On the very day Crusoe Graves had reached his sixteenth year, a letter arrived from his father's brother, a planter in the West-Indies, earnestly requesting a visit from his nephew.
Mr. and Mrs Graves knew not how to consent to it: they hesitated at parting with their darling son, but he so strongly urged them to permit him to go, that they at last consented, and Crusoe Graves embarked on board the [L]ovely Nancy. He took an affection
At night Crusoe went again on deck, and found the old seaman's foreboding of a storm likely to prove true. The morning was obscured by thick heavy clouds, and the scud fleeted along the sky with amazing rapidity. The sea, lately so calm, appeared convulsed, and large waves came dashing against the ship's side in angry murmurs. The white foam that lay on the surface of the water, contrasted with the black and lowering sky, made the scene a new and awful one to Crusoe. The sailors were called out to reef the sails; the wind increased every hour, and towards morning, it blew a perfect hurricane.
On the evening of the third day, a dreadful thunder storm came on: the lightening struck the mainmast in a thousand pieces, and so damaged the rudder that the ship became ungovernable, and they were drifted along they knew not where, at the mercy of the winds and waves. In the midst of their distress they threw overboard almost every thing to lighten the ship, fearing she would sink, for she had sprung a leak; and with all the hands at the pump, it was as much as they could do to keep her head above water. For seven days the vessel was driven like a log on the sea -- their sails and rigging were so torn by the wind and burnt by the lightning. The sailors now began to be quite spent with incessant labour at the pump; the compass being washed overboard the Captain could not tell to what part they were driving.
They had been in this sad situation near a fortnight, the wind sometimes high and sometimes low, and blowing at times from all points of the compass, when one night Crusoe, who had been at the pump till wearied with a labour he had never been used to, he laid himself down on his bed to rest; but scarcely had he closed his eyes, when, by a sudden motion of the ship, he was thrown out of his bed with such force as to stun him for some time[.] On recovering he ran on deck, but what a scene presented itself by the light of lanthorns -- the sailors in confusion were hurrying up and down -- a huge body of something as black as pitch appeared on each side of the ship and hanging over it seemed to threaten them with instant destruction. The roaring of the wind, and the cries of the people on hoard, who now gave themselves up for lost, sounded in the ears of Crusoe, and filled his heart with anguish. The thoughts of his parents, and what they would suffer for his loss, rushed on his mind; but after a few moments recollection, he began to exert himself; and calling to thesailors, begged them to be calm and act with prudence, and perhaps they might yet save their lives: but in vain -- all his reasoning, or the commands and intreaties of the captain were disregarded; they broke open the spirit room, and began to intoxicate themselves as fast as possible.
The Captain and Mate, with three gentlemen passengers, desired Crusoe to follow them; they then proceeded to the head to observe the situation the ship lay in. The force of the wind and waves had drove her with such fury as to jam her between two rocks of an amazing height. The Captain and Mate went first, and sliding with great hazard and difficulty from the bowsprit, they dropped on the beach: as soon as they found foothold, they called and encouraged the rest to follow, for the ship was now sinking fast. After making fast a rope, they ventured, and assisted by the Captain and Mate, Crusoe and one of the passengers got safe to the beach. The other two unfortunately, either through fear or faintness, lost their hold and were washed into the sea.
By great providence, as Crusoe was feeling about with his hands and feet, he found an opening in the rock, into which he went and found it quite dry. He called to the rest to follow him: here they were safe from being washed into the sea; but what other prospect had they but of being starved to death in the caverns of the rock, for they could perceive no outlet but that which led towards the sea. But Crusoe was not of a temper to despair, and after resting himself a short time, he began to examine the place he was in. He found a large and spacious cavern, but so dark at the further end, he was almost afraid to explore it -- however, there was no other remedy; if they stopped there they were sure of being starved to death, and to proceed, though hazardous, there was at least some chance. The Captain, Mate, and passenger agreed to follow his steps: Crusoe went on first, taking the opposite from the sea, when, after much toil, he came to a narrow passage in the rock, formed as if by the hand of art. Into this a secret impulse urged him to enter, but the rest were afraid, thinking it;the den of some sea monster, who frequently rnake such places their habitation.
