:-; . . .. 7. 7 5 ., *-
.... "..... I I .. II..I...r. ...
,. .. .. .--:. 1.. .. j. .. . :.. .: .. ..... ... .;.. :- "-. .. -
UFE AND ADVENTURES OF
THE REAL ROBINSON CRUSOE;
A NARRATITE FOUNDED ON FACTS: TO WHICH IS ADDED,
.HISTORY OF THE
WANDERINGS OF TOM STARBOARD..
IN VARIOUS OOVWNTUl.. '
HAZARD & MITCHELL. 178 CHESTNUT sB .
ALEXANDBI SELKIRK was born in the year 1676,
and was the seventh son of John Selkirk, saomaker end
tanner, in Largo, Scotland. His mother looked upon
him a one that would pas through some great events,
and she resolved to have him push his fortune at sea,
where he went in his nineteenth year,to escape the rebuke
of his unruly conduct. He was from home six yeas;
and again being guilty of very bad behavior, and having
beaten a young infirm brother, and raised a riot in his &f
others house, he was publicly reprimanded: upon this, h
left home, and being a skilful seaman, was appointed
8 ADVENTURES OF ALEXANDER SELKIRK.
Sailing Master, in a vessel called the Cinque Ports-a
small sailor which went in company with captain Dam-
pier to the South Sea.
Having quarrelled with his captain, and having had
a dream that his ship would be wrecked, he resolved to
quit it, and was set on shore at the uninhabited island
of Juan Fernandez. He had scarcely left the boat, when
he sorely repented, and he never heard a sound more
dismal than their parting oars."
From the beginning to the end of September, the ves-
sel remained undergoing repairs. The disagreement,
instead of being made up, became greater every day, and
strengthened the resolution which Selkirk had made to
leave the vessel. This was accordingly concluded on,
and just before getting under way, he was landed with
all his effects; and he leaped on shore with a faint sen-
sation of freedom and joy. He shook hands with his
comrades, and bade them adieu in a hearty manner,
while the officer sat in the boat urging their return to
the ship, which order they instantly obeyed; but no
sooner did the sound of their oars, as they left the beach,
fall on his ears, than the horrors of being left alone, cut
off from all human society, perhaps forever, rushed
SBSelkirk catching Scals.
ADVENTURES OF ALEXANDER SELKIRK. 18
upon his mind. His heart sunk within him, and all
his resolution failed. He rushed into the water, and
implored them to return and take him on board with
them. To all his entreaties his comrades turned a deaf
ear, and even mocked his despair; denouncing the choice
he had made of remaining upon the island, as rank mu-
tiny, and describing his present situation as the most
proper state for such a fellow, where his example would
not affect others.
For many days after being left alone, Selkirk was
under such great dejection of mind, that he never tasted
food until urged by extreme hunger; nor did he go to
sleep until he could watch no longer; but sat witl his
eyes fixed in the direction where he had seen his p
mates depart, fondly hoping that they would return
and free him from his misery. Thus he remained tuled
upon his chest, until darkness shut out every,'blct
from his sight. Then did he close his weary eyes
but not in sleep; for morning found him still aniously
hoping the return of the vessel.
When urged by hunger, he fed upon seals and I
shell-fish as he could pick up along the shore. a-
reason of this was the aversion he felt to leave the bsac1
and the care he took to save his powder. Though
seals, and shell-fish were but sorry fare, his greatest
croa was the want of salt and bread, which made him
loathe his food until he got used to it.
It was in the beginning of October (1704,) which in
those southern latitudes is the middle of spring, when
nature appears in a thousand varieties of form and fra-
grance, quite unknown in northern climates; but the
agitation of his mind, and the forlorn situation in which
he was now placed, caused all its charms to be unre-
It was in this trying situation, when his mind, de-
prived of all outward occupation, was turned back upon
itself that the whole advantages of that great blessing,
a religious education in his youth, was felt in its con-
soling influences, when every other hope and comfort
This circumstance ought to lead young people to
prize their social and religious privileges, as they know
not but that some day, like Selkirk, their lot may be cast
far from home, and from pious family opportunities, the
absmee of which were then so much regretted by
this lonely man;
By slow degrees he became easy to his fats; and a
winter approached, he saw the necessity of procuring
some kind of shelter from the weather; for even in that
temperate climate, frost is common during the night,
and snow is sometimes found upon the ground in the
The building of a hut was the first thing that roused
him to exertion; and his necessary absence from the
shore gradually weaned his heart from that aim which
had alone filled all his thoughts and proved a help of
his obtaining that peace of mind he afterwards enjoyed;
but it was eighteen months before he became fy
composed, or could be one whole day absent faro the
beach, and from his usual hopeless watch for some vnr
eel to relieve him from his melancholy situation.
During his stay, he built himself two huts with the
wood of the pimento tree, and thatched them with a
species of grass, that grows to the height of seven or
eight feet upon the plains and smaller hills, and produ-
ces straw resembling that of oats. The one was muc
larger than the other, and situated near a spacious wood.
This he made his sleeping room, spreading thbsr
clothes he had brought on shore with him upon a fNl
16 ADVENTURES OP ALEXANDER SELKIRK.
of his own construction; and as those wore out, or were
used for other purposes, he supplied their places with
goat skins. His pimento bed-room he used also as his
chapel; for here he kept up tat simple but beautiful
formoffamilyworship which he had been accustomed to
in his father's house. To distinguish the Sabbath, he.
kept an exact account of the days of every week and
month, during the time he remained upon the island.
The smaller hut, which Selkirk had erected at some
distance from the other, was used by him as a kitchen in
which he dressed his victuals. The furniture was very
scanty; but consisted of every convenience his island
could aflbrd. His most valuable article was the pot or
kettle he had brought from the ship, to boil his meat in;
the spit was his own handiwork, made of such wood as
grew upon the island; the rest was suitable to his rudely
built house. Around his dwelling browsed a parcel of
goats remarkably tame, which he had taken when
young, and lamed, but so as not to injure their health,
while he kept down their speed. These he kept as a
store, in the event of a sickness or any accident befalling
him, that might prevent him from catching others; his
sole method of doing which, was running them down by
'I~~ -' -"
. . .
2 .* '.. I
-' -! r r
ADVENTURES OF ALEXANDER SELKIRK.
speed of foot. The pimento wood, which burns very
bright and clear served him both for fuel and candle.
It gives out an agreeable perfume while burning.
He obtained fire after the Indian method, by rubbing
two pieces of pimento wood together until they caught
fire. This he did, as being ill able to spare any of his
linen for tinder, time being of no value to him, and
the labour rather an amusement. Having recovered his
peace of mind, he began likewise to enjoy greater varie-
ty in his food, and was continually adding some new
thing to his store. The craw-fish, many of which
weighed eight or nine pounds, he broiled or boiled as
his fancy led, seasoning it with pimento, (Jamaica pep-
per) and at length came to relish his food without salt.
As a substitute for bread, he used the cabbage-palm,
which was plenty on the island; turnips, or their tops,
and likewise a species of parsnip, of good taste and
flavor. He had also Sicilian radishes and watercresses,
which he found in the neighboring brooks, as well as
many other vegetables found on the island, which he
ate with his fish or goat's flesh.
