Robinson Crusoe

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CHAPTER1

I - START IN LIFE I WAS born in the year 1632, in the city of York, of a good family, though not of that country, my father being a foreigner of Bremen, who settled fi rst at Hull. He got a good estate by merchandise, and leaving off his trade, lived afterwards at York, from whence he had married my mother, whose relations were named Robinson, a very good family in that country, and from whom I was called Robinson Kreutznaer; but, by the usual cor ruption of words in England, we are now called - nay we call ourselves and write our name - Crusoe; and so my companions always called me. I had two elder brothers, one of w hom was lieutenant- colonel to an English regiment of foot i n Flanders, formerly commanded by the famous Colonel Lockhart, and was killed at the battle near Dunkirk against the Spaniards. What became of my second brother I never knew, any more than my father or mother knew what became of me. Being the third son of the family and not bred to any trade, my he ad began to be filled very early with rambling thoughts. My father, who was very ancient, had given me 2 of 487 Robinson Crusoe a competent share of learning , as far as house-education and a country free school generally go, and designed me for the law; but I wou ld be satisfied with nothing but going to sea; and my incl inatio n to th is led me so strongly against the will, nay, the comm ands of my father, and against all the entreaties and persuasi ons of my mother and other friends, that there seemed to be something fatal in that propensity of nature, tending directly to the life of misery which was to befall me. My father, a wise and grave man, gave me serious and excellent counsel against what he foresaw was my design. He called me one morning into his chamber, where he was confine d by the gout, and expostulated very warmly with me upon this subj ect. He ask ed me what reasons, more than a mere wandering inc lination, I had for leaving father?s house and my native country, where I might be well introduced, and had a prospect of raising my fortune by application and industry, with a life of ease and pleasure. He told me it was men of desperate fortunes on one hand, or of aspiring , superi or fortunes on the other, who went abroad upon adventures, to rise by enterprise, and make themselves famous i n undertakings of a nature out of the common road; that these things were all either too far above me or too far below me; that mine was the 3 of 487 Robinson Crusoe middle state, or what might be called the upper station of low life, which he had found, by long experience, was the best state in the world, the most suited to human happiness, not exposed to the miseries and hardships, the labour and sufferings of th e mechanic part of mankind, and not embarrassed with the pride, luxury, ambition, and envy of the upper part of manki nd. He told me I might judge of the happiness of this st ate by this one thing - viz. that this wa s the state of life which all other people envied; that kings have frequently lamented the miserable consequence of being born to great things, and wished they had be en placed in th e middle of the two extremes, between the mean and the great; that the wise man gave his testi mon y to thi s, as the sta ndard of felicity, when he prayed to ha ve neither p overty nor ri ches. He bade m e observe it, and I should always find that the calamities of life were shared among the upper and lower part of mankind, but that the middle station had the fewest disasters, and was not exposed to so many vicissitudes as the higher or lower part of mankind; nay, they were not subjected to so many distempers and uneasinesses, either of body or mind, as those were who, by vicious l iving, luxury, and extravagances on the one hand, or by hard labour, want of necessaries, and mean or 4 of 487 Robinson Crusoe insuffi cient diet on the other hand, bring distemper upon themselves by the natu ral consequences of their way of living; that the middle station of life was calculated for all kind of virtue and all k ind of enjoy ments; that peace and plenty were the handmaids of a middle for tune; that temperance, moderatio n, quietness, health, so ciety, all agreeable di versions, and all desirable pleasures, were the blessings atte nding the middle station of life; that this way men went silently and smoothly thr ough the world, and comfortably out of it, not em barrassed with the labours of the hands or of the head , not sold to a life of sl avery for daily bread, nor harasse d with perplexed circumsta nces, which rob the soul of peace and the body of rest, nor enraged with the passion of