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I yelled, struggled, and beat the boards above me without making any impression on them.

I stopped for a moment, then, with the strength of despair, drew my knees up as far as I could.

The board cracked.

Again and again did I exert my utmost strength, until at last with a mighty effort I succeeded in splitting it, and with the force of my movement rolled off the shelf on to the floor, bringing the coffin with me.

Exhausted nature gave way.

I fainted.

On recovering consciousness I could see nothing; total darkness environed me.

Crawling to the side of the vault I tried to discover the door, but without success.

Becoming calm I started to walk round the vault, in my course knocking down the coffins with which it was lined.

I could hear the bones of the skeletons rattle, and the thud of more recent corpses that fell from the coffins, as they broke on the floor.

Occasionally I tripped and fell amongst them, and could feel as I put out my hands to save myself, their dried skin and bones, or rotten flesh.

The stench emanating from them was awful.

I sat down on a coffin to rest myself.