- ROBINSON'S ESCAPE AFTER THE SHIPWRECK.
And now our case was very dismal indeel; for we all saw plainly that the sea went high thal the boat could not live, and that we should be inevitably drowned. As to making sail, we had none, nor if we had could we have done anything with it, so we worked with the oar towards the land, though with heavy hearts, like men going to execution; for we all knew that when the boat came nearer the shore she would be dashed in a thousand pieces by the breach of the sea. However, we commilted our souls to God in the most earnest manner, and the wind driving us towards the shore, we hastened our destruction with our own hands, pulling as well as we could towards the land.
After we had rowed, or rather driven, about a league and a half, as we reckoned it, a raging wave, mountain-like, came rolling astern of us, and plainly bade us expeet a watery grave. In a word, it took us with such a fury, that it overset the boat at once; and separating us as well from the boat as from one another, grave us not time hardly to say, Oh God! for we were all swallowed up in a moment...
The wawe that came upon me again buried me at once twenty or thirty feet deep in its own body; and I could feel myself carried with a mighty force and swiftness towards the shore a very great way; but I held my breath, and assisted myself to swim still forward with all my might. I was ready to burst with holding my breath, when, as I fell myself rising up, so to my immediate relief I found my head and hands shoot out above the surface of the water, and though it was not two seconds of time that I could keep myself so, yet it relieved me greatly, gave me breath and new courage. I was covered again with water a good while, but not so long but I held it out; and finding the water had spent itself and began to return, I struck forward against the return of the waves, and felt ground again with my feet. I stood still a few moments to recover breath, and till the water went from me, and then took to my heels, and ran with what strength I had, further towards the shore. But neither would this deliver me from the fury of the sea, which came pouring in after me again; and twice more I was lifted up by the waves and carried forward as before, the shore being very flat...
I was now landed and safe on shore, and began to look up and thank God, that my life was saved in a case where there was, some minutes before, scare any room to hope.
Daniel DEFOE, Robinson Crusoe
Difficult Words and Phrases :
dismal : very sad. plainly : clearly. dashed : thrown violently and broken. breach : the violent swell of the sea. driven : forced along or impelled. astern of us : behind the ship. bade us expect : promised us. with all my might : as hard as I could. shoot out : project out; come out suddenly. relleved me : did me good. but I held it out : that I was not able to stand it; i. e. as to prevent me from breathing. took to my heels : ran away as fast as possible. scarce : here it should be " scarcely " room : possibility.
source = English Literature
LIGEL - 77, RUE DE VAUGIRARD, PARIS VIe