Chapter 20334084

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Chapter NumberXXIV
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article20334084
Full Date1880-07-10
Page Number41
Corrections0
Word Count3667
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)
Trove TitleAdam and Eve
article text

The Storyteller.

Adam and Eve.

CHAPTER XXIV.

BY MRS. PARR, Authores of "Dorothy Fox," "The Gossu Smithy," &c., &c.

THE sun, which came streaming In through the windows nest morning, seemed the herald of coming joy. Eve was the first to be awakened, and she soon aroused Joan. 'It won't make no

differenoe to them bemuse the day's fine,' she Mked ; •wiU it, Joan ?' 4 Not a bit; they don't care » dump what the day is, so long as the night's only dark enough, and there'll be no show o' moon this week.' 1 Oh, I'm «o glad,' aaid Eve, breaking out into a match of an old song which had caught her fancy. 1 Awh, nay dear, don't 'cc begin to ring, not till breakfast is over/ exclaimed Moan. '"Bing afore you bite—cry afore night"' •Cry with joy, perhaps,' laughed Eve; still, she hushed her melody, and hastened her apeed to get quickly dressed, and her breakfast over. This done with, the house had to be fresh put in order, while Joan applied herself to the making of various pies and pasties; for 'You see,' she ?aid, •if they won't all of 'em be just ready for a jollification this time, and no mistake.' ' And I'm sure they deserve to have one,' said Eve, whose ideas of merry-making were on a much broader scale now than formerly : it ia trae she still always avoided the sight of a drnnkea man, and ran away from a fight, but this was more became her feelings were outraged at these sights than because her sense of right and wrong

• The right of wpnWkhinjt " Adam and By." In gi«mjU*ndh«. bNo pwchiSfby the pcopri«ton <« tl»

wm any longer ahoeked at the tlom which led to them. ' I'll tell *cc what I think I'll do,' aaid Joan, as, her culinary taaka over, the felt at liberty to indulge in tome relaxation : ' I'll just ran in to Polly Taprail's, and two or three places near, and see if the wind's blowed them any of this news.' 4Tea, do,' aaid Eye, 'and I shall go along by the Warren a little way, and look at the sea and that—' ' Lord save the maid I' laughed Joan, * what ever you finds in the say to look at I can't telL I knaw 'tis there, but I niver wants to turn my eyes that way, 'ceptin* 'tis to look at somethin' 'pon if ' Wait 'till you've been in a town like I hare for some time,' said Eve. •Waitl ias, I 'apeots 'twill be wait 'fore my turn comes to be in a town for long. Awh, but I should just like to go to London, though,' she added, ' wouldn't I just oome bade ginteel 1* and she walked out of the door with the imaginary strut such an importance would warrant her in assuming. Eve followed, and the two walked together down Lansallos-street, at the corner of which they parted—Joan to go to Mrs. Taprail's, and Eve along by the Warren towards Talland, for, although she had not told her intention to Joan, she had made up her mind to walk on to where she could get sight of Talland Bay. She was just in that state of hope and fear when inaction becomes positive pain, and relief is only felt while in pursuit of an object which entails some degree of bodily movement Joan had so laughed at her fears for the Lottery that to a great extent her anxiety had subsided ; and everybody else seemed so certain that, with Adam's caution and foresight, nothing oould possibly happen to them, that to doubt their safety seemed to doubt his wisdom. During this last voysge Adam had had a con siderable rise in the opinions of the Polperro folk; they would not admit it too openly, but in discussions between twos and threes it was acknowledged that" Adam had took the measure o' they new revenoo chaps from the fast, and said they was a cunnin' deoateful lot, and not to be dealt with no ways;" and Eve, knowing the opposition he had had to undergo, felt a just pride that they weie forced into seeing that his fears had some ground, and that his advioe was worth following out Once past the hornet, and she determined bo longer to linger, but walk on as briskly as possible; and this was the more advisable because the day was a true April one—sharp showers of mingled hail and ram had succeeded the sun, which now again was shining out with daailing brightness. The sea was green, and rippled over with short danoing waves, across which ran long slanting shadows of a bright violet hue, reflected from the sun and sky ; but by the time Eve reached a jutting stone, whioh served as a landmark, all this was vanishing ; and, turning, she saw coming up a swift creeping shadow, whioh drew behind it a misty veil that covered up both sea and sky, and blotted them from view. 'Oh my I here's another hailstorm coming,' she said, and, drawing the hood of her cloak close over her face, she made all haste down ttae steep bit of irregular rock towards where she knew that, a little way off the path, a huge boulder would afford her shelter. Down came the rain, and with it such a gust of wind that, stumbling up the bit of cliff on whioh the stone stood, Eve was almost bent double. Hullo I Somebody was here already, and, shaking back her hood to see who her companion in distress might be, she uttered a sharp scream of horror, for the man who stood before her was no other than Reuben May. ' Then you're not glad to see me, Eve !' he said, for the movement Eve had involuntarily made was to put out her hands as if to push him away. Eve tried to speak, but the sudden fright of his unexpected presence seemed to have dried up her throat and tongue, and taken away all power of utterance. ' Your old chum, Capen Triggs, asked me how I should like to take a bit of a trip with him, and I thought as I hadn't much to keep me I'd take his offer ; and, as he's stopped at Plymouth for a day or so, I made up my mind to come so far as here and see for myself if some of what I've been told is true.' ' Why, what have you been told I' said Eve, catching at anything whioh might spare her some of the unpleasantness of a first communication. ' Well, for one thing, that you're going to be married to your cousin.' 'Eve's color rose, aad Reuben, ihfaMtig it might be anger, said : 'Don't make any mistake, Eve; I haven't oome to speak about myself. All that's past and over, and God only knows why I ever got such folly into my head;' snd Reuben thought him* self perfectly sincere in making this statement, for he had talked himself into the belief that his journey was undertaken from the sole desire to carry out hia trust ' What I've oome to do is to speak to you like a friend, and ask you to tell me what sort of people these are that you're among, and how the man gets his living that you're thinking of being married to.'

