The Life and Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. Chapter 16, 17, 18

Chapter XVI

UPON the whole, I was by this time so fixed upon my design of going over with him to the continent, that I told him we would go and make one as big as that, and he should go home in it. He answered not one word, but looked very grave and sad. I asked him, what was the matter with him? He asked me again, thus, “Why you angry mad with Friday? what me done?” I asked him what he meant? I told him I was not angry with him at all. “No angry! no angry!” says he, repeating the words several times; “why send Friday home away to my nation?” “Why,” said I, “Friday, did you not say you wished you were there?” “Yes, yes,” says he, “wish be both there; no wish Friday there, no master there.” In a word, he would not think of going there without me. “I go there, Friday!” said I; “what should I do there?” He turned very quick upon me at this. “You do great deal much good,” says he; “you teach wild mans be good, sober, tame mans; you tell them know God, pray God, and live new life.” “Alas, Friday,” said I, “thou knowest not what thou sayest; I am but an ignorant man myself.” “Yes, yes,” says he, “you teachee me good, you teachee them good.” “No, no, Friday,” said I, “you shall go without me; leave me here to live by myself, as I did before.” He looked confused again at that word, and running to one of the hatchets which he used to wear, he takes it up hastily, and gives it me. “What must I do with this?” said I to him. “You take kill Friday,” says he. “What must I kill you for?” said I again. He returns very quick, “What you send Friday away for? Take kill Friday, no send Friday away.” This he spoke so earnestly, that I saw tears stand in his eyes. In a word, I so plainly discovered the utmost affection in him to me, and a firm resolution in him, that I told him then, and often after, that I would not send him away from me, if he was willing to stay with me.

Upon the whole, as I found by all his discourse a settled affection to me, and that nothing should part him from me, so I found all the foundation of his desire to go to his own country was laid in his ardent affection to the people, and his hopes of my doing them good—a thing which, as I had no notion of myself, so I had not the least thought, or intention, or desire of undertaking it. But still I found a strong inclination to my attempting an escape, as above, founded on the supposition gathered from the former discourse—namely, that there were seventeen bearded men there; and therefore, without delay, I went to work with Friday, to find out a great tree proper to fell, and make a large periagua, or canoe, to undertake the voyage. There were trees enough in the island to have built a little fleet, not of periaguas and canoes only, but of good large vessels: but the main thing I looked at, was to get one so near the water that we might launch it when it was made, to avoid the mistake I committed at first.

At last Friday pitched upon a tree, for I found he knew much better than I what kind of wood was fittest for it; nor can I tell to this day what wood to call the tree we cut down, except that it was very like the tree we call fustic, or between that and the Nicaragua wood, for it was much of the same colour and smell. Friday was for burning the hollow or cavity of this tree out, to make it into a boat; but I showed him how rather to cut it out with tools, which, after I showed him how to use, he did very handily: and in about a month’s hard labour we finished it, and made it very handsome, especially when, with our axes, which I showed him how to handle, we cut and hewed the outside into the true shape of a boat. After this, however, it cost us near a fortnight’s time to get her along, as it were, inch by inch, upon great rollers, into the water; but when she was in, she would have carried twenty men with great ease.

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Categories: Defoe, Daniel