LOST SHIPS AND LONELY SEAS
and continual exercise of walking and running cleared him of all gross humors, so that he ran with wonderful agility, through the woods and up the rocks and hills. When he arrived at his full vigor, he could take at full speed the swiftest goat running up a promontory and never failed catching them but on a descent. . . . The precaution he took against want, in case of sickness and not being able to go abroad, was to lame kids when very young, so that they might recover their health, but never be capable of speed. These he kept in great numbers about his habitation, and taught several of them and his cats, to dance and sometimes, to divert himself he used to sing and dance with them. He also diverted himself with contrivances to vary and increase his stock of tools, and sometimes, in clear evenings, in counting the stars.
So beneficial were the results that it might have improved the morals and the manners of Alexander Selkirk's shipmates if they had been marooned with him. This was the fate, indeed, which happened to the crew of the Speedwell. While they were filling the water-casks, a gale drove the ship hard ashore. The disaster came so suddenly that "their surprise at this unexpected event is not to be described; and in a very few minutes the ship was full of water and almost everything destroyed. All the people, however, except one man were saved."
As was to be expected. Captain George Shelvocke proceeded to make the best of it. He managed to raft ashore most of the gunpowder, some