MacMillan's Reading Books eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 344 pages of information about MacMillan's Reading Books.
will do,” and immediately snatched my hat from my head.  Though I was by no means free of apprehension, yet I resolved to show as few signs of fear as possible; and therefore told them, unless my hat was returned to me, I should go no farther.  But before I had time to receive an answer, another drew his knife, and seizing upon a metal button which remained upon my waistcoat, cut it off, and put it in his pocket.  Their intention was now obvious, and I thought that the more easily they were permitted to rob me of everything, the less I had to fear.  I therefore allowed them to search my pockets without resistance, and examine every part of my apparel, which they did with scrupulous exactness.  But observing that I had one waistcoat under another, they insisted that I should cast them both off; and at last, to make sure work, stripped me quite naked.  Even my half-boots (though the sole of one of them was tied to my foot with a broken bridle-rein) were narrowly inspected.  Whilst they were examining the plunder, I begged them with great earnestness to return my pocket compass; but when I pointed it out to them, as it was lying on the ground, one of the banditti thinking I was about to take it up, cocked his musket, and swore that he would lay me dead on the spot if I presumed to lay my hand on it.  After this some of them went away with my horse, and the remainder stood considering whether they should leave me quite naked, or allow me something to shelter me from the sun.  Humanity at last prevailed; they returned me the worst of the two shirts and a pair of trowsers; and, as they went away, one of them threw back my hat, in the crown of which I kept my memorandums; and this was probably the reason they did not wish to keep it.  After they were gone, I sat for some time looking around me with amazement and terror; whichever way I turned, nothing appeared but danger and difficulty.  I saw myself in the midst of a vast wilderness in the depth of the rainy season, naked and alone, surrounded by savage animals, and men still more savage.  I was five hundred miles from the nearest European settlement.  All these circumstances crowded at once to my recollection; and I confess that my spirits began to fail me.  I considered my fate as certain, and that I had no alternative but to lie down and perish.  At this moment, painful as my reflections were, the extraordinary beauty of a small moss irresistibly caught my eye.  I mention this to show from what trifling circumstances the mind will sometimes derive consolation; for though the whole plant was not larger than the tip of one of my fingers, I could not contemplate the delicate conformation of its roots, leaves, and capsule without admiration.  Can that Being (thought I), who planted, watered, and brought to perfection, in this obscure part of the world, a thing which appears of so small importance, look with unconcern upon the situation and sufferings of creatures formed after his own image?—­surely not!  Reflections
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MacMillan's Reading Books from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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