Chapter 20333110

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Chapter NumberXV.
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article20333110
Full Date1880-05-22
Page Number649
Corrections0
Word Count4431
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)
Trove TitleAdam and Eve
article text

The Storyteller.

Adam and Eve.

CHAPTER XV.

BY Mrs. PARR, Authoress of "Dorothy Fox," "The Gosau Smithy," &c., &c.

ANN LISEETH'S advice was taken; and the three girls, with their arms linked together in a friendly fashion, followed Jessie and Adam up the Lansallos road, past Landaviddy, and on as

far as the point which leads by Langreek and Crumplehorn. Ann Lisbeth and Joan sustained the conversation ; Eve only paying enough atten tion to enable her to drop in a word here and there, and so escape her silence attracting their notice. • Don't let's seem to be tryin' to catch them up,' Joan had said, Boon after starting. 'I've had enough o' Adams black look* for one evenin' ;' and after that they had slackened their pace, and walked lejau,rely, as best suited their couven.ien.ce, Th,e night was dark, the sky cloudy, the road Iftuddy And long ; and Eve, unused to the rough ness of country lanes, began to grow tired and weary. 'Have we very much farther to go?' she asked, her voice giving utterance to her feelings. * Why, no,' aaid Joan ; ' and, considerin' us has got to go all the ways back 4g«n home, I don't ?cc why us shouldn't turn to once. Jessie don't want to soj nothin' more to you, J, o'pooe, Ann lisbeth V ' Lord, no J' laughed Ann Lisbeth. ' I'll be ho^nd, for it by this time her's a forgot there's anybody else in the world but Adam. Won't it be sickly to hear her ?' she added, with a face of disgust. "Twill be Adam this, and Adam that) till I shall get to hate the very sound o' his name.' ' She may thank her stars he was in his tan trums to-night,' said Joan, ' or he'd ha' seed her \/O Jericho afore he'd offered to bqo h,er home." ' D,o 'cc think so ?' sajd Ann Lisbeth, dubi oußly. 'Well, then, he didn't ought to go B,tu,ffjn' the maid up as he does, if so be he ain't h#* got no manin' in it; 'cos her sooka in all he qojs for gospel-truth.' ' More foul she, then !' replied Joan, decisively. ' Iyer's got to do no more than open here yei and her ears, to know that he's a done the same by a good many afore it corned to her turn. Why, * Ttia right of repiiblishing " Adam and Era" in QuoeniUikl lim been purouanwl by the proprietor* of the ifutmiltinikr.

