Chapter 20334515

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Chapter NumberXXV
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article20334515
Full Date1880-07-31
Page Number137
Corrections0
Word Count3686
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)
Trove TitleAdam and Eve
article text

The Storyteller.

Adam and Eve.

CHAPTER XXV.

BY MRS. PARR, Authoress of "Dorothy Fox," "The Go[?]u Smithy," &c., &c.

BY the time Reuben May entered the little town of Looe, he had come to a decision about his movements, and how he should carry out his plan of getting back to London. Not going with

Captain Trigga, fur the monotonous inaction of a •ailing voyage would now be insupportable to him; but by walking as far as he oould, and now and then, whenever it was possible, endeavoring to get a cheap lift on the road. His first step muat therefore be to inform Triggs of hia decision, and to do this he must get back to Plymouth, a distance from Looe of some fifteen or sixteen miles. In going through Looe that morninr, he had stopped for a few minutes at a small inn which stood not far from the beach ; and having now crossed the river which divides West from Ea»t Looe he began looking about for this house, intending to get some refreshment, to rest for an hour or so, and then proceed on his journey. Already the town dock was striking 6, and Reuben calculated that if he started between 9 and 10 he should have time to take another good rest on the road—which he had already once that day traversed—and reaoh Plymouth Barbican, where the Mary Jane lay, by daybreak. The inn found, he ordered his meal, and in* formed the landlady of his intention. ' Why, do 'cc stop here till mornin', then!' ex claimed the large-hearted Cornish woman. 'If 'tis the matter o' the money,' she added, eyeing him critically, 'that's hinderin' 'cc from it, it needn't to, for I'll see us don't have no quarrel 'bout the prioe o' the bed.' Reuben assured her that choice, not necessity, impelled his onward footsteps ; and thus satisfied •he bade him ' Take and lie down on the settle there inside the bar-parlor; for,' she added, Mess 'tis the sergeant over fra Liakeard,'tain't likely you'll be disturbed no ways ; and I shall be in and out to see you'm all right.' Reuben stretched himself out, and, overcome by the excitement and fatigue of the day, was soon asleep and dreaming of those happier times when he and Kve had walked as friends together. Suddenly some one seemed to speak her name, and, though the name at onoe wove itself into the movement of the dream, the external sound had aroused the sleeper, and he opened his eyes to see three men sitting near, talking over their B*o*. With just enough consciousness to allow of bis noticing that one was a soldier and the other two were sailors, Reuben looked for a minute, then closed his eyes, and was again sinking back into sleep, when the name of Eve was repeated, and this time with such effect that all Reuben's senses seemed to quicken into life, and cautiously opening bis eyes, so as to look without being observed, he saw that it was the soldier who wss speaking. 'Young chap, thinks I,' he was saying, 'yon little fancy there's one so near who's got jour sweetheart's seal dangling to his fob ;' and, with an air of self-satisfied vanity, be held out for in* speotion a curious little seal, which Reuben at onoe reoognised as the same which he himself bad given to Eve. The unexpected sight came upon him with such surprise that, had not the height of the little table served as a screen to shelter him from view, his sudden movement must have betrayed his wakefulnest. ' He's a nice one for any woman to be tied to, he is,' replied the younger of the two sailors. 4 Why, the only time as I ever had what you may call a fair look at un was one night into the King o' Proosia's, and there he was dealing out his soft sawder to little Nancy Lagassiok, ss if he couldn't live a minute out o' her sight' . 'That's about it,' laughed the soldier. 'He's one of your own sort there} you Jacks are all alike, with a wife in every port. However,' he added—and as he spoke he gave a complacent stroke to his good*looking face—'he may thank his stars that a matter of seven miles or so lays between bis pretty Eve and Captain Van Court* land's troops, or there'd have been a cutting-out expedition that, saving the presence of those I speak before,'—and he gave a most exasperating wink—' might have Droved a trifle more success* ful than such things nave of late.' ' Here, I say,' said the sailor, flaming up at this 01-timed jocularity, 'praps you'll tell me what 'tis you're drivin' at; for I've got to hear of it if you, or any o' your cloth either, ever made a find yet. You're mighty 'cute 'bout other folks, though when the spirits was under yer very noses, and you searched the houses through 'twas knowed to be stowed in, you couldn't lay hold on a single cask. 'Tis true we mayn't have nabbed the men, but by jingo if t has come to us bein' made fools of by the women !' 'There now, stash it there,' said his older comrade, who had no wish to see a quarrel ensue. ' So far as I can see, there's no cause for bounce 'twixt either o' us ; though, only you give us a chance of getting near to them, sergeant,' he said, turning to the soldier, 'and I'll promise you shall make it all square with this pretty lass you fancy, while her lover's cutting capers under Tyburn tree.' ' A chance !' repeated his companion, despond* fogly > ' where's it to come from, and the only one we'd got cut away from under us by those Hart chaps.' ' How so, where's the Hart off to, then ?' asked the sergeant. ' Off to Port Mellint/ said the man addressed. 'Nothing but a hoax, I fancy; but still she was bound to go,' and so saying he tossed off the re mainder of his grog, and began making a move* ment, saying, as he did so, to his somewhat quarrelsomely disposed shipmate : ' Here, I say, Bill, come long down to the rendesvoos with me, and, if there's nothin' up for to-night, what d'ye say to stepping round to Paddy Burkes ? He's asked us to come ever so many times, you know.' ' Paddy Burke r said the sergeant; ' what, do you know him ? why, if you're going there, I'll step so far with yon.'

