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The Further Adventures of Robinson Crusoe [Robinson Crusoe Part 2] by Daniel Defoe

Part 5 out of 5

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another thing.

CHAPTER XV--DESCRIPTION OF AN IDOL, WHICH THEY DESTROY

Early in the morning, when marching from a little town called
Changu, we had a river to pass, which we were obliged to ferry;
and, had the Tartars had any intelligence, then had been the time
to have attacked us, when the caravan being over, the rear-guard
was behind; but they did not appear there. About three hours
after, when we were entered upon a desert of about fifteen or
sixteen miles over, we knew by a cloud of dust they raised, that
the enemy was at hand, and presently they came on upon the spur.

Our Chinese guards in the front, who had talked so big the day
before, began to stagger; and the soldiers frequently looked behind
them, a certain sign in a soldier that he is just ready to run
away. My old pilot was of my mind; and being near me, called out,
"Seignior Inglese, these fellows must be encouraged, or they will
ruin us all; for if the Tartars come on they will never stand it."-
-"If am of your mind," said I; "but what must be done?"--"Done?"
says he, "let fifty of our men advance, and flank them on each
wing, and encourage them. They will fight like brave fellows in
brave company; but without this they will every man turn his back."
Immediately I rode up to our leader and told him, who was exactly
of our mind; accordingly, fifty of us marched to the right wing,
and fifty to the left, and the rest made a line of rescue; and so
we marched, leaving the last two hundred men to make a body of
themselves, and to guard the camels; only that, if need were, they
should send a hundred men to assist the last fifty.

At last the Tartars came on, and an innumerable company they were;
how many we could not tell, but ten thousand, we thought, at the
least. A party of them came on first, and viewed our posture,
traversing the ground in the front of our line; and, as we found
them within gunshot, our leader ordered the two wings to advance
swiftly, and give them a salvo on each wing with their shot, which
was done. They then went off, I suppose to give an account of the
reception they were like to meet with; indeed, that salute cloyed
their stomachs, for they immediately halted, stood a while to
consider of it, and wheeling off to the left, they gave over their
design for that time, which was very agreeable to our
circumstances.

Two days after we came to the city of Naun, or Naum; we thanked the
governor for his care of us, and collected to the value of a
hundred crowns, or thereabouts, which we gave to the soldiers sent
to guard us; and here we rested one day. This is a garrison
indeed, and there were nine hundred soldiers kept here; but the
reason of it was, that formerly the Muscovite frontiers lay nearer
to them than they now do, the Muscovites having abandoned that part
of the country, which lies from this city west for about two
hundred miles, as desolate and unfit for use; and more especially
being so very remote, and so difficult to send troops thither for
its defence; for we were yet above two thousand miles from Muscovy
properly so called. After this we passed several great rivers, and
two dreadful deserts; one of which we were sixteen days passing
over; and on the 13th of April we came to the frontiers of the
Muscovite dominions. I think the first town or fortress, whichever
it may he called, that belonged to the Czar, was called Arguna,
being on the west side of the river Arguna.

I could not but feel great satisfaction that I was arrived in a
country governed by Christians; for though the Muscovites do, in my
opinion, but just deserve the name of Christians, yet such they
pretend to be, and are very devout in their way. It would
certainly occur to any reflecting man who travels the world as I
have done, what a blessing it is to be brought into the world where
the name of God and a Redeemer is known, adored, and worshipped;
and not where the people, given up to strong delusions, worship the
devil, and prostrate themselves to monsters, elements, horrid-
shaped animals, and monstrous images. Not a town or city we passed
through but had their pagodas, their idols, and their temples, and
ignorant people worshipping even the works of their own hands. Now
we came where, at least, a face of the Christian worship appeared;
where the knee was bowed to Jesus: and whether ignorantly or not,
yet the Christian religion was owned, and the name of the true God
was called upon and adored; and it made my soul rejoice to see it.
I saluted the brave Scots merchant with my first acknowledgment of
this; and taking him by the hand, I said to him, "Blessed be God,
we are once again amongst Christians." He smiled, and answered,
"Do not rejoice too soon, countryman; these Muscovites are but an
odd sort of Christians; and but for the name of it you may see very
little of the substance for some months further of our journey."--
"Well," says I, "but still it is better than paganism, and
worshipping of devils."--"Why, I will tell you," says he; "except
the Russian soldiers in the garrisons, and a few of the inhabitants
of the cities upon the road, all the rest of this country, for
above a thousand miles farther, is inhabited by the worst and most
ignorant of pagans." And so, indeed, we found it.

We now launched into the greatest piece of solid earth that is to
be found in any part of the world; we had, at least, twelve
thousand miles to the sea eastward; two thousand to the bottom of
the Baltic Sea westward; and above three thousand, if we left that
sea, and went on west, to the British and French channels: we had
full five thousand miles to the Indian or Persian Sea south; and
about eight hundred to the Frozen Sea north.

We advanced from the river Arguna by easy and moderate journeys,
and were very visibly obliged to the care the Czar has taken to
have cities and towns built in as many places as it is possible to
place them, where his soldiers keep garrison, something like the
stationary soldiers placed by the Romans in the remotest countries
of their empire; some of which I had read of were placed in
Britain, for the security of commerce, and for the lodging of
travellers. Thus it was here; for wherever we came, though at
these towns and stations the garrisons and governors were Russians,
and professed Christians, yet the inhabitants were mere pagans,
sacrificing to idols, and worshipping the sun, moon, and stars, or
all the host of heaven; and not only so, but were, of all the
heathens and pagans that ever I met with, the most barbarous,
except only that they did not eat men's flesh.

Some instances of this we met with in the country between Arguna,
where we enter the Muscovite dominions, and a city of Tartars and
Russians together, called Nortziousky, in which is a continued
desert or forest, which cost us twenty days to travel over. In a
village near the last of these places I had the curiosity to go and
see their way of living, which is most brutish and unsufferable.
They had, I suppose, a great sacrifice that day; for there stood
out, upon an old stump of a tree, a diabolical kind of idol made of
wood; it was dressed up, too, in the most filthy manner; its upper
garment was of sheepskins, with the wool outward; a great Tartar
bonnet on the head, with two horns growing through it; it was about
eight feet high, yet had no feet or legs, nor any other proportion
of parts.

