Chapter 20335501

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Chapter NumberXXXI (CONTINUED)
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1880-09-18
Page Number361
Word Count3378
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)
Trove TitleAdam and Eve
article text

The Storyteller.

Adam and Eve.

CHAPTER XXXI.—(Continued.)

BY MRS. PARE, Authoress of "Dorothy Fox." "The Gongu Smithy," &c., &c.

FOTUNATELY for Adam, the steps which led up to the wooden orrel or balcony—at that time a common adornment to the Polperro houses— afforded him a tolerably safe retreat; and,

screened here, be remained, a afloat watcher, hearing only a confused murmur and seeing no* thing save an occasional movement, as one and the other changed posts and passed in and out of the opposite door. At length a general parley seemed to take place, the men fell into rank, and at a slow pace moved off down the street In the direction of the quay. Adam looked cautiously out. The door was now dosed. Dart ha open it ? Might he not find that a sentinel had been left behind ? How about the other door T The chances against it were as bad. The only pos sible way of ingress waa by a shutter in the wall, which overlooked the brook and communicated with the hiding-place in which his father lay secreted. This shutter had been little used since the days of press-gangs. It was painted in so etaot an imitation of the slated house wall as to defy detection, and to mark the spot to the initiated eye a root of house*leek projected out below, and served to further screen the opening from view. The contrivance of this shutter entrance was well known to Adam, and the mode of reaching it familiar to him ; therefore, if he could but elude observation he was oertain of success. y The plan once decided on, he began patting it into execution; and, although It sssmed half a lifetime to him, but very few minutes had elapsed before he had crossed the road, run waist-high into the brook, sealed the wall, and scrambled down almost on top of old Zebedee, who, stupe fied by continual drink, sleep, and this constant confinement, took the surprise in a wonderfully calm manner. ' , - * Hist, father I 'tis only me—Adam!' 'A* right ta* rightl' stammered Zebedee, too dased to take in the whole matter at once. ' What it it lad, eh ? They darned galoots ha'n't a-trtcked 'cc, have 'em ? By the hooky I but they'm glvin* 't us hot and strong this time. Adam ; they was trampin' 'bout inside here a minit agoue, tryin' to keep our ?perrits up by a*rattlin' the bilboes In our ears. Why, how ever did 'cc dodge 'em—eh f What's the manin' o' it all ?' ' 1 thought they waa gone,' said Adam, 'so I came down to see how you wan all getting on here.' M Ist, in, sura; wa-al, all right, I s'post, bat I haVt abin let outside much; Joan won't have it, ye knaw. Poor Joan!' he sighed, 'her*s terrible moody-hearted 'boat't all—and so's Eve too. I never seed maids take on as they'm doin*; but, there, I reckon 'twill soon be pat a end to now.' 'How sot'said Adam. ' We-aL you mustn't knaw, down below, more than yotfm tawld,' said the old matt, with a significant wink and a jerk of his head, 'bat Jerrem he let me Into it this ebenin* when he rinned up to see me for a bit Seems one o' the sodger chaps Is ear*in on with Eve, and Jerrem's settin' her on to rig an up so that herTl get on not to see what 'taint maned for an to look at' 'Well?'said Adam. ' Is*,' said Zebedee, • but will It be well ? that's what I keeps axin' of un. He's cook sure, sartain, thatihey can manage it all He's sick, he says, o' altthU skalkin', and he's blamed if he'll go on standb' it, neither.' 'Ohr hissed Adam, 'he's sick of it fa bef and, in the effort he made to subdue his voice, the veins In his face rose up to be purple cords. ' He'd nothing to do with bringing it on us all T it's no fault of his that the place U turned Into a hell, and we hunted down like a peek o' dogs V * Awh, well, I daunt knaw nuffln 'bout that.' said old Zebedee, huffily ; • how so he, if 'tis so, when he's got olane off 'twill be all right agen.' 1 All right!' thundered Adam,' how all right ? Right that he should get off, and we be left here; that he shouldn't swing, but we most stay to suffer f ' Awh, come, come, come!' said the old man, with the testy impatience of one ready to argue but incapable of reasoning, "taint no talk o' swingin', now; that was a bit o* brag on the boy's part; he's so eager to save his neck as yon or me either. Awnly Jonathan's bin here and tawld up sommat that makes un want to be off to wanee, for he says, what as all knaws, without he's minded to it, you can't slip a knot round Jonathan's clapper; and 'tain t that Jerrem's afeared o' his tongue, awnly for the keepin' up o' pace and quietness he fancies 'twould be better for un to make hiaself scarce for a bit.' Adam's whole body quivered as a spasm of rage ran through him; and Zebedee, noting the trembling movement of his hands, conveyed his impression of the cause by bestowing a glance, accompanied with a pantomimic bend of Lis elbow in the direction of a oertain atone bottle which stood in the corner. ' Did Jonathan tell you what word 'twas he'd brought ?' Adam managed to say. ' Noa. I never cast eyes on un. He warn't here 'bove a foo ndnits 'fore he slipped away, none of 'em knaws where or how. He was warned not to go anighst you,' he added after a moment's pause ; 'so I reckon you knaws no more of un than us does.' 'And Eve aad Joan—were they let into the secret!' asked Adam, and the sound of his harsh voice grated even on Zebedee's dulled ears. "Iss, I reckon,' he said, half turning ; "cos Eve's got to do the trick—hers to bamfooile the * The right of repabliahlng "Adam ud In" in Qoeeo^md hat been porchaeed bj the proprieton of the

