Japhet, in Search of a Father eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 432 pages of information about Japhet, in Search of a Father.
about four or five miles, when I heard the sound of horses’ hoofs, and shortly afterwards two men rode by me.  I inquired if that was the way to E——.  A pause ensued, and a whisper.  “All’s right!” replied a deep voice.  I continued my way, glad to find that I had not mistaken it, and cogitating as to what must be the purpose of two men being out at such an hour.  About ten minutes afterwards I thought I again heard the sound of horses’ feet, and it then occurred to me that they must be highwaymen, who had returned to rob me.  I cocked my pistols, determined to sell my life as dearly as I could, and awaited their coming up with anxiety; but they appeared to keep at the same distance, as the sound did not increase.  After half an hour I came to two roads, and was undecided which to take.  I stopped and listened—­the steps of the horses were no longer to be heard.  I looked round me to ascertain if I could recognise any object so as to decide me, but I could not.  I took the road to the left, and proceeded, until I arrived at a brook which crossed the road.  There was no bridge, and it was too dark to perceive the stepping stones.  I had just waded about half way across, when I received a blow on the head from behind, which staggered me.  I turned round, but before I could see my assailant, a second blow laid me senseless in the water.

Chapter XLVI

     Under ground but not yet dead and buried—­The prospect anything
     but pleasant.

When my recollection returned I found myself in the dark, but where, I knew not.  My head ached, and my brain reeled.  I sat up for a moment to collect my senses, but the effort was too painful, I fell back, and remained in a state of half stupor.  Gradually I recovered, and again sat up.  I perceived that I had been lying on a bed of straw, composed of two or three trusses apparently.  I felt with my extended arms on each side of me, but touched nothing.  I opened my eyes, which I had closed again, and tried to pierce through the obscurity, but in vain—­all was dark as Erebus.  I then rose on my feet, and extending my hands before me, walked five or six steps on one side, till I was clear of the straw, and came to a wall.  I followed the wall about twenty feet, and then touched wood; groping about, I found it was a door.  I then made the circuit of the walls, and discovered that the other side was built with bins for wine, which were empty, and I then found myself again at the straw upon which I had been laid.  It was in a cellar no longer used—­but where?  Again I lay down upon the straw, and, as it may be imagined, my reflections were anything but pleasing.  “Was I in the power of M’Dermott or Melchior?” I felt convinced that I was; but my head was too painful for long thought, and after half an hour’s reflection, I gave way to a sullen state of half-dreaming, half-stupor, in which the forms of M’Dermott, Kathleen, Melchior, and Fleta, passed in succession before me.  How long I remained in this second species of trance I cannot say, but I was roused by the light of a candle, which flashed in my eyes.  I started up, and beheld Melchior in his gipsy’s dress, just as when I had taken leave of him.

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Japhet, in Search of a Father from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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