Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/72

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The women are often of the most delicate and symmetrical shape, with full and rounded forms, and very small hands and feet. Nevertheless, from their precarious mode of life, and constant exposure to the sun, &c., any beauty they possess is soon lost; and, in a more advanced age, many become the most hideous of human beings.

Both sexes are exceedingly filthy in their habits. Dirt often accumulates to such a degree on their persons as to make the color of their skin totally indistinguishable; while, to complete the disguise, they smear themselves with a profusion of red ochre and grease. Hence the exhalation hovering about them is disgusting in the extreme.

Neither men nor women wear much clothing. Their habiliments consist merely of a skin or two of sheep or goats, with the hair on or off, which they wrap loosely round the waist, or throw across the shoulders. These skins, as with their own limbs, are besmeared with large quantities of red ochre and grease, and with the wealthier classes are ornamented with coarse iron and copper beads, of various size.

The men usually go bareheaded; but, in case of cold or rain, they wear a sort of cap, or rather piece of skin, which they can convert into any shape or size that fancy may dictate.

Independently of the skins, the women wear a kind of bodice, made from thousands of little rounded pieces of ostrich egg-shells strung on threads, seven or eight such strings being fastened together; but I am not sure that it is not more for ornament than real utility. The head-dress of the married women is curious and highly picturesque, being not unlike a helmet in shape and general appearance.

Boys are usually seen in a state of almost absolute nudity. The girls, however, wear a kind of apron, cut up into a number of fine strings, which are sometimes ornamented with iron and copper beads.

Few ornaments are worn by the men, who prefer seeing