Chapter 20336047

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Chapter NumberXXXVII.
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1880-10-16
Page Number489
Word Count3455
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)
Trove TitleAdam and Eve
article text

The Storyteller.

Adam and Eve.


BY MRS. PARR, Authoress of "Dorothy Fox," "The Geasn Smithy &c, &c.

WHEN Reuben found that to be a witness of Jerrem's death Joan must take her stand among the lawless mob who make holiday of such sad scenes as this, his decision was that the idea was

untenable. Jerrem too had a Btrong desire that Joan Bhould nob Bee him die, and, although hia avoidance of anything that directly touched upon that dreaded moment had kept him from openly naming hia wishes, the hints dropped satisfied Reuben that the knowledge of her ahaenoe would be a matter of relief to him. But how get Joan to listen to his aoruples, when her whole mind was set on keeping by Jerrem's aide until hope was past and life was over ? ' Couldn't cc get her to take aommut that her wouldn't sleep off 'till 'twas late V Jerrem had said, after Reuben had told him that the next morning he must come alone; and the suggestion made was seized on at once by Keuben, who, under pretence of getting something to Bteady her shaken nerves, procured from the apothecary near a simple draught, which Joan in good faith swallowed. And then, Reuben having promised in case she fell aaleep to awaken her at the appointed hour, the poor soul, worn out by sorrow and fatigue, threw herself down dressed as she was upon the bed, and soon was in a heavy sleep, from which ahe did not rouse until well into the following day, when some one moving in the room make her atart up. For a moment she seemed dazed, then, rubbing her eyes as if to clear away those happy visions which had come to her in sleep, ahe gazed about until Reuben, who had at first drawn back, came forward to speak to her. ' Why, Reuben,' ahe cried, ' how's this T have I been dreamin' or what ? The daylight's come, and see—the sun 1' And here she stopped, her parched mouth half unclosed, as fears came crowding thick upon her mind, choking her further utteranoe. One look at Reuben's face had told the tale, and, though she did not speak again, the ashen hue that overspread and drove all color from her cheeks proclaimed to him that the had guessed the truth. "Twas beat, my dear,' he said, 'that you should sleep while he went to his rest.' But the unlooked-for shock had been too great a strain on body and mind, alike overtaxed and weak ; and, falling back, Joan lay for boars as one unoonscious and devoid of life. And Reuben sat silently by her aide, paying no heed as hour by hour went by, till night had come, and all around was dark ; then some one came softly up the stairs and crept into the room, and Eve's whispered " Reuben" broke the spelL Yes, all had gone well. The body, rescued and safe, was now placed within a house near to the churchyard in which Eve's mother lay ; there it was to be buried. And there, the next day, the oommonplaee event of one among many funerals being over, the four thus linked by fate were brought together, and Adam and Joan again stood face to face. Heightened by the disguise which in order to avoid detection he was obliged to adopt, the alteration in Adam was so complete that Joan stood aghast before this seeming stranger, while a fresh smart came into Adam's open wounds as he gazed upon the changed face of the once oomely Joan. A terrible barrier such as, until felt, they had never dreaded seemed to have sprung up to separate and divide these two. Involuntarily they shrank at each other's touch, and quailed beneath each other's gaze, while each turned with a feeling of relief to him and to her who now constituted their individul refuge and support Ye*, strange as it seemed to Adam, and un accountable to Joan, the clung to Reuben, he to Eve, before whom each could be natural and un> restrained, while between their present selves a great gulf hod opened out which nought but time or distance could bridge over. So Adam went back to his hiding-place, Reuben to his shop, and Joan and Eve to the old home in Knight s Passage, as much lost amid the crowd of thronged London as if they had already taken refuge in that far-off land which had now become the goal of Adam's thoughts and keen desires. Eve, too, fearing some fresh disaster, was equally anxious for their departure, and most of Reuben's ?pare time was swallowed up in making the necessary arrangements. A passage in his name for himself and his wife was secured in a ship about to start. At the last moment this passage was to be tranferred to Adam and Eve whose marriage would take place a day or two before the vessel sailed. The transactions on which the successful fulfilment of these various events depended were mostly conducted by Reuben, aided by the counsels of Mr. Osborne, and the assistance of Captain Triggs, whose good-fellowship, no longer withheld, made him a valuable coadjutor. Fortunately Triggs's vessel, through some de tention of its cargo, had remained in London for an unusually long time; and now, when she did anil, Joan was to take passage in her back to Polperro. 'Awb, Reuben, my dear,' sighed Joan one evening, as, Eve having gone to see Adam, the two walked out townrds the little spot where Jerrem lay, and as they went discussed Joan's near departure. ' I wish to goodness you'd pack up yer alls and come 'longs to Polperro home with me; 'tud be ever so much better than stayin' to this gashly London, where there ain't a blow o' air that's fresh to draw your breath in.' 4 Why, nonsense 1' said Reuben; 'yon wouldn't have me if I'd come.' 4How not have 'cc ?' exclaimed Joan. 'Why if so be I thought you'd come, I'd never stir from where I be until I got the promise of it' 1 But there wouldn't be nothin' for me to do,' said Reuben. 4 Why, iss, there would, oceans,' returned Joan. ' Laws, I knaws docks by scores as hasn't gone for twenty year and more. Us has got two our selves that wan won't strike, and t'other you can't make tick.' Reuben smiled, then, growing more serious, he

