ARABELLA STUART (1575-1615), daughter of Charles Stuart, earl of Lennox, younger brother of Lord Darnley and of Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Cavendish and "Bess of Hardwick," is interesting historically as having been (by strict pedigree) next in succession to James VI.
His son George, who succeeded, was the earl to whom the custody of Mary Stuart was committed, his task being rendered all the more difficult for him by the intrigues of his second wife, Bess of Hardwick, the builder of Chatsworth, who had married three husbands before her union with him.
It was probably at the time when a desire for revenge on her calumniatress made her think the opportunity good and safe for discharge of such a two-edged dart at the countess and the queen that Mary wrote, but abstained from despatching, the famous and terrible letter in which, with many gracious excuses and professions of regret and attachment, she transmits to Elizabeth a full and vivid report of the hideous gossip retailed by Bess of Hardwick regarding her character and person at a time when the reporter of these abominations was on friendly terms with her husband's royal charge.
Most of the fossils of the bess are shells of terrestrial gastropods, but bones of land mammals are also found in not a few places.
Some of the bess is thought to have been derived by the wind from the surface of the drift soon after the retreat of the ice, before vegetation got a foothold upon the new-made deposit; but a large part of the bess, especially that associated with the main valleys, appears to have been blown up on to the bluffs of the valleys from the flood plains below.