Robinson Crusoe
by Daniel Defoe
 

CHAPTER XIX - RETURN TO ENGLAND


HAVING done all this I left them the next day, and went on board
the ship. We prepared immediately to sail, but did not weigh that
night. The next morning early, two of the five men came swimming
to the ship's side, and making the most lamentable complaint of the
other three, begged to be taken into the ship for God's sake, for
they should be murdered, and begged the captain to take them on
board, though he hanged them immediately. Upon this the captain
pretended to have no power without me; but after some difficulty,
and after their solemn promises of amendment, they were taken on
board, and were, some time after, soundly whipped and pickled;
after which they proved very honest and quiet fellows.

Some time after this, the boat was ordered on shore, the tide being
up, with the things promised to the men; to which the captain, at
my intercession, caused their chests and clothes to be added, which
they took, and were very thankful for. I also encouraged them, by
telling them that if it lay in my power to send any vessel to take
them in, I would not forget them.

When I took leave of this island, I carried on board, for relics,
the great goat-skin cap I had made, my umbrella, and one of my
parrots; also, I forgot not to take the money I formerly mentioned,
which had lain by me so long useless that it was grown rusty or
tarnished, and could hardly pass for silver till it had been a
little rubbed and handled, as also the money I found in the wreck
of the Spanish ship. And thus I left the island, the 19th of
December, as I found by the ship's account, in the year 1686, after
I had been upon it eight-and-twenty years, two months, and nineteen
days; being delivered from this second captivity the same day of
the month that I first made my escape in the long-boat from among
the Moors of Sallee. In this vessel, after a long voyage, I
arrived in England the 11th of June, in the year 1687, having been
thirty-five years absent.

When I came to England I was as perfect a stranger to all the world
as if I had never been known there. My benefactor and faithful
steward, whom I had left my money in trust with, was alive, but had
had great misfortunes in the world; was become a widow the second
time, and very low in the world. I made her very easy as to what
she owed me, assuring her I would give her no trouble; but, on the
contrary, in gratitude for her former care and faithfulness to me,
I relieved her as my little stock would afford; which at that time
would, indeed, allow me to do but little for her; but I assured her
I would never forget her former kindness to me; nor did I forget
her when I had sufficient to help her, as shall be observed in its
proper place. I went down afterwards into Yorkshire; but my father
was dead, and my mother and all the family extinct, except that I
found two sisters, and two of the children of one of my brothers;
and as I had been long ago given over for dead, there had been no
provision made for me; so that, in a word, I found nothing to
relieve or assist me; and that the little money I had would not do
much for me as to settling in the world.

I met with one piece of gratitude indeed, which I did not expect;
and this was, that the master of the ship, whom I had so happily
delivered, and by the same means saved the ship and cargo, having
given a very handsome account to the owners of the manner how I had
saved the lives of the men and the ship, they invited me to meet
them and some other merchants concerned, and all together made me a
very handsome compliment upon the subject, and a present of almost
200 pounds sterling.

But after making several reflections upon the circumstances of my
life, and how little way this would go towards settling me in the
world, I resolved to go to Lisbon, and see if I might not come at
some information of the state of my plantation in the Brazils, and
of what was become of my partner, who, I had reason to suppose, had
some years past given me over for dead. With this view I took
shipping for Lisbon, where I arrived in April following, my man
Friday accompanying me very honestly in all these ramblings, and
proving a most faithful servant upon all occasions. When I came to
Lisbon, I found out, by inquiry, and to my particular satisfaction,
my old friend, the captain of the ship who first took me up at sea
off the shore of Africa. He was now grown old, and had left off
going to sea, having put his son, who was far from a young man,
into his ship, and who still used the Brazil trade. The old man
did not know me, and indeed I hardly knew him. But I soon brought
him to my remembrance, and as soon brought myself to his
remembrance, when I told him who I was.

