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THE BRAZILIAN BRIDE.
IU TWO PARTS.—PAET I.
Among the nobles who suffered most from the invasion of Portugal, and who followed John VI. across the Atlantic, in search of a safer home in another hemisphere, was the Marquess de Gonsalva. He had married a young and lovely woman, to whom he wits tenderly attached. She suffered much at the separation from her home and family, and her health failed under the fatigue and privation of the voyage; she had scarcely reached Brazil, ere she died in giving birth to a son.
The Marquess remained a widower, devoting himself to the care of his child, and the reparation of his ruined fortune.
Alonzo was a fine, generous-spirited boy; grateful and affectionate in his disposition, and very handsome in his person; his clear, dark complexion, laughing eyes, and white teeth, were united to a form remarkable for its just proportions and natural grace. It was on the subject of his education that his father felt, most severely, the change of his circumstances; he could not afford to send him to Europe, but all the scanty means that Rio de Janeiro supplied were put in requisition, and in every respect made the most of.
"What a pity it is," thought the good Marquess, "that my boy, who is beyond all doubt the finest and most talented boy in the country, should lose any advantage that money could procure. Money, money, where are you to be had?" cried the father, impatiently pacing the room; he suddenly stopped, and appeared for a full half-hour wrapped in thought; then, starting from his reverie, ordered his horse, rode in great haste to the convent of , had a long conference with his sister the Abbess, returned home, declined an invitation to a ball, and wrote letters the remainder of the evening.
A large and important looking packet was addressed to a Portuguese merchant, well known as a man of great wealth at St. Paul's. About the time an answer might be expected the Marquess became anxious and impatient; it arrived at length; Alonzo took it to his father, wlio shut himself up in his room to read it.
Presently, Alonzo was called. "My boy," said the Marquess, rubbing his hands in great glee, "how would you like to be married?" Alonzo was just turned seventeen, and therefore answered without a moment's hesitation, "Very much indeed, sir!"—and as he spoke, the bright eyes of Donna Clara, the little peeping foot of Donna Julia, and the separate perfections of half a dozen other donnas, glanced in delightful confusion across his mind. "Then married you shall be," replied his father; "sit down, my son; I have an important communication to make. I need not inform you that we have lost almost the whole of our property, with but very little hope of regaining it; in fact, we are very poor. I wish you to go to Europe, and for the nest few years to have every advantage that travel, study, and an introduction to the first society can give. I wish you, in short, to take your
station in the world—that station for which your birth and talents so eminently fit you; but this wish cannot be accomplished without money; and money, as wc arc situated, cannot be procured, except by—marriage." A pause; the blood receded from the cheek of Alonzo, but, bowing his head, he replied, "I understand you, sir." The Marquess proceeded, " Senhor Josef Mendez owes his rise of life to my father, and much also to me; he is, as you well know, considered the richest individual in Brazil; he has only one child, a daughter, the sole inheritor of his wealth. I have proposed a marriage between you and her, frankly offering the fair barter of rank on one side for wealth on the other. I believe it to be the secret wish of his heart that bis daughter should be ennobled by marriage; gratitude unites with pride, and he has accepted my offer with the utmost eagerness. It is arranged that we instantly proceed to St. Paul's, where the ceremony will take place—from thence you start for England. My worthy friend, Mr. Mordaunt, will meet you at Falmouth. I write to him by this next packet, offering him so handsome an income, that I have no doubt whatever he will become your tutor, guide, and companion, during your five years of travel and study. At the expiration of that time you will return to your home, and friends—your bride, and father. I pray only that I may not be snatched away before that happy moment arrives; I shall then die in peace!" The father aud son embraced with emotion. "But.—" said Alonzo, hesitatingly; "but—thelady.sir?" "True —the lady," replied the Marquess; "why—your lady is but a child at present; she has not yet completed her thirteenth year, and I regret to say " (the Marquess tried to look grave) "her health is considered delicate; however, in all that personally regards her, 1 confess I am rather deficient in information."
Preparations were speedily made for their departure. Alonzo, who was a universal favourite, took leave of all his young friends with a heavy heart; they merely knew he was going to St. Paul's and from thence to Europe; his intended marriage was a secret.
