Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/360

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Notes on the Aborigines of Roebuck Bay,

the man as far as possible for him to keep it on until his marriage.[1]

On Tuesday, Mr. Macpherson (the Superintendent) gave me over a dozen black cowrie shells,[2] and Mr. Kenny three glass spear-heads, which the prisoners in the prison opposite where we are living had made; one is of white glass, one green, and one dark smoke-colour. He also gave me a stone tomahawk, the head most beautifully finished, as smooth as possible, representing an infinite amount of labour; he showed me also a very fine necklace made of round shells looking like long bugles, which he says he will divide and give me part of. Old William, who does an occasional day's work here, had one on something like it, but this came from a tribe the other side of the Bay. Our only means of getting about, unless one possesses a horse, is by walking; our only means of communicating with the outer world is by the steamers which run from Singapore to Fremantle. It takes, if one give an order for anything in way of rice, flour, potatoes, and almost everything in the way of eatables, six weeks before they are received from the town. Beef is cheap, and so is mutton when we can get it

Jan. 30th, 1899.—The weather is furiously and phenomenally hot here just now, the glass standing at 106, and more, in the shade all this week. Everyone, even the natives are feeling it; not that the glass is so high as is sometimes experienced, but that there is a peculiar something in the air which is making all suffer very badly with paroxysms of intense pain.

Just opposite our little home there is a sand-hill on which stands a Binghi camp (so the natives are called in this district), and whilst the moon has been approaching the full every night there has been a Kobba-Kobba or corroboree,

  1. See further, p. 332.
  2. From a later letter:—"The nearly black cowrie shells Mr. M. gave me are valued at from 5s. to £5. I shall send you some of those too."