Though nothing but sure death awaited them if they did not get from the rock, yet the fear of being tqrn to pieces by wild beasts, deterred them from proceeding, and Crusoe entered it alone, telling them if he found a place of safety, he would return for them. He had groped through for a considerable distance, sometimes on his feet and sometimes on his hands and knees -- now in hope, and then thinking it all of no use, when he saw a faint glimmering light before him; this spurred him on. In feeling against the side of the rock, he felt some rugged steps; these he began to ascend, and the light appeared still nearer. Cheered with hope, he continued to climb, holding by pieces of rock that projected out and assisted his foothold. Just over his head he discovered the broad leaves of bushes and brambles that seemed to grow over the chasm of the rock.
He then forced his way through, and in a few moments found himself on the side of a high hill, which commanded the view of a beautiful and fertile country. Who can describe the rapture that seized on the heart of poor Graves! He instantly fell on his knees and returned thanks for his miraculous delivery -- He now thought on the sufferers in the cavern, and prepared to let them know of his safety.
He descended the steps, and halloo'd with all his might, knowing the echo must meet their ears, if they were there; for some time he halloo'd to no purpose, no one answered him, or made their appearance; he then ventured to re-enter the narrow passage, when he heard a dreadful noise in the further cavern, accompanied with shrieks and howlings that made the rocks resound. -- Terrified, he made a precipitate retreat, not doubting but these unfortunate men had met the very fate they so much wished to avoid. He ascended the steps, and once more found himself in safety.
Though Crusoe felt grateful for this double deliverance, the sad fate of his fellow sufferers grieved his heart and clouded the joy that had taken possession of him. The thought of living by himself so solitary and gloomy made him feel wretched, but reflection soon convinced him, if he had many causes for grief, he had also many for joy -- his life so strangely preserved by the hand of Providence, was a great blessing, nor was he cast on a desert land, but on one that seemed fruitful and really inviting. He plucked some herbs which looked like sorrel, and was of a very pleasant taste. He found himself refreshed, and resolved to see if he could not spy out some habitation. He arose from the ground; and as he descended the hill he came to a grove of tall trees; he proceeded on for some miles, but no sign of any human habitation met his longing eye. He then ascended another hill, which rose with a gradual and easy ascent ; on the top he had a complete view of the sea; some miles on his left hand appeared the dreadful rocks, and going round on the other side he plainly observed some part of the wreck lying on the beach below. It being now low water, he discovered the rock on which the ship struck.
The further he went on the more delightful the country appeared, and he could not think such a beautiful place was uninhabited or unknown. He still cherished the hope he should not end his days alone in that island. He took care in his journey to keep the seacoast in view, thinking he might see a sail. He walked on till he came to a grove of orange trees, at the end of which ran a small rivulet; this he crossed and descended a hill, at the foot of which appeared the most lovely scene that art or fancy ever formed -- On one side groves of orange and citron trees; on the other tamarinds, which hung in tempting clusters, Between the groves was stretched a most beautiful and level lawn: the carrols of the numberless birds perched on the trees, and the ripling of the little rivulets that ran meandering through the lawn in different directions, made it appear to Crusoe an enchanted scene.
He plucked the fruits and drank of the clear stream; his sp[i]rits rose, and he gazed around him with delight, but observing a large clump of trees at the foot of the lawn, curiosity led him to the spot[.] The entrance of the little wood was stopped by large plaintains, and different kinds of vines; breaking his way through he saw a hut built after the English fashion; he listened to hear if any noise was within; he knocked at the door, but no one answered. The difficulty he found to enter the wood, and the silence that reigned within, convinced him that it was not inhabited.
