POLISH , rst-tg, IF Mrs. GORE had no other quality but
her fiteiDy, she would rank among the wonders of the existing literary world. Her execution keeps pace with conception : she is at home in-most parts of Eutope ; and wherever she places her scene, takes Hp the manners of the people as if she had been born and bred among them. Then she has no sooner transported our imaginations to the Vistula or the Danube, the Alps or the Krapaks, than all of a sudden, with a conjuror's rapidity, we find her seated in the centre of London fashion, or at home in all the routine of a country gentleman's house, as if she had never had another thought than just catching the folly of the hour, the foible of the season. Her Sketch-Boo:4 of Fa- shion is scarcely out of our hands, and certainly still fresh in the memory, when we are called upon for all our sympathies for a far distant and far different country. The guide, however, is as much at home in the native land of the Mazurka as in the ball-room, where it flourishes in the character of a wild exotic. In each of her undertakings she exhibits genius : there is nothing she writes that has not the stamp of more than talent, and that of a right current kind: if ever we have been tempted to find fault, it has been in compliment to her powers; and if in any case the public has- not sufficiently relished her productions, it is that they have not been properly placed before it. The public, we are sorry to say, is on the whole an ass. It has, however, its organs of intelligence: it prefers hay to nettles by way of provender' but it is not always that it knows how to distinguish the one fromom the other. Mrs. GORE has not properly accumulated her reputation : she has, from some idea of false modesty, published as it were in a trinity of forms. The Sketch-Book of Fashion is by the author of Mothers and Daughters ; by whom that 'work was written, we were left to conjecture. The Polish Tales are by the author of the Hungarian Tales; but there is nothing to identify the authoress with the writer of those novels already mentioned, nor 3 et with a third series of her works, beginning (if we remember rightly) with Manners of the Day, and the other regular novels which succeeded it. Thus it is, with the scattered and imperfectly informed readers of such productions, that three reputations are made out of one; and that name which would have brought an accumulation of power to each successive work is frittered away,—not divided in three, but worse, dispersed and wasted in doubt and uncertainty. The work before us is exactly adapted to the state of feeling in this country towards Poland, and as such might be taken for an occa- sional book written to suit a popular impression. It does not, how- ever, bear any marks of haste or rapid composition : on the contrary, we should give the authoress credit for a long period of gestation, and for a familiar knowledge of the history of Poland, and of the manners and habits of the country. The three volumes contain three stories—two, however, occupy nearly the whole of them : they are historical, and both relate to a period prior to the famous par- tition of this ill-fated land. The "Confederates of Lubionki" is a spirited history of a popular insurrection. The sturdy character of the enslaved peasantry is well conceived; and the progress of the confederacy, from the meeting of a few grumbling patriots in a village cave, to the rising up and breaking out of the whole pea- sant population, is described with a truth and force not to have been looked for from the pen of an English lady, however remarkable her genius. The second tale, the subject of which is the fortunes of Stanislaus, is also strictly historical ; and allowing for the mo- tives supposed by the authoress, conveys a lively picture of the rise and reign of that feeble and yet fascinating king. The sketch of Catherine is very spirited, and as true as that of the Princess Dolgorucki is beautiful. The Calmuck dwarf Chedzim is one of the dramatis personaa, of the Wizard of the North ; appropriated, however, in such a manner as to be made altogether the authoress's own. We should feel a satisfaction in knowing whether the au- thoress has travelled in Poland (we recollect being certain she had lived in Hungary): if so, we should place a still higher value on her pictures of scenery and her sketches of native manners.
The extract which follows will not be wholly understood without the context ; but there is enough of the striking and the beautiful in it to cause any little obscurity to be pardoned and overlooked. Felinski, one of the noble farmers or squirearchs of Poland, learns that the life of his eldest son is threatened by certain serfs on a neighbouring estate : he suspects the wrong that his son has done them, and, without discussing the particulars of the outrage, lie would endeavour to conciliate their good-will, or at least appease their wrath. He proceeds to their hut, accompanied by a younger son,—an enthusiastic boy, who has been drawn into a patriotic confederation, of which the serfs we are introduced to are mem- bers. Doska is a daughter who has fallen a victim to the arts of Felinski's eldest son, and who is supposed to have destroyed herself or fled. Having emerged from a deep forest which bor. ders the estate3 of Feinski, Le and his son come upon the but of the charcoal-burner, Ignacy, the man they seek.
