the great statesmen and warriors, whose presence lent a lustre to the court, be forgotten in this view of the existing pre-eminence of France. The two Houses of Bourbon and Guise, had each given birth to many names destined for immortality. The present chiefs of Bourbon were Anthony, Duke of Navarre, and Louis, known in the history of the world as the first Prince of Condé. There were six brothers of the Guises, of whom the two most illustrious were Francis Duke of Guise, and Charles Cardinal of Lorraine. But they all held the very highest offices in the church or state ; one was a Cardinal, and another