Page:Native Tribes of South-East Australia.djvu/289

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263
MARRIAGE RULES

they escaped by getting on board of a whaler which was on the point of sailing. At that time it was customary for the Twofold Bay Yuin to go as harpooners, or, as they put it, to go "spearing whales." The men, in telling me of this occurrence, were unanimous in saying that, in those times, if a man disregarded the above rules as to marriage, he would be killed.

I have heard it said by the Yuin that the child belongs to the father, because his wife merely takes care of his children for him, and that therefore he can do what he likes with his daughter. Marriages were solely arranged by the father, by promising his daughter as an infant, or in a manner of which the following will serve as a good instance. At the termination of the initiation ceremonies, at which the whole intermarrying community was present, a meeting was held near the camp at which things were bartered. At this assemblage of the initiated men, amongst other things, marriages were discussed. A man whose son had been admitted to the status of manhood, and who would be in due time permitted to take a wife, would announce that he wanted a wife for his son. As every one knew the relationship of the man and his son towards others, and as the matter had almost certainly been discussed in the camp by those interested, some other man would say, "I will give my daughter." This also implied that the father of the boy would on his part give a daughter, own or tribal, to the brother, own or tribal, of the girl. The two being thus promised to each other, the girl is looked upon as the future wife of the boy; and when he has completed his period of probation after initiation, the marriage may be permitted. The Gommera (medicine-man, Headman) and the boy's father having consented, the latter would say to his son, "Here is your sister; take her, and go and get your wife." Thus the actual exchange of sisters is made by the two young men. Occasionally the girl rebelled, and having a fondness for some other man, eloped with him. If they could escape and remain away until a child was born, nothing would be done to them, especially if the man could find a sister to exchange for her. These cases are said to