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bower, as I called it, which I kept in repair ; that is to say, I kept the hedge which circled it in constantly fitted up to its usual height, the ladder standing always in the inside ; I kept the trees, which at first were no more than my stakes, but were now grown very firm and tall; I kept them always so cut, that they might spread and grow thick and wild, and make the more agreeable shade, which they did effectually to my mind. In the middle of this I had my tent always standing, being a piece of a sail spread over poles set
for that purpose, and which never wanted any repair or renewing; and under this I had made me a squab or couch, with the skins of the creatures I had killed, and with other soft things, and a blanket laid on them, such as belonged to our sea-bedding, which I had saved, and a great watch-coat to cover me; and here, whenever I had occasion to be absent from my chief seat, I took up my country habitation.
Adjoining to this I had my inclosures for my cattle, that is to say, my goats; and as I had taken an inconceivable deal of pains to fence and inclose this ground, I was so uneasy to see it kept entire, lest the goats should break through, that I never left off, till with infinite labour I had stuck the outside of the hedge so full of small stakes, and so near to one another, that it was rather a pale than a hedge, and there was scarce room to put a hand through between them ; which, afterwards, when those stakes grew, as they all did in the next rainy season, made the inclosure strong, like a wall; indeed stronger than any wall.
This will testify for me that I was not idle, and that I spared no pains to bring to pass whatever appeared necessary for my comfortable support ; for I considered, the keeping up a breed of tame creatures thus at my hand would be a living magazine of flesh, milk, butter, and cheese for me as long as I lived in the place, if it were to be forty years ;
and that keeping them in my reach depended entirely upon my perfecting my inclosures to such a degree, that I might be sure of keeping them together : which, by this method, indeed, I so effectually secured, that when these little stakes began to grow, I had planted them so very thick, I was forced to pull some of them up again.
In this place also I had my grapes growing, which I principally depended on for my winter store of raisins, and which I never failed to preserve very carefully, as the best and most agreeable dainty of my whole diet: and, indeed, they were not agreeable only, but physical, wholesome, nourishing, and refreshing to the last degree. As this was also about half
other habitation and the place where I had laid up my boat, I generally staid and lay here in my way thither; for I used frequently to visit my boat, and I kept all things about or belonging to her in very good order; sometimes I went out in her to divert myself, but no more hazardous voyages
would I go, nor scarce ever above a stone's cast or two from the shore, I was so apprehensive of being hurried out of my knowledge again by the currents or winds, or any other accident. But now I come to a new scene of my life.
HE FINDS THE PRINT OF A MAN'S FOOT ON THE SEA-SHORE.
It happened one day about noon, going towards my boat, I was exceedingly surprised with the print of a man's naked foot on the shore, which was very plain to be seen in the sand : I stood like one thunderstruck, or as if I had seen an apparition; I listened, I looked round me, I could hear nothing, nor see anything; I went up to a rising ground to look farther; I went up the shore, and down the shore, but it was all one; I could see no other impression but that one. I went to it again to see if there were any more, and to observe if it might not be my fancy ; but there was no room for that, for there was exactly the very print of a foot, toes, heel, and every part of a foot; how it came thither I knew not, nor could in the least imagine. But after innumerable fluttering thoughts, like a man perfectly confused and out of myself, I came home to my fortification, not feeling, as we say, the ground I went on, but terrified to the last degree, looking behind me at every two or three steps, mistaking every bush and tree, and fancying every stump at a distance to be a man; nor is it possible to describe how many various shapes an affrighted imagination represented things to me in; how many wild ideas were formed
every moment in my fancy, and what strange “unaccountable whimsies came into my thoughts by the way.
When I came to my castle, for so I think I called it ever after this, I fled into it like one pursued; whether I went over by the ladder, as first contrived, or went in at the hole in the rock, which I called a door, I cannot remember: for never frighted hare fled to cover, or fox to earth, with more terror of mind than I to this retreat.
I had no sleep that night; the farther I was from the occasion of my fright, the greater my apprehensions were ; which is something contrary to the nature of such things, and especially to the usual practice of all creatures in fear. But I was so embarrassed with my own frightful ideas of the thing, that I formed nothing but dismal imaginations to myself, even though I was now a great way off it. Sometimes I fancied it must be the devil; and reason joined with me upon this supposition; for how should any other thing in human shape come into the place? Where was the vessel that brought them? What marks were there of
any other footsteps ? and how was it possible a man should come there? But then to think that Satan should take human shape upon him in such a place, where there could be no manner of occasion for it, but to leave the print of his foot behind him, and that even for no purpose too (for he could not be sure I should see it); this was an amazement the other way. I considered that the devil might have found out abundance of other ways to have terrified me, than this of the single print of a foot; that as I lived quite on the other side of the island, he would never have been so simple to leave a mark in a place where it was ten thousand to one whether I should ever see it or not; and in the sand too, which the first surge of the sea upon an high wind would have defaced entirely. All this seemed inconsistent with the thing itself, and with all notions we usually entertain of the subtlety of the devil.
Abundance of such things as these assisted to argue me out of all apprehensions of its being the devil; and I presently concluded then, that it must be some more dangerous creature, viz., that it must be some of the savages of the mainland over against me, who had wandered out to sea in their canoes; and, either driven by the currents, or by contrary winds, had made the island ; and had been on shore, but were gone away again to sea, being as loath, perhaps, to have staid in this desolate island, as I would have been to have had them.
While these reflections were rolling upon my mind, I was very thankful in my thought, that I was so happy as not to be thereabouts at that time, or that they did not see my boat, by which they would have concluded that some inhabitants had been in the place, and, perhaps, have searched further for me. Then terrible thoughts racked my
imaginations about their having found my boat, and that there
were people here, and that, if so, I should certainly have them come again in greater numbers, and devour me; that, if it should happen so that they should not find me, yet they would find my inclosure, destroy all my corn, carry away
my stock of tame goats, and I should perish at last for mere want.
Thus my fear banished all my religious hope. All that former confidence in God, which was founded upon such wonderful experience, as I had had of his goodness, now vanished; as if he that had fed me by a miracle hitherto, could not preserve by his power the provision which he had made for me by his goodness. I reproached myself with my easiness, that would not sow any more corn one year than would just serve me until the next season, as if no accident could intervene to prevent my enjoying the crop that was upon the ground; and this I thought so just a reproof, that I resolved for the future to have two or three years' corn beforehand, so that whatever might come, I might not perish for want of bread.
How strange a chequer-work of Providence is the life of man! and by what secret differing springs are the affections hurried about, as differing circumstances present! To-day we love what to-morrow we hate ; to-day we seek what tomorrow we shun; to-day we desire what to-morrow we fear, nay, even tremble at the apprehensions of.
This was exemplified in me at this time in the most lively manner imaginable; for I, whose only affliction was, that I seemed banished from human society; that I was alone, circumscribed by the boundless ocean, cut off from mankind, and condemned to what I call a silent life; that I was as one whom Heaven thought not worthy to be numbered among the living, or to appear among the rest of his creatures; that to have seen one of my own species would have seemed to