This scarecrow was set up at the outer side of the village; and
when I came near to it there were sixteen or seventeen creatures
all lying flat upon the ground round this hideous block of wood; I
saw no motion among them, any more than if they had been all logs,
like the idol, and at first I really thought they had been so; but,
when I came a little nearer, they started up upon their feet, and
raised a howl, as if it had been so many deep-mouthed hounds, and
walked away, as if they were displeased at our disturbing them. A
little way off from the idol, and at the door of a hut, made of
sheep and cow skins dried, stood three men with long knives in
their hands; and in the middle of the tent appeared three sheep
killed, and one young bullock. These, it seems, were sacrifices to
that senseless log of an idol; the three men were priests belonging
to it, and the seventeen prostrated wretches were the people who
brought the offering, and were offering their prayers to that
stock.

I confess I was more moved at their stupidity and brutish worship
of a hobgoblin than ever I was at anything in my life, and,
overcome with rage, I rode up to the hideous idol, and with my
sword made a stroke at the bonnet that was on its head, and cut it
in two; and one of our men that was with me, taking hold of the
sheepskin that covered it, pulled at it, when, behold, a most
hideous outcry ran through the village, and two or three hundred
people came about my ears, so that I was glad to scour for it, for
some had bows and arrows; but I resolved from that moment to visit
them again. Our caravan rested three nights at the town, which was
about four miles off, in order to provide some horses which they
wanted, several of the horses having been lamed and jaded with the
long march over the last desert; so we had some leisure here to put
my design in execution. I communicated it to the Scots merchant,
of whose courage I had sufficient testimony; I told him what I had
seen, and with what indignation I had since thought that human
nature could be so degenerate; I told him if I could get but four
or five men well armed to go with me, I was resolved to go and
destroy that vile, abominable idol, and let them see that it had no
power to help itself, and consequently could not be an object of
worship, or to be prayed to, much less help them that offered
sacrifices to it.

He at first objected to my plan as useless, seeing that, owing to
the gross ignorance of the people, they could not be brought to
profit by the lesson I meant to teach them; and added that, from
his knowledge of the country and its customs, he feared we should
fall into great peril by giving offence to these brutal idol
worshippers. This somewhat stayed my purpose, but I was still
uneasy all that day to put my project in execution; and that
evening, meeting the Scots merchant in our walk about the town, I
again called upon him to aid me in it. When he found me resolute
he said that, on further thoughts, he could not but applaud the
design, and told me I should not go alone, but he would go with me;
but he would go first and bring a stout fellow, one of his
countrymen, to go also with us; "and one," said he, "as famous for
his zeal as you can desire any one to be against such devilish
things as these." So we agreed to go, only we three and my man-
servant, and resolved to put it in execution the following night
about midnight, with all possible secrecy.

We thought it better to delay it till the next night, because the
caravan being to set forward in the morning, we suppose the
governor could not pretend to give them any satisfaction upon us
when we were out of his power. The Scots merchant, as steady in
his resolution for the enterprise as bold in executing, brought me
a Tartar's robe or gown of sheepskins, and a bonnet, with a bow and
arrows, and had provided the same for himself and his countryman,
that the people, if they saw us, should not determine who we were.
All the first night we spent in mixing up some combustible matter,
with aqua vitae, gunpowder, and such other materials as we could
get; and having a good quantity of tar in a little pot, about an
hour after night we set out upon our expedition.

We came to the place about eleven o'clock at night, and found that
the people had not the least suspicion of danger attending their
idol. The night was cloudy: yet the moon gave us light enough to
see that the idol stood just in the same posture and place that it
did before. The people seemed to be all at their rest; only that
in the great hut, where we saw the three priests, we saw a light,
and going up close to the door, we heard people talking as if there
were five or six of them; we concluded, therefore, that if we set
wildfire to the idol, those men would come out immediately, and run
up to the place to rescue it from destruction; and what to do with
them we knew not. Once we thought of carrying it away, and setting
fire to it at a distance; but when we came to handle it, we found
it too bulky for our carriage, so we were at a loss again. The
second Scotsman was for setting fire to the hut, and knocking the
creatures that were there on the head when they came out; but I
could not join with that; I was against killing them, if it were
possible to avoid it. "Well, then," said the Scots merchant, "I
will tell you what we will do: we will try to make them prisoners,
tie their hands, and make them stand and see their idol destroyed."

As it happened, we had twine or packthread enough about us, which
we used to tie our firelocks together with; so we resolved to
attack these people first, and with as little noise as we could.
The first thing we did, we knocked at the door, when one of the
priests coming to it, we immediately seized upon him, stopped his
mouth, and tied his hands behind him, and led him to the idol,
where we gagged him that he might not make a noise, tied his feet
also together, and left him on the ground.

Two of us then waited at the door, expecting that another would
come out to see what the matter was; but we waited so long till the
third man came back to us; and then nobody coming out, we knocked
again gently, and immediately out came two more, and we served them
just in the same manner, but were obliged to go all with them, and
lay them down by the idol some distance from one another; when,
going back, we found two more were come out of the door, and a
third stood behind them within the door. We seized the two, and
immediately tied them, when the third, stepping back and crying
out, my Scots merchant went in after them, and taking out a
composition we had made that would only smoke and stink, he set
fire to it, and threw it in among them. By that time the other
Scotsman and my man, taking charge of the two men already bound,
and tied together also by the arm, led them away to the idol, and
left them there, to see if their idol would relieve them, making
haste back to us.

When the fuze we had thrown in had filled the hut with so much
smoke that they were almost suffocated, we threw in a small leather
bag of another kind, which flamed like a candle, and, following it
in, we found there were but four people, who, as we supposed, had
been about some of their diabolical sacrifices. They appeared, in
short, frightened to death, at least so as to sit trembling and
stupid, and not able to speak either, for the smoke.

