THOUGH the Nubian women are dark in their complexions even to blackness, they have nothing else that should class them with Negroes; on the contrary, their features are finely formed, and even Greek in character, with a striking expression, which, when mantling into a smile, shews their white and beautiful teeth, increased in brilliancy by contrast with their dark features.

    With the exception of a girdle, or apron, of straps of leather, decorated with shells (generally couries), the young women go entirely naked: their forms are beautiful, and their habit of carrying water-jars on their heads gives a grace and dignity to their mien, and an elegance to their attitudes and actions, that offer the most beautiful studies to a sculptor; and, to their honour be it recorded, they are, unlike the modern Egyptians, remarkable for their chastity. When they marry, their costume is changed; they then wear a coarse white cotton dress, which hangs loosely but gracefully about them. They sometimes tatoo their faces and bodies, and wear large pendant rings; but both these detract from their beauty.

    The most remarkable part of their costume, however, lies in the way in which they dress their hair: in this they preserve the coiffure of the ancient Egyptians, wearing it in an infinite number of plaits, which are decorated with shells; they then daub it over with a sort of pomade, made by pounding the bean of the castor-oil plant, and with this they also lubricate their bodies, to soften and protect their skins. In this hot climate such anointing may be necessary, but the fetor thus produced is a most powerful repellant to charms otherwise irresistible.


    Roberts’s Journal.