After some passionate expressions of the old acquaintance between
us, I inquired, you may he sure, after my plantation and my
partner. The old man told me he had not been in the Brazils for
about nine years; but that he could assure me that when he came
away my partner was living, but the trustees whom I had joined with
him to take cognisance of my part were both dead: that, however, he
believed I would have a very good account of the improvement of the
plantation; for that, upon the general belief of my being cast away
and drowned, my trustees had given in the account of the produce of
my part of the plantation to the procurator-fiscal, who had
appropriated it, in case I never came to claim it, one-third to the
king, and two-thirds to the monastery of St. Augustine, to be
expended for the benefit of the poor, and for the conversion of the
Indians to the Catholic faith: but that, if I appeared, or any one
for me, to claim the inheritance, it would be restored; only that
the improvement, or annual production, being distributed to
charitable uses, could not be restored: but he assured me that the
steward of the king's revenue from lands, and the providore, or
steward of the monastery, had taken great care all along that the
incumbent, that is to say my partner, gave every year a faithful
account of the produce, of which they had duly received my moiety.
I asked him if he knew to what height of improvement he had brought
the plantation, and whether he thought it might be worth looking
after; or whether, on my going thither, I should meet with any
obstruction to my possessing my just right in the moiety. He told
me he could not tell exactly to what degree the plantation was
improved; but this he knew, that my partner was grown exceeding
rich upon the enjoying his part of it; and that, to the best of his
remembrance, he had heard that the king's third of my part, which
was, it seems, granted away to some other monastery or religious
house, amounted to above two hundred moidores a year: that as to my
being restored to a quiet possession of it, there was no question
to be made of that, my partner being alive to witness my title, and
my name being also enrolled in the register of the country; also he
told me that the survivors of my two trustees were very fair,
honest people, and very wealthy; and he believed I would not only
have their assistance for putting me in possession, but would find
a very considerable sum of money in their hands for my account,
being the produce of the farm while their fathers held the trust,
and before it was given up, as above; which, as he remembered, was
for about twelve years.

I showed myself a little concerned and uneasy at this account, and
inquired of the old captain how it came to pass that the trustees
should thus dispose of my effects, when he knew that I had made my
will, and had made him, the Portuguese captain, my universal heir,
&c.

He told me that was true; but that as there was no proof of my
being dead, he could not act as executor until some certain account
should come of my death; and, besides, he was not willing to
intermeddle with a thing so remote: that it was true he had
registered my will, and put in his claim; and could he have given
any account of my being dead or alive, he would have acted by
procuration, and taken possession of the ingenio (so they call the
sugar-house), and have given his son, who was now at the Brazils,
orders to do it. "But," says the old man, "I have one piece of
news to tell you, which perhaps may not be so acceptable to you as
the rest; and that is, believing you were lost, and all the world
believing so also, your partner and trustees did offer to account
with me, in your name, for the first six or eight years' profits,
which I received. There being at that time great disbursements for
increasing the works, building an ingenio, and buying slaves, it
did not amount to near so much as afterwards it produced; however,"
says the old man, "I shall give you a true account of what I have
received in all, and how I have disposed of it."

After a few days' further conference with this ancient friend, he
brought me an account of the first six years' income of my
plantation, signed by my partner and the merchant-trustees, being
always delivered in goods, viz. tobacco in roll, and sugar in
chests, besides rum, molasses, &c., which is the consequence of a
sugar-work; and I found by this account, that every year the income
considerably increased; but, as above, the disbursements being
large, the sum at first was small: however, the old man let me see
that he was debtor to me four hundred and seventy moidores of gold,
besides sixty chests of sugar and fifteen double rolls of tobacco,
which were lost in his ship; he having been shipwrecked coming home
to Lisbon, about eleven years after my having the place. The good
man then began to complain of his misfortunes, and how he had been
obliged to make use of my money to recover his losses, and buy him
a share in a new ship. "However, my old friend," says he, "you
shall not want a supply in your necessity; and as soon as my son
returns you shall be fully satisfied." Upon this he pulls out an
old pouch, and gives me one hundred and sixty Portugal moidores in
gold; and giving the writings of his title to the ship, which his
son was gone to the Brazils in, of which he was quarter-part owner,
and his son another, he puts them both into my hands for security
of the rest.

I was too much moved with the honesty and kindness of the poor man
to be able to bear this; and remembering what he had done for me,
how he had taken me up at sea, and how generously he had used me on
all occasions, and particularly how sincere a friend he was now to
me, I could hardly refrain weeping at what he had said to me;
therefore I asked him if his circumstances admitted him to spare so
much money at that time, and if it would not straiten him? He told
me he could not say but it might straiten him a little; but,
however, it was my money, and I might want it more than he.

