Chapter 20334663

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Chapter NumberXXVI.
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article20334663
Full Date1880-08-07
Page Number169
Corrections0
Word Count3908
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)
Trove TitleAdam and Eve
article text

The Storyteller.

Adam and Eve.*

CHAPTER XXVI.

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

XXVI. IT was close upon 3 o'clock; Joan had fallen into an uneasy doze, and Eve was beginning to nod, when a rattle of the latch made them both

start up.

'It can't be-iss, it is, though I' screamed Joan, rushing forward to meet Adam, who caught both the girls in a close embrace. ' Uncle ? uncle V Joan cried. 4 All safe,' said Adam, releasing her, while he strained Eve closer to his heart. ' We're all back safe aud sound, and, saving Tom Braddon and Israel Rickard, without a scratch 'poo any of us.' ' Thank God!' sighed Eve ; while Joan, verily jumping for joy, cried : ' But where be they to, eh, Adam ? I must rinj where ever 'tis, and see 'em, and make sure of it with my awra eyea' ' I left them down to quay with the rest— they're all together there,' said Adam, unwilling to. lose the opportunity of securing a few minutes alone with Eve, and yet unable to com* mand hia voice, so that it should sound in its ordinary tone. The jar in it caught Joan's quick ear, and, turning, she said ; ' Why, what ever have' cc bin about, then I What's the mainin* of it all ? Did they play 'cc false, or bow V Adam gave a puzzled shake of the head. ' You know quite as much about it aa I do,' he said. 'We started, and got on fair and right enough so far as Down End, and I was for st once dropping out the kegs, ss had been agreed npon to do at Sandy Bottom.' 'Wellf said Joan.

* The right of republishing " Adam and Eve" in Queensland ha* been purchased by the proprietor* of the Queenslander.

' Tea, 'twould ha' been well if we'd done it I'atead of which, no sooner waa the fires seen to be out, meaning, as all thought, that the Hart was safe off, than nothing would do but we must go on to Yellow Rock, which meant waiting f> r over an hour till the tide served for it' ' But you never gived in to 'em, Adam!' 'Oived in I' be repeated bitterly; ' after Jerrem had once put tbe thought into their heads you might bo well have tried to turn stone walls as get either one to lay a finger on anything. They wanted to know what was the good o' taking the trouble to sink the kegs overboard, when by just waitin' we could store all safe in the caves along there—under cliff.' 4 Moat half drunk, I s'pose V said Joan. ' By Jove ! then they'd pretty soon find some thing to make 'em sober,' replied Adam, grimly; 'for in little more than balf-an-hour we spied the two boats comin' up behind na, snd 'fore they was well caught sight of they'd opened out fire.' ' And had 'cc got to return it?' asked Joan. 'Not till they were close up, we didn't, and then I b'lieve the sight of us would have been enough; only, as usual, Mr. Jerrem must be on the contrary, and let fly a shot that knocked down the bow-oar of the foremost boat like a ninepin.. That got up their blood a bit *nd then at it our chaps went, tooth snd nail—such a scrimmage aa hasn't been seen hereabouts since the Happy-go-Lucky was took, and Welland shot in her.' ' Lord save us! how ever did 'cc manage to get off so well ?' said Joan. •Get off!' he said; 'why, we could have made a clean sweep of the whole lot »»d all the cry against me now is tha!: I kept'em from doing it The fools I not to see thst our best ohanoe is to do nothing more than defend ourselves and not run our necks into a noose by taking life while there's any help for it' 1 Was the man shot dead that Jerrem fired at ?' asked Eve. ' No, I hope not; or, if so, we haven't heard the last of it; for, depend on it this new officer, Buller, he's an ugly customer to deal -with, and won't take things quite so easy ss old Ravens used to do.' ' You'll be faintin' for somethin' to eat,' said Joan, moving towards the kitchen. ' No, I ain't' «**d Adam, laying