Having food in abundance, and the climate being
healthy and pleasant, in about eighteen months he be
30 ADVENTURES OP ALEXANDER SELKIRK.
came easy in his situation. The time hung no longer
heavy upon his hands. His devotions and frequent
study of the Seriptures, soothed and elevated his mind:
ad this, coupled with the vigor of his health, and a
constant serene sky, and temperate air, rendered his life
one continual feast. His feelings were now as joyful as
they had before been sorrowful. He took delight in
every thing around him; fixed up the hot in which he
lay, with fragrant branches, cut from a spacious wood,
ea the side of which it was situated, and thereby formed
a pleasant bower, fanned with continual breezes, soft and
balmyas poets describe, which made his repose, after the
t~iams eof4e chase, very gratifying.
Yet happy and contented as he became, there were
ae that brike in upon his pleasing thoughts, as it
wee to place his situation on a level with that of other
hbman beings; for it is the lot of man to care while he
dwls on earth. During the ealy part of his residence,
e was much annoyed by multitudes of rats, which
pgtwed his feet and other parts of his body, as he slept
during the night. To remedy this evil, he caught and
med after much exertion and patient toil, some of the
#tt that na wild on the island. These new friends
. 'K X 7 r It. K 0- C t Cl q -'
2828 QS ,, I, C
C(3 0 U'
Selkirk amusing himself with his Cats.
i '*~-.' ;:
ADVENTURES OP ALEXANDER SELKIRK.
soon put the rats to flight, and became themselves the
companions of his leisure hours. He amused himmlf
by teaching them to dance, and do a number of an-
tic feats. They multiplied so fast too, under his foster-
ing hand, that they lay upon his bed, and upon the foor
in great numbers: and although freed from his former
troublesome visitors, yet, so strangely are we formed,
that when one care is removed, another takes its place.
These very protectors became a source of great a
siness to him: for the idea haunted his mind, and ine
him at times melancholy, that, after his death thee
would be no one to bury his remains, or to supply the
cats with food, his body must be devoured by the very
animals which he at present nouished for his cone-
The island abounds in goats, which he shot while
his powder lasted, and afterwards caught by speed of
foot. At first he could only overtake kids: but latterly,
so much-did his frugal life, joined to air and exercise,
improve his strength and habits of body, that he could.
run down the strongest goat on the island in a few mim '
utes, and tossing it over his shoulders, carry it with em
to his hut. All the by-ways and easy purts of
24 ADVENTURES OF ALEXANDER SELKIRK.
mountains became familiar to him. He could bound
from crag to crag, and slip down the precipices with
With these helps, hunting soon became his chief a-
nmsement. It was his custom, after running down the
animals, to slit their ears, and then allow them to escape.
The young he carried to the green lawn beside his hut,
and employed his leisure hors in taming them. They
in time supplied him with milk, and even with amuse-
ment, as he t-ght them as well as the cats to dance;
and he often aAerwards declared, that he never danced
with a lighter heart, or greater spirit, any where, to the
best of music, than he did to the sound of his own voice,
with his damb companions.
As the northern part of the island where Alexander
lived, is composed of high craggy precipices, many of
which are almost too hilly to climb, though generally
covered with wood, the soil is loom and shallow, so that
on the hills the largest trees soon perish for want of
nourishment, and are then very easily overturned.
The was the cause of the death of a seaman belonging
to Al Dutchess, who being on the high ground in
saEsc of goats, caught hold of a tree to aid his ascent,
Selkirk catching a Goat.
ADM'ENTUREU 61 ALEXA1DZILE SLKIRK.
when it gave way and he rolled down the hill. In his
fall he grasped another of considerable bulk, which like-
wise failed him, and he was thrown amongst the rocks
and dashed to pieces. Mr. Butt also met with an acci-
dent, merely by leaning his back to a tree nearly as
thick ashimself, which stoodupon a slope, almost with-
out any hold of the soil.
Our adventurer, himself nearly lost his life from a
similar cause. When pursuing a goat, he made a
snatch at it an the brink of a precipice, of which he was
not aware, as some bushes concealed it from them; the
animal suddenly stopped; upon which he stretched for-
ward his hand to seize it, when the branches gave way,
and they both fell from a great height. Selkirk was so
stunned and bruised by the fall, that he lay deprive pf
sensation and almost of life. Upon his recovery, he
found the goat lying dead beneath him. This happened
about a mile from his hut. Scarely was he able to
crawl to it when restored to his senses; and dreadful
were his sufferings during the first two or three of the ten
days that he was confined by the injury. This wa the
only disagreeable accident that bel him during his
long residence on the island.
W. Roger says that Selkirk lay above the goat d
priced of sensation, for 24 hours; Sir R. Stele mentions
three days. Selkirk, computed the length of time by
the moon's growth from the last observation which he
had made on the evening before his fall.
He occasionally amused himself by cutting upon the
trees his name, and the date when he was leA on the
island, and at times added to the first the period of his
continuance; so averse is man to be utterly forgoW4 by
his fellow-man. Perishable as the materig was upon
which he wrought, still the idea was pleasing to his
lonely mind, that when he should have ended his log-
ly life, some future navigator would learn from these
rude memorials, Alexander Selkirk had lived and died
upon the island. He had no Iaterials for writing
wherewith to trace a more ample record. Upon Lord
Anson's arrival, however at Juan Fernandez, in the
year 1741, there was not, so far as he observed, one of
these names or dates to be discovered upon any of the
AMae Raynal is not correct, whp.IS says that Sel.
kirk lost his speech while upoi the uimd. A4 that
Cook asserts is, that, at his first coming on board, he
spoke his words as it were by halves, from want of
practice; while he states distinctly, that he carried on
conversation from the first and that his hesitating man-
ner gradually wore off.
As to his clothing it was very rude. Shoes he had
none, as they were soon worn out. This gave him
very little concern, and he never troubled himself in
contriving any thing to supply their place. As his oth-
er clothes deosyed, he dried the skins of the goats he
had killed, to make into gameMts, sewing them with
slender thongs of leatihr, which he cut for the purpose,
and using a sharp nail for a needle. In this way he
made for himself a cap, jacket, and shert breehes.
Thim bir being lsbvyn the skin, gave him a very
strge appeorass; hd in this dra he rn through the
muderwood, ad recevl as little injury as the animal
heppume. Having lime doth with hbi, he mise it
into shirts, sewing* bem by means his nail, and the
thrad of his worsted seokings, whioh he entwistd *r
that purpose. Thus rudely equipped, he thoigt
his wants muciently supplied, fashion havinlg'A(
'r ay rule over him. His goats and ats bo
poae aniore, he was at least neighborliok, -sd
ADVENTURES OP ALEXANDER SELKIRK.
looked as wild as they; his beard was of great length,
as it had been untouched since he left the ship. Still
his mind was at ease, and he danced and sang amongst
his dumb companions, for hours together; perhaps as
happy a man, nay happier, than the gayest ball-room
could have presented, in the most civilized country
One day, in his ramble along the beach, he found
a few iron hoops, which had been left by some vessel,
a unworthy to be taken away. This was to him a
discovery that imparted more joy than if he had found
a treasure of gold or silver; for with them he made
knives when his own was worn out, and bad as they
were, they stood him in great stead. One of them,
which he had used as a chopper, was about two feet in
length, and was long kept as a curiosity, at the Golden
Bed Coffe-house, near Buckingham Gate, in England.
It had been changed from its original simple form,
having when last sen, a buck's horn handle with some
: wus upon it.
