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NOTES OF THE MONTH.
L. E. L.
The most melancholy literary intelligence of the last month was the confirmation of Miss Landon's death, and that in a manner so painful and appalling, that the sad story will not cease to haunt the heart, and mingle there with the memory of her enchanted poetry.
A lustre of peculiar beauty seems to hang round Miss Landon's name in the gallery of that brilliant school of English romantic poetry of which she was at once the divinest artist and the last survivor.
From the time of the strange and interesting announcement that girl of fourteen had astonished he world with poetry claiming at once an equality with the best efforts of the time, and people read with charmed admiration in the Improvisatrice the warm and gentle thoughts of early womanhood giving the couleur du rose to versification of fine finish and uncommon sweetness, she went on increasing each year her poetical reputation, until her fairy initials, L. E. L., became a constellationin the literary firmanent, and gave out out a starlike lustre of their own which the greatest names of literature never can surpass.
We do not venture here to speak of her poetry, she wrote so much and always so well that no single article could do, even Magazine, justice to her various merits. We can record merely the tribute of our sorrow and regret. In her own sweet words:
A light is gone from yonder sky,
A star has left its sphere;
In yon bright world as here? But Letitia Elizabeth Landon has left a character and fame to which her emblem ceases to apply. The star has indeed gone out in darkness and awful gloom, but its light has not departed.
In the absence of full information, respecting the melancholy death of Mrs. McClean, the authentic particulars below, gleaned from the London papers, will be found deeply interesting. The following is from the " John Bull:"
DEATH OF MISS LANDON. It is with feelings of sincere regret we have to announce to our readers the death of Mrs. MACLEAN, wife to the Governor of Cape Coast Castle, which most suddenly and unexpectedly occurred in that settlement on the fifteenth of October, 1838. The Courier of Tues. day, says:
“ The feeling with which we record this mournful intelligence at the commencement of a new year, will be respected when we state that only yesterday morning we received from Mrs. Maclean a most affectiug and interesting letter, which sets forth at once with the animating assertion, 'I am very well, and very happy. The only regret,' she proceeds to say, 'the only regret (the emerald ring that I fing into the dark sea of life to propitiate Fate) is the constant sorrow I feel whenever I think of those whose kindness in so deeply treasured.' She says that her residence at the castle of Cape Coast is 'like living in the Arabian Nights-looking out upon palm and cocoa-nut trees.' And she then enters into a light-hearted and pleasant review of her housekeeping troubles, touching yams and plantains—and a not less interesting account of her literary labors and prospects; intimating that the ship which brought the letter we quote, brought also the first volume of a povel, and the manuscript of another work to be published periodically. To the last, her friendly gossip is full of life, cheerfulness and hope. The next ship that sailed-how very, very soon afterward !-brought to us the tidings of the sacrifice of that life, the memory of which should be dear to all who can appreciate poetry, and wit, and generosity, the refine. ments of taste and the kindly impulses of the heart that makes human nature—and woman's nalure especially-most worthy to be regarded with admiration and affection.",
VOL. V. NO. XV.-MARCH, 1839. v 2
An inquest was held, at which Mr. Maclean submitted a letter, dated 15th October, written by Mrs. Maclean, and intended for immediate dispatch to a female friend in England, in which there appears no depression of spirits. The only passage which at all savors of discontent is one certainly of no great importance. The following is the letter:
“My dearest Marie:-I cannot but write you a brief account how I enact the part of a feminine Robinson Crusoe. I must say, in itself, the place is infinitely superior to all lever dreamed of. The castle is a fine building-the rooms excellent. I do not suffer from heat; insects are few or none; and I am in excellent health. The solitude, except an occasional dinner, is absolute; from seven in the moruing till seven in the evening, when we dine, I never see Mr. Maclean, and rarely any one else. We were welcomed by a series of dinners, which I am glad are over-for it is very awkward to be the only lady; still, the great kindness with which I have been treated, and the very pleasant manners of many of the gentlemen, made me feel it as little as possible. Last week we had a visit from Captain Castle, of the Pylades. His story is very melancholy. He was married, six months before he left England, to one of the beautiful Miss Hills, Sir John Hill's daughter, and she died just as he received