Japhet, in Search of a Father eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 546 pages of information about Japhet, in Search of a Father.

“Miss Judd will come directly, sir,” said a tall, meagre, puritanical-looking maid, shutting the door upon me.  In a few minutes, during which my pulse beat quick (for I could not but expect some disclosure; whether it was to be one of love or murder, I hardly knew which), Miss Aramathea Judd, for such was her christian name, made her appearance, and sitting down on the sofa, requested me to take a seat by her.

“Mr Newland,” said she, “I wish to—­and I think I can entrust you with a secret most important to me.  Why I am obliged to do it, you will perfectly comprehend when you have heard my story.  Tell me, are you attached to me?”

This was a home question to a forward lad of sixteen.  I took her by the hand, and when I looked down on it, I felt as if I was.  I looked up into her face, and felt that I was not.  And, as I now was close to her, I perceived that she must have some aromatic drug in her mouth, as it smelt strongly—­this gave me the supposition that the breath which drew such melodious tones, was not equally sweet, and I felt a certain increased degree of disgust.

“I am very grateful, Miss Judd,” replied I; “I hope I shall prove that I am attached when you confide in me.”

“Swear then, by all that’s sacred, you will not reveal what I do confide.”

“By all that’s sacred I will not,” replied I, kissing her hand with more fervour than I expected from myself.

“Do me then the favour to excuse me one minute.”

She left the room, and in a very short time, there returned, in the same dress, and, in every other point the same person, but with a young and lively face of not more, apparently, than twenty-two or twenty-three years old.  I started as if I had seen an apparation.  “Yes,” said she, smiling, “you now see Aramathea Judd without disguise; and you are the first who has seen that face for more than two years.  Before I proceed further, again I say, may I trust you—­swear!”

“I do swear,” replied I, and took her hand for the book, which this time I kissed with pleasure, over and over again.  Like a young jackass as I was, I still retained her hand, throwing as much persuasion as I possibly could in my eyes.  In fact, I did enough to have softened the hearts of three bonnet-makers.  I began to feel most dreadfully in love, and thought of marriage, and making my fortune, and I don’t know what; but all this was put an end to by one simple short sentence, delivered in a very decided but soft voice, “Japhet, don’t be silly.”

I was crushed, and all my hopes crushed with me.  I dropped her hand, and sat like a fool.

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