- part: MY QUEEN;
- CHAPTER II. THE LOVERS.
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ONE bright spring afternoon in the year 1856, within a rustic pavilion at Brentford, sat the lovers. Julian read aloud the "Fire Worshipers." Oreana was supposed to be listening, but it was evident from her abstracted gaze, that her spirit had wandered too far away to hear even a lover's tones. At last, Julian, discovering that Oreana did not hear him, closed the book, and drew near to his lady-love, saying:
"Oreana, what are you thinking about? For the last half-hour you have sat silent, immovable, with all the sunshine gone from your face. I do not think you have heard a word that I have read. Do, love, look again like yourself, or I shall fancy you are a Parca, about to snip my life-thread."
"A Parca! What a queer fancy; and yet, perhaps it is a truthful one. I am a Fate."
"You are mine, darling,--my Clotho. Weave my web of golden threads. But there,--these fingers could weave nought else but gold. Won't you smile? this is our last tete à tete for a long week."| | 10
"A week?" echoed Oreana, half dreamily, half interrogatively.
"Why yes, dear, to-morrow you know I go to Liverpool; and you, the next day, to Cousin Laura's; so we shall not meet again until next week."
"Perhaps never again."
"Nonsense! Come, cheer up; why, two months from to-day will be our wedding day."
"No, Julian, it cannot be."
The young man started.
"Cannot be? What does it all mean?" Have I angered you?"
"Angered me! No, Julian; but there is something I must tell you. You never would listen to me, but now you must. The Word of God has come unto me. It calls upon me to arise--to leave Babylon."
"Good God! Are you going to be a nun?"
"A nun? God forbid. No, a greater light has been vouchsafed to me--a light that makes me one of God's saints."
"There, dear; don't go back to that tabooed subject. We all know you are a saint; but what has that to do with our marriage?"
"It has everything to do with it. I cannot marry you unless you receive the truth, and are baptized; and even then I will not marry until we are in the holy Zion."
"Oreana, you are driving me mad. Say it is all a jest. You cannot possibly mean that you are a Mormon."
"I do not jest; I am a Mormon."
Julian started as if stung, his eyes dilated with horror.| | 11
"Oreana, I cannot believe it. You, so pure, so good, so noble, to accept an abominable creed like Mormonism."
"Abominable! Julian, you know not of what you speak. The early Christians were also called abominable. Christ was crucified as a conspirator. Luther was charged with every crime. Surely, then, we can endure calumny. What do you know about the saints, or Mormons as you call them, that you malign them in this way?"
"You speak truly, Oreana; but the early Christians were pure. Do not these Mormons commend and practice polygamy?"
"And were not Abraham, Jacob, and the Patriarchs, were not David and Solomon polygamists? Yet do we not reverence them? Are they not upheld by all the churches as models of virtue and wisdom? What have you to reply?"
"Only that these wise and good men belonged to a different age, a different civilization to ours; and I should no more think of doing anything against my conscience, or antagonistic to our civilization, simply because they did it, than I would dwell in a tent because Abraham did so, or, instead of a gun, use a sling because such was David's weapon."
"I own I have never studied the Bible sufficiently to refute your arguments in a learned manner; but certainly, common sense seems to confute them."
"Yes, the wisdom of the serpent is found in the mouths of the wicked; and in the Latter Day their hearts shall be hardened. But Julian, do not you be like unto them. Come with me to the desert that has | | 12 blossomed like a rose, to the city of God on the mountains. Leave Babylon!--leave the wicked!"
"Nonsense, my love; there is no wickedness here. Are not our parents as good as they can be, are not our friends upright, intelligent, God-loving Christians? I own I am not very churchy, but I try to do right, to lead a peaceful life. Again: why should you imagine God is in one particular spot? Does not the Bible say that He is everywhere--and wherever good will and happiness reign, there he loves to dwell? God smiles upon us here, in this lovely vale,--as benignly as He would on that far-off mountain; and certainly we can serve Him as well, if not better, here among civilized people, than we could among savages."
"No, Julian: in Zion only can we serve God, in Zion only can we be saved at that awful day--of doom fast, fast approaching; in Zion only can our marriage be recorded in Heaven. To Zion I go; no earthly obstacle is strong enough to prevent me."
"My love, my love," cried Julian, pressing her to his heart." I conjure you, I implore you, by all that is holy, by the sacred words home and love, banish these ideas. Our heavenly Father cannot wish you to break these sacred ties, to kill your fond parents, for they will die if you leave them thus. No! God cannot wish it. It is blasphemy to say He does. Oreana, have pity upon me, upon yourself. Do not leave all that is bright and beautiful. Break away from this evil influence--throw off these delusion--promise me you will think no more of these wild projects, promise, beseech you--"
Oreana disengaged herself from Julian's embrace, walked slowly to the door of the pavilion, and there | | 13 stood silent and motionless gazing out upon the glowing West, as if seeking inspiration.
At length she turned to speak.
Julian started with surprise. Was this Oreana, or was it not rather a pythoness of ancient Delphos about to pronounce his doom? Never did priestess look more inspired than did Oreana. Her figure seemed to grow tall and expand; a wondrous light shone in her face, and her features became luminously transparent. She stood, framed in sunbeams, one radiant hand stretched out towards the West, a personification of religious enthusiasm.
"Julian," she cried, her voice vibrant with passionate exaltation: "Julian, I hear the voice of God saying unto me, 'My daughter, arise out of Babylon; come to my city, to the New Jerusalem. I bid thee leave father, mother, home, all, for me.' Yes, I hear the voice, and I see angel forms beckoning to me. In their hands are palmy crowns, martyrs' crowns. Again I hear the voice saying, 'Arise quickly, my daughter; all they that love Me, arise out of Babylon ere she be destroyed.' Yes, I see the angel of the Lord descending, in his hands war, famine, and pestilence. I see the proud ones of the earth swept away into perdition. I see the Holy One of Israel coming in dazzling splendor to reign in Zion. Let us go, Julian, to meet him, to reign with Him. Let our example inspire those we love to become saints of Zion. But if you will not come, woe be unto you. Woe unto all who will not listen--woe, woe to--"
Oreana stopped suddenly. A dark cloud obscured the sun, its glory vanished, and with it her inspiration. A gloom, prophetic of the future, enfolded the lovers, | | 14 who silently left the pavilion, never again to enter it together.
As they approached the house, the sound of merry voices and laughter greeted them. Julian paused.
"Oreana, I cannot go in now. It is no use to cloud the happiness of our parents. They would see that something was wrong, and--and I--we need not tell them, yet, for I know you will soon think differently. Don't you think so, dear? A change will make us feel better, and it would be cruel to worry them. We will talk this over when we meet again. Shall it be so, my darling?"
"Yes, yes," sadly replied Oreana. "We shall agree, no doubt, when we meet again. Good bye, Julian, God bless you."
Tears filled Oreana's eyes, and Julian was forced to rush away, to hide his emotion.
Often did he look back and wave adieus to Oreana, who stood watching him as he slowly disappeared. Not until a turn in the road hid him from her sight did she move, and then it was to run to the pavilion steps, from whence she could see him enter the manor.
One last farewell; then Oreana turned towards the house. She walked slowly, looking fondly at every familiar object.
She, also, seemed to dread meeting her parents; for she avoided the parlor, and sought her own room, where, with locked doors, she knelt in prayer.| | 15
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