His last visit was to his aunt, the Abbess. "May the saints protect you, son of my brother!" cried the good lady. "Alonzo, thou art the last support aud representative of our ancient and noble bouse; blessed be the chance that brings it back to wealth and independence! But remember, Alonzo, thou takest upon thee a duty most delicate and most difficult towards the hand that bestows these blessings. There is no good in this world without its attendant evil; may thy golden chains lie lightly on thee!"
They embarked, and in a few days reached St. Paul's. They were met on board by Senhor Josef, a little elderly man, shrewd and active—with a long queue, cockedhat, brown dress-coat, and flowered waistcoat. Bis joy and pride were almost too great for words; aud, for once in his life, natural feelings swept away his whole routine of compliment—which is saying a great deal for an old Portuguese.
The house of Senhor Josef was situated in the centre of the town, and was not at all distinguished from its neighbours, either in its outside or inside appearance; comfort had made less progress here than even at Jlio. A heavy, dull-looking building, with large whitewashed rooms, a few of them only matted; rows of old-fashioned ctairs ranged round the wall, or projecting in two stiff rows from the ends of a venerable-looking sofa; aconpie of small tables, to match, looked at each other from exactly opposite sides, and were ornamented with artificial flowers somewhat faded, in vases; a French dock in a glass case; old, massive, silver candlesticks, with candles ready to light, decorated with wreaths of • Lite cut paper; such was the appearance of the grand Ku of the wealthiest man in Brazil.
They were met at the entrance by a little dark, fat, good-humoured Senhora, arrayed in stiff flowered satin, whom Senhor Josef introduced as his sister Theresa. She gave Alonzo a hearty smack on each cheek, and led aim into the sala, where presently a small table was brought in, by two neatly dressed black damsels, covered with cakes and very fine fruit. While Alonzo was paving his compb'mcnts to these delicacies, the Wo fathers were talking apart. "The ship sails tomorrow," said the Marquess; "it is very soon," and he sighed; "but, as you observe, we had better not lc* the opportunity."
"Much better not," replied Senhor Josef; "every thing is arranged; licence from the bishop, the priest, and the witnesses; all can be completed in an hour from this time."
"And your daughter t"
"Why, my lord, you know Isabella is but a child, and a sickly child; she has been sadly spoiled and K"ed; arid, in consequence of her ill health and my numerous avocations, her education has been somewhat neglected; however, we must begin to make up for lost time."
"Well, Senhor," said the Marquess, with a sort of fffort, "the sooner the business is finished the better." Senhor Josef whispered to his sister, and they both left the room. The Marquess then informed Alonzo that the ceremony would take place instantly, and that to-morrow he would leave for Europe. The Marquess Mo thought it prudent to prepare his son for the fwarance of his bride, and, after having repeated *U her father had stated, he continued: "Promise Be, Alonzo, to conceal as much as possible any unfavorable emotion she may excite; remember we have set our fate upon this cast!"
"We have, indeed, sir!" said Alonzo, gravely; "but the sacrifice is great." By this expression, TMizo did not mean that lie or liis rank was sacrificed, (.though his more worldly father put this interpretation on bis words; no—the natural integrity, and yet unsullied freshness of his youthful feelings, told him tint he was selling his honour and independence, and, *Mt youth prizes so much in perspective, free choice a bis wedded love.
They retired to their separate half-furnished bedrooms to make some alteration in their dress; which »as scarcely completed when a request arrived that "*J would meet Senhor Josef iu his private room.
Thither they went, and found him with a notary, a priest, and two witnesses. A deed was handed over to the Marquess to read, by which a very handsome settlement was made on his son; the Marquess expressed his gratitude, and Alonzo kissed the hand of his new father; the deed was signed and sealed, and copies put in their possession. Senhor Josefs will was next read, in which, after providing for his sister, and bequeathing to her the only house he had (their present residence), the rest of his immense fortune he settled exclusively on his daughter. He also expressed his intention to make all fixed and sure by winding up his mercantile concerns before the return of Alonzo; but no land would he purchase; he was aware that a large hereditary estate in Portugal belonged by right to the Marquess, which in all probability he would possess in peace before he died.
