|Newspaper Title||The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)|
|Trove Title||Adam and Eve|
Adam and Eve.
BY MRS. PARR. Authoress of "Dorothy Fox." "The Gosau Smithy," &c., &c.
CHAPTER XXVIII. 'JOAN, you needn't expect me till you see me,' —Joan turned quickly round, to see Adam at the door, looking angry and determined—' and you
can tell Eve, from me, that as it seems all one to her whatever companion she has I don't see any need for forcing myself where I am told I should only be one in the way.' • Adam !'—but the door was already slammed, and Joan again left in possession of the kitchen. 'Now, there 'tis,' she said, in a tone of vexa- tion, 'just as I thought; a reg'lar piece o' work made all out o' nothin'. Drabbit the maid! if her's got the man her wants, why can't her study un a bit? But somehow there s been a crooked stick lyin' in her path all day to-day; bar's nipped about aomethin', I'm positive sure o' that; and they all just come home too, and every thin', and now to be at daggers drawn with one 'nother— 'tis terrible, 'tis.' Joan's reflections, interrupted by the necessary attention which her cakes and pasties made upon her, lasted over some considerable time, and they had not yet come to an end when two of the principal objects of them presented themselves before her. 1 Why, where ever have 'cc bin tot' she said, peevishly. ' What ever made 'cc stay away like thU for ; actin' bo foolish, when you knaws, both of 'cc, what a poor temper Adam's got, if any« thin' goes contrary with 'un V Jerrem shrugged bu shoulders, while Eve, at once assuming an injured air for such an un* merited attack, said, * Really, Joan, I don't know what you mean ; old Poll Potter has just been telling us that Adam came flying and fuming up her way, wanting to know if she'd seen us, and then, when she said where we'd gone to, be used the moat dreadful language to her ; I'm sure I don't know for what reason. He chose to go out without me this morning.' * But that was 'bout business,' said Joan. 'Ob, business |' repeated Eve, 'business is a very convenient word when you don't want to tell a person what your real errand is—not that I want to pry into Adam's secrets, far from it He's quite welcome to keep what he likes from me, only I'd rather he wouldn't tell me half things. I like to know all or none.' Joan looked mystified, and Jerrem, seeing she did not know what to say, came to the rescue. 4 I'm sure I'm very vexed if I've been the cause of anything o' this, Eve,' he said, humbly. ' You needn't be at all vexed—it's nothing at all to do with you ; you asked me to go, and I said yes. If I hadn't wanted to go I should have said no. Anyone would think I'd committed a crime, instead of taking a simple walk, with no other fault than not happening to return home at the very same minute that it suited Adam to come back at.' ' But how is it he's a seed you, if you haven't a seed he,' said Joan, fairly pawled by this game of cross-purposes ; «he came home all right 'nuf, and then went off to see whereabouts he could find cc to, and 'bout quartern hour after back h« comes in a reg'lar pelt, and says : " You tell Eve," he says, " that I'm not goin' to force myself where I'm told I shan't be wanted." Awh, my dear, he'd seed *cc somewhere*,' she continued, in answer to Eve's shrug of bewilderment; ' I _*2Jw *•*« * *n»Ntahing "Adam and *n" in
oould tell that so soon as iver I'd dapped eye on 'un.' ' And where* he off to now}' said Eve, de termined to have an immediate settlement o! her wrongs. 11 can't tell; he juat flung they worda at me and was gone.' Eye said no more, bat with the apparent in* tention of taking off her hat went upstairs, while Joan, bidding Jerrem go and see if Uncle Zebe. dee was roused up yet, returned to her previous occupation of preparing the tea. When it wai ready she called out: 1 Come 'long Eve I' but no answer was returned, 'Tay's ready, my dear.' Still no reply. 'She can't ha' gone out agen V thought Joan, mounting the stain to ascertain the cause of the silence, which was soon explained by the sight of Eve flung down on the bed with her head buried in the pillow. ' Now, what ever be doin' this for V exclaimed Jean, bending down and discovering that Eve was sobbing as if her heart would break. 'Awh, doan't cry now, there's a dear, it 'ull all come straight agen. Why now, you'll see Adam 'ull be back in no time. 'Twas only through bein' balked when he'd a come back o' purpose to take 'eeout' • How was I to know that,' sobbed Eve. 'No, o' course you didn't, and that's what I told 'un. But, lon ! 'tis the nature o' men to be jealous o' one 'nother, and with Adam more partiokler o' Jerrem, so for the future you musl humor un a bit, 'cos there's things atwixt they two you don't know nothin' of, and so can't allays tell when the shoe's pinohin' most* 'I often think whether Adam and me will be happy together,' said Eve, sitting up and drying her eyes. • I'm willing to give in, but I wonrt be trampled upon.' ' And he won't want to trample 'ponce neither. Only you study un a bit, and you'll soon learn the measure o T Adam's foot Why,'tis only to see un lookin* at 'cc to tell how he loves'ee,' and Joan successfully kept down a rising sigh, aa she added, ' Lor'a, he wouldn't let a fly pitch 'pon •cc if he could help it' ' If he'd seen us before he came In first, he'd have surely told yon V said Eve. 