The Crime without a Name
|"My brother consents? Oh joy, Lorraine—he consents!"
"Your brother consents to our wedding, my love—"
"How did he first discover, that the wedding was to take place to night?"
"It seems that for several days, he has noticed you walking out with Bess. You see, Mary, this excited his
suspicions. He watched you with all a brother's care, and to night, tracked Bess and you, to the doors of this
mansion. He was not certain however, that it was you, whom he seen, enter my uncle's house—"
"And so he watched all night around the building? Oh Lorraine, he is a noble brother!"
"At last, grown feverish with his suspicions, he rung the bell, aroused the servant, and when the door was
opened, rushed madly up stairs, and reached the Wedding Room. You know the rest. After the matter was
explained to him, he consented to keep our marriage secret until Christmas Eve. He has left the house, satisfied
that you are in the care of those who love you. To morrow, Mary, when you have recovered from the effects
of the surprise,—which your brother's sudden entrance occasioned—to-morrow we will be married!"
"And on Christmas Eve, hand linked in hand, we will kneel before our father, and ask his blessing—"
"One kiss, Mary love, one kiss, and I will leave you for the night—"
And leaning fondly over the fair girl, who was seated on the sofa, her form enveloped in a flowing night-robe,
Lorrimer wound his right arm gently around her neck, bending her head slowly backward in the action, and
suffering her rich curls to fall showering on her shoulders, while her upturned face, all radiant with affection lay
open to his burning gaze, and her ripe lips, dropped slightly apart, disclosing the ivory teeth, seemed to woo and
invite the pressure of his kiss.
One kiss, silent and long, and the Lover and the fair girl, seemed to have grown to each others lips.
The wax-light standing on the small table of the Rose Chamber, fell mild and dimly over this living picture of
youth and passion.
The tall form of Lorrimer, clad in solemn black, contrasting forcibly with the snow-white robes of the Maiden,
his arm flung gently around her neck, her upturned face half-hidden by the falling locks of his dark brown hair,
their lips joined and their eyes mingling in the same deep glance of passion, while her bosom rose heaving against
his breast, and her arms half-upraised seemed about to entwine his form in their embrace—it was a moment of
pure and hallowed love on the part of the fair girl, and even the libertine, for an instant forgot the vileness of his
purpose, in that long and silent kiss of stainless passion.
"Mary!" cried Lorrimer, his handsome face flushing over with transport, as silently gliding from his standing
position, he assumed his seat at her side—"Oh! would that you were mine! We would flee together from the
heartless world—in some silent and shadowy valley, we would forget all, but the love which made us one."
"We would seek a home, quiet and peaceful, as that which this book describes—" whispered Mary laying her
hand on Bulwer's play of Claude Mellnotte—"I found the volume on the table, and was reading it, when you
came in. Oh, it is all beauty and feeling. You have read it Lorraine?"
"Again and again and have seen it played a hundred times.—'The home, to which love could fulfil its prayers,
this hand would lead thee'—" he murmured repeating the first lines of the celebrated description of the Lake of
Como—"And yet Mary this is mere romance. A creation of the poet's brain. A fiction as beautiful as a ray of
light; and as fleeting. I I might tell you a story of a real valley and a real lake,— which I beheld last summer—
where love might dwell forever, and dwell in eternal youth and freshness.—"
"Oh tell me—tell me—"cried Mary, gazing in his face with a look of interest.
"Beyond the fair valley of Wyoming, of which so much has been said and sung, there is a high and extensive
range of mountains, covered with thick and gloomy forests. One day last September when the summer was yet
in its freshness and bloom, toward the hour of sunset, I found myself wandering through a thick wood, that
covered the summit of one of the highest of these mountains. I had been engaged in a deer-hunt all day—had
strayed from my comrades—and now as night was coming on, was wandering, along a winding path, that led to
the top of the mountain—"
Lorrimer paused for a single instant, and gazed intently in Mary's face. Every feature was animated with sudden
interest and a warm flush, hung freshly on each cheek.
And as Lorrimer gazed upon the animated face of the innocent girl, marking its rounded outlines, its hues of
youth and loveliness, its large blue eyes beaming so gladly upon his countenance, the settled purpose of his soul,
came home to him, like a sudden shadow darkening over a landscape, after a single gleam of sunlight.
