Augustus C. L Arnold.

The signet of King Solomon : or, the Freemason's daughter online

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Online LibraryAugustus C. L ArnoldThe signet of King Solomon : or, the Freemason's daughter → online text (page 1 of 14)
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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1866, by the


In the Clerk s Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern
District of New York.

]N the following pages the writer has en
deavored, through the medium of fiction,
to illustrate the principles of the institu
tion of Freemasonry, or rather to reveal
its high and glorious ideal. THE KNIGHT
OF THE TEMPLE is an embodiment of this ideal, which
may be said, indeed, to inspire all noble and elevated
souls; and exemplifies it in his aspirations, charitable
ambitions, and benevolent deeds; and especially in his
unwavering faith in the triumph of truth and goodness,
which 110 obstacles could tire, and no discouragements
could shake.

The author has also wished to illustrate another great
truth, viz. : that sin will sooner or latter meet with its
certain recompense, and can be atoned for only by labor,
and its effects destroyed by works of charity and love.

Believing that the Ideal of Freemasonry will yet
descend into the life of the world, with a harmonizing
and ennobling influence, he has desired to impress
upon the minds of the brotherhood the importance of
\vorkiug constantly and zealously to this effect. When



the world is brought under the rule of these divine
Sentiments, the new temple the great Temple of
Humanity, more magnificent than that of SOLOMON,
constructed by our ancient brethren will appear in
its glory, and be completed by our labors with acclama
tions of joy. The kingdom of violence, and injustice,
and inequality will be overturned, and that of love,
and goodness, and virtue will descend to bless the
earth forever. Let, therefore, the prayer of each and

all be:




" AWAY! address thy prayers to Heaven,

Before thy star of life is set ;
Learn if thou there canst be forgiven

If mercy may absolve thee yet!
But here upon this earth beneath

There s not a spot where thou and I
Together for an hour could breathe:

Away ! I would not see thee die.

j|N the extreme eastern portion of Massa
chusetts, where the bold and rock-
shielded shore projects itself far out
into the ocean, as if inviting a conflict
with its strong billows, lies a town of
considerable size, which, while in itself it offers no
particular beauties to attract the attention of the


traveler, is still somewhat celebrated, on account of

the remarkable picturesqueness of the surrounding


Back of the town, toward the north-west, a little

more than half a mile distant, rises a lofty hill,
covered on the west and north by heavy forest-trees,
while the southern and eastern slope furnishes ample
pasturage for the cattle of the villagers.

From this eminence the eye surveys, at a glance,
a prospect of the most pleasing and delightful char
acter. The sea, and its numerous fleets, sweeping
onward to all parts of the world ; the hills and fields,
smiling in all the pride of their summer glory ; the
village, nestling below, embowered by blooming
orchards ; the boats of the fishermen, shooting out
from various points along the shore, and skimming
lightly over the sparkling waters of the bay, all
unite to form a picture on which the eye never tires
to gaze.

In the early part of June, in the year 18-, just as
the setting sun, halting as it were a moment on the
horizon, cast his last farewell beams on the summit
of the hills, encircling it in a blaze of glory, a gentle
man emerged from a path which wound along under
the shadow of the wood, and, advancing to the
highest point, seated himself on a rock beneath the
shade of a beech-tree. He bore in his hand a
bouquet of fragrant wild flowers, and wore in the
button-hole of his coat a sprig of sweet-brier and a


He was a person of medium size, with an expressive
but not handsome countenance, which at this time
exhibited evident traces of fearful inward agitation.
He moved restlessly on his seat, as if a prey to
bitter and painful thoughts, never raising his eyes,
excepting now and then to look down the path which
led to the village, as if expecting the approach of some
one. Occasionally, as the tide of painful memories
swept through his mind, groans and sighs would
escape him, revealing a heart crushed and broken
by some mighty sorrow or overwhelming calamity.

At length his regards rested on the flowers he held
in his hand. After contemplating them a moment in
silence, he exclaimed :

" Beautiful children of the sunshine ! emblems of
purity, love, and innocence ! what now have I in
common with "you?" and he made a gesture as if he
would cast them away.

" Yet no ! " he added ; " I will retain you. Ye are
teachers of a heavenly wisdom ; there is a healing
benediction in your companionship."