Alexander Selkirk, at different times during his stay,
or vessels pass the island; but only two ever came to
an anchor. At these times he concealed himself; but,
~C(CLI +)(~ ; C~ii~l;;C~4
3;~;,Jw~~~ ~;9;~t~*=~C1~ ,'r~~r* i~l;;
iljrlI Iirkd ur,-n by Lth 'panwarlh
ADYENTURZO OF ALZ LANDIR SELKIRK.
being anxious on one occasion to learn whether the ship
was French or Spanish, he approached too near, and
was perceived. A pursuit immediately commenced,
and several shots were fired in the direction in which he
fled; but fortunately none of them took effect, and he
got up into a tree unobserved. His pursuers stopped
near it, and killed several of his goats, but the vessel
soon left the island. Cook says, "The prize being so
inconsiderable, it is likely they thought it not worth
while to be at great trouble to fnd it." Had they been
French, AMexander would have given himself up to
them; but, being Spaniards, he chose rather to stay up-
on the island, and run the risk of dying alone, and even
of being devoured by his own cats, than fall into their
hands, as they would, as he supposed, either have mur-
dered him in cold blood, or caused him to linger out a
life of misery in the mines of Peru or Mexico, unless hl
chose to profess himself a Roman Cathoic, and even
then he would have been compelled to pas his weay
days in one of their coasting vessels in the Pacif Oceam;
for as we have already mentioned, it was one ef th%
saximsiever to allow an Englishman to retnra to. tff
ir gained any knowledge of the Smtat.
34 ADVENTURES OF ALEXANDER sELKIRK,
This adventure made him resolve to use more can-
tion in future; never a day passed but he anxiously
looked out for some sail over the vast expanse of ocean
that lay before him; for, even in all his tranquillity and
peace of mind, the wish to leave the island never entire-
ly ceased to occupy his thoughts, and he would still
have hailed the arrival of an English ship with rapture.
On the 31st of January, 1709, behold! two English
ships did heave in sight of Alexander Selkirk's domin-
ions who was as usual, anxiously watching the watery
waste. Slowly the vessels rose into view, and he eould
scarcely believe the sight real; for often had he been
deceived before. They gradually approached the island,
and he at length ascertained them to be English. Great
was the tumult of passion that rose in his mind; but the
low of home overpowered them all. It was late in the
afternon when they first came in sight, and lest they
should sail again without knowing that there was a per.
son on the island, he prepared a quantity of wood to
bumrn as soon as it was dark. He kept his eyes fixed
upon them until night fall, and then kindled his re,
and kept it up till morning dawned. His hos and.
has having banished all desire for sleep, he
-sE . .. .. ..
"Slowly the vessels rose into view."
16i;p ;~i', '." "
ADVENTURES OF ALEXANDER ESLKIE. 39
himself in killing several goats, and in preparing an en-
tertainment for his expected guests, knowing how ac-
ceptable it would be to them after their long run, with
nothing but salt provision to live upon.
When the day at length opened, he still saw them,
but at a distance from the shore. His fire had caused
great wonder o0 board, for they knew the .island to be
-uninha~i t and supposed the light to have proceeded
from ste French ships at anchor, with which nation,
.England was then at war. In this conclusion they pre-
pared for action, as they must either fight or want wa-
ter and other refreshments, and stood to thiquartors
.all night ready to engage; but, not percent' es-
sel, they next day, about noon, sent a boat on shore, with
Capt. Dover, Mr. Fry, and six men, all armed, to asce-
tain the cause of the fire, and to see that all was sae.
Alexander saw the boat leave the Duke, and pull for
the beach. He ran down joyfully to meet his country-
men, and to hear once more the human voice. He
took in his hand a piece of linen tied upon a small pate
. a flag, which he waved as they drew near, to attract
their attention. At length he heard them call to him,
inquiring for a good place to land, which he pohined out,
40 A1 Vr TaMU B OF ALZXAU DaDU eKIZK.
and lying a swift a deer towards it, arrived fird
where he stood ready to receive them as they stepped
e shore. He embraced them by turns; but his joy
was too great for utterance, while their astonishment at
his strange appearance, struck them dumb. He had at
this time his last shirt upon his back: his fet and legs
were bar his thighs and body covered with the skins
of wild animals. His beard, which had not been sha-
ved for four years and four months, was of a great
length, while a rough goat's-skin cap covered his head.
He appeared to them as wild as the first owners of the
skins which he wore. At length they began to can-
vese, and he invited them to his hut: but its access wa
so very intricate, that only Captain Fry went with him
ver the rocks which led to it. When Alexander had
entertained him in the best manner he could, they re-
turned t the boat, our hero bearing a quantity of his
semted goat's-fesh for the refreshment of the crew.
During their repast, he gave them an account of his
adventures and stay upon the island, at which they were
mah arprised. Captains Dover and Fry invited hip
w come on board; but he declined their invitatieq
nil they had satisoed hibt ampier had no aca.
ADVENTURE OF ALEXANDER SELKIRK.
mand in this expedition; after which he gave a reluctant
So great was his aversion to Dampier as a command-
er after the experience he had of him, that he would
rather have remained upon his island, its lonely posses-
sor, now that he was reconciled to his fate, than have
endured the hardships and trials he had before expe-
rienced under that navigator. This feeling must have
arisen, not from any quarrel or personal dislike to Dam-
pier, but from a knowledge of his former misconduct in
his adventures, arising from his want of constancy in
carrying through any object which he professed to have
When he came on board the Duke, Dampier gave
him an excellent character, telling Captain Rogers that
Selkirk had been the best man on board the Cinque
Ports. Upon this recommendation, he was immediately
engaged on board the Duke. In the afternoon, the ships
were cleared, the sails bent and taken on shore to be
mended, and to make tents for the sick men. Selkirkr
strength and vigor were of great service to them. He
caught two goats in the afternoon. They sent along with
him their swiftest runners and a bull-dog; but these ha
soon left far behind, and tired out. He himself; to the
astonishment of the whole crew, brought the two goats
upon his back to the tents.
The two captains remained at the island until the
12th of the month, busy refitting their ships, and getting
on board what stores they could obtain. During these
ten days, Alexander was their huntsman, and procured
them fresh meat. At length all being ready, they set
sail, when a new series of difficulties of another kind,
annoyed Selkirk, similar to those he had felt at his arrival
upon the island. The salt food he could not relish for
a long time, having so long discontinued the use of it;
for which reason he lived upon biscuit and water.
Spirits he did not like from the same cause; and be-
sides he was afraid of falling into intemperance, for his
religious impressions were as yet strong. From the
confirmed habit of living alone, he kept very much to
himself and said little. This frame of mind, and a
serious countenance, continued longer than could have
been expected. Even for some time after his turn to
England, these qualities were remarkable, and drew the
notice of those to whose company he was introduced.
Shoes gave him great uneasiness when he fit eame on
board. He had been so long without them, that thw
made his feet swell, and crippled his movements; but
this wore off by degrees, and he became once more re-
conciled to their use. In other respects he gradually
resumed his old habits as a seaman, but without the
vices which sometimes attach to the profession. He
rigidly abstained from profane oaths, and was much res-
pected by both captains, as well on account of his sin-
gular adventure, as of his skill and good conduct; for,
having had his books with him, he had improved him-
self much in navigation during his solitude.
