Wanton profligacy is another fertile source of disease and 5 death amongst the women. We know that in general it is supposed that the venereal disease amongst the aborigines^ is entirely due to the Europeans, but a greater error than this never had promulgation, for long before the advent of the white man it was one of the greatest scourges this primitive people had to bear. The probabilities are that the trepang-hunting Malays and Chinese first introduced it on the Northern coast centuries ago, from whence it spread from one tribe to another, until the disease became a national calamity. The women being constitutionally weaker than the men, therefore less able to run away and hide during the frequent midnight massacres, are more liable to fall into the clutches of their relentless foes than the men; besides, at those times of extreme peril, they become perfectly paralysed with terror, and thus fall an easy prey to the ruthless assassins. The victims, therefore, of these slaughters are most frequently females, and children of tender years, or old, bed-ridden men. Such a thing as a chivalrous protection during these panics, or indeed at
in their ungovernable periods of passion. When arr accident of this kind happens (we call it accident for mildness, but it is murder, none the less), the other members of the tribe do not pay the least heed to it; it is only a lyoore and a husband has a perfect right to chastise his wife even unto death; the loss is not a tribal one; at least, it is not considered so, as it only effects the individual, and he soon: discovers that it does so, for when his fire requires replenishing, or his coolamen requires filling, he has to do them himself, or go cold and thirsty.
- Lyoore: Woman.
- Coolamen: Water vessel.