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complained of, that she was at last prevailed on to recount to him the whole history of her afflictions. This so moved the captain, who had too little notions of greatness, and so incensed him against our hero, that he resolved to punish him; and, without regard to the laws of war, he immediately ordered out his shattered boat, and, making Wild a present of half-a-dozen biscuits to prolong his misery, he put him therein, and then, committing him to the mercy of the sea, proceeded on his cruise. -oCHAPTER XI. The great and wonderful behaviour of our hero in the boat.
It is probable, that a desire of ingratiating himself with his charming captive, or rather conqueror, had no, little share in promoting this extraordinary act of illegal justice; for the Frenchman had conceived the same sort of passion, or hunger, which Wild himself had felt, and was almost as much resolved, by some means or other, to satisfy it. We will leave him, however, at present, in the pursuit of his wishes, and attend our hero in his boat; since it is in circumstances of distress that true greatness appears most wonderful. For that a prince in the midst of his courtiers, all ready to compliment him with his favourite character, or title, and indeed with every thing else ; or that a conqueror at the head of an hundred thousand men, all prepared to execute his will, how ambitious, wanton, or cruelosoever, should; in the giddiness of their pride, elevate theinselves many degrees above those their tools, seems not difficult to be imagined, or indeed accounted for... But that a man in chains, in prison, nay, in the wilest dungeon, should, with persevering pride and obstimate dignity, discover that vast superiority in his own nature over the rest of mankind, who to a vulgar eye seem much happier than himself; nay, that he should discover heaven and providence (whose peculiar care, it seems, he is) at that very time at work for him; this is among the arcana of greatness, to be perfectly understood only by an adept in that science. What could be imagined more miserable than the situation of our hero at this season, floating in a little boat on the open seas, without oar, without sail, and at the mercy of the first wave to overwhelm him 7 nay this was indeed the fair side of his fortune, as it was a much more eligible fate than that alternative, which threatened him with almost unavoidable certainty, viz. starving with hunger, the sure consequences of a continuance of the caim. Our hero, finding himself in this condition, began to ejaculate a round of blasphemies, which the reader, without being over-pious, might be offended at seeing repeated. He then accused the whole female sex, and the passion of love, (as he called it,) particularly that which he bore to Mrs. Heartfree, as the unhappy occasion of his present sufferings. At length, finding himself descending too much into the language of meanness and complaint, he stopped short, and soon after broke forth as follows: “D n it, a man can die but once, what signifies it ! Every man must die, and when it is over, it is over. I never was afraid of any thing yet, nor I won't begin now ; no, d n me, won't I. What signifies fear? I shall die whether I am afraid or no : Who's afraid then, d n me?” At which words he looked extremely fierce, but recollecting that no one was present to see him, he relaxed a little the terror of his countenance, and pausing a while, repeated the word, d n “Suppose I should be d–ned at last,’ cries he, “when I never thought a syllable of the matter I have often laughed and made a jest about it and yet it may be so, for any thing which I know to the contrary. If there should be another world it will go hard with me, that is certain. I shall never escape for what I have done to Heartfree. The devil must have me for that undoubtedly. The devil Pshaw I am not such a fool to be frighten’d at him neither. No, no; when
a man's dead, there’s an end of him. I wish I was certainly satisfied of it though ; for there are some men of learning, as I have heard, of a different opinion. . It is but a bad chance, methinks, I stand. If there be no other world, why I shall be in no worse condition than a block or a stone: But if there should, D n me, I will think no longer about it.—Let a pack of cowardly rascals be afraid of death, I dare look him in the face. But shall I stay and be starved —No, I will eat up the biscuits the French son of a whore bestowed on me, and then leap into the sea for drink, since the unconscionable dog hath not allowed me a single dram.” Having thus said, he proceeded immediately to put his purpose in execution, and as his resolution never failed him, he had no sooner despatched the small quantity of provision, which his enemy had with no vast liberality presented him, than he cast himself headlong into the Sea.