His thoughts assuming a poetic form, he continued :

" These flowers alone my sorrows know ;

They see my grief and misery ;
And when I tell them all my woe,
They seem to weep and mourn with me. "

"And, besides, are ye not also emblems .of the
fragility of human innocence, and of the evanescent
nature of all worldly illusions? and, as such, it is fit


ye should be always with me. The fairest flowers
of innocence are too often withered by the blasting
breath of temptation and sin ! The golden illusion
of love and truth are as transitory and empty as
those fleeting stars which gleam for a moment,
through the night-gloom, and then plunge into eter
nal darkness. The Tempter marches through the
world, in a thousand fascinating and seductive forms,
and through pride, ambition, interest, and cursed
voluptuousness, seduces us to our ruin ! Evil, in
forms of angelic beauty, presents the fatal fruit to
our lips : we eat and fall, and the avenging Cheru
bim, with liery scourges, drive us from the Eden of
Innocence and Peace, and guard the gates against
us forever !

The last beam of day had faded; a gray haze
already concealed the village from sight, and the
thick and mysterious shadow of night descended on
hill and forest. As he sat there in the darkness,
wrapt in his painful thoughts, he looked like a statue
of grief, repentance, and despair.

Occupied with his memories, he had not noticed
the light >step of some person who was rapidly ap
proaching him.

A hand was laid upon his arm ; he started, as if
stung by a serpent.

the simultaneous exclamations of both ; and the pair
stood face to face, silently gazing at each other in
the gloom


The new-comer was a young lady, apparently
about twenty-three years of age. She possessed
considerable beauty, a complexion fair and trans
parent, and a form rather small, but voluptuously
developed. The shape of her head and the contour
of her features indicated plainly a superior intellect ;
while her lips and eyes, and entire appearance,
as certainly stamped her a child of passion false,
selfish, and capricious ; incapable of comprehending
any great or noble sentiment, or of recognizing the
first ideas of morality and virtue.

" So, MAY MILLWOOD, you have come as I com
manded you," said Captain THORNBURY, at length, in
a voice remarkably calm, considering his recent

"I am here as you desired," replied the girl, in a
subdued tone; for she could not bear the piercing
glance of his eye, which seemed to read all the dark
secrets of her soui. "But why did you send for
me ? " she continued. " I thought you never wished
to see me again."

" Listen, wretched girl, and , you shall know," he
replied quickly. " I have called you to this inter
view, that I might break the last tie that binds you
to me ; show you a picture of your wickedness, in all
its frightful deformity, and announce your punish
ment. Hear me : Before I knew you, I was good
and happy. My soul sympathized with all that was
true, and generous, and noble. I reverenced heaven
and loved my fellow-men ; I was sincere, just, and


true. You came to me, the spirit of evil, in the form
of an angel ; surrounded me with your allurements,
intoxicated my senses with your charms, and made
yourself mistress of my entire soul and its deepest
affections. I forgot GOD, heaven, and immortality
all for you, who absorbed my entire being. You
were my only divinity ; your smile was my only
heaven. Leading me into the paths of sin, you
made me your slave. And yet, at this very time,
when you professed so much devotion and love to
me, inebriating me with your fatal caresses, and
when you were well aware of my idolatrous affection
for you, you were falser than DELILAH of old ; fol
lowing your capricious passions, and seeking impure
companionships, with criminal recklessness."

While Captain THORNBURY was uttering these
frightful accusations, the miserable girl appeared
paralyzed. She did not think he knew the extent of
her crimes, and, perhaps, she entertained the idea,
when she received the command to meet him on that
evening, that she could still deceive him, and keep
him in her chains. Be that as it may, she was now
thoroughly undeceived.

After a pause, Captain THORNBURY resumed :

" You have a ring upon your finger ; you will
please hand it to me."

She hesitated, and looked into his face inquiringly.

" I have said it," he added, sternly ; " every token
you possess of my ill-starred and fatal love must be


She slowly, and with evident reluctance, removed
the ring, and passed it to him.

"And that bracelet," he continued, pointing to her

She unclasped it, and placed it in his hand with
the ring.

"You will now give me that locket," he added.