He forced open the door, over which the vines had entwined themselves and entered; but if he was surprised before, he was now more so.
The first room was like a kitchen, and several utensils of cookery were ranged in order round; a chair made of bamboo, a rough wooden stool and a table made after the same fashion, formed the furniture of the first room. In the next hung a cot with bedding; and a chair and table like the former; adjoining to which was a little outhouse filled with several small casks, and all kinds of carpenters tools.
At the other end stood some rough boards nailed together in the shape of a coffin; he looked in it and beheld the mouldering form of a human skeleton; "O heavens!" cried Crusoe, aloud, "some poor wretch has languished out his days here in solitary misery, and pain! No friendly hand to heal his complaint, to smooth the bed of sickness, or do the last sad office by closing his eyes, and covering his body with its mother earth." Crusoe with a heavy heart returned to the bed chamber, and casting his eyes round he saw on the table a large book, a small one, and a pen and ink. This had escaped his notice before; he opened the large book, which proved to be a bible, and taking out a paper he read the following memoir.
March 26th, 1692
"I was born at Bristol, of honest industrious parents, who dying when I was but fifteen, myself and sister two years younger, were left to the guardianship of an uncle. My sister was sent to school, and I bound apprentice to a tinman; but though my master treated me with great kindness, I was not satisfied, but took a fancy to go to sea. I had been so much used to have my own way by my indulgent parents, that I never could bear contradiction, and the more I thought on the pleasures of a sea voyage, the more fixed I was in my determination, though my uncle was very angry with me, and tried to dissuade me from it, but all to no purpose. I ran away from my master and went on ship-boa[r]d, as cabin boy.
"The life of a sailor suited my restless disposition, and in the course of a few years I got command of a ship that sailed out of London river, bound for the Indies. In this trade I continued for several years, often corresponding and sometimes seeing my dear sister and friends at Bristol. On the 22d June, (a fatal day for me) I took the command of the Peggy, in the slave trade. I went to Bristol to see and take leave of my sister, who had been married for some years, to a worthy man, a Mr. Graves, merchant, at Bristol: at parting my heart was sad; and a secret something whispered me I should never see them again.
"We set sail from London, and had a very favourable voyage,
though a long one. In our passage from Africa, to the West Indies, a mutiny
sprung up among my men; they seized and confined me, the mate, and doctor
to our cabins, intending to carry the ship into a distant port from that
she was bound to, sell the slaves, share the money, and trade for themselves.
The weather had become stormy, and the ship had been driven about by contrary
winds for some time. After a long consultation what to do with me, some
were for throwing me over-board, others declared they would not have my
life to answer for; at last it was fixed on to set me ashore some miles
to the right of the black mountains, which were then in sight. They gave
no leave to choose the spot for my house, for they brought in the boat
several planks, and other materials for building one: my bed and bedding,
utensils for cooking, tools, two fowling-pieces, powder and shot, and two
casks of provisions: some stayed by the boat to keep it afloat; the others
rolled the casks to this place, and brought the rest of the things. They
run up a kind of shade just to shelter me for the night, saying I should
have plenty of time to build myself a handsome house, and live like a king.
They then left me, in spite of my intreaties that they would take my life,
and not suffer me to die by inches[.] After they were gone I gave myself
up to despair; at first I raved and tore about like a madman, and when
my spirits were exhausted, I sunk into a sullen state: at last quite spent
by the violent conflict I endured I fell asleep. On waking I found myself
faint with hunger; I arose from the ground; the beauty of the scene around
me, and the harmony of the little birds, in some degree calmed my distempered
brain. At last I set myself to work, and in a twelvemonth completed my
little dwelling; afterwards I began to be weary of life, and pined with
discontent; I thought on my sister and Bristol friends; the certainty of
never seeing them again would throw me into fits of anguish. Thus my strength
wore fast away, and I prayed for death; but when I found it approach with
hasty strides, the thought of dying by myself tormented me night and day."
