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Primitive Love and Love-Stories by Henry Theophilus Finck

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suit the Beetjuans because there were so great a number of
women and the male population suffered such diminutions from
the wars."

Sir Samuel Baker (_A.N._, 147) says of the wife of the Chief of

"She asked many questions, how many wives I had? and was
astonished to hear that I was contented with one. This
amused her immensely, and she laughed heartily with her
daughter at the idea."

In Equatorial Africa, "if a man marries and his wife thinks that he
can afford another spouse, she pesters him to marry again, and calls
him a stingy fellow if he declines to do so" (Reade, 259). Livingstone
(_N.E.Z._, 284) says of the Makalolo women:

"On hearing that a man in England could marry but one wife,
several ladies exclaimed that they would not like to live in
such a country; that they could not imagine how English
ladies could relish such a custom, for, in their way of
thinking, every man of respectability should have a number
of wives, as a proof of his wealth. Similar ideas prevail
all down the Zambesi."

Some amusing instances are reported by Burton (_T.T.G.L._, I., 36, 78,
79). The lord of an African village appeared to be much ashamed
because he had only two wives. His sole excuse was that he was only a
boy--about twenty-two. Regarding the Mpongwe of the Gaboon, Burton
says: "Polygamy is, of course, the order of the day; it is a necessity
to the men, and even the women disdain to marry a 'one-wifer.'" In his
book on the Kafirs of the Hindu-Kush, G.S. Robertson writes:

"It is considered a reproach to have only one wife, a
sign of poverty and insignificance. There was on one
occasion a heated discussion at Kamdesh concerning the
best plans to be adopted to prepare for an expected
attack. A man sitting on the outskirts of the assembly
controverted something the priest said. Later on the
priest turned round fiercely and demanded to be told
how a man with 'only one wife' presumed to offer an
opinion at all."

His religion allowed a Mohammedan to take four legitimate wives, while
their prophet himself had a larger number. A Hindoo was permitted by
the laws of Manu to marry four women if he belonged to the highest
caste, but if he was of the lowest caste he was condemned to monogamy.

King Solomon was held in honor though he had unnumbered wives,
concubines, and virgins at his disposal.

How far the sentiment of monogamy--one of the essential ingredients of
Romantic Love--had penetrated the skulls of American Indians may be
inferred from the amusing and typical details related by the historian
Parkman (_O.T._, chap. xi.) of the Dakota or Sioux Indians, among whom
he sojourned. The man most likely to become the next chief was a
fellow named Mahto-Tatonka, whose father had left a family of thirty,
which number the young man was evidently anxious to beat:

"Though he appeared not more than twenty-one years old,
he had oftener struck the enemy, and stolen more horses
and more squaws than any young man in the village. We
of the civilized world are not apt to attach much
credit to the latter species of exploits; but
horse-stealing is well-known as an avenue to
distinction on the prairies, and the other kind of
depredation is esteemed equally meritorious. Not that
the act can confer fame from its own intrinsic merits.
Any one can steal a squaw, and if he chooses afterward
to make an adequate present to her rightful proprietor,
the easy husband for the most part rests content; his
vengeance falls asleep, and all danger from that
quarter is averted. Yet this is esteemed but a pitiful
and mean-spirited transaction. The danger is averted,
but the glory of the achievement also is lost.
Mahto-Tatonka proceeded after a more gallant and
dashing fashion. Out of several dozen squaws whom he
had stolen, he could boast that he had never paid for
one, but snapping his fingers in the face of the
injured husband, had defied the extremity of his
indignation, and no one had yet dared to lay the hand
of violence upon him. He was following close in the
footsteps of his father. The young men and the young
squaws, each in their way, admired him. The one would
always follow him to war, and he was esteemed to have
an unrivalled charm in the eyes of the other."

Thus the admiration of the men, the love (Indian style) of the women,
and the certainty of the chieftainship--the highest honor accessible
to an Indian--were the rewards of actions which in a civilized
community would soon bring such a "brave" to the gallows. Some of the
agencies by which the belief that wife-stealing and polygamy are
honorable was displaced by the modern sentiment in favor of monogamy,
will be considered later on. Here I simply wish to enforce the
additional moral that not only the _ideas_ regarding bigamy and
polygamy have changed, but the _emotions_ aroused by such actions;
execration having taken the place of admiration. Judging by such
cases, is it likely that ideas concerning women and love could change
so utterly as they have since the days of the ancient Greeks, without
changing the emotions of love itself? Sentiments consist of ideas and
emotions. If both are altered, the sentiments must have changed as a
matter of course. Let us take as a further example the sentiment of


There are many Christian women who, if offered the choice between
death and walking naked down the street, would choose death as being
preferable to eternal disgrace and social suicide. If they preferred
the other alternative, they would be arrested and, if known to be
respectable, sent to an insane asylum. The English legend relates that
"peeping Tom" was struck blind because he did not stay in the house as
commanded when the good Lady Godiva was obliged to ride naked through
the market-place. So strong, indeed, is the sentiment of modesty in
our community that the old-fashioned philosophers used to maintain it
was an innate instinct, always present under normal conditions. The
fact that every child has to be gradually taught to avoid indecent
exposure, ought to have enlightened these philosophers as to their
error, which is further made plain to the orthodox by the Biblical
story that in the beginning of human life the man and his wife were
both naked and not ashamed.

