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.
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
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.