VOYAGE TO THE HOUYHNHNMS 277
degrees southern latitude, as I gathered from some general words I overheard among them, being, I supposed, to the south-east in their intended voyage to Madagascar. And, although this were but little better than conjecture, yet I resolved to steer my course eastward, hoping to reach the south-west coast of New Holland, and perhaps some such island as I desired, lying westward of it. The wind was full west, and, by six in the evening I computed I had gone eastward at least eighteen leagues; when I spied a very small island about half a league off, which I soon reached. It was nothing but a rock with one creek, naturally arched by the force of tempests. Here I put in my canoe, and, climbing up a part of the rock, I could plainly discover land to the east, extending from south to north. I lay all night in my canoe; and, repeating my voyage early in the morning, I arrived in seven hours to the south-east point of New Holland. This confirmed me in the opinion I have long entertained, that the maps and charts place this country at least three degrees more to the east than it really is; which thought I communicated, many years ago, to my worthy friend, Mr. Herman Moll, and gave him my reasons for it, although he hath rather chosen to follow other authors.
I saw no inhabitants in the place where I landed, and, being unarmed, I was afraid of venturing far into the country. I found some shell-fish on the shore, and ate them raw, not daring to kindle a fire for fear of being discovered by the natives. I continued three days feeding on oysters and limpets, to save my own provisions; and I fortunately found a brook of excellent water, which gave me great relief.
On the fourth day, venturing out early a little too far, I saw twenty or thirty natives upon a height, not above five hundred yards from me. They were stark naked, men, women, and children, round a fire, as I could discover by the smoke. One of them spied me, and gave notice to the