Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/391

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353
Western Australia.

I think Professor Skeat would consider the language and gesture of natives here unique, so many words are used twice over, and the "r" is rolled as north-country people roll it, and their pronunciation is decidedly staccato. Their gesture too is wonderful.

I have been making inquiries if there be any utensil which answers the place of a teapot amongst native domestic utensils, but am told no. Here the pingin seems to answer all sorts of purposes; that and an old tin which can be picked up anywhere along the roadside. I hear (this from Bucket, Billie told me the same) that suppose no white fellow come along giv'em tcherbar (tobacco) that a sort of grass is used which answers the same purpose. Josepha has been singing to her doll of a big black man, taking it away if it is not good. I cannot tell you more, as when questioned she does not know why she sings it. I have several times tried to gather from them what the Kobba-Kobba words to the singing mean, but the answer always is, "He no talk missus," only sing. There are numberless varieties of Kobba-Kobbas, and for each a different song. There has been a big one lately at a man-making ceremony; it lasted a fortnight. Mary went away for two days and returned utterly worn out and unfit for work. She had with other women been running round and round the warriors in an inner circle the whole day and night long. Here the boy is thrown up in air and caught in the warriors' arms at the initiation ceremony; only so far could I learn from her. Last week she brought us a slightly carved shell (chastity). [Plate XV., fig. 8.] Ply her as I would, I could only learn it belonged to her goo-goo, dead a long time [goo-goo is father). Jack tried alone; I tried whilst he was there, and when he was away; but no, she was too wary. Last week a native man died. Since then both Mary and Josepha have been haunted, shall I call it? They tell me each morning someone come along, rap along of roof, make noise under