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that in his face which told that he was a man not only of high breeding but of lofty mind and soul,-one possibly capable of strong passions and violent acts, but never of anything mean or cruel. You saw that at a glance, but together with that you saw something else too, that called forth an impression so painful, it almost amounted to dislike, and was certainly very different from pity or commiseration. His brows were contracted into an everlasting frown; this gave him an extraordinary air of fierceness, intensified by the long droops of his great white moustache. His face wrinkled into a pattern which showed plainly what passions had filled the man's life: pride was visible there, scorn, revolt, and along with these the gloom of a terrible despair. One could tell, indeed, that their object was impersonal, for there was no trace of degrading selfishness in those lines. It was a noble despair, a lofty lofty misery; but the misery and despair were there all the same, and the folds about his lips especially suggested unutterable bitterness. So did the eyes, which after one bright flash, as he welcomed me, resumed their former and usual expression-a fixed gaze of implacable resentment and defiance. Yet his words were at first commonplace enough. "So it was not a mistake?" he said. "You are indeed related to Severin ?"
"I am his eldest son,-the others are dead," I answered. "His son! I cannot say how
glad I am to see you," he rejoined, stretching out his hand to grip mine; adding, after a pause, "I suppose I need not ask if he is yet living, for he was not with us in the late rising." The late rising? It had been quelled almost half a century ago!
"No," I said; "he died a short time before. I was only a child then, but I remember perfectly well that he was determined and prepared to start for Poland at the first news of its outbreak." "Poor Severin!" exclaimed Brontoski. "But I must not say that. He is happier-far happier to have died in hope, as he did. Do you know he held a candle to me whilst I looked under the furniture for the Grand Duke? Ah! the coward had taken refuge in his wife's bedroom, and of course no gentleman could follow him there. Severin and I slept under the same tent on the eve of the battle of Grochow. Did he never tell you? Of course not; you were so young when he died. Well, and so you live here amongst Poles as an Englishman, and give them lessons of English? And all your life has been spent in what they call 'peace'? have you never felt what we feel, -we of the old times?"
But tell me,
"What you feel, sir," I answered, "I have felt and feel even now, though much less intensely; that goes without saying. How could it be otherwise?"
"How indeed?" he returned gloomily. "Perhaps you too
think of a possible reconciliation between the sons of the murderers and the new generation of Poles," he added, with an obvious allusion to the new and very unpopular party of the "Ugodisci," who, were it not for their high social position and their riches, might scarcely be called a party at all.
"You forget, sir, to whose son you are speaking," I answered hastily and in anger; for the very question sounded in my ears like a suspicion of treachery, and I lost sight for a moment of the consideration
due to his age. My words, however, were very far indeed from offending him.
"True," he said, "I forgot that, and I ask your pardon. Come, let me embrace you after the Polish fashion; it will do me good to embrace Severin's boy-it will put new life into my blood. Though why should I think of life?" he went on, sinking back on his pillows; "I have lived too long by more than forty years. But I am dying now, I am dying. I know it, and am glad to die!"
"O my God! my God!" cried the old woman, who had been silent until then, and she burst into a flood of tears. These words, though to all appearance a very natural outbreak of grief on her part, affected Brontoski in a most extraordinary and sinister way. He suddenly drew himself up in bed, his eyes flashing, his whole body quivering with intense anger. "Vanda, how dare you!" he cried. "How often have I told
you that name was never to be uttered in my hearing! Leave the room at once. Go!" he said, pointing to the door.
She went out, sobbing like a scolded child, whilst I looked on in amazement. Brontoski, controlling himself with an effort, turned towards me.
"I owe you some explanation of this disagreeable little scene," he remarked, attempting to smile; "and besides, if you and I are to be friends, it is well we should understand each other thoroughly. If you will look round this room you will notice that there are no religious pictures or emblems of any sort here. Nor are there any in the next room either."
I remembered I had seen none, and said so.
"There are none in any of my apartments. So long as I live there shall be none; and I intend to be taken to my grave without any religious rites whatsoever. Since our late unfortunate rising, I have made up my mind entirely on that point. Either there is no Ruler of the world at all (which, I think, is far more probable), or, if there is one, He has taken sides against us, and upholds that monster of iniquity, the Russian Empire. Our enemies have crushed us, and He-if He exists-not only has allowed us to be crushed, not only has not punished them, but has made them flourish. They have persecuted the Church that is ours and was mine; He has made them prosper in all they have done. All their wars have been success
fully waged; cowardly Europe cringes before them, and even your England is not without fear. Well, with all this and the memory of what I have seen and gone through branded in my mind, this is what I say: If there is an Almighty Being, He is unjust. If just, He might well let us be struck down, for we have deserved it; but He would most certainly visit our oppressors, whose guilt is far greater than ours ever was— and of this I am as sure as that the lamp here is burning -with a punishment far more terrible. What then? shall I pray to this Defender of iniquity? to the Friend, to the Patron, of the Tsar? Never! To such a one I will not pray, I will not submit: nothing can make me do so. Yes, I know I am dying, but I do not care: I intend to die as I have lived, in revolt against the Tsar and all that favours him; and if there be a future world, and I meet there an Almighty One, I shall defy Him then, just as I defy the Tsar now. In short, I do not wish any one to utter that name in conversation with me. You have not the look of a bigoted man; but, at any rate, if you care for my friendship, you are warned. I do not even allow my niece to practise any act of religion in this house. What she may do outside does not concern me. She is seventy, and may believe and perform any fooleries and mummeries she chooses; but here, in my own lodgings, I am master."