" Oh ! no, no ! " she exclaimed, imploringly. "You
cannot, you will not take that from me?"

" It must be so, MAY," he replied, firmly, but with
an accent of sadness.

"Oh! do not take it; it contains the hair of my
child. Do let me retain this," she repeated ; " only
let me keep this."

" The lock of hair, certainly, but not the locket,"
was his cold reply.

She drew it from her bosom, and handed it to

He opened it, and took therefrom two locks of
hair; one of them he threw away, and the night-
breeze bore it off, and scattered it among the grass.
The other, a little silky curl, black as a raven s plume,
lie returned to her, saying :

" That is your s. MATTHEW ORALL should procure
a locket for it."

At the r/vention of this name, MAY staggered as if
she had teen struck a heavy blow. She knew now
that Captain TITORNBURY was well acquainted with all
her perfidy and crimes, and she stood trembling
before him in her unmasked wickedness, not daring


to raise her head, nor meet the gaze of the man
whom she had so cruelly deceived and wronged.

" And now, MAY MILLWOOD," he resumed, " listen
to the doom I pronounce upon you : Incapable of
love, in any high and true sense of that term ; unable
to comprehend the meaning of the words fidelity and
duty, you are unfit to be a wife. You must tread the
patli of life alone alone! alone! and alone you must
expiate your crimes ! Abandon this life of deception
and shame ; overcome the latent vices of your nature ;
cultivate the good, devote yourself to the useful ser
vice of your fellow-creatures, and you may yet atone
for your crimes ; and GOD may accept your repent
ance, and bless you with his forgiveness ! The Past,
you have lost forever. No power in the universe
can restore it, or remove from above you its dreadful
shadow. Grim and terrible it will frown upon you
through the long, long eternity. But, by the right
of penitence, you may possess the Future. Yes,"
he continued, with enthusiasm, as if talking to him
self ; " yes, although the Past and its evil deeds are
recorded against us for evermore, and justice, stern
and inexorable, will execute the everduring retribu
tion ; yet the doors of the Future are open to the
penitent, and above and before us gleams the ever
brightening way where angels walk. Look at yonder
star, just lifting its golden crest above the sea, as if
emerging from the dark abysses below, to take its
place among the splendors of the skies. Thus break
ing the degrading bonds that have bound me, tri-


umpiring over the passions which have seduced and
the vices which have wounded me, that star shall be
the type of my life ; ever rising, ever advancing in
that star-paved way where only virtue may walk."

A sudden flash of dazzling brightness from the
eastern sky, at this moment, illuminated the entire
landscape. He turned, and saw a brilliant meteor
sweeping down obliquely toward the horizon, leaving
a fleeting trail of splendor behind. In a few seconds
the last glimmer had disappeared, and deeper dark
ness seemed to spread over the sky.

" MAY ! " he suddenly exclaimed, turning toward
the girl, " look well to yourself, or your life will be
like that transient meteor a star hurled from its
sphere of glory, to be swallowed up in the eternal
blackness. Go ; but remember the path I have pre
scribed for you to walk in. Think not to deviate
from it, either to the right or the left. If you seek
to practice new deceptions, or perpetrate new crimes,
a hand will be near to punish ; in the brightness
of noon, or the darkness of midnight, an eye will
burn on all your paths of guilt, be they ever so
secret, and justice will be sure to overtake you. Go,
and repent."

Overwhelmed with, emotions of hatred, fear, and
shame, MAY turned away, without uttering a word,
and hurried down the path to the village.

Captain THOENBURY gazed after her with tearful
eyes ; for he could not forget the tender friendship
he had entertained for her when he believed her


good and pure. A thousand tender memories rushed
over his heart, and for the moment unmanned him.

After a few moments, he took the ring, locket, and
bracelet, laid them upon the rock at his feet, and
with the heel of his boot ground them to splinters.

" Thus perishes," he exclaimed, " the last link of
the fatal chain that bound me to an evil destiny.
Now commences the work of expiation. Though
I have lost the peace of Innocence, with Heaven s
help, I may yet possess the happiness of Virtue."
And he walked away through the darkness.



tears of pity o er a brother s fall,
Nor dwell with bitterness upon his fault ;
The grace and love of GOD hold thee hold all ;

Were they withdrawn, thou, too, would st surely halt."