look to Chrissy Pope, and Sally Tadd ; he's never carried on the quarter with Jessie that he has with they, and a score more that I oonld name ; so if her's made a Jinny-ninny of there's only herself to thank fort 'Do 'cc think us'U keep 'em waitin' up to farm gate, 'apectin' ua to come on ?' suggested Ann Lisbeth. 'If so, they'll be waitin' in vain,' returned Joan, wheeling round decisively ; 'so come along, let's go home by Crumplehorne—'tis shorter;' and away they went, gossiping as before, only that, on the supposition that Eve felt tired, she was left to the more undisturbed possession of her own thoughts. ' Here, I say, Joan !' exclaimed Ann Liabetb, as they came within sight of a gate which led up to a farmhouse, hidden by the high hedge from view, ' I wants to ask Mrs. dims about some butter. Would 'cc mind runnin* in for a minute to see if her's got it ready V ' Well, I'm afraid Eve's more tired than she owns to,' said Joan ; 'I've felt her limpin' for a brave bit.' 'I can't think what I've done to my foot!' said Eve ; ' and it almost feels as if I'd turned it Bomehow, but if ' ' So, no,' replied Joan ; • us'll stay here while Ann Lisbeth runs in ; 'twont take her but a few minutes.' Away went Ann Lisbeth through the gate, and Joan and Eve were left standing in the narrow steep lane. ' Lord, what a time her's gone!' exclaimed Joan, going forward to see if there was any sign of their companion's approach. ' I'd a' had all the butter in the place 'fore this ;' and she un did the gate, and held it half open in her anxiety. ' Here, Joan, Joan !' called out a voice from within, ' come in for a minute ; do 'cc, like a dear ! Here's somebody wantin' to spake to 'cc.' ' Tea, you go, Joan,' said Eve ; ' do ! you won't be long, and I'll wait here till you come out' Joan went inside, and Eve heard her greeted by a clamor of voices. Feeling her foot growing more painful, she went to the gate and leaned on it for support Her heart was heavy and her thoughts troubled ; her anger against Adam had given place to dissatisfaction with herself. It was not that she repented refusing the lace, but she felt she had no right in refusing it in such an ungracious manner ; it was giving way to un necessary temper and causing unnecessary strife, for, after all, if he hadn't thought something of her he wouldn't have offered her such a hand some present; and Eve sighed despondingly as she told herself he wasn't likely toldokover it in a hurry. She wished she knew how best to propitiate him. Should she tell him how sorry she ftlt ? say to him that she hoped he would forget her uncousinly behavior ? Her mind was full of compunction, ready to make any apology ; her heart softened and humbled; when suddenly her ear caught the rapid approach of footsteps ; she turned quickly round—it was Adam ; and as quickly she had resumed her position, and was again leaning over the gate. There was a moment's pause; if the footsteps had gone on, assuredly Eve would have run after them ; but the hesitation determined the balance of power in her favor, and the next instant Adam was standing beside her. Neither of them spoke. Eve silent because her courage was rising ; Adam, because his was failing. ' I suppose,' he said, jerking out his words as if forced into saying them,' it doesn't matter a bit to you whether we're good friends or bad ; so I don't know why I should mind. But, somehow, mind I do,' he added, altering bis position so that he might catch the expression of her composed face. Did the mischievous imps who had so often egged Adam on to tantalise unrequited love now gloat in triumph at the pitfall into which he in his turn was being lured ? for, with all the quickness of a woman's appreciation of her situation, Eve seized her advantage, and at once assumed her former demeanor of cool indiffer ence. •Evel* 'AcUnV 1 Oh, don't apeak like that!' and he stamped his foot impatiently ; 'as if you didn't care a button whether I stay here or go away; whether I speak or hold my tongue. I know that this evening I didn't do as I ought to have done, that I let my confounded ill-temper get the better of me ; but you know I had some reason ; you know that I was put out and tantalised past bearing by one thing and the other ; and seeing that it was you who ' ' Hush !' she said, as a sudden noise suggested that Joan and Ann LJsheth were coming to join them ; ' they've only gone in to ask Mrs. Clime something, and left me here because my foot pains me so. I think I must have strained it,' she continued, putting it out ' Your foot!' and in a second he was kneeling on the ground with his hand under her shoe. ' What, this one ? How did you do it V he said. ' Does it ache much ? You are not used to such rough walking, perhaps ; that's it' ' I hardly know ;' and Bhe madd an effort to stand upon it 'Oh dear)' Bhe exclaimed, flinch ing with the pain j ' how shall I manage to hobble home V 'Oh, I'll get you home fast enough,' said Adam, growing quite cheerful at the prospect of her probable dependence. 'If you'll take hold of me, and lean all your weight on my arm, I'll wager you shall reach home safely enough.' 'But ain't you very tired already V suggested Eve. ' Tired! no. What should I be tired with V ' Why, you've had Jessie to ' ' Oh, Jessie be—bothered J I only offered to go with her because —well x hoping it would vex Xou.' 'Vex me? why, how could it possibly vex me ?' and Eve opened her eyes in innocent astonishment 'I don't know,' he said; 'only I know I'd give a good deal to be able to vex you, or even put you in a right-down regular passion, so that it would make you think of me a bit different to other people.' ' Dear me, what n time they're staying I' said Eve abruptly, declining to take any notice of this last speech. ' There it is I' he sighed ; ' that's it I You're tired of me in five minutes.' ' Hardly so soon as that,' said Eve ; and either

