Page:The life of Matthew Flinders.djvu/199

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148
LIFE OF MATTHEW FLINDERS

was pursuing this trade, the French expedition under Baudin visited Sydney, and they, on their chart of Wilson's Promontory gave the name of Venus Bay to an inlet on the west side of Cape Liptrap. They also bought goods to the extent of £359 10s. from "Mr. George Basse."[1]

Bass now secured fishing concessions in New Zealand waters, from which he hoped much. "The fishery is not to be put in motion till after my return to old England," he wrote in January, 1803. Then, he said playfully, "I mean to seize upon my dear Bess, bring her out here, and make a poissarde of her, where she cannot fail to find plenty of ease for her tongue. We have, I assure you, great plans in our heads, but, like the basket of eggs, all depends upon the success of the voyage I am now upon." It was the voyage from which he never returned.

There is another charming allusion to his wife in a letter written from Tahiti: "I would joke Bess upon the attractive charms of Tahiti females but that they have been so much belied in their beauty that she might think me attracted in good earnest. However, there is nothing to fear here." He speaks of her again in writing to his brother: "I have written to my beloved wife, and do most sincerely lament that we are so far asunder. The next voyage I have she must make with me, for I shall badly pass it without her." The pathos of his reference to her in a letter of October, 1801, can be felt in its note of manly sympathy, and is deepened by the recollection that the young bride never saw him again. "Our dear Bess talks of seeing me in eighteen months. Alas! poor Bess, the when is uncertain, very uncertain in everything except its long distances. Turn our eyes where we will, we see nothing but glutted markets around us."

  1. Manuscript accounts of Baudin, Archives Nationales BB4, 999.