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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 7

to the South Seas. Trim now found himself at home; and his gentleness and extraordinary confidence, joined to the amusement his droll antics furnished them, soon made him as great a favourite with his new shipmates, as he had been on board the Roundabout. We had several dogs on board the Spyall, but Trim was undisputed master of them all. When they were at play upon the deck, he would go in amongst them with his stately air; and giving a blow at the eyes of one, and a scratch on the nose to another, oblige them to stand out of his way. He was capable of being animated against a dog, as dogs usually may be against a cat; and I have more than once sent him from the quarter deck to drive a dog off the forecastle. He would run half the way briskly, crouching like a lion which has prey in view; but then assuming a majestic deportment, and without being deterred by the menacing attitude of his opponent, he would march straight up to him, and give him a blow on the nose, accompanied by a threatening mew! If the dog did not immediately retreat, he flew at him with his warcry of Yow! If resistance was still made, he leaped up on the rail over his head and so bespattered him about the eyes that he was glad to run off howling. Trim pursued him till he took refuge below; and then returned smiling to his master to receive his caresses.
      During our circumnavigation of Australia in the years 1801, 2 and 3, Trim had frequent opportunities of repeating his observations and experiments in his favourite science, natural history, and of exerting his undiminished activity and zeal for the public good. In the Gulph of Carpentaria, from the unhealthiness of the climate, the want of his usual fresh food, and perhaps from too much application to study, this worthy creature became almost grey, lost much of weight, and seemed to be threatened with a premature old age; but to the great joy of his friends, he re-assumed his fine black robe and his accustomed portliness, a short time after returning to harbour.
      Only once was Trim known to be guilty of theft: he had a soul above it; but one unlucky afternoon, a cold leg of mutton in the pantry tempted him. Being unable to carry it himself, he got the assistance of Van, a Dutch cat on board; and they had so far succeeded as to get it down off the shelf, and were dragging it together into the hold; when lo!, the steward came and surprised them in the fact. Van made his escape, but Trim, ever confident, made no efforts, and was seized and beaten soundly. He took the blows with philosophical patience; but no sooner was he set at liberty, than he ran after his false Dutch friend, and repaid him with interest the beating he had received. The recital of this unfortunate anecdote of my friend Trim, will I hope be received as a proof of the impartiality of this history; and I advertize the reader not to seek in it for any political allegory; but to be assured, that the facts were really such as they are here related.
      The Spy-all being found to be rotten, Trim embarked onboard His Majesty's ship the Janty to return to England, and was shipwrecked with us upon a coral bank in the Great Equinoxial Ocean on the night of Aug. 17. 1802. The imagination can scarcely attain to what Trim had to suffer during this dreadful night, but his courage was not beat down. He got to Wreck-Reef Bank with the crew, and passed there two long and dreary months; during which his zeal in the provision tent was not less than it had been in the bread room, and his manners preserved all their amiability. When vessels arrived to our as-

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De Caen, Charles Mathieu Isadore
Flinders family
Flinders, Matthew

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