These interesting arrangements being completed, the party were requested to proceed to the oratory, where the marriage ceremony was to take place.
Both the father and son felt sad misgivings on the subject of the bride herself, and it was with a throbbing heart that Alonzo, especially, approached the oratory; his father, yet apprehensive of the final events, whispered emphatically, "Senhor Josef has performed his part nobly; oh, my son! for my sake struggle to support yours." Alonzo pressed his father's hand, but his heart was too full to answer.
Although the day shone brightly through the arched and small-paned windows of tlie oratory, it was, as usual in Catholic chapels on occasions of ceremony, lighted with a great number of huge wax candles, which produced a most disagreeable effect. Two rows of slaves, male and female, were drawn up on each side; the priest and witnesses took their stations, as did Alonzo and the Marquess. Senhor Josef had gone for his sister and daughter.
A few painful minutes elapsed. At length a scuffle was heard in the passage, and "Non quero! non quero.'" was shrieked out by a weak but shrill female voice. A moment afterwards, Senhor Josef appeared with his sister, actually dragging in a thin, dark, lanky form, that was milking all the opposition it was capable of, by biting, scratching, and screaming. The father and aunt were assisted by four young mulatto females, whose disordered white dresses, and flowers falling from their heads, showed but too clearly in what desperate service they had been engaged. The girl herself was dressed in thickly-worked Indian muslin, trimmed with rich lace, but which, according to the Portuguese taste, was nearly as yellow as her own complexion; in her cars, and round her neck, were clumsily set diamonds of great value ; her hair they attempted to dress in vain, and it fell over her shoulders, long, straight, and black. Anger and mortification were deeply impressed on the countenances of her father and aunt; and all present lookc*1. dismayed. But poor Alonzo! his blood ran cold; he actually sickened — and nothing but the imploruig look of his father prevented him rushing from the oratory. When fairly placed in the centre of the circle, the
girl shook herself free, and threw back her disordered hair; she was panting with rage and exertion, evidently beyond her strength; she glanced first on the Marquess, and then turned her eyes steadily on Alonzo. Every one was wondering what would happen next; when to their surprise and relief, after a long and childish stare, she stepped up quietly and placed herself beside him. The priest, who knew her well, lost not the favourable moment, and instantly commenced the service. She went through it with perfect composure, every now and then turning round to look at her companion. Once did Alonzo raise his eyes lo meet hers—but his fell, as if avoiding the gaze of a basilisk; he visibly shrunk, as he touched her cold and skinny hand—in short, he could not conceal the agony he suffered. Nevertheless, the ceremony came to its conclusion, and with a sort of convulsive effort he turned to salute his bride. But she had already reached the door (no one thought proper to prevent her)—there she stopped, and once again fixed her very large, black, and fearfully brilliant eyes upon Alonzo; their expression was changed, it was no longer the same as at the altar; but what that expression was Alonzo, though haunted by it for years after, could never make out.
The party left the oratory. The Marquess was the Irst to recover his composure, and conversed freely on indifferent topics until dinner was announced. Senhora Theresa made an apology for her niece, who, she said, was too unwell to join them. They sat down to a repast more abundant than elegant; and the gloom quickly disappeared from every countenance but one.
In the evening, the fathers had a long conference over their coffee; and Alonzo, availing himself of the excuse his intended early embarkation provided, retired for the night to his chamber.
After a light and hurried breakfast on the following morning, he prepared to depart. The Senhora expressed her deep regret that Isabella was not sufficiently recovered, after the agitating scene of the preceding day, to take leave of him personally; but,—and the good Senhora was proceeding with a string of apologies, when Alonzo impatiently interrupted her by placing in herJiand a morocco case, containing a set of pink topaz of the latest London fashion, which he had brought from Rio as a present for his bride. He mumbled something about the Senhora presenting it in his name as it appeared he could not have the honour of offering it himself. Away went the aunt with her prize, and returned in a few minutes with a ring, containing one deep yellow diamond, of value enough to purchase a dozen of his pink topaz sets, and this was given with many fine speeches from his bride, made up by the Senhora, with the felicity of her sex on such occasions. After receiving the blessing of his new relatives, he went on board, accompanied by the Marquess, who took leave of him with the greatest affection; giving him, of course, much wise counsel, mixed with the heartiest congratulations on his good fortune; but not one word was breathed, by either, concerning her who was at once (he maker and marrcr of all, the rivet to those golden
links, without which, indeed, they would have lain lightly enough. The Marquess was a man of much tact; he felt that anything he could say on this delicate subject must be wrong.