Meanwhile, in order to accomplish the final ascent towards Ignaey's cabin, Felinski, at his son's suggestion, dismounted to lead his horse ; and on perceiving, at the distance of a few hundred paces of the broken and gorse-covered ground, Erazm steadfastly watching their advance, the elder Felinski instinctively beckoned him to draw near and relieve him from the incurnbrance of the jaded beast. But Erazm stirred not.
" Hither !" cried Felinski, in a peremptory voice, such as he was accustomed to assume in addressing the dowlas-suited boorhood of his own estates. But Erazm stirred not.
" Hither, chlopisko ! " exclaimed the proprietor of three hundred abject serfs. " Neither at thy word nor bidding," shouted the confederate of Lubionki, ferocious as a wild hull of Wyskitka. Even Juliusz, who was pausing at some little distance to extract a splinter of charcoal from his horse's shoe, although unable to distinguish his words was startled by his tone; while Felinski, etre. buting the audacity of the peasant to the evil influenc of the rash measures of Count Czelenszki, was no less alive to the uselessness of threat or menace un- supported by authority.
" Wert thou but a dog of my own kennel, Somach ! " he exclaimed, unable to repress his indignation, " the batog and thy back should be better acquainted ere nightfall." " And ere day-break this should do me justice," cried the young ruffian, poising his rifle on his shoulder, and looking back to ascertain that Juliusz was not yet within bearing. " Soinach and Chlopisko have I been long enough ; but now, no master have I nearer than yonder clear sky over our heads. I am no longer a clod of the earth we stand on ; which, even when I was chained to its glebe, called not, that I remmber, Eustachy Felinski lord."
Half of this audacious defiance was lost to Felinski's ears in the stepping of his horse among the rattling shingles with which Ignacy attempted to remedy the slippery nature of the paths around the Jame; but enough was audible to instigate an angry reply. " Thou must have high notions of Count Czelenszki's power and influence at the Reim of Lubloyst, ' cried he, to imagine that the act of the Senate con- firming the manumission of his Kmiee of Wodarodko went so far as to sanction their defiance of the laws, or any outrage against the good order of the Starostwo. If I must needs teach thee the profundity of the gulf that yawns between gentlemen and peasant--(ay ! even the enfranchised peasants of Lubionki)- look not to learn the lesson on easy terms. There are cells beneath the Rynek, which have brought knaves inure refractory than thyself to reason." " Erazm !—brother and comrade," cried Juliusz joining them. " Wrangling with my father? Away; let Ignacy know that we are at hand ;" and taking the reign of his father's horse, he led it with his own towards the stump of a blighted tree at a short distance from the black and desolate cabin.
But there was no need to apprize the old man. Already he was standing on the verge of the hill, watching with his hand overspread to guard his eyes from the strong .sunshine, the movements of the strangers; whom he had at a distance mistaken fur his employers, Ben Ramon and Szmuhl, the Jew con- tractors of Lubloyst. But when Felinski and his son advanced near enough to undeceive him, he started and turned suddenly round, as though about to make off for his sooty cabin.
Konstanty's father had by this time, however, recovered his presence of mind ; and conscious that his errand with the eharcoal burners was one demanding con- ciliation on his own part, he was careful nut to renew with Ignacy the alterca- tion commenced with Erazm.
" Friend Ignacy ! " he cried ; and this unusual mode of address from a gentle- man, sufficed to suspend the departure of the old demagogue. " Good friend Jgnacy, I demand a few minutes conversation."
"I have my Jama to mind," growled the old man ; "and Erazm and Within are waiting my instructions ere they go down to Henryk the forester's for a load of wood fur charring." "Brother Ignacy ! " said Juliusz, hounding towards him as he was about to enter the cabin. " You must accord an interview to my father."
"Must, Juliusz Felinski, is not a wori to pass between the beardless boy and gray-bearded maxi ; and for Brother,—brother me no more !—our fraternity exists no longer."
" Ignacy will consent to my request, without interference of thine," inter- posed his father, anxious that no mention of the Lubionkian association should ruffle the feelings of either party. " He will accede when I declare to him that I come hither in good will ; eager to extinguish all discontents that may have arisen betwixt his race and mine."
"A task beyond they mastery!" responded the old man somewhat less surlily, and looking reverently upward as he continued " The King of kings alone as- suages such feuds as have created black and bitter blood between the Felinski of Lublowicz, and Ignacy of the Jame. of Lubionki."
