By Ian Scott-Kilvert
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Extra info for British Writers, Volume 3
He dined frequently at the Vanhomrighs' in the autumn and winter of 1710; in the spring, Mrs. Vanhomrigh set aside a room for him. Stella was surprised at his frequenting them; he replied in a letter, jocosely but perhaps also defensively, "You say they are of no consequence: why, they keep as good female company as I do male; I see all the drabs of quality at this end of town with them. . " On the one hand, he taught Vanessa to despise orthodox views of conventional behavior; on the other, he valued discretion; he was probably quite sure of his own propriety, he had no intention of marrying, but he did enjoy his intimate friendship with this attractive girl.
He was "so stupid and confounded" he could not express the mortification he was under in body and mind. He was sure his days would be few. He lived another five years, legally declared of unsound mind in May 1742, not capable of taking care of his person or fortune. He died on 19 October 1745, and was buried in St. Patrick's Cathedral, with the Latin epitaph he wrote for himself placed over his grave. Yeats's version of it gives us the essence of the man: Swift has sailed into his rest; Savage indignation there Cannot lacerate his breast.
It is all so odd, and yet so natural, that once again we have the feeling it must have actually happened. There is one final reason why Robinson Crusoe strikes with greater force than any of Defoe's other stories. If it can hardly be said to have a plot, it has at least the sort of action that carries the reader forward until he reaches a conclusion. A man was cast upon a desert island: somehow he must have been rescued, because it is his own narrative that we are reading. How did it all happen?
British Writers, Volume 3 by Ian Scott-Kilvert