« AnteriorContinuar »
I raised myself, and examined closely this spot, on which the moonbeams fell in a slanting direction, the imaginary form would cease to be discernible; and then, in a few minutes, when I might doze, or feel unable, by any efforts, to keep attention alive, the same appalling figure would present itself to my imagination, till at length, on collecting my thoughts, the conviction came that I was laboring under fever; and the next morning I was laid up, with all the worst symptoms of that formidable disease fully and violently manifested.
If I had not brought out a servant with me I must have died. Attention it would have been quite in vain to expect from the servants of Mr. Maclean; and as for that gentleman himself, the only appearance of attention or care of any kind he exhibited during the whole course of my illness, while I was under his roof, and, as it was generally supposed, in the utmost danger, was an occasional call at the door for a few seconds, or at the bedside late in the evening, and a single inquiry how I felt; after which, with an appearance of unconcern and cold indifference, that was horrifying to me in my weak condition (and with no very agreeable foreboding as to the result of it), he would turn. on his heel and walk away, as if it was a matter to him of the smallest possible importance whether I lived or died.
Not one cheering word, in the course of that severe and protracted illness, did he ever address me.
When I began to have some hopes of recovery, my faithful servant-a West Indian mulatto-came to me one afternoon in a state of terror and bewilderment, and told me to take no more drink; that I should be a dead man if I tasted a drop of any thing that was made by any hands but his. With difficulty I got him to explain matters: he had, on several occasions, words with the native servant who acted as cook, or the cook's assistant, I forget which, about preparing the drink I was in the habit of taking, but on that particular occasion, while engaged in conversation with some person in the kitchen, he observed the cook, or his assistant, approach the fire-place, and empty the contents of a small white paper in the saucepan. My servant immediately rushed forward, and asked him what he had put in the drink
for his master. The man said he had been putting some salt in it. My servant said he ought not have put any thing in it. The man was embarrassed, and my servant came away with the impression that my drink was drugged. It was then late in the afternoon. I told my servant to say nothing more on the subject. I took no more drink that day and throughout the night, except some water in small quantities, and even that with some apprehension. The following morning, at the dawn, I sent for the native sergeant, who was the chief subaltern in charge of the castle, and desired him to prepare quickly some sort of litter to enable me to take a short excursion, for I was still confined to my bed in a state of extreme prostration. I then wrote a letter to an Irish resident merchant in Capetown, telling him I was about to trespass on his hospitality for a few days; and having, with much difficulty, written a letter to Mr. Maclean, informing him that I deemed it necessary to change the air, and thanking him for his hospitality, I was removed from the castle.
I was carried down stairs out of my bed by a number of the native soldiers, placed on the litter more dead than alive, and blessed my stars when I found myself outside the threshold of Cape Coast Castle. I was conveyed in a sorry plight to the house of Captain Stanley; there I was cordially received, kindly treated, and, to the kindness and attention I received from Captain Stanley and his nephew, I feel, under Providence, I am indebted for my life. I have no doubt but that my servant's apprehensions for my safety were well founded.
I have not the remotest idea, however, that Mr. Maclean was cognizant of the danger I incurred at the hands of his servants, neither do I think his interference, had he known it, would have been sufficiently energetic for my safety. His apathy was invincible.
Mr. George Maclean died at Cape Coast, the 28th of May, 1847, holding the office of judicial assessor in that colony at the time of his decease. In the notice of his death which appeared in the Annual Register for 1847, it is erroneously stated "he was formerly governor in chief." Mr Maclean never held
the office of governor, either lieutenant or in chief, of any British colony on the west coast of Africa.
The military title of captain, which is conferred on him in the same notice, was one of colonial acquisition, Mr. Maclean having joined the Royal African Corps after the peace.
The first governor of Cape Coast Castle was Captain Hill, R. N. He was succeeded by Captain Winniet, of the Navy, who was appointed lieutenant governor of her majesty's forts and settlements on the Gold Coast of Africa, October 24th, 1845, and was advanced to the title of governor and commander-inchief when the settlements were made independent of Sierra Leone, in 1850. He was knighted in 1849, and died at Accra, on the Gold Coast, in 1851.
Mr. Maclean survived his wife thirteen years and a half: his remains were deposited by the side of L. E. L., in the fort yard, with military honors.
Had Mr. Maclean lived only three months longer, he would have been in possession of a fortune exceeding £20,000.
