Daniel Defoe.

The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1808) online

. (page 20 of 50)
Online LibraryDaniel DefoeThe Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1808) → online text (page 20 of 50)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


instruction sufficiently served to the enlightening this savage
creature, and bringing him to be such a Christian, as I have known few
equal to him in my life.

As to the disputes, wranglings, strife, and contention, which has
happened in the world about religion, whether niceties in doctrines, or
schemes of church-government, they were all perfectly useless to us, as,
for aught I can yet see, they have been to all the rest in the world: we
had the sure guide to heaven, viz. the Word of God; and we had, blessed
be God! comfortable views of the Spirit of God, teaching and instructing
us by his Word, leading us into all truth, and making us both willing
and obedient to His instruction of his Word; and I cannot see the least
use that the greatest knowledge of the disputed points in religion,
which have made such confusions in the world, would have been to us, if
we could have obtained it. But I must go on with the historical part of
things, and take every part in its order.

After Friday and I became more intimately acquainted, and that he could
understand almost all I said to him, and speak fluently, though in
broken English, to me, I acquainted him with my own story, or at least
so much of it as related to my coming into the place, how I had lived
there, and how long: I let him into the mystery (for such it was to him)
of gunpowder and bullets, and taught him how to shoot: I gave him a
knife, which he was wonderfully delighted with; and I made him a belt
with a frog hanging to it, such as in England we wear hangers in; and in
the frog, instead of a hanger, I gave him a hatchet, which was not only
as good a weapon in some cases, but much more useful upon many
occasions.

I described to him the countries of Europe, and particularly England,
which I came from; how we lived, how we worshipped God, how we behaved
to one another, and how we traded in ships to all the parts of the
world. I gave him an account of the wreck which I had been on board of,
and shewed him as near as I could, the place where she lay; but she was
all beaten in pieces long before, and quite gone.

I shewed him the ruins of our boat, which we lost when we escaped, and
which I could not stir with my whole strength then, but was now fallen
almost all to pieces. Upon seeing this boat, Friday stood musing a great
while, and said nothing; I asked him what it was he studied upon? At
last, says he, "Me see such boat like come to place at my nation."

I did not understand him a good while; but at last, when I had examined
further into it, I understood by him, that a boat, such as that had
been, came on shore upon the country where he lived; that is, as he
explained it, was driven thither by stress of weather. I presently
imagined, that some European ship must have been cast away upon their
coast, and the boat might get loose, and drive ashore; but was so dull,
that I never once thought of men making escape from a wreck thither,
much less whence they might come; so I only inquired after a description
of the boat.

Friday described the boat to me well enough; but brought me better to
understand him, when he added, with some warmth, "We save the white mans
from drown." Then I presently asked him, if there, were white mans, as
he called them, in the boat? "Yes," he said, "the boat full of while
mans." I asked him, how many! he told upon his fingers seventeen. I
asked him then, what became of them? he told me, "They live, they dwell
at my nation."

This put new thoughts into my head again; for I presently imagined, that
these might be the men belonging to the ship that was cast away in sight
of my island, as I now call it; and who, after the ship was struck on
the rock, and they saw her inevitably lost, had saved themselves in
their boat, and were landed upon that wild shore among the savages.

Upon this I inquired of him more critically, what was become of them? He
assured me they lived still there, that they had been there about four
years, that the savages let them alone, and gave them victuals to live.
I asked him, how it came to pass they did not kill them, and eat them?
He said, "No, they make brother with them:" that is, as I understood
him, a truce: and then he added, "They eat no mans but when make the war
fight:" that is to say, they never eat any men, but such as come to
fight with them, and are taken in battle.

It was after this, some considerable time, that being on the top of the
hill, at the east side of the island, from whence, as I have said, I had
in a clear day discovered the main or continent of America; Friday, the
weather being very serene, looks very earnestly towards the main land,
and in a kind of surprise falls a-jumping and dancing, and calls out to
me, for I was at some distance from him: I asked him what was the
matter? "O joy!" says he, "O glad! there see my country, there
my nation!"