Everything the good man said was full of affection, and I could
hardly refrain from tears while he spoke; in short, I took one
hundred of the moidores, and called for a pen and ink to give him a
receipt for them: then I returned him the rest, and told him if
ever I had possession of the plantation I would return the other to
him also (as, indeed, I afterwards did); and that as to the bill of
sale of his part in his son's ship, I would not take it by any
means; but that if I wanted the money, I found he was honest enough
to pay me; and if I did not, but came to receive what he gave me
reason to expect, I would never have a penny more from him.

When this was past, the old man asked me if he should put me into a
method to make my claim to my plantation. I told him I thought to
go over to it myself. He said I might do so if I pleased, but that
if I did not, there were ways enough to secure my right, and
immediately to appropriate the profits to my use: and as there were
ships in the river of Lisbon just ready to go away to Brazil, he
made me enter my name in a public register, with his affidavit,
affirming, upon oath, that I was alive, and that I was the same
person who took up the land for the planting the said plantation at
first. This being regularly attested by a notary, and a
procuration affixed, he directed me to send it, with a letter of
his writing, to a merchant of his acquaintance at the place; and
then proposed my staying with him till an account came of the
return.

Never was anything more honourable than the proceedings upon this
procuration; for in less than seven months I received a large
packet from the survivors of my trustees, the merchants, for whose
account I went to sea, in which were the following, particular
letters and papers enclosed:-

First, there was the account-current of the produce of my farm or
plantation, from the year when their fathers had balanced with my
old Portugal captain, being for six years; the balance appeared to
be one thousand one hundred and seventy-four moidores in my favour.

Secondly, there was the account of four years more, while they kept
the effects in their hands, before the government claimed the
administration, as being the effects of a person not to be found,
which they called civil death; and the balance of this, the value
of the plantation increasing, amounted to nineteen thousand four
hundred and forty-six crusadoes, being about three thousand two
hundred and forty moidores.

Thirdly, there was the Prior of St. Augustine's account, who had
received the profits for above fourteen years; but not being able
to account for what was disposed of by the hospital, very honestly
declared he had eight hundred and seventy-two moidores not
distributed, which he acknowledged to my account: as to the king's
part, that refunded nothing.

There was a letter of my partner's, congratulating me very
affectionately upon my being alive, giving me an account how the
estate was improved, and what it produced a year; with the
particulars of the number of squares, or acres that it contained,
how planted, how many slaves there were upon it: and making two-
and-twenty crosses for blessings, told me he had said so many AVE
MARIAS to thank the Blessed Virgin that I was alive; inviting me
very passionately to come over and take possession of my own, and
in the meantime to give him orders to whom he should deliver my
effects if I did not come myself; concluding with a hearty tender
of his friendship, and that of his family; and sent me as a present
seven fine leopards' skins, which he had, it seems, received from
Africa, by some other ship that he had sent thither, and which, it
seems, had made a better voyage than I. He sent me also five
chests of excellent sweetmeats, and a hundred pieces of gold
uncoined, not quite so large as moidores. By the same fleet my two
merchant-trustees shipped me one thousand two hundred chests of
sugar, eight hundred rolls of tobacco, and the rest of the whole
account in gold.

I might well say now, indeed, that the latter end of Job was better
than the beginning. It is impossible to express the flutterings of
my very heart when I found all my wealth about me; for as the
Brazil ships come all in fleets, the same ships which brought my
letters brought my goods: and the effects were safe in the river
before the letters came to my hand. In a word, I turned pale, and
grew sick; and, had not the old man run and fetched me a cordial, I
believe the sudden surprise of joy had overset nature, and I had
died upon the spot: nay, after that I continued very ill, and was
so some hours, till a physician being sent for, and something of
the real cause of my illness being known, he ordered me to be let
blood; after which I had relief, and grew well: but I verify
believe, if I had not been eased by a vent given in that manner to
the spirits, I should have died.

