Chapter 20333397

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Chapter NumberXVII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article20333397
Full Date1880-06-05
Page Number713
Corrections0
Word Count2694
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)
Trove TitleAdam and Eve
article text

The Storyteller.

Adam and Eve.

CHAPTER XVII.

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

FROM the time she discovered Adam's absence, Eve had felt very uneasy. She had awoke with the desire of being propitiatory, and had come downstairs determined to make some amends for

the now repented behavior of the previous night. As Adam was the earliest riser in the house, no surprise was (elt at his being already oat of doors, but when the hour of breakfast came —had passed—and yet no sign of Adam, Eve hazarded various surmises as to what could have possibly become of him, surmises which Joan dismissed with the comforting assurance that whereever he was he was all right, as with all his tantrums he had never been known to quarrel with his meat. Disposed to be critical, Eve could not refrain from thinking that Joan took the matter some* what too indifferently, and at the same time she felt rather vexed with her for being so engrossed by Jerrem's wants and Jerrcm's rattle, for as such, in her present mood, she designated the light-hearted conversation with which he again tried to entertain them. Eve was in no humor for fun and banter, and the continuous flow of joke and laughter jarred upon aud rumod her temper. It was with a sigh of positive relief that she at length saw Jerrem take his departure, only, however, to return again some ten minutes later with the welcome intelligence that the Lottery was coming in, and was already in sight Full of excitement at the news, Joan caught up her hat to run out and get first Bight of Uncle Zebedee; but, although pressed to accompany her, Eve declined, pleading her lame foot as a reason for keeping quiet Seeing she had stayed at home for the Bake of rest, Eve might have been expected to remain Bitting quietly still; instead of which, no sooner did she feel herself relieved from observation than she got up and began wandering hither and thither with a purposeless air—fidgeting first with one thing and then another; sometimes listening, sometimes starting; until, finally, she went over to the window, and, leaning against it, stood peering out with looks of anxious expec tancy. Suddenly the inconsistency of this be haviour aeemed to strike her, and with a resolute movement she turned away, found her work-box, took out her work, and seated herself, with the evident determination of forcing herself to employment The occupation, associated as it was with home, sent her thoughts thither—an undefined feeling of emotion seemed to stir her inmost self, as, threading the mazes of that by gone life, memory brought back the past, and with it the thought of Ileuben May—the love he had shown —the hopes he had formed —the promises they had exchanged. ' I'll write at once/ she thought, the recollection of the delayed letter coming to her aid, 'and tell him how tbat already I know I never shall go back away from here again, because'—and here a pause came, and, either that she saw or sought a solution to her motives, she sat dreamingly on, with half closed eyes, her hands, from which the work soon slipped, idly resting in her lap. Deaf to the noises that were going on around, Eve was roused by a fresh sound—a hand had been laid upon the latch. She started up—it was Adam. ' Oh, Adam! why, where ever have you been ? we couldn't think what had become of you,' she exclaimed, in stammering confusion. ' Isn't there any word of father yet V said Adam, in a voice that sounded harsh and abrupt, while his eyes, which ignored her presence, looked round the room, as if expeoting his question to be answered by some one else. ' Yea ; the ship's coming in,' said Eve, ' and Joan and Jerrem have gone to look at her.' 'Are you by yourself, then?' asked Adam, without any modulation of his voice. ' Yes, but I can get you whatever you want; the things are all here for your breakfast—shall I make some ready for you V Adam vouchsafed no answer, but turning at once to a man who, she now saw, had been standing behind him, he said something which Eve could not hear ; then, without casting so much as a look in her direction, he stepped back ward?, and pulled-to the door; after which, to Eve's amazement, she saw him and his companion pass by the window. Was it possible that he was gone ? Eve ran to the Bide of the window which com manded the longest stretch, and craned her neck to look after them. Yes, they wore no longer in sight, and at the fact the tears of disappointment rose into her eyes. Why was he treating her like that ? What had Bhe done to offend him ? Under the fear of his displeasure Eve's heart sank as it had never done before; for though she had had a presentiment that he was not pleased she had in no way expected to see the grave change betrayed in Adam's face and voice. Could it be because of this or that ? Eve was racking her brain with fifty sugges tions, when click went the latch. Adam had returned, and this time, closing the door after him, he drew the bolt and fastened it; then be came over and stood in front of Eve, not speaking to her, but looking with an expression which made her throw aside her coyness, and say : ' Oh, Adam, I'm so glad you have come back ! You ain't angry with me, are you 1 When you went away without Bpeaking like that, I thought I had offended you.' ' And if you had,' Baid Adam, half question ingly, ' you wouldn't care ?' ' You have no right to say that—unless,' she added, raising her soft brown eyes to his face, ' you want to make me aay that 1 should care ?' Adam threw bis arms round her, and, holding her bo that he could look into her face, he said : ' Give me your promise to come out with me Bomutime this evening ; 'tis no use beginning to ask what I want to vow, because the others will be back at any minute. But so soon as this bustle is over promise me that you'll listen to what I've got to say ; I must tell it to you before you sleep * The right of ropuhlishm? " A«Uui hii'l Kve" in Queensland has beeu purchaaeU by the piopiietor* of the ptUr.