Eve hesitated; then die aaid : 'There ia no need for me to answer you,' Baaben, became I can Me that somebody already haa been talking about them to you. haven't theyr ' Yea, they have; but how do I know that what they've said ia true T «oh, I dare Bay it'a true enough, 1 ahe said; 'people ain't likely to tell you ialae about a thing nobody here feels aahamed to own to.' ' Not aahamed of being drunkards, lawbnakera —thievea !' aaid Reuben, sternly. 'Beuben May!* exclaimed Eve, flaming up with indignation, and entirely forgetting that but a little time before ahe had held an exactly similar opinion, 'do you forget that you're apeaking of my own father'a blood-relations— people whore oalled by the aame name I am ?' ' No, I don't forget it, Eve ; and I don't forget neither that if I didn't think that down here you would soon beoome ruined, body and eoul I'd rather out my tongue out than it should give uttoranoe to a word that oould eauae you pain. Ton speak of your father, but think of your mother, Eve; think, if ahe oould rise up before you, oould you aak her blearing on what you're going to do V Eve'a faoe quivered with emotion, and Reuben seising his advantage, oontinued : 'Perhaps you think I'm saying this bemuse I'm wanting you for myself, but, as Ood will judge us, 'tisn't that that'a making me speak Eve;' and he held out his hand towards her) 'You've known me for many a long year now; my heart haa been laid more bare to you than to any living creature; do you believe what I'm saying to you f 'Yes, Reuben, I do,' ahe answered firmly, though the tears, no longer restrained, oame streaming from her eyes, 'and you must also believe what I say to you, that my courin is a man aa honest and upright as yourself, that he wouldn't defraud anyone of the value of a pin's point, nor take a thing that he didn't think him* self he'd got a proper right to.' ' Good God, Eve! is it possible that you can speak like this of one who gets his living by smuggling f and a spasm of positive agony passed over Reuben's faoe as he tried to realise the change of thought and feeling which oould in. duoe a calm defenoe of such iniquity. ' What', the differenoe whether a man robs me or be robs the king f Isn't he stealing juat the same f 'No—osrtaialy notr aaid Eve, quickly. 'I can't explain it all to you, but I know this—that what they bring over they buy and pay for, and oertainly therefore have some right to.' ' Have a right to!' repeated Reuben. ' Well that's good 1 80 men have a right to smuggle, have they—and ?mnggiiny fat stealing ? Cone I I should just like this oouau of yours to give me half an hour of his oompany to argue out that matter in.' 'My cousin isn't at home,' said Eve, filled with a sudden horror of what might be expected from an argument between two such tempers as Reuben and Adam possessed. ' And if you've only come here to argue, whether 'tis with me or with them, Beuben, 'tis a waste of time that'll do no good to you, nor any of us.' Reuben did not speak. He stood and for a few moments looked fixedly at her; then he turned away and hid his faoe in hfa hands. The sudden change from anger to sorrow oame upon Eve unexpectedly—anything like a display of emotion was so foreign to Reuben that she oould not help being affected by it, and after a minute's struggle with herself she laid her hand on his arm, saying gently: ' Reuben, don't let me think you've oome all this long way only to quarrel and say bitter things to me; let me believe 'tis as you said, because you weren't satisfied, and felt—for mother's sake—you wanted to be a friend to me stilL I feel now as if I ought to have told you when I wrote that I was going to marry my oouain Adam, but I didn't do it because I thought you'd write to me, and then 'twould be easier to speak ; and, when you didn't take no notice, I thought you meant to let me go altogether, and I can't tell you how hurt I felt. I couldn't help saying to myself over and over again (though I was angry with you, I didn't know what to do)—I shall never have another such friend as Reuben—never.' Eve's words had their effect, and when Reuben turned bis pale face to her again bis whole mood was softened. "Tis to be the same friend I always was that I've come, Eve,' he said ;' only you know me, and how I can never keep from blurting out all at once things that I ought to bring round bit by bit, so that they might do good, and not give offence.' ' You haven't offended me yet,' she said—'at least,' she added, smiling in her old way at him, 'not beyond what I can look over ; and so far as I can, and it will ease your mind, Reuben, I'll try to tell you all you care to know about uncle and —the rest of them. I'm sure, if you knew them you'd like them ; you couldn't help it, more par ticularly Joan and Adam—if you once saw those two.' 'And why oan't I see Uwn, Kvtf It wouldn't

