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Robinson Crusoe
by Daniel Defoe

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AFTER this stop, we made on to the southward continually for ten or
twelve days, living very sparingly on our provisions, which began
to abate very much, and going no oftener to the shore than we were
obliged to for fresh water. My design in this was to make the
river Gambia or Senegal, that is to say anywhere about the Cape de
Verde, where I was in hopes to meet with some European ship; and if
I did not, I knew not what course I had to take, but to seek for
the islands, or perish there among the negroes. I knew that all
the ships from Europe, which sailed either to the coast of Guinea
or to Brazil, or to the East Indies, made this cape, or those
islands; and, in a word, I put the whole of my fortune upon this
single point, either that I must meet with some ship or must

When I had pursued this resolution about ten days longer, as I have
said, I began to see that the land was inhabited; and in two or
three places, as we sailed by, we saw people stand upon the shore
to look at us; we could also perceive they were quite black and
naked. I was once inclined to have gone on shore to them; but Xury
was my better counsellor, and said to me, "No go, no go." However,
I hauled in nearer the shore that I might talk to them, and I found
they ran along the shore by me a good way. I observed they had no
weapons in their hand, except one, who had a long slender stick,
which Xury said was a lance, and that they could throw them a great
way with good aim; so I kept at a distance, but talked with them by
signs as well as I could; and particularly made signs for something
to eat: they beckoned to me to stop my boat, and they would fetch
me some meat. Upon this I lowered the top of my sail and lay by,
and two of them ran up into the country, and in less than half-an-
hour came back, and brought with them two pieces of dried flesh and
some corn, such as is the produce of their country; but we neither
knew what the one or the other was; however, we were willing to
accept it, but how to come at it was our next dispute, for I would
not venture on shore to them, and they were as much afraid of us;
but they took a safe way for us all, for they brought it to the
shore and laid it down, and went and stood a great way off till we
fetched it on board, and then came close to us again.

We made signs of thanks to them, for we had nothing to make them
amends; but an opportunity offered that very instant to oblige them
wonderfully; for while we were lying by the shore came two mighty
creatures, one pursuing the other (as we took it) with great fury
from the mountains towards the sea; whether it was the male
pursuing the female, or whether they were in sport or in rage, we
could not tell, any more than we could tell whether it was usual or
strange, but I believe it was the latter; because, in the first
place, those ravenous creatures seldom appear but in the night;
and, in the second place, we found the people terribly frighted,
especially the women. The man that had the lance or dart did not
fly from them, but the rest did; however, as the two creatures ran
directly into the water, they did not offer to fall upon any of the
negroes, but plunged themselves into the sea, and swam about, as if
they had come for their diversion; at last one of them began to
come nearer our boat than at first I expected; but I lay ready for
him, for I had loaded my gun with all possible expedition, and bade
Xury load both the others. As soon as he came fairly within my
reach, I fired, and shot him directly in the head; immediately he
sank down into the water, but rose instantly, and plunged up and
down, as if he were struggling for life, and so indeed he was; he
immediately made to the shore; but between the wound, which was his
mortal hurt, and the strangling of the water, he died just before
he reached the shore.

It is impossible to express the astonishment of these poor
creatures at the noise and fire of my gun: some of them were even
ready to die for fear, and fell down as dead with the very terror;
but when they saw the creature dead, and sunk in the water, and
that I made signs to them to come to the shore, they took heart and
came, and began to search for the creature. I found him by his
blood staining the water; and by the help of a rope, which I slung
round him, and gave the negroes to haul, they dragged him on shore,
and found that it was a most curious leopard, spotted, and fine to
an admirable degree; and the negroes held up their hands with
admiration, to think what it was I had killed him with.