Naked and not ashamed is the condition of primitive man wherever
climatic and other motives do not prescribe dress. Writing of the
Arabs at Wat El Negur, Samuel Baker says (_N.T.A_., 265):

"Numbers of young girls and women were accustomed to
bathe perfectly naked in the river just before our
tent. I employed them to catch small fish for bait; and
for hours they would amuse themselves in this way,
screaming with excitement and fun, and chasing the
small fry with their long clothes in lieu of nets;
their figures were generally well-shaped.... The men
were constantly bathing in the clear waters of the
Athabara, and were perfectly naked, although close to
the women; we soon became accustomed to this daily
scene, as we do at Brighton and other English bathing

In his work on German Africa (II., 123) Zoeller says that in Togoland

"the young girls did not hesitate in the least to remove
their only article of clothing, a narrow strip of cloth, rub
themselves with a native soap and then take a dip in the
lagoon, before the eyes of white men as well as black."

A page would be required merely to enumerate the tribes in Africa,
Australia, and South America which never wear any clothing.

Max Buchner (352-4) gives a graphic description (1878) of the nude
female surf swimmers in the Hawaiian Islands. Nor is this indifference
to nudity manifested only by these primitive races. In Japan, to the
present day, men and women bathe in the same room, separated merely by
a partition, two or three feet high.[8] Zoeller relates of the Cholos
of Ecuador (_P. and A_., 364) that "men and women bathe together in
the rivers with a naivete surpassing that of the South Sea Islanders."
A writer in the _Ausland_ (1870, p. 294) reports that in Paraguay he
saw the women washing their only dress, and while they waited for the
sun to dry it, they stood by naked calmly smoking their cigars.

But natural indifference to nudity is the least of the curiosities of
modesty. Sometimes nakedness is actually prescribed by law or by
strict etiquette. In Rohl all women who are not Arabic are forbidden
to wear clothing of any sort. The King of Mandingo allowed no women,
not even princesses, to approach him unless they were naked (Hellwald,
77-8). Dubois (I., 265) says that in some of the southern provinces of
India the women of certain castes must uncover their body from the
head to the girdle when speaking to a man: "It would be thought a want
of politeness and good breeding to speak to men with that part of the
body clothed."

In his travels among the Cameroon negroes Zoeller (II., 185) came
across a strange bit of religious etiquette in regard to nudity. The
women there wear nothing but a loin cloth, except in case of a death,
when, like ourselves, they appear all in black--with a startling
difference, however. One day, writes Zoeller,

"I was astounded to see a number of women and girls
strolling about stark naked before the house of a man who
had died of diphtheria. This, I was told, was their mourning
dress.... The same custom prevails in other parts of West

Modesty is as fickle as fashion and assumes almost as many different
forms as dress itself. In most Australian tribes the women (as well as
the men) go naked, yet in a few they not only wear clothes but go out
of sight to bathe. Stranger still, the Pele islanders were so
innocent of all idea of clothing that when they first saw Europeans
they believed that their clothes were their skins. Nevertheless, the
men and women bathed in different places. Among South American Indians
nudity is the rule, whereas some North American Indians used to place
guards near the swimming-places of the women, to protect them from
spying eyes.

According to Gill (230), the Papuans of Southwestern New Guinea "glory
in their nudeness and consider clothing fit only for women." There are
many places where the women alone were clothed, while in others the
women alone were naked. Mtesa, the King of Uganda, who died in 1884,
inflicted the death penalty on any man who dared to approach him
without having every inch of his legs carefully covered; but the women
who acted as his servants were stark naked (Hellwald, 78).

While the etiquette of modesty is thus subject to an endless variety
of details, every nation and tribe enforces its own ideal of propriety
as the only correct thing. In Tahiti and Tonga it would be considered
highly indecent to go about without being tattooed. Among Samoans and
other Malayans the claims of propriety are satisfied if only the navel
is covered. "The savage tribes of Sumatra and Celebes have a like
feeling about the knee, which is always carefully covered"
(Westermarck, 207). In China it is considered extremely indecent if a
woman allows her bare feet to be seen, even by her husband, and a
similar idea prevails among some Turkish women, who carefully wrap up
their feet before they go to bed (Ploss, I., 344). Hindoo women must
not show their faces, but it is not improper to wear a dress so gauzy
that the whole figure is revealed through it. "In Moruland," says Emin

"the women mostly go about absolutely naked, a few only
attaching a leaf behind to their waistband. It is curious to
note, on meeting a bevy of these uncovered beauties carrying
water, that the first thing they do with their free hand is
to cover the face."