In the month of January, 1848, his uncle, Lieutenant General Sir John Maclean, K.C.B., K.T.S., and K.C., Colonel of the 27th Foot, died.
This distinguished officer entered the army in 1794: promoted to the rank of captain in 1797, he served in Ireland during the Rebellion of 1798, in Holland in 1799, in 1801 in Egypt. He obtained his majority in 1804, and was gazetted lieutenant colonel in 1808, accompanied Sir John Moore in the expedition to Liveden, embarked for the Peninsula the same year, was at the battle of Busaço in 1810, at the siege of Badajos in 1811, the battles of Salamanca, Vittoria, the Pyrenees, and the engagement near Pampeluna in 1813. He was present in the battles of the Nivelle, Bayonne, Orthes, and at Toulouse on the 10th of April, 1814, where for the fifth time he was wounded. He subsequently served in France from July, 1815, to February, 1816, and was promoted to the rank of major general in 1825, and to that of lieutenant general in 1838. Sir John married in 1819, and had issue an only son, who died in infancy. The bulk of his fortune he bequeathed to his nephew, Mr. George Maclean,
of the Gold Coast, the son of an elder brother, the Rev. James Maclean, of Urquhart, in Morayshire.
Among the papers of Lady Blessington I find some remarkable verses, entitled,
A LAMENT FOR L. E. L.
(These beautiful lines bear no signature, but are in the hand-writing of W. S. Landor.) "The sweet singer departed—the summer bird gone from the garden of his love-it hath waited for him-will he not come again?"
"A dirge for the departed! bend we low
Around the bed of her unwakening rest.
Still as the heart within her marble breast,
Which stirs not at the cry of those she loved the best.
"A dirge! Oh! weave it of low murmurings,
And count the pauses by warm dropping tears.
Sweeter, yet sadder than the woodlark sings,
Be the faint melody; the name it bears
Shall thrill our England's heart for many linked years.
With moist eyes gazing o'er the lustrous deep,
A whispering noise, to lull her spirit's visioned sleep.
Steal, crushing the smooth ocean's sultry blue,
And loving looks, from which her young heart drew
"And smiling in their distant loveliness
Like phantoms of the desert, till the tide
Of passionate yearnings burst in wild excess
Whelming both lute and life, and the sweet minstrel died.
"Spring shall return to that beloved shore,
With health of leaves, and buds, and wild wood songs,
Its womanly fond gushes come no more,
To pure and fervid lips unstained by cares and wrongs.
"Oh! never more shall her benignant spell
Of griefs borne patiently with such sweet art
Be those sad, hopeless words!—then make her bed
The sole sweet records clustered o'er her head
In this strange land, to tell where our beloved is laid."
In February, 1840, an eminent literary man wrote to Lady Blessington on the subject of the unfortunate circumstances of one who had long been dependent on poor L. E. L.'s assistance for support.
"February 24th, 1840.
"MY DEAREST FRIEND,-I am going to be a beggar to your kind heart. Poor Mrs. Landon (L. E. L.'s mother) is in most destitute circumstances. With the exception of £20 a year, she has nothing to subsist on. L. E. L. was very anxious about her before leaving England, and after her death, an allowance from Mr. Maclean ceased.
"We propose to raise this lady, who is old and sickly, a small sum yearly by subscription. Would you give us your name, and one guinea a year by an order on your banker? £50 a year, if we can raise it, which I do not doubt, will, with the other £20, be ample. If you will kindly do this, you will not only gratify your own beautiful nature, but me most sensibly, for I am suffering, and shall be more sleepless than ever till the mother of that unhappy girl, whom I pitied and regarded most tenderly, is above want. "I will give you details when I have got more subscribers."
LETTER FROM LADY BLESSINGTON TO LADY W.
"Gore House, January 29th, 1839.
"MY DEAR MADAM,-Indisposition must plead my excuse for not having sooner given you the sad particulars I promised in my last; when that cause for my silence had subsided, the dangerous illness of Lord Canterbury threw me into such alarm and anxiety, that it is only to-day, when letters from Paris assure me that he is recovering, that I feel equal to the task of writing. "Poor dear L. E. L. lost her father, who was a captain in the army, while she was yet a child. He had married the widow of an army agent, a woman not of refined habits, and totally unsuited to him. On his death, his brother, the late Dean of Exeter, interested himself for his nephew and niece, the sole children left by Captain Landon; and deeming it necessary to remove them from their mother, placed the girl (poor L. E. L.) at school, and the boy at