The other creature, frighted with the flash of fire and the noise
of the gun, swam on shore, and ran up directly to the mountains
from whence they came; nor could I, at that distance, know what it
was. I found quickly the negroes wished to eat the flesh of this
creature, so I was willing to have them take it as a favour from
me; which, when I made signs to them that they might take him, they
were very thankful for. Immediately they fell to work with him;
and though they had no knife, yet, with a sharpened piece of wood,
they took off his skin as readily, and much more readily, than we
could have done with a knife. They offered me some of the flesh,
which I declined, pointing out that I would give it them; but made
signs for the skin, which they gave me very freely, and brought me
a great deal more of their provisions, which, though I did not
understand, yet I accepted. I then made signs to them for some
water, and held out one of my jars to them, turning it bottom
upward, to show that it was empty, and that I wanted to have it
filled. They called immediately to some of their friends, and
there came two women, and brought a great vessel made of earth, and
burnt, as I supposed, in the sun, this they set down to me, as
before, and I sent Xury on shore with my jars, and filled them all
three. The women were as naked as the men.

I was now furnished with roots and corn, such as it was, and water;
and leaving my friendly negroes, I made forward for about eleven
days more, without offering to go near the shore, till I saw the
land run out a great length into the sea, at about the distance of
four or five leagues before me; and the sea being very calm, I kept
a large offing to make this point. At length, doubling the point,
at about two leagues from the land, I saw plainly land on the other
side, to seaward; then I concluded, as it was most certain indeed,
that this was the Cape de Verde, and those the islands called, from
thence, Cape de Verde Islands. However, they were at a great
distance, and I could not well tell what I had best to do; for if I
should be taken with a fresh of wind, I might neither reach one or

In this dilemma, as I was very pensive, I stepped into the cabin
and sat down, Xury having the helm; when, on a sudden, the boy
cried out, "Master, master, a ship with a sail!" and the foolish
boy was frighted out of his wits, thinking it must needs be some of
his master's ships sent to pursue us, but I knew we were far enough
out of their reach. I jumped out of the cabin, and immediately
saw, not only the ship, but that it was a Portuguese ship; and, as
I thought, was bound to the coast of Guinea, for negroes. But,
when I observed the course she steered, I was soon convinced they
were bound some other way, and did not design to come any nearer to
the shore; upon which I stretched out to sea as much as I could,
resolving to speak with them if possible.

With all the sail I could make, I found I should not be able to
come in their way, but that they would be gone by before I could
make any signal to them: but after I had crowded to the utmost, and
began to despair, they, it seems, saw by the help of their glasses
that it was some European boat, which they supposed must belong to
some ship that was lost; so they shortened sail to let me come up.
I was encouraged with this, and as I had my patron's ancient on
board, I made a waft of it to them, for a signal of distress, and
fired a gun, both which they saw; for they told me they saw the
smoke, though they did not hear the gun. Upon these signals they
very kindly brought to, and lay by for me; and in about three
hours; time I came up with them.

They asked me what I was, in Portuguese, and in Spanish, and in
French, but I understood none of them; but at last a Scotch sailor,
who was on board, called to me: and I answered him, and told him I
was an Englishman, that I had made my escape out of slavery from
the Moors, at Sallee; they then bade me come on board, and very
kindly took me in, and all my goods.

It was an inexpressible joy to me, which any one will believe, that
I was thus delivered, as I esteemed it, from such a miserable and
almost hopeless condition as I was in; and I immediately offered
all I had to the captain of the ship, as a return for my
deliverance; but he generously told me he would take nothing from
me, but that all I had should be delivered safe to me when I came
to the Brazils. "For," says he, "I have saved your life on no
other terms than I would be glad to be saved myself: and it may,
one time or other, be my lot to be taken up in the same condition.
Besides," said he, "when I carry you to the Brazils, so great a way
from your own country, if I should take from you what you have, you
will be starved there, and then I only take away that life I have
given. No, no," says he: "Seignior Inglese" (Mr. Englishman), "I
will carry you thither in charity, and those things will help to
buy your subsistence there, and your passage home again."

As he was charitable in this proposal, so he was just in the
performance to a tittle; for he ordered the seamen that none should
touch anything that I had: then he took everything into his own
possession, and gave me back an exact inventory of them, that I
might have them, even to my three earthen jars.