These customs prevail in all Moslem countries. Mariti relates in his
_Viaggi_ (II., 288):

"Travelling in summer across the fields of Syria I
repeatedly came across groups of women, entirely naked,
washing themselves near a well. They did not move from the
place, but simply covered the face with one hand, their
whole modesty consisting in the desire not to be

Sentimental topsy-turviness reaches its climax in those cases where
women who usually go naked are ashamed to be seen clothed. Such cases
are cited by several writers,[9] and appear to be quite common. The
most amusing instance I have come across is in a little-known volume
on Venezuela by Lavayasse, who writes (190):

"It is known that those [Indians] of the warm climates
of South America, among whom civilization has not made
any progress, have no other dress than a small apron,
or kind of bandage, to hide their nakedness. A lady of
my acquaintance had contracted a kindness for a young
Paria Indian woman, who was extremely handsome. We had
given her the name of Grace. She was sixteen years old,
and had lately been married to a young Indian of
twenty-five, who was our sportsman. This lady took a
pleasure in teaching her to sew and embroider. We said
to her one day, 'Grace, you are extremely pretty, speak
French well, and are always with us: you ought not
therefore to live like the other native women, and we
shall give you some clothes. Does not your husband wear
trousers and a shirt?' Upon this she consented to be
dressed. The lady lost no time in arranging her dress,
a ceremony at which I had the honor of assisting. We
put on a shift, petticoats, stockings, shoes, and a
Madras handkerchief on her head. She looked quite
enchanting, and saw herself in the looking-glass with
great complacency. Suddenly her husband returned from
shooting, with three or four Indians, when the whole
party burst into a loud fit of laughter at her, and
began to joke about her new habiliments. Grace was
quite abashed, blushed, wept, and ran to hide herself
in the bed-chamber of the lady, where she stript
herself of the clothes, went out of the window, and
returned naked into the room. A proof that when her
husband saw her dressed for the first time, she felt a
sensation somewhat similar to that which a European
woman might experience who was surprised without her
usual drapery."

Another paradox remains to be noted. Anthropologists have now proved
beyond all possibility of doubt that modesty, far from having led to
the use of clothing, was itself merely a secondary consequence of the
gradual adoption of apparel as a protection. They have also shown[10]
that the earliest forms of dress were extremely scanty, and were
intended not to cover certain parts of the body, but actually and
wantonly to call attention to them, while in other cases the only
parts of the body habitually covered were such as we should consider
it no special impropriety to leave uncovered. But enough has been said
to demonstrate what we started out to prove: that the strong sentiment
of modesty in our community--so strong that many insist it must be
part and parcel of human nature (like love!)--has, like all the other
sentiments here discussed, grown up slowly from microscopic


Closely connected with modesty, and yet entirely distinct from it, is
another and still stronger sentiment--the regard for chastity. Many an
American officer whose brave wife accompanied him in a frontier war
has been asked by her to promise that he would shoot her with his own
revolver rather than let her fall into the clutches of licentious
Indians. Though deliberate murder is punishable by death, no American
jury has ever convicted a man for slaying the seducer of his wife,
daughter, or sister. Modern law punishes rape with death, and its
victim is held to have suffered a fate worse than death. The brightest
of all jewels in a bride's crown of virtues is chastity--a jewel
without which all the others lose their value. Yet this jewel of
jewels formerly had no more value than a pebble in a brook-bed. The
sentiment in behalf of chastity had no existence for ages, and for a
long time after it came into existence chastity was known not as a
virtue but only as a necessity, inculcated by fear of punishment or
loss of worldly advantages.

In support of this statement a whole volume might be written; but as
abundant evidence will be given in later chapters relating to the
lower races in Africa, Australia, Polynesia, America, and Asia, only a
few instances need be cited here. In his recent work on the _Origin
and Growth of the Moral Sense_ (1898), Alexander Sutherland, an
Australian author, writes (I., 180):

"In the House of Commons papers for 1844 will be found
some 350 printed pages of reports, memoranda, and
letters, gathered by the standing committee appointed
in regard to the treatment of aboriginals in the
Australian colonies. All these have the same unlovely
tale to tell of an absolute incapacity to form even a
rudimentary notion of chastity. One worthy missionary,
who had been for some years settled among tribes of New
South Wales, _as yet brought in contact with no other
white men_, writes with horror of what he had observed.
The conduct of the females, even young children, is
most painful; they are cradled in prostitution and
fostered in licentiousness. Brough Smith (II., 240)
quotes several authorities who record that in Western
Australia the women in early youth were almost
prostitutes. 'For about six months after their
initiation into manhood the youths were allowed an
unbounded licence, and there was no possible blame
attached to the young unmarried girl who entertained
them'" (179).

In Lewis and Clark's account of their expedition across the American
Continent they came to the conclusion that there was an utter absence
of regard for chastity "among all Indians," and they relate the
following as a sample (439):

"Among all the tribes, a man will lend his wife or
daughter for a fish-hook or a strand of beads. To
decline an offer of this sort is indeed to disparage
the charms of the lady, and therefore gives such
offence, that, although we had occasionally to treat
the Indians with rigor, nothing seemed to irritate both
sexes more than our refusal to accept the favors of the
females. On one occasion we were amused by a Clatsop,
who, having been cured of some disorder by our medical
skill, brought his sister as a reward for our kindness.
The young lady was quite anxious to join in this
expression of her brother's gratitude, and mortified we
did not avail ourselves of it."

De Varigny, who lived forty years in the Hawaiian Islands, says (159)

"the chief difficulty of the missionaries in the Sandwich
Islands was teaching the women chastity; they knew neither
the word nor the thing. Adultery, incest, fornication, were
the common order of things, accepted by public opinion, and
even consecrated by religion."