the softened intonation of her voioe or the look ?he turned upon him made Adam exclaim : ' Eve, let me run in and tell them we're going on. Tea; do, now 1 Rawea Climo's home, and he's certain to walk back with Ann Liabeth. Only think, if you wait for them, how late we shall be ! and with you not able to do more than limp home I' 'Do you think they'd mind ?' said Eve, hesi tating. 4 Mind ! no ;' and, waiting for no further per* mission, ha opened the gate, and was in the house and back again before Kve had more than time to wonder if she ought to have allowed him to go. ' It's all right,' he said ; ' Rawet is there, and Barnabas Tadd, and they're all coming together. I told them not to hurry, because you would be forced to walk very slow. Will you have my arm ?' he aaked ; 'or shall I take your hand ?' Eve held out her hand, Adam took it ; and they so proceeded on their way, picking their steps with a caution which precluded much being said in the way of conversation. At length, how ever, the bottom of the hill was reached, and the road became more even, so that there was a pos sibility of talking. ' I remember this road now,' said Eve ; ' 'tis the same one I came here by, up on the horse behind young Mr. Tucker.' 1 Is it V replied Adam, with the abstracted air of one who makes a remark because he feelß something is expected of him. ' Yes ; and we shall come to the turning to the mill presently, shan't we V said Eve, apparently desirous of airing her topographical knowledge. •Yes.' '1 dare say it's a very pretty road by day,' and Eve looked up at the high overhanging hedges ; ' but it's so dreadfully dark now ! Isn't it dark ?' ' Dark I' echoed Adam, after a minute's pause. ' Yes, perhaps it is, rather.' There was another pause, during which Eve wished that Adam would talk, or that she could think of something else to say ; these periods of silence were embar rassing. ' Isn't it a pity there's no moon ?' she said, looking up at the nky, murky and dark, with only a glimmeiiDg star here and there visible. ' What for ?' said Adam. ' Why should you want the moon ?' ' Oh, because we could see our way so much better ?' ' I know every step of the way blindfolded,' Baid Adam ; ' there's quite as much light as I want. And as for you,' he added, drawing her closer to him,' there's no need for you to see : you couldn't slip with me near you.' ' Oh, couldn't I! I'm not so sure of that,' she said, with a half-nervous laugh. ' Why, you've almost let me slip two or three times already.' * Not a bit of it 1' he replied stoutly ; * that wasn't Blippiug : I only caught hold of you to be ready in case you might slip.' ' That's very good !' laughed Eve. ' I'm afraid you must be nervous V ' I shouldn't wonder but I am,' he said, bend ing down so that Eve felt he was looking into her face. ' How ought you to feel when you are nervous ?' ' How !' repeated Eve, who at that moment needed but to give the description by her per sonal feelings. 'Why, you seem in a sort of tremble all over, and your heart is in such a flutter that you can all but hear it beating.' ' That's exactly how mine feels now, then,' said Adam. ' Really !' and Eve tried to steady her voice to its ÜBual tone. ' I wonder what it can be with ?' 'Do you want to know ?' said Adam; and the whisper he spoke in seemed to quicken Eve'B every vein. ' Shall I tell you ?' ' No, no !' she cried. ' I don't want to hear —Adam—l ' but the rest of the sentence was smothered; and when Eve spoke again it was to say,' Adam, I'm very angry indeed with you !' 'No, Eve, not angry !' and Adam's voice was penitence itself. ' Don't say that! How could I help it, when the others will be here in a minute 1 And you said you didn't know how to repay me.' ' That didn't mean you were to pay yourself,' replied Eve, trying to assume a most offended air; for, strange to say, she did not feel nearly as angry with Adam as she desired to. 1 Well, I'm sure I'll return it if you'll ' but Eve drew back with a determined movement. ' Now, Adam, I won't allow any more of this. If you're going to walk home with me, you must behave yourself ' Well, I will,' he Baid. ' Only you mustn't be angry. You must say you forgive me.' Eve stood for a moment hesitating, then, with out looking: up she said : 'Well, I'll forgive you now, if you promise never to do bo again ; for, remember, next time I really shall be very angry indeed with you.' The reat of the party now coming up, Adam accepted these conditions ; and, joining company, they walked along together, singing snatches of such songs as had a chorus in which they could all take part. Between times the men spoke of their vessels and how they had been employed. Barnabas had a share in a pilchard scan, and was therefore well up in fishing news. Rawea, who belonged to Ezekiel John's boat, wu anxious to know when their next trip might be expected. Adam had their late luck with the Indiaman to relate. They had done very well, he said ; and he thought by to-morrow, or the next day at the latest, the Lottery would manage to run it ashore. *• How was it you didn't stay aboard her, then V asked Barnabas. ' Oh, I'd had enough of being away,' replied Adam, giving Eve's hand a significant squeeze. * Besides, there was a little business to be done at Dock with the landlord of the Blue Boar ; so I got Jan Qrigg, the pilot, to land me at Ply mouth, and from there I got on.' 'Didn't see nothin' of Jerrem, I s'pose ?' said Rawea. Adam shook his head. ' What a chap that is I' continued Rawe*. ' I wonder, now, where he's slopin' away his time to?' ' I told 'cc that Ikey Oliver Baid he'd ha heerd that he'd left for Jersey Island, meaning to cross for Weymouth—didn't I ?' said Joan, addressing Adam. ' Yea ; but as Captain Trethewy left Jersey the same day we set sail from Guernsey, I don'ti see how it could have bin true.' 'Have fee got any pretty thyya time,

