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been so unpleasant to me, that my own house, as 1 called it to myself, was a perfect settlement to me, compared to that; and it rendered every thing about me so comfortable, that I resolved I would never go a great way from it again, while it should be my lot to stay on the island.
I reposed myself here a week, to rest and regale myself after my long journey; during which, most of the time was taken up in the weighty affair of making a cage for my Pol, who began now to be more domestic, and to be mighty well acquainted with me. Then I began to think of the poor kid which I had penned within my little circle, and resolved to fetch it home, or give it some food: accordingly I went, and found it where I left it (for indeed it could not get out), but was almost starved for want of food. I went and cut boughs of trees, and branches of such shrubs as I could find, and threw it over, and having fed it, I tied it as I did before, to lead it away; but it was so tame with being hungry, that 1 had no need to have tied it, for it followed me like a dog; and as I continually led it, the creature became so loving, so gentle, and so fond, that it was from that time one of my domestics also, and would never leave me afterwards.
The rainy season of the autumnal equinox was now come, and I kept the 30th of September, in the same solemn manner as before, being the anniversary of my landing on the island; having now been there two years, and no more prospect of being delivered than the first day I came there. I spent the whole day in humble and thankful acknowledgments for the many wonderful mercies which my solitary condition was attended with, and without which it might have been infinitely more miserable. I gave humble and hearty thanks to God for having been pleased to discover to me, that it was possible I might be more happy even in this solitary condition, than I should have been in the enjoyment of society, and in all the pleasures of the world; that he could fully make up to me the deficiencies of my solitary state, and the want of human society, by his presence, and the communications of his grace to my soul; supporting;, comforting, and encouraging me to depend upon his providence here, and to hope for his eternal presence hereafter.
It was now that I began sensibly to feel how much more happy the life I now lea was, with all its miserable circumstances, than the wicked, cursed, abominable life I led all the past part of my days; and now I changed both my sorrows and my joys: my very desires altered; my affections changed their gusts; and my delights were perfectly new from what they were at my first coming, or indeed for the two years past.
Before, as I walked about, either on my hunting, or for viewing the country, the anguish of my soul at my condition would Dreak out upon me on a sudden, and my very heart would die within me, to think of the woods, the mountains, the deserts I was in; and how I was a prisoner, locked up with the eternal bars and bolts of the ocean, in an uninhabited wilderness, without redemption. In the. midst of the greatest composures of my mind, this would break out upon me like a storm, and make me wring my hands, and weep like a child. sometimes it would take me in the middle of my work, and I would immediately sit down and sigh, and look upon the ground for an hour or two together: this was still worse to me; but if I could burst into tears, or give vent to my feelings by words, it would go off; and my grief, being exhausted, would abate.
But now I began to exercise myself with new thoughts; I daily read the word of God, and applied all the comforts of it to my present state. One morning, being very sad, I opened the Bible upon these words—" I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee :" immediately it occurred that these words were to me; why else should they be directed in such a manner, just at the moment when I was mourning over my condition, as one forsaken of God and man?" Well, then," said I, " if God does not forsake me, of what ill consequence can it be, or what matters it, though the world should forsake me; seeing, on the otlwr hand, if I had all the world, and should lose the favor and blessing of God, there would be no comparison in the loss?"
From this moment I began to conclude in my mind, that it was possible for me to be more happy in this forsaken, solitary condition, than it was probable I should ever have been in any other particular state in the world; and with this thought I was going to give thanks to God for bringing me to this place. I know not what it was, but something shocked my mind at that thought, and I durst not speak the words. "How canst thou be such a hypocrite," said I, even audibly, " to pretend to be thankful for a condition, which, however thou mayest endeavor to be contented with, thou wouldest rather pray heartily to be delivered from?" Here 1 stopped; but though I could not say I thanked God for being here, yet I sincerely gave thanks to God for opening my eyes, by whatever afflicting providences, to see the former condition of my life, and to mourn for my wickedness, and repent. I never opened the Bible, or shut it, but my very soul within me blessed God for directing my friend in England, without any order of mine, to pack it up among my goods; and for assisting me afterwards to save it out of the wreck of the ship.