The same is true of other Polynesians, the Tahitians, for instance, of
whom Captain Cook wrote that they are

"people who have not even the idea of decency, and who
gratify every appetite and passion before witnesses, with no
more sense of impropriety than we feel when we satisfy our
hunger at a social board with our friends."

Among the highest of all these island peoples, the Tongans, the only
restriction to incontinence was that the lover must not be changed too

What Dalton says of the Chilikata Mishmis, one of the wild tribes of
India, applies to many of the lower races in all parts of the world:

"Marriage ceremony there is, I believe, none; it is
simply an affair of purchase, and the women thus
obtained, if they can be called wives, are not much
bound by the tie. The husbands do not expect them to be
chaste; they take no cognizance of their temporary
liaisons so long as they are not deprived of their
services. If a man is dispossessed of one of his wives,
he has a private injury to avenge, and takes the
earliest opportunity of retaliating, but he cannot see
that a woman is a bit the worse for a little

In many cases not only was there complete indifference to chastity,
but virginity in a bride was actually looked on with disfavor. The
Finnish Votyaks considered it honorable in a girl to be a mother
before she was a wife. The Central American Chibchas were like the
Philippine Bisayos, of whom a sixteenth century writer, quoted by
Jagor, said that a man is unhappy to find his bride above suspicion,
"because, not having been desired by anyone, she must have some bad
quality which will prevent him from being happy with her."

The wide prevalence in all parts of the world of the custom of lending
or exchanging wives, or offering wife or daughter to a guest,[11] also
bears witness to the utter indifference to chastity, conjugal and
maiden; as does the custom known as the _jus primae noctis._ Dr. Karl
Schmidt has tried very hard to prove that such a "right" to the bride
never existed. But no one can read his treatises without noting that
his argument rests on a mere quibble, the word _jus_. There may have
been no codified _law_ or "right" allowing kings, bishops, chiefs,
landlords, medicine men, and priests to claim brides first, but that
the _privilege_ existed in various countries and was extensively made
use of, there can be no doubt. Westermarck (73-80), Letourneau
(56-62), Ploss (I., 400-405), and others have collected abundant
proofs. Here I have room for only a few instances, showing that those
whom we would consider the _victims_ of such a horrible custom, not
only submitted to it with resignation, but actually looked on it as an
_honor_ and a highly coveted privilege.

"The aboriginal inhabitants of Teneriffe are
represented as having married no woman who had not
previously spent a night with the chief, which was
considered a great honor."

"Navarette tells us that, on the coast of Malabar, the
bridegroom brought the bride to the King, who kept her
eight days in the palace; and the man took it 'as a
great honor and favor that the King should make use of

"Egede informs us that the women of Greenland thought
themselves fortunate if an Angekokk, or prophet,
honored them with his caresses; and some husbands even
paid him, because they believed that the child of such
a holy man could not but be happier and better than
others." (Westermarck, 77, 80.)

"In Cumana the priests, who were regarded as holy,
slept only with unmarried women, 'porque tenian por
honorosa costumbre que ellos las quitassen la
virginidad.'" (Bastian, _K.A.A._, II., 228.)

From this lowest depth of depravity it would be interesting, if space
and the architectural plan of this volume permitted, to trace the
growth of the sentiment which demands chastity; noting, in the first
place, how married women were compelled, by the jealous fury of their
masters, to practise continence; how, very much later, virginity began
to be valued, not, indeed, at first, as a virtue having a value and
charm of its own, but as a means of enhancing the market value of
brides. Indifference to masculine chastity continued much longer
still. The ancient civilized nations had advanced far enough to value
purity in wives and maidens, but it hardly occurred to them that it
was man's duty to cultivate the same virtue. Even so austere and
eminent a moral philosopher as Cicero declared that one would have to
be very severe indeed to ask young men to refrain from illicit
relations. The mediaeval church fathers endeavored for centuries to
enforce the doctrine that men should be as pure as women, with what
success, every one knows. A more powerful agency in effecting a reform
was the loathsome disease which in the fifteenth century began to
sweep away millions of licentious men, and led to the survival of the
fittest from the moral point of view. The masculine standard is still
low, but immense progress has been made during the last hundred years.
The number of prostitutes in Europe is still estimated at seven
hundred thousand, yet that makes only seven to every thousand females,
and though there are many other unchaste women, it is safe to say that
in England and America, at any rate, more than nine hundred out of
every thousand females are chaste, whereas among savages, as a rule,
nearly all females are prostitutes (in the moral sense of the word),
before they marry. In view of this astounding progress there is no
reason to despair regarding man's future. It would be a great triumph
of civilization if the average man could be made as pure as the
average woman. At the same time, since the consequences of sin are
infinitely more serious in women, it is eminently proper that they
should be in the van of moral progress.

Chastity, modesty, polygamy, murder, religion, and nature have now
furnished us an abundance of illustrations showing the changeableness
and former non-existence of sentiments which in us are so strong that
we are inclined to fancy they must have been the same always and
everywhere. Before proceeding to prove that romantic love is another
sentiment of which the same may be said, let us pause a moment to
discuss a sentiment which presents one of the most difficult problems
in the psychology of love, the Horror of Incest.


