Then, without letting go his hand, she leaned her head on her master’s knee, and fell asleep in this position. Selkirk dares not stir, for fear of disturbing her repose. Insensibly sleep seizes him also.
In the morning when he awakes, the sun is illuminating the interior of his cabin; Marimonda remains in the same attitude as the evening before, but her hands are cold, and a swarm of flies and mosquitoes are thrusting their sharp trunks into her eyes and ears.
She is a corpse.
Selkirk raises her, uttering a cry, and, after having cast an angry look towards heaven, wipes away two tears that trickle down his cheeks.
Thou thoughtest thyself insensible, Selkirk, and behold, thou art weeping!—thou, who hast more than once seen, with unmoistened eye, men, thy companions, in war or at sea, fall beneath a furious sword, or under the fire of batteries! Among the sentiments which honor humanity, which elevate it notwithstanding its defects, thou hadst preserved at least thy confidence in God and in his mercy, Selkirk, and to-day thou doubtest both!
Why dost thou weep? why dost thou distrust God?
Because thy monkey is dead!
Discouragement.—A Discovery.—A Retrospective Glance.—Project of Suicide.—The Last Shot.—The Sea Serpent.—The Porro.—A Message. —Another Solitary.
His provisions are exhausted, and Selkirk thinks not of renewing them; his settlement on the shore is destroyed, and he thinks not of rebuilding it; the fish-pond, the bed of water-cresses are encroached upon by sand and weeds, and he thinks not of repairing them. His mind, completely discouraged, recoils before such labors; he has scarcely troubled himself to replace the roof of his cabin.
In the midst of his dreams, Selkirk had not counted enough on two terrific guests, which must sooner or later come: despair and ennui.
Nevertheless, he had read in his Bible this passage: ’As the worm gnaweth the garment and rottenness the wood, so doth the weariness of solitude gnaw the heart of man.’
One day, as he was descending from the Oasis, where he had dug a tomb for Marimonda, he bethought himself of visiting the site of his burning wood.
Around him, the earth, blackened by the ravages of the fire, presented only a naked, gloomy and desolate picture. To his great surprise, beneath the ruins, under coal dust and half-calcined trunks of trees, he discovered, elevated several feet above the soil, the partition of a wall, some stones quarried out and placed one upon another; in fine, the remains of a building, evidently constructed by the hand of man.
Men had then inhabited this island before him! What had become of them? This wood, impenetrably choked, stifled with thorny bushes, briars and vines, and which he had delivered over to the flames, was undoubtedly a garden planted by them, on a sheltered declivity of the mountain; the garden which surrounded their habitation, as he had himself designed his own to do.