The articles he took on shore from the Cinque Ports,
were the following: His chest, containing his clothes
and a quantity ot linen, now all spent, his musket,
which he brought home with him; a pound of powder,
and balls in proportion; a hatchet and some tools; a
knife; a pewter kettle; his flip-can which he conveyed
to Scotland, (at present in the possession of John Sel-
craig, his great-grand-nephew;) a few pounds of tobee-
co; the Holy Bible; some devotional pieces, and one or
two books on navigation, with his mathematical inuts
In the cspcity of mate, he raised about for a tie,
46 ADVENTURES OF ALEXANDER SELKIRK.
during which several prizes were taken, and on his re-
turn to London, after an absence of eight years, one
month and three days, he found himself in possession
of 800 sterling. As soon as this sum was realized, he
set out for Largo, and arrived in the spring of 1712, at
his native village.
It was in the forenoon of a Sabbath day, when all were
at church, that he knocked at the door of his paternal
dwelling, but found not those whom his heart yearned
to see, and his soul longed to embrace. He set out for
church, prompted by his piety and his love for his pa-
rents; for great was the change that had taken place in
his feelings since he had last been within its walls. As
soon as he entered and sat down, all eyes were upon
him, for such a personage, perhaps, had seldom been
seen within the church at Largo. He was elegantly
dressed in gold laced clothes; besides, he was a stranger,
which in a country church, is matter of attention to the
hearers at all times. But his manner and appearance
would have attracted the notice of more observing spec-
tatos.-Aer remainingjome time engaged in devotion,
his eyes were ever turning to where his parents and
brothers ast, while theirs a often met his gaze; still they
ADVENTURES Of AA W VIR BELKIRK. ,4
Aid not karw hi, At Ipgtc* his mtbwr, WbW
thoughts perhaps t tAis time wadOPWd to bar Ong Wlot
oM, know him, and uttering s ery of joy, cod ctain
beaWlf so longer. Even in the Maptig Hiose, abe
isWhed to his arme, unconscious of tbe imHj oppety of her
1cnduct, and the iatefrupion of the service. Alexawsr
ind hi friends immediately retired to his father's ouae,
to give free scope eo their joy and congratulations.
A few days passed way happily in t society of his
r.ea ts *td friends; Aut from long habits, he mmo fMt
Aren to miixig in eaiety, and rvas bpiest wbhp
Jone. retnwwang, t4erste, 4uentply to Kei. lweq, a
scaled and lonely ~vaey in She asiglbesbho4, he
opeet mpgst of bis iinia apotary wwdering end m&ni-
touio; ijl p ewr object began to eagress mueho f hNi
Attention. Inob me ineWg by the bwwuide, he aften st
4 young gn mtding a gle cow, the property ofW r
He onely eccmpation and jinocet loolp, NAe a
-ep impression upos bih. He watobed her f~r bws
u rlMs, as -,she aued berself wit the wid A rw he
gathold, a~ obatetel her rural lays. At ~nsh nwtijg
SisMpreMion beesa. (trtmger, and be fa&e se WFf-
sted in this modest female. At length he addressed him-
self to her, and they joined in conversation; he had no
avertion to commune with her for hours together, and
began to imagine that he could live and be happy
with a companion such as she. His fishing expe-
ditions were now neglected. Even his cave became not
so sweet a retreat. His mind led him to Keil's Den, and
the amiable Sophia. He never mentioned this adven-
ture and attachment to his friends; for he felt a-
shamed, after his discourses to them, and the profession
he had made of dislike to human society, to acknowl-
edge that he was upon the point of marrying, and there-
by plunging into the midst of worldly cares. But he
was determined to marry Sophia, though as firmly re-
solved not to remain at home to be the subject of their
jest. This resolution being formed, he soon persuaded
the object of his choice, to elope with him, and bid adieu
to the romantic glen.
After this elopement, nothing was heard of him for
some years. At length, however, a gay widow, of the
name of Frances Candis, or Candia, came to Largo, to
claim the property left to him by his father, and pro.
duced documents to prove her right, from which it appe-
ed that Sophia Bruce lived but a very few years after her
marriage. He himself, after attaining the rank of Lieu-
tenant, died on board his Majesty's ship Weymouth,
some time in the year 1723.
The chest and cup which Selkirk had with him on
the island, are in the possession of a family in Nether
Largo, in Fifeshire, who reside in the house in which
he was born. The former is in excellent preservation
although at least 123 years old. It is made of cedar,
strongly built, and very massy. The initials A. S. are
rudely carved on the lid. The cup is the shell of ome
kind of nut which probably grew on the island. The
late Mr. Constable, of Edinburgh, caused it to be much
adorned and beautified, by giving it a new pendicle, and
having its edge surmounted with silver.-Imprial
48 ADYirrTURE OF
Veram supposed to s written by AtasmAr S&lMk, durA gifl 8au
ery abad in the Iaomnd of Juan FrundMs.
I am monarch of all I survey,
My right there is none to dispute:
From the centre aH round to the sea,
I am lord of the fowl and the brute.
Oh solitude I where are the charms,
That sages have seen in thy face t
Better dwell in the midst of alarms,
Than reign in this borible place.
I am out of humanity's reach;
I must finish my journey alone;
Newr hear the sweet music of speech;
I start at the sound of my own.
The beasts that roam over the plain,
My form with indifference see;
They are so unacquainted with man,
Their tameness is shocking to me.
Society, friendship, and love,
Divinely bestowed upon man,
Oh, had I the wings of a dove,
How soon would I taste you again I
My omews I then ldghL aMuMia,
ia the wLys f rdliim and trA
Might laem fim dt *imde of age
And be eheM'd ly the mllef youth.
Religion I what treure untold
Reaide in that heavily word
More precious tha silver or ged,
Or all that this arth ena fsS
But the sound of the ehurch-goig bell,
Thee valies and sock never bmerd;
Ne'er igh'd at the soemd of a k l,
Or mild whn a sabbakt appeez'd.
Ye winds that have made me your sport,
Convlto this desolate shore,
Some coial endearing report
Of a land I sta visit no mre
My friends, do they now and then send
A wish or a thought after me t
0 tell me I yet have a friend,
Though a friend I am never to see.
How fleet is a glance of the mind I
Compared with the speed of its fight,
The tempest itself lags behind,
And the swif.wind arrows of light.
ADVENTURES OF ALEXANDER SELKIRK.
When I think of my own native land,
In a moment I seem to be there;
But alas I recollection at hand
Soon hurries me back to despair.
But the sea-fowl has gone to her nest,
The beast is laid down in his lair;
Even here is a season of rest,
And I to my cabin repair.
There's mercy in every place;
And mercy-encouraging thought I
Gives even affliction a grace,
And reconciles man to his lot.
THE END OF ALuXADUM SBLKIRK.
I herewith give my young readers extracts from a
Ifttle work under this tite, which I think they will ind
entertaining. Mr. Starboard is one of those redoubted
travellers, who are generally the heroes of their best sto-
res, and his adventures are no less varied than wonder-
ftl. But we will let him speak for himself:
"I was two years and a few days wandering over
South America. I travelled about one thousand eight
hundred miles; but I did not wkal all he way; oh no I
I frequently went with the Indians up their rivers
and for about five hundred miles I rode on mules, 6f
wild homes, which I canght by stratagem.
