Browse the documents Browse the documents Search
Advanced search
The Flinders papersletters and documents about the explorer Matthew Flinders (1774-1814)
You are here: Flinders > Browse the Documents > Documents > Documents
All pages | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | Back to Index

FLI/11 Matthew Flinders' biographical tribute to his cat Trim 1809 (FLI11) Page 4

In harbour, the measuring of log and lead lines upon deck, and the stowage of the holds below, were the favourite subjects of his attention. No sooner was a cask moved, than he darted in under it upon the enemies of his king and country, at the imminent risk of having his head crushed to atoms, which he several times very narrowly escaped. In the bread room he was still more indefatigable; he frequently solicited to be left there alone and in the dark, for two or three days together, that nothing might interrupt him in the discharge of his duty. This is one of the brightest traits in my friends Trim's character, and would indeed do honour to any character. In making the following deductions from it I shall not, I think, be accused of an unjust partiality. 1st it must be evident that he had no fear of evil spirits; and consequently that he had a conscience above reproach. [there follow five lines of text that Flinders has crossed out and are illegible]         2nd It is clear that he possessed a degree of patience and perseverance, of which few men can boast; and 3rd that like a faithful subject, he employed all these estimable qualities in the service of His Majesty's faithful servants, and indirectly of His Majesty himself. Alas! my poor Trim thy extraordinary merit required only to be known, in order to excite universal admiration.
      Trim was admitted upon the table of almost every officer and man in the ship: In the gunroom he was always the first ready for dinner; but though he was commonly seated a quarter of an hour before any other person, his modest reserve was such that his voice was not heard until every body else was served. He then put in his request, not for a full allowance, he was too modest, – nor did he desire there should be laid for him a plate, knife, fork, or spoon with all which he could very well dispense; – but by a gentle caressing mew, he petitioned for a little, little bit, a kind of tythe from the plate of each, and it was to no purpose to refuse it, for Trim was enterprising in time of need, as he was gentle and well bred in ordinary times. Without the greatest attention to each morsel, in the person whom he had petioned [sic] in vain; he would whip it off the fork with his paw, on it's passage to the mouth, with such dexterity and an air so graceful, that it rather excited admiration than anger. He did not, however, leap off the table with his prize, as if he had done wrong; but putting the morsel into his mouth and eating it quietly, would go to the next person and repeat his little mew: if refused his wonted tythe, he stood ready to take all advantages. There are some men so inconsiderate as to be talking when they should be eating, —who keep their meat suspended in mid-air till a semi-colon in the discourse gives an opportunity of taking their mouthful without interrupting their story. Guests of this description were a dead mark for Trim: when a short pause left them time to take the prepared
simple transformation of all the letters [illegible - 'Sofia'?] wisdom/and [illegible - 'Felis'?] (cat, domestic happiness) have the same etimological [sic] root, or are rather identically the same word. It would be worth enquiry to know whether this holds good in the Cophtic, Phenician and Chinese languages.

All pages | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | Back to Index
View Print Friendly Version

Related people
De Caen, Charles Mathieu Isadore
Flinders family
Flinders, Matthew

Cape of Good Hope
Gulf of Carpentaria
Ile de France (Mauritius)
St Helena
Wreck Reef


Words and phrases
Time keeper

Related Documents

Excerpt from Flinders's biographical tribute to his cat Trim: second paragraph

Excerpt from Flinders's biographical tribute to his cat Trim: fourth page, third paragraph

Excerpt from Flinders's biographical tribute to his cat Trim: epitaph

Other documents written by Flinders, Matthew

Other documents written in 1809