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as she roved with her happy lover through the vineyards, the citron groves, and the Quintas of her native island, she forgot her early sufferings, for the prospect of happiness that opened to her through the vista of futurity cast a veil over the hardships of the past.
The very day before their intended marriage, the church once more assumed her authority, and directed that all nuns should return to their convents. Great was the sympathy for poor Maria; her gaiety and light-heartedness—her extreme simplicity, gentleness, and beauty—had won for her the love and esteem of all in Funchal, particularly the English. There was however no resource ;-her head was again shorn of its silken locks, and her gay, yet simple attire, was once more exchanged for the dark robe, the girdle, and the veil....
This morning she met us at the convent grating, and with many a winning smile 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 disappointed love, had spread their mildew over a brow, so late lit up with 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 bosom the choicest of all life's varied blessings—the boon of health.
Many a proud form of Britain's sons, subdued by the rough changes of our own variable climes, has left her shores so blest ; but not all. Ab! 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
A GRAVEYARD SCENE.
the urgent and overpowering fears of their dear connexions, who, in the earnestuess of affection, desperately hope against hope, 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 cypress shade.
There is an English church at Funchal, and the garden that surrounds it, shadowed by some noble yews and cypresses, whose deep-spreading gloom, relieved by many a gay and bright exotic flower, renders this not the least interesting and romantic scene within the precincts of this gem of the ocean.
The adjoining burying-grounds also have their beauties, saddening though they be ;-here might the weary traveller rest, and be laid in one of the simple, unostentatious cemeteries of Funchal; and though, for him, the rock-sealed fountain of affection, unsmote by the chastening rod of sorrow, might not pour forth her tributary tide, still he should have those mute mourners of nature, the cypress and the willow, to weep over him. Here, though no kindly hand should strew his grave with flowers, it would be garlanded by the fuschia and the orange blossom ; and although no artificial incense was scattered over his tomb, the heliotrope and the myrtle would shed the fragrance of their perfume around it. Here, though no measured chant of funeral dirge or loud Uullah, mocked the silence of the dead, the nightingale of the hills would tune her evening lay, and sing a requiem as she nestled in the lemon-tree above his head; and when night had cast her sable mantle over the scene, and no unhallowed sound disturbed the cathedral stillness of the hour, those mystic lamps hung in the blue vault above his sepulchre, would smile upon the sod that covered him.
CHAPTER I V.
Visit to Teneriffe- View of the Peak-Fishermen Santa Cruz-Dromedaries-The British
Flags-Vegetation-Cochineal - Volcanic Rocks-Birds-Inhabitants-Museum-Guanches -Scenery-Laguna-Oratava-Beauty of the Landscape-Port of Oratava--The Botanic Garden-The Dragon Tree-Ascent of the Peak-Guides-Spartium Plains-Pumice-stone Plains-Magnificent Scenery-Estancia des Ingleses-Extreme Cold_View of the Sunrise The Cone - The Crater-Smoke Holes-Sulphur-Prospect from the Summit-The Regions of Vegetation-Descent-Climate Return to Madeira.
To afford me an opportunity of ascending the peak of Teneriffe, my patient and fellow-traveller kindly got our vessel under weigh, and we left Funchal roads on the 5th of November.
On the following morning we had a momentary glimpse of the peak ; but the weather becoming hazy, we were unable to distinguish it perfectly until three o'clock, when its bold, rugged outline became accurately defined against the clear azure of an African sky. I must confess my disappointment at its first appearance. It did not at all come up to the expectation I had formed, of an immense spire shooting into the heavens and piercing the clouds, as I had always been led to suppose by description and delineation; and this disappointment I find that I share in common with most Europeans who have seen it. From our present position, approaching Santa Cruz from the north, the figure is not that of a cone, but rather of a block of mountain rising to a great height out of the sea. The sun set gloriously behind it, throwing that peculiar roseate tint around his golden locks, so very different from any thing we know of in more northern climates.