Adam ?' asked Ann Lisbeth, deairouß of chang ing the topic. ' Any chintzea or muslins or that !' 'No, nothing much beyond the china,' said Adam. ' That 'minds me I must look up Dickey Snobnose to-morrow. I B'pose you haven't none o' you seen him about nowherea, have ye ?' • Yes, they have,' said Joan. 'He was no later than yesterday to Jocabed Jiles', 'spectin to hear you was in ; but Jocabed had just met Eve and me goin' to Bridles, so he told 'en 'twould be no use goin' to our house.' ' H'm !' said Adam ; ' I wish I could see him to-night or to-morrow—'twould save a vast deal o' bother. I wonder whether she'd know where he's to be found for the next day or two ?' 1 Very like,' said Joan ; ' 't all eventH, iih can go in and see ; 'taint above five minuted out o' the way down to Aun Lisbeth'a.' Adam looked at Eve. ' No,' he said, ' we'll get home first, nnd then I'll run down afterwards. I can see her foot's paining her.' • It's walking on it, I B'pose,' said Eve, adding, in a vexed tone, ' I'm bo sorry to be keeping all of you 1' ' Stuff a' nonsense !' exclaimed Joan. ' Thoro ain't nothin' to be sorry for, except 'tis for your self. Shall Igo on, Adam V she asked. 'Wo might just so well, and leave you and Eve to folio.' I'll be home then so quick as you, or just after; and there'll be no needs for you toilin' down all that wayß.' Adam looked his thanks for such undeserved good-nature ; and after bidding them ' Good night !' the rest of the party started off, leaving Eve and Adam to come on at a slower pace. 1 Do you know, I think I must take my shoe off,'said Eve,, quite hot with the pain cauaml her by the exertion of trying to keep up with the others, who, forgetful of her foot, had by degrees quickened into their ordinary pace. ' No, don't do that,' said Adam. 'It will bo ever bo much worse when you put it on again. Suppose you rested here for a minute. You might sit down,' he added, seeing they were close by the low wall which divided Jowter's park from the road. Eve gladly accepted the offer ; the pain of her foot was making her feel sick and faint. ' You may depend you have given it a sprain,' •aid Adam, ' I can hardly feel the ankle-bone. Wait for a minute 1 I'll loosen the shoestring— that'll ease you a little ;' and he commenced trying to untie the rather complicated knot of ribbon. ' Oh, never mind untying it. If you've got a knife, cut it 1' exclaimed Eve, impatient with pain. And in another moment not only was the string cut, but, unable to resist the certainty of increased relief, the shoe, too, was off, lying on the ground. ' Oh, how good that is !' she sighed. ' I felt as if my foot must burst.' ' Yes, I know what it is,' said Adam, sympa thetically. ' I gave my foot an ugly twist once, coming along the rocks from Fladdy Beach.' ' Ah, I don't wonder there ; but here in the road I can't think how it happened !' 'I only wonder it hasn't happened before,' said Adam ; ' such a tiny little foot as it is.' ' Gome, it's of no use trying to take me in with your flattery,' said Eve. ' I've been told all about you already.' ' What do you mean, all about me V ' Why, what a regular flirt you are, and how you try to make the girls think you are dying for them one week, and laugh at them for it the next Ah ! you see, I know all about you,' she laughed, triumphantly. ' Don't you give credit to any suoh lies/ said Adam, energetically; ' 'cos it isn't true. I don't say I haven't carried on a bit with the maidens about, like other chaps ; but, as for meaning any* thing by it, nothing could be further from my thoughts. But that's the way with the women; they're never contented unless they think you mean twenty times more than you say.' • And that's not your case, then ?' laughed Eve. ' What you say you mean, and what you moan you say, eh—is that it ?' ' Not always ; lately, if I'd been let, I should have aaid a great deal more than I have said. I've meant what 'tisn't easy perhaps to put into words.' ' Come, come !' Baid Eve, quickly,' now you're getting out of your depth again ; and it's quito time we were getting back, bo give me my shoe !' and she held out her foot—and a very good-look ing foot it was, clothed in its well-fitting groy knitted stocking. Women of all classes were careful over the appearance of their feet in those days, when a pretty foot was reckoned hardly second to a pretty face. The shoe was produced, but all fruitless were the endeavors to get it on. Adam turned down the h«el, held open the sides, whilo Eve pulled at it with a vigor which might have done credit to Cinderella's rivals, but all to no effect. The shoe didn't go on, and the shoe wouldn't go on. ' What over's to be done ?' uhe exclaimed, in dismay. ' You can't walk home without your shoe,' ex claimed Adam. 1 But I must,' continued Eve. ' Your foot would be cut to pieceß,' said Adam. ' There's but one thing to be done,' he added, after a moment's pause,' I must carry you.' 'Ohno 1' Baid Eve. ' Carry me ! absurd non sense !' ' Then how are you to get back ?' ' I can't think.' 1 Nor I either; «o come along. It's perf aciff dark, nobody'll see you ; and, if they do, that's the odds V ' But you've no idea how heavy I am.' 4 Oh, a tidy weight, I've no doubt; Iwt I can get up moat places with a couple oi kegs slung to me, so I'll have a try, and at tb» worst I cau. but drop you in the road, you know.' Eve urged many more Boruples, but, as wbifr making them she mounted the wall and arranged' her dress, Adam gave iiaem no heed ; he directed her to lean her weight well over his shoulder and not to talk, osui then oft" they Bet, Xv« feeling. far more aX her ease than she bad oonceived possible under so trying a bituaiion. you think I'd beat walk now V said! she, as Adam rested fo? a moment before the little street leading up to Talland-Inne. 'No ; how could you ? the road's worse here-

