Back to Methuselah eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 408 pages of information about Back to Methuselah.

ADAM.  It is not only its eyes.  Look. [He kicks it.]

EVE.  Oh don’t!  Why doesn’t it wake?

ADAM.  I don’t know.  It is not asleep.

EVE.  Not asleep?

ADAM.  Try.

EVE [trying to shake it and roll it over] It is stiff and cold.

ADAM.  Nothing will wake it.

EVE.  It has a queer smell.  Pah! [She dusts her hands, and draws away from it].  Did you find it like that?

ADAM.  No.  It was playing about; and it tripped and went head over heels.  It never stirred again.  Its neck is wrong [he stoops to lift the neck and shew her].

EVE.  Dont touch it.  Come away from it.

They both retreat, and contemplate it from a few steps’ distance with growing repulsion.

EVE.  Adam.

ADAM.  Yes?

EVE.  Suppose you were to trip and fall, would you go like that?

ADAM.  Ugh! [He shudders and sits down on the rock].

EVE [throwing herself on the ground beside him, and grasping his knee]
You must be careful.  Promise me you will be careful.

ADAM.  What is the good of being careful?  We have to live here for ever.  Think of what for ever means!  Sooner or later I shall trip and fall.  It may be tomorrow; it may be after as many days as there are leaves in the garden and grains of sand by the river.  No matter:  some day I shall forget and stumble.

EVE.  I too.

ADAM [horrified] Oh no, no.  I should be alone.  Alone for ever.  You must never put yourself in danger of stumbling.  You must not move about.  You must sit still.  I will take care of you and bring you what you want.

EVE [turning away from him with a shrug, and hugging her ankles] I should soon get tired of that.  Besides, if it happened to you, I should be alone.  I could not sit still then.  And at last it would happen to me too.

ADAM.  And then?

EVE.  Then we should be no more.  There would be only the things on all fours, and the birds, and the snakes.

ADAM.  That must not be.

EVE.  Yes:  that must not be.  But it might be.

ADAM.  No.  I tell you it must not be.  I know that it must not be.

EVE.  We both know it.  How do we know it?

ADAM.  There is a voice in the garden that tells me things.

EVE.  The garden is full of voices sometimes.  They put all sorts of thoughts into my head.

ADAM.  To me there is only one voice.  It is very low; but it is so near that it is like a whisper from within myself.  There is no mistaking it for any voice of the birds or beasts, or for your voice.

EVE.  It is strange that I should hear voices from all sides and you only one from within.  But I have some thoughts that come from within me and not from the voices.  The thought that we must not cease to be comes from within.

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