'Awh, he hadn't seen 'cc, then,' said Joan, ' 'cos, tho* he was a bit vexed, he wasn't in no temper. 'Twas after he went out the second time that he must have oast eyes on 'cc some way. Jerrem wasn't up to none of his nonsense, was he r she asked. "Cos I knaws what Jerrem is. He don't think no more o* givin' 'cc a kiss or that than he does o' noddin' bis head or crookin' his elbaw, and if Adam caught un at that, it 'ud be enough for he.' Eve shook her head. 'Jerrem never takes none of those liberties with me,' she said. •He knows I won't allow him to. The whole of the time we did nothing but talk and walk along till we oame to a nice place, and then we stayed for a little while look ing at the view together and after that oame back.' "Us more than I oan make oat, then,' said Joan, "oos, though I wondered when yon set off whether Adam would 'aactly relish your bein' with Jerrem. I never thought 'twould put on out like this.' 'It makes me feel so miserable,' said Eve, trying to keep back her tears, 'for oh, Joan !'— and she threw her arms round Joan's neck—'l do love him very dearly.' •Iss, my dear, I knaws yon do,' returned Joan, soothingly,' and he loves yon, too.' 'Then why can't we always feel the same, Joan, and be comfortable and kind and pleasant to one another f ' Oh lon I that 'ud be a reg'lar milk and water set-out o' it. No, so long as you don't carry on too far on the wan tack I likes a bit of a breese now and then; it freshens 'cc up and puts new life into 'cc ; but, here, come along down now, and when Adam comes back seem as if nothin' had happened, and praps seem' yon make so light of it 'ull make un forget all about it' So advised, Eve dried her eyes and smoothed down her ruffled appearanoe, and in a short time joined the party below, which now included Uncle Zebedee, Barnabas Tadd. and Zeke Teague, who had brought word that the Hart bad only that morning returned to Fowey, entirely igno rant of the skirmish which had taken place between the Looe boats and the Lottery, and that, though it was reported that the man shot had been shot dead, nothing was known for certain, as it seemed that the men of Looe station were not over anxious to have the thfao talked about 'I should think they wasn't neither,' chuckled Uncle Zebedee; ' sneakin' cowardly lot; they was game enough whiles they was ereepin' up behind; but, lon, so soon as us sbawed our faces and they seed they'd got men to dale with there was another tale to tell, and no mistake. I much doubt whether or no wan amongst 'em had ever smelt powder afore our Jerrem here let 'em have a sniff o' his mixin'; 'tis my belief, and I han't got a doubt on the matter neither, that if he hadn't let fly when he did they'd ha' draw'd off and gone away boastin' that they got the best o1 it' ' Well, and mote's the pity you didn't let 'em, then,'said Joan. «I would, Iknaw. Safe hind's safe find, and you can never tell when flghtin' begins where 'tis goin' to end to.' ' It shouldn't ha' ended where it did if I'd had my way,' said Jerrem. ' Awh, well; there, never mind,' said old Zebedee. ' You'll have a chanoe agen, never fear, and then we must make 'cc capon. How'd that plan 'ec—eh f Jerram's face bespoke his satisfaction. •Take care I don't hold 'cc to yer word,' lie said, laughing. ' I'v. got witnesses, mind, to prove it—here's Barnabas here, and Zeke Teague, and they won't say me nay, TU wager, wUTee lads? ' Wa-all, bide a bit—bide abH r said Zebedee, winking in appreciation of his joke. ' There'll be two or three o* the oldsters drap in dorm* the ebenin', and then os'll have a bit of a jaw together on H, and weigh sides on the matter.' As Uncle Zebedee anticipated, the evening brought a goodly number of visitors, who, one after another, oame dropping in, until the sitting room was pretty well filled, and it was as much as Eve and Joan could manage to see that *md one was comfortably seated and provided for. There ware the captains of the three vessels
with a portion of the crew of each, several men belonging to the place—all more or less mixed op with the ventures—and, of course, the crew of the Lottery, by no means yet tired of having their story listened to and their adventure dis cussed. Adam's absence wan felt to be a great relief, and each one inwardly voted it as a proof that Adam himself saw that he'd altogether made a miasment, and gone nigh to damage the whole concern. Many a jerk of the head or the thumb •ofo^PMuod a whisper that 'he'd a tooked his. •elf off, and draw forth the response that ' 'twas the proper line to pursoo ;' and, feeling they had no fear of interruption, they resigned themselves to enjoyment and settled down to jollity, in the very midst of which Adam made his appearance; but the time was passed when his presence or his absence could in any way affect them, and instead of the uncomfortable silence which at an earlier stage might have fallen upon the party nu entrance was now