than where we are oome from. You don't want to walk, do you V ' No ; only I'm afraid of your being tired.' ' Tired !' he said, resuming his burden ; * I should like to carry you to the world's end.' And, instead of reproving his idle wish, Eve only said,' Put tue down before you open the door—in case anybody should be inside.' Fortunately, with the exception of two mem who passed them with a stolid ' Good-night,' they met no one. The night was dark, and on diirk nights few people who had not a necessity cared to venture abroad ; added to this, the air blew keen, so that most of the hatch-doors were closed, and the only gleam of light came from tho red-curtained windows of the two public houses which they passed on their way. ' I neally dou't know how to thank you, Adam,' said Eve, earnestly ; for, the little bridge crossed, she kuew they were now close by the house. ' So you said before,' he replied, meaningly. 1 No, but really now,' persisted Eve ; ' this is quite different, you know.' ' Oh, ne-ver mind,' said Adam; ' I'm content to take the same payment.' ' Now, Adam;' and Eve gave him a reproving look. • Come, that's pretty well, 1 he said, 'considering that if I'd been minded to I might have helped myself at every step we took.' ' 'Twas good for you, Chough, you didn't,' said Eve, as, having reached the door, she slid down on to the step. 'Was it* he answered her absently; then with a sudden impulse, for his hand was on the latch, he turned, and whispering Baid : 'Eve, what should you call it if nil of a sudden seeing and talkiug to, and being near to, one person seemed more than Anything elso iv tho world —should you call it love 1" 'I don't know,' she faltered ; 'I don't know anything about ' but, before she could get out the word, the door from within was burst open by Joan, who exclaimed, in an excited voice : ' Well, here you be nt last, poor souls ! come along in with 'co do. There's somebody waitiu' to aoe 'cc ; who d'eo thiuk—eh, Adam ? Why, 'tis old Jerrem ; iaa, that's who 'tis. When I corned back I found un sittiu' down waitin' for us.' And having thus far intercepted the meeting, she now drew on one side and admitted to view a young man, who came forward, and, holding out his hand, Baid in an awkward constrained manner: ' Well, Adam, here lam at last; and how's the land lying with you ?" [TO UK rONTINUKD.]