As to my boat, it was a very good one; and that he saw, and told me
he would buy it of me for his ship's use; and asked me what I would
have for it? I told him he had been so generous to me in
everything that I could not offer to make any price of the boat,
but left it entirely to him: upon which he told me he would give me
a note of hand to pay me eighty pieces of eight for it at Brazil;
and when it came there, if any one offered to give more, he would
make it up. He offered me also sixty pieces of eight more for my
boy Xury, which I was loth to take; not that I was unwilling to let
the captain have him, but I was very loth to sell the poor boy's
liberty, who had assisted me so faithfully in procuring my own.
However, when I let him know my reason, he owned it to be just, and
offered me this medium, that he would give the boy an obligation to
set him free in ten years, if he turned Christian: upon this, and
Xury saying he was willing to go to him, I let the captain have

We had a very good voyage to the Brazils, and I arrived in the Bay
de Todos los Santos, or All Saints' Bay, in about twenty-two days
after. And now I was once more delivered from the most miserable
of all conditions of life; and what to do next with myself I was to

The generous treatment the captain gave me I can never enough
remember: he would take nothing of me for my passage, gave me
twenty ducats for the leopard's skin, and forty for the lion's
skin, which I had in my boat, and caused everything I had in the
ship to be punctually delivered to me; and what I was willing to
sell he bought of me, such as the case of bottles, two of my guns,
and a piece of the lump of beeswax - for I had made candles of the
rest: in a word, I made about two hundred and twenty pieces of
eight of all my cargo; and with this stock I went on shore in the

I had not been long here before I was recommended to the house of a
good honest man like himself, who had an INGENIO, as they call it
(that is, a plantation and a sugar-house). I lived with him some
time, and acquainted myself by that means with the manner of
planting and making of sugar; and seeing how well the planters
lived, and how they got rich suddenly, I resolved, if I could get a
licence to settle there, I would turn planter among them: resolving
in the meantime to find out some way to get my money, which I had
left in London, remitted to me. To this purpose, getting a kind of
letter of naturalisation, I purchased as much land that was uncured
as my money would reach, and formed a plan for my plantation and
settlement; such a one as might be suitable to the stock which I
proposed to myself to receive from England.

I had a neighbour, a Portuguese, of Lisbon, but born of English
parents, whose name was Wells, and in much such circumstances as I
was. I call him my neighbour, because his plantation lay next to
mine, and we went on very sociably together. My stock was but low,
as well as his; and we rather planted for food than anything else,
for about two years. However, we began to increase, and our land
began to come into order; so that the third year we planted some
tobacco, and made each of us a large piece of ground ready for
planting canes in the year to come. But we both wanted help; and
now I found, more than before, I had done wrong in parting with my
boy Xury.

But, alas! for me to do wrong that never did right, was no great
wonder. I hail no remedy but to go on: I had got into an
employment quite remote to my genius, and directly contrary to the
life I delighted in, and for which I forsook my father's house, and
broke through all his good advice. Nay, I was coming into the very
middle station, or upper degree of low life, which my father
advised me to before, and which, if I resolved to go on with, I
might as well have stayed at home, and never have fatigued myself
in the world as I had done; and I used often to say to myself, I
could have done this as well in England, among my friends, as have
gone five thousand miles off to do it among strangers and savages,
in a wilderness, and at such a distance as never to hear from any
part of the world that had the least knowledge of me.

In this manner I used to look upon my condition with the utmost
regret. I had nobody to converse with, but now and then this
neighbour; no work to be done, but by the labour of my hands; and I
used to say, I lived just like a man cast away upon some desolate
island, that had nobody there but himself. But how just has it
been - and how should all men reflect, that when they compare their
present conditions with others that are worse, Heaven may oblige
them to make the exchange, and be convinced of their former
felicity by their experience - I say, how just has it been, that
the truly solitary life I reflected on, in an island of mere
desolation, should be my lot, who had so often unjustly compared it
with the life which I then led, in which, had I continued, I had in
all probability been exceeding prosperous and rich.

