Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/413

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ROBINSON CRUSOE recoiling from the discovery of the footprint in the sand is what Stevenson calls one of the epoch-making scenes in all romantic literature, to be compared with Achilles shouting over against the Trojans, Ulysses bending the great bow, and Christian running with his fingers in his ears. There is, nevertheless, among the true stories of seafaring adventure at least one scene which is not unworthy of mention in the same breath with the culminating moment of Robinson Crusoe. This occurred when Peter Serrano encountered the other castaway on a desert island off the coast of Chile.

It was in the early days of Spanish exploration and settlement on the South American coasts when this sailor, Peter Serrano, was wrecked, and saved himself by swimming ashore while the rest of the crew were drowned. He crawled out upon an island so dismally barren that it had neither water, wood, nor grass, and not a bit of wreckage was