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

I remained on the mattress all day, and all the next night, with my face buried in the clothes!  I was too ill to raise my head.  On Wednesday morning I felt myself gently pushed on the shoulder by some one; I opened my eyes; it was a clergyman.  I turned away my head, and remained as before.  I was then in a violent fever.  He spoke for some time:  occasionally I heard a word, and then relapsed into a state of mental imbecility.  He sighed, and went away.

Thursday came, and the hour of death,—­but time was by me unheeded, as well as eternity.  In the meantime Maddox had been taken, and the contents of Armstrong’s bundle found in his possession; and when he discovered that Ogle had been evidence against him, he confessed to the robbery.

Whether it was on Thursday or Friday, I knew not then, but I was lifted off the bed, and taken before somebody—­something passed, but the fever had mounted up to my head, and I was in a state of stupid delirium.  Strange to say, they did not perceive my condition, but ascribed it all to abject fear of death.  I was led away—­I had made no answer—­but I was free.

Chapter LXI

     When at the lowest spoke of Fortune’s wheel, one is sure to rise
     as it turns round—­I recover my senses and find myself amongst
     Friends.

I think some people shook me by the hand, and others shouted as I walked in the open air, but I recollect no more.  I afterwards was informed that I had been reprieved, that I had been sent for, and a long exhortation delivered to me, for it was considered that my life must have been one of error, or I should have applied to my friends, and have given my name.  My not answering was attributed to shame and confusion—­my glassy eye had not been noticed—­my tottering step when led in by the gaolers attributed to other causes; and the magistrates shook their heads as I was led out of their presence.  The gaoler had asked me several times where I intended to go.  At last, I had told him, to seek my father, and darting away from him, I had run like a madman down the street.  Of course he had no longer any power over me:  but he muttered, as I fled from him, “I’ve a notion he’ll soon be locked up again, poor fellow! it’s turned his brain for certain.”

As I tottered along, my unsteady step naturally attracted the attention of the passers-by; but they attributed it to intoxication.  Thus was I allowed to wander away in a state of madness, and before night I was far from the town.  What passed, and whither I had bent my steps, I cannot tell.  All I know is, that after running like a maniac, seizing everybody by the arm that I met, staring at them with wild and flashing eyes; and sometimes in a solemn voice, at others in a loud, threatening tone, startling them with the interrogatory, “Are you my father?” and then darting away, or sobbing like a child, as the humour took me, I had crossed the country, and three days afterwards I was picked up at the door of a house in the town of Reading, exhausted with fatigue and exposure, and nearly dead.  When I recovered, I found myself in bed, my head shaved, my arm bound up, after repeated bleedings, and a female figure sitting by me.

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