* The tight of npubliahlng "Adam and Kre" in Queensland has bean ptuchawd by.the im>prl»tor» of the Queautamltr.

said, 'Bat do you know, Joan, that yours ian't the first head it's entered into about going down home with you? I've had a mind towards it myself many times of late.' 'Why, then, do oome to wance,' said Joan excitedly ; ' for so long as they leaves me the house there'll be a home with me and Uncle Zebedee, and I'll go bail for the welcome you'll get gived 'cc there.' Reuben was silent, and Joan, attributing this to some hesitation over the plan, threw further weight into her argument by Baying, 4 There's the chapel too, Reuben ; only to think o' the sight o' good you could do praichin' to 'em and that! for though it didn't seem to make no odds before, I reckons there's not a few that wants, like me, to be told o' some place where they treats folks better than they does down here below.' ' Joan,' said Reuben, after a pause, speaking out of his own thoughts and paying no heed to the words she had been saying, ' you know all about Eve and me, don't you V Joan nodded her head. ' How I've felt about her, so that I believe the hold she's got on me no one on earth will ever push her off from.' ' Ah, poor Bawl!' sighed Joan compassionately; Tve often had a feelin' for what you'd to bear, and for this reason too, that I knaws myself what 'tis to be ousted from the heart you'm oravin' to call yer own.' ' Why, yes, of course,' said Reuben briskly; 'you were set down for Adam once, weren't you ?' ' Ah, and there's they to Polperro, mother amongst 'em too, who'll tell 'cc now that, if Eve had never showed her face inside the place, Adam 'ud ha' had me after all. But, there, all that's past and gone long ago.' There was another pause, which Reuben broke by saying suddenly, ' Joan, should you take it very out of place if I wae to ask you whether after a bit you could marry me ? I daresay now auch a thought never entered your head before.' 1 Well, Us, it has,' said Joan ; ' and o' late, ever since that blessed dear spoke they words he did, I've often fell to wonderin' if so be 'tud ever come to pass. Not, mind, that I should ha' biu put out if 't had so happened that you'd never axed me like, but still I thought sometimes as how you might; and then agen I says, ' Why should he, though?" 'There's many » reason why I should ask you, Joan,' said Reuben, smiling at her unconscious frankness,' though very few why you should con sent to take a man whose love another woman has flung away.' * Awh, so far aa that goes, the both of us is takin* what's another's orts, you knaw,' Bmiled Joan. "Then is it agreed f asked Reuben, stretching out his hand. ' Ist, so far as I goes 'tis, with all my heart' Then, as she took his hand a change came to her April face, and looking at him through her swimming eyes she said,' And very grateful too, I'm to 'cc, Reuben, for I don't knaw, by neither another wan who'd take up with a poor heartbroke maid like me, and they she's looked to all her life disgraced by others and theysselvea.' Reuben pressed the hand that Joan had given to him, and, drawing it through his arm, the two walked on in silence, pondering over the un looked-for ending