On the other side, written in a straggling hand, the rest.
Crusoe searched the book over, but could see no more, and he judged it to be the last the poor sufferer ever wrote.
This recital was read by him with many sighs and tears. That he should be shipwrecked on the very island his uncle had lived in so long, was a matter of wonder and astonishment. Determined to follow the advice of his unfortunate uncle, he began to bestir himself to make the place as comfortable as possible. By a very lucky circumstance Crusoe had in his pocket at the time of his escape from the wreck, a small tinder box, which, with many other curiosities he was taking over to his uncle, he had the day before been showing to the Captain, and forgot to put them in his trunk, with this he immediately struck a light, and made a good fire with some dry stubble he found in the outhouse. He then laid the bed and bedding before the fire to air; but what was he to do for food? there was plenty of fruit, but that would not stay his stomach nor support his strength. He remembered it mentioned in the manuscript, powder and shot; perhaps it was not all expended. He searched about, and found in the little shed near half a small cask of powder, and a bag of shot. He dried some of the powder at the fire, and cleaned the guns. When it was all complete he sallied forth in pursuit of game, attired in his sporting dress, which he had made of some goat skins for that purpose. He returned in half an hour with two birds the size of a parrot. He sat down, plucked, and drew them, intending to dress one for his supper; he broiled it, and gathered some dates that grew near the hut, which served him for bread; then asking a blessing on what had been prepared for him by the hand of Providence, he made a hearty meal. Finding himself weary and fatigued, he fastened up his door, and recommending himself to the protection of his Maker, he went to bed. In the morning the warbling of the feathered inhabitants of the grove awoke him. He arose refreshed, and returned thanks for the repose he had enjoyed. He went to the out house, and taking a spade he dug a deep grave on the lawn in the front of the hut, and undertook the pious task of consigning his uncle's bones to the earth, in the same shell he had found them.
He then made his hut clean and comfortable, and always went once a day to the top of a high hill, at the back of his dwelling, which commanded a view of the sea, and there he had with much dexterity erected a kind of flagstaff with a tree he had felled for that purpose, and part of an old sail he found in the house.
He was in hopes that some ship sailing near the coast might see it, and send on shore. One day, on his return from his daily walk on the hill, he went to set his trap for birds, when he heard a moaning noise; he was rather startled, and turning round he saw just behind him a beautiful creature, about the size of a goat, enlangled by it's horns amongst the vines that grew round his porch.
The idea of taming this pretty animal struck him as possible; he disengaged it's head, and led it gently into his shed; everyday he brought it fresh herbage and water. In three days after, to his great surprise, his new acquaintance proved a female big with young, and littered four.
He had now milk for his breakfast in a morning, for she supplied both him and her young. He cut down small trees, and placing them at equal distances, with plantains, vines, and other roots, made a high fence on the lawn, on one side his house; here he led the young ones every morning, the mother following him, and at night fastened them up in his shed. One morning setting his kitchen to rights he moved his coat from the nail on which it hung, for the weather was so warm, that a shirt and a pair of drawers composed his dress, and putting his hand into the pocket he felt a tin box, which held some samples of garden seeds. He remembered putting this box into his coat pocket, when he first embarked; and on the night of the shipwreck had put this coat on in a hurry.
Crusoe was overjoyed at this prize; he immediately laid out a plan for a garden, and dug up a small piece of ground on the lawn for that purpose, inclosing his uncle's grave at the top. He sowed his cabbages, carrots, turnips, and parsnips,with parsley, sage, thyme, and other pot herbs. He then fenced it round with small bushes which he brought from the woods. He next made a gate and railing near his house, and with tempered clay he made a monument over his uncle's grave, and carved some figures, representing the unfortunate man's landing on the island, and descriptive of the mutiny; which being between two tall trees, at the top of his garden, made a very pretty appearance, and did credit to him.
