Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/364

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Notes on the Aborigines of Roebuck Bay,

and invited us; the man with the mail was coming over from Lagrange, and as the moon was at first quarter this was to be held. When Billie heard we would go, away he went to the camp on the hill, and did not return until I had cooked mv dinner (he helps generally), and then he was in full war paint. Round his head was what appeared a wreath of white flowers (shavings they were); and the same round the upper part of the arm, where the cord bound tightly above the elbow of the right arm is worn by initiated men.[1] Since Billie has been with us he has attained to the age when he may have that cord decoration round his arm, and painful he must have found it the first few days, for the flesh was swollen. Besides this, he has another mark across his chest. In his case the marks are not raised, but look long deep scars made by cutting with a piece of wood, and afterwards burning. Maggie too has a fresh mark made in the same way on the lower part of her neck, from the shoulder towards the right breast. To return to decoration for Kobba-Kobba. Over the trunk part of Billie's body, which appeared shiny, as if oiled, was a dotted decoration done all in white, which, on since questioning, he has told me was the decoration of his tribe, and represented a big white tree. Round his loins a red handkerchief was tightly fixed. In his hands during the dance he held two thin white sticks. When we had finished dinner, we were led by Maggie (for Billie had again disappeared) through one of the nigger-tracks to the place of meeting. On our appearance at the top of the opening leading to the small lower land, the music commenced—the said music being made by the clapping of two kylies together, either rapidly or slowly, and a singing accompaniment of the player; in this instance, one man only. I want you to see what we saw, but hardly know how to put it into words. The small opening formed a plain of sandy earth, from

  1. The cord is used much as we use our pockets, the pipe and tobacco being often stuck into it when not in use, though the back of the ear or the matted hair often serves for the same purpose.