T"? *?. 7*17 ttpimße» beulß 7°" friend—for tut ? all I claim to bo—going there to Me you would it f •No, I don't know that it would ; only*—and here aha hesitated—' whatever you saw that you didn't like, Heuben, you'd only apeak to me •bout T sTou wouldn't begin arguing with them, would you f Reuben shook his head. Then, with a sudden impulse, he said: ' And have you really given all your love to this man, Eve?' ' Tea,' she said, not averting her eves, although her face was covered with a quick blush. 'And, whatever comes, you mean to be his wife I* ' I don't mean to be anybody else's wife,' she said. ' And he—he cares for you f 'If he didnt, be sure I should have never cared for him.' Reuben sighed. • Well,' he said, « I'll go and see him. Til have a talk with him, and try and find out what sort of stuff he's made of. If I oould go away certain that things ain't as bad as I feared to find them, I should take back a lighter heart with me. Tou say he isn't home now. Is he at sea, then ?' • No, not at sea ; he's close by.' ' Then you expect him back soon V • Tes; we expect him back to-night' • To-night 1 Then I think Til change my plan. I meant to go back to Plymouth, and see what Triggs is about to do, for I'm going round to London with him when he goes ; but if you're expecting your cousin so soon, why shouldn't I stop here till I've seen him ?' 'Oh ! but he mightn't oome,' said Eve, who in any case had no wish that Reuben should appear until she had paved the way for his reoeption, and, above all things, desired his absenoe on this particular oooasion. • Well, I must take my chance of that—unless,' he added, catching sight of her face,' there's any reason against my stopping ?' Eve oolored. • Well,' she said,' perhaps they mightn't can —as they don't know you—about your being here. You see,' she added, by way of excuse, 'they've been away a long while now.' ' Been to Franoe, I s'poae ?' said Reuben, in a tone which conveyed his suspicions. 'No,' replied Eve, determined not to seem ashamed of their occupation ; * I think they've been to Guernsey.' 'Oh, well, all the same, so far as what they went to fetch. Then they're going to try and land their cargo, I a'poee V •I don't know what they may be going to fry and do,' and Eve endeavored to imitate the sneer with which Reuben had emphasised the word, 1 but I know that trying with them means doing. There's nobody about here,' she added, with a borrowed spioe of Joan's manner,' would care to put themselves in the way of trying to hinder the Lottery/ "Tis strange, then, that they shouldn't choose to come in open daylight, rather than be sneaking in under cover of a dark night,' said Reuben, aggravatlngly. 'As it happens,' retorted Eve, with an assump tion of superior nautical knowledge,' the d irk night suits them best, by reason that at high tide they can oome in close to Down End. Oh ! you needn't tryto think you can hurt me by your sneers at them,' she said, inwardly smarting under the oontempt she knew Reuben felt ' I feel hurt at your wanting to say such things, bat not at all at what you say. That cant touch me.' ' No, so I see,' said Reuben, hopelessly. Then, after a minute's pause, he burst out with a passionate,' Oh, Eve, I feel as if I oould take and jump into the sea with you, so as I might feel you'd be safe from the life I'm certain you're Rom' to be dragged down to I Tou may think fair now of this man, because he's only showed Jou his fair side; but they who know him know im for what he is—bloodthirsty, violent, a drunkard, never sober, with his neok in a noose, and the gallows twinging over his head. What hold will you have over one who fears neither God nor devil T Tes, but I will speak. Tou shall listen to the truth from me,' for she had tried to interrupt him. 