I was now master, all on a sudden, of above five thousand pounds
sterling in money, and had an estate, as I might well call it, in
the Brazils, of above a thousand pounds a year, as sure as an
estate of lands in England: and, in a word, I was in a condition
which I scarce knew how to understand, or how to compose myself for
the enjoyment of it. The first thing I did was to recompense my
original benefactor, my good old captain, who had been first
charitable to me in my distress, kind to me in my beginning, and
honest to me at the end. I showed him all that was sent to me; I
told him that, next to the providence of Heaven, which disposed all
things, it was owing to him; and that it now lay on me to reward
him, which I would do a hundred-fold: so I first returned to him
the hundred moidores I had received of him; then I sent for a
notary, and caused him to draw up a general release or discharge
from the four hundred and seventy moidores, which he had
acknowledged he owed me, in the fullest and firmest manner
possible. After which I caused a procuration to be drawn,
empowering him to be the receiver of the annual profits of my
plantation: and appointing my partner to account with him, and make
the returns, by the usual fleets, to him in my name; and by a
clause in the end, made a grant of one hundred moidores a year to
him during his life, out of the effects, and fifty moidores a year
to his son after him, for his life: and thus I requited my old man.

I had now to consider which way to steer my course next, and what
to do with the estate that Providence had thus put into my hands;
and, indeed, I had more care upon my head now than I had in my
state of life in the island where I wanted nothing but what I had,
and had nothing but what I wanted; whereas I had now a great charge
upon me, and my business was how to secure it. I had not a cave
now to hide my money in, or a place where it might lie without lock
or key, till it grew mouldy and tarnished before anybody would
meddle with it; on the contrary, I knew not where to put it, or
whom to trust with it. My old patron, the captain, indeed, was
honest, and that was the only refuge I had. In the next place, my
interest in the Brazils seemed to summon me thither; but now I
could not tell how to think of going thither till I had settled my
affairs, and left my effects in some safe hands behind me. At
first I thought of my old friend the widow, who I knew was honest,
and would be just to me; but then she was in years, and but poor,
and, for aught I knew, might be in debt: so that, in a word, I had
no way but to go back to England myself and take my effects with
me.

It was some months, however, before I resolved upon this; and,
therefore, as I had rewarded the old captain fully, and to his
satisfaction, who had been my former benefactor, so I began to
think of the poor widow, whose husband had been my first
benefactor, and she, while it was in her power, my faithful steward
and instructor. So, the first thing I did, I got a merchant in
Lisbon to write to his correspondent in London, not only to pay a
bill, but to go find her out, and carry her, in money, a hundred
pounds from me, and to talk with her, and comfort her in her
poverty, by telling her she should, if I lived, have a further
supply: at the same time I sent my two sisters in the country a
hundred pounds each, they being, though not in want, yet not in
very good circumstances; one having been married and left a widow;
and the other having a husband not so kind to her as he should be.
But among all my relations or acquaintances I could not yet pitch
upon one to whom I durst commit the gross of my stock, that I might
go away to the Brazils, and leave things safe behind me; and this
greatly perplexed me.

I had once a mind to have gone to the Brazils and have settled
myself there, for I was, as it were, naturalised to the place; but
I had some little scruple in my mind about religion, which
insensibly drew me back. However, it was not religion that kept me
from going there for the present; and as I had made no scruple of
being openly of the religion of the country all the while I was
among them, so neither did I yet; only that, now and then, having
of late thought more of it than formerly, when I began to think of
living and dying among them, I began to regret having professed
myself a Papist, and thought it might not be the best religion to
die with.

But, as I have said, this was not the main thing that kept me from
going to the Brazils, but that really I did not know with whom to
leave my effects behind me; so I resolved at last to go to England,
where, if I arrived, I concluded that I should make some
acquaintance, or find some relations, that would be faithful to me;
and, accordingly, I prepared to go to England with all my wealth.

In order to prepare things for my going home, I first (the Brazil
fleet being just going away) resolved to give answers suitable to
the just and faithful account of things I had from thence; and,
first, to the Prior of St. Augustine I wrote a letter full of
thanks for his just dealings, and the offer of the eight hundred
and seventy-two moidores which were undisposed of, which I desired
might be given, five hundred to the monastery, and three hundred
and seventy-two to the poor, as the prior should direct; desiring
the good padre's prayers for me, and the like. I wrote next a
letter of thanks to my two trustees, with all the acknowledgment
that so much justice and honesty called for: as for sending them
any present, they were far above having any occasion of it.
Lastly, I wrote to my partner, acknowledging his industry in the
improving the plantation, and his integrity in increasing the stock
of the works; giving him instructions for his future government of
my part, according to the powers I had left with my old patron, to
whom I desired him to send whatever became due to me, till he
should hear from me more particularly; assuring him that it was my
intention not only to come to him, but to settle myself there for
the remainder of my life. To this I added a very handsome present
of some Italian silks for his wife and two daughters, for such the
captain's son informed me he had; with two pieces of fine English
broadcloth, the best I could get in Lisbon, five pieces of black
baize, and some Flanders lace of a good value.