orders to return home. We also had a visit from Colonel Bosch, the Dutch Governor, afmost gentleman-like man. But fancy how awkward the next morning. I could not induce Mr. Maclean to rise; and I had to make breakfast, and do the honors of adieu to him and his officers, white plumes, mustachios, and all. I have not yet felt the want of society the least. I do not wish to form new friends, and never does a day pass without thinko ing most affectionately of my old ones. On three sides we are surrounded by the sea. I like the perpetual dash on the rocks; one wave comes up after another, and is forever dashed in pieces—like human hopes that swell to be disappointed. We advance-up springs the shining froth of love or hope, 'a moment white, and gone forever.' The land view, with its cocoa and palm trees, is very striking; it is like a scene in the Arabian Nights. Of a night the beauty is very remarkable; the sea is of a silvery purple, and the moon deserves all that has been said in her favor. I have only once been out of the fort by day-light, and then was delighted. The salt lakes were first dyed a crimson by the setting sun; and as we returned, they seemed a faint violet in the twilight, just broken by a thousand stars; while before us was the red beacon-light. The chance of sending this letter is a very sudden one, or I should have ventured to write to General Fagan, to whom I beg the very kindest regards. Dearest, do not forget me. Pray write to me, 'Mrs. George Maclean, Cape Coast Castle, care of Messrs. Foster and Smith, 5, New City Chambers, Bishopsgatestrcet.' Write about yourself; nothing else half so much interests your affectionate
L. E. MACLEAN."
The verdict was "that the death of Mrs. Maclean was caused by her having taken an overdose of prussic acid, which, from evidence, it appeared she had been in the habit of using as a remedy for spasmodic affections, to which she was subject."
By a curious coincidence, the following sweet poem from her pen was published in the New Monthly Magazine” on the mori of the day upon which the news of her death reached London:
THE POLAR STAR. This star sinks below the horizon in certain latitudes. I watched it sink lower and lower every night, till at last it disappeared.
A star has left the kindling sky
A lovely northern lightHow many planets are on high,
But that has left the night.
It seemed to answer to my thought,
It called the past to mind,
All I had left behind.
I miss its bright familiar face,
It was a friend to me, Associate with my native place,
And those beyond the sea.
The voyage it lights no longer ends
Soon on a foreign shore;
Who I may see no more?
How could I bear the pain ?
That says we meet again.
It rose upon our English sky,
Shone o'er our English land,
And many a gentle hand.
Meet with a deeper, dearer love,
For absence shows the worth
Friends, home, and native earth.
Thou lovely polar star, mine eyes
Still turned the first on thee, Till I have felt a sad surprise That none looked up
Farewell !-ah, would to me were given
A power upon thy light,
Thy loving rays should write !
Upon thy rays should be;
Scarcely enough for me.
And little needed too,
L. E. L.
But thou hast sunk below the wave
Thy radiant place unknown; I seem to stand beside a grave,
And stand by it alone.
The following letter from the Times, which our space, only, will admit, gives additional interest to this melancholy recital, as it appears to disprove thoroughly the painful rumours which, for the first time, reached us through the last Engilsh papers, of her death being voluntary and intentional. To the Editor of the London Times :
SIR-As I find there are some painful surmises in reference to the melancholy death of Mrs. Maclean, I presume to request your insertion of the accompanying letter. It is probable one of the two she wrote the night before her decease; for though without date, it came to me as a 'ship letter,' and not by private hand, and I did not receive it until I had read the mournful intelligence in your paper. It is unnecessary to direct attention to its cheerful and healthy tone; to me it is evidence that for the first time during a life of labor anxiety, and pain, for such hers undoubtedly was, her hopes of ease and happiness were strong and well grounded. A mysterious dispensation of Providence has deprived literature and society of one of its brightest ornaments. She will be lamented by millions, to whose cnjoyments she so largely contributed; but to her private friends the loss is one to which language can give no adequate expression. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
ANNA MARIA HALL. The Rosery, 12, Gloucester-road, Old Brompton,