It was the purpose of this libertine to dishonor the stainless girl, before he left her presence.
Before day break she would be a polluted thing, whose name and virtue and soul, would be blasted forever.
In that silent gaze, which drank in the beauty of the maiden's face, Lorrimer arranged his plan of action. The
book which he had left upon the table, the story which he was about to tell, were the ifirst intimations of his
atrocious design. While enchaining the mind of the Maiden, with a story full of Romance, it was his intention to
wake her animal nature into full action. And when her veins were all alive with fiery pulsations, when her heart
grew animate with sensual life, when her eyes swam in the humid moisture of passion, then she would sink
helplessly into his arms, and—like the bird to the snake,— flutter to her ruin.
" 'Force'—'violence!' These are but the tools of grown-up children, who know nothing of the mystery of
woman's heart—" the thought flashed over Lorrimer's brain, as his lip, wore a very slight but meaning smile—"I
have deeper means, than these! I employ neither force, nor threats, nor fraud, nor violence! My victim is the
instrument of her own ruin—without one rude grasp from my hand, without one threatning word, she swims
willingly to my arms!"
He took the hand of the fair girl within his own, and looking her steadily in the eye, with a deep gaze which
every instant grew more vivid and burning, he went on with his story—and his design.
"The wood grew very dark. Around me, were massive trees with thick branches, and gnarled trunks, bearing
witness of the storms of an hundred years. My way led over a path covered with soft forest-moss, and now and
then, red gleams of sunlight shot like arrows of gold, between the overhanging leaves. Darker and darker, the
twilight sank down upon the forest. At last missing the path, I knew not which way to tread. All was dark and
indistinct. Now falling over a crumbling limb, which had been thrown down by a storm long before, now
entangled by the wild vines, that overspread portions of the ground, and now missing my foothold in some
hidden crevice of the earth, I wandered wearily on. At last climbing up a sudden elevation of the mountain, I
stood upon a vast rock, that hung over the depths below, like an immense platform. On all sides, but one, this
rock was encircled by a waving wall of forest-leaves. Green shrubs swept circling around, enclosing it like a
fairy bower, while the eastern side, lay open to the beams of the moon, which now rose grandly in the vast
horizon. Far over wood, far over mountain, far over ravine and dell this platform-rock, commanded a distant
view of the valley of Wyoming
"The moon was in the sky, Mary; the sky was one vast sheet of blue, undimmed by a single cloud; and beneath
the moonbeams lay a sea of forest-leaves, while in the dim distance—like the shore of this leafy ocean—arose
the roofs and steeples of a quiet town, with a broad river, rolling along the dark valley, like a banner of silver,
flung over a sable-pall—"
And as the murmur escaped Mary's lips, the hand of Lorrimer grew closer in its pressure, while his left arm,
wound gently around her waist.
"I stood entranced by the sight. A cool breeze came up the mountain side, imparting a grateful freshness to my
cheek. The view was indeed beautiful, but I suddenly remembered that I was without resting-place or shelter.
Ignorant of the mountain paths, afar from any farm-house or village, I had still a faint of hope, of discovering the
the temporary habitation of some hunter, who had encamped in these forest- wilds.
"I turned from the magnificent prospect—I brushed aside the wall of leaves, I looked to the western sky. I shall
never forget the view—which like a dream of fairy-land—burst on my sight, as pushing the shrubbery aside, I
gazed from the western limits of the platform-rock.
"There, below me, imbedded in the very summit of the mountain, lay a calm lake, whose crystal-waters, gave
back the reflection of forest and sky, like an immense mirror. It was but a mile in length, and half that distance in
width. On all sides, sudden and steep, arose the encircling wall of forest trees. Like wine in a goblet, that calm
sheet of water, lay in the embrace of the surrounding wall of foliage. The waters were clear, so tranquil, that I
could see, down, down, far, far beneath, as if another world, was hidden in their depths. And then from the
heights, the luxuriant foliage, as yet untouched by autumn, sank in waves of verdure to the very brink of the lake,
the trembling leaves, dipping in the clear, cold waters, with a gentle motion. It was very beautiful, Mary, and—"
"Oh, most beautiful!"