to-night; 'twould Bead me wild to pass another twenty-four hours like this last has been.' 1 It moat not be for very far,' said Eve, by way of not seeming too ready to comply ; ' because, though my foot isn't painful, it is stiff.' 4 I'll see you shan't go too far/ said Adam, ?training to keep down by commonplace replies the words be longed to speak. "Tis hard to bring myself to stay till then,' he added, relieving a little of his pent-up emotion by a long-drawn sigh ; ' only I'm fearing that the rest will come. Ah!' he exclaimed, as Joan's voice was heard outside : ' here they are— I was sure they wouldn' tbe long. So' tis this evening, remember, and that seals the promise.' ' Oh—' but Eve had to swallow down the re mainder of her protest, for —the bolt having been quietly drawn—the door opened and admitted Joau, who, followed by Dicky Snobnose, had come back to put the things aside, and get a clear space ready for the arrival of the china. The expression upon Adam's face, combined with the information which Dicky had just imparted, satisfied Joan that nothing more than the hope of doing a good stroke of business had caused Adam's absence, and without hesitation she said : • ' Why, Adam, what ever made 'cc start off like that this moroin' without a bite or sup inside 'cc? There wasn't no occasion for it I'm sure you'd only got to say the word and breakfast 'ud ha' bin ready.' ' Oh, 1 took care of myself,' said Adam, cheerily; * I had a capital breakfast up to mill, with yer mother. I wanted to Bee her, so it all fitted in.' ' There, now,' exclaimed Joan ; ' didn't I tell 'cc he wouldn't forget number wan ? Eve,' she said, turning to Adam,' would keep on thinkin' you'd started off to Looe, or goEe back to Dock or somewherea ; her couldn't ate her owh break fast, 'cos I believe her thought you'd got none.' Adam stole a glance which told his gratitude, while Eve, with a little confusion, said : ' Ob, I suppose it's from being in London that I can't bear people to be away without knowing where they are. There,' she added, laughing, ' they would have sent the bellman after you, and had you cried.' ' Lord save us from the London ways !' said Dicky, with an ominous shake of the head. 'I've bin hearin' a goodish bit o' talk o' late about the things they goes on with up there, and I can't say it 'zactly chimes in with my voos o' what's right and fitty. But, there,' he added, catching sight of Adam's face, ' that's axin pardon, miss, for bein' bo bould as to spake my mind afore you, who's corned frae the place ; tho' I dessay, if the truth was spoken, you'm glad enough to bo where you hain't scrooged up for elbow-room, and '« able to draw a breath o' air without waitin' your turn to do it in. Awb, 'twouldn't suit mo at all, that wouldn't; nnd, so long as King George don't send word he can't do no longer without me noways, you won't catch Dicky I up to London.' ' Uncle'B all but in,' said Joan, turning to Adam ; ' and Jerrcm'B waitin' down to quay, ho that they'll bring the things off to once. I didu't count 'pon this rout-out comin' yet whiles, for don't 'cc mind, Eve, 'tis to-day us promised we was to go up to Aunt Hepzibah'a ?' ' Well, why not go then V returned Adam ; * there's nothin' to keep you here.' * What! and uncle just com* back ! Well, you'm a nice one, I must say. Who's goin' to look after folks, and see they have all they wants to ate and drink ?—not you, I'll lay a wage.' 1 You're pretty right there,' said Adam ; ' but because you care to be here is no reason for Eve staying. It'll be nothing to suit her taste, I'm sure of that, and I'd very much rather she was out of it all; 'tisn't fitting company for women.' ' Lord save us !' exclaimed Joan, her quick temper rising; ' how mighty particular we'm grow'd all to wance I The time ain't so very far off when nothin' could be done right if Joan wasn' here to look after it all. Not fittin' com pany for women ! well I never ! What dee call me then ? Ain't I a woman, that you've tooked all this time to find out who 'tis fit to knaw and who 'tisn't ? Things ib comin' to a nice pass, I think.' ' Oh, Joan !' exclaimed Eve ; ' you musn't take it like that. Adam means us both, of course. Why, didn't you tell me yourself what quarrelling aud fighting went on when these ineu come to tako nw.iy the spirits ? you > aid you'd give anything to be out of it all.' ' Sayin's wan thing and manin' it's another,' said Joan, sulkily ; ' but, there, go if you like. I don't want to hinder cc' ; and you can tell aunt Hepzibah that Adam sent 'cc up 'cos you shan't be hurted by the company we keeps down hero. I'm sure,' she added, turning round to Adam fiercely, ' I wonders you lot her bido so much with me. I shouldn't if I was you.' ' Oh, Joan !' and Eve's voice and face expressed the pain those hasty wurds gave nor. ' I'm sure you don't mean what you say.' ' Iss I do, every word, and no wonder neither. I knew you'm chancy and I'm cloam without he rammin' it down my throat all day long.' Adam gave a little shake of the head towards Eve, as if to say Joan's present disposition was hopeless ; and, feeling things might right them selves better if he was absent, be said something about the Lottery, and stepped out to stroll down towords the quay. Dicky, who had been keep ing in the background, utterly unable to com prehend the ground of this contention, watched Adam out of sight, and then broke out with : ' Awh, Joan Hocken, my dear, you'm every body's friend, you be; couldn't 'cc consave no ways o' puttin' tho car'yon away o' this gashly auld chancy off till to-morrow ? 'Tis beyond bearin' to lave now when Buch doin's is comin' on ; what dee Bay to it, eh ? I'll answer to be sober enuf by 12 o'clock to the furthermost, and that 'ud be heaps o' time to make the journey in.' ' I can't do nothin' to help 'cc,' said Joan, curtly ; "tis no good axin' me.' 1 Now doan't 'cc say that,' continued Dicky, in his most coaxing voice. ' Come, now, let's see if us can't schame it out together ; for 'tis 'nuf to send anybody mazed to knaw they'm turnin' their backs on such a trate as this. Lore ! I minds the last wan that I waß to, sb if 'twas yesterday. 'Twas up to Cap'n John's; thare was brandy for the axin', and rum swim min' 'bout like watter. A load o' the kegs got busted accidental for tho purpose, and 'twas catch who could ; some of 'em in their hands aud some in their shoes, till we was ail drunk together, rowlin' 'bout the roads and eingin', and