58 WANDER OGS OF TOM STARBOARD.
At night I would find a tree, and lace a rope in and
out of two bou s, so as to form a kind of cradle; thus
supported, I slept in peace, excepting that sometimes
the vampire bat would annoy me by sucking my blood;
he did it though so quietly, that I suffered no pain; and
perhaps it was servicable to me to lose a little blood; it
is not improbable that these flying surgeons kept me in
health by their gentle bleedings. The vampire bat does
not subsist entirely by sucking the blood of living ani-
mals; it feeds also on insects and young fruits.
"One morning, I remember, when I awoke, and was
coming down from my cradle, I found that a rattle snake
had coiled itself round the stem of the tree, and then I
really thought it would be all over with me; but my
presence of mind did not forsake me even in this case;
for, as the reptile reared his fiat, wide, terrible head, I
took such good aim, and was so near to it that I blew it
to atoms. Once I caught a poisonous serpent, called a
labarri snake, that I might look for, and examine the
fangs, which contained its venom. I saw it asleep; and
coming cautiously towards it, I sprang at its neck, which
I grasped tightly with my hands; its mouth was thus
forced open; then taking a small piece of stick, I prae-
WANDIEDIWG8 0 TOM STARBOARD.
sed it on the fang, (the point of which communicated
with the root where the bag of poiso is situated,) sad I
distinctly saw the venom ooze out: it was of a thick
substance and of a yellow color; of course I killed the
One day, during my wanderings in South America, I
came unawares upon a herd of wild horses thbt were
grazing quietly on the borders of a forest. Well,-I had
been walking a long way, and felt tired; so I thought I
might as well try to catch one of these horses, and var
my mode of journeying, by riding. I had read of the
manner in which the Guachoe (or South American
peasants) catch these animals with a laeso, or long rope,
which has a loop at the endof it; and this they expertly
throw over the head of the animal that they sinle out:
their dexterity is surprising. I feared, however, to at-
tempt such an exploit, lest I should fail, and thus fright-
en them all away: besides I had no rope that was long
So I set my wits to work, and thus I tried my
scheme. I observed among the trees that skirted tio
plain, a pool of water: to this pool I made my way; far
62 WANDERINGS OF TOM STARBOARD.
thought I, they will surely come there, by and by, to
drink; so I climbed up into a cinchona, or barktree.
Having fastened one end of my rope tightly round
one of the lower branches, I made the other into a slip-
knot or noose; and then I waited patiently for my ex-
pected prey. At last the whole herd of horses left their
pasture in a body, and came neighing and gambling
towards the water, with their tails sailing in the wind,
and their long manes waving about with every graceful
turn of their bodies. I assure you it was rather an ap-
palling sight to see myself close over the heads of so
many powerful animals, that made the ground echo with
their spirited movements.
I sat still, however, enjoying myself with a calabash
shell full of milk, which I had drawn from a cow-tree
that grew on the rock near me.
"A cow-tree, Mr. Starboard !" methinks I hear my
young readers exclaim; A cow-tree! Surely you mean
a cow grazing, Mr. Starboard. We know that travel-
lers are privileged to tell pretty big stories, Mr. Star-
board; but there is such a thing, Mr. Starboard; as over-
stepping too far the bounds of truth, Mr. Starboard."
Upon my veracity, my dear young readers, I am in
WANDERINGS OF TOM STARBOARD.
earnest. It was a cow-tree, from which I drew the
milk: and the great traveller, Humboldt, will prove
what I have said.
The cow-tree is found on the most barren rocks,
where rains rarely visit it, and it has large woody roots.
When its trunk is pierced, a most delicious, white, thick
juice exudes, (or flows out,) which is quite as pleasant
and nourishing as the milk of our cows. The Indians
always make use of it, and it is found in the greatest
abundance about sunrise.
Well: I had just finished my bowl of vegetable milk,
when a fine fellow of a horse came under my cinchona-
tree, and stooped to drink; so I crept to the end of the
branch; and as he raised his head, I slipped the noose
over his neck, and drew it tight; the start he gave when
he found himself confined, frightened his companions,
and away they all scampered, leaving me and my pris
Instead of striving to break the rope and escape,
which he might have done with ease, his courage seem-
ed weakened by this new kind of restraint. I had some
struggles, it is true; but I quickly conquered him, and
we were soon friends.
I have met, in the course of my life with a variety of
other adventures, which I will narrate to my young rea-
ders, if they will give their attention. I am an old man
now and have plenty of leisure; but the greater portion
of my life has been passed in unceasing activity and has
been full of incident:-
"Up to the north-the polar north,
With the whalers did I go,
'Kong the mountains of eternal ice
To the land of the thawlem now.
"We were hemmed in by icy rocks,
The strength of man was vain;
But at once the arm of God was shown
The rocks were rent in twain.
u Aad then we sailed to the tropic rsm,
That ae like crystal clear,
Thou wilt marvel much, thou little child,
Thee glorious things to hear."
Doubling Cape Horn-A stonn-Our Travellr Shipwrecked
Taken up-Earthquake-Escape to the bbre-Adventure
on shore-Journey to Bonaventara-Saf Arrival.
Here our friend Tom Starboard in his sailor style,
gives an account of a remarkable shipwreck. But there
is nothing better than to let him tell the story himself
The account is natural, though it may be a fiction.
We did not go through the Straits of Magellan, as
the passage is dangerous; but we passed them and
doubled Cape Horn. We went merrilly on, touching
land, occasionally, to take in water, fruit, and live stock,
now and then speaking a vessel, or finding some new
kind of fish, or wonderful bird, till we neared the island
of Juan Fernandes. Here the weather changed, and
such a storm came down upon us as I never saw before
Before it reached its height, and while we were al
in good spirits, a gust of wind blew my ht off, when
Ned, to make me laugh, called out, Tom, your hair
68 WANDERINGS OF TOM STARBOARD.
will be blown off too, if you don't hold it on; my shoe-
strings have been whisked out this half-hour.'
But the fury of the storm so increased, as to put all
laughing and joking out of our thoughts. Night came
on so rapidly that it seemed as if a mighty black cloud
had fallen suddenly over us. The gallant vessel which
had weathered so many storms, struck on a sunken rock,
and went to pieces, as if she had been made of glass !
I got entangled in some loose rigging, which had been
snapped and unravelled like twine, and this circum-
stance, which I expected would be the cause of my
death, saved my life. Part of the topmast was attached
to the ropes which the furious blast twisted round me,
as it swept off my shipmates in crowds, into the fierce
waters; and away I went also, at the same moment,
with my brave captain I-I never more saw a soul from
the vessel, nor an atom of her stout planks.
"How long I coated in my net work of ropes, I can.
not tell. I remember the wrath of the panting billows,
as they were urged onwards by the furious hurricane.
On they dashed over my defenceless head, throwing
the shattered mast against my wounded limbs, and
straining the cords till they cut into my flesh. I remem-
WANDERINGS OF TOM STARBOARD.
ber, too, that the storm seemed to subside as quickly as
as it had arisen. Then a noise as if a vessel toiling
through the waves came over me, and a mixed feeling
of fear and hope passed through my confused brain;-
then a shout and a grappling with my coiling ropes ;-
then a sensation of the soft air, and of my mounting
through it ;-and then a buzz of voices, as I lay in quiet-
ness on a solid floor.