"MY DEAREST Mrs. Hall: I must send you one of my earliest epistles from the Tropics, and as a ship is just sailing, I will write, though it can only be a few hurried lines. I can tell you my whole voyage in three words--six weeks sea-sickness—but I am now as well as possible, and have been ever since I landed. The castle is a very noble building, and all the rooms and cool, while some would be pretty even in England ; that where I am writing is painted a deep blue, with some splendid engravings; indeed, fine prints seem quite a passion with the gentlemen here. Mr. Maclean's library is fitted up with bookcases of African mahogany, and portraits of distinguished authors; I, however, never approach it without due preparation and humility, so crowded is it with scientific instruments, telescopes, chronometers, lavameters, gasometers, &c., none of which may be touched by hands profane. On three sides the batteries are dashed against the waves; on the fourth is a splendid land view; the hills are covered to the top with what we should call weed, but is hero called bush. This dense mass of green is varied by some large handsome white housess belor.ging to different gentlemen, and on two of the heights are small forts built by Mr. Maclean. The cocoa-trees with their long fan-like leaves are very beautiful. The natives seem both obliging and intelligent, and look very picturesque, with their fine dark figures, with pieces of the country cloth flung round them; they seem to have an excellent ear for music; the band plays all the old popular airs, which they have caught from some chance hearing. The servants are very tolerable but they take so many to work. The prisoners do the scouring, and fancy three men cleaning a room that an old woman in England would do in an hour! besides the soldier who stands by, his bayonet drawn in his hand. All my troubles have been of a house-keeping kind, and no one could begin on a more plentiful slock of ignorance than myself; however, liko Sinbad, the sailor in the cavern, I begin to see light. I have numbered and labelled my keys, their name is Legion, and every mording I take my way to the store, give out flour, sugar, butter, &c., and am learning to scold if I see any dust, or miss the customary polish on the tables; I am actually getting the steward of the ship, who is my right hand, to teach me how to make pastry; I will report progression in the next; we live almost entirely on ducks and chickens; if a sheep be killed, it must be eaten the same day; the bread is very good, palm wine being used for yeast, and yams are an excellent substitute for potatoes. The fruit generally is too sweet for my liking, but the oranges and pine apples are delicious. You cannot fancy the complete seclusion I live in, but I have a great resource in writing, and I am very well and very happy; but I think even more than I expected, if that be possible, of my English friends. It was almost seeing Bomething alive when I saw 'The Bucanier' and 'The Outlaw' side by side in Mr. Maclean's library; I cannot tell you the pleasure it gave me.
Do tell Mr. Hall that every day I find the books of gems greater treasures, I refer to them perpetually; I have been busy with what I hope you will like-essays from Sir Walter Scot's works, to illustrate a set of Heath's portraits ; I believe they are to appear every fortnight next year. Give my kindest love to Mr. Fielding and Mr. Hall, and believe ever,
“Your truly affectionate,
“L. E. (LANDON *) MACLEAN. . "I shall not forget the shells."
• " You see how difficult it is to leave off an old custom."
( The name had been written 'L. E. Landon ;' but the word 'Landon’ was erased, and that of 'Maclean' substituted. )
Famed as she is for political miracles, the city of Washington has never until the present occasion produced the literary wonder of a novel. This preëminence, certainly, even if it had no other merit, would entitle Eoneguski to some notice at our hands. It is an Indian Story, of which the scenery and characters are alike original and new to fiction. The light of romance and imagination streaming over the picturesque scenery and old story of the North, South, East and West, has already kindled a shrine for the fancy and affections in every star of the old thirteen, save and except North Carolina, and even most of the new sisters of our national constellation have had the romance or the legend hunter on the banks of their haunted rivers, and over the broad expanse of their vast prairies and in the depths of their eternal forests, But North Carolina no longer presents the solecism of exception, and in the novel be. fore us the author has showed, and that really well, that she possesses not merely materials of romance rich and sterling as her native gold, but pens capable of delineating them with adequate power. We are not disposed to look on Eoneguski on this account with the same expectation and critical scrutiny that would be excited by a work where the “clearing” had been made and the soil perfected by the husbandman's art. There is merit in having led the way in such a path-in being the pioneer in an untried region, and if there were even fewer passages of feeling, descriptive beauty and interesting narrative than are to be found scattered with no sparing hand over these volumes, we should be inclined to forgive and forget even greater faults than they possess for the good service done by them in directing attention to a sphere so interesting.
