I am Seu (Don or Sir) Antonio Chaves Barcellos. I am happily married to my beautiful wife of twenty-two years, Dona Silvia Chaves Barcellos. We live on the grandest fazenda (hacienda) in the whole district of Serra Mansa in a remote part of the country of Brazil. Being Brazilians, our natural language is a dialect of Portuguese, and though I am struggling to tell you this story in a language other than my own, I will from time to time feel it necessary to revert to my mother tongue, and I will try to give you translations in English or Spanish of whatever terms that I use.
Living in a place far distant from the rest of the country, and indeed the world, our ways have never changed. We still live in the manner that our ancestors lived their lives more than a hundred years ago. We have no radios, we have no televisions, we have no phones, we have no electricity---you get the idea. And we have no automobiles. We still travel from farm to farm and into town as our great-grandparents traveled. In horse drawn carriages.
Our women still dress in the beautiful feminine garments that ladies of old had worn. Floor length skirts and gowns. And they carry beautiful multicolored parasols to protect their delicate skin from the rays of the hot Brazilian sun. The men in Serra Mansa dress as I do. In white silk suits with vests. high leather boots, and white wide-brimmed chapeus (sombreros, hats), and we wear a brightly colored band tied around our shirt collars. I usually wear a red tie.
My wife, Dona Silvia, and I are blessed with three beautiful young daughters. Ana, Sara and Maria. I can't believe that my beautiful Ana is already nineteen years old, while Sara is eighteen and Maria, the youngest is about to celebrate her seventeenth birthday, and there is a big festa (fiesta, party) planned.
We had invited all the other aristocratic families in the area to be our guests at the fazenda for this grand occasion, and they came from their own farms many miles away in their horse-drawn vehicles to commemorate the occasion. Our servants had been cooking for days many local delicacies, which were being stored in the ice house, and would be heated on the fire when the guests had all arrived.
My daughters were excited. They shimmered in waves of perfume and lace. Dona Silvia wore her bright scarlet gown with a matching ribbon in her hair, and her beautiful new fan was a contrasting white. The three young girls had gowns in different shades of pink, more modest than the red their mother wore.
As the guests arrived, Dona Silvia and I greeted them at the bottom of the garden. Then they walked around the garden chatting with the other visitors, or sat on the comfortable garden sofas we had provided. So many families I had not seen for such a very long time. It was good to see all my neighbors again. Perhaps Dona Silvia and I should not keep to ourselves so much. They were coming with grown children whom I had last seen as gangly teenagers. I hardly recognized most of them.
Over sixty families were in the garden when the Alcantara family arrived. "Seu Antonio. Dona Silvia," said Seu Claudio bowing to us at the gate. How nice of you to invite us. You remember my wife, Dona Helena?" Dona Helena greeted us, and kissed Dona Silvia on the cheek. "And this is my son, Jose. Do you remember Jose?"
I turned toward Jose, and I froze where I was standing. There before me stood a tall slender twenty-one year old young man. The most beautiful young man I had ever seen in my life. His shocking straight black hair and eyelashes contrasted with the palest whitest skin I had ever contemplated. The texture of his skin was like a sheet of fine writing paper, smooth and delicate. His black eyes twinkled, and his gaze almost seemed seductive. Pity any young woman who would look into those eyes. She was lost. I took Jose's hand and shook it, and suddenly realized that the palm of my own hand had become sweaty.
"Jose," I smiled, patting him on the back. "The last time I saw you, you were a skinny gangly fifteen-year old. Unruly and none too clean. And look at you now. In your beautiful white silk suit, and green tie. Every hair in place. Cleanly shaved. I can hardly believe my eyes. I wouldn't have recognized you."
Jose laughed and beamed his smile on me, displaying his dazzling perfect even teeth. "Don Antonio, I must say that you haven't changed a bit. You're exactly as a remember you. The tallest man in all of Serra Mansa, with the same curly black hair, and bigode (moustache) and barbado (beard)." He was right. I hadn't changed. My hair hadn't yet turned grey, and I had curly black hair all over my face and my body, on my powerful long arms and legs, on my chest, on my bottom. I looked again at that magnificent boy and a thought flashed into my head.