I was in some degree settled in my measures for carrying on the
plantation before my kind friend, the captain of the ship that took
me up at sea, went back - for the ship remained there, in providing
his lading and preparing for his voyage, nearly three months - when
telling him what little stock I had left behind me in London, he
gave me this friendly and sincere advice:- "Seignior Inglese," says
he (for so he always called me), "if you will give me letters, and
a procuration in form to me, with orders to the person who has your
money in London to send your effects to Lisbon, to such persons as
I shall direct, and in such goods as are proper for this country, I
will bring you the produce of them, God willing, at my return; but,
since human affairs are all subject to changes and disasters, I
would have you give orders but for one hundred pounds sterling,
which, you say, is half your stock, and let the hazard be run for
the first; so that, if it come safe, you may order the rest the
same way, and, if it miscarry, you may have the other half to have
recourse to for your supply."

This was so wholesome advice, and looked so friendly, that I could
not but be convinced it was the best course I could take; so I
accordingly prepared letters to the gentlewoman with whom I had
left my money, and a procuration to the Portuguese captain, as he

I wrote the English captain's widow a full account of all my
adventures - my slavery, escape, and how I had met with the
Portuguese captain at sea, the humanity of his behaviour, and what
condition I was now in, with all other necessary directions for my
supply; and when this honest captain came to Lisbon, he found
means, by some of the English merchants there, to send over, not
the order only, but a full account of my story to a merchant in
London, who represented it effectually to her; whereupon she not
only delivered the money, but out of her own pocket sent the
Portugal captain a very handsome present for his humanity and
charity to me.

The merchant in London, vesting this hundred pounds in English
goods, such as the captain had written for, sent them directly to
him at Lisbon, and he brought them all safe to me to the Brazils;
among which, without my direction (for I was too young in my
business to think of them), he had taken care to have all sorts of
tools, ironwork, and utensils necessary for my plantation, and
which were of great use to me.

When this cargo arrived I thought my fortune made, for I was
surprised with the joy of it; and my stood steward, the captain,
had laid out the five pounds, which my friend had sent him for a
present for himself, to purchase and bring me over a servant, under
bond for six years' service, and would not accept of any
consideration, except a little tobacco, which I would have him
accept, being of my own produce.

Neither was this all; for my goods being all English manufacture,
such as cloths, stuffs, baize, and things particularly valuable and
desirable in the country, I found means to sell them to a very
great advantage; so that I might say I had more than four times the
value of my first cargo, and was now infinitely beyond my poor
neighbour - I mean in the advancement of my plantation; for the
first thing I did, I bought me a negro slave, and an European
servant also - I mean another besides that which the captain
brought me from Lisbon.

But as abused prosperity is oftentimes made the very means of our
greatest adversity, so it was with me. I went on the next year
with great success in my plantation: I raised fifty great rolls of
tobacco on my own ground, more than I had disposed of for
necessaries among my neighbours; and these fifty rolls, being each
of above a hundredweight, were well cured, and laid by against the
return of the fleet from Lisbon: and now increasing in business and
wealth, my head began to be full of projects and undertakings
beyond my reach; such as are, indeed, often the ruin of the best
heads in business. Had I continued in the station I was now in, I
had room for all the happy things to have yet befallen me for which
my father so earnestly recommended a quiet, retired life, and of
which he had so sensibly described the middle station of life to be
full of; but other things attended me, and I was still to be the
wilful agent of all my own miseries; and particularly, to increase
my fault, and double the reflections upon myself, which in my
future sorrows I should have leisure to make, all these
miscarriages were procured by my apparent obstinate adhering to my
foolish inclination of wandering abroad, and pursuing that
inclination, in contradiction to the clearest views of doing myself
good in a fair and plain pursuit of those prospects, and those
measures of life, which nature and Providence concurred to present
me with, and to make my duty.

