Page:The aborigines of Australia.djvu/81

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


68 THE ABORIGINES OF AUSTRALIA.

warlike and hunting expeditions of the aborigines, the females likewise carry whatever lumber the tribes possess — such as the weapons, skins, and provisions.

The powers of mimicry among the aborigines have before been several times remarked upon. It remains to mention particular instances in which the imitative faculties so largely developed among these people have either assisted them on occasions where the descriptive powers have been called into play, or have rendered individuals ridiculous by urging them to adopt the habits and manners of white people. An instance is mentioned in "Bennetts Travels in New South Wales" of a party landing from a vessel on the coast, and, ascertaining from some aborigines whom they met that a vessel, concerning which they were desirous of obtaining some information, had touched at the same place a few days previous, the blacks, by signs, indicated in the most satisfactory manner the arrival of the vessel, the rowing of the boat to shore, and the felling and carrying away of some timber required for use on board. The motions of the men in rowing the boat, and in felling the trees, were described with the greatest minuteness; and the description was wound up by one of the aborigines remarking that the people were "always in a hurry," this allusion being probably suggested by the activity of the sailors, in the performance of their duty, as compared with the habitual indolence of the aboriginal life. A ludicrous exercise of the disposition to imitate led, in former times, to the general preva-