« AnteriorContinuar »
have done; though, as it appeared afterwards, there was no need of all this caution from the enemies that 1 apprehended danger from.
Into this fence, or fortress, with infinite labor, I carried all my riches, all my provisions, ammunition, and stores, of which you have the account above; and I made a large tent, which, to preserve me from the rains, that in one part of the year are very violent there, I made double, viz. one smaller tent within, and one larger tent above it, and covered the uppermost with a large tarpaulin, which I had saved among the sails.
And now I lay no more for a while in the bed which I had brought on shore, but in a hammock, which was indeed a vejfl^ good one, and belonged to the mate of the ship. sHI
Into this tent I brought all my provisions, and every traJgP that would spoil by the wet; and having thus inclosed all my goods, I made up the entrance, which till now I had left open, and so passed and repassed, as I said, by a short ladder.
When I had done this, l began to work my way into the rock, and bringing all the earth and stones that I dug down, out, through my tent, I laid them up within my fence in the nature of a terrace, so that it raised the ground within about a foot and a half; and thus I made me a cave, just behind my tent, which served me like a cellar to my house. It cost me much labor and many days, before all these things were brought to perfection; and therefore I must go back to some other things which took up some of my thoughts. At the same time it happened, after I had laid my scneme for the setting up my tent, and making the cave, that a storm of rain falling from a thick, dark cloud, a sudden flash of lightning happened, and after that, a great clap of thunder, as is naturally the effect of it. I was not so much surprised with the lightning, as I was with a thought, which darted into my mind as swift as the lightning itself: O my powder! My very heart sunk within me when 1 thought, that at one blast, all my powder might be destroyed; on which, not my defence only, put the providing me food, as I thought, entirely depended. ! was nothing near so anxious about my own clanger, though, had the powder took fire, I had never known who had hurt me.
Such impression did this make upon me, that after the sturm was over, I laid aside all my works, my building and fortifying, and applied myself to make bags and boxes, to separate the powder, and to keep it a little and a little in a parcel, in hope that whatever might come, it might not all take fire at once; and to keep it so apart, that it should not be possible to make one part fire another. I finished this work in about a fortnight; and I think my powder, which in all was about ^0 lb. weight, was divided in not less than a hundred parcels
. to the barrel that had been wet, I did not apprehend any
ager from that; so I placed it in my new cave, which, in my Taney, I called my kitchen, and the rest I hid up and down in holes among the rocks, so that no wet might come to it, marking very carefully where 1 laid it.
In the interval of time while this was doing, I went out at least once every day with my gun, as well to divert myself, as to see if I could kill any thing fit for food; and, as near as I could, to acquaint myself with what the island produced. The first time I went out, I presently discovered that there were goats upon the island, wnich was a great satisfaction to me; but then it was attended with this misfortune to me, viz. that they were so shy, so subtle, and so swift of foot, that it was the most difficult thing in the world to come at them; but I was not discouraged at this, not doubting but I might now and then shoot one, as it soon happened; for after I had found their haunts a little, I laid wait in this manner for them: 1 observed, if they saw me in the valleys, though they wrere upon the rocks, they would run away as in a terrible fright; but if they were feeding in the valleys, and I was upon the rocks, they took no notice of me; from whence I concluded, that, by the position of their optics, their sight was so directed downward, that they did not readily see objects that were above them: so, afterwards, I took this method—I alvays climbed the rocks first, tc get above them, and then had
frequently a fair mark. The first shot 1 made among these creatures, 1 killed a she-goat, which Had a little kid by her> which she gave suck to, which grieved me heartily; but when the old one fell, the kid stood stock still by her, till I came and took her up; and not only so, but when I carried the old one with me, upon my shoulders, the kid followed me quite to my in closure; upon which i laid down the dam, and took the kid in my arms, and carried it over my pale, in hopes to have bred it up tame; but it would not eat; so 1 was forced to kill it, and eat it myself. These two supplied me with flesh a great while, for I ate sparingly, and preserved my provisiorj (my bread especially) as much as possibly I could.
Having now fixed my habitation, 1 found it absolutely^ cessary to provide a place to make a fire in, and fuel to bu and what 1 did for that, as also how I enlarged my cave, and what conveniences I made, I shall give a full account of in its proper place; but I must first give some little account of myself and of my thoughts about living, which, it may well be supposed, were not a few.
I had a dismal prospect of my condition; for as 1 was not cast away upon that island without being driven, as is said, by a violent storm, quite out of the course ol our intended vo}rage. and a great way, viz. some hundreds of leagues, out of the ordinary course of the trade of mankind, I had great reason to consider it as a determination of Heaven, that in this desolate place, and in this desolate manner, I should end my life. The tears would run plentifully down my face, when I made these reflections; and sometimes I would expostulate with my";;sel£ why Providence should thus completely ruin its creatures, Jaj|| render them so absolutely miserable; so abandoned without help, so entirely depressed, that it could hardly be rational to be thankful for such a life.
But something always returned swift upon me to check these thoughts, and to reprove me; and particularly, one day, walking with my gun in my hand, by the sea-side, I was very pensive upon the subject of my present condition, when rea« son, as it were, expostulated with me tne other way, thus. "Well, you are in a desolate condition, it is true; but, pray remember, where are the rest of you? Did not you come eleven of you into the boat? Where are the ten? Why were not they saved, and you lost? Why were you singled out? Is it better to be here or there?" And then I pointed to the sea. All evils are to be considered with the good that is m them, and with what worse attends them.
Then it occurred to me again, how well I was furnished for my subsistence, and what would have been my case if it had gt happened (which was a hundred thousand to one) that the
p floated from the place where she first struck, and was
ven so near to the shore, that 1 had time to get all these things out of her; what would have been my case, if I had been to have lived in the condition in which I at first came on shore, without necessaries of life, or necessaries to supply and procure them? "Particularly," said I aloud (though to myself), " what should I have done without a gun, without ammunition, without any tools to make any thing, or to work with, without clothes, bedding, a tent, or any manner of covering?" and that now I had all these to a sufficient quantity, and wa? in a fair way to provide myself in such a manner as to live without my gun, when my ammunition was spent; so that 1 had a tolerable view of subsisting, without any want as long aj« I lived; for I considered, from the beginning, how I should provide for the accidents that might happen, and for the time that was to come, not only after my ammunition should be spent, but even after my health or strength should decay.
I confess, I had not entertained any notion of my ammunition being destroyed at one blast, I mean my powder being blown up by lightning; and this made the thoughts of it so surprising to me, when it lightened and thundered, as I observed just now.
And now, being to enter in to a melancholy relation of a scene of silent life, such, nerhaps, as was never heard of in the world Defore, 1 shall take it from its beginning, and continue it in its