Robinson Crusoe
by Daniel Defoe
 

CHAPTER IX - A BOAT


I BUT first I was to prepare more land, for I had now seed enough to
sow above an acre of ground. Before I did this, I had a week's
work at least to make me a spade, which, when it was done, was but
a sorry one indeed, and very heavy, and required double labour to
work with it. However, I got through that, and sowed my seed in
two large flat pieces of ground, as near my house as I could find
them to my mind, and fenced them in with a good hedge, the stakes
of which were all cut off that wood which I had set before, and
knew it would grow; so that, in a year's time, I knew I should have
a quick or living hedge, that would want but little repair. This
work did not take me up less than three months, because a great
part of that time was the wet season, when I could not go abroad.
Within-doors, that is when it rained and I could not go out, I
found employment in the following occupations - always observing,
that all the while I was at work I diverted myself with talking to
my parrot, and teaching him to speak; and I quickly taught him to
know his own name, and at last to speak it out pretty loud, "Poll,"
which was the first word I ever heard spoken in the island by any
mouth but my own. This, therefore, was not my work, but an
assistance to my work; for now, as I said, I had a great employment
upon my hands, as follows: I had long studied to make, by some
means or other, some earthen vessels, which, indeed, I wanted
sorely, but knew not where to come at them. However, considering
the heat of the climate, I did not doubt but if I could find out
any clay, I might make some pots that might, being dried in the
sun, be hard enough and strong enough to bear handling, and to hold
anything that was dry, and required to be kept so; and as this was
necessary in the preparing corn, meal, &c., which was the thing I
was doing, I resolved to make some as large as I could, and fit
only to stand like jars, to hold what should be put into them.

It would make the reader pity me, or rather laugh at me, to tell
how many awkward ways I took to raise this paste; what odd,
misshapen, ugly things I made; how many of them fell in and how
many fell out, the clay not being stiff enough to bear its own
weight; how many cracked by the over-violent heat of the sun, being
set out too hastily; and how many fell in pieces with only
removing, as well before as after they were dried; and, in a word,
how, after having laboured hard to find the clay - to dig it, to
temper it, to bring it home, and work it - I could not make above
two large earthen ugly things (I cannot call them jars) in about
two months' labour.

However, as the sun baked these two very dry and hard, I lifted
them very gently up, and set them down again in two great wicker
baskets, which I had made on purpose for them, that they might not
break; and as between the pot and the basket there was a little
room to spare, I stuffed it full of the rice and barley straw; and
these two pots being to stand always dry I thought would hold my
dry corn, and perhaps the meal, when the corn was bruised.

Though I miscarried so much in my design for large pots, yet I made
several smaller things with better success; such as little round
pots, flat dishes, pitchers, and pipkins, and any things my hand
turned to; and the heat of the sun baked them quite hard.

But all this would not answer my end, which was to get an earthen
pot to hold what was liquid, and bear the fire, which none of these
could do. It happened after some time, making a pretty large fire
for cooking my meat, when I went to put it out after I had done
with it, I found a broken piece of one of my earthenware vessels in
the fire, burnt as hard as a stone, and red as a tile. I was
agreeably surprised to see it, and said to myself, that certainly
they might be made to burn whole, if they would burn broken.

This set me to study how to order my fire, so as to make it burn
some pots. I had no notion of a kiln, such as the potters burn in,
or of glazing them with lead, though I had some lead to do it with;
but I placed three large pipkins and two or three pots in a pile,
one upon another, and placed my firewood all round it, with a great
heap of embers under them. I plied the fire with fresh fuel round
the outside and upon the top, till I saw the pots in the inside
red-hot quite through, and observed that they did not crack at all.
When I saw them clear red, I let them stand in that heat about five
or six hours, till I found one of them, though it did not crack,
did melt or run; for the sand which was mixed with the clay melted
by the violence of the heat, and would have run into glass if I had
gone on; so I slacked my fire gradually till the pots began to
abate of the red colour; and watching them all night, that I might
not let the fire abate too fast, in the morning I had three very
good (I will not say handsome) pipkins, and two other earthen pots,
as hard burnt as could be desired, and one of them perfectly glazed
with the running of the sand.