Thus, and in this disposition of mind, 1 began my third year; and though I have not given the reader tne trouble of so particular an account of my works this year as the first, yet in general it may be observed, that I was very seldom idle; but having regularly divided my time, according to the several daily employments that were before me; such as, first, My duty to God, and the reading the Scriptures, which 1 constantly set apart some time for, thrice every day; secondly, Going abroad with my gun for food, which generally took me up three hours every morning, when it did not rain; thirdly. Ordering, curing, preserving, and cooking what I had killed or catched for my supply; these took up great part of the day: also it is to be considered, that in the middle of the day, when tlve sun was in the zenith, the violence of the heat was too grent to stir out; so that about four hours in the evening vv is all the time I could be supposed to work in; with this exception, that sometimes I changed my hours of hunting; and working, and went to work in the morning, and abroaa with my gun in the afternoon.
To this short time allowed for labor, I desire may be added the exceeding laboriousness of my work; the many hours which,-for want of tools, want of help, and want of skill, every thing 1 did took up out of my time; for example, I was full two-and-forty days ma-king me a board for a long shelf, which 1 wanted in my cave; whereas, two sawyers, with their tools and a saw-pit, would have cut six of them out of the same tree in half a day.
My case was this: it was a large tree which was to be cut down, because my board was to be a broad one. This tree I was three days cutting down, and two more in cutting off the boughs, and reducing it to a log, or piece of timber. With inexpressible hacking and hewing, I reduced both the sides of it into chips, till it was light enough to move; then I turned it, and made one side of it smooth and flat as a board, from end to end • then, turning that side downward, cut the other side, till I brought the plank to be about three inches thick, and smooth on both siaes. Any one may judge the labor of my hands in such a piece of work; but labor and patience carried me through that, and many other things: I only observe this in particular^ to show the reason why so much of my time went away with so little work, viz. that what might be a little to be done with help and tools, was a vast labor, and required a prodigious time to do alone, and by hand. Notwithstanding this, with patience and labor 1 went through many things; and, indeed, every thing that my circumstances made necessary for me to do, as will appear by what follows. .
1 was now, in the months of November and December, expecting my crop of barley and rice. The ground I had manured or dug up for them was not great; for, as I observed, my seed of each was not above the quantity of half a peck. having lost one whole crop by sowing in the dry season: but now my crop promised very well; when, on a sudden, I found I cvas in danger of losing it all again by enemies of several sorts, which it was scarce possible to keep from it; as, first^ the goats and wild creatures which I called hares, who, tasting the sweetness of the blade, lay in it night and day, as soon as it came up, and ate it so close, that it could get no time to shoot up into stalk.
I saw no remedy for this, but by making an enclosure about it with a hedge, which I did with a great deal of toil; and the more, because it required speed. However, as my arable land was but small, suited to my crop, I got it tolerably well fenced in about three weeks' time; and shooting some of the creatures in the day time, I set my dog to guard it in the night, tying him up to a stake at the gate, where he would stand and bark all nightlong; so in a little time the enemies forsook the place, and the corn grew very strong and well, and began to ripen apace.
But as the beasts ruined me before, while my corn was in the blade, so the birds were as likely to ruin me now, when it was in the ear; for going along by the place to see how it throve, I saw my little crop surrounded with fowls, I know not of how many sorts, who stood, as it were, watching till 1 should be gone. I immediately let fly among them (for I always had my gun with me); I had no sooner shot, but there rose up a little cloud of fowls, which I had not seen at all, from among the corn itself.
This touched me sensibly, for I foresaw that in a few days they would devour all my hopes; that I should be starved, and never be able to raise a crop at all; and what to do I could not tell: however, I resolved not to lose my corn, if possible though I should watch it night and day. In the first place, I went among it, to see what damage was already done, ond found they had spoiled a good deal of it; but that, as it was yet too green for them, the loss was not so great, but that tin remainder was likely to be a good crop, if it could be saved.