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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 432 pages of information about Japhet, in Search of a Father.

“Not the least,” replied I, flushed with anger and with wine, “I have proof positive.  I have seen her mother, and I can identify the child by the necklace which was on her neck when you stole her.”

“Necklace!” cried Melchior.

“Yes, the necklace put into my hands by your own wife when we parted.”

“Damn her!” replied Melchior.

“Do not damn her; damn yourself for your villany, and its being brought to light.  Have I said enough, or shall I tell you more?”

“Pray tell me more.”

“No, I will not, for I must commit others, and that will not do,” replied I; for I felt I had already said too much.

“You have committed yourself, at all events,” replied Melchior; “and now I tell you, that until—­never mind,” and Melchior hastened away.

The door was again locked, and I was once more alone.

I had time to reflect upon my imprudence.  The countenance of Melchior, when he left me, was that of a demon.  Something told me to prepare for death; and I was not wrong.  The next day Melchior came not, nor the next; my provisions were all gone.  I had nothing but a little wine and water left.  The idea struck me, that I was to die of starvation.  Was there no means of escape?  None; I had no weapon, no tool, not even a knife.  I had expended all my candles.  At last, it occurred to me, that, although I was in a cellar, my voice might be heard, and I resolved, as a last effort, to attempt it.  I went to the door of the cellar, and shouted at the top of my lungs, “Murder—­murder!” I shouted again and again as loud as I could, until I was exhausted.  As it afterwards appeared, this plan did prevent my being starved to death, for such was Melchior’s villanous intention.  About an hour afterwards I repeated my cries of “Murder—­murder!” and they were heard by the household, who stated to Melchior, that there was some one shouting murder in the vaults below.  That night, and all the next day, I repeated my cries occasionally.  I was now quite exhausted, I had been nearly two days without food, and my wine and water had all been drunk.  I sat down with a parched mouth and heated brain, waiting till I could sufficiently recover my voice to repeat my cries, when I heard footsteps approaching.  The key was again turned in the door, and a light appeared, carried by one of two men armed with large sledge hammers.

“It is then all over with me,” cried I; “and I never shall find out who is my father.  Come on, murderers, and do your work.  Do it quickly.”

The two men advanced without speaking a word; the foremost, who carried the lantern, laid it down at his feet, and raised his hammer with both hands, when the other behind him raised his weapon—­and the foremost fell dead at his feet.

Chapter XLVIII

     Is full of perilous adventures, and in which, the reader may be
     assured, there is much more than meets the eye.

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