A few weeks brought Alonzo to Falmouth, wlicrc he was met by Mr. Mordaunt, his tutor. They proceeded together to the continent, where it was arranged they should spend three years in travel anil study; the two remaining years were to be devoted entirely to England.
Mr. Mordaunt was admirably calculated for the office assigned to him, and soon became affectionately attached to his pupil.
Three delightful years flew rapidly by. The most interesting spots in France, Germany, and sacred Italy were visited. The study of the best authors iu each language; that of the history, government, manufactures, and works of art. of each countrv; together with the acquaintance of the most eminent men—all contributed to exalt and enrich the highly gifted mind of Alonzo, and to fill his heart with the noblest sentiments of benevolence and patriotism. During this time, he might have been pronounced among the happiest of mortals; but in his overflowing cup one black and bitter drop was mingled.
Mr. Mordaunt had been made aware of Alonzo's marriage, and of all the circumstances attending it, by the Marquess. In the first letter Alonzo received from his aunt the Abbess, were these words:—" The only chance you have of domestic peace (happiness is perhaps out of -the question), in your peculiar circumstances, is to guard your heart with the most vigilant care; if once that treasure pass into the possession of another, guilt and misery will attend you through life. I repeat to you again and again—guard your heart!" This letter was handed to his tutor, who, pointing to the last sentence, said emphatically, "Let that be your watchword."
During his residence on the continent, his time and attention were too much occupied, his change of residence too frequent, to allow of his affections being at any time in danger. And, besides the observing eye of Mr. Mordaunt, and the watchword of the reverend Abbess, it must be noticed that the young Don was not of that lightly inflammable nature, which the sparkle of an eye, the smile of a rosy lip, or the touch of a delicate hand, could ignite in an instant. But Mr. Mordaunt perfectly agreed with the Abbess iu opinion that, if ever he loved, it would be deeply, passionately, and therefore to him—fatally.
At the appointed time they arrived in England; and a year and a half had been passed with the highest advantage and improvement, in travelling through that extraordinary country, and in visiting Scotland. The last six months they were to spend in London; and, alas! the dreadful evil, from a quarter so little suspected that even Mr. Mordaunt appeared to be thrown off liis guard, approached; and the god of love was, as a port would say, amply avenged for the sacrilege that had been perpetrated in profaning the sacred band of Hymen.
Alcmzo wss at Hie Opera with his friend, the Brazilian Charge <FAffaires. He thought, as he looked round, that he had never heen in any public place of amusement where the sex showed to so much advantage as at the English Opera; the absence of crowd, the light not too glaring, the superb dresses, contributed, he supposed, to produce this effect. He observed the Charge' attentively viewing through his glass some person in an opposite box, and he fancied many other glasses were pointed in the same direction; he looked, also, and his eye immediately rested on one of the most beautiful young women, he thought, he had ever seen; there was that peculiar something, however, in her complexion, style, and dress, which marked her as a foreigner. "Who is that?" said he to the Charge; "she looks French or Spanish."
"Neither," said the Charge^ exultingly; "she is one of us—Brazilian r"
"Indeed!" exclaimed Alonzo, in an accent of surprise and pleasure.
"Have you not heard of her?" asked his friend; "she is called (he beautiful Brazilian, and is the novelty of the season, making sad havoc in the hearts of her English admirers. She has come out under the auspices of the Countess of Godolphin, the lady next
] "What is her name?"
"Donna Viola de Montezuma." i "The name is noble," observed Alonzo, " but I do i not recollect it at Rio."
"Her family is settled in the north of Brazil; she 'herself, however, has just come from Rio, with- her
duenna and suite, to finish her education. She is an leiress, and is reported to be engaged in Portugal. Would you like to go round? I will introduce yoa."