Having thus settled my affairs, sold my cargo, and turned all my
effects into good bills of exchange, my next difficulty was which
way to go to England: I had been accustomed enough to the sea, and
yet I had a strange aversion to go to England by the sea at that
time, and yet I could give no reason for it, yet the difficulty
increased upon me so much, that though I had once shipped my
baggage in order to go, yet I altered my mind, and that not once
but two or three times.

It is true I had been very unfortunate by sea, and this might be
one of the reasons; but let no man slight the strong impulses of
his own thoughts in cases of such moment: two of the ships which I
had singled out to go in, I mean more particularly singled out than
any other, having put my things on board one of them, and in the
other having agreed with the captain; I say two of these ships
miscarried. One was taken by the Algerines, and the other was lost
on the Start, near Torbay, and all the people drowned except three;
so that in either of those vessels I had been made miserable.

Having been thus harassed in my thoughts, my old pilot, to whom I
communicated everything, pressed me earnestly not to go by sea, but
either to go by land to the Groyne, and cross over the Bay of
Biscay to Rochelle, from whence it was but an easy and safe journey
by land to Paris, and so to Calais and Dover; or to go up to
Madrid, and so all the way by land through France. In a word, I
was so prepossessed against my going by sea at all, except from
Calais to Dover, that I resolved to travel all the way by land;
which, as I was not in haste, and did not value the charge, was by
much the pleasanter way: and to make it more so, my old captain
brought an English gentleman, the son of a merchant in Lisbon, who
was willing to travel with me; after which we picked up two more
English merchants also, and two young Portuguese gentlemen, the
last going to Paris only; so that in all there were six of us and
five servants; the two merchants and the two Portuguese, contenting
themselves with one servant between two, to save the charge; and as
for me, I got an English sailor to travel with me as a servant,
besides my man Friday, who was too much a stranger to be capable of
supplying the place of a servant on the road.

In this manner I set out from Lisbon; and our company being very
well mounted and armed, we made a little troop, whereof they did me
the honour to call me captain, as well because I was the oldest
man, as because I had two servants, and, indeed, was the origin of
the whole journey.

As I have troubled you with none of my sea journals, so I shall
trouble you now with none of my land journals; but some adventures
that happened to us in this tedious and difficult journey I must
not omit.

When we came to Madrid, we, being all of us strangers to Spain,
were willing to stay some time to see the court of Spain, and what
was worth observing; but it being the latter part of the summer, we
hastened away, and set out from Madrid about the middle of October;
but when we came to the edge of Navarre, we were alarmed, at
several towns on the way, with an account that so much snow was
falling on the French side of the mountains, that several
travellers were obliged to come back to Pampeluna, after having
attempted at an extreme hazard to pass on.

When we came to Pampeluna itself, we found it so indeed; and to me,
that had been always used to a hot climate, and to countries where
I could scarce bear any clothes on, the cold was insufferable; nor,
indeed, was it more painful than surprising to come but ten days
before out of Old Castile, where the weather was not only warm but
very hot, and immediately to feel a wind from the Pyrenean
Mountains so very keen, so severely cold, as to be intolerable and
to endanger benumbing and perishing of our fingers and toes.

