Oh sweetest name of woman! name by which some of us may hail a wife, or a sister in heaven; name so soft,
and rippling, and musical; name of the mother of Jesus, made holy by poetry and religion!—how foully were you
profaned by the lips that whispered your sound of gentleness in the sleeper's ear!
The fair girl stirred in her sleep, and her lip's dropped gently apart as she whispered a single word—
"The assumed name of Lorrimer—" exclaimed the woman, who stood by the bedside—"Gus has some taste,
even in his vilest loves! But, with this girl—this child—good Heavens: how refined! He shrunk at the very idea of
her voice whispering the name which had been shouted by his devil mates at a drinking bout! So he told the girl
to call him—not Gusty, no, no, but something musical—Lorraine!"
And, stooping over the couch, the queenly woman, with her proud form arrayed in a dress of snow white silk,
and her raven-black hair gathered in thick tresses along her neck, so full and round, applied her lips to the ear of
the sleeper and whispered in a softened tone—
"Mary! Awake—it is your wedding night!"
The room was still as death. Not a sound save the faint breathing of the sleeper; all hushed and still. The light of
the wax candle standing on the table in the centre of the Rose Chamber—as it was called—fell mild and
softened over the hangings of faint crimson, with the effect of evening twilight.
The maiden—pure and without stain lay sleeping on the small couch that occupied one corner of the closet.
Her fair limbs were enshrouded in the light folds of a night-robe, and she lay in an attitude of perfect repose, one
glowing cheek resting upon her uncovered arm, while over the other, waved the loosened curls of her glossy
hair. The parting lips disclosed her teeth, white as ivory, while her youthful bosom came heaving up from the
folds of her night-robe, like a billow that trembles for a moment in the moonlight, and then is suddenly lost to
view. She lay there in all the ripening beauty of maidenhood, the light falling gently over her young limbs, their
outlines marked by the easy folds of her robe, resembling in their roundness and richness of proportion, the
swelling fullness of the rose-bud that needs but another beam of light, to open it into its perfect bloom.
The arching eyebrows, the closed lids, with the long lashes resting on the cheek, the parted lips, and the round
chin, with its smiling dimple, all these were beautiful, but oh how fair and beautiful the maiden's dreams. Rosier
than her cheek, sweeter than her breath, lovelier than her kiss—lovely as her own stainless soul, on whose
leaves was written but one motto of simple meaning—"Love in life, in death, and for ever."
And in all her dreams she beheld but one form, heard the whisper of but one voice, shared the sympathies of
but one heart! He was her dream, her life, her God—him had she trusted with her all, in earth or heaven, him did
she love with the uncalculating abandonment of self, that marks the first passion of an innocent woman!
*And was there aught of earth in this love? Did the fever of sensual passion throb in the pulses of her virgin
blood? Did she love Lorrimer because his eye was bright, his form magnificent, his countenance full of healthy
manliness? No, no, no! Shame on the fools of either sex, who read the first love of a stainless woman, with the
eyes of Sense. She loved Lorrimer for a something which he did not possess, which vile worldlings of his class
never will possess. For the magic with which her fancy had enshrouded his face and form, she loved him, for the
wierd fascination which her own soul had flung around his very existence, for a dream of which he was the idol,
for a waking trance in which he walked as her good Angel, for imagination, for fancy, for any thing but sense,
she loved him.
It was her first love.
She knew not that this fluttering fascination, which bound her to his slightest look or tone—like the charmed
bird to the lulling music which the snake is said to murmur, as he ensnares his prey—she knew not that this
fluttering fascination, was but the blind admiration of the moth, as it floats in the light of the flame, which will at
last consume it.
She knew not that in her own organization, were hidden the sympathies of an animal as well as of an intellectual
nature, that the blood in her veins only waited an opportunity to betray her, that in the very atmosphere of the
holiest love of woman, crouched a sleeping fiend, who at the first whisperings of her Wronger, would arise with
hot breath and blood shot eyes, to wreak eternal ruin on her, woman's-honor.