' Well, we're bound for the rendezvoos first 1 said the sailor. •All right; I can find plenty to do while you're in there.' ' Then come along;' and, only stopping to ex change a few words in passing with the landlady, out they all went, and Reuben was left alone, a prey to the thoughts which now came crowding into his mind. For a few minutes he sat with his arms resting on the table, as if communing with himself; then, starting up as if filled with a sudden resolve, he went out and asked the landlady a few common, place questions, and finally enquired whereabouts, and in what direction, did the rendezvous lie ? 1 Close down by the bridge, the first house after you pass the second turning. Why,' she said ; * be 'cc wanting to see anybody there ?' ' No,' said Reuben ; ' I only heard the fellows that came in there talking about the rendezvous, and I wondered whether I'd passed it* 1 Why, iiSg o' course you did, comin' in. 'Tis the house with the flag streamin' over the door ways.' Reuben waited for no further information. He said something about not knowing it was so late, bade the landlady a rather abrupt farewell, and went his way. Down the narrow street he hurried, turned a corner, and found himself in front of the house indicated, outside which all was dark. Nobody near, and, with the exception of himself, not a soul to be seen. Inside, he could hear voices, and the more plainly from the top sash of the window being a little way open. By the help of the iron stanchion driven in to support the flag staff, he managed to get up, steady himself on the window-sill, and take a survey of the room. Several men were in it, and among them the two he had already seen, one of whom was speaking to a person whom, from his uniform, Reuben took to be an officer. Ihe sight apparently decided what he had be fore hesitated about, and getting down he took from his pooket a slip of paper—one he had pro vided in case he should want to leave a message for Eve—and rapidly wrote on it thlse words :— 4 The Lottery is expected at Polperro to-n.ght They will land at Down End as soon as the tide will let them get near.' Folding this, he once more mounted the win* dow-sill, tossed the paper into the room, lingered for but an instant to see that it was picked up, then jumped down, ran with all speed, and was soon lost amid the darkness whioh surrounded him. As he hurried from the house, an echo seemed to carry to his ears the shout whioh greeted this surprise—a surprise whioh set everyone talking at once, each one speaking and no one listening. Some ware for going, some for staying away; somt for treating it as a serious matter, others for taking it as a joke. At length the officer called ' Silence I' and after a pause, addressing the men present in a few words, be said that, however it might turn out, he oonaidered that he should only be doing his duty by ordering the boats to proceed to the place named, and see what amount of truth there was in this somewhat mysterious manoeuvre. If it was nothing but a hoax, they must bear to have the laugh onoe more turned against them ; but should it turn out the truth ! The buzz which greeted this bare supposition showed how favoi ably his decision was regarded, and the absent men were ordered to be summoned without de lay. Everything was got ready as quickly as possible, and in a little over an hour two boats started fully equipped and manned, to lie in ambush near the coast midway between Looe and Polperro. While fate, in the shape of Reuben May, had been hasteuing events towards a disastrous climax, the course of circumstances in Polperro had not gone altogether smoothly. To Eve's vexation, because of the impossibility of speaking of her late enoounter with Reuben May, she found, on her return home, that during her absence Mrs. Tucker had arrived, with the rare and unap preciated announcement that she had come to stop and have her tea with them. The example set by Mrs. Tucker was followed by an invitation of two or three other elderly friend?, so that, be tween her hospitality and her excitement, Joan had no opportunity of noticing any undue change in Eve's manner or appearance. Two or three remarks were made on her pale face and abstracted air, but this more by the way of teasing than anything else; while Joan, remembering the suppressed anxiety she was most probably trying to subdue, endeavored to come to her aid, and assist in turning away this over-scrutiny of her tell-tale appearance. The opportunity thus afforded by silence gave time for reflection, and Eve, who had never been quite straightforward or very explicit about her self and Reuben May, now began to hesitate. Perhaps, after all, it would be better to say no thing ; for Joan was quite certain to ask ques tions which, without betraying the annoyance she had undergone, Eve hardly law her way to answering. Again, it was not impossible that Reuben's anger might relent; and if so, he would most probably seek another interview, in which to beg her pardon. In her heart Eve hoped and believed this would be the case ; for, indignantly as she defied Reu ben's scorn and flung back his reproaches, they had been each a separate sting to her, and she longed for the chance to be afforded Reuben of seeing how immeasurably above the general run of nun was the one she had chosen. ' Here, I say, Eve!' exclaimed Joan, as she came indoors from bidding good-bye to the last departure. 'Come, bear a hand and let's set the place all straight; I can't abide the men's coming horn* to find us all in a muddle.' Eve toned to with a good-will, and the girts soon had the satisfaction of seeing the room look as bright and cheery as they desired. ' Let's see—ten minutes past'leben,' said Joan, looking at the dock. 'I don't see how 'tis possible for 'em to venture in 'fore wan, 'less 'tis to Tallow Rock, and they'd hardly try that What do 'cc say, Eve—shall we run up out to cliff, top o' Talland Lane, and see if us can see any sums of'emr ' Ob, do, Joan f And, throwing their cloaks over them, off they set. ' Hare, give me your band,' said Joan, as they rwohsd the pate and entered upon Urn path which Ev« had lart trod with Adam by bar aid*. 'I