As I had once done thus in my breaking away from my parents, so I
could not be content now, but I must go and leave the happy view I
had of being a rich and thriving man in my new plantation, only to
pursue a rash and immoderate desire of rising faster than the
nature of the thing admitted; and thus I cast myself down again
into the deepest gulf of human misery that ever man fell into, or
perhaps could be consistent with life and a state of health in the

To come, then, by the just degrees to the particulars of this part
of my story. You may suppose, that having now lived almost four
years in the Brazils, and beginning to thrive and prosper very well
upon my plantation, I had not only learned the language, but had
contracted acquaintance and friendship among my fellow-planters, as
well as among the merchants at St. Salvador, which was our port;
and that, in my discourses among them, I had frequently given them
an account of my two voyages to the coast of Guinea: the manner of
trading with the negroes there, and how easy it was to purchase
upon the coast for trifles - such as beads, toys, knives, scissors,
hatchets, bits of glass, and the like - not only gold-dust, Guinea
grains, elephants' teeth, &c., but negroes, for the service of the
Brazils, in great numbers.

They listened always very attentively to my discourses on these
heads, but especially to that part which related to the buying of
negroes, which was a trade at that time, not only not far entered
into, but, as far as it was, had been carried on by assientos, or
permission of the kings of Spain and Portugal, and engrossed in the
public stock: so that few negroes were bought, and these
excessively dear.

It happened, being in company with some merchants and planters of
my acquaintance, and talking of those things very earnestly, three
of them came to me next morning, and told me they had been musing
very much upon what I had discoursed with them of the last night,
and they came to make a secret proposal to me; and, after enjoining
me to secrecy, they told me that they had a mind to fit out a ship
to go to Guinea; that they had all plantations as well as I, and
were straitened for nothing so much as servants; that as it was a
trade that could not be carried on, because they could not publicly
sell the negroes when they came home, so they desired to make but
one voyage, to bring the negroes on shore privately, and divide
them among their own plantations; and, in a word, the question was
whether I would go their supercargo in the ship, to manage the
trading part upon the coast of Guinea; and they offered me that I
should have my equal share of the negroes, without providing any
part of the stock.

This was a fair proposal, it must be confessed, had it been made to
any one that had not had a settlement and a plantation of his own
to look after, which was in a fair way of coming to be very
considerable, and with a good stock upon it; but for me, that was
thus entered and established, and had nothing to do but to go on as
I had begun, for three or four years more, and to have sent for the
other hundred pounds from England; and who in that time, and with
that little addition, could scarce have failed of being worth three
or four thousand pounds sterling, and that increasing too - for me
to think of such a voyage was the most preposterous thing that ever
man in such circumstances could be guilty of.

But I, that was born to be my own destroyer, could no more resist
the offer than I could restrain my first rambling designs when my
father' good counsel was lost upon me. In a word, I told them I
would go with all my heart, if they would undertake to look after
my plantation in my absence, and would dispose of it to such as I
should direct, if I miscarried. This they all engaged to do, and
entered into writings or covenants to do so; and I made a formal
will, disposing of my plantation and effects in case of my death,
making the captain of the ship that had saved my life, as before,
my universal heir, but obliging him to dispose of my effects as I
had directed in my will; one half of the produce being to himself,
and the other to be shipped to England.

In short, I took all possible caution to preserve my effects and to
keep up my plantation. Had I used half as much prudence to have
looked into my own interest, and have made a judgment of what I
ought to have done and not to have done, I had certainly never gone
away from so prosperous an undertaking, leaving all the probable
views of a thriving circumstance, and gone upon a voyage to sea,
attended with all its common hazards, to say nothing of the reasons
I had to expect particular misfortunes to myself.

But I was hurried on, and obeyed blindly the dictates of my fancy
rather than my reason; and, accordingly, the ship being fitted out,
and the cargo furnished, and all things done, as by agreement, by
my partners in the voyage, I went on board in an evil hour, the 1st
September 1659, being the same day eight years that I went from my
father and mother at Hull, in order to act the rebel to their
authority, and the fool to my own interests.