We quickly took them from the hut, where the smoke soon drove us
out, bound them as we had done the other, and all without any
noise. Then we carried them all together to the idol; when we came
there, we fell to work with him. First, we daubed him all over,
and his robes also, with tar, and tallow mixed with brimstone; then
we stopped his eyes and ears and mouth full of gunpowder, and
wrapped up a great piece of wildfire in his bonnet; then sticking
all the combustibles we had brought with us upon him, we looked
about to see if we could find anything else to help to burn him;
when my Scotsman remembered that by the hut, where the men were,
there lay a heap of dry forage; away he and the other Scotsman ran
and fetched their arms full of that. When we had done this, we
took all our prisoners, and brought them, having untied their feet
and ungagged their mouths, and made them stand up, and set them
before their monstrous idol, and then set fire to the whole.

We stayed by it a quarter of an hour or thereabouts, till the
powder in the eyes and mouth and ears of the idol blew up, and, as
we could perceive, had split altogether; and in a word, till we saw
it burned so that it would soon be quite consumed. We then began
to think of going away; but the Scotsman said, "No, we must not go,
for these poor deluded wretches will all throw themselves into the
fire, and burn themselves with the idol." So we resolved to stay
till the forage has burned down too, and then came away and left
them. After the feat was performed, we appeared in the morning
among our fellow-travellers, exceedingly busy in getting ready for
our journey; nor could any man suppose that we had been anywhere
but in our beds.

But the affair did not end so; the next day came a great number of
the country people to the town gates, and in a most outrageous
manner demanded satisfaction of the Russian governor for the
insulting their priests and burning their great Cham Chi-Thaungu.
The people of Nertsinkay were at first in a great consternation,
for they said the Tartars were already no less than thirty thousand
strong. The Russian governor sent out messengers to appease them,
assuring them that he knew nothing of it, and that there had not a
soul in his garrison been abroad, so that it could not be from
anybody there: but if they could let him know who did it, they
should be exemplarily punished. They returned haughtily, that all
the country reverenced the great Cham Chi-Thaungu, who dwelt in the
sun, and no mortal would have dared to offer violence to his image
but some Christian miscreant; and they therefore resolved to
denounce war against him and all the Russians, who, they said, were
miscreants and Christians.

The governor, unwilling to make a breach, or to have any cause of
war alleged to be given by him, the Czar having strictly charged
him to treat the conquered country with gentleness, gave them all
the good words he could. At last he told them there was a caravan
gone towards Russia that morning, and perhaps it was some of them
who had done them this injury; and that if they would be satisfied
with that, he would send after them to inquire into it. This
seemed to appease them a little; and accordingly the governor sent
after us, and gave us a particular account how the thing was;
intimating withal, that if any in our caravan had done it they
should make their escape; but that whether we had done it or no, we
should make all the haste forward that was possible: and that, in
the meantime, he would keep them in play as long as he could.

This was very friendly in the governor; however, when it came to
the caravan, there was nobody knew anything of the matter; and as
for us that were guilty, we were least of all suspected. However,
the captain of the caravan for the time took the hint that the
governor gave us, and we travelled two days and two nights without
any considerable stop, and then we lay at a village called Plothus:
nor did we make any long stop here, but hastened on towards
Jarawena, another Muscovite colony, and where we expected we should
be safe. But upon the second day's march from Plothus, by the
clouds of dust behind us at a great distance, it was plain we were
pursued. We had entered a vast desert, and had passed by a great
lake called Schanks Oser, when we perceived a large body of horse
appear on the other side of the lake, to the north, we travelling
west. We observed they went away west, as we did, but had supposed
we would have taken that side of the lake, whereas we very happily
took the south side; and in two days more they disappeared again:
for they, believing we were still before them, pushed on till they
came to the Udda, a very great river when it passes farther north,
but when we came to it we found it narrow and fordable.

The third day they had either found their mistake, or had
intelligence of us, and came pouring in upon us towards dusk. We
had, to our great satisfaction, just pitched upon a convenient
place for our camp; for as we had just entered upon a desert above
five hundred miles over, where we had no towns to lodge at, and,
indeed, expected none but the city Jarawena, which we had yet two
days' march to; the desert, however, had some few woods in it on
this side, and little rivers, which ran all into the great river
Udda; it was in a narrow strait, between little but very thick
woods, that we pitched our camp that night, expecting to be
attacked before morning. As it was usual for the Mogul Tartars to
go about in troops in that desert, so the caravans always fortify
themselves every night against them, as against armies of robbers;
and it was, therefore, no new thing to be pursued. But we had this
night a most advantageous camp: for as we lay between two woods,
with a little rivulet running just before our front, we could not
be surrounded, or attacked any way but in our front or rear. We
took care also to make our front as strong as we could, by placing
our packs, with the camels and horses, all in a line, on the inside
of the river, and felling some trees in our rear.

In this posture we encamped for the night; but the enemy was upon
us before we had finished. They did not come on like thieves, as
we expected, but sent three messengers to us, to demand the men to
be delivered to them that had abused their priests and burned their
idol, that they might burn them with fire; and upon this, they
said, they would go away, and do us no further harm, otherwise they
would destroy us all. Our men looked very blank at this message,
and began to stare at one another to see who looked with the most
guilt in their faces; but nobody was the word--nobody did it. The
leader of the caravan sent word he was well assured that it was not
done by any of our camp; that we were peaceful merchants,
travelling on our business; that we had done no harm to them or to
any one else; and that, therefore, they must look further for the
enemies who had injured them, for we were not the people; so they
desired them not to disturb us, for if they did we should defend
ourselves.

They were far from being satisfied with this for an answer: and a
great crowd of them came running down in the morning, by break of
day, to our camp; but seeing us so well posted, they durst come no
farther than the brook in our front, where they stood in such
number as to terrify us very much; indeed, some spoke of ten
thousand. Here they stood and looked at us a while, and then,
setting up a great howl, let fly a crowd of arrows among us; but we
were well enough sheltered under our baggage, and I do not remember
that one of us was hurt.

