"Help me, help me on board!" said the deserted Lady Fleming, and that louder than prudence warranted. "Put off--put off!" cried Henry Seyton; "leave all behind, so the Queen is safe." "Will you permit this, madam?" said Catherine, imploringly; "you leave your deliverer to death." "I will not," said the Queen.--"Seyton I command you to stay at every risk." "Pardon me, madam, if I disobey," said the intractable young man; and with one hand lifting in Lady Fleming, he began himself to push off the boat. She was two fathoms' length from the shore, and the rowers were getting her head round, when Roland Graeme, arriving, bounded from the beach, and attained the boat, overturning Seyton, on whom he lighted. The youth swore a deep but suppressed oath, and stopping Graeme as he stepped towards the stern, said, "Your place is not with high-born dames--keep at the head and trim the vessel--Now give way--give way--Row, for God and the Queen!" The rowers obeyed, and began to pull vigorously. "Why did ye not muffle the oars?" said Roland Graeme; "the dash must awaken the sentinel--Row, lads, and get out of reach of shot; for had not old Hildebrand, the warder, supped upon poppy-porridge, this whispering must have waked him." "It was all thine own delay," said Seyton; "thou shalt reckon, with me hereafter for that and other matters." But Roland's apprehension was verified too instantly to permit him to reply. The sentinel, whose slumbering had withstood the whispering, was alarmed by the dash of the oars. His challenge was instantly heard. "A boat---a boat!--bring to, or I shoot!" And, as they continued to ply their oars, he called aloud, "Treason! treason!" rung the bell of the castle, and discharged his harquebuss at the boat. The ladies crowded on each other like startled wild foul, at the flash and report of the piece, while the men urged the rowers to the utmost speed. They heard more than one ball whiz along the surface of the lake, at no great distance from their little bark; and from the lights, which glanced like meteors from window to window, it was evident the whole castle was alarmed, and their escape discovered. "Pull!" again exclaimed Seyton; "stretch to your oars, or I will spur you to the task with my dagger--they will launch a boat immediately." "That is cared for," said Roland; "I locked gate and wicket on them when I went back, and no boat will stir from the island this night, if doors of good oak and bolts of iron can keep men within stone-walls.--And now I resign my office of porter of Lochleven, and give the keys to the Kelpie's keeping." As the heavy keys plunged in the lake, the Abbot,--who till then had been repeating his prayers, exclaimed, "Now, bless thee, my son! for thy ready prudence puts shame on us all."
On May 2, 1568, Mary Queen of Scots escaped from her confinement at Lochleven Castle. Sir Walter Scott had his own version of the escape, which he published in "The Abbot".