The circumstances which induced the author to take up the subject are detailed with a good deal of spirit in an introduction which has far more vraisemblance in its way of finding a story for the author, than Mackenzie's wadding, or Sterne's cheesepaper. McDonald's hospitality is so genuine, and his fare of mountain 'salmon' so tempting, that we would willingly exchange a whole winter in Washington, with all its speeches, bills, reports, dinners and drawing-rooms, for one month of Mac's mountain scenery, and one morning's exercise in such animating sport as is de. scribed in the following extract. With his guide the author has been to see the picturesque “Falls of the Sugartown Fork," and has just surmounted a very steep ascent formed by the mountains so closing in as to leave only a very narrow pass for the brawling stream,” when we commence our extract:
“As we turned to descend—“We must take a salmon home with us for dinner," said Mr. McDonnald.
“A salmon?” said I, in unseigned surprise.
“Indeed I am not,” said Mr. McDonald, deliberately seating himself by the side of the stream we had regained, and pulling off his coat, shoes and stockings, and rolling op his pantaloons and shirt sleeves.
In a moment more he was in the water, turning over the large rocks, with as much earnestness as if he had expected to find a bag of gold beneath each of them. I looked on, puzzled what to think of my new acquaintance. At length he succeeded in slightly shaking a very large rock, which defied all his efforts to turn it over, when instantly there dashed from beneath it what, at first, appeared to me to be a perfect monster. Mr. McDonald immediately rushed in pursuit, and a more amusing spectacle I never witnessed for twelve or fifteen minutes. The water was splashed about in every direction, so as to leave not a dry garment upon the pursuer, as a large fish darted from one hiding place to another, with fruitless efforts to avail himself of it. Sometimes the hand of the extraordinary fisherman was fairly upon him, but the lubricity of his scales would save him, and afford him another chance for escape. At lengh, however, when nearly exhausted with his bootless exertions, Mr. McDonald succeeded in dexterously thrusting his hand into the gills of the fish, which now lashed the water into a perfect foam, and sent the spray in every direction, like a shower of rain. But the relentless foe held on with tenacious grasp and dragged him to the shore."
As it professes, this book is a tale of the time of the late war—the opening being laid shortly before it broke out. The principal scenes are laid in that part of North Carolina called the 'Cherokee nation.'
The action commences with the description of the family of Robert Aymor, one of the pioneers of the wilds. His daughter Atha is loved by John Welsh, a halfbreed, saved when a child by one of Aymor's neighbors during one of the earlier Indian skirmishes. Her father will not consent to their union owing to the Indian blood in his veins, and his love drives him from that part of the country-he goes to the Indian country and becomes the adopted son of an old chief. An awkward combination of circumstances makes him the slayer of an Indian, and he is compelled to fly, and returns to Aymor's country, where he is followed by Eoneguski, as the avenger of the killed Indian. Eoneguski meets with Robert Aymor, who, in some earlier wars, had been taken prisoner by his father, Eonah, one of the chiefs of the Cherokees, but was by him saved. Eoneguski abandons his pursuit of Welsh, persuaded thereto by the story of the love of Atha Aymor and Welsh, told him by the son, Gideon Aymor. On returning, Eoneguski takes Gideon with him into the Indian country; where he finds his father much offended at his return without the scalp of Welsh. Eoneguski takes Gideon to a neighboring Indian village, where there lives Yenacona, another half-breed, who proves to be the mother of John Welsh, and with her lives her neice, Little Deer, who is the betrothed of Eoneguski. Gideon is left there; and partly by the aid of Yenacona, who is a christian, and partly by the aid of Thompson, an emissary of the British Government, to stir up the Indians, under the guise of a missionary, he succeeds in persuading the Little Deer into the desertion of Eoneguski, and then marries her himself. Previous to this the war breaks out, in which all the parties are involved. Aymor and Welsh meet at the battle of Tohopeka, of which there is a spirited account, and render some service to each other. Eonah, the father of Eoneguski, dies, and he succeeds him, notwithstanding the intrigues of a wily Indian, Chuheluh, who was also instrumental in causing John Welsh to slay the Indian, for which he was obliged to fly.
There is also an old Indian saga or prophet, whose previous history and present actions are closely connected with the principal characters of the book, especially