Alas I how wretched I felt, when I found that all the
voices were strange, the language foreign, and the faces
dark and unknown to me. A Portuguese merchant ves-
sel, bound for the city and port of Guayaquil, had picked
I cannot describe to you the forlorn state of my feel-
ings, after the terrible wreck. My own situation, how-
ever, and the altered mode of my existence, I did not
consider till I was made to feel it severely, by the coarse
treatment I met with from those who saved my life.
I was made to work my way-that I expected, and could
not complain of-but I felt sadly the diflf~ence in the
manners of the captain and his crew, compared 'Ih
those of the "Speedwell."
"I thanked the captain for saving my life, and told
him I intended to leave the ship. This, to my surprise,
he said I should not do. I replied that he had no control
over me; that I was an Englishman, and could not be
compelled to serve in a foreign vessel. Then, said he,
pay me for your passage from Juan Fernandez, and you
may leave the ship. I told him this was impossible, as
I had lost every thing in the fatal wreck. At this he only
laughed in my face, and said; 'That is not my look
out; you shall pay me or stay where you are;' and with
an oath, turned on his heel, and left me to my own sad
Tom determined, at once, to embrace the first oppor-
tunity to escape. But they had dropped anchor two or
three miles from the shore, and how could he effect it?
Besides he was closely watched. But the vessel was
soon to sail on a long voyage, and being called to take
his turn, one night in the watch, with two or three
others, he determined to make the attempt.
This night, or never-said I to myself, as I took my
nation. While I was walking the deck, one of my
shipmate at the mast-head, and the other astern, the
ship suddenly quivered, as if she were in an ague fit I-
down slipped the fellow from on high, and fell fat on
his face; the other rushed forward, and kneeled beside
him, both crossing themselves and saying prayers to
their saints. I lost no time, but seizing a board, I hastily
lashed it to my back with a rope (that when I became
fatigued with swimming, I might turn and float,) and
slipping astern, let myself down into the water. The
noise of the splash I feared would betray me, and I gave
up all for lost, though the next minute, I found they
were all praying, and took courage and quietly struck
off. I made but little headway, however, owing to
the board on my back.
As I continued my toilsome passage towards the
shore, I heard the loud bellowing of the troubled earth,
and felt the water jar me, as if it had been a solid sab-
stance. Suddenly a towering voklano, which I took to
be Cotopaxi, at above one hundred miles distance
appeared ilhuminated like an immense light-house; the
thundering increased, and shrieks and other feadl
noises were borne to me over the water. At last, when
nearly exhausted, I was thrown ashore, where I lay to
recover breath and strength, bat oh, the distre and
confusion that then took place 1 Many of the inhabi-
tants came crowding down to the water's edge, for
safety; houses had been destroyed; the earth was
rocking and heaving like an angry ocean; streams of
water had gushed out of the ground where no water had
ever been seen before; suffocating fumes of sulphur burst
up under the feet of the terrified and flying sufferers;
and when the morning dawned, the face of the country
seemed changed. Still the town itself (Guayaquil) had
sustained but little damage, and the inhabitants began
to return to their dwellings and their business. They
are so much accustomed to earthquakes all over Peru,
that it is not surprising they should so soon lose their
"In the general distress, I met with but little com-
passion or assistance, which I then thought strange, but
I had not yet learned that affiction often hardens the heart.
No one relieved my hunger; so I ventured to steal a
handful of nuts from a heap that had fallen out of a
basket which had been thrown down during the night.
These I beat between two stones, and mixed with a
little water; and this was my food for that day.
As I wandered about among the shipping, looking
in vain for a vessel bound to Europe, I recollected that
the bay of Guayaquil is famous for a small shell fish,
about the size of a nut. It is called turbine, and pro-
duces a purple dye, reckoned the best in the world. So
I boldly seized a small boat that was lying at anchor,
and pushing out into the bay, I caught a few of these
valuable little fish, and returned to shore again, before
the owner of the boat had missed it. I was now sure
of a resource against starving, provided any one would
buy my turbines. I was soon fortunate enough to find
a purchaser, so I pursued the plan for several days,
always taking the same boat, which no one appeared to
claim. Perhaps the owner, poor fellow, had been de-
stroyed by the earthquake.
I slept every night in a hut close to the sea; and on
the fifth morning, I found a French vessel in the harbor,
which was proceeding on her voyage to Bonaventura
and to Acapulco, in Mexico. 1 immediately went to the
captain, and offered to work my way to the port of Bon-
aventura, if he would give me my passage. And after
telling him my story, he kindly granted my request; and
in due time we reached the port, where with feelings of
very great gratitude to the captain, I left the vessel."
WANDERINGS OF TOM STARBOARD.
JOURNEY ACROSS THE ANDES.
Tom Arms and Equips for his Journey-His Mule-Sliding down
the Mountains-Mule Escapes-Singular Bridges-How he
subsisted-Diamonds and Gold.
I had formed the strange resolution of crossing over
the continent of South America alone, and on foot I
had read Humbolt's Personal Narrative, and I longed
to see the wonders which he speaks of. Some excuse
may be made for me perhaps, when it is considered that
I had a natural fondness for a wandering life and for the
wonders of nature; besides, I could meet with no ship
on this western side of the continent, bound for my
native country. The French captain, with whom I
came from Guayaquil, thought me a little deranged;
still I believe the good man was glad to get rid of me.
He gave me thirty francs; a gun, and some gunpowder,
saying with a shrug of his shoulder, as he bade me fare-
well, "You are very courageous; but remember you
must eat; and this gun will be of great use to you."
WANDERINGS 01 TOM STARBOARD.
I provided myself with a wallet, in which to put my
shoes, stockings, gloves and a shirt; then inquiring the
road to Zita, I set out before sunrise, towards the Andes.
I was five months in crossing the desolate northern ex-
tremities of those giants of the earth. I bought-nay,
I did not buy, I found a mule that was browsing on some
prickly shrub, (I forget its name,) in a wild pass of the
mountains. She was saddled and bridled, and had evi-
dently lost her master. I looked in vain for some hours,
but could find no trace of any traveller, so I felt justified
in taking possession of her; and it was well I did, for
the sure-footed beast took me umdly over dangerous pas-
ses that I never could have crmaed without her assist-
ance. Many times has the creature, with a sagacity
that was astonishing, stood on the summit of a peak like
a sugar loaf, looking from side to side; then slowly ta-
king aim, has slid down with me on her back, for thirty,
forty, or fifty feet! *
One night, however, she played truant, and slipped
her bridle, which I always wound round my arm while
This part of the story may seem a little natural, but many
traveller make similar statements.
I slept, and disappeared leaving me on the borders of a
At one time, I crossed a mighty torrent that was boil-
ing along, at the depth of a hundred feet below me,
through a narrow ravine;-and what sort of a bridge do
you think I ventured upon? Two large fragments of
rocks, one from each side, had fallen together, as I sup-
posed, during some earthquake, and had formed a natu-
ral bridge, quite firm and safe over which I crossed.
Another time I passed a chasm of prodigious depth,
near an ancient village, the ingenious inhabitants of
which had constructed a bridge of rushes, in the follow-
ing manner. Two stung posts were fixed in the rock
on each side, and to these were fastened ropes of rushes;
the path upon them being made of the same material,
platted together. On each side was also a rope for the
pasenger to steady himself by.