HE worthy Knights of the Temple
had assembled in full force, at their
regular convocation, in the month of
June, 18 . . , in the city of . . . . , to
celebrate their mysteries, transact the business
pertaining to their cornmandery, and to con
sider whatever might be presented of interest
SL to them, or in any way connected with the
welfare of that ancient fraternity.

The opening ceremonies had scarcely concluded,
and the order of regular business opened, when one
of the Knights arose, and, advancing to the Grand
Commander, placed a paper in his hands, and then,
turning to the Knights, addressed them thus :

" Sir Knights and Brothers of the Order of the
Temple : you behold an erring and penitent brother,
who, overwhelmed with shame, comes before you to
confess his fault, and receive with resignation and
humility whatever punishment your wisdom and
justice may see fit to ordain. The paper now in the
hands of the 111/. Grand Commander contains the
particulars of his error. Feeling unworthy longer
to be numbered among you, he desires to lay aside


all that pertains to liis knightly state, except its
memories, and have his name erased from the roll of

At this unexpected announcement, the Knights
were thunderstruck. Captain THORNBURY was one
of their most distinguished members, unusually
learned in the lore of that mystic institution, which,
descending from the dawn of time, has in all ages
labored to overcome the antagonisms of society, and
unite the hostile nations in brotherly confidence and
friendship. That lie, of all others, should thus
stand before them self-condemned was too much
for belief.

After a painful silence of some minutes, the Grand
Commander arose, and thus addressed the astonished
commandery :

" True it is, our brother has been led into tempta
tion, and persuaded into a grave error; but the
voluntary confession he has made, and the exceeding-
tenderness of conscience which moved him to make
that confession, when the secret was known only to
himself and his GOD, and could be known to no
others, but by his own co-operation, prove that his
soul is in sympathy with virtue, and that his heart
has passed uncorrupted through that fiery experience.
Nevertheless, he has broken the rules of his Order,
and it is fitting that you prescribe some punishment,
and it remains for you to say what it shall be."

"Let the Grand Commander decide," was the
unanimous voice of the commandery.


"Let it be so, then," responded the chief; and,
addressing himself to the self-accused Knight, who
was kneeling at the altar, he proceeded : " Unfor
tunate brother, when you were invested with the
dignity of a Knight, you made a solemn vow, under
the Arch of Steel, to obey all the rules of our Order,
and bow to its degrees. Will you accept, in humility
and meekness, the sentence I am about to pro
nounce ? "

" I will," was the earnest response.

"Listen, then, resumed the Grand Commander.
"When Adam lost his integrity, through the per
suasion of woman, the doom of labor was pronounced
upon him, and has descended to all his race. And
it is only thus that sin can be atoned for, and its
effects destroyed. The righteous Judge undoubtedly
ordained this doom, because he foresaw that the
punishment itself would become a means of redemp
tion. While marching and exploiting painfully in
the path of expiation, humanity advances in the way
of perfection. Labor, the great penalty announced
for the sin of man, has transfigured the world, and
disenthralled the race. Civilization, social institu
tions, art, science, literature, philosophy all that if
great and good, or beautiful and noble in life
behold, these are the fruits of labor, that ex
piatory labor which while it atones for the sin of the
world, also redeems it. Such is the nature of the
Divine punishment. Also, when one of our ancient
brethren sinned against the rules of his fraternity,


liis peers, in imitation of the heavenly order, imposed
upon him the sentence of labor ; and upon the arid
plains, and under the burning sky of Syria and
Judea, must he labor, in expiation of his fault, pro
tecting the defenseless and the weak, succoring the
distressed, and periling life in the sublime work of
"rescuing the Sepulchre of the Crucified from the
possession of the unholy children of Mohammed.
Following, then, the Divine idea, and the example
of our ancient brethren, this commandery decrees
that, for one year and a day, you devote yourself to
tlte service of Humanity. Go forth, and perform the
several labors which are demanded of a Knight of the
Temple and Holy /Sepulchre. Watch over the de
fenseless and helpless ; console the sorrowful ; relieve
the distressed ; lead the erring and sinful into the
ways of repentance and virtue. Frustrate the evil
machinations of the wicked, who seek to despoil the
widow and the orphan. These are the labors to
which you are sent. Perform them faithfully, and
the sins shall be effaced from your knightly es
cutcheon ; peace shall return to your suffering heart,
and the grace of charity shall wash away your sin.
Sir Knights of the Temple, let us all take warning
from the sorrows of our unfortunate friend, and
never lose sight of the moral obligations imposed on
us by our knightly vows. Forget not that we, too,
have faults to expiate by works of charity and love.
Following the illustrious examples of DE MOLAY
and GUIEO, the two great martyrs of our Order, we