For this is the doctrine we deem it right to hold in regard to woman. Like man she is a combination of an
animal, with an intellectual nature. Unlike man her animal nature is a passive thing, that must be roused ere it will
develope itself in action. Let the intellectual nature of woman, be the only object of man's influence, and woman
will love him most holily. But let him play with her animal nature as you would toy with the machinery of a watch,
let him rouse the treacherous blood, let him fan the pulse into quick, feverish throbbings, let him warm the heart
with convulsive beatings, and the woman becomes, like himself, but a mere animal. Sense rises like a vapor, and
utterly darkens Soul.
And shall we heap shame on woman, because man, neglecting her holiest nature, may devote all the energies
which God has given him, to rouse her gross and earthy powers into action? On whose head is the shame, or
whose the wrong? Oh, would man but learn the solemn truth—that no angel around God's throne is purer than
Woman when her intellectual nature alone is stirred into developement, that no devil crouching in the flames of
hell is fouler than Woman, when her animal nature alone is roused into action—would man but learn and revere
this fearful truth, would woman but treasure it in her inmost soul, then would never a shriek arise to heaven,
heaping curses on the betrayer's head, then would never a wrong done to maiden virtue, give the suicide's grave
its victim, then in truth, would woman walk the earth, the spirit of light that the holiest Lover ever deemed her!
And the maiden lay dreaming of her lover, while the form of the tall and stately woman, stood by the bedside,
like her Evil Angel, as with a mingled smile and sneer, she bade the girl arise, for it was her wedding night. Her
"Mary! Awake—it is your wedding night!"
Mary murmured in her sleep, and then opened her large blue eyes, and arose in the couch.
"Has—he come?" were the first words she murmured in her musical tones, that came low and softened to the
listener's ear—"Has he come?"
"Not yet—not yet—my dear—" said long-haired Bess, assisting the young maiden to rise from the couch, with
all imaginable tenderness of manner—"You see Mary love, it's half-past two o'clock and over, and of course,
high time for you to dress. Throw back your night-gown my love, and let me arrange your hair. How soft and
silky—it needs but little aid from my hands, to render each tress a perfect charm—"
"Is it not very strange Bessie—" said Mary opening her large blue eyes with a bewildered glance as she spoke.
"What is strange? I see nothing strange except the remarkable beauty of these curls—"
"That I should first meet him, in such a singular manner, that he should love me, that for his sake I should fly to
his uncle's mansion and that you Bessie—my dear good friend—should consent from mere friendship to leave
your home and bear me company. All this is very strange—how like the stories we read in a book! And his
stern old uncle you say has relented?"
"Perfectly resigned to the match my dear. That s the way with all these relations—is not that curl perfect?—
when they've made all the mischief they can, and find it amounts to nothing, at the last moment they roll up their
eyes, and declare with a sigh—that they're resigned to the match. And his dear old grand-ma—She lives here
you know? There that is right—your curls should fall in a shower over your snow-white neck—The dear old
lady is in a perfect fever to see you! She helped me to get every thing ready for the wedding—"
"Oh Bessie—Is it not most sad? said Mary as her blue eyes shone with a glance of deep feeling—"To think
that Albert and you should love one another, so fondly, and after all, that he should die, leaving you alone in this
cheerless world! How terrible! If Lorraine should die—"
A deep shade of feeling passed over Mary's face, and her lip trembled. Bessie held her head down, for a
moment, as her fair fingers, ran twining among the tresses of the Bride. Was it to conceal a tear, or a smile?
"Alas! He is in his grave! Yet it is the memory of his love, that makes me take such a warm interest in your
union with Lorraine. This plain fillet of silver, with its diamond star—how well it becomes your brow! You never
yet found a woman, who knew what it was to love, that would not fight for two true-hearted lovers, against the
world! Do you think Mary dear, that I could have sanctioned your flight to this house, if my very soul had not
been interested in your happiness? Not I—not I. Now slip off your night-gown my dear—Have you seen the
"It seems to me—" said Mary, whose thoughts dwelt solely on her love for Lorrimer—"That there is something
deeply touching in a wedding that is held at this hour of the night! Every thing is calm and tranquil; the earth lies
sleeping, while Heaven itself watches over the union of two hearts that are all in all to each other—"
The words look plain and simple, but the tone in which she spoke was one of the deepest feeling. Her very
soul was in her words. Her blue eyes dilated with a sudden enthusiasm, and the color went and came along her
glowing cheek, until it resembled a fair flower, one moment resting in the shade, the next bathing in the sunlight.