a detaining hand upon her. ' I couldn't touch a thing ; I want to be a bit quiet, that's all. My head seems all of a mis-maze like.' ' Then HI just run down and see uncle,' said Joan, ' and try and persuade 'en to come home alongs, shall I ?' Adam gave an expressive movement of his face. 4 You oan try,' he said, ' but you haven't got muoh chance o' bringin' him, poor old chap ! He thinks, like tbe rest of 'em, that they've done a fine night's work, and they must keep it up by drinking to blood and glory. I only hope it may end there; bnt If ft doesn't, whatever oomes, Jerrem's the one who's got to answer for it all.' While he was saying these words, Adam wss E rolling off his jacket, and now went to the itchen to find some -water with which to remove the black and dirt from his begrimed face and hands. Eve hastened to assist him, but not before Joan had managed, by laying her finger on her lip, to attract her attention. 4 For goodness gracious sake,' she whispered, 4 don't 'cc brathe no word 'bout the letter to un ; there'd be worse than murder 'twixt'em now.' Eve nodded an assurance of silence, snd, open ing the door, Joan went out in the street, already alive with people, most of them bent on thessme errand ss herself, anxious to hear the incidents of the fight confirmed by the testimony of the principal actors. The gathering-point was the sail-house behind the Peak, and thither, in company with severs! friends, Joan made her way, and soon found her self hailed with delight by Uncle Zsbedee and Jerrem, both of whom were by tbis time primed up to giving the most extraordinary and vivid accounts of the fight, every detail ot whioh wss entirely corroborated by those who had been present and those who had been absent; for the constant demand made on the keg of spirits which, in honor of the victory, old Zebedee had insisted on having broached there, wss beginning to take effect *° thst the greater portion of the listeners were now turned into talkers, and thus it wss impossible to tell those who bad seen from those who had heard, and the wrangling, laughter, dis putes, and congratulations made auoh a hubbub of confusion that the room seemed for the time turned into a very Pandemonium. Only one thing all gave hearty assent to—that was that Jerrem was the hero on whom the merit of triumph rested ,* for, if he hadn't fired that first shot, ten to one but they should have listened to somebody whom, in deference to Zebedee, they refrained from naming, and indi cated by a nod in his direction, and let the white livered scoundrels sneak off with tbe boast that the Polperro men were afraid to give fight to them. Afraid ? why they were afraid of nothing, not they ! They'd give chase to the Hart, board the Looe cutter, swamp the boats, and utterly rout and destroy the whole Excise department; the more bloodthirsty the resolution proposed tbe more loudly wss it greeted. The spirit of lawless riot seemed suddenly let loose among them, and men who were usually kind-hearted and, after their rough fashion, tenderly-disposed, seemed turned into devils, whose delight was in violence, and whose pleasure wss excess, While this revelry wss growing more fast and furious below, Adam waa still sitting quietly at home, with Eve by his side using her every art to dispel the gloom by whioh her lover's spirits were clouded—not so much on account of the reoent fight, for Adam apprehended no such great score of danger on that head. It was true -that of late such frays had been of rare occurrence, yet many had taken place before, and with disastrous re sults, and yet the chief actors in them still lived to tell the tale; so that it was not altogether that which disturbed him, although it greatly added to his former moodiness, which had originally sprung out of the growing distaste to the life he led. The inaction of the time spent in dodging about, with nothing to occupy him, nothing to interest him, had turned Adam's thoughts in ward, and made him determine to have done with these ventures, in which, exoept as far ss the gain went he really had nothing in oommon