A young man does not fall in love with his sister though she be the
most attractive girl he knows. Nor does her father fall in love with
her, nor the mother with the son, or the son with the mother. Not only
is there no sexual love between them, but the very idea of marriage
fills their mind with unutterable horror, and in the occasional cases
where such a marriage is made through ignorance of the relationship,
both parties usually commit suicide, though they are guiltless of
deliberate crime. Here we have the most striking and absolute proof
that circumstances, habits, ideas, laws, customs, can and do utterly
annihilate sexual love in millions of individuals. Why then should it
be so unlikely that the laws and customs of the ancient Greeks, for
instance, with their ideas about women and marriage, should have
prevented the growth of sentimental love? Note the modesty of my
claim. While it is certain that both the sensual and the sentimental
sides of sexual love are stifled by the horror of incest, all that I
claim in regard to ancient and primitive races is that the sentimental
side of love was smothered by unfavorable circumstances and hindered
in growth by various obstacles which will be described later on in
this volume. Surely this is not such a reckless theory as it seemed to
some of my critics.

Like the other sentiments discussed in this chapter, the horror of
incest has been found to be absent among races in various stages of
development. Incestuous unions occurred among Chippewas and other
American Indians. Of the Peruvian Indians, Garcilasso de la Vega says
that some cohabited with their sisters, daughters, or mothers; similar
facts are recorded of some Brazilians, Polynesians, Africans, and wild
tribes of India. "Among the Annamese, according to a missionary who
has lived among them for forty years, no girl who is twelve years old
and has a brother is a virgin" (Westermarck, 292). Gypsies allow a
brother to marry a sister, while among the Veddahs of Ceylon the
marriage of a man with his younger sister is considered _the_ proper
marriage. In the Indian Archipelago and elsewhere there are tribes who
permit marriage between parents and their children. The legends of
India and Hindoo theology abound in allusions to incestuous unions,
and a nation's mythology reflects its own customs. According to Strabo
the ancient Irish married their mothers and sisters. Among the
love-stories of the ancient Greeks, as we shall see later on, there
are a surprising number the subject of which is incest, indicating
that that crime was of not infrequent occurrence. But it is especially
by royal personages that incest has been practised. In ancient Persia,
Parthia, Egypt, and other countries the kings married their own
sisters, as did the Incas of Peru, for political reasons, other women
being regarded as too low in rank to become queens; and the same
phenomenon occurs in Hawaii, Siam, Burma, Ceylon, Madagascar, etc. In
some cases incestuous unions for kings and priests are even prescribed
by religion. At the licentious festivals common among tribes in
America, Africa, India, and elsewhere, incest was one of the many
forms of bestiality indulged in; this gives it a wide prevalence.

Much ingenuity has been expended in attempts to account for the origin
of the horror of incest. The main reason why it has so far remained
more or less of a mystery, is that each writer advanced a single
cause, which he pressed into service to explain all the facts, the
result being confusion and contradiction. In my opinion different
agencies must be assumed in different cases. When we find among
Australians, American Indians (and even the Chinese), customs,
enforced by the strongest feelings, forbidding a man to marry a woman
belonging to the same clan or having the same surname, though not at
all related, while allowing a marriage with a sister or other near
blood relative, we are obviously not dealing with a question of incest
at all, but with some of the foolish taboos prevalent among these
races, the origin of which they themselves have forgotten. Mr. Andrew
Lang probably hit the nail on the head when he said (258) in regard to
the rule which compels savages to marry only outside of the tribe,
that these prohibitions "must have arisen in a stage of culture when
ideas of kindred were confused, included kinship with animals and
plants, and were to us almost, if not quite, unintelligible." To speak
of instinct and natural selection teaching the Veddahs to abhor
marriage with an elder sister while making union with a younger sister
_the_ proper marriage (Westermarck, 292) is surely to assume that
instinct and natural selection act in an asinine way, which they never
do--except in asses.

In a second class of cases, where lower races have ideas similar to
ours, I believe that the origin of domestic chastity must be sought in
utilitarian practices. In the earlier stages of marriage, girls are
usually bought of their parents, who profit by the sale or barter. Now
when a man marries a girl to be his wife and maid of all work, he does
not want to take her to his home hampered by a bevy of young children.
Fathers guilty of incestuous practices would therefore be unable to
dispose of their daughters to advantage, and thus a prejudice in favor
of domestic purity would gradually arise which a shrewd medicine man
would some day raise to the rank of a religious or social taboo.

As regards modern society, Darwin, Brinton, Hellwald, Bentham, and
others have advocated or endorsed the view that the reason why such a
horror of incestuous unions prevails, is that novelty is the chief
stimulus to the sexual feelings, and that the familiarity of the same
household breeds indifference. I do not understand how any thinker can
have held such a view for one moment. When Bentham wrote (_Theory of
Legislation_, pt. iii., chap. V.) that "individuals accustomed to see
each other from an age which is capable neither of conceiving desire
nor of inspiring it, will see each other with the same eyes to the end
of life," he showed infinitely less knowledge of human nature than the
author of _Paul and Virginia_, who makes a boy and a girl grow up
almost like brother and sister, and at the proper time fall violently
in love with one another. Who cannot recall in his own experience love
marriages of schoolmates or of cousins living in intimate association
from their childhood? To say that such bringing up together creates
"indifference" is obviously incorrect; to say that it leads to
"aversion" is altogether unwarranted; and to trace to it such a
feeling as our horror at the thought of marrying a sister, or mother,
is simply preposterous.