After this task was completed, it began to be rainy weather, and Crusoe was much confined within doors; but here he was not idle. He had during the fine weather, gathered a quantity of grapes, oranges, figs, citrons, and several other fruits; some he had dried in the sun, and put into pans of his own making; for some of the grapes he made a kind of press, with two large stones, and finding some sugar canes in his rambles over the island, he extracted the sugar from them, boiled it up with the juiee of the grape, and found it made excellent wine.
The old goat who had been absent for some time, returned again big with young, and in a short time littered him four; Crusoe now lived in plenty -- he could dine off a fowl or a kid, and drink his spirit of wine; sup or breakfast on ripe or dried fruits and milk; and after returning thanks for what he enjoyed, and begging a blessing on his parents, (a duty he never forgot to perform,) lay him down to rest in peace and safety. Crusoe had never since he had been in the island seen the smallest trace of a beast of prey, and he thought himself singulary happy in that circumstance. He was fearful of venturing, too far up the island, lest he should meet with some straggling savages and be killed and eaten, as he had read had happened to many. His hut, his garden, his live stock, the flag staff, with reading and writing, filled up all his time. His garden, the first year, produced vegetables for himself and family, and seed for the next year. Roots of beautiful wild flowers, which he found in the woods, he formed into a parterre before his door, which commanded a full view of the grove, the lawn, the garden, and monument.
In the evening, when the sun had sunk behind the hills, he would often sit down in his porch and enjoy the beauty of the scenery around him, or take a walk around his plantation, accompanied by a little, favourite kid, who was so much attached to him that it would follow him wherever he went. Fed from his hand and playing round his master with sportive gambols and attentive kindness, it won his affectiom, and the kid was his constant companion.
One night Crusoe was much alarmed by a dreadful tempest of thunder and lightning, with loud gusts of wind, Thunder he had heard several times, but never such a tempest as this since he had been on the island. In the pauses of the wind he plainly distinguished the report of guns; this he thought must be the signal of some ships in distress, but it was utterly out of his power to afford them the least relief.
About three weeks afterwards, one morning as he was mending his fence on the outside of his garden, accompanied by his kid, who had now grown old in his service, he heard the barking of a dog, and presently after a little white cur ran towards them and attacked the heels of his favourite. Crusoe surprised and agitated, threw down his tools and followed the dog, who ran barking to the door of his hut --- but what was the astonishment of Crusoe to see, sitting in the porch, a young lady of a most agreeable countenance, whose air and manner shewed her as much surprised as himself. For.some moments they stood, gazing at each other -- the lady first recovering heeself, addressed Crusoe in English, and asked pardon for the liberty she had taken in entering his dwelling.
He scarcely knew how to contain himself when he heard her speak in his native language; however he, as well as his agitation would permit, expressed his pleasure, but begged to know how she came there. She informed him, that in their passage from the West Indies, the ship in which her self and father had embarked, had in a storm about three weeks since, been driven near that coast; but a contrary wind springing up, drove them out to sea again; that they drifted about for some time, and as their voyage had been an uncommon long one, they began to want both provisions and water.
The long boat was sent on shore for water, and what game they might have the good fortune to kill. On the boat's return, loaded with water and several kinds of wild fowl and fruit, the men gave such a description of the beauties of the island, that she begged her father to let her go with him on shore. He consented, and that, quite enchanted with the scene, she had wandered from those who were filling the casks with water, and others with her father, in pursuit of game.
The young lady now began to think her father would be uneasy at her absence; when she spied him coming down the hill -- she ran to meet him, and introduced Crusoe.
The father offered to take him from the island. Crusoe, with tears of gratitude, thanked him, and then led him towards his house. The monument caught the stranger's eye; "Impossible!" he exclaimed, "surely I dream!"' then looking at Crusoe with great earnestness, 'Tell me,' said he, 'what is your name,' when he heard it, he embraced Crusoe with tenderness, and called him his nephew.
The voyage of Crusoe Graves was talked of and remembered in that family for many years after.
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