As we neared the island, the wind fell off, and left us rocking in the heavy swell that generally surrounds this iron-bound shore. When the darkness set in, a number of lights suddenly started
up around us, flitting like meteors over the swollen waters; presently a light breeze sprung up, and we gently pursued our way into the midst of this singular illumination. It arose from a number of fishing-boats, in each of which a fire of the Canary pine was lighted to attract the fish. Around these fires were seated the fishermen, their furrowed faces grimed with the smoke, and, habited in their long scarlet caps and jackets, they looked, as each frail bark sprung to view on the crest of a mountain wave, and then as quickly sunk from our sight in the gulf below, like so many spirits of the mighty deep brewing the tempest. About ten we cast anchor. People may talk of clanking chains and rattling bolts, but to me one of the sweetest of sounds is the clanking of the chain-cable as it is hove up on deck, or runs swiftly through the hawse-hole.
7th November.-Santa Cruz Bay.—Every thing around has the most arid, parched, and burned-up look that can possibly be imagined. The neatly white-washed town looks well, but around it all is barren and desolate. This peculiar appearance, common to all volcanic islands, is now rendered more striking by the season, there not having been any rain here for the last six months. Even the large succulent plants, springing here and there amongst its rocks, had lost whatever of greenness they may have originally possessed. Immediately on our right the land is high and broken into ravines, running down to the water's edge, with nothing to relieve the eye but the white line of the aqueduct that supplies the town, as it winds its serpentine course half-way up their sides. To the left, the shore slopes away in one gradual swell to southward, barren of every thing but stones, lava, and basalt. After breakfast we landed at the mole, where Nelson lost his arm in the unfortunate affair of 1797.
If the lovely verdure, the wavy palms, and green bananas of Madeira remind the English traveller that he is out of Europe, how much more do the numerous camels which he sees on first landing here, slowly trudging their way into the town-gate, with their burdens of pinewood or lime-stone, or patiently kneeling down to be loaded, and moving their long necks from side to side, tell him that he is approaching the region of the Zahara and the Siroc.
The dromedary, improperly denominated the camel of the Canaries, and supposed to have been introduced by the Norman
conquerors, is a large variety, and thrives well in those islands, but from want of care and cleanliness, and being almost devoid of hair, looks very badly. So silently do these animals tread the ground, that the owners are compelled by law to furnish each with a bell, to give warning of their approach. There is a popular prejudice with regard to the natural history of these animals, which, if true, would serve to show how few climates are adapted to the procreation of the species; it is said that, with rare exceptions, they will not breed in Teneriffe, but are transported for that purpose to Lancerotte, which is only a few leagues distant to the southward. They are landed at the proper season in great herds from all the neighbouring islands, and become so ferocious during their stay, that it is then dangerous to land upon the island. A camel-fight is not an uncommon amusement among the people; on these occasions the animals are muzzled, and evince the utmost fury in their engagements.*
In a small place like this, one of your first visits is to your consul; who, assuming all the importance of office, parades you in succession to all the governors and persons in authority, civil, military, and marine. This raises his own consequence not a little, and, to believe himself, vastly contributes to the honour of old England.
The town of Santa Cruz is clean, that part near the water is much more so than Funchal; and in the centre there is a good square, La Plaza de la Constitucion. In this, is the famous statue of the Virgin, our Lady of the Candelaria, of good execution, and of fine Carara marble. It is commemorative of the conversion of four kings of the Guanches in 1392, whose statues are placed as supporters of the pedestal, each with a thigh-bone in his hand, the
# Since the first edition of this work was printed, Mr. S. Barker Webb, so long resident in the island, and so well informed upon its zoology, has written to me as follows upon this subject:-" There is nothing in the climate which prevents the camels breeding in Teneriffe ; there is a fine herd belonging to the Marquess of Belgida at Adexa, in the south of the island, and the sale of the young pays the expenses. It is the want of plain land, such as forms Lancerotte and Fuertaventura, that causes this; a level country being, I suppose, necessary to the rearing of the young.” Mr. Webb is joint author with Sabin Berthelot of that magnificent work, “ Histoire Naturelle des Iles Canaries," now coming out in Paris.