’He was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses; they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven.’—DANIEL v. 21.
Capt. Rogers, in his turn, learned the misfortunes of Selkirk and became attached to him; from this moment, the sailors themselves showed him great deference; he was known among them by the name of the governor, and this title clung to him.
To do the honors of his island, the governor one day gave to the crews of the two vessels, the spectacle of one of his former hunts. Resuming his ancient costume, he returned to the high mountains, where, before their eyes, he started a goat, and darting in pursuit of it, over a thousand cliffs, sometimes clearing frightful abysses, by means of a vine which he seized on his passage,—this method he owed to Marimonda,—he succeeded in forcing his game to the hills of the shore. Arrived there, exhausted, panting, drawing itself up like a stag at bay, the goat stopped short. Selkirk took it living on his shoulders, and presented it to Capt. Rogers. Its ear was already slit.
By way of thanks, the captain announced that he might henceforth be connected with the expedition, with his old rank of mate, which was restored to him. For this favor Selkirk was indebted to the solicitations of Dampier.
In the same vessel with Dampier, he made another three years’ voyage, visited Mexico, California, and the greater part of North America; after which, still in company with Dampier, and possessor of a pretty fortune, he returned to England, where the recital of his adventures, already made public, secured him the most honorable patronage and friendship. Among his friends, may be reckoned Steele, the co-laborer, the rival of Addison, who consecrated a long chapter to him in his publication of the Tatler.
Selkirk did not fail to visit Scotland. Passing through St. Andrew, could he help experiencing anew the desire to see his old friend pretty Kitty? Once more he appeared before the bar of the Royal Salmon. This time, on meeting, Selkirk and Catherine both experienced a sentiment of painful surprise. The latter, stouter and fuller than ever, fat and red-faced, touched the extreme limit of her fourth and last youth; the solitary of Juan Fernandez, with his gray hair, his copper complexion, could scarcely recall to the respectable hostess of the tavern the elegant pilot of the royal navy, still less the pale and blond student, of whom she had been, eighteen years before, the first and only love.
‘Is it indeed you, my poor Sandy,’ said she, with an accent of pity; ‘I thought you were dead.’
’I have been nearly so, indeed, and a long time ago, Kitty. But who has told you of me?’
‘Alas! It was my husband himself.’
‘You are married then, Catherine. So much the better.’