"Come. You must meet my daughters. You must meet my oldest girl, my beautiful Ana." I led him across the garden where I saw Ana chatting with some school friends and introduced them. His eyes admired my beautiful slim porcelain skinned daughter. Thank goodness all my girl's took after their petite, delicate mother, and not after their big-boned hairy father. She looked at him and immediately her eyes melted. Of course. They would be perfect together. I would have to talk to Seu Claudio.
You see in our district, as I told you, everything is like the olden days. A young man and a young woman don't decide to get married. Everything is left to the parents. We practice the 'casamento arranjado'. The arranged wedding. My daughter was nineteen now and I should have already been thinking of this. But fortunately, I had done nothing---because now I had found the perfect husband for Ana, and the perfect son-in-law for Dona Silvia and myself---the handsome young Jose, son of a fine wealthy family, the Alcantaras.
"You'll excuse me," I said to Jose, bowing. "I must borrow Ana for a moment. You stay here and talk to these nice young people." He nodded his head. "Ana, please come with me." I took Ana by the hand and made my way across the garden to where Seu Claudio and Dona Helena were standing as they chatted with another couple.
"Seu Claudio, Dona Helena. May I present to you my eldest daughter Ana."
Dona Helena took Ana's small hand. "I'm so happy to meet you, my dear."
"Ana, this is Seu Claudio and Dona Helena. The mother and father of Jose, the young man you just met."
"And I'm very happy to meet you," said Ana. "Muito Feliz."
"Seu Antonio," said Dona Helena. "Your daughter is just charming."
"Thank you," I said. "I have three charming daughters. But Ana is my eldest. And she is lovely isn't she?"
"You certainly are, my dear," said Seu Claudio taking her hand and bringing it to his lips where he kissed it.
"Seu Antonio, you must come visit us at our fazenda very soon with Dona Silvia and Ana and your two younger daughters. We would be so happy to have you."
"What a lovely thought, Dona Helena," I answered. "We would be most happy to."
"Would next Saturday be all right?" asked Dona Helena.
"It would," I answered, knowing that Dona Silvia would have nothing else planned. We didn't have a busy social life. We preferred to stay at home with the family.
"Then, it's settled," pronounced Dona Helena. Please come around two and stay for dinner. We'll dine at seven."
"That would be perfect," I bowed again and taking Ana by the hand brought her back to the young people and Jose. Afterwards, I returned to Dona Silvia who was greeting the last few guests by the gate.
On Saturday we left the house a little after one. Everyone was dressed as for a formal occasion. Nothing had been said to Ana, but it was fairly obvious that she was not entirely unaware of the purpose of our visit to the Alcantaras. I dare say she would not be unhappy if I were able to arrange a casamento between her and the handsome young Jose with those searing eyes.
Dona Silvia sat beside me in the carriage, and I took the reigns and guided the three majestic horses, Branco, Preto, and Castanho. Ana, Sara and Maria sat behind us in the back seat, their hands primly folded.
"What a lovely day," observed Ana, looking out the window at the beautiful lush countryside as we drove along.
"Is it very far, pai? Sara asked me. (pai is Portuguese for father. Pai. Not Pau. Pau is Portuguese for the male sexual organ, so one must be careful in speaking and spelling).
"The Alcantara fazenda lies to the west, just about an hour's distance from our own." I looked around and smiled at Sara. She smiled back at me. She was just as lovely as her sister. And so was Maria. I was a lucky man. I would always be grateful to my father and to Seu Diego, Dona Silvia's father, for my own casamento arranjado twenty-two years ago. Yes. I was indeed a lucky man.
When we got to the Alcantara fazenda, the servants helped Dona Silvia and the three girls down from the vehicle. I stepped down myself. Seu Claudio was there to greet me and take my hand. He threw an embracing arm around my wide shoulders.
"Seu Antonio. How wonderful it is to have you here," Seu Claudio said bowing.
My wife and daughters spent the afternoon in the garden with Dona Helena, while Don Claudio and young Jose took me on a tour of their vast and beautiful fazenda (second only to my own). If Jose and Ana didn't want a place just for themselves, there was certainly a lot of room for them on the Alcantara fazenda—or even on mine, for that matter. I would certainly love to have them with me always.
Seu Claudio had even more cattle and horses than I, if that were possible. And there were acres and acres of fields planted with vegetables, bananas and other fruits and nuts; and surrounding them were vast forests of coffee trees. It was an idyllic landscape.