This declaration, I must confess, somewhat shocked me at first. I can certainly lay no
claim to be an especially fervent Catholic, or, in Brontoski's words, "a bigot"; but my sympathies do not go the other way. And this fury of revolt against God, though more than once to be met with in the writings of the national poets, seemed portentous and incomprehensible to my mind. Born and bred in England, I had passively accepted all those teachings about Providence and the fall of a sparrow which a prosperous nation listens to with natural complacency, but which are hard sayings indeed to a downtrodden people; especially to the people that in better days, and in defence of Christendom against Islam, literally poured out blood like water. However, it was clear that a protest would be thrown away; so I refrained from protesting, and merely said—
"I do not agree with you; but no doubt you have thought the matter out for yourself, and are satisfied that you are in the right. As for attempting to interfere with your domestic arrangements, it would be an impertinence I am not at all likely to commit."
This appeared to be satisfactory to the old Revolutionist; and after & little further talk on less delicate topics, I took my leave, promising to call again. I met his niece Vanda in the antechamber: she begged me to come into her room for a short time, where she at once began to talk about her uncle, excusing him as best she could.
"He is a good man," she protested; "it sounds strange,
I assured her that he had all my sympathy already, and that there was no question of forgiveness; and finding her not averse to further conversation on this subject, soon got a clue to the old man's furious hatred for religion. Other Revolutionists had become unconcerned or free-thinkers, but for different reasons; some, especially priests, were even more attached to their faith after the insurrection had failed; but this man's case was peculiar. He had been, it appeared, extremely pious in his youth, and was even on the point of taking Holy Orders when the insurrection of 1831 broke out. Being no less ardent a patriot than zealous as a Catholic, he joined it, identifying the cause of Poland with the cause of God. So convinced was he of this identity that a prodigy such as is related of Sennacherib's army, and of Pharaoh in pursuit of Israel, would scarce have surprised him. In the patriots' acts he saw, and could see, nothing but righteousness: how, then, could God fail to help them? It happened, therefore, that when he had to fly the country, after the great conflagration had been quenched in blood, his faith was sorely shaken. His property, for the most part consisting of landed estate, was
in Austrian Poland, and thither he might, if he chose, have retired without molestation on the part of the Government; but he preferred to go in voluntary exile to Paris, where he could assist the poorer refugees with money and advice, and live besides in close communion with the leading spirits of the Polish revolutionary band. It was there that he met the well-known mystic and visionary, Andreas Tovianski,1 whose influence, so deleterious in the case of several Poles of high literary genius, proved even more 80 in his own. From this man he got (as he thought) the right explanation of the inexplicable failure which had so exercised his faith. He learned, and came to believe with all his heart, that Poland was destined to be for nations what Christ had been for individual men, and in the same way-by her sufferings, death, and resurrection. Poland was the great Martyr amongst nations, who throughout the many centuries of her life had never been guilty of that crime which men name conquest, and therefore had been chosen, an innocent victim, to redeem the sister peoples from the sin into which all had fallen. "Poland is dead now," Tovianski said; "but, dying as Christ died, for the sins of others, she will rise again, even as Christ has risen, and this time her life will be immortal and her glory supreme." Brontoski eagerly drank in this doctrine, and spent his exile
in dreams of his beloved country once more free and great, until he became immovably fixed in the belief that God must in His justice grant Poland a marvellous resurrection, or at least inflict a speedy and dreadful chastisement on her oppressors,-above all, upon the worst of them.
So, when the piteously tragical insurrection of 1863 broke out, strong in his deep conviction that the hour had struck at last, he instantly hurried from Paris to the plains of Mazovia, that he might, as he phrased it, "help in rolling away the stone from the sepulchre. Patriots around him talked of an armed intervention, and confidently hoped that England and France would come to their assistance. He, too, thought that this was likely; but when massacres and transportations went on as before, when the insurgents struggled desperately against enormous odds and the Western Powers made no sign, it is doubtful whether he did think that still preferable. Succour, he thought, must come,-it must if not the arm of the flesh, then the Almighty Power of God-and this would be better by far. He had but to will, and in one day a range of impassable mountains would arise between Muscovy and Poland; or the earth might be rent asunder, and an immense cleft unite the Baltic with the Black Sea. Even visions of all the first-born of Russia slain in one night flitted before his eyes. Why not? Was any thing difficult to the Lord? He was justice itself; and
their cause was the cause of justice.
"But his dreams all came to an end at last," the old woman said, her tears welling up afresh. "I was with him when he got across the frontier, and came back to his home here in Galicia. For more than a month he seemed stupefied, and hardly spoke a word to any one, even to me. Yet we were now all that remained of the family. My father, his only brother, had died years before in the mines of Siberia, and my mother did not survive him very long. I was then thirty, and was to have been married at the close of the insurrection. But my uncle returned alone. My husband that was to have been-poor Sigismund!-had fallen by his side, shot to the heart in the woods near Lublin. Yet Ladislaus had not a word
of comfort for me. Of course he had not, though he loved me very tenderly: he could think of nothing but dead and desolate Poland, and that thought left no room for any others.
"But as soon as he seemed to be coming to himself again, and when he settled in these lodgings which he has never left since, I realised what an awful change had come over him. All his hopes, even the hope of revenge, were dead. He could not bear to hear of politics any more, though till then they had been his very life. Now he would read no newspapers but the old ones, dating from the days of the last insurrection and before that time. He paid no visits, and would receive but fewmostly veterans, with whom he