udger. Odds rot it, Ud!' he cried, startled at the exprestion which leaped into Adam's haggard faoe, ' what's oome to r ee that you mart turn round 'pon us like that I la it the maid you's got a spite agen? Loral but'tis a poor stomach you's got to'rda her, if you'm angered by such a hit o f phOanderin' aa I've towld 'cc of. What dee mane then?' he added, hia temper riling at ?uoh unwarrantable inconsistency. 'I've knawed as honest women as ever her is that's a done that, and more too, for to get their men safe off and out o' -way—its, and wasn't thought none the wus of, neither. You'm grown mighty faneikul all to wanes 'bout what us is to do, and what us duasn't think o*. I'm sick o' such talk. 'Taint nawthin' else fra* mornin* to night but Adam this and Adam that I'm darned if it is to be wondered at if the maid plays 'cc false: by gosh! I'd do the trick, if I was she, 'fore I'd put up with such fantads from you, or either ™»" like 'cc—so there!' Adam did not answer, and old Zebedee, inter* prating the silence into an admission of the force of his arguments, forbore to press the advantage, and generously started a fresh topic. 'They's a towld'ee, I reckon, 'bout the bill they's a posted up, right afore the winder, by the Three Pilchards,' he said. 'las,' he added, not waiting for an answer; ' the king's pardon, and wan hunderd pound, to he who'll discover to 'em the man who 'twas fired the fatal shot Wan hundred pound r he sneered. « That's a fat IoK surely, and as for t' king's pardon, why 'twuda't lave un braithin' time to spend it in, not if he war left here 'twudn't No fear! us ain't so bad off yet that either wan in Polperro 'ud stink their fingers wi' blid money. Lord save un I sich a man 'ud fetoh up the devil hisself to see un pitched head foremost down to bottom o' say, which 'ud be the end I'd vote for un, and see it was car*d out too—iss, tho' his bones bore my own flesh and blid' 'pon 'em, I wud 1' and in his anger the old man's rugged faoe grew distorted with emotion. But Adam neither spoke nor made comment on bis words. His eyes were fixed on mid-air, his nostrils worked, his mouth quivered. Within him a legion of devils seemed to have broken loose, and, sensible of the mastery they were gaining over him, he leaped up, and, with the wild despair of one who oatohes at a straw to save him from destruction, it came upon him to rush down and look onoe more into the faoe of her whom he had found so fair and proved so false. H What is it you'm gom* to do then V said Zebedee, seeing that Adam had stooped down and was raising the panel by which exit was effected. • Goin' to see if the coast's dear,' said Adam. 'Better bide where you be,' urged Zebedee. * Joan or they's aura to rm up as soon as 'tis all safe. 1 But Adam paid no heed; muttering something about knowing what he was about, he slipped up the partition and crept under, cautiously asoer* tsined that the outer room was empty, and then, crossing the passage, stole down the stairs. The door whioh led into the room was shut; but through a convenient chink Adam could take a survey of those within. Already his better self had begun to struggle in his ear, already the whisper whioh desire was prompting asked what if Eve stood there—alone and —— But no. his glance had taken in the whole; quick as the lightning's flash the details of that scene were given to Adam's gate. Eve bent forward, stand* ing beside the door, over whose hatch a stranger's face was thrurt, while Joan, close to the spot where Jerrem lay hid, clasped her two hands as if to stay the breath whioh longed to cry, 'He's free.' ... The blow dealt, the firebrand flung, each evil passion quickened into life, filled with jealousy and mad revenge, Adam turned swiftly round, and backward sped bis way. 'They'm marched off, ain't 'emT said old Zebedee, as, Adam having given the signal, he drew the panel of the door aside. « I've a bin lisWnin' to their trampin' past—why what's the time, lad. eh ?—must be dose on break o' day, ain't it V •Jost about,' said Adam, poshing back the shutter so that he might look put and see that no one stood near enough to overlook his desoent „ 'Why, you bain't goin' agen, be W said Zebedee, in amaiement. ' Why, what for be 'cc hikin' off like this then—eh, lad? Lord save us, he's gone!' be exclaimed as Adam, swinging himself by a dexterous twist on to the first ledge, let the shutter dose behind him. ' Wa-aL rm blamed if this ain't a rum start! Sommut gone wrong with un now. Til wager he's a bin titched up in the bunt somehows for a guinea ; and if so be 'tis with wan o' they; they'm all sixes and sebens down below ; so Til lave 'em bide a bit and hab a tot o' liquor and lie down for a spelL Lord send 'em to knaw the valley o' pace and quietness I But 'tis wan and all the same. Friands and f»w«, „ A"dJ rb*t **** •» «**•? about Nawbody knawa, v.? "5",?"?" 1 d**l*o* whm Joan, having once before failed to make her unde hear, gave such a vigorous rap that, starting up, the old man cried, 'Ay, ay, mate,' and with all speed unfastened the door. Joan crept in, and some eonTersation ensued, in the midst of which, as the recollection of the events just past recurred to his nAnA Zebedee asked: ' What was up with Adam ?' ' With Adam !' echoed Joan. ' Iss ; what made un start off like he did f Joan looked for a minute, then she lifted the stone bottle and ahook its content*. ' Why, what ever be 'cc tellin' up V she said. •Tallin' up I why, you seed un down below, didn't 'cc ?—iss. you did, now.' Completely ponded what to think, Joan shook her head. ' Lor* ha' massy I don't never tell me he didn't ?S*7 "?# Wby» **• •odBeri **• Uwlyout o doors fore he comes tumblin' in to shutter there, and after a bit he Bays, "I'll ju,t step down below," he says, and out he goes ; and in a quarter lees no time back he comes tappin' agen, and when I drawed open for un by he pushes, and 'fore I oould say knife he was out and dane off ' Ton haren't a bin dreamin' of it, have 'cc V saM Joan, her face growingpaiewithappreheneion. !Naw,'t« gospel truth, every wanC I've a

