They have a great aversion to the use of water, unless for the purposes of drinking, and bathing in the summer season, so that their washing processes are not very labourious or extensive. Nature, as it is, reigns in all her glory with them, without artificial assistance. My gentlemen, and lady friends, as may be supposed, knew nothing about tailors, and dressmakers, hairdressers, or boot and shoe makers; they were as ignorant in all such matters as Eve or Adam. They, however, take great pains in greasing and painting themselves in the most fantastic manner. Their style of shaving is not the most agreeable, for when the beard is nearly full grown they singe it with a fire-stick, or pluck it off with a muscle-shell. They have a great aversion to grey hairs, whether in the head or beard. The women pluck them out whenever they appear on their husbands or their own heads, until old father Time gets the better of them at that work. They are very fond of ornaments—the women especially—and in their manufacture, are very ingenious. Their head-bands are netted like silk purses, and they do this kind of work without any needle or other instrument—using their fingers only. They make these bands as even as it could be done by the most experienced person with silk or thread, leaving a piece at each end to tie round the forehead, colouring them with ochre. Their neck ornaments are made like silk velvet guards. Upon these are strung a great number of pieces of shells, and of the teeth of the kangaroo, adding too, the feathers of the swan and emu; the strongest of which they split in
Page:Life and Adventures of William Buckley.djvu/95
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LIFE OF BUCKLEY.