Howitt to Fison 3 October 1878

<
Page 2 of 2
>

Transcription - Page 3

So far as he is concerned the field is clear for us!
I shall not wait for the rest of your manuscript
but shall send off mine as soon as possible
hoping that you will have detained yours through my
representations. It is indeed to be respected
that we cannot have an hours talk together
about this work - it would be a long hour
I fancy. Next to a talk is a letter. As far as I can
see at present the work will be "thusly" - 1. your contribution
as detailed in your letter, with any notes I may add. 2. my "monograph
of the Kurni" with perhaps a complete list of their terms as an appendix;
a second appendix giving the details of food division, as I only give one
instance in the body of the paper in support of my statements. 3. I think
there should be a genealogy summary and conclusions taking
1 and 2 together. It is therefore necessary that you should see
my work. I have not yet had time to find out what
you mean about the "[??]" - for I too was a "[??]" and
did not observe it - though I was awfully puzzled and
still am in [??] of your remarks. I shall
see to this.

My wife is now in Melbourne and when sending me
your letter and the photograph of Mrs Fison, (which permit
me to say I much admire) wrote- "As I shall now in return
visit the Fijis - I shall have my photograph taken before I return"
For you see the inflection before you. Please present my
wife's best thanks for the present.

The "partners" among where food is shared may be the "family group" as
here. For instance a man is bound to give food to his family called "muk-jeak"
(muk = much - je-ak-flesh eg laen Kurni a good man - muk laen Kurni a very
good man) and food to his wife's father called "neborak" (meaning unknown)
- the two recipients again divide with their wives + children (unmarried)
Or the "partners" may be those men who have been initiated at same time
as he was. For instance Toolabar is the "Brogan" (term used for co-initiated ones)
of several men about Bairnsdale, who are his brothers. Being also myself an
initiated one "Jerraele" since the time when they went through a rehearsal of the
ceremony with me - I also am "Brogan" to Toolabar - as a Brogan I am supposed
to give him my food + vice versa. As a "Brogan" I call old "Mary Toolabar" (Mcleod) "nuyan
bittel" (my wife) and she calls me "Bra bittel" (my husband) and Toolabar often speaks of
my boys as "leet bittel" - my child - or in English "boy belonging to mine". I think probably that

<
Page 2 of 2
>

Document Details

Date 3 October 1878
Letter From Howitt, Alfred William
Letter To Fison, Reverend Lorimer
Author
Country Australia
Colony/State Victoria
Holding Institution St Mark's National Theological Centre
Collection Name Alan Tippett/Lorimer Fison Collection
Registration Number tip70-10-33-20
Medium Letter
Region Gippsland
Locality Sale
Summary Discussion of manuscript, other ethnological publications, food sharing and kinship relations.
Physical Description Handwritten in black ink, signed and dated. Writing in top margin of first page. Some foxing.