en vy, or the secret burning lust of ambition for great things; but, in easy circumstances, sliding gently through the world, and sensibly tasting the sweets of living , without the bitter; feeling that they are happy, and learning by every day?s experience to know it more sensibly, After this h e pressed me earnestly, and in the most affectionate manner, not to play the young man, nor to precipitate myself into miseries which nature, and the stati on of li fe I was born in , seemed to have provided against; that I was under no ne cessi ty of seeking my bread; 5 of 487 Robinson Crusoe that he would do well for me , and endeavour to enter me fairly into the station of life which he had just been recommending to me; a nd that if I was not very easy and happy in the world, it must be my mere fate or fault that must hi nder it; and that he should have nothing to answer for, having thus discharged his duty i n warning me against measures which he knew would be to my hurt; in a word, that as he would do very kind things for me if I would stay and settle at home as he dire cted, so he would not have so much ha nd in my misfortunes a s to give me any encouragement to go away; and to close all, he told me I had my elder brother for an exam ple, to whom he had used the same earnest persuasions to keep him from going into the Low Country wars, but could not p revail, his young desires prompti ng him to run i nto the army, where he was kille d; and though he sa id he would not cease to pray for me, yet he would venture to say to me, that if I did take this foolish step , Go d woul d not bless me, and I should hav e leisure hereaft er to reflect upon having neglected hi s counsel when there m ight be none to assist in my recov ery. I observed in this l ast p art of his di scourse, whi ch was truly prophetic, though I suppose my father did not know it to be so himself - I say, I observ ed the tears run down 6 of 487 Robinson Crusoe his face very plentifully, espe cially when he sp oke of my brother who was killed: and that when he spoke of my having leisure to repent, and none to assist me, he was so moved that he broke off the discourse, and told me his heart was so full he could say no more to me. I was sincerely affected with this discourse, and, indeed, who could be otherwise? and I res olved not to think of going abroad any more, but to settle at home according to my father?s desire. But alas! a few days wore it all off; and, in short, to prevent any of my father?s further importunitie s, in a few weeks after I resolved to run quite away from him. However, I did not act quite so hastily as the first heat of my resoluti on prompted; but I took my mother at a time when I thought her a little more pleasant than ordinary, and told her that my thoughts were so entirely ben t upon seeing the world that I should never settle to any thing with r esolution en ough to go through with it, and my father ha d better give me his con sent tha n force me to go without it; that I was now eighteen years old, which was too late to go a pprentice to a trade or clerk to an attorney; that I was sure if I di d I should never serv e out my time, but I should certainly run away from my master before my time was out, an d go to sea; and if sh e would speak to my fathe r to let me g o one voyage abroad, 7 of 487 Robinson Crusoe if I came home again, and did not like it, I would go no more; and I would promise, by a double diligence, to recover the time that I had lost. This put my mother into a great passion; she told me she knew it would be to no pu rpo se to speak to my father upon any such subject; that he knew too well what w as my interest to give his consent to anything so much fo r my hurt; and that she wondered ho w I could think of any such thi ng after the discourse I had had with my father, and such ki nd and tender expressions as she knew my father had used to me; and that , in short, if I would ruin myself, there was no help for me; but I might depend I should never have their consent to it; that for her part she would not have so much hand in my destructi on; and I should never have it to say that my mother was willing when my father was not. Though my mother refused to move it to my father, yet I heard afterwards that she reported all the discourse to him, and that my father, after showi ng a great concern at it, said to her, with a sigh, ?That boy might be happy if he would stay at home; but if he goes abroad, he will be the most miserable wretch that ever was born: I can give no consent to it.? 8 of 487 Robinson Crusoe It was not til l almo st a year after thi s that I broke l oose, though, in the meantime, I c ontinued obstinately deaf to all proposal