"Let me assist you to put on this wedding dress. Is it not beautiful? That boddice of white silk was Lorrimer's
taste. To be sure I gave the dress-maker a few hints. Is it not perfect? How gently the folds of the skirt rest on
your figure! It is a perfect fit, I do declare! Why Mary you are too beautiful! Well, well, handsome as he is,
Lorrimer ought to be half crazy with vanity, when such a Bride is hanging on his arm!"
A few moments sufficed to array the maiden for the bridal.—
Mary stood erect on the floor, blush after blush coursing over her cheek, as she surveyed the folds of her
gorgeous wedding dress.
It was in truth a dress most worthy of her face and form. From the shoulders to the waist her figure was
enveloped in a boddice of snow-white satin, that gathered over her swelling bosom, with such gracefulness of
shape that every beauty of her form,—the width of the shoulders, and the gradual falling off, of the outline of the
waist,— was clearly perceptible.
Fitting closely around the bust, it gave to view her fair round neck, half-concealed by the drooping curls of
glossy hair, and a glimpse of each shoulder, so delicate and white, swelling away into the fullness of the virgin
bosom, that rose heaving above the border of lace. From the waist downward, in many a fold, but with perfect
adaptation to her form, the gorgeous skirt of satin, fell sweeping to the floor, leaving one small and tiny foot,
enclosed in a neat slipper, that clung to it as though it had grown there, exposed to the eye.
The softened light falling over the rose-hued hangings of the room, threw the figure of the maiden out from the
dim back-ground, in gentle and effective prominence. Her brown tresses showering down over each cheek, and
falling along her neck and shoulders, waved gently to and fro, and caught a glossy richness from the light. Her
fair shoulders, her full bosom, her long but not too slender waist, the downward proportions of her figure,
swelling with the full outlines of ripening maidenhood; all arrayed in the graceful dress of snow-white satin, stood
out in the dim light, relieved most effectively by the rose-hued hangings, in the background.
As yet her arms, unhidden by sleeve or robe, gave their clear, transparent skin, their fullness of outline, their
perfect loveliness of shape, all freely to the light.
"Is it not a gorgeous dress?" said long-haired Bess, as she gazed with unfeigned admiration upon the face and
form of the beautiful maiden—"As gorgeous, dear Mary, as you are beautiful!"
"Oh it will be such a happy time!" cried Mary, in a tone that scarcely rose above a whisper, while her blue eyes
flashed with a glance of deep emotion—"There will sit my father and there my mother, in the cheerful parlor on
Christmas Eve! My father's grey hairs and my mother's kindly face, will be lighted up by the same glow of light.
And their eyes will be heavy with tears—with weeping for me, Bessie, their lost child, as they will call me. When
behold! the door opens, Lorraine enters with me, his wife, yes, yes, his wife by his side. We fling ourselves at
the feet of our father and mother—for they will be ours, then! We crave their forgiveness! Lorraine calls me his
wife—we beg their forgiveness and their blessing in the same breath! Oh it will be such a happy time! And my
brother he will be there too—he will like Lorraine, for he has a noble heart! Don't you see the picture, Bessie? I
see it as plainly as though it was this moment before me, and—my father—oh how he will weep when again he
clasps his daughter in his arms!"
There she stood, her fair hands clasped trembling together, her eyes flashing in ecstacy, while her heart,
throbbing and throbbing like some wild bird, endeavoring to burst the bars of its cage, sent her bosom heaving
Bessie made no reply. True she attempted some common-place phrase, but the words died in her throat. She
turned her head away, and—thank God, she was not yet fallen to the lowest deep of woman's degradation —a
tear, big and scalding, came rolling down her cheek.
