Text - "The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe" Daniel Defoe

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All this while the storm increased, and the sea went very high, though
nothing like what I have seen many times since; no, nor what I saw a few
days after; but it was enough to affect me then, who was but a young
sailor, and had never known anything of the matter. I expected every
wave would have swallowed us up, and that every time the ship fell down,
as I thought it did, in the trough or hollow of the sea, we should never
rise more; in this agony of mind, I made many vows and resolutions that
if it would please God to spare my life in this one voyage, if ever I got
once my foot upon dry land again, I would go directly home to my father,
and never set it into a ship again while I lived; that I would take his
advice, and never run myself into such miseries as these any more. Now I
saw plainly the goodness of his observations about the middle station of
life, how easy, how comfortably he had lived all his days, and never had
been exposed to tempests at sea or troubles on shore; and I resolved that
I would, like a true repenting prodigal, go home to my father.

These wise and sober thoughts continued all the while the storm lasted,
and indeed some time after; but the next day the wind was abated, and the
sea calmer, and I began to be a little inured to it; however, I was very
grave for all that day, being also a little sea-sick still; but towards
night the weather cleared up, the wind was quite over, and a charming
fine evening followed; the sun went down perfectly clear, and rose so the
next morning; and having little or no wind, and a smooth sea, the sun
shining upon it, the sight was, as I thought, the most delightful that
ever I saw.

I had slept well in the night, and was now no more sea-sick, but very
cheerful, looking with wonder upon the sea that was so rough and terrible
the day before, and could be so calm and so pleasant in so little a time
after. And now, lest my good resolutions should continue, my companion,
who had enticed me away, comes to me; "Well, Bob," says he, clapping me
upon the shoulder, "how do you do after it? I warrant you were frighted,
wer'n't you, last night, when it blew but a capful of wind?" "A capful
d'you call it?" said I; "'twas a terrible storm." "A storm, you fool
you," replies he; "do you call that a storm? why, it was nothing at all;
give us but a good ship and sea-room, and we think nothing of such a
squall of wind as that; but you're but a fresh-water sailor, Bob. Come,
let us make a bowl of punch, and we'll forget all that; d'ye see what
charming weather 'tis now?" To make short this sad part of my story, we
went the way of all sailors; the punch was made and I was made half drunk
with it: and in that one night's wickedness I drowned all my repentance,
all my reflections upon my past conduct, all my resolutions for the
future. In a word, as the sea was returned to its smoothness of surface
and settled calmness by the abatement of that storm, so the hurry of my
thoughts being over, my fears and apprehensions of being swallowed up by
the sea being forgotten, and the current of my former desires returned, I
entirely forgot the vows and promises that I made in my distress. I
found, indeed, some intervals of reflection; and the serious thoughts
did, as it were, endeavour to return again sometimes; but I shook them
off, and roused myself from them as it were from a distemper, and
applying myself to drinking and company, soon mastered the return of
those fits-for so I called them; and I had in five or six days got as
complete a victory over conscience as any young fellow that resolved not
to be troubled with it could desire. But I was to have another trial for
it still; and Providence, as in such cases generally it does, resolved to
leave me entirely without excuse; for if I would not take this for a
deliverance, the next was to be such a one as the worst and most hardened
wretch among us would confess both the danger and the mercy of.

The sixth day of our being at sea we came into Yarmouth Roads; the wind
having been contrary and the weather calm, we had made but little way
since the storm. Here we were obliged to come to an anchor, and here we
lay, the wind continuing contrary-viz. at south-west-for seven or eight
days, during which time a great many ships from Newcastle came into the
same Roads, as the common harbour where the ships might wait for a wind
for the river.

