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I kept there with him all that night, but as soon as it was day, I beckoned him to come with me, and let him know I would give him some clothes, at which he seemed very glad, for he was stark-naked. As he went by the place where he had buried the two men, he pointed exactly to the spot, and showed me the marks that he had made to find them again, making signs to me that he would dig them ap again and eat them; at this I appeared very angry, expressed my abhorrence of it, made as if I would vomit at the thoughts of it, and beckoned with my hand to him to come away, which he did immediately with great submission. I then led him up to the top of the hill, to see if his enemies were gone; and pulling out my glass, I looked, and saw plainly the place where they had been, but no appearance of them or their canoes; so that it was plain that they were gone,
and had left their two comrades behind them, without any search after them.
But I was not content with this discovery; but having now more courage, and consequently more curiosity, I took my man Friday with me, giving him the sword in his hand, with the bow and arrows at his back, which I found he could use very dexterously, making him carry one gun for me, and I two for myself, and away we marched to the place where these creatures had been; for I had a mind now to get some fuller intelligence of them. When I came to the place, my very blood ran chill in my veins, and my heart sunk within me at the horror of the spectacle. Indeed it was a dreadful sight; at least it was so to me, though Friday made nothing of it. The place was covered with human bones, the ground dyed with the blood, great pieces of flesh left here and there half eaten, mangled, and scorched; and in short, all the tokens of the triumphant feast they had been making there, after a victory over their
enemies. I saw three skulls, five hands, and the bones of three or four legs and feet, and abundance of other parts of the bodies; and Friday, by his signs, made me understand, that they brought over four prisoners to feast upon; that three of them were eaten up, and that he (pointing to himself) was the fourth; that there had been a great battle between them and their next king, whose subjects, it seems, he had been one of; and that they had taken a great number of prisoners, all which were carried to several places by those that had taken them in the fight, in order to feast upon them, as was done here by these wretches upon those they brought hither.
I caused Friday to gather all the skulls, bones, flesh, and whatever remained, and lay them together on an heap, and make a great fire upon it and burn them all to ashes. I found Friday had still a hankering stomach after some of the flesh, and was still a cannibal in his nature; but I discovered so much abhorrence at the very thoughts of it, and at the least appearance of it, that he durst not discover it; for I had, by some means, let him know, that I would kill him if he offered it.
When we had done this, we came back to our castle, and there I fell to work for my man Friday.
Peter Wilkius's Discovery of a Flying Wamau
The Life and Adventures of Peter Wilkins, a Cornish man, is the only imitation of Robinson Crusoe that has stood its ground, with the exception of the inferior, but still not unmeritorious History of Philip Quarll. It is a Crusoe with the novelty of a Flying people; as Quarll is another, with the substitution of an affectionate ape, or Chimpanzee, for Man Friday. The modest author, who seems to have taken no steps to make either himself or his book known, has been but lately discovered; if indeed the receiver of the money for its copyright was the same person. And it is most likely he was, the initials by which the dedication of the work is signed being those of the receiver's name. The circumstances of the discovery is thus stated in the latest edition, published by Mr. Smith of Fleet Street,
“In the year 1835, Mr. Nicol, the printer, sold by auction a number of books and manu
nuscripts in his possession, which had formerly be. longed to the well-known publisher Dodsley; and in arranging them for sale, the original agreement for the sale of the manuscript of 'Peter Wilkins,' by the author, ‘Robert Pultock of Clement's Inn,' to Dodsley, was discovered.
From this document it appears, that Mr. Pultock received twenty pounds, twelve copies of the work, and cuts of the first impression,' i. e., a set of proof impressions of the fanciful engravings that professed to illustrate the first edition, as the price of the entire copyright. This curious document was sold to John Wilks, Esq., M. P.; on the 17th of December, 1835."
The reader will observe, that the words “by the author," in this extract, are not accompanied by marks of quotation. The fact, however, is stated as if he knew it for such, by the quoter of the document.
