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was nothing but the print of one of my own feet (and so I might be truly said to start at my own shadow), I began to
abroad again, and went to my country house to milk my flock. But to see with what fear I went forward, how often I looked behind me, how I was ready every now and then to lay down my basket and run for my life, it would have made any one have thought I was haunted with an evil conscience, or that I had been lately most terribly frighted; and so indeed I had.
However, as I went down thus two or three days, and having seen nothing, I began to be a little bolder, and to think there was really nothing in it but my own imagination; but I could not persuade myself fully of this, till I should
down to the shore again, and see this print of a foot, and measure it by my own, and see if there was any similitude or fitness, that I might be assured it was iny own foot: but when I came to the place, first it appeared evidently to me that when I laid up my boat, I could not possibly be on shore any where thereabouts; secondly, when I came to measure the mark with my own foot, I found my foot not so long by a great deal. Both these things filled my head with new imaginations, and gave me the vapours again to the highest degree ; so that I shook with cold, like one in an ague; and I went home again filled with a belief, that some man or men had been on shore there; or, in short, that the island was inhabited, and I might be surprised before I was aware; and what course to take for my security I knew not.
About a year and a half after I had entertained these notions, and by long musing had, as it were, resolved them all into nothing, I was surprised one morning early with seeing no less than five canoes all on shore together, on my side the island, and the people who belonged to them all landed and out of my sight. The number of them broke all
my measures; for seeing so many, and knowing that they always came four or six or sometimes more in a boat, I could not tell what to think of it, or how to take my measures, to attack twenty or thirty men single-handed ; so I lay still in my castle, perplexed and discomforted; hewever, I put myself into all the same postures for an attack that I had formerly provided, and was just ready for action, if anything had presented itself, having waited a good while listening to hear if they made any noise. At length, being very impatient, I set my guns at the foot of my ladder, and clambered up to the top of the hill by my two stages as usual; standing so, however, that my head did not appear above the hill: so that they could not perceive me by any means. Here I observed, by the help of my perspective glass, that there were no less than thirty in number, that they had a fire kindled, and that they had meat dressed; how they cooked it, that I knew not, or what it was; but they were all dancing in I know not how many barbarous gestures and figures, their own way, round the fire.
When I was thus looking on them, I perceived by my perspective two miserable wretches dragged from the boats, where it seems they were laid by, and were now brought out for the slaughter. I perceived one of them immediately fall, being knocked down, I suppose, with a club or wooden sword, for that was their way; and two or three others were at work immediately, cutting him open for their cookery, while the other victim was left standing by himself till they should be ready for him. In that very moment, this poor wretch seeing himself a little at liberty, nature inspired him with hopes of life, and he started away from them, and ran along the sands with incredible swiftness directly towards me; I mean towards that part of the coast where my habitation was.
I was dreadfully frighted (that I must acknowledge) when I perceived him to run my way; and especially when, as I thought, I saw him pursued by the whole body. There was between them and my castle the creek, which I mentioned often at the first part of my story, when I landed my cargoes out of the ship; and this I knew he must necessarily swim over, or the poor wretch would be taken there; but when the savage escaping came thither, he made nothing of it, though the tide was then up; but plunging in, swam through in about thirty strokes or thereabouts, landed, and ran on with exceeding strength and swiftness. When the three pursuers came to the creek, I found that two of them could swim, but the third could not, and that he, standing on the other side, looked at the others, but went no farther, and soon after went softly back again; which, as it happened, was very well for him in the main.
I observed that the two who swam were yet more than twice as long swimming over the creek than the fellow was that fled from them ; it came now very warmly upon my thoughts, and indeed irresistibly, that now was my time to get me a servant, and perhaps a companion or assistant, and that I was called plainly by Providence to save this poor creature's life. I immediately got down the ladder with all possible expedition, fetched my two guns, for they were both at the foot of the ladder, as I observed above; and getting up again with the same haste to the top of the hill, I crossed towards the sea; and, having a very short cut, and all down hill, clapped myself in the way between the pursuers and the pursued, hallooing aloud to him that fled, who looking back, was at first perhaps as much frightened at me as at them; but I beckoned with my hand to
him to come back; and in the meantime I slowly advanced towards the two that followed ; then rushing at once upon the foremost, I knocked him down with the stock of my piece: I was loath to fire, because I would not have the rest hear; though at that distance it would not have been easily heard ; and being out of sight of the smoke too, they would not have easily known what to make of it. Having knocked this fellow down, the other who pursued him stopped, as if he had been frightened, and I advanced a pace towards him ; but as I came nearer, I perceived presently he had a bow and arrow, and was fitting it to shoot at me; so I was then necessitated to shoot at him first, which I did, and killed him at the first shot. The poor savage who fled but had stopped, though he saw both his enemies fallen and killed (as he thought), yet was so frighted with the fire and noise of my -piece, that he stood stock-still, and neither came forward nor went backward, though he seemed rather inclined to fly still than to come on. I hallooed again to him and made signs to come forward, which he easily understood, and came a little way, then stopped again, and then a little farther, and then stopped again; and I could then perceive that he stood trembling, as if he had been taken prisoner, and had just been to be killed, as his two enemies were. I beckoned him again to come to me, and gave him all the signs of encouragement that I could think of; and he came nearer and nearer, kneeling down every ten or twelve steps, in token of acknowledgment for saving his life. I smiled at him and looked pleasantly, and beckoned to him to come still nearer. At length he came close to me, and then he kneeled down again, kissed the ground, and laid his head upon the ground, and taking me by the foot, set my foot upon his head: this, it seems, was in token of swearing to be my slave for ever. I took him
up, and made much of him, and encouraged him all I could. But there was more work to do yet; for I perceived the savage whom I knocked down was not killed, but stunned with the blow, and began to come to himself; so I pointed to him, and showed him the savage, that he was not dead; upon this he spoke some words to me, and though I could not understand them, yet I thought they were pleasant to hear, for they were the first sound of a man's voice that I had heard (my own excepted) for above five-and-twenty years: but there was no time for such reflections now : the savage who was knocked down recovered himself so far as to sit up upon the ground; and I perceived that my savage began to be afraid ; but when I saw that, I presented my other piece at the man, as if I would shoot him; upon this my savage, for so I call him now, made a motion to me to lend him my sword, which hung naked in a belt by my side; so I did : he no sooner had it but he runs to his enemy, and at one blow cut off his head so cleverly, no executioner in Germany could have done it sooner or better; which I thought it very strange for one who, I had reason to believe, never saw a sword in his life before, except their own wooden swords; however, it seems, as I learned afterwards, they made their wooden swords so sharp, so heavy, and the wood is so hard, that they will cut off heads even
and that at one blow too. When he had done this, he comes laughing to me in sign of triumph, and brought me the sword again; and with abundance of gestures, which I did not understand, laid it down, with the head of the savage that he had killed just before me.
But that which astonished him most was, to know how I had killed the other Indian so far off: so pointing to him, he made signs to me to let him go to him: so I bade him go as well as I could. When he came to him he stood like
with them, ay,