The first part of this book is entitled: THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF ALEXANDER SELKIRK, THE REAL ROBINSON CRUSOE. A NARRATIVE FOUNDED ON FACTS.
The second part is entitled: THE HISTORY OF THE WANDERINGS OF TOM STARBOARD.
The Publisher has copy-edited this book to improve the formatting, style and accuracy of the text to make it readable. This did not involve changing the substance of the text.
......Alexander Selkirk was born in the year 1676, and was the seventh son of John Selkirk, shoemaker and tanner, in Largo, Scotland. His mother looked upon him as one that would pass 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 years; and again being guilty of very bad behavior, and having beaten a young infirm brother, and raised a riot in his father's house, he was publicly reprimanded: upon this, he left home, and being a skilful seaman, was appointed Sailing Master, in a vessel called the Cinque Ports — a small sailor which went in company with captain Dampier to the South Sea.
......Having quarreled 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 vessel remained undergoing repairs. The disagreement, instead of being made up, became greater every clay, 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 sensation 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 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 mutiny, and. describing his present situation as the most proper state for such a fellow, where his example would not affect others.
......I herewith give my young readers extracts from a little work under this title, which I think they will find entertaining. Mr. Starboard is one of those redoubted travelers, who are generally the heroes of their best stories, and his adventures are no less varied than wonderful. 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 walk all the way; oh no! I frequently went with the Indians up their rivers; and for about five hundred miles I rode on mules, or wild horses, which I caught by stratagem.
......"At night I would find a tree, and lace a rope in and out of two boughs; 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 serviceable 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 animals; 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 flat, 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 pressed it on the fang, (the point of which communicated with the root where the bag of poison is situated,) and I distinctly saw the venom ooze out: it was of a thick substance and of a yellow color; of course I killed the creature."