knaw the path better than you, and 'tis a bib narrow for a pitch-dark night like this. Take care, we've come to the watter ; that's right Now up we goes till we get a-top, and then we'll have a good look round ua.' Thus instructed, Eve managed to get on, and, stumbling up by Joan's side, they quickly reached the narrow line of level which seemed to over* hang the depths below. 'We couldn't Bee them if they were there,' said Eve, turning to Joan, who was still peering into the darkness. ' No, 'tis blacker than I thought,1 said Jord, cheerily ; ' that's ever so much help to 'em, and, hooray! the fires id out! Do 'cc see, Eve ? there ain't a spark o' nothin' nowhere'e. Ole Jona than's hoaxed 'em fine this time ; the gawpusea have soaked it all in, and, I'll be hound, raced off so fast as wind and tide 'ud carry 'em.' 'Then they're sure to come, now?' said Eve, excitedly. 1 Certain,' safd Joan. ' They've seed the fires put out, and knaw it means the bait's swallowed, and the cruiser is off. I shouldn't wonder a bit if they'm close in shore, only waitin' for the tide to give 'em a proper draw o' water, so that they may send the kegs over.' 'Should we go on a bit farther,' said Eve, 'and get down the hill by the Warren stile ? We might meet some of 'em perhaps.' 'Better not,' said Joan. 'To tell 'cc the truth, 'tis beat to make our way home bo quick as can, for I wudn't say ub 'ull have 'em back quicker than I thought' ' Then, let's make haste!' exclaimed Eve, giving her hand to Joan, while she turned her head to take a farewell glance in the directiou where it was probable the vessel was now waiting. ' Oh, Joan! what's that V For a fiery arrow had seemed to Bhoot along the darkness, and in quick suooesaiota came another and another. Joan did not answer ; but she seemed to catch her breath, and, clutching hold of Eve, she made a spring up on to the wall over which they had before been looking. And now a succession tf sharp cracks were heard, then the tongues of fire darted through the air, and again all was gl >om.' ' O Lord !' groaned Joan; ' I hope 'taint nothin's gone wrong with 'em.' In an instant Eve had scrambled up by her side ' What can it be ? What coujd go wrong, Joan ?'—but Joan's whole attention seemed now centred on the opposite cliff, from where, a little below Hard Head, after a few minutes watching, Eve saw a blue-light burning;' this was answered by another lower down, then a rocket was sent up, at the sight of which Joan clasped her hands, and cried: •' Awh, 'tis they ! 'tis they ! Lord save 'em i Lord help 'em ! They cursed hounds have surely played 'em false!' ' What, not taken them, Joan V 1 They won't be taken,' she said fiercely. 'Do you think, unless 'twas over their dead bodies, they'd ever let king's men stand masters on the Lottery's deck V Eve's heart died within her, and with one rush every detail of the lawless life seemed to come before her. 'There they go again !' cried Joan, and this time, by the sound, she knew their position was' altered to westward, and somewhat nearer in to land. 'Lord send they mayn't knaw their course,' she continued ; ' tis but a point or two on, and they'll surely touch the Steeple Reef. Awh, you blidthirsty cowards! I wish I'd the pitchin' of every man of 'cc over boards ; 'tis precious little mercy you'd get from me ! And the blessed sawls to bo caught in yer snarin' traps close into home—anighst their very doors, too. Eve, I must go and see what they meant* to do for 'em. They'll never suffer to see 'em butchered whilst there's a man in Polperro to go out and help 'em.' Forgetting in her terror all the difficulties she had before seen in the path, Eve managed to keep up with Joan, whose flying footsteps never stayed until she found herself in front of a long build ing, close under Bhelter of the Peak, which had been named as a sort of assembling-place ia cose of danger. ' 'Tis they ?' abe called out in breathless agouy, pushing her way through the crowd of men now hastening up from all directions towards the cap tain of the Cleopatra. ' I'm feared bo,' and hia grave face bespoke how fraught with anxiety his fears were. ' What can it be, dee think V 'Can't tell noways. They who brought us word saw the Hart sail, and steady watch has been kept up, so that us knaws her ain't back.' ' You mains to do aomethin' for 'em V said Joan. ' Never fear but us'll do what us can—though that's mighty little, I can tell 'cc, Joau.' Joan gave an impatient groan. Her thorough comprehension of their dauger and its possible consequences lent activity to hir distress, while Eve, with nothing more tangible ihuu the know ledge that a terrible danger was near, seamed the prey to indefinite horrors, which took a* ay from her every sense but the sense of suffering. By this time the whole place wax astir, people running to this point and that, asking queetious, listening to rumors, hazarding a hundred con jectures, each more wild than the other. A couple of boats had been manned ready to row round by the cliff. One party had gone towards the Warreu, another to Yellow Rock. All were filled with the keenest desire not only to aid their comrades but to be i revenged on those who had snared them into this cunningly devised pitfalL But amid all this zeal arose the question : What could they do ? Absolutely nothing—for by this time the firing had oased, the contest was apparently over, aud •round them impenetrable darkness again reigned supreme. To show any lights by which some point of land should be discovered might only serve as a beacon to the enemy. To send out a boat might be to run it into their very jaws, for surely, were assistance needed, those on board the Lottery would know that by this time trusty friends were anxiously watching, waiting for but the slighest signal to be to risk life and limb in their service. The wisest thing to be done wan to put every thing in order for a sudden call, and then sit down and patiently abide the reeult. This decision being put into effect, the exciud crowd began to thin, and before long, with the excep tion of Omm who could render a*=iatence, very