" Not so !" cried Felinski mildly, and laying his hand on the begrimed sleeve of the charcoal-burner. " If justice be owing to thee, thou shalt have it ;--if compensation, it shall be thine!" "Promise that thou canst fulfil, Pan Eustachy Felinski !" growled the old man, roughly shaking off his hold. "As easily couldst thou level this moun- tain with the plain of Ostronimptszch, as easily could thou bid yonder luminary recede in the heavens, as blot out the stain which —."
" Good Ignacy !"—cried Felinski, eager to suspend the close of his impre- cation,--" as my countryman, I claim thy hospitality. Never was the door of a true-born Polander shut against the man who had it open in the name of POLSK A !"— •
" The door of the boor-born Pole rejects the minion of the minion of Mus- covy." ' Father!" interrupted Julius; " I pray you do not thus expose yourself to ungracious dealing. Ten minutes' breathing time will enable the horses to re- trace their steps to Lublowicz. Till this hour, I knew not these churlish men."
" Peace !" cried Felinski, in a peremptory tone. " Thinkest thou I came hither to be repulsed from my purpose by a few rough words ?—lf thou lowest thy brother," he continued in a low voice, drawing nearer to Julius; "-bepa- tient, and he silent."
Touched perhaps by the moderation of Felinski, Ignacy now motioned his visitors towards the cabin ; and preceding them, lifted the latch of the sooty door, and bowed his head to pass the humble lintel. Juliusz and his 'father, ap- prat nding some change of purpose, followed him closely ; when, to their sur- prise and 'regret as they attempted to close the wicket, the ungracious Erazm rushed past them ; and having laid aside his rifle threw himself on an undressed bear-skin extended beside the hearth, on which a few smouldering pine-logs were rudely heaped. "I could have wished," said Felinski, in a subdued voice, " that our inter- view had been unwitnessed —"
" The son of our flesh is as our own flesh." muttered the Weglarz. " Thy cub yonder is not nearer and dearer unto thee, than my brave Matiasz and Erazm unto me. Thou seekest my roof-tree, forcest thy way over my threshold,— and under that sheltering roof, know that Ignacy the Weglarz can never more be spoken with alone. Behold!" he cried, raising, what to Filinski and his son had hitherto appeared a heap of marten skins thrown upon vessels of pine logs; but which, thus forcibly drawn aside, exhibited the recumbent figure of an aged female. " This is my help-mate—my househ.ld-comfortermy wife;
she who, for twenty years, toiled with me—suffered with me—tended me--so- laced toe; the mother of my children—the bride of any youth. Look at her, Szlachcic of Lublowicz !" cried he : and, with a sort of convulsive gasp, be passed his rough hand caressingly over her cold calm forehead, and pointed to her gray hairs. The unfortunate woman, in a state of absolute paralysis, might have been supposed unconscious of their presence, but that a glimmer of satis- faction dawning in her eyes, now marked her sensibility to Ignacy's rude tender- ness !- Juliusz, who was nearest to the pallet of the sufferer (following the impulses of his kindly disposition) involuntarily bent down to take her hand, as he would have done that of any other afflicted peasant, to whose dwelling he was attracted on an errand of charity.. " Dost thou suffer much, good Matka ?"—said he softly ;—" is there aught in which we can render thee comfort or assistance?" " Touch her at thy peril !" cried Erazm, suddenly starting to his feet. " Feeble though she be and humbled to a clod, the blood would gush from her veins on contact with a murdering Felinski." " Eraszni!" replied Juliusz, firmly, but mildly, "trespass not on my patience. I have never harmed either thee or thine : never thought thee or dreamed thee evil. In the great cause, thou hoist been my brother ; by the tie of nature, my countryman; but this day thou bast dissolved all bonds between us by graceless dealing towards my father. See thou kindle not a brand of discord 'by unpro- voked animosity to myself."
