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I recently read a new edition of Ernest Scott's biography of Matthew Flinders. In chapter two I learnt that, during his school days, Flinders had read Robinson Crusoe and this book - in Flinders' own words - ''[had] induced [him] to go to sea against the wishes of friends #file_links[D:\keywords15.txt,1,S] ''. In my own school days I had read a life of Matthew Flinders: My Love Must Wait by Ernestine Hill. I checked out my old book and found in chapter one '' all his [Flinders'] waking dreams were of Robinson Crusoe'' and Flinders' Uncle John, who was in the Royal Navy,[url=]cheap ugg[/url], showed him maps of the islands off South America. Flinders realised ''Crusoes were not born but made'' and ''that footstep of Friday's would never have frightened him''. A few years ago I read an abridged version of Robinson Crusoe aloud, to children. Crusoe seeing the footprint in the sand is a focal point in the story. I recalled this action from my own childhood images of Robinson Crusoe. The only other part I recalled #file_links[D:\keywords14.txt,1,[url=]cheap uggs[/url],S] clearly from my childhood was Crusoe returning to the shipwreck and finding a dog on board. More recently I read Emile by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1788). Rousseau writes: ''God makes all things good; man meddles with #file_links[D:\keywords13.txt,1,S] them and they become evil.'' In Emile, he gives instructions on how this situation could be remedied. He nominates the book that ''will serve to test our progress towards a right judgment, and it will always be read with delight, so long as our taste is unspoilt. What is this wonderful book? Is it Aristotle? Pliny? Buffon? No; it is Robinson Crusoe.'' I began to suspect that I had only ever read an abridged version of the book. So, this year, I read Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe - unabridged. I soon saw what had appealed to Rousseau '' the upper station of low life was the most suited to human happiness, not exposed to the miseries and hardships, the labour and sufferings of the mechanic part of mankind, and not embarrassed with the pride, luxury, ambition, and envy of the upper part of mankind''. On youth: ''They are not ashamed to sin, and yet are ashamed to repent.'' I also liked '' abused prosperity is oftentimes made the very means of our greatest adversity''. All this before Crusoe is shipwrecked. This was no children's book. Advertisement Just how Crusoe establishes his several residences on the island and the manner in which he uses cargo salvaged from the wrecked ship to provide necessities, and even some comforts, of life take up the major part of the book. More significant is his random opening of a Bible and reading, ''Call on me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.'' He describes how the scriptures comforted him and he began to read the Bible every morning and evening. This is during his first year on the island. How well he must have known the Bible after 27 years. While suffering a period of depression he reads, ''I will never #file_links[D:\keywords12.txt,1,S] , never leave thee, nor forsake thee!'' and Crusoe is restored to equanimity, accepts his predicament and continues to work at his survival. However, at the crucial sighting of the footprint: '' my fear banished all my religious hope; all that former confidence in God, which was founded upon such wonderful experience of his goodness, now vanished '' Apparently Crusoe overcame this lapse, as one of his priorities in instructing Friday is to convert the ''savage'' to Christianity. From this point in the story, I felt Robinson Crusoe degenerated into an adventure yarn. He is not simply rescued by a passing ship. After more dealings with cannibals, a ship does arrive. But there is a mutiny in progress aboard and the mutineers put the captain and loyal crew ashore but, with Crusoe's help, the ship is retaken and the mutineers punished - to varying degrees. There is some cheap moralising of the rights of one man to take another man's life. I like to think that this part of Robinson Crusoe did not appeal to the 14-year-old Flinders and that he was motivated by the earlier part of the book. Flinders' regard for this book was lifelong. Within a fortnight of his death, he was arranging to purchase a new edition of Robinson Crusoe. As for myself, neither my childhood contact with Robinson Crusoe or my schoolboy reading of My Love Must Wait, gave me any desire to #file_links[D:\keywords11.txt,1,S] go to sea. And my recent reading of unabridged Robinson Crusoe and another biography of Flinders have not caused me to regret living most of my life inland.

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