had s toothful of liquor since, and a bit o' a caulk, bat not a drap more.' ' Jerrem's comin' up into t'other room,' Baid Joan, not wishing to betray all the alarm she felt; ' will 'cc go into un there the whiles I rina down and says a word to Eve V 'In,' said the old man; 'and I'll freshen mjsen up a bit with a dash o' cold watter; happen I may bring some more o' it to my mind then.' But, his ablutions over and the whole family assembled, Zebedee could throw no more light on the subject, the recital of which caused so much anxiety that Joan, yielding to Eve's entreaties, decided to set off with all speed for Crumplehorn. 4 Mother, Adam's all right—ain't he here still, and safe ?' cried Joan, bursting into the kit c 1 c where Mrs. Tucker, only just risen, wan occupied with her house duties. ' Im, plaise the Lord, and so far as I knows of, he is,' replied Mrs. Tucker, greatly startled by Joan's unexpected appearance. 'Why, what do 'fe mane, child, eh ? But, there,' she added starting up, 'us 'ull make sure to wance and knaw whether 'tis lies or truth we'm tellin*. Here, Sammy, off over so quick as legs can carry 'cc, and climber up and fetch Adam back with 'cc.' Sammy started off, and Joan proceeded to communicate the cause of her uneasiness. ' Awb, my dear ! is that all ?' exclaimed Mrs. Tucker, at once pronouncing sentence on poor old Zebedee's known failing ; ' then my mind's made easy ag«n. There's too much elbow crookin' 'bout that story for me to set any hold by it' " Do'ee think so ?' said Joan, ready to catch at any straw of hope. 'Why, iss; and for this reason too, I But at tills moment Sammy appeared, and, without waiting for him to speak, the two women uttered a cry as they saw in his face a con* firmation of their fears. ' Iss, 'tis every ward true ; he's a gone shure 'nuf 1' exclaimed Sammy ; ' but by his own accord, I reckon, 'cos there ain't no signs o' nothin' bein' open 'ceptin' 'tis the hatch over by f mill-wheel." ' Awb, mother !' cried Joan,' what ever's the manin' of it ? My poor heart's a sinkin' down lower than iver. 0 Lord i if they should ha' ootohed un, anyways.' ' Now, doan't 'cc take on like that, Joan,' said Mrs. Tucker. ' 'Tis like temptin' o' Providence to do such like. I'll be bound fort he's safe home alongs't afore now ; he ain't like wan to act wild, and go steppin' into danger wi' both his eyes wide open.' The possibility suggested, and Juan was off again, back on her way to Polperro, too impatient to wait while her mother put on her bonnet to aooompany her. At the door stood Eve, breathless expectation betraying itself in her every look and gesture. Joan shook her head, while Eve's finger, quick laid upon her lip, warned her to be cautious. ' They're back,' she muttered, as Joan came up close; 'they've just marched past, and gone down to the quay.' ' What for V cried Joan. 'I don't know; run and see, Joan; everybody* flocking thatlwaj.' Joan ran dowu the street and took her place among a mob of people watching with eager in* terest the movements of a soldier who, with much unnecessary parade and delay, was taking down the bill of reward posted outside the Three Pilchards. A visible anticipation of the effect about to be produced stirred the small reeScoated company, and they wheeled round so as to take note of any sudden emotion produced by the sur prise they felt sure awaited the assembly. * What ever is it, eh ? asked Joan, trying to oatch a better sight of what was going on. ' They'm stickb' up a noo reward, t seems,' said an old man, close by. ' Taint no ?' But the swaying back of the crowd carried Joan with it. A surge forward, and then on her ear fell a shrill cry, and, as the name of Jerrem Christmas started from each mouth, a hundred eyes seemed turned upon her. For a moment the girl stood dazed, staring around like somo wild animal at bay ; then, flinging out her arms, she forced those near her aside, and rushing forward to the front made a desperate clutch at the soldier. ' Speak—tell me—what's writ there I' she cried. 'Writ therer said the man, startled by the scared face that was turned up to him. ' Why, the warrant to seize for murder Jerrem Christ* mas, living or dead, on the king's evidence of Adam Pascal! . . .' And the air was rent by a cry of unutterable woe, caught up by each voice around, and coming back in echoes from far and near long after Joan lay a senseless heap on the stones upon which she had fallen. (TO BE CONTINUED.)

