Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Trim

The best and most illustrious of his race
The most affectionate of friends,
faithful of servants,
and best of creatures
He made the tour of the globe,
and a voyage to Australia,
which he circumnavigated,
and was ever the delight and pleasure of his fellow voyagers
Written by Matthew Flinders in memory of his cat

This statue of Trim sits on a ledge on the facade of the State Library, directly behind the statue of his owner, Matthew Flinders. Trim was Flinders' ships cat and accompanied him on his circumnavigation of Australia.

I can never speak of cats without a sentiment of regret for my poor Trim, the favourite of all our ship's company on the Spyall. This good-natured purring animal was born on board His Majesty's ship the Roundabout in 1799 during a passage from the Cape of Good Hope to Botany Bay; and saving the rights and titles of the parish of Stepney, was consequently an Indian by birth. The signs of superior intelligence which marked his infancy, procured for him an education beyond what is usually bestowed upon the individuals of his tribe; and being brought up amongst sailors, his manners acquired a peculiarity of cant which rendered them as different from those of other cats, as the actions of a fearless seaman are from those of a lounging, shame-faced ploughboy; it was, however, from his gentleness and the innate goodness of his heart, that I gave him the name of my uncle Toby's honest, kind-hearted, humble companion. In playing with his little brothers and sisters upon deck by moonlight, when the ship was lying tranquilly in harbour, the energy and elasticity of his movements sometimes carried him so far beyond his mark, that he fell overboard; but this was far from being a misfortune; he learned to swim and to have no dread of the water; and when a rope was thrown over to him, he took hold of it like a man, and ran up it like a cat:

Read Flinders' full biographical tribute to his beloved cat.

2 comments:

Julie said...

Really! I did not know they had a cat with them in the Tom Thumb.

Cat lovers rule the world!

Dina said...

This is priceless!