only the occasion of hard hits and rough jokes, which Adam, seeing the influence under whioh they were made, tried to bear with all the temper he could command. ' Don't 'cc take no notice of 'em,' said Joan, bending over him to set down some fresh glasses. t They ain't worth jour anger, not one among m. Ive kept Eve out of it so much as I could ; and, after now, there won't be no need for her to come in agen ;so you go outside there. Her's a wattin* to have a word with 'cc.' • Then wait she may,' said Adam. * I'm goin' to stop where I am. Here, father!' he oried. Pass the liquor this way. Come, push the grog about! Last come first served, you know. 1 The heartiness with which this was said caused considerable astonishment 'Iss, fas, lad,' said old Zebedee, bis face glowing under the effects of hot punch and the efforts of hospitality. 'That's well said. Set-to with a will, and you'll catch us up yet' During the laughter called forth by this chal. lenge, Joan took another opportunity of speak' Ing. 7 Why, what be 'bout, Adam t' she said, seeing now unlike his speech and action was to his usual ?elf. *Doan't 'cc go and out off your naws to spite yer face,now; Eve's dose by here—hers as sorry as anything, her is; her wouldn't ha' gone out for twenty pounds if herd knaw'd if I wish you'd hold yer tongue,' said Adam; I've told you I'm goin' to stop here; be off with you now.' But Joan, bent on striving to keep him from M •f 06" to wn»cb «n« »»w exasperation was goading him, made one more effort 'Awh.Adamr she said,'do 'cc oome now, «Eve be • But before the word, had well escaped Us lips Joan's band was clapped over bis mouth. Too late, for Eve had oome up behind then, and as Adam turned his head to shake Joan off he found himself face to face before her, and the look of outraged love she fixed upon him made his heart quail within him. What oould he do, what should he say f Nothing now, for before he oould gather up his senses she had passed him by and was gone. A sickening feeling came over Adam, and he could barely put his lips to the glass which, in order to avert attention, he had caught up and raised to his mouth. At a blow all the resolu tions he had foroed himself to were upset and scattered, for he had returned with the reckless determination of plunging into whatever dissipa. tion chanced to be going on. He had roamed about, angry and tormented, until the climax of passion was suooeeded by an overpowering sense of gloom, to get away from which he had determined to abandon himself, and, flinging all restraint aside, sink down to that level over which the better part of his nature had vainly tried to soar. But now, in the feeling of degradation which Eve ? eyes had flashed upon him, the groasness of these excesses came freshly before him, and the knowledge that even in thought he had enter tained them made him feel lowered in his own eyes; and if in his eyes, how must he look in hers ? Without a movement, he knew every time that she entered the room; he heard her ex change words with some of those present, ap plaud a song of Barnabas Todd's, answer a ques tion of Uncle Zebedee's, and, sharpest thorn of all, stand behind Jerrem's chair, talking to him, while some of the roughest hits were being made at his own mistaken judgment in holding back those who were ready to have'sunk the Looe boats and all abeard em.' In the anguish of bis heart Adam could have cried aloud. It seemed to him that until now he had never tasted the bitterness of love nor smarted under the sharp tooth of jealousy. There were lapses, when, sending a covert look across the table, those around him faded away, and only Eve and Jerrem stood before him ; and, while he gated, a harsh discordant laugh would break the spell, and, starting, he would find that it was his own voioe which had jarred upon his ear. His head seemed on fire, his senses confused. Turning his eyes upon the tumbler of grog which he had poured out, he could hardly credit that it still stood all but untasted before him. A noisy song with a rollicking chorus was being sung, and for a moment Adam shut his eyes, trying to recollect himself—all in vain. Every* thing seemed jumbled and mixed together. Suddenly, in the midst of the clamor, a noise outside was heard. The door was bunt violently open, and as violently shut again by Jonathan, who, throwing himself with all his force against it, cried out: 'They'tn oomin'—thej'm after'ee—close by— the sodjera—you'm trapped f And, exhausted and overcome by exertion and excitement, his tall form swayed to and fro, and then fell back in a death-like swoon upon the floor. Charkx XXIX. Fob an instant everyone seemed paralysed and transfixed in the position into which upon Jona than's entrance they had started. Then a sudden rush was made towards the door, which several of the strongest blocked up, while Adam called vainly on them to stand aside, and give the chance of more air. Joan flew for water, and Jerrem dashed it over Jonathan. , There was a minute of anxious watching, and then slowly over Jonathan's pallid face the signs of returning animation began to creep. 'Now, stand back !—stand back from him, do!'