We had a lovely two-family dinner. I couldn't help noticing the furtive looks exchanged between Jose and Ana. I chuckled to myself. Of course he would want Ana. She was like a beautiful living doll. And as for Jose. Just to look in those burning fiery eyes would be too much for any woman. I had never seen such a penetrating gaze. When he fixed his smoldering eyes on you, you almost flushed from embarrassment after a moment or two, and had to look away.
After dinner we had banana cake, and fine Brazilian coffee. The ladies in their long dresses retired to the drawing room, along with young Jose. Seu Claudio and I went into his study, where he offered me an excellent cigar, which I gladly accepted. The two of us lit up as we sat in two facing armchairs.
"You probably realize, Seu Claudio," I said, "that my Ana and your Jose might make a good couple."
"I knew that's what you were thinking, Seu Antonio. I must say, your daughter, Ana is a great beauty. And she seems like a well-educated, properly-brought-up young woman as well.
"As is your son, Jose," I answered. "I remember him as being a wild unruly boy. And now I see a fine, well-mannered, handsome youth."
"Yes, he was a little wild in his younger years," Seu Claudio admitted, nodding his head. "But he's really shaped up very nicely. He's warm, kind, caring, affectionate, everything I could ever ask for in a son."
"How wonderful to hear you say that," I said. "It reassures me a great deal."
"And, of course, you don't have to worry about his prospects. I have only one child. When I die, Jose will inherit everything. This whole great fazenda will be his."
"I see. That is comforting to know. Perhaps we should arranjar um casamento (arrange a wedding)," I suggested none too subtly.
"I would be most happy to have Seu Antonio as my son's sogro (father-in law)."
"And I would be overjoyed to have you, Seu Claudio as my daughter's sogro. But, of course, I would want to spend a week with Jose first to make sure he is proper husband material, and would be a good partner for my Ana."
"Of course, Seu Antonio. That is always how arrangements proceed in our part of the world. Where and when would you like to meet with Jose?"
"I was thinking that next Friday we could drive off to my mountain home. I have one servant there, my old Marta, who would be able to minister to our needs. She lives in a small cabin in the back all year long, just awaiting our visits."
"I know where your mountain home is located. Such a picturesque location. To look out at the beautiful snow peaks from your windows. I know Jose will be thrilled to be there. When would you return?" he asked.
"I think the following Friday. And if all goes well and everything is agreed to, we can post the banns on the following Sunday."
"Wonderful," he puffed deeply on his cigar. "I'm very excited," he said.
"As am I," I assured him.
"But be gentle with my boy, when you begin your instructions on marital relationships."
"I will be very gentle," I assured him.
In our part of the world, it fell to the sogro to make sure his daughter's husband would be a gentle, loving mate. The sogro would explain to the young man all the ways to love and to please a young woman. This was a duty handed down from generation to generation, from sogro to sogro. Every man knew what would be expected of him. The women? I think they viewed it as like an interview for a business position. But casamento was a lifetime commitment. A lot more than a job. The week I would spend with young Jose would be crucial. If he should fail in any way, I would certainly not allow a casamento arranjado to proceed.
I remained seated in the study, puffing on my cigar, while Seu Claudio went into the drawing room to find Jose and bring him back. Jose entered the room, and Seu Claudio motioned for him to sit in a third chair. Seu Claudio closed the door of the study, and the three of us sat facing each other. I could tell Jose was a little anxious.
"We've been discussing the possibility of a casamento arranjado between you and Seu Antonio's beautiful daughter, Ana," said Seu Claudio.
Jose nodded thoughtfully. "I thought that perhaps you were," he said.
"What would you say to that?" asked his father. He certainly would never go against his dear son's wishes.
"I think Ana is the most beautiful, gracious young lady I have ever seen. I would be deeply honored to be her husband, if I am allowed to be," Jose said passionately fixing me with his scorching desperate gaze.
"Seu Antonio has suggested that perhaps you and he could go away for a week or so to his mountain home, so that he could get to know you a little better, and reassure himself regarding what kind of a husband you would be to his beloved daughter," explained Seu Claudio.
"I understand perfectly," said Jose. "He only wants the best for his daughter. And I hope that I am the best for her. I would be most happy to accompany Seu Antonio to his mountain home, for whatever length of time he deems necessary to make his determination. And I hope that I will be chosen."
