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where thereabouts: secondly, when I came to measure the mark with my own foot, I found my foot not so large by a great deal. Both these facts filled my head with new imaginations, and I shook with cold fear, like one in an ague. I went home again, filled with the belief that some man or men had been on shore there; or, in short, that the island was inhabited, and I might be surprised before I was aware. What course to take for my security I knew not.
Time, however, began to wear off my uneasiness; and I soon found myself living in the same composed manner as before. Of course, I kept my eyes more about me; and, particularly, I was more cautious about firing my gun, lest the
report should be heard by any of the savages !
MY KINGDOM IS INVADED BY SAVAGES.
It was now my twenty-third year of residence on the island; and this, being the winter-or rather the autumn of this region, for winter there is none—was the particular time of my harvest, and required me to be pretty much abroad in the fields. Going out early one morning, even before it was thorough daylight, I was surprised at seeing a light of some fire upon the shore, at a distance from me of about two miles.
I was indeed terribly surprised at the sight, and stopped short within my grove, not daring to go out, lest I might be caught. Nevertheless, I had no more peace within, from the fears I had that if these savages, in rambling over the island, should find my corn standing or cut, or any of my works and buildings, they would immediately conclude that there were people in the place, and would then never rest till they had found me out. In this extremity I went back directly to my castle ; pulled up the ladder after me, and made all things without look as wild and natural as I could.
Then I prepared myself within, putting myself in a posture
of defence. I loaded all my cannon, as I called them,—that is to say, my muskets, which were mounted upon my new fortification. My pistols, too, were primed and ready; in short, I resolved to defend myself to the last gasp,—not forgetting seriously to commend myself to the Divine protection, and earnestly to pray to God to deliver me out of the hands of the barbarians.
I continued in this uncertainty about two hours, and began to be impatient for news abroad, for I had no spies to send out. After sitting a little longer, and musing what I should do in this jeopardy, I was unable to bear further suspense ; so setting my ladder to the side of the hill, and then pulling it after me, I set it up again, and thus mounted to the top of the hill. Pulling out my spy-glass, which I had taken on purpose, I lay down flat on my belly on the ground, and began to look for the place. I presently found there were no less than nine naked savages, sitting round a small fire they had made —not to warm themselves, for the weather was warm enough - but, as I supposed, to dress some of their barbarous diet of human flesh which they had brought with them, whether alive or dead I could not tell.
They had two canoes with them, which they had hauled up upon the shore; and as it was then ebb of tide, they seemed to me to be waiting for the return of the flood to go away again. It is not easy to imagine what dismay this sight put me into, especially since they had come on my side of the island, and so near to me.
But when I considered their arrival must always be with the current of the ebb, I began afterwards to be more calm, resting satisfied that I might go abroad with safety all the time of the flood-tide, if they were not on shore before. Having made this observation, I went abroad about my harvest work with the more composure.
As I expected, so it proved; for, as soon as the tide set in to the westward, I saw them all take to their canoes, and paddle away.
MY ISLAND IS AGAIN INVADED BY SAVAGES.
About a year and a half after this, I was surprised one morning at seeing no less than five canoes all on shore at one time on my side of the island : the people who belonged to them must all have landed, as they were not in the boats. The number of them disturbed all my plans; for, seeing so many, and knowing that there were always four or six, and sometimes more in a boat, I could not tell what to think of it, or how, single-handed, to set about an attack on twenty or thirty men. I therefore lay still in my castle, perplexed and discomforted. However, I put myself into the same position for an attack that I had formerly arranged, and was quite ready for action in case of need.
Having waited a good while, listening to hear if they made any noise, I at length became very impatient. I set my guns at the foot of my ladder, and clambered up to the top of the hill, by my two stages, as usual. I stood in such manner, however, that my head did not appear above the hill, so that they could not notice me. Here I observed, by means of my glass, that there were no less than thirty in number ; that they had a fire kindled, and meat dressed.
; How they had cooked it I knew not, neither could I see what kind it was; but they were all dancing, after their own fashion, in all sorts of barbarous gestures and attitudes, round the fire.
While I was thus looking on them, I perceived, by my glass, two miserable wretches dragged from the boats, where, it seems, they had been laid by, but were now brought out for the slaughter. I noticed one of them im
mediately fall — being knocked down, I suppose, with a
— club, or wooden sword, for that was their way of killing. Two or three others set to work immediately cutting him open for the purpose of being roasted; while the other victim was left standing by himself, till they should be ready for him. At that very moment, this poor wretch, seeing himself a little at liberty, and being unbound, was inspired with hopes of life: he started away from them, and ran with incredible swiftness along the sands, directly towards that part of the coast where
habitation was. I was dreadfully frightened, I must acknowledge, when I saw him run my way; and especially when, as I thought, I saw him pursued by the whole body. I expected that he would certainly take shelter in my grove: but I could not tell that the other savages would not pursue him thither, and find him there. However, I kept my station, and my spirits began to recover when I found that there were not above three men that followed him. Still more was I encouraged, when I found that he outstripped them exceedingly in running, and gained ground on them; so that, if he could but hold out for half an hour, I saw easily he would fairly get away from them all.
There was between them and my castle, the creek where I had landed my cargoes from the wreck; and this I saw plainly he must necessarily swim over, otherwise the poor wretch would there be caught. But when the runaway came to the creek, he made nothing of it, though the tide was then up; but, plunging in, swam over it in about thirty strokes, or thereabouts; landed, and ran with remarkable strength and swiftness. When the three savages came to the creek, I found that two of them could swim, but the third could not. Standing on the other side, he looked at the others, but went no farther, and soon after went slowly back again ; this, as it happened, was very lucky for him in the end. I observed that the two who swam were twice as long swimming over the creek, as the fellow who fled from them.
I FIND A FRIENDLY SAVAGE,
It came very warmly upon my thoughts, and indeed irresistibly, that now was the time to get me a servant, and perhaps a companion or assistant; and that I was plainly called by Providence to save this poor creature's life. I immediately ran down the ladders with all possible haste; fetched my two guns — for they were both at the foot of the ladders, as I observed before — and, getting up again speedily to the top of the hill, I crossed towards the sea.
Making a very short cut, and all down hill, I placed myself in the way between the pursuers and the pursued, hallooing aloud to him that fled. He, on looking back, was at first perhaps as much frightened at me as at his enemies; but I beckoned with my hand to him to come back. In the meantime I slowly advanced towards the two that followed; then, rushing at once upon the foremost, I knocked him down with the stock of my piece. I was loath to fire, because I did not want the rest to hear the report; though, at that distance, it would not have been easily heard, and being out of sight of the smoke, too, they would not have known what to make of it. Having knocked this fellow down, the other, who pursued him, stopped, as if he had been frightened, and I advanced towards him: but as I came nearer, I perceived presently he had a bow and
arrow, and was fitting it to shoot at me. therefore, obliged to shoot at him first -- which I did, and killed him on the spot.
The poor runaway savage, though he saw both his enemies fallen and killed, as he thought, yet was so frightened with the fire and noise of my piece, that he