Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/67

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47
Description of the Natives of King George's Sound

should one of them die, the other changes his name for a certain period, in order that the name of the deceased should not be uttered.

When a female is interred, her implements are, in like manner, deposited in her grave.

From this trait it would be natural to suppose, that they have a belief of a future state; and I think it cannot be doubted that they have. They have very readily adopted an idea which was held out to them, that after death they would go to the moon; but I do not think this was their prior opinion, for in reply to my inquiry, 'where their fathers had gone?' they pointed westward.

They believe in ghosts, and some will assert that they have seen them. I once showed a boy an anatomical drawing of a full figure, upon which he immediately exclaimed that it was a gnoit; and some of them who had once obtained a glimpse of the drawing, could not be persuaded to look upon it again. They are also very superstitious as regards omens; the noise of the night-cuckoo is supposed by them to portend death.

Of their language we have, as yet, little knowledge; the vocabulary will show that it abounds in vowels, and is by no means wanting in harmony. It differs entirely from that of the natives of the eastern coast; and even tribes very nearly situated differ so considerably, that I do not think at two hundred miles they would at all understand each other. They generally speak rapidly; and when in conversation, not unfrequently break out into a kind of chant, in which they relate such occurrences as at the moment interest them. They have, however, singing, if not songs, among them, perhaps entirely extempore. Their women more frequently sing while by themselves, and their songs are not always decent: they are also said by the men to be very fluent in abuse; and their oratory, as interpreted to us, was sufficiently piquante. At their camps there was always a great noise, but it instantly ceased on the approach of a stranger, till it was ascertained who he was. They seemed at times very merry and good-tempered; had much fawning and flattery: at first they commenced pilfering, but for a length of time depredations were very rare, and numerous articles stolen by strangers were returned.




VOCABULARY.

Head Kāāt
Eyes Meal
Nose Chungulet
Mouth Tāā
Teeth Orlock
Tongue Tarlin
Throat Woort
Ear Twank
Beard Narnac
Breast Pēēp
Belly Corpal
Hand Marr