Printed for the Hakluyt Society,
Text on page 109
DRESSING OF GIRLS.
as among us. The men are very hairy in their bodies: one could not imagine a covering more thick; they pride themselves in it, as in that in which the strength of a man is. This is not, however, true of them all; and if a man be not thus hairy, they say he is more like a woman than a man, and despise him accordingly. The women are not so, and have hair only on the ordinary places. There are in that country no regular barbers, and every man knows how to shave himself, as well men as women. They use a razor only for that, and they have no combs ; but they have scissors of copper and of iron, and mirrors also of copper, which they use for guiding the razor, which is of steel, but not made like ours, which they do not value.1 They shave themselves in the same way (as we do); but the king and the great lords have men who are proud to do this for them,anot for gain, but from affection, being men of quality; albeit the king makes them some presents at the end of the year.
So, throughout all the islands there is no person, man or woman, rich or poor, gentle or simple, who after the age of fifteen has not a private set of implements for treating the hair, which they are very careful to brush aside when it teases them but a little. As for the girls, they are shaven in youth every week; but to distinguish them from the boys, they have a small fringe left. They wear no clothing up to the age of eight or nine, save only a cloth reaching from the waist to above the knees, and this is first worn when they begin to walk ; the boys, however, do not wear it till the age of seven, and until they have been circumcised. They say, with regard to their daughters, that there is no need for them to wear clothing before the time mentioned, for it is then that the breasts begin to swell and rise, and it behoves them to cover them, as parts which they take as much shame in
1 It need hardly be said that copper scissors and mirrors and Maldivian razors have long since given place to the wares of Sheffield. Glass mirrors, combs, and brushes are in common use.1 It need hardly be said that copper scissors and mirrors and Maldivian razors have long since given place to the wares of Sheffield. Glass mirrors, combs, and brushes are in common use.