The left hand of Lorrimer, gently stealing round her form, rested with a faint pressure upon the folds of the night-
robe, over her bosom, which now came heaving tremulously into light.
"I looked upon this lovely lake with a keen delight I gazed upon the tranquil waters, upon the steeps crowned
with forest-trees—one side in heavy shadow, the other, gleaming in the advancing moonbeams—I seemed to
inhale the quietness, the solitude of the place, as a holy influence, mingling with the very air, I breathed, and a
wild transport aroused my soul into an outburst of enthusiasm.
"Here—I cried—is the home for Love! Love, pure and stainless, flyng from the crowded city, here can repose,
beneath the shadow of quiet rocks, beside the gleam of tranquil waters, within the solitudes of endless forests.
Yon sky, so clear, so cloudless, has never beheld a sight of human misery or wo. Yon lake, sweeping beneath
me, like another sky, has never been crimsoned by human blood. This quiet valley, hidden from the world now,
as it has been hidden since the creation, is but another world where two hearts that love, that mingle in one, that
throb but for each other's joy, can dwell forever, in the calm silence of unalloyed affection—"
"A home for love such as angels feel—"
Closer and more close, the hand of Lorrimer pressed against the heaving bosom, with but the slight folds of the
"Here, beside this calm lake, whenever the love of a true woman shall be mine, here, afar from the cares and
realities of life, will I dwell! Here, with the means which the accident of fortune has bestowed, will I build, not a
temple, not a mansion, not a palace! But a cottage, a quiet home, whose roof shall arise—like a dear hope in the
wilderness—from amid the green leaves of embowering trees—"
"You spoke thus, Lorraine? Do I not love you as a true woman should love? Is not your love calm and stainless
as the waters of the mountain lake? We will dwell there, Lorraine! Oh, how like romance will be the plain reality
of our life!"
"Oh! Mary, my own true love, in that moment as I stood gazing upon the world-hidden lake, my heart all
throbbing with strange impulses, my very soul steeped in a holy calm, your form seemed to glide between my
eyes and the moonlight! The thought rushed like a prophecy over my soul, that one day, amid the barren
wilderness of hearts, which crowd the world, I should fine one, one heart, whose impulses should be stainless,
whose affection should be undying, whose love should be mine! Oh, Mary, in that moment, I felt that my life
would, one day, be illumined by your love—"
"And then you knew me not? Oh, Lorraine, is there not a strange mystery in this affection, which makes the
heart long for the love, which it shall one day experience, even before the eye has seen the beloved one?"
Brighter grew the glow on her cheek, closer pressed the hand on her bosom, warmer and higher arose that
bosom in the light.
"And there, Mary, in that quiet mountain valley, we will seek a home, when we are married. As soon as summer
comes, when the trees are green, and the flowers burst from among the moss along the wood-path, we will
hasten to the mountain lake, and dwell within the walls of our quiet home. For a home shall be reared for us,
Mary, on a green glade that slopes down to the water's brink, with the tall trees sweeping away on
"A quiet little cottage, Mary, with a sloping roof and small windows, all fragrant with wild flowers and forest
vines! A garden before the door, Mary, where, in the calm summer morning, you can inhale the sweetness of the
flowers, as they breath forth in untamed luxuriance. And then, anchored by the shore, Mary, a light sail-boat will
be ready for us ever; to bear us over the clear lake in the early dawn, when the mist winds up in fleecy columns
to the sky, in the twilight, when the red sun flings his last ray over the waters, or in the silent night, when the
moon is up, and the stars look kindly on us
from the cloudless sky—"
"Alas! Lorraine! Clouds may come and storms, and winter—"
"What care we for winter, when eternal spring is in our hearts! Let winter come with its chill, and its ice and its
snows! Beside our cheerful fire, Mary, with our hands clasping some book, whose theme is the trials of two
hearts that loved on through difficulty and danger or death, we will sit silently, our hearts throbbing with one
delight, while the long hours of the winter evening glide quietly on. Do you see the fire, Mary? How cheerily its
beams light our faces as we sit in its kindly light! My arm is round your waist, Mary, my cheek is laid next to
yours, our hands are locked together and your heart, Mary, oh how softly its throbbings fall on my ear!"
