THE STORY OF ARABELLA STUART
 OF royal blood was the lady here named, near to the English throne. Too near, as it proved, for her own comfort and
happiness, for her life was distracted by the fears of those that filled it. Her story, in consequence, became one of
the romances of English history.
"The Lady Arabella," as she was called, was nearly related to Queen Elizabeth, and became an object of jealous
persecution by that royal lady. The great Elizabeth had in her disposition something of the dog in the manger. She would
not marry herself, and thus provide for the succession to the throne, and she was determined that the fair Arabella
should not perform this neglected duty. Hence Arabella's misery.
The first thing we hear of this unfortunate scion of royal blood concerns a marriage. The whole story of her life, in
fact, is concerned with marriage, and its fatal ending was the result of marriage. Never had a woman been more sought in
marriage; never more hindered; her life was a tragedy of marriage.
Her earlier story may be briefly given. James VI. of Scotland, cousin of the Lady Arabella, chose as a husband for her
another cousin, Lord Esme
 Stuart, Duke of Lennox, his proposed heir. The match was a desirable one, but Queen Elizabeth forbade the banns. She
threw the lady into a prison, and defied King James when he demanded her delivery, not hesitating to speak with contempt
of her brother monarch.
The next to choose a husband for Arabella was the pope, who would have been delighted to provide a Catholic for the
succession to the English throne. A prince of the house of Savoy was the choice of his holiness. The Duke of Parma was
married, and his brother was a cardinal, and therefore unmarriageable, but the pope had the power to overcome the
difficulty which this created. He secularized the churchman, and made him an eligible aspirant for the lady's hand. But,
as may well be supposed, Elizabeth decisively vetoed this chimerical plan.
To escape from the plots of scheming politicians, the Lady Arabella now took the task in her own hand, proposing to
marry a son of the Earl of Northumberland. Unhappily, Elizabeth would none of it. To her jealous fancy an English earl
was more dangerous than a Scotch duke. Thus went on this extraordinary business till Elizabeth died, and King James of
Scotland, whom she had despised, became her successor on the throne, she having paved the way to his succession by her
neglect to provide an heir for it herself, and her insensate determination to prevent Arabella Stuart from doing so.
 James was now king. He had chosen a husband for his cousin Arabella before. It was a natural presumption that he would
not object to her marriage now. But if Elizabeth was jealous, he was suspicious. A foolish plot was made by some
unimportant individuals to get rid of the Scottish king and place Arabella on the English throne. A letter to this
effect was sent to the lady. She laughed at it, and sent it to the king, who, probably, did not consider it a
This was in 1603. In 1604 the king of Poland is said to have asked for the lady's hand in marriage. Count Maurice, Duke
of Guildres, was also spoken of as a suitable match. But James had grown as obdurate as Elizabeth,—and with as little
sense and reason. The lady might enjoy life in single blessedness as she pleased, but marry she should not. "Thus far to
the Lady Arabella crowns and husbands were like a fairy banquet seen at moonlight opening on her sight, impalpable, and
vanishing at the moment of approach."
Several years now passed, in which the lady lived as a dependant on the king's bounty, and in which, so far as we know,
no thoughts of marriage were entertained. At least, no projects of marriage were made public, whatever may have been the
lady's secret thoughts and wishes. Then came the romantic event of her life,—a marriage, and its striking consequences.
It is this event which has made her name remembered in the romance of history.
 Christmas of 1608 had passed, and the Lady Arabella was still unmarried; the English crown had not tottered to its fall
through the entrance of this fair maiden into the bonds of matrimony. The year 1609 began, and terror seized the English
court; this insatiable woman was reaching out for another husband! This time the favored swain was Mr. William Seymour,
the second son of Lord Beauchamp, and grandson of the earl of Hertford. He was a man of admired character, a studious
scholar in times of peace, an ardent soldier in times of war. He and Arabella had known each other from childhood.
In February the daring rebellion of the Lady Arabella became known, and sent its shaft of terror to the heart of King
James. The woman was at it again, wanting to marry; she must be dealt with. She and Seymour were summoned before the
privy council and sharply questioned. Seymour was harshly censured. How dared he presume to seek an alliance with one of
royal blood, he was asked, in blind disregard of the fact that royal blood ran in his own veins.
He showed fitting humility before the council, pleading that he meant no offence. Thus he told the dignified councillors
the story of his wooing,—
"I boldly intruded myself into her ladyship's chamber in this court on Candlemas-day last, at which time I imparted my
desire unto her, which was entertained, but with this caution on either part, that both of us resolved not to proceed to
 final conclusion without his Majesty's most gracious favor first obtained. And this was our first meeting. After this we
had a second meeting at Brigg's house in Fleet Street, and then a third at Mr. Baynton's; at both of which we had the
like conference and resolution as before."
