Wednesday, 17 February 2016

History of the Quinta part 3

This was a happy stay that, months of liveliness and luxurious life to Quinta das Angustias-the retinue of the Duke of Leuchtenberg consisted of a prince, a Count, a captain, a secretary and fifteen servants. In love with the beauties of the island, the Duke visited most of it, and he even went to Porto Santo.

As he himself confessed with emotion as he embarked aboard the frigate Palas, when he returned to Russia, he left the island with a certain nostalgia. Some twenty years later, one of his sons , Prince Nicholas Maxmillian also stayed in Madeira for some time.

In August 1852, Dowager Emperess of Brasil, widow of Pedro IV and his daughter the princess Maria Amelia disembarked in Funchal. They arrived from Lisbon, aboard the frigate King Fernando,escorted by corvette King Joao I and by warship King Luis. Their arrival was a memorable event: the pontinha was crowded with people from all walks of life curious to see the visitors , whom they accompanied in a pompous procession to tht Quinta das Angustias, where they stayed.

Both mother and daughter were impressed with such a warm and enthusiastic reception. Maria Ameliasmiled..... A gentle smile that captivated the crowd. The young Princess was so beautiful and simple...But behind the calm and pleased expression of the Dowager Emperess lay a vage sadness . Everybody understood it, and still more warmly they received both visitors with respect and sympathy. It was known that the Princess was seriously ill. Who  would question the apprehensions of her mother? Yet there was an atmosphere of hope.

But it was all in vain!Not even the benignity of the climate, nor the cares that surrounded her, prevented the ruthless course of her illness: pulmonary tuberculosis. Five months of agony for both mother and daughter, in the placidity of a quinta full of flowers, having before them the immense sea the Princess loved so much. The young lady aged twenty two, had always been very weak, but for all that, she showed great interest in her studies and in art, as well as in life, the life that was runing  away from her every minute. A the worst finnaly happened. The Dowager Emperess returned to Lisbon aboard the very ship that carried her daughter's body. An even bigger crowd than the one who was presentat the moment of their arrival assisted to the embarkment, in a moving and absolutely spontaneous show of grief and respect. No one was ashamed of crying.

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