"Oh, Lorraine! Why is there any care in the world, when two hearts can make such a heaven on earth, with the
holy lessons of an all-trusting love—"
"Or it may be, Mary—" and his gaze grew deeper, while his voice sank to a low and thrilling whisper—"Or it
may be, Mary, that while we sit beside our winter fire a fair babe—do not blush, my wife—a fair babe will rest
smiling on your bosom—"
"Oh, Lorraine—" she murmured, and hid her face upon his breast, her long brown tresses, covering her neck
and shoulders like a veil, while Lorraine wound his arms closely round her form, and looked around with a
glance full of meaning.
There was triumph in that glance. The libertine felt her heart throbbing against his breast as he held her in his
arms, he felt her bosom panting and heaving, and quivering with a quick fluttering pulsation and as he swept the
clustering curls aside from her half-hidden face, he saw that her cheek glowed like a new-lighted flame.
"She is mine!" he thought, and a smile of triumph gave a dark aspect to his handsome face.
In a moment Mary raised her glowing countenance from his breast. She gazed around, with a timid, frightened
look. Her breath came thick and gaspingly. Her cheeks were all a-glow, her blue eyes swam in a hazy dimness.
She felt as though she was about to fall swooning on the floor. For a moment all consciousness seemed to have
failed her, while a delirious langor came stealing over her senses. Lorrimer's form seemed to swim in the air
before her, and the dim light of the room gave place to a flood of radiance, which seemed all at once to pour on
her eyesight from some invisible source. Soft murmurs, like voices heard in a pleasant dream, fell gently on her
ears, the langor came deeper and more mellow over her limbs; her bosom rose no longer quick and gaspingly,
but in long pulsations, that urged the full globes in all their virgin beauty, softly and slowly into view. Like billows
they rose above the folds of the night robe, while the flush grew warmer on her cheek, and her parted lips
deepened into a rich vermillion tint.
"She is mine!" and the same dark smile flushed over Lorrimer's face. Silent and motionless he sat, regarding his
victim with a steadfast glance.
"Oh, Lorraine—" she cried, in a gasping voice, as she felt a strange unconsciousness stealing over her senses—
"Oh, Lorraine—save me—save me!"
She arose, tottering on her feet, flinging her hands aloft, as though she stood on the brink of some frightful steep,
without the power to retreat from its crumbling edge.
"There is no danger for you, my Mary—" whispered Lorrimer, as he received her falling form in his outspread
arms—"There is no danger for you, my Mary—"
He played with the glossy curls of her dark brown hair as he spoke, while his arms gathered her half-swooning
form full against his heart.
"She is mine! Her blood is a-flame—her senses swim in a delirium of passion! While the story fell from my lips,
I aroused her slumbering woman's nature. Talk of force—ha, ha—She rests on my bosom as though she would
As these thoughts half escaped from his lips, in a muttered whisper, his face shone with the glow of sensual
passion, while his hazel eye dilated, with a glance, whose intense lustre had but one meaning; dark and atrocious.
She lay on his breast, her senses wrapt in a feverish swoon, that laid her powerless in his arms, while it left her
mind vividly sensible of the approaching danger.
"Mary, my love—no danger threatens you—" he whispered playing with her glossy curls—"Look up, my love—
I am with you, and will shield you from harm!"
Gathering her form in his left arm, secure of his victim, he raised her from his breast, and fixing his gaze upon her
blue eyes, humid with moisture, he slowly flung back the night robe from her shoulders. Her bosom, in all its
richness of outline, heaving and throbbing with that long pulsation, which urged it upward like a billow, lay open
to his gaze.