Our ship was about one hundred and twenty tons burden, carried six
guns and fourteen men, besides the master, his boy, and myself. We
had on board no large cargo of goods, except of such toys as were
fit for our trade with the negroes, such as beads, bits of glass,
shells, and other trifles, especially little looking-glasses,
knives, scissors, hatchets, and the like.

The same day I went on board we set sail, standing away to the
northward upon our own coast, with design to stretch over for the
African coast when we came about ten or twelve degrees of northern
latitude, which, it seems, was the manner of course in those days.
We had very good weather, only excessively hot, all the way upon
our own coast, till we came to the height of Cape St. Augustino;
from whence, keeping further off at sea, we lost sight of land, and
steered as if we were bound for the isle Fernando de Noronha,
holding our course N.E. by N., and leaving those isles on the east.
In this course we passed the line in about twelve days' time, and
were, by our last observation, in seven degrees twenty-two minutes
northern latitude, when a violent tornado, or hurricane, took us
quite out of our knowledge. It began from the south-east, came
about to the north-west, and then settled in the north-east; from
whence it blew in such a terrible manner, that for twelve days
together we could do nothing but drive, and, scudding away before
it, let it carry us whither fate and the fury of the winds
directed; and, during these twelve days, I need not say that I
expected every day to be swallowed up; nor, indeed, did any in the
ship expect to save their lives.

In this distress we had, besides the terror of the storm, one of
our men die of the calenture, and one man and the boy washed
overboard. About the twelfth day, the weather abating a little,
the master made an observation as well as he could, and found that
he was in about eleven degrees north latitude, but that he was
twenty-two degrees of longitude difference west from Cape St.
Augustino; so that he found he was upon the coast of Guiana, or the
north part of Brazil, beyond the river Amazon, toward that of the
river Orinoco, commonly called the Great River; and began to
consult with me what course he should take, for the ship was leaky,
and very much disabled, and he was going directly back to the coast
of Brazil.

I was positively against that; and looking over the charts of the
sea-coast of America with him, we concluded there was no inhabited
country for us to have recourse to till we came within the circle
of the Caribbee Islands, and therefore resolved to stand away for
Barbadoes; which, by keeping off at sea, to avoid the indraft of
the Bay or Gulf of Mexico, we might easily perform, as we hoped, in
about fifteen days' sail; whereas we could not possibly make our
voyage to the coast of Africa without some assistance both to our
ship and to ourselves.

With this design we changed our course, and steered away N.W. by
W., in order to reach some of our English islands, where I hoped
for relief. But our voyage was otherwise determined; for, being in
the latitude of twelve degrees eighteen minutes, a second storm
came upon us, which carried us away with the same impetuosity
westward, and drove us so out of the way of all human commerce,
that, had all our lives been saved as to the sea, we were rather in
danger of being devoured by savages than ever returning to our own

In this distress, the wind still blowing very hard, one of our men
early in the morning cried out, "Land!" and we had no sooner run
out of the cabin to look out, in hopes of seeing whereabouts in the
world we were, than the ship struck upon a sand, and in a moment
her motion being so stopped, the sea broke over her in such a
manner that we expected we should all have perished immediately;
and we were immediately driven into our close quarters, to shelter
us from the very foam and spray of the sea.

It is not easy for any one who has not been in the like condition
to describe or conceive the consternation of men in such
circumstances. We knew nothing where we were, or upon what land it
was we were driven - whether an island or the main, whether
inhabited or not inhabited. As the rage of the wind was still
great, though rather less than at first, we could not so much as
hope to have the ship hold many minutes without breaking into
pieces, unless the winds, by a kind of miracle, should turn
immediately about. In a word, we sat looking upon one another, and
expecting death every moment, and every man, accordingly, preparing
for another world; for there was little or nothing more for us to
do in this. That which was our present comfort, and all the
comfort we had, was that, contrary to our expectation, the ship did
not break yet, and that the master said the wind began to abate.

