Traditionally, marriages were sometimes arranged when the girl was still a child-or even, occasionally, provisionally con­ tracted with a child still unborn-especially in the East and North. A young Ibo of twenty-three corresponded regularly with a girl of fifteen at his birthplace, whom he had met on his last visit

home four years before. He expected to marry her in a few years’ time, though they were not formally engaged: ‘It’s serious in the sense that I don’t think of disappointing her, and she doesn’t think of disappointing me’ . Only one of the householders interviewed had actually married a girl before puberty: he was a Hausa trader, born in Lagos, twenty-five years old. At the age of seventeen he had married a girl of nine, and their first child was born when she was fourteen. He admitted, ‘The public were against it. They said-the public and the people at the maternity hospital-why should you have a child like that going about with a man?’