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DISCOVERY OF THE ISLAND.
driven on the coast of Morocco, and sold as slaves. It was in virtue of the information derived from those men, that the island was made known to the Portuguese, who sent out an expedition in search of it in 1419, under Zargo and Vaz.
The village of Machico is one of the most romantic spots in the island, and its old church is rendered more interesting by a piece of the cedar cross, still shown, and said to have been that placed over the grave of the unfortunate Lady Anna and her lover. This little romance, SO fraught with interest, is not only true in itself, but affords a picture of life even in the present day.
The story of the Lady Anna is not without its parallel, yet, though that “ bridge of sighs” may be, and is, crossed by thousands, we must now look for purity of love amidst the fossil remains that mark the age of chivalry and romance, a leaf from whose chronicles is sometimes torn out, to wrap around the twopenny Smithfield huxtery of this
age of Mammon, when female human flesh can be bought and sold, as well in the lordly halls of England, as in the slave markets of the east.
November 20.-— We visited the convents to procure some of the beautiful artificial flowers, made from feathers, by the nuns. No ship ever touches here, without carrying away large quantities of this most ingenious and elegant manufacture, as well as ornaments in wax, Guava jellies, Cape gooseberries, and other sweetmeats.
These flowers possess colours that vie with the brightest of the originals; and, when so ordered, are constructed with an accuracy that leaves nothing to be desired by the most fastidious botanist. Besides these, one of the convents has a further attraction, in the fair person of one of its nuns, Maria Clementina. Poor Maria ! Surely, if we sympathized with the sentimental Sterne over his Maria, we may well be excused in taking an interest in, and sighing for the fate of, the recluse of Santa Clara.
Few strangers that come to Madeira but visit the nun that so captivated Coleridge, and whose sad history every one here is acquainted with. It is short, but eventful. How eventful to the life of woman! The parents of Maria resided in the island ; she was the youngest and fairest of several daughters, and, like Cinderella of old, suffered from the envy and unkindness of her less lovely sisters, and though without the aid of any good fairy to turn a pumpkin into a coach and six, and a rat into a coachman, some old and rich relative, pitying her unhappiness, left her a handsome fortune. This, instead of removing, increased her misery, and, to fly the wretchedness of her heartless home, she yielded to the urgings of her unnatural kindred, and took the veil while still almost a child. Long time had not elapsed till the constitution was proclaimed in Portugal, and an order of the Cortes arrived permitting all nuns who chose to leave their
convents and to marry. Many recluses availed themselves of the privilege, and again mixed in the society of Funchal; and amidst that gay and elegant assemblage, none was more admired than Maria. Graceful, beautiful, and young, for she was only eighteen, she could not long remain without suitors. She had many; and though it is said the sisterhood leave outside their convent walls, the world, its follies and its cares—its joys and its sorrows—the ties of kindred, and the affections of the heart; yet there were many whose natural feelings were not dead, but only slept, and now, freed from the yoke of religious despotism, the vine-like properties of fair woman's heart would (as might be expected) soon find some object round which to twine the tendrils of its newborn affections. A young officer, then quartered in Madeira, wooed and won the heart of the fair Maria. It was soon known that they were to be united, and all looked with an approving smile on the approaching nuptials of the well-matched pair. To the maiden all was joy, sunshine, and felicity; and as she roved with her happy lover through the vineyards, the orange groves, and the quintas of her native island, the prospect of happiness that opened to her through the vista of futurity cast a veil over the hardships of the past. She forgot her early sufferings. The day before the nuptials were to be solemnized, a vessel arrived from Lisbon, bringing the sad intelligence that the Cortes had
revoked their decree, and that all nuns should return to their convents. Great was the sympathy for poor
Maria; her gaiety and light-heartednessher extreme simplicity, gentleness, and beauty, had won for her the love and the esteem of all in Funchal, particularly the English. There was no
Her head was again shorn of its silken locks, and her gay, yet simple attire, exchanged for the dark robe, the girdle, and the veil.
This morning she met us smiling at the grating, and brought the flowers she had prepared for us. There was a look of calm resignation that added a peculiar interest to her features—the only ones I have ever seen that overcame the severity of costume demanded by her order, and which seemed to us as the weeds of that widowhood of love she is doomed to spend within her convent walls. Poor thing! Her very smile was one that told the heart was ill at ease, for mouldering hope, the blight of early sorrow, and the never-ceasing canker of unanswered love had spread its mildew o'er a brow, so late lit up by hope, now clouded by despair. It was not without regret I left this
“Delightful province of the sun,
Where all the loveliest children of his beam,
and where for the rich profusion of nature's gifts received, she gratefully restores to those, who, wearied, faint, and sad, seek in her fragrant
A GRAVE-YARD SCENE.
bosom the choicest of all life’s varied blessingsthe boon of health.
Many a proud form of Briton's sons, subdued by the rough changes of our own variable clime, has left her shores so blest ; but not all. Ah! no. Many—too many, seduced by a false and characteristic fatuity, hurry hither but to expend their latest sigh. Too many, and those the loveliest and fairest, yielding in pity to the urgent and overpowering fears of their dear connexions, who, in the earnestness of affection, desperately hope where hope is not, leave their own land, the comforts, the ties, and associations that made for them a paradise of Home, and voyage to this distant spot, to lay them down to rest beneath the
. Still, even that spot has its beauties, saddening though they be; for, here would I die, and be laid even in the simple cemetery of Funchal, and though, for me, the tributary tide that flows from out the rock-sealed fountain of affection, might not be smote by the chastening rod of sorrow, I should have those mute mourners of nature, the cypress
and the willow, to weep over me ; and though no kindly hand should strew my grave with flowers, it would be garlanded by the fuschia and the
orange blossoms. Although no artificial incense was scattered o'er my tomb, the heliotrope and the myrtle would shed the fragrance of their perfume around me; and, though no measured chant of funeral dirge or loud Uullah mocked the silence of