"If you please ; "—and away they went.
The Charge first introduced Alonzo to the Countess, and then presented him as a fellow-countryman to the beautiful Brazilian. She received him with the most marked pleasure, and made a seat for him beside her.
"I am indeed most happy to become acquainted wh you, Don Alonzo," said she, " if it were only to eipress to you the affection I feel for your dear aunt, tie Abbess, in whose convent I have been some time 2 resident, and from whom I have received all the care and love of a mother—indeed, I owe her very Emeh."
"Her love and care, at least, seem to have been Tell bestowed," replied Alonzo; "did you also know my father?"'
"Intimately; and I may also venture to say that I know you, so much have I heard of you from the Marquess and your aunt. I am sure no son or nephew was ever so beloved."
Alonzo sighed, as he recollected that neither of them had mentioned this lady in their letters; the reason was obvious—and he felt a pang more acute than usual when he looked on her lovely and intelligent
II countenance—glanced over a figure that appeared to him perfection, and listened to her lively andj
natural remarks—then compared her with that one of whom he could scarcely endure in any way to think.
The next morning, he mentioned to Mr. Mordaunt, as carelessly as he could, his introduction of the preceding evening.
"I have heard of that lady," observed Mr. Mordaunt. "She is a good specimen of your countrywomen, does great credit to Brazil, and would make, I dare say, an excellent English marriage, if she were not already engaged."
"She is really then engaged ?" inquired Alonzo.
"Decidedly—to a Portuguese nobleman; this has been published as much as possible, to keep lovers at a distance."
"Well," thought Alonzo, "as she is engaged, and / married, there can be no danger;" and that very evening (for the lady, he understood, was not permitted to receive morning visitors) beheld him at the Countess's.
Au intimacy soon sprang up between them, as was natural between persons of the same age and station in a foreign country. There was no one that Viola was, or appeared, half so pleased to sec as Don Alonzo. She had always a new song to sing to him, a new drawing to show to him, or a new book to recommend. She was fond of chess, and many a happy moment did he spend while the Countess was engaged at her whist. But never, in his eyes, was she so fascinating as when, passing the black ribbon of her guitar over her shoulder, she accompanied herself in their own beautiful national melodies; her voice was exquisitely sweet and clear; the execution finished and graceful. At those moments an exclusive affinity appeared to exist between them; although there might be, and often were, numerous other listeners and admirers, it was his eye only that she sought for approval.
They met frequently at public places, and also at other houses. Viola was a beautiful dancer, and he felt proud (he knew not why, for it was nothing to him) of the admiration she excited. Sometimes he waltzed with her, and with a beating heart caught here and there a half whisper from the spectators; "The two Brazilians—an interesting couple, are they not P"
It was thought better that Viola, on account of her peculiar situation, should continue to observe, although in England, the strict form of her own national manners. Immediately after dancing, she returned to the side of the Countess, or her chaperonc; she never went out for exercise except when so accompanied, and she never received any visitor except in such presence. These arrangements gave great satisfaction to Alonzo, (he did not know why, for it was nothing to him,) although he frequently suffered by them.
"Guard your heart'."conscience whispered to Alonzo Alas! his heart had escaped,—but he guarded his manners, and they were the next best security; he tried to watch even his very eyes ; he never flirted, he never complimented; in fact, he succeeded so well thai the Countess and Mr. Mordaunt appeared to have no suspicion; but he could not deceive himself, and he was not quite so sure that he deceived Viola.
BIOGRAPHY OF ROBERT SOUTHEY.1
BY FREDERICK LAWRENCE.
We have noticed with some pleasure the completion of a biography which, apart from its literary value, may be regarded as an appropriate tribute rendered by filial affection to the memory of a good and great man. Such a work is deserving of more than a common welcome, and challenges from us a few remarks. We take it for granted that all who are familiar with the works, or any portion of the works, of the late poetlaureate, will peruse with some gratification the details of his personal history which are to be gleaned from these volumes; and, although the lives of literary men are but rarely diversified by startling incidents or romantic adventures, wc believe that we shall be able, from the ample materials before us, to weave a narrative not altogether devoid of interest.