After this experiment, I need not say that I wanted no sort of
earthenware for my use; but I must needs say as to the shapes of
them, they were very indifferent, as any one may suppose, when I
had no way of making them but as the children make dirt pies, or as
a woman would make pies that never learned to raise paste.

No joy at a thing of so mean a nature was ever equal to mine, when
I found I had made an earthen pot that would bear the fire; and I
had hardly patience to stay till they were cold before I set one on
the fire again with some water in it to boil me some meat, which it
did admirably well; and with a piece of a kid I made some very good
broth, though I wanted oatmeal, and several other ingredients
requisite to make it as good as I would have had it been.

My next concern was to get me a stone mortar to stamp or beat some
corn in; for as to the mill, there was no thought of arriving at
that perfection of art with one pair of hands. To supply this
want, I was at a great loss; for, of all the trades in the world, I
was as perfectly unqualified for a stone-cutter as for any
whatever; neither had I any tools to go about it with. I spent
many a day to find out a great stone big enough to cut hollow, and
make fit for a mortar, and could find none at all, except what was
in the solid rock, and which I had no way to dig or cut out; nor
indeed were the rocks in the island of hardness sufficient, but
were all of a sandy, crumbling stone, which neither would bear the
weight of a heavy pestle, nor would break the corn without filling
it with sand. So, after a great deal of time lost in searching for
a stone, I gave it over, and resolved to look out for a great block
of hard wood, which I found, indeed, much easier; and getting one
as big as I had strength to stir, I rounded it, and formed it on
the outside with my axe and hatchet, and then with the help of fire
and infinite labour, made a hollow place in it, as the Indians in
Brazil make their canoes. After this, I made a great heavy pestle
or beater of the wood called the iron-wood; and this I prepared and
laid by against I had my next crop of corn, which I proposed to
myself to grind, or rather pound into meal to make bread.

My next difficulty was to make a sieve or searce, to dress my meal,
and to part it from the bran and the husk; without which I did not
see it possible I could have any bread. This was a most difficult
thing even to think on, for to be sure I had nothing like the
necessary thing to make it - I mean fine thin canvas or stuff to
searce the meal through. And here I was at a full stop for many
months; nor did I really know what to do. Linen I had none left
but what was mere rags; I had goat's hair, but neither knew how to
weave it or spin it; and had I known how, here were no tools to
work it with. All the remedy that I found for this was, that at
last I did remember I had, among the seamen's clothes which were
saved out of the ship, some neckcloths of calico or muslin; and
with some pieces of these I made three small sieves proper enough
for the work; and thus I made shift for some years: how I did
afterwards, I shall show in its place.

The baking part was the next thing to be considered, and how I
should make bread when I came to have corn; for first, I had no
yeast. As to that part, there was no supplying the want, so I did
not concern myself much about it. But for an oven I was indeed in
great pain. At length I found out an experiment for that also,
which was this: I made some earthen-vessels very broad but not
deep, that is to say, about two feet diameter, and not above nine
inches deep. These I burned in the fire, as I had done the other,
and laid them by; and when I wanted to bake, I made a great fire
upon my hearth, which I had paved with some square tiles of my own
baking and burning also; but I should not call them square.

When the firewood was burned pretty much into embers or live coals,
I drew them forward upon this hearth, so as to cover it all over,
and there I let them lie till the hearth was very hot. Then
sweeping away all the embers, I set down my loaf or loaves, and
whelming down the earthen pot upon them, drew the embers all round
the outside of the pot, to keep in and add to the heat; and thus as
well as in the best oven in the world, I baked my barley-loaves,
and became in little time a good pastrycook into the bargain; for I
made myself several cakes and puddings of the rice; but I made no
pies, neither had I anything to put into them supposing I had,
except the flesh either of fowls or goats.

It need not be wondered at if all these things took me up most part
of the third year of my abode here; for it is to be observed that
in the intervals of these things I had my new harvest and husbandry
to manage; for I reaped my corn in its season, and carried it home
as well as I could, and laid it up in the ear, in my large baskets,
till I had time to rub it out, for I had no floor to thrash it on,
or instrument to thrash it with.