can meet life its duties, trials and griefs with for
titude ; or death, in whatever form it comes, with
firmness, confidence, and hope. And when at last
we stand before the Grand Commander of the
Universe, we shall hear the approving words : Well
done, good and faithful servants, friends of GOD and
humanity, defenders of virtue and innocence, ascend
to your reward.

The Grand Commander, then approaching the
penitent Knight, laid his hand upon his head,
saying :

"Have courage, brother. Go, in the name of
GOD ; march in the path of penitence. Hemem-
ber Golgotha ! A suffering world calls you to its
service, and that service comprises the seven sacred
labors of Masonry, which are : 1st, Feed the hungry ;
2d, Give drink to the thirsty ; 3d, Clothe the naked
with a garment ; 4th, Visit and ransom captives ;
5th, Harbor the homeless give the orphan and
widow where to lay their heads ; 6th, Relieve the
sick ; 7th, Bury the dead. And now, Sir Knights,"
he added, " let this commandery be closed.

In nomeni Patris Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. "


4 SHE was a phantom of delight,
When first she gleamed upon my sigh* ;
A lovely apparition, sent
To be my being s ornament."


N the north part of the village,
where our first scene transpired,
on a considerable elevation of
land, overlooking the sea, and nearly concealed from
the view of one passing in the road by shrubbery
and trees, stands a pretty cottage, one of those cosy


and delightful retreats which always draw the atten
tion and elicit the remarks of travelers.

The door was protected by a porch of lattice
work, one side of which was shaded and completely-
covered by woodbine, and the other by a climbing
rose-bush, which at this time was loaded with thou
sands of flowers. The exceeding neatness of the
place, and the unostentatious elegance of its environ
ments, plainly indicated the refined and cultivated
tastes of the occupants.

This was the home of MABY MORE. The eldest
of three children, she resided with her mother,
who, being a lady of intelligence and culture, had
herself taken charge of the education of her
daughters ; and, at the age of eighteen, few young
ladies could boast of more accomplishments, both
ornamental and useful, than MARY.

Her father, a worthy and much-respected sea
captain, had died some years before, leaving his
sorrow-stricken widow his blessing, the memory of
his great love to her the most inestimable of
treasures the cottage in which she dwelt, and a
small income, scarcely sufficient to provide the bare
necessities of life. The brave and loving woman
did not, however, shrink from the heavy burden she
must now bear alone ; but, devoting herself exclu
sively to her children and the remembrance of her
adored husband, and supported by an earnest and
trustful faith in him who had promised to be "a
father to the fatherless and the widow s GOD," she


battled victoriously with the perplexities and hard
experiences of life.

Still young and beautiful, she steadily refused all
offers of a second marriage, believing, with the
mother of ST. AUGUSTINE, that the bond which bound
her to her husband was eternal, and she desired to
meet him again, a pure and faithful wife, and repose
in his bosom in heaven.

Yet, with all her efforts to provide for her family,
she would have been sadly perplexed at times, and
suffered severe deprivations, had she not periodically
received aid, which came to her with the greatest
regularity, and in such a mysterious manner, that
she never could get any clue to her invisible bene

MARY, now a young lady of eighteen, had inherited
all the amiable qualities of both her parents. Lov
ing, truthful, pure-minded, and pious, she was a
universal favorite. She could adapt herself to all
society the old, the young, the gay, or the sorrowful.
The poor idolized her, for she was always ready to

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Online LibraryAugustus C. L ArnoldThe signet of King Solomon : or, the Freemason's daughter → online text (page 1 of 14)