Some time after this we saw them move a little to our right, and
expected them on the rear: when a cunning fellow, a Cossack of
Jarawena, calling to the leader of the caravan, said to him, "I
will send all these people away to Sibeilka." This was a city four
or five days' journey at least to the right, and rather behind us.
So he takes his bow and arrows, and getting on horseback, he rides
away from our rear directly, as it were back to Nertsinskay; after
this he takes a great circuit about, and comes directly on the army
of the Tartars as if he had been sent express to tell them a long
story that the people who had burned the Cham Chi-Thaungu were gone
to Sibeilka, with a caravan of miscreants, as he called them--that
is to say, Christians; and that they had resolved to burn the god
Scal-Isar, belonging to the Tonguses. As this fellow was himself a
Tartar, and perfectly spoke their language, he counterfeited so
well that they all believed him, and away they drove in a violent
hurry to Sibeilka. In less than three hours they were entirely out
of our sight, and we never heard any more of them, nor whether they
went to Sibeilka or no. So we passed away safely on to Jarawena,
where there was a Russian garrison, and there we rested five days.

From this city we had a frightful desert, which held us twenty-
three days' march. We furnished ourselves with some tents here,
for the better accommodating ourselves in the night; and the leader
of the caravan procured sixteen waggons of the country, for
carrying our water or provisions, and these carriages were our
defence every night round our little camp; so that had the Tartars
appeared, unless they had been very numerous indeed, they would not
have been able to hurt us. We may well be supposed to have wanted
rest again after this long journey; for in this desert we neither
saw house nor tree, and scarce a bush; though we saw abundance of
the sable-hunters, who are all Tartars of Mogul Tartary; of which
this country is a part; and they frequently attack small caravans,
but we saw no numbers of them together.

After we had passed this desert we came into a country pretty well
inhabited--that is to say, we found towns and castles, settled by
the Czar with garrisons of stationary soldiers, to protect the
caravans and defend the country against the Tartars, who would
otherwise make it very dangerous travelling; and his czarish
majesty has given such strict orders for the well guarding the
caravans, that, if there are any Tartars heard of in the country,
detachments of the garrison are always sent to see the travellers
safe from station to station. Thus the governor of Adinskoy, whom
I had an opportunity to make a visit to, by means of the Scots
merchant, who was acquainted with him, offered us a guard of fifty
men, if we thought there was any danger, to the next station.

I thought, long before this, that as we came nearer to Europe we
should find the country better inhabited, and the people more
civilised; but I found myself mistaken in both: for we had yet the
nation of the Tonguses to pass through, where we saw the same
tokens of paganism and barbarity as before; only, as they were
conquered by the Muscovites, they were not so dangerous, but for
rudeness of manners and idolatry no people in the world ever went
beyond them. They are all clothed in skins of beasts, and their
houses are built of the same; you know not a man from a woman,
neither by the ruggedness of their countenances nor their clothes;
and in the winter, when the ground is covered with snow, they live
underground in vaults, which have cavities going from one to
another. If the Tartars had their Cham Chi-Thaungu for a whole
village or country, these had idols in every hut and every cave.
This country, I reckon, was, from the desert I spoke of last, at
least four hundred miles, half of it being another desert, which
took us up twelve days' severe travelling, without house or tree;
and we were obliged again to carry our own provisions, as well
water as bread. After we were out of this desert and had travelled
two days, we came to Janezay, a Muscovite city or station, on the
great river Janezay, which, they told us there, parted Europe from
Asia.

All the country between the river Oby and the river Janezay is as
entirely pagan, and the people as barbarous, as the remotest of the
Tartars. I also found, which I observed to the Muscovite governors
whom I had an opportunity to converse with, that the poor pagans
are not much wiser, or nearer Christianity, for being under the
Muscovite government, which they acknowledged was true enough--but
that, as they said, was none of their business; that if the Czar
expected to convert his Siberian, Tonguse, or Tartar subjects, it
should be done by sending clergymen among them, not soldiers; and
they added, with more sincerity than I expected, that it was not so
much the concern of their monarch to make the people Christians as
to make them subjects.

From this river to the Oby we crossed a wild uncultivated country,
barren of people and good management, otherwise it is in itself a
pleasant, fruitful, and agreeable country. What inhabitants we
found in it are all pagans, except such as are sent among them from
Russia; for this is the country--I mean on both sides the river
Oby--whither the Muscovite criminals that are not put to death are
banished, and from whence it is next to impossible they should ever
get away. I have nothing material to say of my particular affairs
till I came to Tobolski, the capital city of Siberia, where I
continued some time on the following account.

We had now been almost seven months on our journey, and winter
began to come on apace; whereupon my partner and I called a council
about our particular affairs, in which we found it proper, as we
were bound for England, to consider how to dispose of ourselves.
They told us of sledges and reindeer to carry us over the snow in
the winter time, by which means, indeed, the Russians travel more
in winter than they can in summer, as in these sledges they are
able to run night and day: the snow, being frozen, is one
universal covering to nature, by which the hills, vales, rivers,
and lakes are all smooth and hard is a stone, and they run upon the
surface, without any regard to what is underneath.

But I had no occasion to urge a winter journey of this kind. I was
bound to England, not to Moscow, and my route lay two ways: either
I must go on as the caravan went, till I came to Jarislaw, and then
go off west for Narva and the Gulf of Finland, and so on to
Dantzic, where I might possibly sell my China cargo to good
advantage; or I must leave the caravan at a little town on the
Dwina, from whence I had but six days by water to Archangel, and
from thence might be sure of shipping either to England, Holland,
or Hamburg.