On the position which Southey filled among the literary celebrities of the generation to which he belonged, it would be idle for us to dwell at any length. As a critic and historian, he was unrivalled for depth and variety of information, and for his skill in imparting that information to others. His prose style was lucid, perspicuous, and always admirably adapted to the subject-matter. lie managed to hit the happy medium between the appearance of haste and slovenliness, on the one hand, and of pedantic stiffness, on the other. In his Life of Nelson, and in his other popular prose productions, we are charmed as much by the easy flow of the narration and the absence of all appearance of effort, as by the chastened elegance and correctness of every sentence and expression. His claims as a poet are more equivocal. Comparatively speaking, his poetical works have made but little impression on the reading public, and it may be safely predicted that only a small proportion are destined to achieve an enduring popularity. Other and abler critics have pointed out the faults of his more ambitious essays in verse; the only one to which we think it necessary to allude is his tendency to diffusencss, and want of that power of condensation, which is the grand secret of poetical excellence. We can scarcely wonder at, though we have often regretted, the neglect to which some of his longer poems have been consigned, abounding as they do with images of grandeur i and sublimity. It must be admitted that the subjects which Southey selected, as well as his versification and mode of treatment, were not calculated to remove the prejudice which existed, and still exists, against all modern epics. And when the shafts of ridicule were directed against his eccentric productions,—when a
(I) "The Life ami Correspondence of the late Robert Southey.'' Si.; Vols. Kilitcd by his Son, the Rev. Charles C'uthberl Southey. London : 18»3, 53.
noble satirist adroitly applied to them Porson's bitter sarcasm—that they would be read when Homer and Virgil were forgotten, but not till then,—a general disposition to depreciate them began to prevail, and it was only by a select few that their merits were fairly acknowledged.
The biography of Robert Southey now presented to the world, commences with some brief recollections of kis early life, written by himself, in a scries of letters to his friend, Mr. John May. Before we make any extracts from this interesting piece of autobiography, we may inform our readers that the laureate was born at Bristol, where his father carried on the business of a linen-draper, on the 12th of August, 1774. The recollections of his childhood commence at the third year of his age, and are thus playfully introduced in one of the before-mentioned letters :—
"The popular saint, of the democratic cantons in Switzerland, St. Nicholas de Hue, (to whom I paid my respects in his own church at Saxeln ) remembered his own birth, knew hia mother and the midwife a" soon as he was born, and never forgot the way by which he wu taken to be christened, nor the faces of the persons who were present at the ceremony. But he was an extraordinary child, who, though he neither danced, nor sung, nor preached before he was born, (all which certain other saints are said to have done,) had revelations in that state, and saw the light of heaven before he came into the light of day. It has pleased the metaphysico-critieopolitiuo-patriotieo-phoolo philosopher, Jeremy Bentham, to designate me, in one of his opaque works, by the appellation of St. Southey, for which I humbly thank his Jeremy Benthamship, aud have in part requited him. It would be very convenient if I had the same claim to this honour, on the score of miraculous memory, as the aforesaid Nicholas—but the twilight of my recollection does not begin till the third year of my age."
Some of the poet's earliest years were passed under the roof of a maiden aunt, named Tyler, who possessed a small independent property. This lady lived on terms of intimacy with the daughter of the proprietor of the Bath and Bristol theatres, and being herself passionately fond of dramatic representations, and plentifully favoured with free admissions, she often went to the play with her little nephew, upon whose mind, as might be expected, the jieiformances made a strong impression. Long before the child could comprehend the meaning of what passed upon the stage, he acquired a keen relish for the drama, which ultimately became the passion of his boyhood. At the age of six he was sent to a day-school in Bristol, kept by a Bantist minister, where he remained about twelve months, when the death of the master caused his father to remove him. It was then decided that he should be sent from home, aud placed as a boarder in a school nine miles from Bristol. The sensitive child keenly felt the pang of departure, aud when, for the first time in his life, he saw his mother weeping, the effort which lie n.ade to subdue his own emotions long haunted his remembrance, and is alluded to in one of his poems, as—
"The first grief he felt,
"The little exile" felt truly wretched in the change