I observed an extraordinary sense of pleasure appeared in his face, and
his eyes sparkled, and his countenance discovered a strange eagerness,
as if he had a mind to be in his own country again; and this observation
of mine put a great many thoughts into me; which made me at first not so
easy about my new man Friday as I was before; and I made no doubt, but
that if Friday could get back to his own nation again, he would not
only forget all his religion, but all his obligations to me; and would
be forward enough to give his countrymen an account of me, and come
back, perhaps, with an hundred or two of them, and make a feast upon me,
at which he might be as merry as he used to be with those of his
enemies, when they were taken in war.

But I wronged the poor honest creature very much, for which I was very
sorry afterwards: however, as my jealousy increased, and held me some
weeks, I was a little more circumspect, and not so familiar and kind to
him as before; in which I was certainly in the wrong too, the honest
grateful creature having no thought about it, but what consisted of the
best principles, both as a religious Christian and as a grateful friend,
as appeared afterwards to my full satisfaction.

Whilst my jealousy of him lasted, you may be sure I was every day
pumping him, to see if he would discover any of the new thoughts which I
suspected were in him; but I found every thing he said was so honest and
so innocent, that I could find nothing to nourish my suspicion; and, in
spite of all my uneasiness, he made me at last entirely his own again;
nor did he in the least perceive that I was uneasy; and therefore I
could not suspect him of deceit.

One day, walking up the same hill, but the weather being hazy at sea, so
that we could not see the continent, I called to him, and said, "Friday,
do not you wish yourself in your own country, your own nation" - "Yes,"
he said, "I be much O glad to be at my own nation." - "What would you do
there?" said I: "would you turn wild again, eat men's flesh again, and
be a savage as you were before?" He looked full of concern, and shaking
his head, said, "No, no, Friday tell them to live good; tell them to
pray God; tell them to eat corn-bread, cattle-flesh, milk, no eat man
again." - "Why, then," said I to him, "they will kill you." He looked
grave at that, and then said, "No, they no kill me, they willing love
learn:" he meant by this, they would be willing to learn. He added,
they learnt much of the bearded mans that came in the boat. Then I asked
him, if he would go back to them? He smiled at that, and told me he
could not swim so far. I told him I would make a canoe for him. He told
me he would go, if I would so with him. "I go!" said I, "why, they will
eat me if I come there." - "No, no," says he, "me make them no eat you,
me make they much love you:" he meant he would tell them how I had
killed his enemies and saved his life, and so he would make them love
me. Then he told me, as well as he could, how kind they were to
seventeen white men, or bearded men, as he called them, who came on
shore in distress.

From this time, I confess, I had a mind to venture over, and see if I
could possibly join with these bearded men, who, I made no doubt, were
Spaniards or Portuguese; not doubting but, if I could, we might find
some method to escape from thence, being upon the continent, and a good
company together, better than I could from an island forty miles off the
shore, and alone without help. So, after some days, I took Friday to
work again, by way of discourse; and told him, I would give him a boat
to go back to his own nation; and accordingly I carried him to my
frigate, which lay on the other side of the island; and having cleared
it of water (for I always kept it sunk in the water), I brought it out,
shewed it him, and we both went into it.

I found he was a most dexterous fellow at managing it, would make it go
almost as swift and fast again as I could; so when he was in, I said to
him, "Well, now, Friday, shall we go to your nation?" He looked very
dull at my saying so, which, it seems, was because he thought the boat
too small to go so far. I told him then I had a bigger; so the next day
I went to the place where the first boat lay which I had made, but which
I could not get into the water; he said that was big enough; but then,
as I had taken no care of it, and it had lain two or three and twenty
years there, the sun had split and dried it, that it was in a manner
rotten. Friday told me, such a boat would do very well, and would carry
"much enough vittle, drink, bread:" that was his way of talking.