Now, to go any one of these journeys in the winter would have been
preposterous; for as to Dantzic, the Baltic would have been frozen
up and I could not get passage; and to go by land in those
countries was far less safe than among the Mogul Tartars; likewise,
as to Archangel in October, all the ships would be gone from
thence, and even the merchants who dwell there in summer retire
south to Moscow in the winter, when the ships are gone; so that I
could have nothing but extremity of cold to encounter, with a
scarcity of provisions, and must lie in an empty town all the
winter. Therefore, upon the whole, I thought it much my better way
to let the caravan go, and make provision to winter where I was, at
Tobolski, in Siberia, in the latitude of about sixty degrees, where
I was sure of three things to wear out a cold winter with, viz.
plenty of provisions, such as the country afforded, a warm house,
with fuel enough, and excellent company.

I was now in quite a different climate from my beloved island,
where I never felt cold, except when I had my ague; on the
contrary, I had much to do to bear any clothes on my back, and
never made any fire but without doors, which was necessary for
dressing my food, &c. Now I had three good vests, with large robes
or gowns over them, to hang down to the feet, and button close to
the wrists; and all these lined with furs, to make them
sufficiently warm. As to a warm house, I must confess I greatly
dislike our way in England of making fires in every room of the
house in open chimneys, which, when the fire is out, always keeps
the air in the room cold as the climate. So I took an apartment in
a good house in the town, and ordered a chimney to be built like a
furnace, in the centre of six several rooms, like a stove; the
funnel to carry the smoke went up one way, the door to come at the
fire went in another, and all the rooms were kept equally warm, but
no fire seen, just as they heat baths in England. By this means we
had always the same climate in all the rooms, and an equal heat was
preserved, and yet we saw no fire, nor were ever incommoded with
smoke.

The most wonderful thing of all was, that it should be possible to
meet with good company here, in a country so barbarous as this--one
of the most northerly parts of Europe. But this being the country
where the state criminals of Muscovy, as I observed before, are all
banished, the city was full of Russian noblemen, gentlemen,
soldiers, and courtiers. Here was the famous Prince Galitzin, the
old German Robostiski, and several other persons of note, and some
ladies. By means of my Scotch merchant, whom, nevertheless, I
parted with here, I made an acquaintance with several of these
gentlemen; and from these, in the long winter nights in which I
stayed here, I received several very agreeable visits.

CHAPTER XVI--SAFE ARRIVAL IN ENGLAND

It was talking one night with a certain prince, one of the banished
ministers of state belonging to the Czar, that the discourse of my
particular case began. He had been telling me abundance of fine
things of the greatness, the magnificence, the dominions, and the
absolute power of the Emperor of the Russians: I interrupted him,
and told him I was a greater and more powerful prince than ever the
Czar was, though my dominion were not so large, or my people so
many. The Russian grandee looked a little surprised, and, fixing
his eyes steadily upon me, began to wonder what I meant. I said
his wonder would cease when I had explained myself, and told him
the story at large of my living in the island; and then how I
managed both myself and the people that were under me, just as I
have since minuted it down. They were exceedingly taken with the
story, and especially the prince, who told me, with a sigh, that
the true greatness of life was to be masters of ourselves; that he
would not have exchanged such a state of life as mine to be Czar of
Muscovy; and that he found more felicity in the retirement he
seemed to be banished to there, than ever he found in the highest
authority he enjoyed in the court of his master the Czar; that the
height of human wisdom was to bring our tempers down to our
circumstances, and to make a calm within, under the weight of the
greatest storms without. When he came first hither, he said, he
used to tear the hair from his head, and the clothes from his back,
as others had done before him; but a little time and consideration
had made him look into himself, as well as round him to things
without; that he found the mind of man, if it was but once brought
to reflect upon the state of universal life, and how little this
world was concerned in its true felicity, was perfectly capable of
making a felicity for itself, fully satisfying to itself, and
suitable to its own best ends and desires, with but very little
assistance from the world. That being now deprived of all the
fancied felicity which he enjoyed in the full exercise of worldly
pleasures, he said he was at leisure to look upon the dark side of
them, where he found all manner of deformity; and was now convinced
that virtue only makes a man truly wise, rich, and great, and
preserves him in the way to a superior happiness in a future state;
and in this, he said, they were more happy in their banishment than
all their enemies were, who had the full possession of all the
wealth and power they had left behind them. "Nor, sir," says he,
"do I bring my mind to this politically, from the necessity of my
circumstances, which some call miserable; but, if I know anything
of myself, I would not now go back, though the Czar my master
should call me, and reinstate me in all my former grandeur."

He spoke this with so much warmth in his temper, so much
earnestness and motion of his spirits, that it was evident it was
the true sense of his soul; there was no room to doubt his
sincerity. I told him I once thought myself a kind of monarch in
my old station, of which I had given him an account; but that I
thought he was not only a monarch, but a great conqueror; for he
that had got a victory over his own exorbitant desires, and the
absolute dominion over himself, he whose reason entirely governs
his will, is certainly greater than he that conquers a city.

I had been here eight months, and a dark, dreadful winter I thought
it; the cold so intense that I could not so much as look abroad
without being wrapped in furs, and a kind of mask of fur before my
face, with only a hole for breath, and two for sight: the little
daylight we had was for three months not above five hours a day,
and six at most; only that the snow lying on the ground
continually, and the weather being clear, it was never quite dark.
Our horses were kept, or rather starved, underground; and as for
our servants, whom we hired here to look after ourselves and
horses, we had, every now and then, their fingers and toes to thaw
and take care of, lest they should mortify and fall off.

It is true, within doors we were warm, the houses being close, the
walls thick, the windows small, and the glass all double. Our food
was chiefly the flesh of deer, dried and cured in the season; bread
good enough, but baked as biscuits; dried fish of several sorts,
and some flesh of mutton, and of buffaloes, which is pretty good
meat. All the stores of provisions for the winter are laid up in
the summer, and well cured: our drink was water, mixed with aqua
vitae instead of brandy; and for a treat, mead instead of wine,
which, however, they have very good. The hunters, who venture
abroad all weathers, frequently brought us in fine venison, and
sometimes bear's flesh, but we did not much care for the last. We
had a good stock of tea, with which we treated our friends, and we
lived cheerfully and well, all things considered.

