a man generally by a simple gesture, by
pointing the forefinger of the right hand toward the sky.
p 14 The procession [The procession underlined] This is to some retired retired and secret place
which may be several miles distant. All the men throw off
the silent self contained, even dignified manner which is
so marked in many old black-fellows, and all from the
youngest to the oldest become in some respects more like a
set of school boys let loose for a "lark" than any thing else
I can think of. From this time to the end of the proceedings
when the men resume their ordinary manner, there is a
very peculiar practice of speaking in which I may term an
"inverted sense". This is a done when with the novices [an - crossed out]
and the men make the most extraordinary statements to
each other and to the novices, but at the end of each such
sentence the loud "Yah!" is added which the old
men explained to me by the English word
"Gammon" - or "a sell". Thus the real meaning of such
statements and almost the opposite of the apparent meanign
of the words used. For instance I have heard one of the old men
say to one of the novices, with a comic manner "I say boys
you can go home now - Yah! We have done with you Yah!
The conversation during this part of the procession hardly ever
flags, but jests, replies and retorts are bandied about from
one to another, accompanied by a constant fire of "Yah!"
until that word becomes utterly wearysome [sic]. It is said
that this practice is intended to each [sic] the boys to speak the
straightforward truth, and the Kabos then explain it to them.
The procession which consists of the novice + their guardians
following each other, proceeded by some of the
principal medicine men, is broken up into a number of stages
at which the boys, each attended by his guardian stand in
a row with downcast eyes; at these halts then are performances
in which all the men take part, under the direction of one
or two of the principle Gommeras, who act as masters of the
These performances are some of them intended to amuse
some to instruct, and some to harm and terrify the novices.
For instance the first performances at the Kuringal I am
describing was when the procession had ascended the first
spur of the mounds at about a mile distant from the camp.
Two of the old men sate down on the ground in front of the
novices and proceeded with most ludicrous antics to make a
"dirt pie" after the manner of children, while the men danced
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