Neither of them would think of marrying without "his Majesty's most gracious favor," they declared. This favor could not
be granted. The safety of the English crown had to be considered. The lovers were admonished by the privy council and
But love laughs at privy councils, as well as at locksmiths. This time the Lady Arabella was not to be hindered. She and
Seymour were secretly married, without regard to "his Majesty's most gracious favor," and enjoyed a short period of
connubial bliss in defiance of king and council.
Their offence was not discovered till July of the following year. It roused a small convulsion in court circles. The
king had been defied. The culprits must be punished. The lovers—for they were still lovers—were separated, Seymour being
sent to the Tower, for "his contempt in marrying a lady of the royal family without the king's leave;" the lady being
confined at the house of Sir Thomas Parry, at Lambeth.
Their confinement was not rigorous. The lady was allowed to walk in the garden. The gentleman was given the freedom of
the Tower. Letters seem to have passed between them. From one of these ancient love-letters we may quote the
affec-  tionate conclusion. Seymour had taken cold. Arabella writes:
"I do assure you that nothing the State can do with me can trouble me so much as this news of your being ill doth; and,
you see, when I am troubled I trouble you with too tedious kindness, for so I think you will account so long a letter,
yourself not having written to me this good while to much as how you do. But, sweet sir, I speak not of this to
trouble you with writing but when you please. Be well, and I shall account myself happy in being
"Your faithful, loving wife.
They wrote too much, it seems. Their correspondence was discovered. Trouble ensued. The king determined to place the
lady in closer confinement under the bishop of Durham.
Arabella was in despair when this news was brought her. She grew so ill from her depression of spirits that she could
only travel to her new place of detention in a litter and under the care of a physician. On reaching Highgate she had
become unfit to proceed, her pulse weak, her countenance pale and wan. The doctor left her there and returned to town,
where he reported to the king that the lady was too sick to travel.
"She shall proceed to Durham if I am king," answered James, with his usual weak headed obstinacy.
 "I make no doubt of her obedience," answered the doctor.
"Obedience is what I require," replied the king. "That given, I will do more for her than she expects."
He consented, in the end, that she should remain a month at Highgate, under confinement, at the end of which time she
should proceed to Durham. The month passed. She wrote a letter to the king which procured her a second month's respite.
But that time, too, passed on, and the day fixed for her further journey approached.
The lady now showed none of the wild grief which she had at first displayed. She was resigned to her fate, she said, and
manifested a tender sorrow which won the hearts of her keepers, who could not but sympathize with a high-born lady thus
persecuted for what was assuredly no crime, if even a fault.
ROTTEN ROW. LONDON.
At heart, however, she was by no means so tranquil as she seemed. Her communications with Seymour had secretly
continued, and the two had planned a wildly-romantic project of escape, of which this seeming resignation was but part.
The day preceding that fixed for her departure arrived. The lady had persuaded an attendant to aid her in paying a last
visit to her husband, whom she declared she must see before going to her distant prison. She would return at a fixed
hour. The attendant could wait for her at an appointed place.
This credulous servant, led astray, doubtless, by
 sympathy with the loving couple, not only consented to the request, but assisted the lady in assuming an elaborate
"She drew," we are told, "a pair of large French-fashioned hose or trousers over her petticoats, put on a man's doublet
or coat, a peruke such as men wore, whose long locks covered her own ringlets, a black hat, a black coat, russet boots
with red tops, and a rapier by her side. Thus accoutred, the Lady Arabella stole out with a gentleman about three
o'clock in the afternoon. She had only proceeded a mile and a half when they stopped at a post-inn, where one of her
confederates was waiting with horses; yet she was so sick and faint that the hostler who held her stirrup observed that
the gentleman could hardly hold out to London."
But the "gentleman" grew stronger as she proceeded. The exercise of riding gave her new spirit. Her pale face grew rosy;
her strength increased; by six o'clock she reached Blackwall, where a boat and servants were waiting. The plot had been
well devised and all the necessary preparations made.
The boatmen were bidden to row to Woolwich. This point reached, they were asked to proceed to Gravesend. Then they rowed
on to Tilbury. By this time they were fatigued, and landed for rest and refreshment. But the desired goal had not yet
been reached, and an offer of higher pay induced them to push on to Lee.
Here the, fugitive lady rested till daybreak. The light of morn discovered a French vessel at anchor
 off the harbor, which was quickly boarded. It had been provided for the escape of the lovers. But Seymour, who had
planned to escape from the Tower and meet her here, had not arrived. Arabella was desirous that the vessel should
continue at anchor until he appeared. If he should fail to come she did not care to proceed. The land that held her lord
was the land in which she wished to dwell, even if they should be parted by fate and forced to live asunder.
