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Japhet in Search of a Father   By: (1792-1848)

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Japhet in Search of a Father, by Captain Marryat.

Captain Frederick Marryat was born July 10 1792, and died August 8 1848. He retired from the British navy in 1828 in order to devote himself to writing. In the following 20 years he wrote 26 books, many of which are among the very best of English literature, and some of which are still in print.

Marryat had an extraordinary gift for the invention of episodes in his stories. He says somewhere that when he sat down for the day's work, he never knew what he was going to write. He certainly was a literary genius.

"Japhet in Search of a Father" was published in 1836, the seventh book to flow from Marryat's pen. It was the first of Marryat's books not to have a nautical setting. It is a brilliantly written book, giving us insights into aspects of nineteenth century life that we cannot easily get elsewhere. There is a sustained and fascinating magical quality about the book, which makes it very compelling reading. For many people it will be their favourite book among Marryat's works, and certainly it ranks as one of the greatest books in British literature.

This e text was transcribed in 1998 by Nick Hodson, and was reformatted in 2003, again in 2005, and, working from a different edition, again in 2008.

JAPHET IN SEARCH OF A FATHER, BY CAPTAIN FREDERICK MARRYAT.

PART ONE, CHAPTER ONE.

LIKE MOST OTHER CHILDREN, WHO SHOULD BE MY GODFATHER IS DECIDED BY MAMMON SO PRECOCIOUS AS TO MAKE SOME NOISE IN THE WORLD, AND BE HUNG A FEW DAYS AFTER I WAS BORN CUT DOWN IN TIME, AND PRODUCE A SCENE OF BLOODSHED MY EARLY PROPENSITIES FULLY DEVELOPED BY THE CHOICE OF MY PROFESSION.

Those who may be pleased to honour these pages with a perusal, will not be detained with a long introductory history of my birth, parentage, and education. The very title implies that, at this period of my memoirs, I was ignorant of the two first; and it will be necessary for the due development of my narrative, that I allow them to remain in the same state of bliss; for in the perusal of a tale, as well as in the pilgrimage of life, ignorance of the future may truly be considered as the greatest source of happiness.

The little that was known of me at this time I will however narrate as concisely, and as correctly, as I am able. It was on the I really forget the date, and must rise from my chair, look for a key, open a closet, and then open an iron safe to hunt over a pile of papers it will detain you too long it will be sufficient to say that it was on a night but whether the night was dark or moonlit, or rainy or foggy, or cloudy or fine, or starlight, I really cannot tell; but it is of no very great consequence. Well, it was on a night about the hour there again I'm puzzled, it might have been ten, or eleven, or twelve, or between any of these hours; nay, it might have been past midnight, and far advancing to the morning, for what I know to the contrary. The reader must excuse an infant of there again I am at a nonplus; but we will assume of some days old if, when wrapped up in flannel and in a covered basket, and, moreover, fast asleep at the time, he does not exactly observe the state of the weather, and the time by the church clock. I never before was aware of the great importance of dates in telling a story; but it is now too late to recover these facts, which have been swept away into oblivion by the broad wing of Time. I must therefore just tell the little I do know, trusting to the reader's good nature, and to blanks. It is as follows: that, at the hour of the night the state of the weather being also : I, an infant of a certain age was suspended by somebody or somebodies at the knocker of the Foundling Hospital. Having made me fast, the said somebody or somebodies rang a peal upon the bell which made the old porter start up in so great a hurry, that, with the back of his hand he hit his better half a blow on the nose, occasioning a great suffusion of blood from that organ, and a still greater pouring forth of invectives from the organ immediately below it... Continue reading book >>




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