And now, indeed, my stock of corn increasing, I really wanted to
build my barns bigger; I wanted a place to lay it up in, for the
increase of the corn now yielded me so much, that I had of the
barley about twenty bushels, and of the rice as much or more;
insomuch that now I resolved to begin to use it freely; for my
bread had been quite gone a great while; also I resolved to see
what quantity would be sufficient for me a whole year, and to sow
but once a year.

Upon the whole, I found that the forty bushels of barley and rice
were much more than I could consume in a year; so I resolved to sow
just the same quantity every year that I sowed the last, in hopes
that such a quantity would fully provide me with bread, &c.

All the while these things were doing, you may be sure my thoughts
ran many times upon the prospect of land which I had seen from the
other side of the island; and I was not without secret wishes that
I were on shore there, fancying that, seeing the mainland, and an
inhabited country, I might find some way or other to convey myself
further, and perhaps at last find some means of escape.

But all this while I made no allowance for the dangers of such an
undertaking, and how I might fall into the hands of savages, and
perhaps such as I might have reason to think far worse than the
lions and tigers of Africa: that if I once came in their power, I
should run a hazard of more than a thousand to one of being killed,
and perhaps of being eaten; for I had heard that the people of the
Caribbean coast were cannibals or man-eaters, and I knew by the
latitude that I could not be far from that shore. Then, supposing
they were not cannibals, yet they might kill me, as many Europeans
who had fallen into their hands had been served, even when they had
been ten or twenty together - much more I, that was but one, and
could make little or no defence; all these things, I say, which I
ought to have considered well; and did come into my thoughts
afterwards, yet gave me no apprehensions at first, and my head ran
mightily upon the thought of getting over to the shore.

Now I wished for my boy Xury, and the long-boat with shoulder-of-
mutton sail, with which I sailed above a thousand miles on the
coast of Africa; but this was in vain: then I thought I would go
and look at our ship's boat, which, as I have said, was blown up
upon the shore a great way, in the storm, when we were first cast
away. She lay almost where she did at first, but not quite; and
was turned, by the force of the waves and the winds, almost bottom
upward, against a high ridge of beachy, rough sand, but no water
about her. If I had had hands to have refitted her, and to have
launched her into the water, the boat would have done well enough,
and I might have gone back into the Brazils with her easily enough;
but I might have foreseen that I could no more turn her and set her
upright upon her bottom than I could remove the island; however, I
went to the woods, and cut levers and rollers, and brought them to
the boat resolving to try what I could do; suggesting to myself
that if I could but turn her down, I might repair the damage she
had received, and she would be a very good boat, and I might go to
sea in her very easily.

I spared no pains, indeed, in this piece of fruitless toil, and
spent, I think, three or four weeks about it; at last finding it
impossible to heave it up with my little strength, I fell to
digging away the sand, to undermine it, and so to make it fall
down, setting pieces of wood to thrust and guide it right in the
fall.

But when I had done this, I was unable to stir it up again, or to
get under it, much less to move it forward towards the water; so I
was forced to give it over; and yet, though I gave over the hopes
of the boat, my desire to venture over for the main increased,
rather than decreased, as the means for it seemed impossible.

This at length put me upon thinking whether it was not possible to
make myself a canoe, or periagua, such as the natives of those
climates make, even without tools, or, as I might say, without
hands, of the trunk of a great tree. This I not only thought
possible, but easy, and pleased myself extremely with the thoughts
of making it, and with my having much more convenience for it than
any of the negroes or Indians; but not at all considering the
particular inconveniences which I lay under more than the Indians
did - viz. want of hands to move it, when it was made, into the
water - a difficulty much harder for me to surmount than all the
consequences of want of tools could be to them; for what was it to
me, if when I had chosen a vast tree in the woods, and with much
trouble cut it down, if I had been able with my tools to hew and
dub the outside into the proper shape of a boat, and burn or cut
out the inside to make it hollow, so as to make a boat of it - if,
after all this, I must leave it just there where I found it, and
not be able to launch it into the water?