s of settling to busi ness, and fr equently expostulated with my father and mother about their being so positivel y determined against what they knew my inclinati ons prompted me to . But being one day at Hull, where I wen t casually, and without any purpose of making an elopement at that time; but, I say, being there, and one of my companions bei ng about to sail to London in his father?s ship, and prompting me to go with them with the common all urement of seafaring men, that it should cost me nothing for my passage, I consulted neither father nor mother any more, nor s o much as sent them word of it; but leaving them to hear of it as they might, without asking God ?s blessing or my father?s, without any consideration of circumstances or consequences, and in an ill hour, God knows, on the 1st of September 1651, I went on board a ship bound for London. Never any young adventurer?s misfortunes, I believe, bega n sooner, or continue d longer than mine. The ship was no sooner out of the Humber tha n the wind began to blow and the sea to rise in a most fri ghtful manner; and, as I had never been at sea before, I wa s most inexpressibly sick in body and terrified in mind. I began now seriously to reflect 9 of 487 Robinson Crusoe upon what I had done, and how justl y I was overtaken by the judgment of Heav en for my wicked leaving my father?s house, and abandoning my duty. All the good counsels of my parents, my fat her?s tears and my mother?s entreaties, came now fresh into my mind; and my conscience, which was not yet come to the pitch of hardness to which it ha s si nce, reproached me with the contemp t of advice, and the breach of my du ty to Go d and my father. All this whi le the storm increased, and the sea went very high, t hough nothing like wh at I have seen many times sin ce; no, nor wha t I saw a few days after; b ut it wa s enough to affect me then, who was b ut a young sailor, and had never known anythi ng of the matter. I expected every wave would have swallowed us up, and that e very time the ship fell down, as I thought it did, in the trough or hollow of the sea, we should nev er rise more; in this agony of mi nd, I made many vo ws and resoluti ons that if it would ple ase God to spare my life in this one v oyage, if ever I got once my foot upon dry land again, I would go directly home to my f ather, and n ever set it into a shi p again while I lived; that I would take his advice, and never run myself into su ch mi series as these any more. Now I saw plainly the goodness of hi s observations about the 10 of 487 Robinson Crusoe middle station of life, how ea sy, how comfortably he had lived all his days, and ne ver had been exposed to tempests at sea or tro ubles on shore; and I resolved that I would, like a true repenting prodigal, go home to my father. These wise and sober though ts continued all the while the storm lasted, and indeed so me time after; but the next day the wind was abated, and the sea calmer, and I began to be a little inured to it; however, I was very gra ve for all that day, being also a little sea-sick still; but towards night the weather cleared up, the wind was quite over, and a charming fi ne evening fo llowed; the sun went down perfectly clear, and rose so the next morning; and having little or no wind, and a smooth sea, the sun shi ning upon it, the sight was, a s I tho ught, the most delightful that ever I saw. I had slept w ell in the night, and w as now no more sea- sick, but very cheerful, looking with wonder upon the sea that was so r ough and terrible the day before, and could be so calm and so pleasant in so little a time after. And now, lest my good resolutions should continue, my companion, who had enticed me away, co mes to me; ?Well, Bob,? say s he, clapping me upon the shoulder, ?how do you do after it? I warrant you were frighted, wer?n?t you, last night, when it blew but a capful of wind? ? ?A capful d?you call 11 of 487 Robinson Crusoe it?? said I; ??twas a terrible storm.? ?A storm, you fool you,? replies he; ?do you call that a storm? why, it was nothing at all; give us but a good sh ip and sea-room, and we think nothing of such a squall of wind as that; but you?re but a fresh-water sailor, Bob. Come, let us make a bowl of punch, and we?ll forget all th at; d?y e see what charming weather ?tis now?? To make short this sad part of my story, we went the way of all sailors; the punch was made and I was made half drunk with it: and in that one night?s wickedness I drowned all my repentance, all m y reflections upon my past conduct, all my resolutions for the future. In a word, as the sea was returned to its smoo thness of surfa ce and settl ed calmness by the abatement of that