These bridges, in fact, are the origin of our chain or
suspension bridges, but the elastic and light nature of
the rushes makes the motion of the bridge very unpleas-
sant. Indeed when I had one day gone about half way
across one of them, my head began to swim, and I was
obliged to sit down to recover myself; for I really
thought I should never reach the opposite side. I sat
there for some time, swinging in a most perilous yet
ridiculous situation I assure you.
I wished much to see the interior of one of the mines,
but they were too far off. The quicksilver mines of
Huancavelica is particularly curious, having a complete
town and its cathedral deep in the bowels of the earth.
I shall not attempt to tell you half the dangers, diffi-
culties, and troubles I have met with. I made the sun
my guide by day, and the stars by night. I roosted in
trees, like the birds, and ate fruit and herbs like the
beast. I explored mountain tolMuts, which no human
beings, probably, had never seen before; found dia-
monds in their beds, which had been dried up; collec-
ted gold from the mud of the rivers, and a great many
curiosities, which I was obliged to throw away, for want
of convenience to carry them. I met with tribes of Indi
ans who had never heard of the name of England, or
seen an Englishman.
VISIT TO A CAVERN.
Visit to a Cavern-The Guacharos-Night sounds-Return-An
alarm-My escape-Thanks for deliverance.
One evening, during my journey, having refreshed
myself with some of the fruit that grew near me-for I
always found food enough in South America, even in
the forests-I took a fancy to explore a cavern that I saw
in the rock, near which a cascade tumbled. Resolv-
ing to be well prepared for any enemy I might meet
with, I took my gun with me.
1 ought to tell you, by the way, that after I lost my
mule, 1 was obliged for some time to content myself with
a horse. I left him grazing at the foot of a bark tree.
You have heard of the Peruvian bark, which is used so
much in medicine, I dare say. I tied my horse, then, to
a tree which produces this sort of bark.
Well, all things prepared, I set out on my expedition.
As I drew near the lofty cavern, I was astonished at the
deafening noise of innumerable wings, and looking up in
the uncertain twilight, I saw hundreds-I think I might
say thousands-of birds flying about, preparing to leave
their home, in search of food. They were the guacha-
ros. I had read of them in Humboldt's narrative, but to
use the sailor phrase, I had never before run foul' of any
of them. They are night birds, that somewhat resem-
ble our owls, but instead of roosting on trees, these crea-
tures build in caverns. A sight of them is well worth
the trouble and danger of exploring one of these dark and
gloomy mansions. Their noise is prodigious I
In fact, one of the most wonderful things a travedb
meets with in South America, is the different and strange
sounds at night. The howling monkeys, the night-birds,
the sharp cries of the jaguars, the roar of the pumas, the
flapping of wings, the rustling of branches, and other
noises, are astonishing!
How different from the lone solitude of our woods in
New England, where the only sound, perhaps, that dis-
turbs the silence of the night, is the distant hooting of
the owl, or the howling of some dog. Indeed, the great-
er part of the time, every creature is so silent that you
would scarcely know that any living thing was waking.
Well, I stayed so long in the bird cavern, that it was
quite dark when I got back to my horse, and I had not
yet made up my nightly fire. So I groped round in the
dark and collected, as well as I could, some leaves and
sticks, and began to kindle my fire. But just as I was
kneeling down to blow at the heap of fuel I had lighted,
my horse suddenly started, drew back to the full length
of his cord, rolled his eyes, enlarged his nostrils, threw
his ears forward, erected his main and tail, and stood
there the very picture of terror. There is danger now,"
thought I; but I was resolved to meet it. So I jumped
up instantly, and looking into the gloom, in the direction
which my horse's eyes took, I saw a dark mass of some-
thing moving slowly along among the bushes.
I was up the tree instantly, I assure you, taking with
me my gun, which I had rested against its trunk. For
a minute or two all was quiet. Soon, however, the dark
body approached a little nearer, but so quietly, that I
should have thought very little more of it, had not my
horse shown symptoms of so much alarm. I levelled
my piece and fired, and, as I suppoe, wounded the
animal; for he bounded up, and darted off into the
TOM rTA5MUOoa. W
Just at this moment the fre burst into a bright blaze,
which kept the wild animals away for the rest ot that
night. I did not rest or sleep very well, however, for I
had used the rope that I commonly tied myself with, to
fasten my horse. One thing, however, you may esi-
ly suppose, I did not forget to do; which was to give
thanks to my great Preserver, who 'guides the helm,
as we sailors say, by land, as well as by sea.
TRAVELS AMONG THE INDIANS.
The Steppee-New troubles-Bad water-Eating clay and ants.
I came at last to the dreary plains of South America,
called &eppes, and here my troubles were unusually
severe. All kinds of stinging insects, serpents, and
loathesome reptiles annoyed me; besides I could hardly
get food and drink. Sometimes, though rarely, I was
so fortunate as to find a plant resembling the aloe, con-
taining a quantity of pure water in its stem; but when
I could not get this, I was obliged to drink the horrible
water of the rivers, swarming with animalcule (little
creatures almost too small to be seen by the naked eye)
to such a degree that I seemed to swallow about as much
solid matter as liquid. As to food, I was contented,
often, to swallow little balls of earth, as the natives do;
for though it would be disgusting now, it served then,
to keep the breath of life in me. It is a very fat, buttery
kind of earth, and is prepared for food by baking it
slightly in the fire. You are aware, I suppose, that the
natives of Japan, Siberia, Africa, and other parts of the
world, also sometimes eat clay.
After travelling a long time, I came unexpectedly upon
a wandering tribe of Indians, consisting of only three or
four families; and, entering one of their wretched huts,
built of clay and leaves, I asked them for food.
At first they did not understand me, but with the help
of signs, I soon made them comprehend that I was
hungry; upon which one of them took down a bag
containing a kind of greasy, spotted, whitish paste, gave
me some of it, pointed to the fire, and went and lay
down in his hammock, which with fourteen others was
slung from some beams above.
I was so tired and wet, for it was now the rainy season,
and so glad to find something to eat better than clay,
that I was going to cram it down, when I saw unex-
pectedly that the black spots on it were large ants. I
threw it down instantly; but soon recollecting that a
paste mixed with ants, is represented by Humboldt as a
very common food among some of these tribes of Indian,
and feeling impelled by hunger to eat something, I at
last eat a small quantity of it.
90 WANDERINGS Or
These were the laziest sort of people I ever met with.
They seemed to have no wants, beyond mere eating
and drinking ;* they have no clothes to mend, or domestic
cares to attend to; no fishing, no hunting to prepare for-
I quitted them as soon as I could, I assure you, for
they were almost too lazy to furnish me with food;
besides, I was not without fears, from the accounts given
by other travellers, that they would master energy
enough to kill me for food, as a treat I
Before I left them, however, I was greatly rejoiced,
one day, to hear the word "Orinoco;" for, on inquiry,
I found by signs that this long wished for river was only
a little way to the south.
I know we have some just smch people u this in every comtry,
at lea in every one that I have een; bat here they were a
stupid. There were no active and industrious peom aonmg
BIRDS AND BEASTS OF SOUTH AMERICA.
Bathing-A shock-Electrical Eel-The Bell-bird-The oelh-
One day, about noon, as I came to a pleasant looking
pond or lake, beautifully over-shadowed with trees, the
thought struck me that I would take a bath. But I had
scarcely entered the water, before I felt a shock like that
of an electrical machine, and a very severe one, too.
"An earthquake?" you will perhaps say. By no
means. The shock was given by an electrical eel.