And while Mary stood with her eyes gazing on the vacant air, with the manner of one entranced, while Bess—
poor and fallen woman!—turned away her face to hide the falling tear, the curtains that concealed the entrance
to the Painted Chamber were suddenly thrust aside, and the figure of a man came stealing along with a noiseless
Gus Lorrimer, silent and unperceived, in all the splendor of his manly beauty, stood gazing upon the form of his
victim, with a glance of deep and soul-felt admiration.
His tall form was shown to the utmost advantage, by a plain suit of black cloth. A dress coat of the most
exquisite shape, black pantaloons that fitted neatly around his well-formed limbs, a vest of plain white Marseilles,
gathering easily across the outlines of his massive chest, a snow-white shirt front, and a falling collar, confined by
a simple black cravat; such were the brief details of his neat but effective costume. His manly face was all in a
glow with health and excitement. Clustering curls of dark brow hair fell carelessly along his open brow. His
clear, dark-hazel eye, gave forth a flashing glance, that failed to reveal anything but the frank and manly qualities
of a generous heart. You did not read the villain, in his glance The aquiline nose, the rounded chin, the curving
lip, darkened by a graceful moustache, the arching eyebrows, which gave additional effect to the dark eyes; all
formed the details of a countenance that ever struck the beholder with its beaming expression of health, soul, and
And as Gus Lorrimer stood gazing in silent admiration upon his victim, few of his boon companions would have
recognized, in his thoughtful countenance, the careless though handsome face of the reveller, who gave life and
spirit to their drinking scenes.
The truth is, there were two Lorrimers in one. There was a careless, dashing, handsome fellow who could kill a
basket of champagne with any body, drive the neatest turn out in the way of horse flesh that the town ever saw,
carry a 'frolic' so far that the watchman would feel bound to take it up and carry it a little farther—This was the
magnificent Gus Lorrimer.
And then there was a tall, handsome man, with a thoughtful countenance, and a deep, dark hazel eye, who
would sit down by the side of an innocent woman, and whisper in her ear, in a low-toned voice for hours
together, with an earnestness of manner and an intensity of gaze, that failed in its effect, not once in a hundred
times. Without any remarkable knowledge derived from education, this man knew every leaf of woman's many-
leaved heart, and knew how to apply the revealings, which the fair book opened to his gaze. His gaze, in some
cases, in itself was fascination; his low-toned voice, in too many instances, whispered its sentences of passion to
ears, that heard it to their eternal sorrow. This man threw his whole soul, in his every passion. He plead with a
woman, like a man under sentence of death pleading for his life. Is it a wonder that he was but rarely
unsuccessful? This man, so deeply read in woman's heart, was the 'inner man' of the handsome fellow, with the
dashing exterior. Assuming a name, never spoken to his ear, save in the soft whispers of one of his many victims,
he styled himself Lorraine Lorrimer.
"Oh, Bessie, is not this Love—a strange mystery?" exclaimed Mary, as though communing with her own
heart—"Before I loved, my soul was calm and quiet. I had no thought beyond my school-books—no deeper
mystery than my embroidery-frame. Now—the very air is changed. The atmosphere in which I breathe is no
longer the same. Wherever I move his face is before me. Whatever may be my thoughts, the thought of him is
never absent for a moment. In my dreams I see him smile. When awake, his eyes, so deep, so burning in their
gaze—even when he is absent—seem forever looking into mine. Oh, Bessie—tell me, tell me—is it given to man
to adore his God? Is it not also given to woman to adore the one she loves? Woman's religion is her love—"
And as the beautiful enthusiast, whose mind had been developed in utter seclusion from the world, gave
forth these revelations of her heart, in broken and abrupt sentences, Lorrimer drew a step nearer, and gazed
upon her with a look in which passion rose predominent, even above admiration.
"Oh, Bessie, can it be that his love will ever grow cold? Will his voice ever lose its tones of gentleness, will his
gaze ever cease to bind me to him, as it enchains me now?"