storm, so the hurry of m y thoughts being over, my fears and apprehensions of being swallowed up by the sea being forgo tten, and the current of my former desires returned, I entirely forgot the vows and promise s that I mad e in my distress. I found, indeed, some intervals of reflection; and the serious thoughts did, as it were, endeavour to return again sometimes; but I shook them off, and roused myse lf from them as it were from a distemper, and apply ing myself to drinking and company, soon mastered the return of those fits - for so I called them; and I had in five or six days got as complete a 12 of 487 Robinson Crusoe victory over con science as any young fellow that resolved not to be troubled with it could desire. But I was to have another trial for it still; and Pro vidence, as i n such case s generally it does, resolved to leave me entirely without excuse; for if I would not take thi s for a deliverance, the next was to be such a on e as the worst and most hardened wretch among us would confess both the danger and the mercy of. The sixth day of our being at s ea we came into Yarmouth Roads; the wind havin g been contrary and the weather calm, we had made but little way since the storm. Here we were obliged to come to an anchor, and here we lay, the wind continuing contrary - v iz. at south-west - for seven or eight days, during wh ich ti me a great many ships from Newcastle ca me into the same Road s, as the common harbour where the ships might wait for a wind for the riv er. We had not, however, rid here so long but we should have tided it up the river, but that the wind blew too fresh, and after we had lain four or five days, blew very hard. However, the Roads being reckoned as good as a harbour, the anchorage good, and our ground- tackle very strong, our men were unconcerne d, and not in the least apprehensive of danger, but spent the ti me in rest and 13 of 487 Robinson Crusoe mirth, after the manner of the sea; but the eighth day, in the morning , the wind i ncreased, and we had all hands at work to stri ke our topmasts, and make everyt hing snug and close, that the ship might ride as easy as possible. By noon the se a went very high indeed, and our ship rode forecastle in, shipped several seas, and we thought once or twice our anchor had come home; upon which our master ordered out the sheet-anchor, so that we rode with two anchors ahead, and the cables ve ered out to the bitter end. By this time it blew a terrible storm indeed; and now I began to see terror and amazeme nt in the faces even of the seamen themselves. The master, though vigilant in the business of preserving t he ship, ye t as he went in and out of his cabin by me, I could hear him softly to himself say, several times, ?Lord be merciful to us! we shall be all lost! we shall be all undone!? and the like. During these first hurries I wa s stupid, lying still in my cabin, which was in the steerage, and cannot describe m y temper: I could ill resume the first penitence which I had so apparently trampled up on and hardened myse lf against: I thought the bitterness of death had been pa st, and that this would be nothing like the first; but when the master himself came by me, as I said just now, and said we should be all lost, I was dreadfully frighted. I go t up out of my cabin and 14 of 487 Robinson Crusoe looked out; but such a di smal sight I never saw: the sea ran mountains high, and broke upon us every three or four minutes; when I could look about, I could see nothing but distress round us; two ships t hat rode near us, we found, had cut thei r masts by the b oard, being deep laden; and our men cried out that a sh ip which rode about a mile ahead of us was foundered. Two more ships, bei ng driven from their anchors, were run out of the Roads to sea, at all adventures, and that with not a mast sta nding. The light ships fared the best, as not so much labouring in the sea; but two or three of them drove, and came close by us, running away with only their spritsail out before t he wind. Towards ev ening the mate and boatswain begged the master of our ship to let them cut away the fore-mast, which he was very unwilling to do; but the boatswain protesting to him that if he did not the ship would founder, he consented; and when they had cut away the fore-mast, the main-mast stood so loose, and shook the ship so much, they were obliged to cut that away also, and make a clear deck. Any one may judge wha t a condition I must be in at all this, who was but a young sailor, and who had been in such a fright before at but a li ttle. B ut if I can e xpress at this di stance the thoughts I ha d ab out me at that ti me, I 15 of 487 Robinson Crusoe was in tenfold more