?aid Adam, fearing the effect of so many faces orowding near would only aeire to further dase his senses. What is it, Joathan, what is, it lad V he asked, kneeling down by him. Jonathan tried to rise, and Adam motioned|for Barnabas Tadd to come and assist in getting fri'i" on his feet. 'Now, sit down there,' said Adam, 'and put your lipa to this, and then tell us what'B up. 1 Jonathan cowered down as he threw a hasty glance round, the meaning of which was answered by a general— ' You knawß all of us, Jonathan, don't cc?' 4lss,' said Jonathan, breaking into a feeble laugh ; < but somehows I'd a rinned till I'd got 'em all as I fancied to me heels, dose by.' ' And where are they, then V said Adam, aeii ing the opportunity of getting at the most im portant faot. straddled on to their horses' backs. They'm to take 'cc all, dead or livin', sarch by night or day. Some o 1 'em is come all the ways fra Plymouth, Towin' and swearin' they'll have blid for blid ; and that if they can't pitch 'pon he who fired to kill their man, every sawl aboard the Lottery shall swing gallows high for un.' A volley of oaths ran through the room. Joan threw up her arms in despair, Eve groaned aloud. Suddenly there was a movement, as if some one was breaking from a detained hand. 'Twai Jerrem, who, pushing forward, cried out: 'Then I'll give myself up to wance; nobody shan't suffer 'cos o' me. I did it, and I wasn't afeared to do it neither, and no more I ain't afeared to answer for it now.' The buza which negatived this offer bespoke the appreciation of Jerrem's magnanimity. Adam alone had taken no part in it; turning, he said sternly: 'Do we risk our lives together, then, to skolk off when danger offers, and leave one to suffer for all? Let's have no more of such idle talk ; while things promised to run smooth, you was welcome to the boast of havin' fired first shot, but now every man aboard fired it; and let he who says he didn't stand out and say it now.' ' Fair spoke, and good sense,' said the men. 1 Then off with you, each to the place he thinks safest. Jerrem and you, father, must stay here. I shall go to the mill; and, Jonathan, for the night, you'd best come along with me.' With little visible excitement, and but few words, the men began to depart—all of them • more or less stupefied by the influence of drink, which, combined with this unexpected dash to their hopes and overthrow of their boastings, seemed to rob them of all their energy. They were ready to do whatever they were asked, go wherever they were told, listen to all that was said ; but anything beyond this was then impos sible. They had no more power of deciding, proposing, arranging for themselves than if they had bnen a flock of sheep warned that a ravenous wolf wa*near. The oue neoestary action which seemed to have laid hold upon them was that they must all solemnly shake hands, and this in many cases they did over and over again, repeating etch time, with a warning nod of the head : ' Well, mate, 'tis a bad job o' it, this,' until some of the more collected felt it necessary to interfere, and urge their immediate departure; then one by one they stole away, leaving the house in pos session of its usual occupants. Adam had already been upstairs to get Uncle Zebedee—now utterly incapable of any thought for himself—safely placed in a secret closet, which was hollowed in the wall behind the bed. Turning to Jerrem as he came down, he said : ' Tou can manage to stow yourself away; only, mind, do it at once, so that the house is got quiet before they've got time to get here.' ' All right,' said Jerrem, doggedly, while Joan ?lid back the seat of the settle, turned down a flap in the walL and discovered the hole in which Jerrem was to lie concealed. 'There !—there ain't another hldin'-pltoe like that in all Polperro,' she said. ' They may send a whole reg'ment o' sodgers afore a man among 'em 'II pitch on 'cc there, Jerrem.' 'And that's the reason why I don't want to have it,' said Jerrem. 