The real source of the horror of incest in civilized communities was
indicated more than two thousand years ago by Plato. He believed that
the reason why incestuous unions were avoided and abhorred, was to be
found in the constant inculcation, at home and in literature, that

"They are unholy, hated of God, and most infamous....
Everyone from his earliest childhood has heard men
speaking in the same manner about them always and
everywhere, whether in comedy or in the graver language
of tragedy. When the poet introduces on the stage a
Thyestes or an Oedipus, or a Macareus having secret
intercourse with his sister, he represents him, when
found out, ready to kill himself as the penalty of his
sin." (_Laws,_ VIII., 838.)

Long before Plato another great "medicine man," Moses, saw the
necessity of enforcing a "taboo" against incest by the enactment of
special severe laws relating to intercourse between relatives; and
that there was no "instinct" against incest in his time is shown by
the fact that he deemed it necessary to make such circumstantial laws
for his own people, and by his specific testimony that "in all these
things the nations are defiled which I cast out from before you, and
the land is defiled." Regarding his motives in making such laws,
Milman has justly remarked (_H.J_., I., 220),

"The leading principle of these enactments was to
prohibit near marriage between those parties among
whom, by the usage of their society, early and frequent
intimacy was unavoidable and might lead to abuse."

If Moses lived now, he would still be called upon to enact his laws;
for to this day the horror of incest is a sentiment which it is
necessary to keep up and enforce by education, moral precept,
religion, and law. It is no more innate or instinctive than the
sentiment of modesty, the regard for chastity, or the disapproval of
bigamy. Children are not born with it any more than with the feeling
that it is improper to be seen naked. Medical writers bear witness to
the wide prevalence of unnatural practices among children, even in
good families, while in the slums of the large cities, where the
families are herded like swine, there is a horrible indulgence in
every kind of incest by adults as well as children.

Absolute proof that the horror of incest is not innate lies
furthermore in the unquestionable fact that a man can escape the
calamity of falling in love with his sister or daughter only if he
_knows_ the relationship. There are many instances on record--to which
the daily press adds others--of incestuous unions brought about by
ignorance of the consanguinity. Oedipus was not saved by an instinct
from marrying his mother. It was only after the discovery of the
relationship that his mind was filled with unutterable horror, while
his wife and mother committed suicide. This case, though legendary, is
typical--a mirror of actuality--showing how potent _ideas_ are to
alter _emotions_. Yet I am assailed for asserting that the Greeks and
the lower races, whose ideas regarding women, love, polygamy,
chastity, and marriage were so different from ours, also differed from
us in their feelings--the quality of their love. There were numerous
obstacles to overcome before romantic love was able to
emerge--obstacles so serious and diverse that it is a wonder they were
ever conquered. But before considering those obstacles it will be
advisable to explain definitely just what romantic love is and how it
differs from the sensual "love" or lust which, of course, has always
existed among men as among other animals.


How does it feel to be in love?

When a man loves a girl, he feels such an overwhelming _individual
preference_ for her that though she were a beggar-maid he would scorn
the offer to exchange her for an heiress, a princess, or the goddess
of beauty herself. To him she seems to have a monopoly of all the
feminine charms, and she therefore monopolizes his thoughts and
feelings to the exclusion of all other interests, and he longs not
only for her reciprocal affection but for a monopoly of it. "Does she
love me?" he asks himself a hundred times a day. "Sometimes she seems
to treat me with cold indifference--is that merely the instinctive
assertion of feminine _coyness_, or does she prefer another man?" The
pangs, the agony of _jealousy_ overcome him at this thought. He hopes
one moment, despairs the next, till his _moods_ become so _mixed_ that
he hardly knows whether he is happy or miserable. He, who is usually
so bold and self-confident, is humbled; feels utterly unworthy of her.
In his fancy she soars so far above all other women that calling her
an angel seems not a _hyperbole_, but a compliment to the angel.
Toward such a superior being the only proper attitude is _adoration_.
She is spotless as an angel, and his feelings toward her are as
_pure_, as free from coarse cravings, as if she were a goddess. How
royally _proud_ a man must feel at the thought of being preferred
above all mortals by this divine being! In _personal beauty_ had she
ever a peer? Since Venus left this planet, has such grace been seen?
In face of her, the strongest of all impulses--selfishness--is
annihilated. The lover is no longer "number one" to himself; his own
pleasures and comforts are ignored in the eager desire to please her,
to show her _gallant_ attentions. To save her from disaster or grief
he is ready to _sacrifice_ his life. His cordial _sympathy_ makes him
share all her joys and sorrows, and his _affection_ for her, though he
may have known her only a few days--nay, a few minutes--is as strong
and devoted as that of a mother for the child that is her own flesh
and blood.