Upon the whole, I was by this time so fixed upon my design of going over
with him to the continent, that I told him we would go and make one as
big as that, and he should go home in it. He answered not one word, but
looked very, grave and sad. I asked him, what was the matter with him?
He asked me again thus, "Why you angry mad with Friday? what me done?" I
asked him, what he meant? I told him I was not angry with him at all:
"No angry! no angry!" says he, repeating the words several times, "why
send Friday home away to my nation?" - "Why," said I, "Friday, did you
not say you wished you were there?" - "Yes, yes," says he, "wish be both
there; no wish Friday there, no master there." In a word, he would not
think of going there without me. "I go there, Friday!" said I; "what
should I do there?" He turned very quick upon me at this; "You do great
deal much good," says he; "you teach wild mans be good, sober, tame
mans; you tell them know God, pray God, and live new life." - "Alas,
Friday," said I, "thou knowest not what thou sayest; I am but an
ignorant man myself." - "Yes, yes," says he, "you teechee me good, you
teechee them good." - "No, no, Friday," said I, "you shall go without me;
leave me here to live by myself, as I did before." He looked confused
again at that word, and running to one of the hatchets which he used to
wear, he takes it up hastily, and gives it me. "What must I do with
this?" said I to him. "You take kill Friday," says he. "What must I kill
you for?" said I again, He returns very quick, "What you send Friday
away for? Take kill Friday, no send Friday away." This he spoke so
earnestly, that I saw tears stand in his eyes. In a word, I so plainly
discovered the utmost affection in him to me, and a firm resolution in
him, that I told him then, and often after, that I would never send him
away from me, if he was willing to stay with me.

Upon the whole, as I found by all his discourse a settled affection to
me, and that nothing should part him from me, so I found all the
foundation of his desire to go to his own country was laid in his ardent
affection to the people, and his hopes of my doing them good; a thing,
which as I had no notion of myself, so I had not the least thought, or
intention, or desire of undertaking it. But still I found a strong
inclination to my attempting an escape, as above, founded on the
supposition gathered from the former discourse; viz. that there were
seventeen bearded men there; and therefore, without any delay, I went to
work with Friday, to find out a great tree proper to fell, and make a
large periagua or canoe, to under take the voyage: there were trees
enough in the island to have built a little fleet, not of periaguas and
canoes only, but even of good large vessels: but the main thing I looked
at, was to get one so near the water, that we might launch it when it
was made, to avoid the mistake I committed at first.

At last Friday pitched upon a tree; for I found he knew much better than
I what kind of wood was fittest for it; nor can I tell to this day what
wood to call the tree we cut down, except that it was very like the tree
we call tustick, or between that and the Nicaragua wood, for it was much
of the same colour and smell. Friday was for burning the hollow or
cavity of this tree out, to make it into a boat: but I shewed him how
rather to cut it out with tools, which after I shewed him how to use, he
did very handily; and in about a month's hard labour we finished it, and
made it very handsome, especially, when, with our axes, which I shewed
him how to handle, we cut and hewed the outside into the true shape of a
boat; after this, however, it cost us near a fortnight's time to get her
along, as it were inch by inch, upon great rollers, into the water: but
when she was in, she would have carried twenty men with great ease.

When she was in the water, and though she was so big, it amazed me to
see with what dexterity and how swift my man Friday could manage her,
turn her, and paddle her along; so I asked him if he would, and if we
might venture over in her? "Yes," he said, "he venture over in her very
well, though great blow wind." However, I had a farther design that he
knew nothing of, and that was, to make a mast and sail, and to fit her
with an anchor and cable. As to a mast, that was easy enough to get; so
I pitched upon a straight young cedar-tree, which I found near the
place, and which there was a great plenty of in the island; and I set
Friday to work to cut it down, and gave him directions how to shape and
order it: but as to the sail, that was my particular care; I knew I had
old sails, or rather pieces of old sails enough; but as I had had them
now twenty-six years by me, and had not been very careful to preserve
them, not imagining that I should ever have this kind of use for them, I
did not doubt but they were all rotten; and indeed most of them were so;
however, I found two pieces which appeared pretty good, and with these I
went to work, and with a great deal of pains, and awkward tedious
stitching (you may be sure) for want of needles, I at length made a
three-cornered ugly thing, like what we call in England a
shoulder-of-mutton sail, to go with a boom at bottom, and a little short
sprit at the top, such as usually our ships' long-boats sail with, and
such as I best knew how to manage; because it was such a one as I used
in the boat in which I made my escape from Barbary, as related in the
first part of my story.