It was now March, the days grown considerably longer, and the
weather at least tolerable; so the other travellers began to
prepare sledges to carry them over the snow, and to get things
ready to be going; but my measures being fixed, as I have said, for
Archangel, and not for Muscovy or the Baltic, I made no motion;
knowing very well that the ships from the south do not set out for
that part of the world till May or June, and that if I was there by
the beginning of August, it would be as soon as any ships would be
ready to sail. Therefore I made no haste to be gone, as others
did: in a word, I saw a great many people, nay, all the
travellers, go away before me. It seems every year they go from
thence to Muscovy, for trade, to carry furs, and buy necessaries,
which they bring back with them to furnish their shops: also
others went on the same errand to Archangel.

In the month of May I began to make all ready to pack up; and, as I
was doing this, it occurred to me that, seeing all these people
were banished by the Czar to Siberia, and yet, when they came
there, were left at liberty to go whither they would, why they did
not then go away to any part of the world, wherever they thought
fit: and I began to examine what should hinder them from making
such an attempt. But my wonder was over when I entered upon that
subject with the person I have mentioned, who answered me thus:
"Consider, first, sir," said he, "the place where we are; and,
secondly, the condition we are in; especially the generality of the
people who are banished thither. We are surrounded with stronger
things than bars or bolts; on the north side, an unnavigable ocean,
where ship never sailed, and boat never swam; every other way we
have above a thousand miles to pass through the Czar's own
dominion, and by ways utterly impassable, except by the roads made
by the government, and through the towns garrisoned by his troops;
in short, we could neither pass undiscovered by the road, nor
subsist any other way, so that it is in vain to attempt it."

I was silenced at once, and found that they were in a prison every
jot as secure as if they had been locked up in the castle at
Moscow: however, it came into my thoughts that I might certainly
be made an instrument to procure the escape of this excellent
person; and that, whatever hazard I ran, I would certainly try if I
could carry him off. Upon this, I took an occasion one evening to
tell him my thoughts. I represented to him that it was very easy
for me to carry him away, there being no guard over him in the
country; and as I was not going to Moscow, but to Archangel, and
that I went in the retinue of a caravan, by which I was not obliged
to lie in the stationary towns in the desert, but could encamp
every night where I would, we might easily pass uninterrupted to
Archangel, where I would immediately secure him on board an English
ship, and carry him safe along with me; and as to his subsistence
and other particulars, it should be my care till he could better
supply himself.

He heard me very attentively, and looked earnestly on me all the
while I spoke; nay, I could see in his very face that what I said
put his spirits into an exceeding ferment; his colour frequently
changed, his eyes looked red, and his heart fluttered, till it
might be even perceived in his countenance; nor could he
immediately answer me when I had done, and, as it were, hesitated
what he would say to it; but after he had paused a little, he
embraced me, and said, "How unhappy are we, unguarded creatures as
we are, that even our greatest acts of friendship are made snares
unto us, and we are made tempters of one another!" He then
heartily thanked me for my offers of service, but withstood
resolutely the arguments I used to urge him to set himself free.
He declared, in earnest terms, that he was fully bent on remaining
where he was rather than seek to return to his former miserable
greatness, as he called it: where the seeds of pride, ambition,
avarice, and luxury might revive, take root, and again overwhelm
him. "Let me remain, dear sir," he said, in conclusion--"let me
remain in this blessed confinement, banished from the crimes of
life, rather than purchase a show of freedom at the expense of the
liberty of my reason, and at the future happiness which I now have
in my view, but should then, I fear, quickly lose sight of; for I
am but flesh; a man, a mere man; and have passions and affections
as likely to possess and overthrow me as any man: Oh, be not my
friend and tempter both together!"

If I was surprised before, I was quite dumb now, and stood silent,
looking at him, and, indeed, admiring what I saw. The struggle in
his soul was so great that, though the weather was extremely cold,
it put him into a most violent heat; so I said a word or two, that
I would leave him to consider of it, and wait on him again, and
then I withdrew to my own apartment.

About two hours after I heard somebody at or near the door of my
room, and I was going to open the door, but he had opened it and
come in. "My dear friend," says he, "you had almost overset me,
but I am recovered. Do not take it ill that I do not close with
your offer. I assure you it is not for want of sense of the
kindness of it in you; and I came to make the most sincere
acknowledgment of it to you; but I hope I have got the victory over
myself."--"My lord," said I, "I hope you are fully satisfied that
you do not resist the call of Heaven."--"Sir," said he, "if it had
been from Heaven, the same power would have influenced me to have
accepted it; but I hope, and am fully satisfied, that it is from
Heaven that I decline it, and I have infinite satisfaction in the
parting, that you shall leave me an honest man still, though not a
free man."

I had nothing to do but to acquiesce, and make professions to him
of my having no end in it but a sincere desire to serve him. He
embraced me very passionately, and assured me he was sensible of
that, and should always acknowledge it; and with that he offered me
a very fine present of sables--too much, indeed, for me to accept
from a man in his circumstances, and I would have avoided them, but
he would not be refused. The next morning I sent my servant to his
lordship with a small present of tea, and two pieces of China
damask, and four little wedges of Japan gold, which did not all
weigh above six ounces or thereabouts, but were far short of the
value of his sables, which, when I came to England, I found worth
near two hundred pounds. He accepted the tea, and one piece of the
damask, and one of the pieces of gold, which had a fine stamp upon
it, of the Japan coinage, which I found he took for the rarity of
it, but would not take any more: and he sent word by my servant
that he desired to speak with me.

When I came to him he told me I knew what had passed between us,
and hoped I would not move him any more in that affair; but that,
since I had made such a generous offer to him, he asked me if I had
kindness enough to offer the same to another person that he would
name to me, in whom he had a great share of concern. In a word, he
told me it was his only son; who, though I had not seen him, was in
the same condition with himself, and above two hundred miles from
him, on the other side of the Oby; but that, if I consented, he
would send for him.