And at the very moment, that her fair breast was thrown open to his sensual gaze, she sprang from his embrace,
with a wild shriek, and instinctively gathered her robe over her bosom, with a trembling movement of her fair
white hands. The touch of the seducer's hand, polluting her stainless bosom, had restored her to sudden
"Lorraine! Lorraine!" she shrieked, retreating to the farthest corner of the room—"Oh, save me—save
"No danger threatens you, my Mary—"
He advanced, as he spoke, toward the trembling girl, who had shrunk into a corner of the room, crouching
closely to the rose-hued hangings, while with her head turned over her shoulder and her hands clasped across
her bosom, she gazed around with a glance full of terror and alarm.
Lorrimer advanced toward the crouching girl. He had been sure of his victim; he did not dream of any sudden
outburst of terror from the half swooning maiden as she lay, helpless on his breast. As he advanced, a change
came over his appearance. His face grew purple, and the veins of his eyes filled with thick red blood. He
trembled as he walked across the floor, and his chest heaved and throbbed beneath his white vest, as though he
found it difficult to breathe.
God save poor Mary, now!
Looking over her shoulder, she caught a gleam of his blood-shot eyes and read her ruin there.
"Mary, there is no danger—" he muttered, in a husky voice, as she shrunk back from his touch—"Let me raise
you from the floor—"
"Save me, oh Lorraine—Save me!" she cried, in a voice of terror, crouching closer to the hangings along the
"From what shall I save you?" he whispered, in a voice unnaturally soft and gentle, as though he endeavoured to
hide the rising anger which began to gleam from his eye, when he found himself foiled in the very moment of
triumph—"From what shall I save you—"
"From yourself—" she shrieked, in a frightened tone—"Oh, Lorraine, you love me. You will not harm me. Oh,
save me, save me from yourself!"
Playing with the animal nature of the stainless girl, Lorrimer had aroused the sensual volcano of his own base
heart. While he pressed her hand, while he gazed in her eyes, while he wound his embrace around her form, he
had anticipated a certain and grateful conquest. He had not dreamed that the humid eye, the heaving bosom, the
burning cheek of Mary Arlington, were aught but the signs of his coming triumph. Resistance? Prayers? Tears?
He had not anticipated these. The fiend was up in his soul. The libertine had gone too far to recede.
He stood before the crouching girl, a fearful picture of incarnate LUST. Sudden as the shadow after the light
this change had passed over his soul. His form arose towering and erect, his chest throbbed with sensual
excitement, his hands hung, madly clinched, by his side, while his curling hair fell wild and disordered over his
brows, darkening in a hideous frown, and his mustachioed lip wore the expression of his fixed and unalterable
purpose. His blood-shot eyes, flashed with the unholy light of passion, as he stood sternly surveying the form of
his victim. There was something wild and brutal in their savage glare.
"This is all folly—"he said, in that low toned and husky voice—"Rise from the floor, Mary. You don't think I'd
He stooped to raise her from the floor, but she shrank from his extended hands as though there was pollution in
his slightest touch.
"Mary, I wish you to rise from the floor!"
His clenched hands trembled as he spoke, and the flush of mingled anger and sensual feeling, deepened over his
"Oh, Lorraine!" she cried, flinging herself on her knees before him—"Oh, Lorraine—you will not harm me? This
is not you, Lorraine; it cannot be you. You would not look darkly on me, your voice would not grow harsh as it
whispered my name—It is not Lorraine that I see—it is an evil spirit—"
It was an evil spirit, she said, and yet looked up into his blood-shot eyes for a gleam of mercy as she spoke,
and with her trembling fingers, wrung his clinched right hand, and clasped it wildly to her bosom.
Pure, stainless, innocent, her heart a heaven of love, her mind child-like in its knowledge of the World, she
knew not what she feared. She did not fear the shame which the good world would heap upon her, she did not
fear the Dishonor, because it would be followed by such pollution that, no man in honor might call her—Wife—
no child in innocence might whisper her name as—Mother—she did not fear the foul Wrong, as society with its
million tongues and eyes, fears it, and holds it in abhorence, ever visiting the guilt of the man upon the head of his
Mary feared the Dishonor, because her soul, with some strange consciousness of approaching evil, deemed it, a
foul Spirit, who had arisen, not much to visit her with wrong as to destroy the Love, she felt for Lorrimer. Not
for herself, but for his sake, she feared that nameless crime, which already glared upon her from the blood-shot
eyes of her Lover. Her Lover!