I was near two months performing this last work, viz. rigging and
fitting my mast and sails; for I finished them very complete, making a
small stay, and a sail or foresail to it, to assist, if we should turn
to windward; and, which was more than all, I fixed a rudder to the stern
of her, to steer with; and though I was but a bungling shipwright, yet
as I knew the usefulness, and even necessity of such a thing, I applied
myself with so much pains to do it, that at last I brought it to pass,
though, considering the many dull contrivances I had for it that failed,
I think it cost me almost as much labour as making the boat.

After all this was done, I had my man Friday to teach as to what
belonged to the navigation of my boat; for though he knew very well how
to paddle the canoe, he knew nothing what belonged to a sail and a
rudder, and was the more amazed when he saw me work the boat to and
again in the sea by the rudder, and how the sail gibed, and filled this
way or that way, as the course we sailed changed; I say, when he saw
this, he stood like one astonished and amazed: however, with a little
use, I made all these things familiar to him, and he became an expert
sailor, except that as to the compass I could make him understand very
little of that: on the other hand, as there was very little cloudy
weather, and seldom or never any fogs in those parts, there was the less
occasion for a compass, seeing the stars were always to be seen by
night, and the shore by day, except in the rainy seasons; and then
nobody cared to stir abroad, either by land or sea.

I was now entered on the seven-and-twentieth year of my captivity in
this place; though the three last years that I had this creature with
me, ought rather to be left out of the account, my habitation being
quite of another kind than in all the rest of my time. I kept the
anniversary of my landing here with the same thankfulness to God for his
mercies as at first; and if I had such cause of acknowledgment at first,
I had much more so now, having such additional testimonies of the care
of Providence over me, and the great hopes I had of being effectually
and speedily delivered; for I had an invincible impression upon my
thoughts, that my deliverance was at hand, and that I should not be
another year in this place. However, I went on with my husbandry,
digging, planting, and fencing, as usual; I gathered and cured my
grapes, and did every necessary thing, as before.

The rainy season was in the mean time upon me, when I kept more within
doors than at other times; so I had stowed our now vessel as secure as
we could, bringing her up into the creek, where, as I said in the
beginning, I landed my rafts from the ship; and haling her up to the
shore, at high water mark, I made my man Friday dig a little dock, just
big enough for her to float in; and then, when the tide was out, we made
a strong dam cross the end of it, to keep the water out; and so she lay
dry, as to the tide, from the sea; and to keep the rain off, we laid a
great many boughs of trees so thick, that she was as well thatched as a
house; and thus we waited for the months of November and December, in
which I designed to make my adventure.

When the settled season began to come in, as the thought of my design
returned with the fair weather, I was preparing daily for the voyage;
and the first thing I did was to lay up a certain quantity of provision,
being the store for the voyage; and intended, in a week or a fortnight's
time, to open the dock, and launch out our boat. I was busy one morning
upon something of this kind, when I called to Friday, and bid him go to
the sea-shore, and see if he could find a turtle or tortoise, a thing
which we generally got once a week, for the sake of the eggs, as well as
the flesh. Friday had not been long gone, when he came running back, and
flew over my outward wall, or fence, like one that felt not the ground,
or the steps he set his feet on; and before I had time to speak to him,
he cried out to me, "O master! O master! O sorrow! O bad!" - "What's the
matter, Friday?" said I. "O yonder there," says he, "one, two, three,
canoe! one, two, three!" By this way of speaking I concluded there were
six; but on inquiry I found there were but three. "Well, Friday," said
I, "do not be frighted;" so I heartened him up as well as I could.
However, I saw the poor fellow most terribly scared; for nothing ran in
his head, but that they were come to look for him, and would cut him in
pieces, and eat him; the poor fellow trembled so, that I scarce knew
what to do with him; I comforted him as well as I could, and told him I
was in as much danger as he, and that they would eat me as well as him.
"But," said I, "Friday, we must resolve to fight them: can you fight,
Friday?" "Me shoot," says he, "but there come many great number." "No
matter for that," said I again; "our guns will fright them that we do
not kill." So I asked him, whether, if I resolved to defend him, he
would defend me, and stand by me, and do just as I bade him? He said,
"Me die, when you bid die, master;" so I went and fetched a good dram of
rum, and gave him; for I had been so good a husband of my rum, that I
had a great deal left. When he had drank it, I made him take the two
fowling-pieces which we always carried, and load them with large
swan-shot as big as small pistol bullets; then I took four muskets, and
loaded them with two slugs and five small bullets each; and my two
pistols I loaded with a brace of bullets each: I hung my great sword, as
usual, naked by my side, and gave Friday his hatchet.