This view did not please those who were aiding her escape. They would be pursued, and might be overtaken. Delay was
dangerous. In disregard of her wishes, they ordered the captain to put to sea. As events turned out, their haste proved
unfortunate for the fair fugitive, and the "cause of woes unnumbered" to the loving pair.
Leaving her to her journey, we must return to the adventures of Seymour. Prisoner at large, as he was, in the Tower,
escape proved not difficult. A cart had entered the enclosure to bring wood to his apartment. On its departure he
followed it through the gates, unobserved by the warder. His servant was left behind, with orders to keep all visitors
from the room, on pretence that his master was laid up with a raging toothache.
Reaching the river, the escaped prisoner found a man in his confidence in waiting with a boat. He was rowed down the
stream to Lee, where he expected to find his Arabella in waiting. She was not there, but in the distance was a vessel
 fancied might have her on board. He hired a fisherman to take him out. Hailing the vessel, he inquired its name, and to
his grief learned that it was not the French ship which had been hired for the lovers' flight. Fate had separated them.
Filled with despair, he took passage on a vessel from Newcastle, whose captain was induced, for a fair consideration, to
alter his course. In due time he landed in Flanders, free, but alone. He was never to set eyes on Arabella Stuart again.
Meanwhile, the escape of the lady from Highgate had become known, and had aroused almost as much alarm as if some
frightful calamity had overtaken the State. Confusion and alarm pervaded the court. The Gunpowder Plot itself hardly
shook up the gray heads of King James's cabinet more than did the flight of this pair of parted doves. The wind seemed
to waft peril. The minutes seemed fraught with threats. Couriers were despatched in all haste to the neighboring
seaports, and hurry everywhere prevailed.
A messenger was sent to the Tower, bidding the lieutenant to guard Seymour with double vigilance. To the surprise of the
worthy lieutenant, he discovered that Seymour was not there to be guarded. The bird had flown. Word of this threw King
James into a ludicrous state of terror. He wished to issue a vindictive proclamation, full of hot fulminations, and
could scarcely be persuaded by his minister to tone down his foolish utterances. The revised edict was sent off with as
much speed as if
 an enemy's fleet were in the offing, the courier being urged to his utmost despatch, the postmasters aroused to activity
by the stirring superscription, "Haste, haste, post haste! Haste for your life, your life!" One might have thought that
a new Norman invasion was threatening the coast, instead of a pair of new-married lovers flying to finish their
honey-moon in peace and freedom abroad.
When news of what had happened reached the family of the Seymours, it threw them into a state of alarm not less than
that of the king. They knew what it meant to offend the crown. The progenitor of the family, the Duke of Somerset, had
lost his head through some offence to a king, and his descendants had no ambition to be similarly curtailed of their
natural proportions. Francis Seymour wrote to his uncle, the Earl of Hertford, then distant from London, telling the
story of the flight of his brother and the lady. This letter still exists, and its appearance indicates the terror into
which it threw the earl. It reached him at midnight. With it came a summons to attend the privy council. He read it
apparently by the light of a taper, and with such agitation that the sheet caught fire. The scorched letter still
exists, and is burnt through at the moat critical part of its story. The poor old earl learned enough to double his
terror, and lost the section that would have alleviated it. He hastened up to London in a state of doubt and fear, not
knowing but that he was about to be indicted for high treason.
 Meanwhile, what had become of the disconsolate Lady Arabella? The poor bride found herself alone upon the seas, mourning
for her lost Seymour, imploring her attendants to delay, straining her eyes in hopes of seeing some boat bearing to her
him she so dearly loved. It was in vain. No Seymour appeared. And the delay in her flight proved fatal. The French ship
which bore her was overtaken in Calais roads by one of the king's vessels which had been so hastily despatched in
pursuit, and the lady was taken on board and brought back, protesting that she cared not what became of her if her dear
Seymour should only escape.
The story ends mournfully. The sad-hearted bride was consigned to an imprisonment that preyed heavily upon her. Never
very strong, her sorrow and depression of spirits reduced her powers, while, with the hope that she might die the
sooner, she refused the aid of physicians. Grief, despair, intense emotion, in time impaired her reason, and at the end
of four years of prison life she died, her mind having died before. Rarely has a simple and innocent marriage produced
such sad results through the uncalled-for jealousy of kings. The sad romance of the poor Lady Arabella's life was due to
the fact that she had an unreasonable woman to deal with in Elizabeth, and a suspicious fool in James. Sound
common-sense must say that neither had aught to gain from this persecution of the poor lady, who they were so
obstinately determined should end life a maid.
 Seymour spent some years abroad, and then was permitted to return to England. His wife was dead; the king had naught to
fear. He lived through three successive reigns, distinguishing himself by his loyalty to James and his two successors,
and to the day of his death retaining his warm affection for his first love. He married again, and to the daughter born
from this match he gave the name of Arabella Stuart, in token of his undying attachment to the lady of his life's
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