The Part Borne by the Dutch in the Discovery of Australia 1606-1765 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 186 pages of information about The Part Borne by the Dutch in the Discovery of Australia 1606-1765.
a species of cats, which are very strange creatures; they are about the size of a hare, their head resembling the head of a civet-cat; the forepaws are very short, about the length of a finger, on which the animal has five small nails or fingers, resembling those of a monkey’s forepaw.  Its two hind-legs, on the contrary, are upwards of half an ell in length, and it walks on these only, on the flat of the heavy part of the leg, so that it does not run fast.  Its tail is very long, like that of a long-tailed monkey; if it eats, it sits on its hind-legs, and clutches its food with its forepaws, just like a squirrel or monkey.  Their manner of generation or procreation is exceedingly strange and highly worth observing.  Below the belly the female carries a pouch, into which you may put your hand; inside this pouch are her nipples, and we have found that the young ones grow up in this pouch with the nipples in their mouths.  We have seen some young ones lying there, which were only the size of a bean, though at the same time perfectly proportioned, so that it seems certain that they grow there out of the nipples of the mammae, from which they draw their food, until they are grown up and are able to walk.  Still, they keep creeping into the pouch even when they have become very large, and the dam runs off with them, when they are hunted.

In these two islands we also found a number of grey turtle-doves, but no other animals.  Nor is there any vegetation beyond brushwood, and little or no grass.  This and what has hereinbefore been related is all that we have experienced and met with about these Abrolhos.

We shall therefore now shape our course for the mainland of the Southland, to which we are navigating.  About noon we were close inshore, running along the coast with small sail at about half a mile’s distance from it, in order to see if we could not descry any men or signs of men, until the afternoon, when we saw a small column of smoke rise up from the higher land, but it soon vanished.  Nevertheless we anchored there in 21 fathom fine sandy bottom, in order to look for the skipper with his men, but the smoke did not appear again, and no one showed on the beach, from which we concluded that the smoke had been made by the natives, who now did not venture to show themselves.  As it blew very hard, we remained at anchor here for the night.

On the 16th do. in the morning we weighed anchor again with a S.S.E. wind and a top-gallant gale.  We again ran close along the land with small sail at about a howitzer’s shot’s distance from the surf.  Towards noon we sighted the inlet which we had meant to run into on the 8th of June last, when we were seeking water with the pinnace, and {Page 62} where we were befallen by a storm from the north-west, which would certainly have sent us to destruction, if God had not miraculously saved us.  Here we saw divers smoke-clouds rising up, which gladdened us all with the hope that our men might be there. 

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The Part Borne by the Dutch in the Discovery of Australia 1606-1765 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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