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THE SPEEDWELL PRIVATEER

The Speedwell was chased next day by another man-of-war, but dodged after nightfall by means of the expedient of setting a lighted lantern adrift in a tub and so deluding the enemy. It was the sensible conclusion of Captain Shelvocke that there might be better hunting on the coast of Mexico. South American waters seemed to be rather uncomfortable for gentlemen adventurers.

The privateer stood away for the island of Juan Fernandez to refit and rest her crew. They needed a respite by the time the island was sighted, for they were six weeks on the way, and the ship sprang a leak where a Spanish shot had lodged in her bow, and they pumped until they dropped in their tracks. Eleven years earlier Alexander Selkirk, who was the real Robinson Crusoe, had been rescued from his solitary exile on Juan Fernandez, where Captain Dampier's expedition had marooned him. With his garden and his flock of wild goats and his Holy Bible he had passed four years of an existence so satisfactory

 
that he scarce ever had a moment hang heavy on his hands; his nights were untroubled and his days joyous, from the practice of temperance and exercise. It was his custom to use stated hours and places for the exercise of devotion which he performed aloud in order to keep up the faculties of speech. . . . When his powder failed, he took the goats by speed of foot, for his way of living