The History of Leith

March 2, 2012

Queen Mary’s Apartments-Holyrood House

A WINDING stair in the Tower of James V. gives access to the oldest portion of the palace, known as ” Queen Mary’s Apartments,” on the third floor, and forming the most interesting portion of the
whole edifice. To the visitor, in Mary’s bedchamber there seems a solemn gloom which even the summer sunshine cannot brighten, ruddy though the glare may be which streams through that tall window, where we can see the imperial crown upon its octagon turret. The light seems only to lay too bare the fibres of the old oak floor and all the mouldering finery ; a sense of the pathetic, with something of horror and much of sadness, mingles in the thoughtful mind; and much of this was felt even by Dr. Johnson, when he stood there with Boswell on the 15th of August, 1773-With canopy and counterpane, dark and in shadow, there stands the old pillared bed, with its crimson silk and satin faded into orange, wherein slept, and doubtless too often wept, the fair young Queen of Scotland—she who spent her happy teens at the Bourbon court, her passionate youth so sorrowfully in grim grey Scotland, and who gave up her soul to God at Fotheringay, in premature old age, and with a calm grandeur that never saint surpassed. „ On the wall there hangs the arras wrought with the fall of Phaeton, now green and amber-tinted, revealing the gloomy little door through which
pale Ruthven and stern Darnley burst with their daring associates, and close by is the supper-room from whence the shrieking Rizzio was dragged, and done to death with many a mortal wound. To the imaginative Scottish mind the whole place conjures up scenes and events that can never die.

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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