Poor Friday was really frightened when he saw the mountains all
covered with snow, and felt cold weather, which he had never seen
or felt before in his life. To mend the matter, when we came to
Pampeluna it continued snowing with so much violence and so long,
that the people said winter was come before its time; and the
roads, which were difficult before, were now quite impassable; for,
in a word, the snow lay in some places too thick for us to travel,
and being not hard frozen, as is the case in the northern
countries, there was no going without being in danger of being
buried alive every step. We stayed no less than twenty days at
Pampeluna; when (seeing the winter coming on, and no likelihood of
its being better, for it was the severest winter all over Europe
that had been known in the memory of man) I proposed that we should
go away to Fontarabia, and there take shipping for Bordeaux, which
was a very little voyage. But, while I was considering this, there
came in four French gentlemen, who, having been stopped on the
French side of the passes, as we were on the Spanish, had found out
a guide, who, traversing the country near the head of Languedoc,
had brought them over the mountains by such ways that they were not
much incommoded with the snow; for where they met with snow in any
quantity, they said it was frozen hard enough to bear them and
their horses. We sent for this guide, who told us he would
undertake to carry us the same way, with no hazard from the snow,
provided we were armed sufficiently to protect ourselves from wild
beasts; for, he said, in these great snows it was frequent for some
wolves to show themselves at the foot of the mountains, being made
ravenous for want of food, the ground being covered with snow. We
told him we were well enough prepared for such creatures as they
were, if he would insure us from a kind of two-legged wolves, which
we were told we were in most danger from, especially on the French
side of the mountains. He satisfied us that there was no danger of
that kind in the way that we were to go; so we readily agreed to
follow him, as did also twelve other gentlemen with their servants,
some French, some Spanish, who, as I said, had attempted to go, and
were obliged to come back again.

Accordingly, we set out from Pampeluna with our guide on the 15th
of November; and indeed I was surprised when, instead of going
forward, he came directly back with us on the same road that we
came from Madrid, about twenty miles; when, having passed two
rivers, and come into the plain country, we found ourselves in a
warm climate again, where the country was pleasant, and no snow to
be seen; but, on a sudden, turning to his left, he approached the
mountains another way; and though it is true the hills and
precipices looked dreadful, yet he made so many tours, such
meanders, and led us by such winding ways, that we insensibly
passed the height of the mountains without being much encumbered
with the snow; and all on a sudden he showed us the pleasant and
fruitful provinces of Languedoc and Gascony, all green and
flourishing, though at a great distance, and we had some rough way
to pass still.

We were a little uneasy, however, when we found it snowed one whole
day and a night so fast that we could not travel; but he bid us be
easy; we should soon be past it all: we found, indeed, that we
began to descend every day, and to come more north than before; and
so, depending upon our guide, we went on.

It was about two hours before night when, our guide being something
before us, and not just in sight, out rushed three monstrous
wolves, and after them a bear, from a hollow way adjoining to a
thick wood; two of the wolves made at the guide, and had he been
far before us, he would have been devoured before we could have
helped him; one of them fastened upon his horse, and the other
attacked the man with such violence, that he had not time, or
presence of mind enough, to draw his pistol, but hallooed and cried
out to us most lustily. My man Friday being next me, I bade him
ride up and see what was the matter. As soon as Friday came in
sight of the man, he hallooed out as loud as the other, "O master!
O master!" but like a bold fellow, rode directly up to the poor
man, and with his pistol shot the wolf in the head that attacked
him.

It was happy for the poor man that it was my man Friday; for,
having been used to such creatures in his country, he had no fear
upon him, but went close up to him and shot him; whereas, any other
of us would have fired at a farther distance, and have perhaps
either missed the wolf or endangered shooting the man.

But it was enough to have terrified a bolder man than I; and,
indeed, it alarmed all our company, when, with the noise of
Friday's pistol, we heard on both sides the most dismal howling of
wolves; and the noise, redoubled by the echo of the mountains,
appeared to us as if there had been a prodigious number of them;
and perhaps there was not such a few as that we had no cause of
apprehension: however, as Friday had killed this wolf, the other
that had fastened upon the horse left him immediately, and fled,
without doing him any damage, having happily fastened upon his
head, where the bosses of the bridle had stuck in his teeth. But
the man was most hurt; for the raging creature had bit him twice,
once in the arm, and the other time a little above his knee; and
though he had made some defence, he was just tumbling down by the
disorder of his horse, when Friday came up and shot the wolf.

It is easy to suppose that at the noise of Friday's pistol we all
mended our pace, and rode up as fast as the way, which was very
difficult, would give us leave, to see what was the matter. As
soon as we came clear of the trees, which blinded us before, we saw
clearly what had been the case, and how Friday had disengaged the
poor guide, though we did not presently discern what kind of
creature it was he had killed.


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