"Oh, Lorraine, you will not harm me! For the sake of God, save me—save me!"
She clasped his hand with a closer grasp and gathered it tremblingly to her bosom, while her eyes dilating with a
glance of terror, were fixed upon his face.
"Mary—this is madness—no thing but madness—" he said in that voice, grown hoarse with passion, and rudely
tore his hand from her grasp.
Another instant, and stooping suddenly, he caught her form in his arms, and raised her struggling from her very
"Mary you are mine!" he hissed the whisper in her ear, and gathered her quivering form more closely to his heart.
There was a low-toned and hideous laugh, muttering or growling through the air as he spoke, and the form of
Devil-Bug, stole with a hushed foot step from the entrance of the Walnut Chamber, and seizing the light in his
talon-fingers, glided from the room, with the same hyena laugh which had announced his appearance.
"The trap—the bottle—the fire, for the brother—" he muttered as his solitary eye, glanced upon the Libertine
and his struggling victim, neither of whom had marked his entrance—"For the Sister—ha! ha! ha! The
'handsome' Devil-Bug—Monk Gusty—'tends to her! 'Bijah did'nt listen for nothin'—ha, ha! this beats the
charcoal, quite hollow!"
He disappeared, and the Rose Chamber was wrapt in midnight darkness.
Darkness! There was a struggle, and a shriek and a prayer. Darkness! There was an oath and a groan, mingling
in chorus. Darkness! A wild cry for mercy, a name madly shrieked, and a fierce execration. Darkness! Another
struggle, a low moaning sound, and a stillness like that of the grave. Now darkness and silence mingle together
and all is still.
In some old book of mysticism and superstition, I have read this wild legend, which mingling as it does the
terrible with the grotesque, has still its meaning and its moral.
In the sky, far, far above the earth—so the legend runs—there hangs an Awful Bell, invisible to mortal eye,
which angel hands alone may toll, which is never tolled save when the Unpardonable Sin is committed on earth,
and then its judgment peal rings out like the blast of the archangel's trumpet, breaking on the ear of the Criminal,
and on his ear alone, with a sound that freezes his blood with horror. The peal of the Bell, hung in the azure
depths of space, announces to the Guilty one, that he is an outcast from God's mercy for ever, that his Crime
can never be pardoned, while the throne of the Eternal endures; that in the hour of Death, his soul will be
darkened by the hopeless prospect of an eternity of wo; wo without limit, despair without hope; the torture of
the never-dying worm, and the unquenchable flame, forever and forever.
Reader! Did the sound of the Judgment Bell, pealing with one awful toll, from the invisible air, break over the
soul of the Libertine, as in darkness and in silence, he stood shuddering over the victim of his Crime?
If in the books of the Last Day, there shall be found written down, but One unpardonable crime, that crime will
be known as the foul wrong, accomplished in the gaudy Rose Chamber of Monk-hall, by the wretch, who now
stood trembling in the darkness of the place, while his victim lay senseless at his feet.
There was darkness and silence for a few brief moments, and then a stream of light flashed around the Rose
Like a fiend, returned to witness some appalling scene of guilt, which he had but a moment left, Devil-Bug stood
in the doorway of the Walnut Chamber. He grimly smiled, as he surveyed the scene.
And then with a hurried gesture, a pallid face and blood-shot eyes, as though some Phantom tracked his
footsteps, Lorrimer rushed madly by him, and disappeared into the Painted Chamber. At the very moment of his
disappearance, Devil Bug raised the light on high, and started backward with a sudden impulse of surprise.
"Dead—Dead and come to life!" he shrieked, and then the gaze of his solitary eye was fixed upon the entrance
to the Walnut Room. With a mechanical gesture, he placed the light upon the table and fled madly from the
chamber, while the curtains opening into the Walnut Room rustled to and fro, for a single instant, and then a
ghastly face, with livid cheeks and burning eyes, appeared between the crimson folds, gazing silently around the
place, with a glance, that no living man would choose to encounter, for his weight in gold—it was so like the
look of one arisen from the dead.
In the next chapter, we return to the Merchant, Livingstone,
as Luke leads him to the bedside of
The Guilty Wife