'It isn't too late, and 'tie but fit that you knew what others say of him!' Eve's arger had risen until she seemed turned into a fury, and her voioe, usually low and full, now sounded hard and sharp as she cried : ' If they said a hundred times worse of him, I would still marry him ; and if he stood on the gallows that you aay swing over bis head I'd stand by his aide and say I was his wife V ' God pity you !' groaned Reuben. ' I want no pity,' she said, ' and so you can tell those who would throw it away on me. Say to them that you sought me out to east taunts at me, but it was of no use, for what you thought I should be ashamed of I gloried in, and could look you and half the world in the face'—and she seemed to grow taller as she spoke—' and say I felt proud to be a smuggler's wife,' and, turning, she made a movement as if to go ; but Reuben, took a step so as to impede her. 'Is this to be our parting ?' he said. 'Cm you throw away the only friend you've got left!' ' I don't call you a friend/ she said. ' Tou'll know me for being so one day though, and bitterly rue you didn't pay more heed to my words.' ' Never!' she said proudly. ' I'd trust Adam with my life; he's true as steel Now,' aha added, stepping on one side, 'I have no more time to stay. I must go back, so let me pass f Mechanically Reuben moved. Stung by her words, irritated by a sense of failure, filled with the sharpest jealousy against his rival, he saw no other course open to him than to let her go her way, and go his. ' Good-bye, then, Eve,' he said, in a dry ooJd voioe. ' Good-bye,' she answered. ' I don't think, after wbat's passed, you need expect to see me again,' he ventured, with the secret hope that she would pause and say some* thing that might lead to a fresh discussion. 'I had no notion that you'd still have • thought of coming. I should look upon a visit from you as very out of place' ' Oh 1 well, be sure I shan't force myself where- I'm not wanted.' ' Then you'll be wise to stay away; you'll never be wanted where I am t And without another glance in his direction

?he walked away, while Reuben stood and Watched her out of sight. ' That's ended,' he said, setting his lips firmly together and hardening the expression of his naturally grave face. ' That mad game's finished, and finished so that I think I've done with Bweethearting for as long as I live. Well, thank God, a man may get on very fairly though the woman he made a fool of himself for flings baok Lib love and turns him over for somebody else;' then, as if boiuq unseen hand had dealt him a sudden thrust, he cried out,' Why did I ever see her? Why was I made to care for her? Haven't I known the folly of it all along, and fought and strove from the first to get the better of myself ? and here she comes down and Bees a fellow whose eye is tickled by her looks, and he gets in a week what I've been begging and praying for years for ; and they tell you that God's ways are just, and that He rewards the good and punishes the evil;' and Reuben's face worked with suppressed emotion, for in spirit he stood before his Creator ' and upbraided Him with, 'Lo I these many years have I served Thee ; neither transgressed I at any time Thy oommandments ; and yet this drunkard, this evil-liver, this law-breaker, is given that for which in my soul I have thirsted ;',' and the devils of envy and revenge ran by his side rejoicing, while fate flew before and lured him on to where opportunity stood and welcomed hid approach. [TO M CONTINUED.]