Page:The aborigines of Australia.djvu/83

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


universally followed by the aborigines wherever the necessary appliances of pipes and tobacco are placed within their reach. Travellers in the interior describe the habit as having become so deeply-rooted that it is no uncommon circumstance to see a child, after having partaken of a pipe, kneel in its mother's lap for the purpose of sucking.

The practice of shaving, as performed by the New Hollanders, is somewhat unique. Among a people originally unacquainted with the use of iron, and whose edged tools were formed of hard wood, or a piece of stone or shell, the operation, as must naturally be supposed, would be attended with considerable, if not insurmountable, trouble and difficulty, if performed according to the "approved principle" followed by European barbers. It follows, then, that the operation, if no other method of shaving is known to the aborigines, must in most or in all cases remain in desuetude. A substitute, however, has been found for the razor, which in some degree meets the necessities of the case. This is nothing more nor less than a burning stick, by which the beard is singed off the chin, to the no small peril, no doubt, of that feature. That the aborigines are themselves sensible of the disadvantages of this mode of operation may be inferred from the fact that they are very eager to be shaved by Europeans, and even in their first interviews with the latter their friendship is sometimes secured by this species of service.

The system of tattooing or scarifying the person