Every where, springs of living water, little streams which are lost under a thick verdure, or fall in cascades from the summits of the hills; every where a luxuriant vegetation; esculent and refreshing plants, celery, cresses, sorrel, spring in profusion beneath his feet; over his head, and almost within reach of his hand, palm-cabbages, and unknown fruits of succulent appearance: on the margin of the shores, muscles, periwinkles, shell-fish of every species, crabs crawling in the moist sand; beneath the transparent waters, innumerable shoals of fishes of all colors, all forms. Will game be wanting here? After what he has seen this morning, he will not even need his gun to obtain it. Oh! his provision of powder will last him a long time.
What has he to desire more in this terrestrial Paradise? The society of men? Why? That he may find a master, a chief, under whose will he must bend? Men! but he despises, detests them! Is he not then sufficient for himself? Yes! this shall be his glory, his happiness! To live in entire liberty, to depend only upon himself, will not this impart to his soul true dignity? Besides, this island cannot be so far from the coast, but, from time to time, ships, or at least boats must come in sight. This is then for him but a transient seclusion; but were he even condemned to eternal isolation, this isolation has ceased to terrify him, he accepts it! Has he not almost always lived alone, in spirit at least? When he was in the depths of the hold, was he not better satisfied with his fate than when surrounded by those coarse sailors who composed the worthy crew of the Swordfish?
To-day he is no longer the prisoner of Stradling, he is the prisoner of God! and this thought reassures him.
A sailor, he has never loved but the sea; well! the sea surrounds him, guards him! He has then only thanks to render to God.
Arrived at his grotto, he takes his Bible, opens it; but the sun, suddenly sinking below the horizon, permits him to read only this passage on which his finger is placed: ’Thou shalt perish in thy pride!’
Labors of the Colonist.—His Study.—Fishing.—Administration. —Selkirk Island.—The New Prometheus.—What is wanting to Happiness. —Encounter with Marimonda.—Monologue.
Three months have passed away.
Thanks to Selkirk, the shore which received him at his disembarkation, presents to-day an aspect not only picturesque, but animated. The hand of man has made itself felt there.
The bushes and tufts of trees which hid the view of the hills in the distance, have been uprooted and cut down; pretty paths, covered with gravel, wind over the vast lawn; one in the direction of the valleys at the right, another towards the mountains at the left; a third leads to a tall mimosa, whose topmost boughs and dense foliage spread out like a parasol. A wooden bench, composed of some round sticks, driven into the earth, with branches interwoven and covered with bark, surrounds it; a rustic table, constructed in the same manner, stands at the foot of the tree. This is the study and place of meditation of the exile; here also he comes to take his meals, in sight of the sea.