horror of mind upon account of my former conv ictions, and the hav ing returned from them to the resolutions I had wickedly ta ken at first, than I was at death itself; and these, added to the terror of the storm, put me into such a condition that I can by no words describe it. But the worst wa s no t come yet; the storm contin ued with su ch f ury that th e seamen themselves acknowledged they had never seen a worse. We had a good ship, but she was deep laden, and wallowed in the sea, so that the seamen every now and then crie d out she would founder. It was my advantage in one respect, that I did not know what they meant by FOUNDER till I inquired. However, the storm was so violent that I saw, what is not often seen, the master, the boatsw ain, and some others more sensible than the rest, at thei r prayers, and expecting every m oment whe n the ship would go to the bottom. In the mid dle of the ni ght, and un der all the rest of our distresses, one of the men that had been down to see cried out we had sp rung a leak; another said there was four feet water in the hold. Then all hands we re called to the pump. At that word, my heart, as I thought, died within me: and I fell backwards upo n the side o f my bed where I sat, into the cabin. However, the men ro used me, and told me that I, that was able to do nothing before, was 16 of 487 Robinson Crusoe as well able to pump as anoth er; at which I stirred up and went to the pump, and worked very heartily. While this was doing the master, seeing some light colliers, who, not able to ride out the storm were obliged to slip and run away to sea, and would come near us, ordered to fire a gun as a signal of distress. I, who knew nothing what they meant, thou ght the shi p had brok en, or some dreadful thing happened. In a word, I was so surprised that I fell down in a swoon. As this wa s a time when everybody had his own life to think of, nobody minded me, or what was become of me; but another man stepped up to the pump, and thrusti ng me aside with hi s foo t, let me lie, thinking I had been dead; and it was a great while before I came to myself. We worked on; but the water increasing in the hold, it was apparent that the shi p would founder; and though the storm began to abate a little, yet it was not possible she could swim till we might run into any port; so the master continued firing guns for he lp; and a light ship, who had rid it out just ahead of us, ventured a boat out to help us. It was with the utmost hazard the boat came near us; but i t was impossible for us to get on board, or for the boat to lie near the ship?s side, till at last the men rowing very heartily, and venturing their lives to save ours, our men 17 of 487 Robinson Crusoe cast them a rope over the stern with a buoy to it, and then veered it out a great length, which they, after much labour and hazard, took hold of, and we hauled them cl ose under our stern, and got all into thei r boat. It was to no purpose for them or us, after we were in the boat, to think of reaching their own ship; so all agreed to let her drive, and only to pull her in towards shore as much as we could; and our master promised them, that if the boat w as staved upon shore, he would make it goo d to their master: so partly rowing and partly driving, our boat went away to the northwa rd, sloping towards the shore almo st as far a s Winterton Ness. We were no t much more than a quarter of an hour out of our ship till we saw her sink, and then I understood for the first ti me what was meant by a ship foundering in the sea. I must acknowled ge I had hardly eyes to look up when the seamen told me sh e was sinking; for from the moment that they rather put me into the boat than that I might be said to go in, my he art was, as it were, dead within me, partly with fright , partly with horror of mind, and the thoughts of what was yet before me. While we were in this condition - the men yet labouring at the oar to b ring the boat near the shore - we could see (when, our b oat m oun tin g the waves, we were 18 of 487 Robinson Crusoe able to see t he shore) a grea t many people running along the strand to assi st us when we shoul d come near ; but we made but slow way towards th e shore; nor were we able to reach the shore till, being past the lighthouse at Winterton, the shore falls off to the westward towards Cromer, and so the land broke off a little the v iolence of the wind. Here we got i n, and though not without much difficulty, g ot all safe on shore, and walked afterwards on foot to Yarmouth, where, as unfortunate men, we were used with great humanity, as we ll by the magistrates of the town, who assigned us good quarters, as by particular merchants and