'I don't see why I'm to have the pick and choice, and why Adam's to go off to where they've only got to search and find.' ' Well, but 'tis as he says,' urged Joan. ' The y may ha' got you in their eye already. Come, 'tis all settled now,' she continued persuasively ; ' s get 'longs in with 'cc, like a dear.' Jerrem gave a look round—Eve was busy cle sr ing the table; Adam was putting some tobacco into his pouch. He hesitated, then he made a step forward, then he drew back again, until at last, with visible effort, he said: ' Come, give us yer hand, Adam P With no affectation of cordiality, Adam held out his hand. 4 Whatever comes, you've spoke up fair for me. and acted better than most would ha' done, seehv that I've let my tongue run a bit too fast 'boat you o* late.' ' Oh, don't think I've done any more for you than I should ha' done for either one o' the others,' said Adam, not willing to accept a feather's weight of Jerrem's gratitude. ' How* ever,' he added, trying to force himself into a greater show of graciousness, 'here's wishin' all may go well with you, as with all of us.' Not over-pleased with this cold reception of his advances, Jerrem turned hastily round to Joan. ' Here, let's h%ve a kiss, Joan T he said. " Iss, twenty, my dear, so long as you'll only be quick 'bout if 44 Eve!' 'There, nonsense now I' exclaimed Joan, warned by an expression in Adam's face ; ' there's no call for no leave-takin' with Eve, her 11 be here so well as you.' The words, well intentioned as they were, served as fuel to Adam's jealous fire, and for a moment he felt that it was impossible to go away and leave Jerrem behind; but the next instant the very knowledge of that passing weak ness was only urging him to greater self -command;, although the effort it cost him gave a hardness to his voice and a coldness to his manner. Ose tender word, and his resolve would be gone—one soft emotion, and to go would be impossible. Eve, on her part, with all her love re-awakened, her fears excited, and her imagination sharpened, was wrought up te a pitch of emotion which each moment grew more and more beyond her oontroL In her efforts to keep calm, she busied
herself in clearing the table and moving to and fro the chairs, all the time keenly alive to the fact that Joan was hovering about Adam, sug* gesting comforts, supplying resources, and pour* ing out a torrent of wordy hopee and fears. Surely Adam would ask—Joan would think to give them one moment to themselves ? If not she would demand it; but, before she could speak, boom on her heart came Adam's 'Good-bye, Joan.'—'Good-bye!' What can she do now! How bear this terrible parting 1 In her efforts to control the desire to give vent to her agony, her powers of endurance utterly gave way. A rush* ing Bound, as of many waters, came gurgling in her ears, dulling the voice of some one who spoke from far off. * What are they saying V In vain she tried tocatoh the words—to Bpeak—to move; then, gathering up all her strength, with a piercing cry she tried to break the spell. The room reeled, the ground beneath her gave way, a hundred voices shrieked good-bye, and, with their clamor ringing in her ears, Eve's spirit went down into silence and darkens. Another minute and she was again alive to all her misery ; Joan was kneeling beside her, the tears streaming from her eyes. « What is it ? Where's Adam V exclaimed Eve, starting up. •Gone,' said Joan ; 'he said 'twas better to, 'fore you corned to yourself ageu.' ' Gone ! and never said a word V she cried. ' Gone 1 Oh, Joan, how could he—how could he I* 4 What would 'cc have un do, then ?' said Joan sharply,' bide dallyin' here to be took by the hounds o' sodgers that's marchin' 'pon us all ? That's fine love, I will say.' But suddenly a noise outside made them both start, and stand listening with beating hearts until all again was still and quiet; then Joan's quick-roused anger failed her, and, repenting her sharp speech, she threw her arms round Eve's neck, crying, * Awh, Eve, don't 'cc lets you and me set 'bout quarrel* lia', my dear, for if sorrow ain't a-drawin' nigh my name's not Joan Hocken. I never before felt the same way as Ido to-night My spirits is gived way ; my heart seems to have failed flat down and died within me, and, be doing what I may, there keeps soundin' in my ears a nickety knock like the tappin' on a coffln-lid.' (to bk continued.]