2. "As my new Patron."
"As my new Patron." through ".what to do next with my self I was now to consider" (pp. 16-26)
Left behind when his master goes to sea, Crusoe ponders how he might escape from slavery. Two years pass before he has the chance to put any plans into action. Crusoe's master is in the habit of sending Crusoe, another man named Ishmael (a relation of the master), and a young "Maresco" (i.e., "Marisco," a Spanish Moor) named Xury out to fish, working from a fully stocked boat. On one such occasion, Crusoe thinks about his intentions of escaping. He catches Ishmael by surprise and tosses him overboard. Xury, however, vows his loyalty to Crusoe, and the two set out on their voyage.
They eventually arrive "in the Mouth of a little River, I knew not what, or where," only that they are surrounded by various wild beasts. Crusoe scares the beasts away by firing a gun at them. Finally, however, the man and boy must go ashore in search of water. On shore, Xury shoots a wild creature the two are able to eat, and they find fresh water. They press further inland and shoot another animal, but it is not edible; Crusoe, however, skins the beast, hoping the hide may prove of some use. They make their way toward (they hope) the Cape de Verd (modern Cape Verde, the westernmost point of the African continent), in anticipation of meeting a European vessel. Along the way they encounter the native population; Crusoe earns the natives' admiration by killing attacking wild beasts with his gun. He and Xury receive from "my friendly Negroes" food and water.
Back at sea in their boat some days later, Crusoe and Xury are rescued by a Portuguese slaving ship. The captain refuses to take any financial recompense for the rescue, but offers to take Crusoe safely to Brazil, where, he says, he will help Crusoe arrange for passage back to England. The captain buys not only Crusoe's boat but also Xury as a slave.
This section plays on readers' fears of the unknown and stereotypes of "savages" to create drama and suspense. Defoe skillfully evokes, for instance, the noise that surrounds Crusoe and Xury when they drop anchor: "But it is impossible to describe the horrible Noises, and hideous Cryes and Howlings, that were raised as well upon the Edge of the Shoar." Note how Defoe enlists the reader's own imagination to help fill out the setting. Notice, too, how Defoe draws on European readers' conceptions of the "savage" to populate his plot: "It is impossible to express the Astonishment of these poor Creatures at the Noise and the Fire of my Gun; some of them were even ready to dye for Fear." The evocations of such stereotypes are, as one would expect from an early 18th- century text, matter-of-fact and unapologetic, as is the fact that the Portuguese vessel is engaged in the slave trade. Modern readers will question the portrayal of Xury as willing being sold by Crusoe as a slave. The irony of Crusoe wishing to escape slavery and ultimately doing so thanks to a vessel with a mission of bringing others into slavery is apparently lost on Defoe, but that fact only establishes him as an author of his time, as are all writers. Nonetheless, readers today may profitably consider the moral issues raised by Crusoe's engagement in the slave trade.
Incidentally, Crusoe's adventures in this section-e.g., hunting and skinning animals, locating fresh water, establishing relations with "savages"-establish the character as possessing the survival skills that he will later need.