" Braggart !" cried Erazm, advancing vehemently towards young Felinski. But his movements were instantaneously checked by a gesture from his father. Rough as he was, poor,—tattered, humiliated,—Ignacy had found the art to reduce to the most exemplary filial submission the two hot.hlooded boys outer whom he exercised his authority. "Be silent," said he; and his son glowered back into his lair. " What is said between us and the oppressors, must be said by me. When thy father has need of a young arm to protect the wife of his old age, he will cull upon thee for thine aid." Startled by the suddenness of the attack, but touched by the significant glance and mournfia wave of the head with which his father pointed out to his admisa- tion the docility of the young forester. Juliusz now moved towards the half-open casement, and seated himself on a bench beneath ; resolved to take no further part in the inexplicable proceedings of the day. " Ignacy,"—said Felinski, when the old man had replaced the coverings upon the emaciated figure of his wife, "as a man to whom the Almighty hath al- ready vouchsafed the allotted span of human life, thou surely wouldst not will.ngly sanction deeds of violence or projects of crime. All thatI behold here, grieves me; all that I hear, rebukes me. In how far I may have been instru- mental to thy sorrows, I swear to thee as a man,—a Christian,—a Polander,— I know not. But a few months ago, and thy name and existence were un- known to me ; and all I have since learned from the taunts of my neighbour Pulafski, I would willingly unlearn, were such ignorance compatible with my desire to render justice. Take pity on me, geed Ignacy! break not my heart with the knowledge that those whom I love and most love to the end, are un- deserving my affection. Speak not his oftimee ! Believe me, trust me, all shall be between us as though I possessed strongest evidence of his worthlessness; and tell me at once, what must be the atonement to bring peace ? How can I benefit, how compensate thy wrongs, or satisfy thy resentment?" " Compensate ?" ejaculated the Old charcoal-burner, in a voice resembling the growl of a Lithuanian bear. " Nay, the word was ill-chosen," cried Felinski, " nor do I venture to use it in the way thy testiness implies; I would have said conciliate—paeljY." " Thou wouldst have .said, if thou saidst truly, boy thy furbearame,--bribe thy vengeance —bargain with thine ignominy. Is it not so, Pan Felinski? Is not thy sleep vengeance, these summer nights by dread lest, in the silence of mid- night, thou shouldst bear the death-scream of thy dainty seldierling, and rush forth to find him struggling iu the gripe of the Weglarz Ignacy, or his brave sous ?"
At this interrogation, Julius; whose eyes were fixed upon the recumbent Erazm, observed him lay his hand, as if burning for the moment of retribution, on the szabelka, stuck into his hinging belt.
" Call it what thou wilt. Name only the means or measure of accommoda- tion and all shall be done," replied Felinski; and to appreciate the full extent of his forbearance and the mighty influence of fatherly affixction in his bosom, be it remembered that the ruffian he addressed had been hitherto in his eyes as a slave of the sod,—a son of Cain,—an outcast,—a chlop of Mazowsze.
" Thou speaketh smooth and fair," cried the old man, sinking down on a stool near the bed-frame of his wretched wife, and leaning his weather-beaten brow against its transverse log. " Even so spoke those of thy race who wrought this ruin! But there is an end to all things, even unto guile and op- presion. God is a-weary of the prayers of his suffering creatures and the day of reckoning is at hand. The trampled worm turns again, for Heaven hath put strength into its cause. Ye —ye, the oppressors,—the scourgere,—the erniters with the sword,—ye who make laws that grind the very bones of the children of the land ; ye, who live in pampered sloth, that the life-sickened boor inay drag on his weary days, with scarce of bread or sleep to brace his muscles for his task,—ye, who by force of gold and numbers, suck out our strength like vam- pires, and trample on the exhausted carcase ;—yc, who mangle our sons with your Batogs, who bring our daughters to shame, and dishonour the grey hairs of thew mothers—(like her yonder who is heart-broken before thee) ye,
ye will be the first to perish. will repay !' said, the Lord our God ;—and though His vengeance sleep for a time, the quiver of wrath will one day be un- loosed."
" Thou art resolved then to meet my propitiation with menaces and impreca- tions?" said Felinski. "Is it not also written that mischief shall hunt the vio- lent man?' "
" It is,—and it shall hunt him !" suddenly ejaculated Erazm, again rising from his rest. " The war-whoop is already on the air ! From Lithuania to the Gory Krapak,—from the Baltic to the Turkish frontier, the cry of the oppressed has gone forth! They are gathering by thousands and tens of thousands; strong in their own cause,—strong in the protect- ing mercy of the poor man's God,—strong in habits of long .suffering and frugality. I tell thee, Felinski of Lublowicz, the freemen of Xawery's cave are as a scattered handful, compared with the multitude of those who wear the good sign, and are sworn to the good cause !" " The worse for Poland and for them !" ejaculated Felinski, with solemnity. " Is it not enough that foreign enemies cabal to enchain and humiliate this un- happy country, but that the very children of her vitals have watched for the hour of tribulation, to plunge the szabelka into her suffering bosom?"