One would have thought I could not have had the least reflection
upon my mind of my circumstances while I was making this boat, but
I should have immediately thought how I should get it into the sea;
but my thoughts were so intent upon my voyage over the sea in it,
that I never once considered how I should get it off the land: and
it was really, in its own nature, more easy for me to guide it over
forty-five miles of sea than about forty-five fathoms of land,
where it lay, to set it afloat in the water.

I went to work upon this boat the most like a fool that ever man
did who had any of his senses awake. I pleased myself with the
design, without determining whether I was ever able to undertake
it; not but that the difficulty of launching my boat came often
into my head; but I put a stop to my inquiries into it by this
foolish answer which I gave myself - "Let me first make it; I
warrant I will find some way or other to get it along when it is
done."

This was a most preposterous method; but the eagerness of my fancy
prevailed, and to work I went. I felled a cedar-tree, and I
question much whether Solomon ever had such a one for the building
of the Temple of Jerusalem; it was five feet ten inches diameter at
the lower part next the stump, and four feet eleven inches diameter
at the end of twenty-two feet; after which it lessened for a while,
and then parted into branches. It was not without infinite labour
that I felled this tree; I was twenty days hacking and hewing at it
at the bottom; I was fourteen more getting the branches and limbs
and the vast spreading head cut off, which I hacked and hewed
through with axe and hatchet, and inexpressible labour; after this,
it cost me a month to shape it and dub it to a proportion, and to
something like the bottom of a boat, that it might swim upright as
it ought to do. It cost me near three months more to clear the
inside, and work it out so as to make an exact boat of it; this I
did, indeed, without fire, by mere mallet and chisel, and by the
dint of hard labour, till I had brought it to be a very handsome
periagua, and big enough to have carried six-and-twenty men, and
consequently big enough to have carried me and all my cargo.

When I had gone through this work I was extremely delighted with
it. The boat was really much bigger than ever I saw a canoe or
periagua, that was made of one tree, in my life. Many a weary
stroke it had cost, you may be sure; and had I gotten it into the
water, I make no question, but I should have begun the maddest
voyage, and the most unlikely to be performed, that ever was
undertaken.

But all my devices to get it into the water failed me; though they
cost me infinite labour too. It lay about one hundred yards from
the water, and not more; but the first inconvenience was, it was up
hill towards the creek. Well, to take away this discouragement, I
resolved to dig into the surface of the earth, and so make a
declivity: this I began, and it cost me a prodigious deal of pains
(but who grudge pains who have their deliverance in view?); but
when this was worked through, and this difficulty managed, it was
still much the same, for I could no more stir the canoe than I
could the other boat. Then I measured the distance of ground, and
resolved to cut a dock or canal, to bring the water up to the
canoe, seeing I could not bring the canoe down to the water. Well,
I began this work; and when I began to enter upon it, and calculate
how deep it was to be dug, how broad, how the stuff was to be
thrown out, I found that, by the number of hands I had, being none
but my own, it must have been ten or twelve years before I could
have gone through with it; for the shore lay so high, that at the
upper end it must have been at least twenty feet deep; so at
length, though with great reluctancy, I gave this attempt over
also.

This grieved me heartily; and now I saw, though too late, the folly
of beginning a work before we count the cost, and before we judge
rightly of our own strength to go through with it.

In the middle of this work I finished my fourth year in this place,
and kept my anniversary with the same devotion, and with as much
comfort as ever before; for, by a constant study and serious
application to the Word of God, and by the assistance of His grace,
I gained a different knowledge from what I had before. I
entertained different notions of things. I looked now upon the
world as a thing remote, which I had nothing to do with, no
expectations from, and, indeed, no desires about: in a word, I had
nothing indeed to do with it, nor was ever likely to have, so I
thought it looked, as we may perhaps look upon it hereafter - viz.
as a place I had lived in, but was come out of it; and well might I
say, as Father Abraham to Dives, "Between me and thee is a great
gulf fixed."