with the companion* who took part in them; but, aa he very well knew, it wu far easier to tike this resolution in thought than it wu to put it into action. Once let the idea of his leaving them get abroad, and difficulties would confront him whichever way he turned ; obstacles would block his pal h, and suspicion dodge his footsteps. His comrades, though not very far-seeing men, were quite sharp enough to estimate the danger of losing sight of one who was in possession of all their secrets, and who could at any moment lay his finger upon every hiding-place in their district Adam himself had often listened to, and, in company with others, silently commended, a story told of years gone by, when a brother of the-owner of the Stamp and 00, one Herkles Johns, had been pressed into the king's service, and had there acquitted himself so gallantly that, on his return, a commission had been offered to him, which he, longing to take, ac« cepted under condition of Retting leave to see his native place again. With the foreboding that the exchange of circumstances would not be well received, he seised the opportunity oc casioned by the joy of his return to speak of the commission as a reward offered to him, and asked the advice of those around as to whether he had not best accept it Opposition met him on every aide. 'What?' they said, 'of his own free will, put himself in a place where Borne day he might be forced to seize his father's vessel, or swear away the lives of those he had been born among!' The bare idea was inadmissible ; and when, from asking advice, be grew into giving his _ opinion, and finally into announcing his decision, an ominous silence fell on those who heard him, and though he was unmolested during his stay, and permitted to leave his former home, he was never known to reach his ship, aboard which his mysterious disappearance was much talked of, and enqniries set afloat to find out the reason of his absence; but among those whose name he bore, and whose confidence he had shared, he seemed to be utterly forgotten. His name was never mentioned, nor his fate enquired into ; and Adam, remembering that he had seen the justice of this treatment, felt the full force of its reasoning now applied to his own case, and his heart sank before the difficulties in which he found himself entangled. Even to Eve he could not open out his mind dearly, for unless to one bora and bred among them the dangers and interest* of the free traders were a matter quite beyond comprehen sion ; so that now, when Eve was pleading, with all her powers of persuasion, that for her sake Adam would give up this life of reckless daring the seemingly deaf ear be turned to her entrea ties was dulled through perplexity, and not, as she believed, from obstinacy. Eve in her tarn could not be thoroughly ex* plicit There was a skeleton cupboard, the key of which she was hiding from Adam's eight; for it was not entirely 'for her sake' she desired him to abandon his present occupa tion. It was beoause, in the anxiety «he had recently undergone, in the terror which had been forced upon her, the glass of security had been roughly dispelled, and the life, in all its lawlessness and violence, had stood forth before her. The warnings and denunciations which only a few hours before, when Reuben May had uttered them, she had laughed to scorn as idle words, now rang in her ears like a fatal knell; the rope he had said that would hang them all was then a sieve of unsown hemp—since sprang up, and now the fatal cord which dangled dangerously near. The secret thoughts of each fell like a shadow between them; an invisible hand seemed to thrust them asunder, and in spite of the love they both felt both were equally conscious of a want of that entire sympathy which is the keystone to perfect union. ' You were very glad to see me come back to you, Eve?' Adam asked, as, tired of waiting for Joan, Eve at length decided to wait op no longer. ' Glad, Adam, why do you ask ?' 'I can't tell,' he said; 'I s'poae it's this con founded upset of everything that makes me feel as I do feel, as if,' he added, passing his hand over his forehead,' I hadn't a bit of trust or hope or comfort in anything in the world.' ' I know exactly,' said Eve. ' That's just as I felt when we were waiting for you to come back. Joan asked if we should read the Bible, bat I said no; I couldn't, I felt too wicked for that' 'Wicked!' said Adam. 'Why, what should make you feel wicked V Eve hesitated. Should she unburden her heart and confess to him all the fears and scruples which made it feel so heavy and ill at ease? A moment's indecision, and the oppor tunity lost, she said in a dejected tone : ' Ob, I cannot tell; only that I suppose such thoughts come to all of us sometimes.' Adam looked at her, but Eve's eyee were averted; and, seeing how pale and troubled was the expression on her face, he said : ' You are over-tired ; all this turmoil has been too much for you. Oo off now, and try to get some sleep. Yes, don't stay up longer,' he added, seeing that she hesitated; 'I shall bo glad of some rest myself, and to-morrow we shall find things looking better than they seem to do now.* Once alone, Adam reseated himself, and sat gating abstractedly into the fire ; then with an effort he seemed to try and shake his senses to gether, to step out of himself and put his mind into a working order of thought, so that he might weigh and sift the occurrences of these recent events. The first question which had flashed into every body's mind was, What had led to this sudden attack ? Had they been betrayed ? and if so, who had betrayed them ? Could it be Jonathan ? Though the thought was at once negatived, no other outsider knew of their intended move ments. Of course the matter had been discussed —ac all matters were discussed and voted for or against—among the crew; but to doubt either of them was to doubt one's self, and any fear of betrayal among themselves was unknown. The amount of baseness such a suspicion would imply was too |great to be incurred even in thought What, then, could have led to this surprise? Had their movements been watched, and tbjs decoy of the cutter only swallowed with tha view of throwing them off their guard \ Adam was lost in speculation, from whioh he was aroused by the to* being aof tly opened and Joan comiQg ift.

