Real-Life Robinson Crusoe Castaway Philip Quarll Part 2

About the real-life Robinson Crusoe Philip Quarll, biography and history of the castaway.


The Castaway: Philip Quarll

Year Marooned: 1675

Dorrington returned to England on Jan. 3, 1725, and there devoted himself to a careful study of Quarll's lengthy diaries. They began with the story of a poor boy born into the parish of St. Giles, falsely imprisoned for robbery, and turned by necessity to the sailor's profession. The diaries chronicled the disappointments of Quarll's early life. Often, after "having lost the rudder of their reason," Quarll and his drunken shipmates found themselves in the company of women, and Quarll was soon a married man. Then followed the sickness and early death of his young bride, his equally impetuous second marriage, and the couple's ill-fated voyage around Cape Horn, which resulted in a disastrous shipwreck that left Quarll the sole survivor and resident of a deserted isle.

Quarll soon recognized that he had entered an island paradise. "Heaven be praised!" he reasoned, "Here is my dream: right where Providence rescued my life from the grim jaws of death, there it has provided me wherewithal to support it." Indeed, Quarll's new home came amply stocked with mussels, oysters, exotic birds, and codfish nearly 6 ft. in length. For a home, he lashed together branches, twigs, and plants "in the manner sheep-pens are made." For furniture he wove grass mats and turned shellfish and tortoise shells into various kitchen utensils. His writing implements arrived by courtesy of the sea; all of his needs washed ashore one day, bound tight and dry inside a storage chest that belonged to yet another unlucky traveler.

The absence of companionship was the one problem Quarll had to overcome. Although he did have "visitors" from time to time, they were not of an abiding or hospitable temperament. Like rascals in paradise, these visitors--the monkeys of the island--often plundered Quarll's modest collection of hand-hewn tools and foodstocks. However, one red monkey, who was very good-natured, became Quarll's friend and constant companion. Named Beaufidelle, the monkey died after a brutal beating administered by other monkeys in a pomegrnate field, and Quarll felt a great sense of loss-strangely equal to human losses he had experienced. Perhaps this experiences helps to explain Quarll's reluctance to accept Dorrington's offer of assistance and return passage to England. After 50 years, Quarll's idea of "home" had changed too radically for him to be able to adjust once again to the patterns of his past.

Quarll's island has never been located by modern mapmakers or sailors.

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