We had not, however, rid here so long but we should have tided it up the
river, but that the wind blew too fresh, and after we had lain four or
five days, blew very hard. However, the Roads being reckoned as good as
a harbour, the anchorage good, and our ground-tackle very strong, our men
were unconcerned, and not in the least apprehensive of danger, but spent
the time in rest and mirth, after the manner of the sea; but the eighth
day, in the morning, the wind increased, and we had all hands at work to
strike our topmasts, and make everything snug and close, that the ship
might ride as easy as possible. By noon the sea went very high indeed,
and our ship rode forecastle in, shipped several seas, and we thought
once or twice our anchor had come home; upon which our master ordered out
the sheet-anchor, so that we rode with two anchors ahead, and the cables
veered out to the bitter end.

By this time it blew a terrible storm indeed; and now I began to see
terror and amazement in the faces even of the seamen themselves. The
master, though vigilant in the business of preserving the ship, yet as he
went in and out of his cabin by me, I could hear him softly to himself
say, several times, "Lord be merciful to us! we shall be all lost! we
shall be all undone!" and the like. During these first hurries I was
stupid, lying still in my cabin, which was in the steerage, and cannot
describe my temper: I could ill resume the first penitence which I had so
apparently trampled upon and hardened myself against: I thought the
bitterness of death had been past, and that this would be nothing like
the first; but when the master himself came by me, as I said just now,
and said we should be all lost, I was dreadfully frighted. I got up out
of my cabin and looked out; but such a dismal sight I never saw: the sea
ran mountains high, and broke upon us every three or four minutes; when I
could look about, I could see nothing but distress round us; two ships
that rode near us, we found, had cut their masts by the board, being deep
laden; and our men cried out that a ship which rode about a mile ahead of
us was foundered. Two more ships, being driven from their anchors, were
run out of the Roads to sea, at all adventures, and that with not a mast
standing. The light ships fared the best, as not so much labouring in
the sea; but two or three of them drove, and came close by us, running
away with only their spritsail out before the wind.

Towards evening the mate and boatswain begged the master of our ship to
let them cut away the fore-mast, which he was very unwilling to do; but
the boatswain protesting to him that if he did not the ship would
founder, he consented; and when they had cut away the fore-mast, the
main-mast stood so loose, and shook the ship so much, they were obliged
to cut that away also, and make a clear deck.

Any one may judge what a condition I must be in at all this, who was but
a young sailor, and who had been in such a fright before at but a little.
But if I can express at this distance the thoughts I had about me at that
time, I was in tenfold more horror of mind upon account of my former
convictions, and the having returned from them to the resolutions I had
wickedly taken at first, than I was at death itself; and these, added to
the terror of the storm, put me into such a condition that I can by no
words describe it. But the worst was not come yet; the storm continued
with such fury that the seamen themselves acknowledged they had never
seen a worse. We had a good ship, but she was deep laden, and wallowed
in the sea, so that the seamen every now and then cried out she would
founder. It was my advantage in one respect, that I did not know what
they meant by founder till I inquired. However, the storm was so
violent that I saw, what is not often seen, the master, the boatswain,
and some others more sensible than the rest, at their prayers, and
expecting every moment when the ship would go to the bottom. In the
middle of the night, and under all the rest of our distresses, one of the
men that had been down to see cried out we had sprung a leak; another
said there was four feet water in the hold. Then all hands were called
to the pump. At that word, my heart, as I thought, died within me: and I
fell backwards upon the side of my bed where I sat, into the cabin.
However, the men roused me, and told me that I, that was able to do
nothing before, was as well able to pump as another; at which I stirred
up and went to the pump, and worked very heartily. While this was doing
the master, seeing some light colliers, who, not able to ride out the
storm were obliged to slip and run away to sea, and would come near us,
ordered to fire a gun as a signal of distress. I, who knew nothing what
they meant, thought the ship had broken, or some dreadful thing happened.
In a word, I was so surprised that I fell down in a swoon. As this was a
time when everybody had his own life to think of, nobody minded me, or
what was become of me; but another man stepped up to the pump, and
thrusting me aside with his foot, let me lie, thinking I had been dead;
and it was a great while before I came to myself.