4 APRIL 1840, Page 18


M. GNOROWSKI is known as the author of the Insurrection of Poland in 1830-31 ; a rapid, vigorous, racy, but national history of that heroic effort of the noble Poles to shake off the tyranny of Russia. In the interesting little volume before us, he has thrown

some of the knowledge he acquired during the contest, and, unhappily, since, into the form of a fiction ; attempting to paint part of the miseries the Russian invasion inflicted upon Poland, the tyranny that pursued the exiles till their embarkation, and the privations which poverty inflicted upon many after their arrival in London. The mode adopted by the author to work out his purpose, is to take a pair of noble lovers on the eve of marriage, having en- deavoured to interest the reader in their fate by connecting them in close relationship to Kosciusko and his friend Count Kolysko. The wedding of course is broken off when the nation arms to repel its tyrannical invaders: Stanislaus, the lover, after combating the Russians, returns to the castle of his betrothed, to find it in ruins, and a mutilated corse which he supposes hers. Nearly heart- broken, he takes refuge with a band of countrymen in Gallicia ; where they are put under durance by the Austrian Government, and hurried day and night through their dominions, until they arrive at Trieste. Here Stanislaus embarks for Englund; reaches London—to have his pocket picked ; which reduces him to penury, and connects him with many other exiles, whose sufferings arc indi- cated in describing those of the hero ; till at last he is rescued by the enthusiasm of an English lady. We will not tell the de- nouement.

In judging the work of a foreigner writing in English, the stranger is entitled to so much indulgence as almost to disarm criticism. We shall not, however, give M. GNOROWSKI the benefit of this, but consider his work absolutely. Thus tested, his diction requires no sort of excuse ; it might have been written by a native. His style—meaning the cast of mind displayed in the composition, and not the mere flow of the expressions—has rather a foreign air in its effective rhetoric, but reads more like a translation than English written by a Pole. In fiction he is less successful than in reality. His reflections are frequently distinguished by soundness of thought and felicity of illustration ; his pictures of the refugees in Gallicia, of the Austrian employes, (so like what trey appeared in the pages of FORTUNATO PRANDI'S Memoirs of a Prisoner if State,) and the scenes of distress in England, are lifelike, and bear the stamp of history, though here and there dashed by sentimentalism.

Of his fiction, sentimentalism, indeed, is the prevailing quality ; but, luckily, the fiction is the smallest part of the volume, though it is that which the reader first encounters.

We have not mentioned his descriptions; which may he charac- terized as glowing. Here is one specimen.


In one respect, the country about Cracow may be likened to England. Na- ture has taken a special pleasure in storing it with mines of silver, copper, iron, Zinc, marble, and coal. The salt mines of Vieliczka and Bochnia, the most consideralL in Europe. are very remarkable. They may be said to limn a kind of subterranean city, more extensive perhaps than Cracow itself; from which they arc only some miles distant. But this city is indeed a strange one. The streets are paved with brilliant salt, and of the same material are constructed massive walls, state apartments, ball-rooms, chapels, and an innumerable host of statues, whilst boats floating on salt water lakes may be seen bearing the fair inhabitants of the upper world. Sometimes this city of the nether regions as- sumes a festive appearance, resounds with music, singing, and dancing, the echo of which in the sparkling vaults is not unfrequently met by a responsive echo of similar mirth in the super-posed city. Nothing like this is ever heard in England, nor in any other country. Nowhere but in Poland is there so much dancing and weeping. But what country may be compared for fertility with the granary of Europe?

Or what trees of the South may vie with Cracovian firs, hearing the clouds

upon their Humrnits? Fair is the orange-tree, with its white blossoms char' g

the air, almost to oppression, with their perfbme, and its golden fruit looking out from the shade of the glossy deep green leaves. The tall cypress, dark and spare, stands erect over graves, scarce bending in the wind, an emblem of moody, stubborn grief. But compare not these with the venerable oaks Aid; have witnessed the birth of Poland ; nor with the noble Cracovian birels seeming to mourn so eloquently, like some pious, loving daughter with dis. oldered tresses, wringing her hands over a distressed parent's grave. The pure sky of Italy, intensely blue, but cloudless, in its arid brightness, ooks like a sea of glass contrasted with that of Cracow.


The scene assumed, however, a different aspect as soon as they reached the Archduchy of Austria. There no cars could be obtained, notwithstanding the exertions of the police; but carriages attended the refugees at every plays where they arrived, and all that they needed was provided for them, without any remuneration being accepted, though most urgently offered. It would seem that Providence -creates occasions like these to remind men that there exists in nations a sense of justice which no government, however absolute, can stifle. For it was thus that the inhabitants of Austria Proper endea- voured to prove their gratitude towards the wandering descendants of those who had once saved Vienna and Christendom. There were many instances of the very soldiers who composed the military escort shedding tears; either through shame for their government, or pity for the refugees ; or because they were moved by the lofty and kind sentiment of the latter toward their gaolers. No sooner was this known at Vienna, than a fresh order was despatched for driving on the Poles day and night, in order the sooner to get them out of the Austrian dominions; the consequence of which was, that, on their arrival at Trieste, one-half of them were obliged to be conveyed to hospitals, whilst the rest were shut up in the fortress to await their passports for France.


It was a foggy and smoky morning when Stanislaus of Cracow arrived in the London Docks, from whence he went straight into the city. He compares

the latter, at first, to an immense smoking monster, or to some orcus region. The houses, with their desolate brick faces, seemed to frown upon him like so many spectres; and the sight of a moving sea of men, tilled his heart with a feeling of absolute loneliness, such as he had never before experienced, not even in the midst of the boundless watery desert. For there he had enjoyed the companionship of nature, from which he now felt separated by an usm•

passable barrier. He stood for a while motionless, as if chained down bye kind of stupor ; but at length recovering himself; he walked, or rather was carried on,'as if in spite of himself, through Cheapside and Fleet Street, bythe waves of his fellow toot. From time to time he was recalled to himself bythe elbowing of some well-dressed individuals, which semen hat surprised him, as this had never occurred to him in any other capital. He explained it to him- self on the supposition that they must be commercial people, hurried away by their multifarious business, and consequently unmindful of other considerations. But that which most forcibly struck hint was, that out of the thousands of people he saw around him, not a single individual seemed to smile. Ile at once concluded that Englishmen do not smile; and in this early judgment he was not mistaken, for his longer experience afterwards taught loin that they laugh only. Thus pushed and elbowed along, still, meditating, lie at length reached Regent Street, which opened before hint like some superior, happier region. And, in fact, the fair groups moving up and down the spacious causeways, when contrasted with the gloom that hung about, seemed to shine like so many starry 'lights. Their presence, in some degree, raised his spirits; for he fancied that there was a great resemblance between them, especially such as had light hair, and his own countrywomen. The whiteness of' their skin appeared to him so transparent, that he imagined he could see through it the very circulation of their blood, which, however, seemed to move only to an autumnal measure,


There is this remarkable analogy- between the laws of the physical and moral world, that the phenomena of each, unless interrupted in their progress by some unusual and violent occurrence, have a tendency to advance conti- nually towards the highest degree of development, even in their minutest de- tails. It is, however, equally true, that there is a limit beyond which, for instance, an evil ceases to be one; death becomes life, frost burns, and " our torments may become our elements ;" when even destiny itself' would become ridiculous, should it advance one step further. It is that peculiar, nysterions, and unspeakably painful crisis in man's existence, when he must triumph in death, if the expression may be allowed, or sink down without hope of ever again rising.