The Solitary Outlaw

“Being now unaccompanied by anyone, his solitary life in the woods must have been wearisome and wretched beyond expression, and to add to the misery of his situation, he was now often chased for his life by the black natives, as was proved by a kind of journal he kept, that was found in his knapsack afterwards, which was taken from him in one of his hard conflicts with his white pursuers. His nights were even worse than his days, for it is recorded by himself that he never closed his eyes, but he dreamed he was pursued, one moment by the blacks and the next by the whites. And if it were possible that a man so degraded and lost to human sensations as this unhappy wretch could have felt as others feel, he might have exclaimed with Manfred, “my slumbers-if I slumber-are not sleep. But a continuance of enduring thought.” And the reflection that all this unhappiness was self-inflicted, must have been, even to such a mind as his, in the last degree embittering.”

Snippet from ‘Early Troubles of the Colonists’ by James Calder.

Illustration by Aidan Phelan.

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