Puslapio vaizdai

I had another belt, not so broad, and fastened in the same manner, which hung over my shoulder; and at the end of it, under my left arm, hung two pouches, both made of goatskin, too; in one of these was my powder, in the other my shot.

At my back I carried my basket, on my shoulder my gun, and over my head a great clumsy goatskin umbrella. This, after all, was the most necessary thing I had about me, next to my gun.

As for my face, the color of it was not really so mulatto-like as one might expect from a man not at all careful of it, and living within nine or ten degrees of the equinox.

My beard I had once suffered to grow till it was about a quarter of a yard long; but, as I had both scissors and razors sufficient, I had cut it pretty short, except what grew on my upper lip. That I had trimmed into a large pair of Mahometan whiskers, such as I had seen worn by some Turks whom I saw at Sallee.


As my country place was about half-way between my other habitation and the place where I had laid up my boat, I generally stayed and slept here on my way thither. 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 accident.

But now I come to a new scene in my life.

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 on the sand.

I stood like one thunderstruck, or as if I had seen an apparition. I listened, I looked around 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 I could see no other impression but that one.

I went 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. I was 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. It is not 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, 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. This 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 now I was a great way off.

I presently concluded that it must be some of the savages of the mainland over against me, who had wandered out to sea in their canoes, and, 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 loth, perhaps, to stay in this desolate island, as I should have been to have had them.

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 so, perhaps, would have searched farther. Then, terrible thoughts racked my imagination about their having found my boat, and that there were people here; and that, if so, I should certainly see them come, in great numbers, to 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 all my flock of tame goats, and I should perish at last for mere want.

It came into my thoughts one day, that all this might be a mere chimera of my own, and that this foot might be the print of my own foot when I came on shore from the boat. This cheered me a little, and I began to persuade myself that it was all a delusion; that it was nothing else but my own foot.

Heartening myself, therefore, with this belief — that this was nothing but the print of one of my own feet - I began to go abroad again, and went to my country house to milk my flock.

As I went down thus two or three days, and having seen nothing, I began to be a little bolder, and to think there was really nothing but my own imagination. But I could not persuade myself fully of this

till I should go down to the shore again and measure this print of a foot by my own.

But when I came to the place: first, it appeared evident to me that when I had laid up my boat, I could not have been on shore anywhere 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 things filled my head with new imaginations, so that I shook with cold, like one in ague; and 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; and what course to take for security I knew not.




I am monarch of all I survey,

My right there is none to dispute;
From the center all round to the sea,

I am Lord of the fowl and the brute.
O solitude! where are the charms

That sages have seen in thy face?
Better dwell in the midst of alarms,

Than to reign in this horrible place.


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