"I like your son, Seu Claudio," I pronounced. "Never has a young man spoken more beautifully to his sogro. Jose. I am proposing that we leave for the mountains next Friday. I will pick you up in my small one horse carriage around two in the afternoon,"
"I will be ready and anxiously awaiting you," said Jose, bowing his head.
We left the study and returned to the drawing room for more coffee. We explained to the women what had transpired, and that Seu Claudio and I had thought it fit to arrange a casamento arranjado, and that the following Friday Jose and I would be going to the mountain home for a while, where I could best evaluate his character, before posting the banns.
A small smile twinkled at the corner of Ana's mouth. She was delighted. She looked at her sisters and they both gave her broad happy smiles. Dona Silvia just nodded her head. She was not surprised. She knew me too well. She had already presumed that I was considering young Jose as a son-in-law.
A half hour later they brought my carriage around, and we drove back to our own fazenda. On the way home, I decided that I would use Castanho, the brown one, to pull the one-horse carriage on Friday. He was a strong brave horse. That night I held Dona Silvia in my arms and we made warm pleasurable love. I still enjoyed feeling the walls of her vagina closing around my pau which was still, even now, after all these years, and after three children, a little too big for her. But once she accustomed herself, she always enjoyed our lovemaking, and responded passionately, throwing her legs around me and making throaty sounds, and crying sim, sim, sim. (yes, yes, yes.) We could be proud of the way we had raised our daughters. All three of them.
The next Friday I had Castanho attached to the small carriage, and drove off to pick up Jose. He was ready with a small suitcase packed. The personal things he would need for a week's stay in the mountains. He was gleaming in his freshly pressed white suit with which his jet black hair and long eyelashes contrasted brilliantly. He climbed into the seat next to me and we drove off, with Seu Claudio and Dona Helena waving good-bye.
The drive took several hours, and we chatted about family and local affairs. Marta heard the carriage in the distance and was ready to greet us when we pulled up to the front door. She welcomed us into the house and brought Castanho around to the stable. She returned and busied herself in the kitchen preparing a grand meal, which would probably not be ready before nine. Yes. If we had telephones in our district, I could have warned her of my arrival in advance, but even so, I knew she would manage. She had been managing for years.
We sat across a small table at dinnertime. Marta had placed a vase of long stemmed red roses in the center of the table, as I had instructed her to, to promote an air of romance. After an excellent meal we climbed the long wide staircase up to the second floor of the lodge, and I escorted Jose into the master bedroom, and showed him the luxurious wide bed with the silk sheets and pillow cases.
"We shall sleep in here, Jose," I announced gesturing toward the bed.
"It's very beautiful, Seu Antonio. It seems most comfortable."
"We will be very comfortable in this bed. Can you imagine what this evening is going to be like?" I asked him.
"My father gave me some idea," he answered. "And I am prepared. No. Not prepared. I am looking forward to it with intense anticipation." He fixed his piercing black eyes on me and I became almost week in the knees.
"This will be like a rehearsal for your wedding night. So that when that night comes, you will do nothing wrong. There will be no faux pas committed which could come between you and Ana in the coming years."
"I understand," he said. "I'm anxious to learn. Please feel free to teach me everything, because, as you probably have guessed, I have had absolutely no experience in affairs of amor (love)."
"In a week, you will leave this room a veritable Casanova. I promise you."
Seu Antonio. I am so grateful that you are taking your time to advise me in affairs of the heart," he said modestly.
"Now. Let us retire to the matrimonial bed," I suggested, as I loosened my tie and began to unbutton my shirt. Jose followed my actions. I sat down on the side of the big bed and asked Jose to pull off my tall boots for me. He knelt on the floor and gently eased off both boots, and then I did the same for him. Eventually we both took our trousers off and stood there in our cuecas (underpants).
He was peludo (hairy). A soft black matting covered the white flesh of his arms and legs, and he had tufts of wiry black hair on his well-muscled chest. His back, though, was fairly smooth. He was assessing me as well. Looking at my own body full of curly black hair: arms, legs, chest, and yes even my back.
"When we are in our marriage bed," I explained, "We shall address each other as meu amor (my love),"
"Sim, meu amor," he answered. He was way ahead of me.