However, it instantly took away all my strength, and
nearly all my senses, too; and I believe, in my heart,
I should never have been here, but for help. It was
close to a Missionary village, and an Indian woman
happening to come down to the pond to dip up water,
just at that moment, and guessing my situation, lost no
time in dragging me out before the animal had an op-
portunity of repeating his shocks.
I had now reached a better country. The mornings,
especially, were uncommonly beautiful. Birds of every
color greeted my ears with their songs; and among
the rest, I particularly noticed the companion or bell-
bird. Perched on the top of a lofty mora tree, this bird
used to awaken me by his clear ringing note that sounds
exactly like a fine toned bell, and may be heard two or
three miles. He is white, with a black spire on his
head, and about three inches in length.
Among other creatures that arrested my attention, was
the harmless, but misrepresented and slandered sloth. I
used often to see him looking down in my face from the
lofty trees, where he feels most at home and most happy.
It is true that after he has been caught and put on the
ground, he is a dull lazy animal; for he is out of his
element, almost as much as a fish out of water, or a
human being in it.
But I will give you a few more particulars of this
animal. He is formed to live on trees, and is never
found any where else, unless by force or accident. While
the weather is calm, he remains suspended or hanging
from the branches; but during a high wind, when the
boughs of the closely growing trees are shaken and laced
together, as it were, he passes from one to the other with
ease and quickness. He never moves upon, but under
the branches; he hangs there to rest, to eat, and to sleep.
The color of his fur is so nearly that of the moss on the
bark, that it is not easy to discover him, except when he
is moving. In short, instead of being an object of dis-
gust, or even of pity, I do not know a creature that
appears more happy, as long as man and other animals
will lt him alone. It is man, by his meddling" that
makes a great many of the woes that his fellow animals
feel. It is guns and snares, and traps, and aviaries, and
cages, that make birds and beasts most unhappy.
India rubber shoes-Aloe-leaf hate-Will-o'.the.wisp-What
I had now been so long in the forests and among the
Indians, that I began to be in want of some of those
things that are only to be found in the abodes of civil-
ized men. My shoes, in particular, began to fail me;
and I dreaded the idea of going barefooted day after day.
But as good luck would have it, or rather, perhaps I
ought to say, as a kind Providence designed it, I fell in
with an India rubber tree, into which somebody had
made incisions, and from which the gum was now fow-
ing. So I let it flow upon my shoes, in order to form a
new sole. In this undertaking, however, I was not
quite so successful as in making a new hat to supply the
place of my old one. I found a species of aloe, from
the tough thick leaves of which, by splitting them I made
me a very good hat, especially for the dry season. In
the rainy season, it would not have been quite so com-
fertable, I suppose.
The atmosphere or air which we breathe is composed
of two ingredients, or gases, as the chemists call them.
One is oxygen. This is the supporter of life and fame,
for if it could be taken out of the air we could not
breathe again, and every candle and lamp would be
extinguished in a moment. The other is nitrogen or
azote, which destroys life.
I told you the air we breathe was made up of these
two airs or gases; and it is. But many other gases
sometimes float in it. One of these is hydrogen. It is
produced in various ways, and is one of the most inflam-
mable substances in the world. Now electricity, (or
lightning, for it is the same thing) which is a subtle or
penetrating fluid, always exists in the atmosphere, and
has at all times power to ignite (set on fire) a vapor so
inflammable as hydrogen, if it happens to come in con-
tact with it. Now, again, as this hydrogen gas is most
readily produced by the decomposition of water, and
combines or mixes with various other matters arising
from decaying vegetation, putrifying animal substances,
in low and marshy swamps, a tiny spark is sufficient to
ignite these combined gases, and thus set off the Will-
WO WANDERINGS OF
One night, as I had taken up my quarters on the verge
of a forest, and had got seated in my cradle, which
you know was among the thick branches of some huge
tree, I saw a light glancing among the trees. I came
down from my roosting place, almost in an instant, and
went towards it, hoping there was a village near; for I
was sadly in want of a better rope to fasten myself with;
and the Indians of these villages make some very ingen-
ious ones, by twisting together the long fibres of the
leaves of the cocoa-tree.
Well, as I said, I followed the light, but where, do
you think? Why out of the forest, to be sure, but into
something worse than a forest. I found myself, ere I
was aware of the nature of my guide, up to my knees in
a quagmire: and what was more mortifying still, I was
not much nearer the light than when I set out.
I began now to suspect what it was. It was evidently
one of those things to which they give the name of ignus
fatuous, or will-o'-the-wisp. 'They are seen, as you
know: (and as I might have known had my wits been
about me) in low swampy places, peeping and dodging
about. They are supposed to be gaseous ; but perhaps
you do not all of you know what gaseous means; and I
am hardly philosopher or chemist enough to tell you.
Stones falling-Where they come from-Arrival at the river
Well, I extricated myself from the quagmire and re-
turned,-though not without some difficulty, I had wan-
dered so far, to my roosting place. The next morning
as I was preparing to descend the tree, the sky being
clear, and the sun shining, I was alarmed by a hissing
noise in the,air; and looking quickly around, I was just
in time to see an immense mass of something, I could not
tell what, falling from above, with a loud noise, and
crushing in its fall, the branches of a lofty tamarind tree
Hastening to the spot, I found, to my surprise, an
enormous piece of metal, quite hot, which had fallen
with such force that it lay half buried in the swampy
I stood lost in wonder. When I was a boy, I had-of.
ten picked up lumps of metal on the Wiltshire Downhs.
TOM STARBOARD. 97
in England, but though told they were aerolites, I did
not at that time believe a word of it. "Can the thin
pure air," thought I then, form such hard bodies I Or
can there be great iron mountains, and forges, and black-
smiths, and every thing of that sort, up in the air ?"
But now a huge mass lay at my feet. I had seen it
fall. It was still hot. The boughs of the tamarind tree
lay scattered about in every direction. How could I
doubt any longer ? Was it reasonable to deny facts, be-
fore my eyes, because I could not account for them ?
Do you wish to know if I can account for them now ?
Not a whit better. The moon, some say, has volcanic
mountains which throw them out. But I don't believe
it. Think what an immense force of pressure it must
take to send up a huge stone from one of our volcanoes,
quite beyond the sphere of the earth's attraction, so as to
be met by the attraction of the moon and be carried to
it! Do you believe such a thing could ever happen ?
Nearly all we know about it is briefly this. Heavy
bodies, of every variety of size, from an ounce to 300
pound's weight, have at different times fallen from the at-
mosphere. These heavy bodies are really composed of
earth and metals. They all contain the same substances,
98 WANDZEINGS OF
though sometimes varying a little in the proportions; viz.
iron, nickel, manganese, silica or silex, sulphur, magne-
sia and lime.
Perhaps I ought to add that though I know nothing
more about these wonderful phenomena, it is more gen-
erally believed that these substances are formed in the
vast regions of the atmosphere, by causes unknown ex-
cept to Him who created the atmosphere, "in whom we
live, and move, and have our being."
Soon after my last adventure I arrived at the Mission
villages on the banks of the river Orinoco. Here I met
with a Spanish gentleman of distinction, by the name of
Don Calao. He was a merchant, and sold monkeys,
mackaws, turtles' eggs, &c., very odd things for a man to
trade with, as I then thought. I have something to say
about turtles' eggs in my next letter.