Page:The life of Matthew Flinders.djvu/294

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FLINDERS AND BAUDIN

crew were incapacitated. On the morning of April 8th some of Baudin's people had been engaged in harpooning dolphins. They were desperately in need of fresh food, and a shoal of these rapid fish, appearing and playing around the prow, appeared to them "like a gift from heaven." Nine large dolphins had been caught, giving a happy promise of enough meat to last a day or two, when the man at the masthead reported that there was a sail in sight. At first Baudin was of opinion that the ship ahead was Le Naturaliste, rejoining company after a month's separation. But as the distance between the two ships diminished, and the Investigator ran up her ensign, her nationality was perceived, and Baudin hoisted the tricolour.

The situation of the Investigator when she hove to was in 35° 40' south and 138° 58' east. The time was half-past five o'clock in the evening; the position about five miles south-west of the nearest bit of coast, in what Flinders called Encounter Bay, in commemoration of the event. Le Géographe passed the English ship with a free wind, and as she did so Flinders hailed her, enquiring "Are you Captain Baudin?" "It is he," was the response. Flinders thereupon called out that he was very glad to meet the French explorer, and Baudin responded in cordial terms, without, however, knowing whom he was addressing. Still the wariness of the English captain was not to be lulled; he records, "we veered round as Le Géographe was passing, so as to keep our broadside to her, lest the flag of truce should be a deception." But being now satisfied of her good faith, Flinders brought his ship to the wind on the opposite tack, had a boat hoisted out, and prepared to go on board the French vessel.

As Flinders did not speak French, he took with him Robert Brown, who was an accomplished French scholar. On board Le Géographe they were received