to the strange events they both had lately passed through. Joan's heart was full of a contentment which made her think, 'flow pleased Adam will be i and won't mother be glad ? and Uncle Zabedee 'ull have somebody to look to now, and keep poor Jonathan straight, and put things a bit in order.' While, Reuben bewildered by the thoughts which crowded to his mind, seemed unable to disentangle them. Could it be possible that he, Reuben' May, was going down to live at Polperro —a place whose very name he had once taught himself to abominate? That he could be willingly casting his lot amid a people whom he had but lately branded as thieves, outcasts, reprobates? Involuntarily his eyes turned towards Joan, and a nimbuf, in which perfect charity was intertwined with great love and singleness of heart, seemed to to float about her head and shed its radiance on her face, and its sight was to Reuben as the first touch of love, for he was smitten with a sense of his own unworthiness, and though he did not speak he asked that a like spirit to that which filled Joan might rest upon himself. That evening Eve was told the news which Joan and Reuben had to tell; and aa she listened the mixed emotions which swelled within her per plexed her not a little, for even while feeling that the two wishes she most desired—Joan cared for and Reuben made happy—were thus fulfilled, her heart seemed weighted with a new disaster— another wrench had come to1 part, her from that life soon to be nothing but a lesson and a memory. And Adam, when he was told, although the words he said were honest words and true, and truly he did rejoice, there yet within him lay a sadness born of regret at rendering up that love so freely given to him, now to be garnered for another's use; and henceforth every word that Reuben spoke, each promise that be gave--though all drawn forth by Adam's own requests—stuck everyone a separate thorn within his heart, sore with the thought of being an outca-.t from the birthplace th it he loved, and cut off from those whose faces now he yearned to look upon. No vision opened up to Adam's view the pros perous life the future held in store. No still small voice then whispered in his ear that out of this sorrow was to come the grace which made success sit well on him and Eve ; and though as years went by, and intercourse became more rare, their now keen interest in Polperro and its people was swallowed up amid the many claims a busy life laid on them both, each noble action done each good deed wrought by Adam, and by Eve too, bore on it the unseen impress of that sore chastening through which they now were passing. Out of the savings which from time to time Adam had planed with Mr. Macey enough was found to pay the passage-money out, and keep them from being pushed by any pressing want on landing. Already, at the nearest church, Adam and Eve had been married, and nothing now remained but to get on board the vessel, which bad already dropped down the river, and was to sail the follow ing morning. Triggs had volunteered to put them and their possessions safely on board, nud Keuben and Joan, with Eve's small persona] belonging*, were to meet them at the steps, dose by which the

