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The Life and Most Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of by Daniel Defoe

Part 6 out of 6

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so near him, that he had much ado to escape; for they not only shot at
him, but pursued him to the woods, where he climbed to the top of a
tree, at the foot of which they made water, and killed several goats
just by, but went off again without discovering him. He told us that he
was born at Largo, in the county of Fife, in Scotland, and was bred a
sailor from his youth. The reason of his being left here was difference
between him and his captain; which together with the ship's being leaky,
made him willing rather to stay here, than go along with him at first;
but when he was at last willing to go, the captain would not receive
him. He had been at the island before, to wood and water, when two of
the ship's company were left upon it for six mouths, till the Ship
returned, being chased thence by two French South-sea ships. He had with
him his cloaths and bedding, with a firelock, some powder, bullets and
tobacco, a hatchet, a knife, a kettle, a bible, some practical pieces,
and his mathematical instruments and books. He diverted and provided for
himself as well as he could; but for the first eight months, had much
ado to bear up against melancholy, and the terror of being left alone in
such a desolate place. He built two huts with pimento trees, covered
them with long grass, & lined them with the skins of goats, which be
killed with his gun as he wanted, so long as his powder lasted, which
was but a pound; and that being almost spent, he got fire by rubbing two
sticks of pimento-wood together upon his knee. In the lesser hut, at
some distance from the other, he dressed his victuals; and in the larger
he slept; and employed himself in reading, singing psalms, and praying;
so that he said. He was a better Christian, while in this solitude, than
ever he was before, or than, he was afraid, he would ever be again.

At first he never ate anything till hunger constrained him, partly for
grief, and partly for want of bread and salt: Nor did he go to bed, till
he could watch no longer; the pimento-wood, which burnt very clear,
served him both for fire and candle, and refreshed him with its fragrant
smell. He might have had fish enough, but would not eat them for want of
salt, because they occasioned a looseness, except crayfish which are as
large as our lobsters, and very good: These he sometimes boiled, and at
other times broiled, as he did his goat's flesh, of, which he made very
good broth, for they are not so rank as ours: he kept an account of 500
that he killed while there, and caught as many more, which he marked on
the ear, and let go. When, his powder failed, he took them by speed of
feet; for his way of living, continual exercise of walking and running
cleared him of all gross humours; so that he ran with wonderful
swiftness through the woods, and up the rocks and hills, as we perceived
when we employed him to catch goats for us; We had a bull dog, which we
lent with several of our nimblest runners, to help him in catching
goats; but he distanced and tired both the dog and the men, caught the
goats, and brought them to us on his back.

He told us, that his agility in pursuing a goat had once like to have
cost him his life; he pursued it with so much eagerness, that he catched
hold of it on the brink of a precipiece, of which he was not aware, the
bushes hiding it from him; so, that he fell with the goat down the
precipiece; a great height, and was to stunned and bruised with the
fall, that he narrowly escaped with his life; and, when he came to his
senses, found the goat dead under him: He lay there about twenty-four
hours, and was scarce able to crawl to his hut, which was about a mile
distant, or to stir abroad again in ten days.

He came at last to relish his meat well enough without salt or bread;
and, in the season had plenty of good turreps, which had been sewed
there by Captain Dampier's men, and have now overspread some acres of
ground. He had enough of good cabbage from the cabbage-trees, and
seasoned his meat with the fruit of the pimento trees, which is the same
as Jamaica pepper, and smells deliciously: He found also a black pepper,
called Ma'azeta, which was very good to expel wind, and against gripping
in the guts.

He soon wore out all his shoes and clothes by running in the woods; and
at last, being forced to shift without them, his feet became so hard,
that he ran everywhere without difficulty; and it was some time before
he could wear shoes after we found him; for not being used to any so
long, his feet swelled when he came first to wear them again.

After he had conquered his melancholy, he diverted himself sometimes
with cutting his name in the trees, and the time of his being left, and
continuance there. He was at first much pestered with cats and rats,
that bred in great numbers, from some of each species which had got
ashore from ships that put in there to wood and water: The rats gnawed
his feet and cloathes whilst asleep, which obliged him to cherish the
cats with his goats flesh, by which many of them became so tame, that
they would lie about him in hundreds, and soon delivered him from the
rats: He likewise tamed some kids; and, to divert himself would, now and
then, sing and dance with them, and his cats: So that by the favour of
Providence, and vigour of his youth, being now but thirty years old, he
came, at last, to conquer all the inconveniencies of his solitude, and
to be very easy.

When his cloathes were worn out, he made himself a coat and a cap of
goat-skins, which he stiched together with little thongs of the same,
that he cut with his knife, He had no other needle but a nail; and, when
his knife was worn to the back, he made others, as well as he could, of
some iron hoops that were left ashore, which he beat thin, and ground
upon stones. Having some linnen cloth by him, he sewed him some shirts
with a nail, and stiched them with the worsted of his old stockings,
which he pulled out on purpose. He had his last shirt on, when we found
him in the island.

At his first coming on board us, he had so much forgot his language, for
want of use, that we could scarce understand him: for he seemed to speak
his words by halve. We offered him a dram: but he would not touch it;
having drank nothing but water since his being there; And it was
sometime before he could relish our victuals. He could give us an
account of no other product of the island, than what we have mentioned,
except some black plums, which are very good, but hard to come at, the
trees, which bear them, growing on high mountains and rocks.
Pimento-trees are plenty here, and we saw some of sixty feet high and
about two yards thick; and cotton-trees higher, and near four fathoms
round in the stock. The climate is so good that the trees and grass are
verdant all the year round. The winter lasts no longer than June and
July, and is not then severe, there being only a small frost, and a
little hail: but sometimes great rains. The heat of the summer is
equally moderate; and there is not much thunder, or tempestuous weather
of any sort. He saw no venomous or savage creature on the island, nor
any sort of beasts but goats, the first of which had been put ashore
here, on purpose for a breed, by Juan Fernandez, a Spaniard, who settled
there with some families, till the continent of Chili began to submit to
the Spaniards; which, being more profitable; tempted them to quit this
island, capable however, of maintaining a good number of people, and
being made so strong, that they could hot be easily dislodged from

February 3d we got our smith's forge on shore, set our coopers to work,
and made a little tent for me to have the benefit of the air. The
Duchess had also a tent for their sick men; so that we had a small town
of our own here, and every body employed. A few men supplied us all with
fish of several sorts, all very good, in such abundance, that, in a few
hours, we could take as many as would serve 200. There were sea-fowls in
the bay, as large as geese: but eat fishy. The governor never failed of
procuring us two or three goats a day for our sick men; by which, with
the help of the greens, and the wholesome air, they recovered very soon
of the scurvy; so that Captain Dover and I thought it a very agreeable
seat, the weather being neither too hot nor too cold. We spent our time,
till the 10th, in refitting our ships, taking wood on board; and laying
in water, that which we brought from England and St. Vincent being
spoiled by the badness of the casks. We likewise boiled up about eighty
gallons of sea-lions oil, as we might have done several tons, had we
been provided with vessels. We refined it for our lamps, to save
candles. The sailors sometimes use it to fry their meat, for want of
butter, and find it agreeable enough. The men who worked on our
rigging, eat young seals, which they preferred to our ships victuals, &
said it was as good as English lamb, though I should have been glad of
such an exchange. We made what haste we could to get all the necessaries
on board, being willing to lose no time; for we were informed at the
Canaries, that five stout French ships were coming together to those

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