In the first place, I was removed from all the wickedness of the
world here; I had neither the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the
eye, nor the pride of life. I had nothing to covet, for I had all
that I was now capable of enjoying; I was lord of the whole manor;
or, if I pleased, I might call myself king or emperor over the
whole country which I had possession of: there were no rivals; I
had no competitor, none to dispute sovereignty or command with me:
I might have raised ship-loadings of corn, but I had no use for it;
so I let as little grow as I thought enough for my occasion. I had
tortoise or turtle enough, but now and then one was as much as I
could put to any use: I had timber enough to have built a fleet of
ships; and I had grapes enough to have made wine, or to have cured
into raisins, to have loaded that fleet when it had been built.

But all I could make use of was all that was valuable: I had enough
to eat and supply my wants, and what was all the rest to me? If I
killed more flesh than I could eat, the dog must eat it, or vermin;
if I sowed more corn than I could eat, it must be spoiled; the
trees that I cut down were lying to rot on the ground; I could make
no more use of them but for fuel, and that I had no occasion for
but to dress my food.

In a word, the nature and experience of things dictated to me, upon
just reflection, that all the good things of this world are no
farther good to us than they are for our use; and that, whatever we
may heap up to give others, we enjoy just as much as we can use,
and no more. The most covetous, griping miser in the world would
have been cured of the vice of covetousness if he had been in my
case; for I possessed infinitely more than I knew what to do with.
I had no room for desire, except it was of things which I had not,
and they were but trifles, though, indeed, of great use to me. I
had, as I hinted before, a parcel of money, as well gold as silver,
about thirty-six pounds sterling. Alas! there the sorry, useless
stuff lay; I had no more manner of business for it; and often
thought with myself that I would have given a handful of it for a
gross of tobacco-pipes; or for a hand-mill to grind my corn; nay, I
would have given it all for a sixpenny-worth of turnip and carrot
seed out of England, or for a handful of peas and beans, and a
bottle of ink. As it was, I had not the least advantage by it or
benefit from it; but there it lay in a drawer, and grew mouldy with
the damp of the cave in the wet seasons; and if I had had the
drawer full of diamonds, it had been the same case - they had been
of no manner of value to me, because of no use.

I had now brought my state of life to be much easier in itself than
it was at first, and much easier to my mind, as well as to my body.
I frequently sat down to meat with thankfulness, and admired the
hand of God's providence, which had thus spread my table in the
wilderness. I learned to look more upon the bright side of my
condition, and less upon the dark side, and to consider what I
enjoyed rather than what I wanted; and this gave me sometimes such
secret comforts, that I cannot express them; and which I take
notice of here, to put those discontented people in mind of it, who
cannot enjoy comfortably what God has given them, because they see
and covet something that He has not given them. All our
discontents about what we want appeared to me to spring from the
want of thankfulness for what we have.

Another reflection was of great use to me, and doubtless would be
so to any one that should fall into such distress as mine was; and
this was, to compare my present condition with what I at first
expected it would be; nay, with what it would certainly have been,
if the good providence of God had not wonderfully ordered the ship
to be cast up nearer to the shore, where I not only could come at
her, but could bring what I got out of her to the shore, for my
relief and comfort; without which, I had wanted for tools to work,
weapons for defence, and gunpowder and shot for getting my food.

I spent whole hours, I may say whole days, in representing to
myself, in the most lively colours, how I must have acted if I had
got nothing out of the ship. How I could not have so much as got
any food, except fish and turtles; and that, as it was long before
I found any of them, I must have perished first; that I should have
lived, if I had not perished, like a mere savage; that if I had
killed a goat or a fowl, by any contrivance, I had no way to flay
or open it, or part the flesh from the skin and the bowels, or to
cut it up; but must gnaw it with my teeth, and pull it with my
claws, like a beast.

These reflections made me very sensible of the goodness of
Providence to me, and very thankful for my present condition, with
all its hardships and misfortunes; and this part also I cannot but
recommend to the reflection of those who are apt, in their misery,
to say, "Is any affliction like mine?" Let them consider how much
worse the cases of some people are, and their case might have been,
if Providence had thought fit.