No one who has ever been truly in love will deny that this
description, however romantic it may seem in its apparent
exaggeration, is a realistic reflection of his feelings and impulses.
As this brief review shows, Individual Preference, Monopolism,
Coyness, Jealousy, Mixed Moods of Hope and Despair, Hyperbole,
Adoration, Purity, Pride, Admiration of Personal Beauty, Gallantry,
Self-sacrifice, Sympathy, and Affection, are the essential ingredients
in that very composite mental state, which we call romantic love.
Coyness, of course, occurs only in feminine love, and there are other
sexual differences which will be noted later on. Here I wish to point
out that the fourteen ingredients named may be divided into two groups
of seven each--the egoistic and the altruistic. The prevailing notion
that love is a species of selfishness--a "double selfishness," some
wiseacre has called it--is deplorably untrue and shows how little the
psychology of love has heretofore been understood.

It has indeed an egoistic side, including the ingredients I have
called Individual Preference, Monopolism, Jealousy, Coyness,
Hyperbole, Mixed Moods, and Pride; and it is not a mere accident that
these are also the seven features which may be found in sensual love
too; for sensuality and selfishness are twins. But the later and more
essential characteristics of romantic love are the altruistic and
supersensual traits--Sympathy, Affection, Gallantry, Self-sacrifice,
Adoration, Purity, and Admiration of Personal Beauty. The two
divisions overlap in some places, but in the main they are accurate.
It is certain that the first group precedes the second, but the order
in which the ingredients in each group first made their appearance
cannot be indicated, as we know too little of the early history of
man. The arrangement here adopted is therefore more or less arbitrary.
I shall try in this long chapter to answer the question "What is
Romantic Love?" by discussing each of its fourteen ingredients and
tracing its evolution separately.


If a man pretended to be in love with a girl while confessing that he
liked other girls equally well and would as soon marry one as another,
everybody would laugh at him; for however ignorant many persons may be
as to the subtler traits of sentimental love, it is known universally
that a decided and obstinate preference for one particular individual
is an absolute condition of true love.


As I have just intimated, a modern romantic lover would not exchange a
beloved beggar-maid for an heiress or princess; nor would he give her
for a dozen other girls, however charming, and with permission to
marry them all. Now if romantic love had always existed, the lower
races would have the same violent and exclusive preference for
individuals. But what are the facts? I assert, without fear of
contradiction from any one familiar with anthropological literature,
that a savage or barbarian, be he Australian, African, American, or
Asiatic, would laugh at the idea of refusing to exchange one woman for
a dozen others equally young and attractive. It is not necessary to
descend to the lowest savages to find corroboration of this view. Dr.
Zoeller, an unusually intelligent and trustworthy observer, says, in
one of his volumes on German Africa (III., 70-71), that

"on the whole no distinction whatever is made between woman
and woman, between the good-looking and the ugly, the
intelligent and the stupid ones. In all my African
experiences I have never heard of a single young man or
woman who conceived a violent passion for a particular
individual of the opposite sex."

So in other parts of Africa. The natives of Borgou, we are told by R.
and J. Lander, marry with perfect indifference. "A man takes no more
thought about choosing a wife than he does in picking a head of
wheat." Among the Kaffirs, says Fritsch (112) it may occur that a man
has an inclination toward a particular girl; but he adds that "in
such cases the suitor is obliged to pay several oxen more than is
customary, and as he usually takes cattle more to heart than women,
such cases are rare;" and though, when he has several wives, he may
have a favorite, the attachment to her is shallow and transient, for
she is at any moment liable to displacement by a new-comer. Among the
Hottentots at Angra Pequena, when a man covets a girl he goes to her
hut, prepares a cup of coffee and hands it to her without saying a
word. If she drinks half of it, he knows the answer is Yes. "If she
refuses to touch the coffee, the suitor is not specially grieved, but
proceeds to another hut to try his luck again in the same way."
(Ploss, I., 454.)

Of the Fijians Williams (148) says: "Too commonly there is no express
feeling of connubial bliss, men speak of 'our women' and women of 'our
men' without any distinctive preference being apparent." Catlin,
speaking (70-71) of the matrimonial arrangements of the Pawnee
Indians, says that daughters are held as legitimate merchandise, and,
as a rule, accept the situation "with the apathy of the race." A man
who advertised for a wife would hardly be accused of individual
preference or anything else indicating love. From a remark made by
George Gibbs (197) we may infer that the Indians of Oregon and
Washington used to advertise for wives, in their own fashion:

"It is not unusual to find on the small prairies human
figures rudely carved upon trees. These I have
understood to have been cut by young men who were in
want of wives, as a sort of practical intimation that
they were in the market as purchasers."

It might be suggested that such a crude love-letter _to the sex in
general_, as compared with one of our own love-letters to a particular
girl, gives a fair idea of what Indian love is, compared with the love
of civilized men and women.