Now, though we thought that the wind did a little abate, yet the
ship having thus struck upon the sand, and sticking too fast for us
to expect her getting off, we were in a dreadful condition indeed,
and had nothing to do but to think of saving our lives as well as
we could. We had a boat at our stern just before the storm, but
she was first staved by dashing against the ship's rudder, and in
the next place she broke away, and either sunk or was driven off to
sea; so there was no hope from her. We had another boat on board,
but how to get her off into the sea was a doubtful thing. However,
there was no time to debate, for we fancied that the ship would
break in pieces every minute, and some told us she was actually
broken already.

In this distress the mate of our vessel laid hold of the boat, and
with the help of the rest of the men got her slung over the ship's
side; and getting all into her, let go, and committed ourselves,
being eleven in number, to God's mercy and the wild sea; for though
the storm was abated considerably, yet the sea ran dreadfully high
upon the shore, and might be well called DEN WILD ZEE, as the Dutch
call the sea in a storm.

And now our case was very dismal indeed; for we all saw plainly
that the sea went so high that the boat could not live, and that we
should be inevitably drowned. As to making sail, we had none, nor
if we had could we have done anything with it; so we worked at the
oar towards the land, though with heavy hearts, like men going to
execution; for we all knew that when the boat came near the shore
she would be dashed in a thousand pieces by the breach of the sea.
However, we committed our souls to God in the most earnest manner;
and the wind driving us towards the shore, we hastened our
destruction with our own hands, pulling as well as we could towards

What the shore was, whether rock or sand, whether steep or shoal,
we knew not. The only hope that could rationally give us the least
shadow of expectation was, if we might find some bay or gulf, or
the mouth of some river, where by great chance we might have run
our boat in, or got under the lee of the land, and perhaps made
smooth water. But there was nothing like this appeared; but as we
made nearer and nearer the shore, the land looked more frightful
than the sea.

After we had rowed, or rather driven about a league and a half, as
we reckoned it, a raging wave, mountain-like, came rolling astern
of us, and plainly bade us expect the COUP DE GRACE. It took us
with such a fury, that it overset the boat at once; and separating
us as well from the boat as from one another, gave us no time to
say, "O God!" for we were all swallowed up in a moment.

Nothing can describe the confusion of thought which I felt when I
sank into the water; for though I swam very well, yet I could not
deliver myself from the waves so as to draw breath, till that wave
having driven me, or rather carried me, a vast way on towards the
shore, and having spent itself, went back, and left me upon the
land almost dry, but half dead with the water I took in. I had so
much presence of mind, as well as breath left, that seeing myself
nearer the mainland than I expected, I got upon my feet, and
endeavoured to make on towards the land as fast as I could before
another wave should return and take me up again; but I soon found
it was impossible to avoid it; for I saw the sea come after me as
high as a great hill, and as furious as an enemy, which I had no
means or strength to contend with: my business was to hold my
breath, and raise myself upon the water if I could; and so, by
swimming, to preserve my breathing, and pilot myself towards the
shore, if possible, my greatest concern now being that the sea, as
it would carry me a great way towards the shore when it came on,
might not carry me back again with it when it gave back towards the

The wave that came upon me again buried me at once twenty or thirty
feet deep in its own body, and I could feel myself carried with a
mighty force and swiftness towards the shore - a very great way;
but I held my breath, and assisted myself to swim still forward
with all my might. I was ready to burst with holding my breath,
when, as I felt myself rising up, so, to my immediate relief, I
found my head and hands shoot out above the surface of the water;
and though it was not two seconds of time that I could keep myself
so, yet it relieved me greatly, gave me breath, and new courage. I
was covered again with water a good while, but not so long but I
held it out; and finding the water had spent itself, and began to
return, I struck forward against the return of the waves, and felt
ground again with my feet. I stood still a few moments to recover
breath, and till the waters went from me, and then took to my heels
and ran with what strength I had further towards the shore. But
neither would this deliver me from the fury of the sea, which came
pouring in after me again; and twice more I was lifted up by the
waves and carried forward as before, the shore being very flat.