The Dedication is to Elizabeth, Countess of Northumberland, the
lady to whom Peroy addressed his Reliques of Ancient English Poetry She was a Wriothesley, descended of Shakspeare's Earl of Southampton, and appears to have been a very amiable woman. “R. P." professes himself to be under obligations to her; and says, that it was after the pattern of her virtues that he drew the “mind” of his Youwarkee.
It is interesting to fancy “R. P.,” or “Mr. Robert Pultock of Clement's Inn," a gentle lover of books, not successful enough perhaps as a barrister to lead a public or profitable life, but eking out a little employment, or a bit of a patrimony, with literature congenial to him, and looking oftener to Purchas's Pilgrims on his shelves than to Coke upon Littleton. We picture him to ourselves, with Robinson Crusoe on one side of him, and Gaudentio di Lucca on the other, hearing the pen go over his paper in one of those quiet rooms in Clements Inn, that look out of its old-fashioned buildings into the little garden with the dial in it, held by the negro; one of the prettiest corners in London, and extremely fit for a sequestered fancy that cannot get any farther. There he sits, the unknown, ingenious, and amiable Mr. Robert Pultock, thinking of an imaginary beauty for want of a better; and creating her for the delight of posterity, though his contemporaries were to know little or nothing of her. We shall never go through the place again, without regarding him as its crowning interest.
Peter Wilkins is no common production in any respect, though it is far inferior to Crusoe in contrivance and detail; and falls off, like all these imaginary works, in the latter part, when they begin laying down the law in politics and religion. It has been well observed too, that the author has not made his Flying People in general light and airy enough, or of sufficiently unvulgar materials, either in body or mind, to warrant the ethereal advantages of their wings. And it may be said on the other hand, that the kind of wing, the graundee, or elastic natural drapery, which opens and shuts at pleasure, however ingeniously and even beautifully contrived, would necessitate a creature, whose modifications of humanity, bodily and mental, though never so good after their kind, might have startled the inventor had he been more of a naturalist; might have developed a being very different from the feminine, sympathizing, and lovely Youwarkee. Muscles and nerves, not human, must have been associated with inhuman wants and feelings; probably have necessitated talons and a beak! At best, the woman would have been wilder; more elvish,
capricious, and unaccountable. She would have ruffled her whalebones when angry; been horribly intimate perhaps with birds' nesta, and fights with eagles; and frightened Wilkins out of his wits with dashing betwixt rocks, and pulling the noses of seals and gulls. So far the book is wanting in verisimilitude and imagination.
But then how willing we are to gain the fair winged creature at the expense of Zoonomy! and after all, how founded in nature itself is the human desire to fly! We do so in dreams: we all long for the power when children: we think of it in poetry and in sorrow. that I had the wings of a dovel then would I fly away and be at rest.” Wilkins fled away into a beautiful twilight country, far from his unresting self and vulgar daylight; and not being able to give himself wings, he invented a wife that had them instead. Now a sweeter creature is not to be found in books; and she does him immortal honour. She is all tenderness and vivacity; all born good taste and blessed companionship. Her pleasure consists but in his: she prevents all his wishes; has neither prudery nor immodesty; sheds not a tear but from right feeling; is the good of his home, and the grace of his fancy. It is a pity the account of his bridal cannot be given; for never were love and purity better united; but to draw it forth from the general history, might give it in too many eyes a freedom which does not belong to it. We must content ourselves with extracting the account of the charmer's discovery, and of the way in which Peter first became acquainted with her powers of flight. The voices which he hears at night, the fall of some unknown weight at his door, the puzzle about the graundee that has been slit, and the first movements of the winged beauty over the lake, are all points particularly well-felt and interesting.
The reader is to understand, that Peter had by this time settled himself, à la Crusoe, in his solitary abode; which is in a cavern by the side of a lake, into which he had been drifted through a long subterraneous passage from the sea. It was a very beautiful place, but so far out of the ordinary course of the sun, that “the brightest daylight never exceeded that of half an hour after sunset in the summer-time in England, and little more than just reddened the sky.” In consequence of this nature of her climate, Youwarkee was in all respects a very tender-eyed thing, and could not bear a strong light.