' Why, Adam, I thought to find 'cc in bed,' she said. 'Come now, you must be dreadful tired.' Then, sitting down to loosen her hood, she added with a sigh,' I stayed down there so long aa I could, till I saw twasn't no good, so I corned away home and left 'em. 'Tia best way, I b'lieve.' ' I knew 'twas no good your going,' said Adam, hopelessly. * I saw before I left 'em what they'd made up their minds to.' ' Well, perhaps there's a little excuse this time,' said Joan, not willing to blame those who were so dear to her ; • but Adam,' she broke out while her face bespoke ber keen appreciation of his superiority : ' Why can't th' others be like you, awb, my dear ? how different things 'ud be if they only was.' Adam shook his head. 'Oh, don't wish 'em like me,' he said. ' I ofteh wish I could take my pleasure in the same things, and in the same way, that they do ; I should be much happier, I b'lieve.' ' No, now, don't 'cc say that' • Why, what good has it done that I'm other wise f ' Why, ever so much ; more than you'll ever know by a good bit I needn't go no further than my awn self to tell 'cc that; p'r'apß you mayn't think it, but I've bin kep' fra doing ever so many things by the thought o' what'U Adam ssy ! and with the glass in my hand I've act it down untasted, thinkin' to myself, " Now you'm aotin' agen Adam's wish, you knaw." ' Adam smiled as he gave her a little shake of the hand. 'That's how 'tis, you see,' she continued ; ' you'm doin' good without knawin' of it.' Then, turning her dark eyes wistfully upon him, Bhe asked : ' Do 'cc ever think a bit 'pon poor Joan, while you'm away, Adam? Come, now, you muatn't shove off from me altogether, you knaw ; you must leave me a dinkey little corner to squeeze into by.' Adam clasped her hand tighter. ' Oh, Joan,' he said,' I'd give the world to see my way clearer than I do now ; I often wish that I could take you all off to some place far away, and begin life over again.' 'Ah 1' said Joan, in a tone of sympathy to which her heart did not very cordially respond, 4 that 'ud be a capital job, that would ; but you ain't mainin' away from Polperro ?' 4 Yes, far away. I've bin thinkin' about it for a good bit; don't you remember I said some thing o' the sort to father a little time back V 4 Iss, but I didn't knaw there was any more sense to your words tbsn to threaten un like. Awb, my dear!' she said, with a decided ehake of the head, 'that 'ud never do ; don't 'cc get hold o' such a thought as that. Turn your back upon the place 1 why, whatever 'd they be about to let 'cc do it ?' Joan's words only echoed Adam's own thoughts ; still he tried to combat them by say* ing :41 don't see why any one should interfere with what I might choose to do; what odds oould it make to them ?' 4 Odds 1' repeated Joan ; ' why you'd hold all their lives in your wan hand. Only ax yourself the question, where's either one of 'em you'd like to see take hisself off nobody knows why or where?' Adam could find no satisfactory reply to this argument; he therefore changed the subject by mying: 41 wish I oould fathom this last business. 'Tis a good deal out o' the course o' phvn sailing. So far as I know by, there wasn't a living soul but Jonathan who could have said what was up for to-night' •Jonathan's right enough,' said Joan, de* cidedly. ' I should feel a good deal more mis trust 'bout some of 'em lettin' their tongues rin too fast' 4 There wss nobody to let them run fast to,' ssid Adam. "Then there's the writin',' said Joan, trying to discover if Adam knew anything about Jerrem's letter. Adam shook hia head. 4,Tis'nt nothing o' that sort,' he said. 4I don't know that, beyond Jerrem and me, either o' the others knows how to write; and I said particular that I should send no word by speech or letter, snd the rest must do tbe same ; and Jonathan would ha' told me if they'd broke through in any way, for I put the question to him 'fore he shoved off.' 4 Ob, did'ee?' said Joan, turning her eyes away, while into her heart there crept a suspicion of Jonathan's perfect honesty. Was it possible that his love of money might have led him to betray bis old friends? Joan's fears were aroused. 'Tis a poor job of it' she said, anxiously. • I wish to goodness 't had happened to any o' the rest, so long as you and uncle were out of it' ' And not Jerrem ?' said Adam, with a feeble attempt at hia old teasing. •Awh, Jerrem's sure to fall 'pon his feet, throw un which way you will,' said Joan. 4 Be sides if he didn't'—and ahe turned a look of reproach on Adam—' Jerrem ain't you, Adam, nor uncle neither. I don't deny that I don't love Jerrem dearly, 'cos I do'—and for an instant her voice seemed to wrestle with the rush of tears which streamed from her eyes aa she sobbed —'but for you or uncle, why I'd shed my heart's blood like watter, iss that I would, and not think 'twas any such great thing neither.' "There's no need to tell me thst,' said Adam, whose heart, softened by his love for Eve, had grown very tender towards Joan. 'Nobody knows you better than I do. There isn't another woman in the whole world I'd trust with the. things I'd trust yon with, Joan.' fTbere's a dear,' ssid Joan, recovering herteK. 4lt does me good to hear 'cc spake liko, that. 'Tis such a time since I had a word with *— that I began to feel I don't know how wiaeO ' Well, yes,' said Adam smiling, ' 'tis a bravish spell since you and me were together by our own two selves. But I declare your talk's done Bar more good than anything I've had to*day % 1 feel ever so much better now than I did be-fere.' Joan was about te> answer, when a sound made them both start aad stand for a moment Mstening. 4 'Us gone, whatever it was,' said Adam, taking astepierward. 'I don't hear nothing now, doyoo ? •loan pushed back the door leading to the stairs. 4 No,' she said ; ' I reckon 'twas nothing hut the boards. Howiver, 'tk time I went, or 1 abals be wakia' up Eve, Her's a poor sleeper in> genersl, but what with wan thing sad 'nother I specta hsTs reg'ler worn out, poor sawl, to-night* (toss oormvap.]