Page:A Voyage to Terra Australis Volume 1.djvu/108

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[Prior Discoveries.


than ours, which was perfectly preserved; apparently from the natives finding them to be of use in some way or other.[1]

There were marks of fire almost every where; and in many places the earth was covered with ashes. Where it was not burnt, there was plenty of grass, ferns like those of Europe, sorrel, and alléluia. From the few animals seen, it was thought that the fires made by the natives near the coast, drove them inland. The shooters met with a tiger cat, and saw many holes in the ground, like those of a warren. They killed crows, blackbirds, thrushes, doves, a white-bellied paroquet whose plumage resembled that of the same bird at the River Amazons, and several kinds of sea birds, principally pelicans, and the black-bodied red bill.

The climate was cold, although in the end of summer; and it excited surprise, that the savages could go naked; the more so, as the nearest approach to houses consisted of branches of trees, set up behind the fire places to break off the wind. The many heaps of shells seemed to bespeak, that the usual food of these people was muscles and other shell fish.

Many large rays were caught by the French, as also sea cats, old wives, and several other fish whose names were not known. They found also plenty of cray-fish, lobsters, very large crabs, and good oysters; and the curious picked up sea stars, sea eggs, and a variety of fine and rare shells.

Finding he was only losing time in searching for water in this wild country, captain Marion determined to make sail for New Zealand, where he hoped to succeed better, and also to obtain masts for the Castries. He accordingly left Van Diemen's Land on the 10th of March; and the account of it concludes with the observation, that they had very bad weather on the west coast, but on the east side the sky was much clearer and winds more moderate.

The chart of Mons. Crozet, which accompanies the voyage, appears,

though on a very small scale, to possess a considerable degree of

  1. It is more probable, that these trees are able to resist the fire better than the others.