* The right of repab&hing "Adam aad Bye" in Qawnslaad has beea pvakaeei by the ptoptttots of tke gwerwftarfrr.

few lookers-on remained. Joan had lingered till the last, and then, urged by the possibility that many of her house-comforta might be needed, she hurried home to join Eve, who had gone before her. With their minds running upon all the varied accidents of a fight, the girls, without exchanging a word of their separate fears, got ready what each fancied might prove the beßt remedy, until, nothing more being left to do, they sat down, one on each Bide the fire, and counted the minutes by which time dragged out thJB weary watching into hours. * Couldn't 'cc say a few hymns or something Eve?' Joan said at length, with a hope of .breaking this dreadful monotony. Eve shook her head. 'No ?' said Joan, disappointedly. ' I thought you might ha' knowed o' some.' Then after another pause, struck by a happier suggestion, ?he said : ' S'pose us wan to get down the big Bible and read a bit, eh—what dq 'cc Bay ?' But Eve only shook her head again. ' No,' she said, in a hard dry voice. • I couldn't read the Bible now.' ' Couldn't 'cc ?' sighed Joan, ' Then, after all, it don't seem that religion and that's much of * comfort. By what I'd heard,' she added, 'I thought 'twas made o' purpose for folks to lay hold on in times o' trouble.' [TO » CONTINUED.]