"Mary!" whispered a strange voice in a low and softened murmur.
She turned hastily round, she beheld the arms outspread to receive her, she saw the manly face of him she
loved all a-glow with rapture, her fair blue eyes returned his gaze, "Lorraine," she murmured, in a faint whisper,
and then her head rested upon his bosom, while her form trembled in his embrace.
" Oh, Lorraine—" she again murmured, as, with one fair hand resting upon each arm of her lover, she gazed
upward in his face, while her blue eyes shone with all the feeling of her inmost soul. " Oh—Lorraine—will you
love me ever?"
"Mary—" he answered, gazing down upon her blushing face, as he uttered her name in a prolonged whisper,
that gave all its melody of sound to her ear—"Mary can you doubt me?"
And as there he stood gazing upon that youthful face, now flushed over with an expression of all-trusting love,
as he drank in the glance of her large blue eyes, and felt her trembling form resting gently in his arms, the foul
purpose of his heart was, for a moment, forgotten, for a moment his heart rose swelling within him, and the
thought flashed over his soul, that for the fair creature, who hung fascinated on his every look, his life he could
willingly lay down.
"Ha-ha—" muttered Bess, who stood regarding the pair with a glance of doubtful meaning—"I really believe
that Lorrimer is quite as much in love, as the poor child! Good idea, that! A man, whose heart has been the
highway of a thousand loves—a man like this, to fall in love with a mere baby-face! Mary, dear—" she
continued aloud, too happy to break the reverie which enchained the seducer and his victim—"Mary, dear,
hadn't I better help you to put on your wedding robe?"
Lorrimer turned and looked at her with a sudden scowl of anger. In a moment his face resumed its smile—
"Mary—" he cried, laughingly—"let me be your costumer, for once. My hands must help you on with the
wedding robe. Nay, nay, you must not deny me. Hand me the dress, Bessie—"
It was a splendid robe of the same satin, as the other part of her dress. Gathering tightly around her form, it
was designed to remain open in front, while the skirt fell trailing along the floor. Falling aside from the bust,
where outlines were so gracefully developed by the tight-fitting boddice of white satin, its opposite sides were
connected by interlacing threads of silver cord, crossed and recrossed over the heaving bosom. Long and
drooping sleeves, edged with silver lace, were designed to give bewitching glimpses of the maiden's full and
rounded arms. In fine, the whole dress was in the style of some sixty years since, such as our grand-dames
designated by the euphonious name of 'a gown and curricle.'
"How well the dress becomes you Mary!" exclaimed Lorrimer with a smile as he flung the robe over her
shoulders—"How elegant the fall of that sleeve! Ha—ha—Mary, you must allow me to lace these silver cords in
front. I'm afraid I would make but an awkward lady's-maid. What say you Bessie? Mary, your arms seem to
love the light embrace of these drooping sleeves. You must forgive me, Mary, but I thought the style of the dress
would please you, so I asked our good friend Bessie here to have it made. By my soul, you give additional
beauty to the wedding dress. Is she not beautiful Bessie ?"
"Most beautiful—" exclaimed Bess, as for the moment, her gaze of unfeigned admiration was fixed upon the
Bride, arrayed in the full splendor of her wedding robes—"Most beautiful!"
"Mary, your hand—" whispered Lorrimer to the fair girl, who stood blushing at his side.
With a heaving bosom, and a flashing eye, Mary slowly reached forth her fair and delicate right hand. Lorrimer
grasped the trembling fingers within his own, and winding his unoccupied arm around her waist he suffered her
head, with all its shower of glossy tresses, to fall gently on his shoulders. A blush, warm and sudden, came over
her face. He impressed one long and lingering kiss upon her lips. They returned the pressure, and clung to his
lips as though they had grown there.
"Mary, my own sweet love—" he murmured in a low tone, that thrilled to her very heart—"Now I kiss you as
the dearest thing to me in the wide world. Another moment, and from those same lips will I snatch the first kiss
of my lovely bride! To the Wedding Room my love!"
