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That a drift would be driven to us we felt
confident, but it might arrive too late to save life.
Yet hope gleamed brightly through all the blackness,
and we, one and all, looked forward to an
ultimate release.

We had to suffer much. It was horrible to
think that the water we were obliged to drink
contained the dead bodies of all our friends
and comrades; among them, my two brothers
and my father, who had been working in
another part of the mine, where I knew they
must have been drowned. And then I thought
of my mother and sisters, how they would be
mourning for us all; and I prayed to be spared
for their sakes. Time passed, and brought on
hunger; and soon our thoughts were concentrated
on our own sufferings. We had a few
pounds of candles which we divided amongst us,
and which we were obliged to eat very sparingly.
Two of our number sickened and died very
shortly after the candles were consumed; leaving
but three of us to meet our fate. The poor
fellows died quietly, without a murmur, and it
seemed to us as if they had simply fallen asleep,
when they lay dead beside us. We did not throw
them into the water, for a sense of deathly sickness
was settling on us, as the change from
hunger to weakness was taking place. At the
beginning of that trial I suffered terribly from
hunger, and my mental sufferings were also
great; but, as I grew weaker, my pains and
sufferings diminished in proportion to my strength.
Hope left us at last, and we ceased knocking on
the face of the rock; but once more I collected
the little remaining strength I had and struck a
few blows. There was no response. Then hope
flew, and I did not care to encourage it back.
The last clear recollection I have, was calling
Harry Walter's and Whitehead's names, and
that they did not answer. I then laid down;
for I felt drowsy.

What passed now seemed to be a feeble
dream. I had alternating periods of light and
darkness; in the light period I seemed to live,
but in the dark I thought I was dead. I also
faintly recollect that I considered why I did not
go to the world eternal. It then appeared
faintly illuminated, and I imagined I was
surrounded by beings like what I had pictured the
angels to be, but they looked very sad; I thought
I was still prostrate and human, and very miserable.
The scene gradually darkened, and I
thought I heard familiar noises, but my head
seemed to fly from my body and dart against
something hard. I suppose that I was trying
to sit up then, but from weakness fell back.

At last I saw light once again, this time more
vividly than before, though but for a moment.
I thought I was in a tomb of fire, while a being,
human in form but of brilliant flame in
substance, came towards me and took hold of me.
In an instant all was dark, and I remember no

It was weeks before I got better, or could
call to mind the feelings and incidents I have
just related. I can only account for the light
and dark periods by supposing that I was
delirious when I thought it was light, but sane
and semi-unconscious when I thought it was
dark. The noises I heard were real, for a drift
was being driven towards where I lay, and
they must have proceeded from the workmen.
The familiar sounds no doubt aroused rne,
and I tried to sit up, but I was too weak for
this, and must have fallen back on the slaty
floor. When the opening was made and the
candles of the searchers appeared, I must have
opened my eyes and believed the place to be a
tomb of fire, and the man who was as a flame
in human form must have been the man who
rushed to ascertain whether I was alive or dead.
I can make rio other explanation.

Whitehead and I were the sole survivors: the
rest were dead when the rescue came.


For, more than a hundred years, an
unquestioned connexion has been maintained in
popular opinion between Robinson Crusoe and
the island of Juan Fernandez; so that in school
geographies and books of voyages, wherever it
becomes necessary to mention the island, an
allusion to the hero of De Foe's romance is sure to
follow. Yet, the slightest examination of an
unabridged copy of Robinson Crusoe will show
that it contains no reference whatever to Juan
Fernandez, but that, on the contrary, a very
well defined locality in another part of the
western hemisphere is assigned to the
imaginary island. The delusion originated in the
charge against De Foe, that he had derived the
idea, and many of the details, of his fiction
from the well-known story of Alexander Selkirk's
residence on Juan Fernandez.

The story of Selkirk is briefly this: He was
the sailing-master of an English privateer,
commanded by Captain Stradling, which was cruising
in the South Seas, and which stopped at
Juan Fernandez in 1704 for supplies and repairs,
that island being then as well known and almost
as frequently visited by English, French, and
Spanish vessels as it is now. In consequence
of a violent quarrel with his commander, Selkirk
resolved to leave the vessel, and, accordingly,
in September, 1704, he was set ashore at his
own request, being supplied with a sea-chest,
clothes, bedding, a firelock, a pound of gun-
powder, bullets, a flint and steel, a few pounds
of tobacco, a hatchet, a knife, a kettle, a Bible
and other books of devotion, together with a
case of mathematical instruments, and several
works on navigation. He remained upon the
island four years and four months, until he was
taken off in February, 1709, by Captain Woodes
Rogers, commander of the Duke, a British
privateer, in which vessel Selkirk shipped himself
as mate; and, after a long cruise, returned to
England in October, 1711, eight years before
the publication of Robinson Crusoe.

Selkirk, it will be observed, voluntarily went
ashore, well supplied with arms, tools, clothes,
and books, upon an island that for two centuries
had been the resort of ships of various nations.