--CHAPTER XII. The strange and yet natural escape of our hero. OUR hero having with wonderful resolution thrown himself into the sea, as we mentioned at the end of the last chapter, was miraculously within two minutes after replaced in his boat ; and this without the assistance of a dolphin or seahorse, or any other fish or animal, who are always as ready at hand when a poet or historian pleases to call for them to carry a hero through the sea, as any chairman at a coffee-house door near St. James's, to convey a beau over a street, and preserve his white stockings. The truth is, we do not choose to have any recourse to miracles, from the strict observance we pay to that rule of Horace, JNec Deus intersit, nisi dignus vindice nodus.
The meaning of which is, Do not bring in a supernatural agent when you can do without him; and indeed, we are much deeper read in natural than supernatural causes. We will therefore endeavour to account for this extraor
dinary event from the former of these ; and in doing this it will be necessary to disclose some profound secrets to Your reader, extremely well worth his knowing, and which may serve him to account for many occurrences of the phaenomenous kind which have formerly appeared in this our hemisphere. Be it known then, that the great Alma Mater, Nature, is of all other females the most obstimate, and tenacious of her purpose. So true is that observation, * JNaturam expellas furca licet, usque recurret. Which I need not render in English, it being to be found in a book which most fine gentlemen are forced to read. Whatever nature, therefore, purposes to herself, she never suffers any reason, design, or accident, to frustrate. Now though it may seem to a shallow observer, that some persons were designed by nature for no use or purpose whatever ; yet certain it is, that no man is born into the world without his particular allotment; viz. Some to be kings, some statesmen, some ambassadors, some bishops, seme generals, and so on. Of these there be two kinds ; those to whom nature is so generous to give some endowment, qualifying them for the parts she intends them afterwards to act on this stage; and those whom she uses. as instances of her unlimited power, and for whose preferment to such and such stations Solomon himself could have invented no other reason than that nature designed them so. These latter, some great philosophers have, to show them to be the favourites of nature, distinguished by the honourable appellation of NATURALs. Indeed, the true reason of the general ignorance of mankind on. this head seems to be this ; That as nature chooses to execute these her purposes by certain second causes, and as many of these second causes seem so totally foreign to her design, the wit of man, which, like his eye, sees best directly forward, and very little and imperfectly what is oblique, is not able to discern the end by the means. Thus, how a handsome wife or daughter should contribute to execute her original designation of a general; or hors.
flattery, or half a dozen houses in a borough-town, should denote a judge, or a bishop, he is not capable of comprehending. And, indeed, we ourselves, wise as we are, are forced to reason ab effectu, and if we had been asked what nature had intended such men for, before she herself had by the event demonstrated her purpose, it is possible we might sometimes have been puzzled to declare; for it must be confessed, that at first sight, and to a mind uninspired, a man of vast natural capacity and much acquired knowledge may seem by nature designed for power and honour, rather than one remarkable only for the want of these, and indeed all other qualifications ; whereas daily experience convinces us of the contrary, and drives us as it were into the opinion I have here disclosed. Now, nature having originally intended our Great Man for the final exaltation, which, as it is the most proper and becoming end of all great men, it were heartily to be wished they might all arrive at ; would by no means be diverted from her purpose. She therefore no sooner spied him in the water, than she softly whispered in his ear to attempt the recovery of his boat; which call he immediately obeyed, and being a good swimmer, and it being a perfect calm, with great facility accomplished it. Thus we think this passage in our history, at first so greatly surprising, is very naturally accounted for ; and our relation rescued from the Prodigious, which, though it often occurs in biography, is not to be encouraged nor much commended on any occasion, unless when absolutely necessary to prevent the history’s being at an end. Secondly, we hope our hero is justified from that imputation of want of resolution, which must have been fatal to, the greatness of his character.
-o* CHAPTER XIII. The conclusion of the boat adventure and the end of the - second book. Our hero passed the remainder of the evening, the night, and the next day, in a condition not much to be envied