I made no hesitation, but told him I would do it. I made some
ceremony in letting him understand that it was wholly on his
account; and that, seeing I could not prevail on him, I would show
my respect to him by my concern for his son. He sent the next day
for his son; and in about twenty days he came back with the
messenger, bringing six or seven horses, loaded with very rich
furs, which, in the whole, amounted to a very great value. His
servants brought the horses into the town, but left the young lord
at a distance till night, when he came incognito into our
apartment, and his father presented him to me; and, in short, we
concerted the manner of our travelling, and everything proper for
the journey.

I had bought a considerable quantity of sables, black fox-skins,
fine ermines, and such other furs as are very rich in that city, in
exchange for some of the goods I had brought from China; in
particular for the cloves and nutmegs, of which I sold the greatest
part here, and the rest afterwards at Archangel, for a much better
price than I could have got at London; and my partner, who was
sensible of the profit, and whose business, more particularly than
mine, was merchandise, was mightily pleased with our stay, on
account of the traffic we made here.

It was the beginning of June when I left this remote place. We
were now reduced to a very small caravan, having only thirty-two
horses and camels in all, which passed for mine, though my new
guest was proprietor of eleven of them. It was natural also that I
should take more servants with me than I had before; and the young
lord passed for my steward; what great man I passed for myself I
know not, neither did it concern me to inquire. We had here the
worst and the largest desert to pass over that we met with in our
whole journey; I call it the worst, because the way was very deep
in some places, and very uneven in others; the best we had to say
for it was, that we thought we had no troops of Tartars or robbers
to fear, as they never came on this side of the river Oby, or at
least very seldom; but we found it otherwise.

My young lord had a faithful Siberian servant, who was perfectly
acquainted with the country, and led us by private roads, so that
we avoided coming into the principal towns and cities upon the
great road, such as Tumen, Soloy Kamaskoy, and several others;
because the Muscovite garrisons which are kept there are very
curious and strict in their observation upon travellers, and
searching lest any of the banished persons of note should make
their escape that way into Muscovy; but, by this means, as we were
kept out of the cities, so our whole journey was a desert, and we
were obliged to encamp and lie in our tents, when we might have had
very good accommodation in the cities on the way; this the young
lord was so sensible of, that he would not allow us to lie abroad
when we came to several cities on the way, but lay abroad himself,
with his servant, in the woods, and met us always at the appointed
places.

We had just entered Europe, having passed the river Kama, which in
these parts is the boundary between Europe and Asia, and the first
city on the European side was called Soloy Kamaskoy, that is, the
great city on the river Kama. And here we thought to see some
evident alteration in the people; but we were mistaken, for as we
had a vast desert to pass, which is near seven hundred miles long
in some places, but not above two hundred miles over where we
passed it, so, till we came past that horrible place, we found very
little difference between that country and Mogul Tartary. The
people are mostly pagans; their houses and towns full of idols; and
their way of living wholly barbarous, except in the cities and
villages near them, where they are Christians, as they call
themselves, of the Greek Church: but have their religion mingled
with so many relics of superstition, that it is scarce to be known
in some places from mere sorcery and witchcraft.

In passing this forest (after all our dangers were, to our
imagination, escaped), I thought, indeed, we must have been
plundered and robbed, and perhaps murdered, by a troop of thieves:
of what country they were I am yet at a loss to know; but they were
all on horseback, carried bows and arrows, and were at first about
forty-five in number. They came so near to us as to be within two
musket-shot, and, asking no questions, surrounded us with their
horses, and looked very earnestly upon us twice; at length, they
placed themselves just in our way; upon which we drew up in a
little line, before our camels, being not above sixteen men in all.
Thus drawn up, we halted, and sent out the Siberian servant, who
attended his lord, to see who they were; his master was the more
willing to let him go, because he was not a little apprehensive
that they were a Siberian troop sent out after him. The man came
up near them with a flag of truce, and called to them; but though
he spoke several of their languages, or dialects of languages
rather, he could not understand a word they said; however, after
some signs to him not to come near them at his peril, the fellow
came back no wiser than he went; only that by their dress, he said,
he believed them to be some Tartars of Kalmuck, or of the
Circassian hordes, and that there must be more of them upon the
great desert, though he never heard that any of them were seen so
far north before.

This was small comfort to us; however, we had no remedy: there was
on our left hand, at about a quarter of a mile distance, a little
grove, and very near the road. I immediately resolved we should
advance to those trees, and fortify ourselves as well as we could
there; for, first, I considered that the trees would in a great
measure cover us from their arrows; and, in the next place, they
could not come to charge us in a body: it was, indeed, my old
Portuguese pilot who proposed it, and who had this excellency
attending him, that he was always readiest and most apt to direct
and encourage us in cases of the most danger. We advanced
immediately, with what speed we could, and gained that little wood;
the Tartars, or thieves, for we knew not what to call them, keeping
their stand, and not attempting to hinder us. When we came
thither, we found, to our great satisfaction, that it was a swampy
piece of ground, and on the one side a very great spring of water,
which, running out in a little brook, was a little farther joined
by another of the like size; and was, in short, the source of a
considerable river, called afterwards the Wirtska; the trees which
grew about this spring were not above two hundred, but very large,
and stood pretty thick, so that as soon as we got in, we saw
ourselves perfectly safe from the enemy unless they attacked us on
foot.

While we stayed here waiting the motion of the enemy some hours,
without perceiving that they made any movement, our Portuguese,
with some help, cut several arms of trees half off, and laid them
hanging across from one tree to another, and in a manner fenced us
in. About two hours before night they came down directly upon us;
and though we had not perceived it, we found they had been joined
by some more, so that they were near fourscore horse; whereof,
however, we fancied some were women. They came on till they were
within half-shot of our little wood, when we fired one musket
without ball, and called to them in the Russian tongue to know what
they wanted, and bade them keep off; but they came on with a double
fury up to the wood-side, not imagining we were so barricaded that
they could not easily break in. Our old pilot was our captain as
well as our engineer, and desired us not to fire upon them till
they came within pistol-shot, that we might be sure to kill, and
that when we did fire we should be sure to take good aim; we bade
him give the word of command, which he delayed so long that they
were some of them within two pikes' length of us when we let fly.
We aimed so true that we killed fourteen of them, and wounded
several others, as also several of their horses; for we had all of
us loaded our pieces with two or three bullets apiece at least.