Fair and blushing as the dawn, stainless as the new-fallen snow, loving as one of God's own cherubim, he led
her gently from the place, motioning onward with his hand as again and again he whispered, "To the Wedding
Room my love, to the Wedding Room!"
"To the Wedding Room—" echoed Bess who followed in her Brides-maid robes—"To the Wedding Room—
ha, ha, ha, say rather to h——ll!"
There was something most solemn, not to say thoughtful and melancholy, in the appearance of that lonely
room. It was wide and spacious, and warmed by invisible means, with heated air. Huge panels of wainscotting
covered the lofty walls, and even the ceiling was concealed by massive slabs of dark walnut. The floor was all
one polished surface of mahogany, destitute of carpet or covering of any kind. A few high-backed mahogany
chairs, standing along the walls, were the only furniture of the place. The entrance to the Rose Chamber, was
concealed by a dark curtain, and in the western, and northern walls, were fashioned two massive doors, formed
like the wainscotting, of dark and gloomy walnut.
In the centre of the glittering mahogany floor, arose a small table or altar, covered with a drooping cloth, white
and stainless as the driven snow. Two massive wax candles, placed in candlesticks of silver, stood on the white
cloth of the altar, imparting a dim and dusky light to the room. In that dim light the sombre panelling of the walls
and the ceiling, the burnished floor of mahogany as dark as the walnut-wood that concealed the ceiling and the
walls, looked heavy and gloomy, as though the place was a vault of death, instead of a cheerful Wedding
As yet the place was silent and solitary. The light flickered dimly along the walls, and over the mahogany floor,
which shone like a rippling lake in the moonlight. As you gazed upon the desolate appearance of that place, with
the solitary wax lights burning like two watching souls, in the centre, you would have given the world, to have
seen the room tenanted by living beings; in its present stillness and solitude, it looked so much like, one of those
chambers in olden story, where the ghosts of a departed family, were wont to assemble once a year, in order to
revive the memories of their lives on earth.
It might have been three o'clock, or even half an hour later, when the western door swung slowly open, and the
Clergyman, who was to solemnize this marriage, came striding some what unsteadily along the floor. Clad in
robes of flowing white—he had borrowed them from the Theatre—with a Prayer Book in his hand, Petriken as
he glanced uneasily around the room, did not look at all unlike a Minister of a particular class. His
long, square, lugubrious face, slightly varied by red streaks around each eye, was tortured into an expression of
the deepest solemnity. He took his position in silence, near the Altar.
Then came the relenting Uncle, striding heavily at the parson's heels—He was clad in a light blue coat with
metal buttons, a buff vest, striped trowsers, and an enormous scarf, whose mingled colors of blue and gold,
gathered closely around his short fat neck. His full-moon face—looking very much like the face of a relenting
uncle, who is willing to bestow mercy upon a wild young dog of a nephew, to almost any extent—afforded a
pleasing relief to his pear-shaped nose, which stood out in the light, like a piece of carved work from a crimson
wall. Silently the relenting Uncle, took his position beside the venerable Clergyman.
Then dressed in solemn black, the respected Grand-ma of the Bridegroom, who was in such a fever to see the
Bride, came stepping mincingly along the floor, glancing from side to side with an amiable look that ruffled the
yellowish flesh of her colloped cheeks.
The 'imperial' on her chin had been softened down, and with the aid of a glossy dress of black silk, and a tower
of Babel cap, she looked quite venerable. Had it not been for a certain twinkle in her eyes, you could have fallen
in her arms and kissed her; she looked so much like one of those dear old souls, who make mischief in families
and distribute tracts and cold victuals to the poor. The Grand-ma took her position on the left of the Clergyman.
And in this position, gathered around the Altar, they stood for some five minutes silently awaiting the
appearance of the Bridegroom and the Bride.
|A Chapter in which every woman may find
some leaves of her own heart, read with
the eyes of a high and holy love
|Will this sham wedding take place?
Will this innocent have her hopes of love dashed in sordid disnonour?
Having seen the purity in Mary's eyes, will Lorrimer repent of his plot?
Come back next week for