Mary Jane's boat would be found waiting. The time bad come when Adam could lay aside the disguise, and appear in much the same trim he usually did when at Polperro. Joan waa the firat to spy him drawing near, and, holding out both her hands to greet the welcome change, she cried,' Thank the Lord for lettin' me see un his own self wance more. Awh, Adam ! awh, my dear ! 't seems as if I could spake to 'cc now, and know 'cc for the same agen. Look to un, Reuben ; you don't wonder now what made us all co proud of un at home.' Reuben smiled, but Adam shook his head— the desolation of this sad farewell robbed him of every other power but that of draining to the dregs its bitterness. During the whole of that long day Eve and he had hardly said one word, each racked with thoughts to which no speech gave utterance. Mcchiuiically each asked about the things tho other one had brought, and Beemd to find relief in feigning; much anxiety about their safety, until Triggs, fearing they might outstay their time, gave them a hiut it would not do to linger long ; and, with a view to their leave-taking being unconstrained, he volunteered to take the few remaining things down to the boat, and stow them safely away, adding that when they heard his whistle given it would be the signal that they must start without delay. The spot they bad fixed on for the starting place waa one but little used, and well removed from all the bustle of a more frequented landing. A waterman lounged here and there, but, seeing the party was another's fare, vouchsafed to them no further interest. The ragged mud-imps stayed their noisy pranks to Bcrutinise the country build of Triggs's boat, leaving the four, unnoticed, to stand apart and Bee each in the other's face the reflection of that misery which filled his own. Parting for ever ! no hopes, no expectations, no looking forward, nothing to whisper, "we shall meet again." " Good-bye for ever" was written on each face and echoed in each heart. Words could not Boothe that suffering which turned this common sorrow into an individual torture, which each must bear unaided and alono ; and so they stood silent, and with out* ward calm, knowing that on that brink of woe the quiver of an eye might overthrow their all but lost control. The sun was sinking fast; the gathering mists of eventide were rising to shadow all around; the toil of day was drawiug to its close ; labor was past; repose was near at hand ; its spirit seemed to hover around aud breathe its calm upon those worn tried souls. Suddenly a shrill whistle Bounds upon their ears, and breaks the spell; the women start, and throw their arms around each other's necks. Adam stretches his hand out, and Reuben grasps it in his own. 'Reuben, good-bye. God deal with you as you shall deal with those you're going among.' 'Adam, be true to her, and I'll be true to those you leave behind.' 'Joan,' and Adam's voice sounds hard and strained, and then a choking comes into his thioat, and though he wants to tell her what he feels, to ask her to forgive all he has made her suffer, he cannot speak a word. Vainly he strives, but not a sound will come; and these two, whose lives, bo grown together, are now to be rent asunder, stand stricken and dumb, look* ing from out their eyes that last farewell which their poor quivering lips refuse to utter. ' God bleas and keep you,' Eve,' Reuben's voice is saying, as, taking her hands within his own, he holds them to his heart, and for a moment lets them rest there. ' Oh, friends,' he says, ' there ia a land where partings never come ; upon that shore may we four meet again 1' Then for a moment all their hands are clasped and held as in a vice, and then they turn, and two are gone and two are left behind. And now the two on land Btaud with their eyes strained on the boat, which slowly fades away into tho vapory mint which lies beyond ; then Reuben turns and takes Joan by the hand, and Bilently the two go back together, while Adam and Eve draw near the atrip which is to take them to that far-offshore to which Hope's torch, rekindled, now is pointing. ' Good-bye,' is said to Triggs, the boat pushes off, and the two, left standing bide by aide, watch it away until it seems a speck which suddenly ia swallowed up and disappears from sight. Then Adam puts his arm round Eve, and, as they draw closer together, from out their lips come sighing forth the whispered words—" Farewell, Fare* well." (the mm.)

English the Universal Language of thi Futube.—Quoting from a conversation of General Grant in reference to his viait to Japas, the Levenworth Times says :—" He said be had no trouble whatever with the people, as every where he found native Japanese who.spoke the English language fluently, the Government having introduced the language into the public schools. He says that in the interior districts of the country in almost every school precinct young people may be found who have never been away from home, and yet speak English in a manner that would be no discredit to Lindley Murray. He says the school system in Japan is very prosperous and that the higher branches of science are taught in a much more simplified form than in this country. He related some of the incidents of his dinner with the King of Siam, whom he describes as a young man about twenty-five years of age, and who speaks English fluently. He said the dinner surprised him, for he found nearly every dish much the same as those prepared for him in Paris. On enquiry he ascertained that the king employs a French cook constantly, and is endeavoring, it seems, to be up with the latest modes of cooking. In Siam, as in other places, he found the English language the principal foreign language taught in the schools. He thought, he Slid, that when he started be should need a supply of French, but found by experience that good English is the better language for a trip around the world. He thinks English is sure to be the common language for all nations, and that the more pro gressive countries, seeing this, are teaching it in their schools." " A Ride in Petticoat and Slippers from Fe» to the Algerian Frontier" is the singular title of a volume by Captain Colville,'which will b« pub liahed before long;.