owners of ships, and had mone y given us sufficient to carry us either to London or back to Hull as we thought fit. Had I now had the sense to have gone back to Hull, and have gone home, I had been happy, and my father, as in our blesse d Saviour?s parable, had even killed the fatted calf for me; for hearing the sh ip I went away in was cast away in Yarmouth Roads, it was a great while before he had any assurances that I was not drowned. But my ill fate pushed me on now with an obstinacy that nothing could resist; and thoug h I had several times loud calls f rom my reason and my more compo sed judgment to go home, yet I had no power to do it. I 19 of 487 Robinson Crusoe know not what to call this, nor will I urge that it is a secret overruling d ecree, that hurries us on to be the instruments of our ow n destruction, even though it be before us, and that we rush upon i t with our e yes open. Certainly, nothing but some such dec reed unavoidable misery, which it was impossible for me to escape, could have pushed me forward against the calm reasonings and persuasi ons of my most retired thoughts, and against two such visible instructions as I had met wit h in my first attempt. My comrad e, who had helped to harden me before, and who w as the master?s so n, was n ow less f orward than I. The first time he s poke to me after w e were at Yarmouth, which was not till two or three days, for we were separated in the town to several quarters; I say, the first time he saw me, it a ppe ared his tone was alte red; and, looking very melanchol y, and shaking his head, he asked me how I did, and telling his father who I was, and how I had come this voyage only for a trial, in ord er to go further abroad, his fathe r, turning to me with a very grave and concerned tone ?Young man,? says he, ?you ought never to go to sea any more; you ought to take this for a plain and visible token that you are not to be a seafaring man.? ?Why, sir,? said I, ?will you go to sea no more?? ?That is another case,? said he ; ?it is my calling, and 20 of 487 Robinson Crusoe therefore m y duty; but as you made this voyage on trial, you see what a taste Heaven has given you of what you are to expect if you pers ist. Perhaps this has all b efallen us on your account, like Jonah in the ship of Tarshish. Pray,? continues he, ?what are you; and on what account did you go to sea?? Upon tha t I told him so me of my story; at the end of which he burst out into a str ange kind of passion: ?What had I done,? says he, ?t hat such an unhapp y wretch should co me into my shi p? I would not set my f oot in the same ship with thee again for a thousand pounds.? This indeed was, as I said, an ex cursion of his spirits, which were yet agitated by the sense of his loss, and was farther than he could have authorit y to go. However, he afterwards talked very gravely to me, exhorting me to go back to my father, and not tempt Providence to my ruin, telling me I might see a visible hand of Heaven against me. ?And, young man,? said he, ?depend upon it, if you do not go back, wherev er you go, you will meet with nothing but disasters and disappointment s, till your father?s words are fulfilled upon you.? We parted soon after; for I made hi m little answer, and I saw him no more; which way he went I knew not. As for me, havi ng some money in my pocket, I tr avelled to London by land; and there, as well as on the road, had 21 of 487 Robinson Crusoe many struggles with my self what course of life I should take, and whether I should go home or to sea. As to going home, sha me opposed the best motion s that offered to my thoughts, and it immediately occurred to me how I should be laughed at among the neighbours, and should be ashamed to see, not my father and mother only, but even everybod y else; from whence I have since often observed, how incongruous and irrational the common te mper of mankind is, esp ecially of youth, to that reason which ought to guide them in such cases - viz. that they are not ashamed to sin, and yet are ashamed to repent; not ashamed of the ac tion for which they ought justly to b e esteemed fools, but are ashamed of the returning, which only can make them be esteemed wise men. In this state of life, however, I remained some time, uncertain w hat measures to take, and what course of life to lead. An irresistible relu ctance continued to going home; and as I stayed away a while, the remembrance of the distress I had been in wore off, and as that abated, the little motion I had in my desires to return wore off with it, till at last I quite laid aside the thoughts of it, and looked out for a voyage. 22 of 487 Robinson Crusoe
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