When I had thus prepared myself, I took my perspective-glass, and went
up to the side of the hill, to see what I could discover; and I found
quickly, by my glass, that there were one and twenty savages, three
prisoners, and three canoes; and that their whole business seemed to be
the triumphant banquet upon these three human bodies; a barbarous feast
indeed, but nothing more than as I had observed was usual with them.

I observed also, that they were landed, not where they had done when
Friday made his escape, but nearer to my creek, where the shore was low,
and where a thick wood came close almost down to the sea: this, with the
abhorrence of the inhuman errand these wretches came about, so filled me
with indignation, that I came down again to Friday, and told him, I was
resolved to go down to them, and kill them all; and asked him if he
would stand by me. He was now gotten over his fright, and his spirits
being a little raised with the dram I had given him, he was very
cheerful; and told me, as before, he would die when I bid die.

In this fit of fury, I took first and divided the arms which I had
charged, as before, between us: I gave Friday one pistol to stick in his
girdle, and three guns upon his shoulder; and I took one pistol, and the
other three, myself; and in this posture we marched out. I took a small
bottle of rum in my pocket, and gave Friday a large bag with more powder
and bullet; and as to orders, I charged him to keep close behind me, and
not to stir, shoot, or do any thing till I bid him; and in the mean
time, not to speak a word. In this posture I fetched a compass to my
right hand of near a mile, as well to get over the creek as to get into
the wood; so that I might come within shot of them before I could be
discovered, which I had seen by my glass it was easy to do.

While I was making this march, my former thoughts returning, I began to
abate my resolution; I do not mean, that I entertained any fear of their
number; for as they were naked, unarmed wretches, it is certain I was
superior to them; nay, though I had been alone: but it occurred to my
thoughts, what call, what occasion, much less what necessity, I was in
to go and dip my hands in blood, to attack people who had neither done
or intended me any wrong, who, as to me, were innocent, and whose
barbarous customs were their own disaster, being in them a token indeed
of God's having left them, with the other nations of that part of the
world, to such stupidity and to such inhuman courses; but did not call
me to take upon me to be a judge of their actions, much less an
executioner of his justice; that whenever he thought fit, he would take
the cause into his own hands, and by national vengeance punish them for
national crimes; but that in the mean time, it was none of my business;
that it was true, Friday might justify it, because he was a declared
enemy, and in a state of war with those very particular people, and it
was lawful for him to attack them; but I could not say the same with
respect to me. These things were so warmly pressed upon my thoughts all
the way as I went, that I resolved I would only go place myself near
them, that I might observe their barbarous feast, and that I would act
then as God should direct; but that unless something offered that was
more a call to me than yet I knew of, I would not meddle with them.

With this resolution I entered the wood, and with all possible wariness
and silence (Friday following close at my heels) I marched till I came
to the skirt of the wood, on the side which was next to them; only that
one corner of the wood lay between me and them: here I called softly to
Friday, and shewing him a great tree, which was just at the corner of
the wood, I bade him go to the tree, and bring me word if he could see
there plainly what they were doing: he did so, and came immediately back
to me, and told me they might be plainly viewed there; that they were
all about the fire, eating the flesh of one of their prisoners; and that
another lay bound upon the sand, a little from them, whom he said they



Online LibraryDaniel DefoeThe Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1808) → online text (page 20 of 50)