I had another reflection, which assisted me also to comfort my mind
with hopes; and this was comparing my present situation with what I
had deserved, and had therefore reason to expect from the hand of
Providence. I had lived a dreadful life, perfectly destitute of
the knowledge and fear of God. I had been well instructed by
father and mother; neither had they been wanting to me in their
early endeavours to infuse a religious awe of God into my mind, a
sense of my duty, and what the nature and end of my being required
of me. But, alas! falling early into the seafaring life, which of
all lives is the most destitute of the fear of God, though His
terrors are always before them; I say, falling early into the
seafaring life, and into seafaring company, all that little sense
of religion which I had entertained was laughed out of me by my
messmates; by a hardened despising of dangers, and the views of
death, which grew habitual to me by my long absence from all manner
of opportunities to converse with anything but what was like
myself, or to hear anything that was good or tended towards it.

So void was I of everything that was good, or the least sense of
what I was, or was to be, that, in the greatest deliverances I
enjoyed - such as my escape from Sallee; my being taken up by the
Portuguese master of the ship; my being planted so well in the
Brazils; my receiving the cargo from England, and the like - I
never had once the words "Thank God!" so much as on my mind, or in
my mouth; nor in the greatest distress had I so much as a thought
to pray to Him, or so much as to say, "Lord, have mercy upon me!"
no, nor to mention the name of God, unless it was to swear by, and
blaspheme it.

I had terrible reflections upon my mind for many months, as I have
already observed, on account of my wicked and hardened life past;
and when I looked about me, and considered what particular
providences had attended me since my coming into this place, and
how God had dealt bountifully with me - had not only punished me
less than my iniquity had deserved, but had so plentifully provided
for me - this gave me great hopes that my repentance was accepted,
and that God had yet mercy in store for me.

With these reflections I worked my mind up, not only to a
resignation to the will of God in the present disposition of my
circumstances, but even to a sincere thankfulness for my condition;
and that I, who was yet a living man, ought not to complain, seeing
I had not the due punishment of my sins; that I enjoyed so many
mercies which I had no reason to have expected in that place; that
I ought never more to repine at my condition, but to rejoice, and
to give daily thanks for that daily bread, which nothing but a
crowd of wonders could have brought; that I ought to consider I had
been fed even by a miracle, even as great as that of feeding Elijah
by ravens, nay, by a long series of miracles; and that I could
hardly have named a place in the uninhabitable part of the world
where I could have been cast more to my advantage; a place where,
as I had no society, which was my affliction on one hand, so I
found no ravenous beasts, no furious wolves or tigers, to threaten
my life; no venomous creatures, or poisons, which I might feed on
to my hurt; no savages to murder and devour me. In a word, as my
life was a life of sorrow one way, so it was a life of mercy
another; and I wanted nothing to make it a life of comfort but to
be able to make my sense of God's goodness to me, and care over me
in this condition, be my daily consolation; and after I did make a
just improvement on these things, I went away, and was no more sad.
I had now been here so long that many things which I had brought on
shore for my help were either quite gone, or very much wasted and
near spent.

My ink, as I observed, had been gone some time, all but a very
little, which I eked out with water, a little and a little, till it
was so pale, it scarce left any appearance of black upon the paper.
As long as it lasted I made use of it to minute down the days of
the month on which any remarkable thing happened to me; and first,
by casting up times past, I remembered that there was a strange
concurrence of days in the various providences which befell me, and
which, if I had been superstitiously inclined to observe days as
fatal or fortunate, I might have had reason to have looked upon
with a great deal of curiosity.

First, I had observed that the same day that I broke away from my
father and friends and ran away to Hull, in order to go to sea, the
same day afterwards I was taken by the Sallee man-of-war, and made
a slave; the same day of the year that I escaped out of the wreck
of that ship in Yarmouth Roads, that same day-year afterwards I
made my escape from Sallee in a boat; the same day of the year I
was born on - viz. the 30th of September, that same day I had my
life so miraculously saved twenty-six years after, when I was cast
on shore in this island; so that my wicked life and my solitary
life began both on a day.

