Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/460

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and on inquiring how he had become possessed of them, he replied, "Why, Lecholètébè has just asked the same question. They were stolen from the chief by his own uncle this very morning, who sold them to me as his individual property not above half an hour ago."

The attire of the Bechuanas is scanty enough. Those, however, who have had much intercourse with Europeans begin to adopt their mode of dress; but the women, contrary to custom, are very tenacious of their peculiar toilet, apparently preferring the garb of mother Eve. The appearance of the ladies is masculine, and far from prepossessing. Their figures are usually short, stout, and clumsy, which is still farther increased by the vast numbers of beads worn by the more wealthy, which hang in cumbrous coils round the waist and neck. Their wrists, arms, and ankles, moreover, are encircled by rings of copper, iron, and brass, of various forms and sizes. They delight in finery, and besides the decoration of their own persons, they profusely ornament their skin, shirts, and cloaks, the whole being bedaubed with masses of fat and red ochre. "Their naturally woolly hair is twisted in small cords, and matted with the above substances into apparently metallic pendules, which, being of equal length, assume the appearance of a skull-cap or inverted bowl of steel."

Notwithstanding the Bechuanas acknowledge us to be a superior race to themselves, they have no hesitation to pronounce many of our habits and customs both clumsy and troublesome. They laugh at us for putting our legs and arms into bags, and using buttons for the purpose of fastening bandages round our bodies, instead of suspending them as ornaments from the neck or hair of the head. Once initiated in the use of these things, however, they are but too glad to benefit by them. To wash the body instead of lubricating it with grease and red ochre seems to them a disgusting custom, and cleanliness about one's food, house, bedding, &c., often creates their mirth and ridicule.