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The Flinders papersletters and documents about the explorer Matthew Flinders (1774-1814)
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FLI/11 Matthew Flinders' biographical tribute to his cat Trim 1809 (FLI11) Page 2

vanity of that cat!" But they could not help admiring his graceful form and beautiful white feet. Indeed when it is known, that to the finest form ever beheld, he joined extraordinary personal and mental qualifications, the impossibility that the officers could be angry with him must be evident; and they were men of too much eloquent of mind to be jealous of him. I would not be an advocate in the cause of vanity; but if it is ever excusable, it was so in this case. How many men are there, who have no claim either from birth, fortune, or acquirements, personal or mental, whose vanity is not to be confined within such harmless bounds, as was that of Trim! And I will say for him, that he never spoke ill of or objected to the pretensions of others, which is more than can be said for very many bipeds.
      Trim, though vain as we have seen, was not like those young men who, being assured of an independence, spend their youth in idle trifling, and consider all serious application as pedantic and derogatory, or at least to be useless; He was, on the contrary, animated with a noble zeal for the improvement of his faculties. His exercises commenced with the acquirement of the art of leaping over the hands; and as every man in the ship took pleasure in instructing him, he at length arrived to such a pitch of perfection, that I am persuaded, had nature placed him on the empire of Lilliput, his merit would have promoted him to the first offices in the state.
      He was taught to lie flat upon the deck on his back, with his four feet stretched out like one dead; and in this posture he would remain until a signal was given him to rise, whilst his preceptor resumed his walk backwards and forwards; if, however, he was kept in this position, which it must be confessed was not very agreeable to a quadruped, a slight motion at the end of his tail denoted the commencement of impatience, and his friends never pushed their lessons further.
      Trim took a fancy to nautical astronomy. When an officer took lunar or other observations, he would place himself by the time-keeper, and consider the motion of the hands, and apparently the uses of the instrument, with much earnest attention; he would try to touch the second hand, listen to the ticking, and walk all around the piece to assure himself whether or no it might not be a living animal. And mewing to the young gentleman whose business it was to mark down the time, seemed to ask an explanation. When the officer had made his observation, the cry of Stop! roused Trim from his meditation; he cocked his tail, and running up the rigging near to the officer, mewed to know the meaning of all those proceedings. Finding at length that nature had not designed him for an astronomer, Trim had too much good sense to continue a useless pursuit; but a musket ball slung with a piece of twine, and made to whirl round upon the deck by a slight motion of the finger, never failed to attract his notice, and to give him pleasure; perhaps from bearing a near resemblance to the movement of his favourite planet the moon, in her orbit around the primary which we inhabit. He was equally fond of making experiments upon projectile forces and the power of gravity: If a ball was thrown gently along the deck, he would pursue it and when the gravitating principle combined with the

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De Caen, Charles Mathieu Isadore
Flinders family
Flinders, Matthew

Cape of Good Hope
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Ile de France (Mauritius)
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Wreck Reef


Words and phrases
Time keeper

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