They were terribly surprised with our fire, and retreated
immediately about one hundred rods from us; in which time we loaded
our pieces again, and seeing them keep that distance, we sallied
out, and caught four or five of their horses, whose riders we
supposed were killed; and coming up to the dead, we judged they
were Tartars, but knew not how they came to make an excursion such
an unusual length.

About an hour after they again made a motion to attack us, and rode
round our little wood to see where they might break in; but finding
us always ready to face them, they went off again; and we resolved
not to stir for that night.

We slept little, but spent the most part of the night in
strengthening our situation, and barricading the entrances into the
wood, and keeping a strict watch. We waited for daylight, and when
it came, it gave us a very unwelcome discovery indeed; for the
enemy, who we thought were discouraged with the reception they met
with, were now greatly increased, and had set up eleven or twelve
huts or tents, as if they were resolved to besiege us; and this
little camp they had pitched upon the open plain, about three-
quarters of a mile from us. I confess I now gave myself over for
lost, and all that I had; the loss of my effects did not lie so
near me, though very considerable, as the thoughts of falling into
the hands of such barbarians at the latter end of my journey, after
so many difficulties and hazards as I had gone through, and even in
sight of our port, where we expected safety and deliverance. As to
my partner, he was raging, and declared that to lose his goods
would be his ruin, and that he would rather die than be starved,
and he was for fighting to the last drop.

The young lord, a most gallant youth, was for fighting to the last
also; and my old pilot was of opinion that we were able to resist
them all in the situation we were then in. Thus we spent the day
in debates of what we should do; but towards evening we found that
the number of our enemies still increased, and we did not know but
by the morning they might still be a greater number: so I began to
inquire of those people we had brought from Tobolski if there were
no private ways by which we might avoid them in the night, and
perhaps retreat to some town, or get help to guard us over the
desert. The young lord's Siberian servant told us, if we designed
to avoid them, and not fight, he would engage to carry us off in
the night, to a way that went north, towards the river Petruz, by
which he made no question but we might get away, and the Tartars
never discover it; but, he said, his lord had told him he would not
retreat, but would rather choose to fight. I told him he mistook
his lord: for that he was too wise a man to love fighting for the
sake of it; that I knew he was brave enough by what he had showed
already; but that he knew better than to desire seventeen or
eighteen men to fight five hundred, unless an unavoidable necessity
forced them to it; and that if he thought it possible for us to
escape in the night, we had nothing else to do but to attempt it.
He answered, if his lordship gave him such orders, he would lose
his life if he did not perform it; we soon brought his lord to give
that order, though privately, and we immediately prepared for
putting it in practice.

And first, as soon as it began to be dark, we kindled a fire in our
little camp, which we kept burning, and prepared so as to make it
burn all night, that the Tartars might conclude we were still
there; but as soon as it was dark, and we could see the stars (for
our guide would not stir before), having all our horses and camels
ready loaded, we followed our new guide, who I soon found steered
himself by the north star, the country being level for a long way.

After we had travelled two hours very hard, it began to be lighter
still; not that it was dark all night, but the moon began to rise,
so that, in short, it was rather lighter than we wished it to be;
but by six o'clock the next morning we had got above thirty miles,
having almost spoiled our horses. Here we found a Russian village,
named Kermazinskoy, where we rested, and heard nothing of the
Kalmuck Tartars that day. About two hours before night we set out
again, and travelled till eight the next morning, though not quite
so hard as before; and about seven o'clock we passed a little
river, called Kirtza, and came to a good large town inhabited by
Russians, called Ozomys; there we heard that several troops of
Kalmucks had been abroad upon the desert, but that we were now
completely out of danger of them, which was to our great
satisfaction. Here we were obliged to get some fresh horses, and
having need enough of rest, we stayed five days; and my partner and
I agreed to give the honest Siberian who conducted us thither the
value of ten pistoles.

In five days more we came to Veussima, upon the river Witzogda, and
running into the Dwina: we were there, very happily, near the end
of our travels by land, that river being navigable, in seven days'
passage, to Archangel. From hence we came to Lawremskoy, the 3rd
of July; and providing ourselves with two luggage boats, and a
barge for our own convenience, we embarked the 7th, and arrived all
safe at Archangel the 18th; having been a year, five months, and
three days on the journey, including our stay of about eight months
at Tobolski.

We were obliged to stay at this place six weeks for the arrival of
the ships, and must have tarried longer, had not a Hamburgher come
in above a month sooner than any of the English ships; when, after
some consideration that the city of Hamburgh might happen to be as
good a market for our goods as London, we all took freight with
him; and, having put our goods on board, it was most natural for me
to put my steward on board to take care of them; by which means my
young lord had a sufficient opportunity to conceal himself, never
coming on shore again all the time we stayed there; and this he did
that he might not be seen in the city, where some of the Moscow
merchants would certainly have seen and discovered him.

We then set sail from Archangel the 20th of August, the same year;
and, after no extraordinary bad voyage, arrived safe in the Elbe
the 18th of September. Here my partner and I found a very good
sale for our goods, as well those of China as the sables, &c., of
Siberia: and, dividing the produce, my share amounted to 3475
pounds, 17s 3d., including about six hundred pounds' worth of
diamonds, which I purchased at Bengal.

Here the young lord took his leave of us, and went up the Elbe, in
order to go to the court of Vienna, where he resolved to seek
protection and could correspond with those of his father's friends
who were left alive. He did not part without testimonials of
gratitude for the service I had done him, and for my kindness to
the prince, his father.

To conclude: having stayed near four months in Hamburgh, I came
from thence by land to the Hague, where I embarked in the packet,
and arrived in London the 10th of January 1705, having been absent
from England ten years and nine months. And here, resolving to
harass myself no more, I am preparing for a longer journey than all
these, having lived seventy-two years a life of infinite variety,
and learned sufficiently to know the value of retirement, and the
blessing of ending our days in peace.

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