The next thing to my ink being wasted was that of my bread - I mean
the biscuit which I brought out of the ship; this I had husbanded
to the last degree, allowing myself but one cake of bread a-day for
above a year; and yet I was quite without bread for near a year
before I got any corn of my own, and great reason I had to be
thankful that I had any at all, the getting it being, as has been
already observed, next to miraculous.

My clothes, too, began to decay; as to linen, I had had none a good
while, except some chequered shirts which I found in the chests of
the other seamen, and which I carefully preserved; because many
times I could bear no other clothes on but a shirt; and it was a
very great help to me that I had, among all the men's clothes of
the ship, almost three dozen of shirts. There were also, indeed,
several thick watch-coats of the seamen's which were left, but they
were too hot to wear; and though it is true that the weather was so
violently hot that there was no need of clothes, yet I could not go
quite naked - no, though I had been inclined to it, which I was not
- nor could I abide the thought of it, though I was alone. The
reason why I could not go naked was, I could not bear the heat of
the sun so well when quite naked as with some clothes on; nay, the
very heat frequently blistered my skin: whereas, with a shirt on,
the air itself made some motion, and whistling under the shirt, was
twofold cooler than without it. No more could I ever bring myself
to go out in the heat of the sun without a cap or a hat; the heat
of the sun, beating with such violence as it does in that place,
would give me the headache presently, by darting so directly on my
head, without a cap or hat on, so that I could not bear it;
whereas, if I put on my hat it would presently go away.

Upon these views I began to consider about putting the few rags I
had, which I called clothes, into some order; I had worn out all
the waistcoats I had, and my business was now to try if I could not
make jackets out of the great watch-coats which I had by me, and
with such other materials as I had; so I set to work, tailoring, or
rather, indeed, botching, for I made most piteous work of it.
However, I made shift to make two or three new waistcoats, which I
hoped would serve me a great while: as for breeches or drawers, I
made but a very sorry shift indeed till afterwards.

I have mentioned that I saved the skins of all the creatures that I
killed, I mean four-footed ones, and I had them hung up, stretched
out with sticks in the sun, by which means some of them were so dry
and hard that they were fit for little, but others were very
useful. The first thing I made of these was a great cap for my
head, with the hair on the outside, to shoot off the rain; and this
I performed so well, that after I made me a suit of clothes wholly
of these skins - that is to say, a waistcoat, and breeches open at
the knees, and both loose, for they were rather wanting to keep me
cool than to keep me warm. I must not omit to acknowledge that
they were wretchedly made; for if I was a bad carpenter, I was a
worse tailor. However, they were such as I made very good shift
with, and when I was out, if it happened to rain, the hair of my
waistcoat and cap being outermost, I was kept very dry.

After this, I spent a great deal of time and pains to make an
umbrella; I was, indeed, in great want of one, and had a great mind
to make one; I had seen them made in the Brazils, where they are
very useful in the great heats there, and I felt the heats every
jot as great here, and greater too, being nearer the equinox;
besides, as I was obliged to be much abroad, it was a most useful
thing to me, as well for the rains as the heats. I took a world of
pains with it, and was a great while before I could make anything
likely to hold: nay, after I had thought I had hit the way, I
spoiled two or three before I made one to my mind: but at last I
made one that answered indifferently well: the main difficulty I
found was to make it let down. I could make it spread, but if it
did not let down too, and draw in, it was not portable for me any
way but just over my head, which would not do. However, at last,
as I said, I made one to answer, and covered it with skins, the
hair upwards, so that it cast off the rain like a pent-house, and
kept off the sun so effectually, that I could walk out in the
hottest of the weather with greater advantage than I could before
in the coolest, and when I had no need of it could close it, and
carry it under my arm

Thus I lived mighty comfortably, my mind being entirely composed by
resigning myself to the will of God, and throwing myself wholly
upon the disposal of His providence. This made my life better than
sociable, for when I began to regret the want of conversation I
would ask myself, whether thus conversing mutually with my own
thoughts, and (as I hope I may say) with even God Himself, by
ejaculations, was not better than the utmost enjoyment of human
society in the world?


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