The last time of these two had well-nigh been fatal to me, for the
sea having hurried me along as before, landed me, or rather dashed
me, against a piece of rock, and that with such force, that it left
me senseless, and indeed helpless, as to my own deliverance; for
the blow taking my side and breast, beat the breath as it were
quite out of my body; and had it returned again immediately, I must
have been strangled in the water; but I recovered a little before
the return of the waves, and seeing I should be covered again with
the water, I resolved to hold fast by a piece of the rock, and so
to hold my breath, if possible, till the wave went back. Now, as
the waves were not so high as at first, being nearer land, I held
my hold till the wave abated, and then fetched another run, which
brought me so near the shore that the next wave, though it went
over me, yet did not so swallow me up as to carry me away; and the
next run I took, I got to the mainland, where, to my great comfort,
I clambered up the cliffs of the shore and sat me down upon the
grass, free from danger and quite out of the reach of the water.

I was now landed and safe on shore, and began to look up and thank
God that my life was saved, in a case wherein there was some
minutes before scarce any room to hope. I believe it is impossible
to express, to the life, what the ecstasies and transports of the
soul are, when it is so saved, as I may say, out of the very grave:
and I do not wonder now at the custom, when a malefactor, who has
the halter about his neck, is tied up, and just going to be turned
off, and has a reprieve brought to him - I say, I do not wonder
that they bring a surgeon with it, to let him blood that very
moment they tell him of it, that the surprise may not drive the
animal spirits from the heart and overwhelm him.

"For sudden joys, like griefs, confound at first."

I walked about on the shore lifting up my hands, and my whole
being, as I may say, wrapped up in a contemplation of my
deliverance; making a thousand gestures and motions, which I cannot
describe; reflecting upon all my comrades that were drowned, and
that there should not be one soul saved but myself; for, as for
them, I never saw them afterwards, or any sign of them, except
three of their hats, one cap, and two shoes that were not fellows.

I cast my eye to the stranded vessel, when, the breach and froth of
the sea being so big, I could hardly see it, it lay so far of; and
considered, Lord! how was it possible I could get on shore

After I had solaced my mind with the comfortable part of my
condition, I began to look round me, to see what kind of place I
was in, and what was next to be done; and I soon found my comforts
abate, and that, in a word, I had a dreadful deliverance; for I was
wet, had no clothes to shift me, nor anything either to eat or
drink to comfort me; neither did I see any prospect before me but
that of perishing with hunger or being devoured by wild beasts; and
that which was particularly afflicting to me was, that I had no
weapon, either to hunt and kill any creature for my sustenance, or
to defend myself against any other creature that might desire to
kill me for theirs. In a word, I had nothing about me but a knife,
a tobacco-pipe, and a little tobacco in a box. This was all my
provisions; and this threw me into such terrible agonies of mind,
that for a while I ran about like a madman. Night coming upon me,
I began with a heavy heart to consider what would be my lot if
there were any ravenous beasts in that country, as at night they
always come abroad for their prey.

All the remedy that offered to my thoughts at that time was to get
up into a thick bushy tree like a fir, but thorny, which grew near
me, and where I resolved to sit all night, and consider the next
day what death I should die, for as yet I saw no prospect of life.
I walked about a furlong from the shore, to see if I could find any
fresh water to drink, which I did, to my great joy; and having
drank, and put a little tobacco into my mouth to prevent hunger, I
went to the tree, and getting up into it, endeavoured to place
myself so that if I should sleep I might not fall. And having cut
me a short stick, like a truncheon, for my defence, I took up my
lodging; and having been excessively fatigued, I fell fast asleep,
and slept as comfortably as, I believe, few could have done in my
condition, and found myself more refreshed with it than, I think, I
ever was on such an occasion.



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