Ik " Hour* with Men and Books" the morality of good tiring ia thoroughly discussed, and th« aaaertion made that "a man of the kind* lieat impulaea has only to feed upon mdl* geatible food for a few days, and forthwith hia liver ia affected and then hit brain. Hfo aenaiUtitiea are blunted; hia uneasiness makes him waspish and fretful. He ia like a hedge* hog with the quills rolled in, and will do aud say things from which in health he would have re* coiled. Sydney Smith did not exaggerate when he affirmed that " old friendships are often de* atroyed by toasted cheese, and hard salted meat has often led to suicide." Even so intellectual a man aa William Hariitt, writing to his lady* love, could say : " I never love you so well aa when I think of sitting down with you to dfaraef on a- boiled scrag*end of mutton and hot pota* toes." Justly did Talleyrand inveigh against the English, that they had 150 forma of religion and but one sauce—melted butter. The celebrated scholar, Doctor Parr, confessed a love for " hot lobsters, with a profusion of shrimp sauce." Pope would lie in bed for days at Bolingbroke's, unless he were told that there were stewed lampreys for dinner, when he would rise instantly and hurry down to table. Handel ate enormously; and when he dined at a tavern always ordered dinner for three. On being told that all would le ready as soon as the company should arrive, he would exclaim : " Den bring up the dinner, prestissimo. I am de company."