I don't know what Nor nobody to tell neither for there was norra wan sober 'mongat us.' ' Wei}, you needn't look for that here,' said Joan, sharply } • Adam '11 keep too good a luvkr out for that.' 'lea, I reckon,' aaid Dicky, with a knowing; wink ; ' that's if he ain't doubled by Jerrcw- Do'ee mind the trick Maister Jerrem played l.v& May, when he got un away and serred the quay all round while he was agone ? Awh, jimmery ! wasn't there a kick-up when Adam came back ! he was poor tempered, and no mistake. And that minds me,' he exclaimed, with an energetic moTfc ment with his fißt, 'I'll seek out Jerrem towance, and tell un what 'tis I'm aimin' at. I'll bet a guinea to a braes farden but, if 'tis to be done, he'll wark the oracle fur me.' Joan waited for him to get clear of the door, then going into the front room, where Eve was sitting, she said : 'Don't think nothing o' what I said just now, Eve ; 'twas only to tease Adam a bit. I meant 'cc to go to Aunt Hepzibnh'a all the time, for you'd only be in the way here if you waß to stay.' ' Not if I could help you, Joan !' 'Iss, but you can't help me; 'sides} which they'm a rough lot, and, as Adam sayß, not fit women's company. I'd go too if 'twaßn't for uncle ; but if ho gets a little overtook Adam's got no patience with 'uu, and there's no more trustin' to Jerrem than if he was a child ; 'aides which, when the drink's on, they two'a sure to sail in one boat.' [TO HE COSTINt'KD.]