MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS IMPRISONMENT AND ESCAPE FROM LOCHLEVEN CASTLE
“The escape of Mary from Lochleven 1568. Queen Mary escaped from Lochleven Castle on the evening of Sunday 2d May 1568. George Douglas, youngest brother of Sir William Douglas, who was favourable to Mary, had been expelled from the Castle for assisting her in the attempted escape of August 20th, 1567. George had, however, kept up a correspondence with his relation in the Castle" Little Willie" as he was called this William Douglas, a youth of 16, "contrived to steal the keys of the Castle, while the family were at supper. He let Mary and her attendant out of the tower when all had gone to rest, locked the gates of the castle to prevent pursuit, placed the Queen and her waiting-woman in a little skiff, and rowed them to the shore, throwing the keys of the castle into the Lake in the course of their passage. Just when they were about to set out on this adventurous voyage, the youthful pilot had made a signal by a light in a particular window visible at the upper end of the Lake, to intimate that all was safe. Lord Seaton and a party of the Hamilton’s were waiting at the landing-place. The Queen instantly mounted and hurried off to Niddry, in West Lothian, from which place she went next day to Hamilton. The news of the escape flew like lightning throughout the country, and spread enthusiasm everywhere," &c. (For after particulars see any History of Scotland). Mary had thus been a prisoner in the Castle a period of 288 days. "During these long weary days she was most wretched" cooped up in a confined apartment, and ever and anon subjected to the insulting and harsh treatment of "Lady Lochleven." Mary appears to have filled up much of her time in her apartment with embroidery.
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