" Had she proved a tender and a nursing mother alike to all her children," growled Ignacy, " no foreign enemy would have prevailed against her, no fo- reign ally obtained preponderance in her councils. Animated by that one proud gathering-word of Por.stre—the people,—they who dig her soil and water it with the sweat of their brows and the tears of their wretchedness,—they—even they—would havejoined hand in hand, and formed a frontier of iron around her provinces. True it is, no natural buttresses, no protecting fortresies, strengthen her outposts; but show me the beer-muddled Brandeuburgher,--- _ show me thick-skulled Schwab, Cahnuck, Moslem, or Slowak,—who would have perilled his life against the protecting lances pointed at them by the high- smiled sons of Sarmatia,s—the countrymen of John Sobieski !"— " And they will yet create a living barrier such as thou describest !" stied
Felinski with enthusiasm. " It cannot be that they would behold the fair fields of Mazowsze trampled by the hoofs of invasion ?"— " They would,—they will !" cried Erasm, ferociously and exultingly. " What matters to the slave the name or nation of those who rivet pus chains?" persisted Ignacy. " It were even less bitter to know that the foot planted on our necks is that of an alien, than that the oppressor is the son of our mother."
" Leave justice to our Olds !" cried young Erazm, his breast heaving with excitement. " When our bonds are once loosened,—when we have compelled the Dietines,—the Diet,—the King himself, to confirm our freedom and endow us with a political existence as citizens of the Republic, see if we bring not her enemies captive to her feet. Leave justice, yea, leave justice to our hands! First, the equalization of our rights,—first release from our oppressors,—and defiance to the Tzarina, and downfall to the dogs of the Neva."-
" Amen !" responded Juliusz, who with kindling eyes and clasped hands had been listening to their declamations ; scarcely able to subdue himself to the re- verential forbearance demanded by his father's presence.
" But for us, in the (lay of retribution," said Ignacy, recalled by the sound of the young man's voice to his individual injuries : " for me and mine, there lies a separate path. Lo! we have a stain to wash away that demands a nearer reckoning ; and sweet will be the freedom whose earliest hopes ate baptized in the blood of Konstanty Felinski !"—
" The blood of Konstanty Felinski !" echoed Erazm. " Never,—never,—never,—never !" exclaimed a voice from beneath the case- ment that thrilled the hearts of all present ; and Juliusz, who had been on the point of demanding retraction of the threat, rushing to the window, perceived something resembling a female figure scudding with the pace of a hunted bare through the tall fern. " By the Agony of Christ, 'tis Doska!" cried the old charcoal-burner ; his bard embrowned face growing livid with rage, and his sturdy frame trembling with emotion. " 'Tis Doska!" echoed his son, no less, though differently, moved ; for his countenance and figure acquired an expression of stern and fixed implacability. " And this time, were her transit as the flight of the flit-mouse, she should not escape me !" Taking from the pin on which it was slung the loaded rifle he had deposited there on his return from the chase, the Weglarz strode across the cabin floor ; when a new surprise awaited the perturbed Felinski ! Slowly rising, as if raised by miraculous interposition, the death-pale paralytic woman suddenly lifted her arm ; and throwing aside the covering of furs, seemed to op- pose a maternal interdiction to the measures of her vindictive son. In the effort to speak, her withered face become fearfully distorted ; her glazed eyes dilated, and the wasted limb she had laboured to extend fell powerless to her side.
But even this preternatural appeal was ineffectual to arrest the movements of the chafed tiger about to spring upon his prey. Before Ignacy could breathe a syllable, before Janusz could intercept his passage, Erazm had burst open the wicket, bounded forth into the forest, and after the suspense of two dreadful minutes, (luring which the old man and Juliusz simultaneously rushed out in pursuit of the desperado, the sharp report of a gun was followed by a shrill scream that rang in the ears of Felinski like the voice of death ! He could scarcely determine whether it proceeded solely from the livid lips of the paralytic mother, or whether it were in part the exhaling shriek of the victim. But he both knew and felt and the consciousness smote bitterly upon his heart) that it bore to the throne of God a cry of condemnation against his Son!