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2 corrections, most recently by anonymous - Show corrections

The Death of the Young Queen

of Spain.

(From the Melbourne Leader's

London letter.)

The premature death of the girl- Queen of Spain produced a feeling of

deep regret here. The sudden and unexpected end of Queen Mercedes, whose wedding festivities had only been celebrated five months ago, was, however, surrounded with circum- stances that made it peculiarly strik- ing. There is a mystery about it which has not yet been cleared up, and which may perhaps never be removed. It was stated at first that

she was " killed by the doctors," who simply treated her for a miscarriage, and only found out too late that her real malady was typhoid fever. Now whispers are spread-very low and discreet whispers so far, but still audible for those whose ears are open -that foul play has been at work to deprive King Alfonso of his young consort, and with her to destroy any immediate hopes of his founding a new dynasty in Spain. The son of Isabella is not so firmly established on his throne is most people imagine. ' The proud nation at whose head he has been placed resent the more than suspicion which hangs about his birth, and it would require a very trifling tempest indeed to shatter his bark. The death of his bride may be the means of bringing Spain once more into revolutionary troubles. Alfonso, it is no secret, owed his ele- vation to the throne in no small degree to the marriage which has just been so abruptly ended. Whether the King loved his young cousin or not is a question I am not called upon to answer, but I can state as a fact within my own knowledge, that a mistress to whom the boy had given the most fervent youthful

affection was not cast off when the

royal wedding was celebrated, five months ago, and still remains para- mount in favor at Madrid. The story that toe marriage was a love match forms one of those courtly fictions which are always raised and circu- lated on similar occasions. In point of fact King Alphonso was betrothed

to the Princess Mercedes before he left Paris to assume the crown of

Spain. And as an incident of that betrothal which has never appeared in print, let me tell your readers that

when he announced to his mother that he intended to wed his cousin, Queen Isabella boxed his ears soundly,

and told him that it would be an eternal stain upon his name were he to marry the daughter of his uncle' s murderer! (The Duke de Mont- pensier, father of the Queen Mercedes, shot his cousin, Don Henri de Bour- bon, in a duel, in March, 1870.) When the secret betrothment took

place, Alfonso was only seventeen,

and his cousin a few months over fourteen. At such an age neither the inclinations of the bridegroom nor of

the bride could have much to do with the conclusion of the matrimonial

compact. The proposed marriage was to all outward seeming a very wise and reasonable arrangement.

But it was essentially an affair of state policy. Were it not for a pledge of this kind it is doubtful whether Alfonso would have ever mounted the throne. His claim to succeed to the crown as the acknowledged head of

his branch of the Bourbons was

strengthened beyond all calculation by the recognition, of his title by the Duke and Duchess of Montpensier. Now that Queen Mercedes is dead, however, the bond is severed which identified the interests of the Alfonso

branch of the family with those of Alfonso the Twelfth. It is no secret  

that previously to the celebration of the marriage Queen Isabella was intriguing against her son and suc-

cessor. The statements she was said

to have made regarding his legiti- macy to the Count de Chambord were really put into black and white with her own hand, and are, I can state as a fact, in the possession of a former member of her household, at the present moment in London. Isabella

as. to pay a heavy ransom to this man for keeping the damnatory docu- ment from seeing the light publicly. But such a state of things cannot endure for ever, and it is only too likely that the most prejudicial dis- closures will soon be brought for- ward to upset the present monarchy in Spain. The premature death of the young Queen has consequently a greater political significance than might appear on the mere surface of

the event. It has added another to

the, innumerable elements of distur-

bance which threaten the fortune of

Spain and her youthful Sovereign.