Even where there is an appearance of predilection it is apt to be
shallow and fragile. In the _Jesuit Relations_ (XVIII., 129) we read
how a Huron youth came to one of the missionaries and said he needed a
wife to make his snow-shoes and clothes. "I am in love with a young
girl," said he. "I beg you to call my relatives together and to
consider whether she is suitable for me. If you decide that it is for
my good, I will marry her; if not, I will follow your advice." Other
young Indians used to come to the missionaries to ask them to find
wives for them. I have been struck, in reading Indian love-stories, by
the fact that their gist usually lies not in an exhibition of decided
preference for one man but of violent _aversion_ to another--some old
and disagreeable suitor. It is well known, too, that among Indians, as
among Australians, marriage was sometimes considered an affair of the
tribe rather than of the individual; and we have some curious
illustrations of the way in which various tribes of Indians would try
to crush the germs of individual preference.


Thus Hunter relates (243) of the Missouri and Arkansas tribes that "It
is considered disgraceful for a young Indian publicly to prefer one
woman to another until he has distinguished himself either in war or
in the chase." Should an Indian pay any girl, though he may have known
her from childhood, special attention before he has won reputation as
a warrior, "he would be sure to suffer the painful mortification of a
rejection; he would become the derision of the warriors and the
contempt of the squaws." In the _Jesuit Relations_ (III., 73) we read
of some of the Canadian Indians that

"they have a very rude way of making love; for the
suitor, as soon as he shows a preference for a girl,
does not dare look at her, nor speak to her, nor stay
near her unless accidentally; and then he must force
himself not to look her in the face, nor to give any
sign of his passion, otherwise he would be the
laughing-stock of all, and his sweetheart would blush
for him."

Not only must he show no preference, but the choice, too, is not left
to him; for the relatives take up the matter and decide whether his
age, skill as a hunter, reputation, and family make him a desirable

In the face of such facts, can we agree with Rousseau that to a savage
one woman is as good as another? The question is very difficult to
answer, because if a man is to marry at all, he must choose a
particular girl, and this choice can be interpreted as preference,
though it may be quite accidental. It is probable, as I have
suggested, that with a people as low as the Australians it would be
difficult to find a man having sufficient predilection for one young
woman to refuse to exchange her for two others. Probably the same is
true of the higher savages and even of the barbarians, as a rule.


We do, indeed, find, at a comparatively early stage, evidences of one
girl or man being chosen in preference to others; but when we examine
these cases closely we see that the choice is not based on _personal_
qualities but on utilitarian considerations of the most selfish or
sensual description. Thus Zoeller, in the passage just referred to,
says of the negro:

"It is true that when he buys a woman he prefers a young
one, but his motive for so doing is far from being mental
admiration of beauty. He buys the younger ones because they
are youthful, strong, and able to work for him."

Similarly Belden, who lived twelve years among the Plains Indians,
states (302) that "the squaws are valued by the middle-aged men only
for their strength and ability to work, and no account whatever is
taken of their personal beauty." The girls are no better than the men.
Young Comanche girls, says Parker (Schoolcraft, V., 683) "are not
averse to marry very old men, particularly if they are chiefs, as they
are always sure of something to eat." In describing Amazon Valley
Indians, Wallace says (497-498) that there is

"a trial of skill at shooting with the bow and arrow,
and if the young man does not show himself a good
marksman, the girl refuses him, on the ground that he
will not be able to shoot fish and game enough for the

These cases are typical, and might be multiplied indefinitely; they
show how utterly individual preference on personal grounds is out of
the question here. It is true that many of our own girls marry for
such utilitarian reasons; but no one would be so foolish as to speak
of these marriages as love-matches, whereas in the cases of savages we
are often invited by sentimentalists to witness the "manifestation of
love" whenever a man shows a utilitarian or sensual interest in a
particular girl. A modern civilized lover marries a girl for her own
sake, because he is enamoured of her individuality, whereas the
uncivilized suitor cares not a fig for the other's individuality; he
takes her as an instrument of lust, a drudge, or as a means of raising
a family, in order that the superstitious rites of ancestor-worship
may be kept up and his selfish soul rest in peace in the next world.
He cares not for her personally, for if she proves barren he
repudiates her and marries another. Trial marriages are therefore
widely prevalent. The Dyaks of Borneo, as St. John tells us, often
make as many as seven or eight such marriages; with them marriage is
"a business of partnership for the purpose of having children,
dividing labor, and by means of their offspring providing for their
old age."


An amusing incident related by Ernst von Weber (II., 215-6) indicates
how easily utilitarian considerations override such skin-deep
preference as may exist among Africans. He knew a girl named Yanniki
who refused to marry a young Kaffir suitor though she confessed that
she liked him. "I cannot take him," she said, "as he can offer only
ten cows for me and my father wants fifteen." Weber observed, that it
was not kind of her father to let a few cows stand in the way of her
happiness; but the African damsel did not fall in with his sentimental
view of the case. Business and vanity were to her much more important
matters than individual preference for a particular lover, and she
exclaimed, excitedly:

"What! You expect my father to give me away for ten
cows? That would be a fine sort of a bargain! Am I not
worth more than Cilli, for whom the Tambuki chief paid
twelve cows last week? I am pretty, I can cook, sew,
crochet, speak English, and with all these
accomplishments you want my father to dispose of me for
ten miserable cows? Oh, sir, how little you esteem me!
No, no, my father is quite right in refusing to yield
in this matter; indeed, in my opinion he might boldly
ask thirty cows for me, for I am worth that much."


It is not difficult to explain why among the lower races individual
preference either does not occur at all or is so weak and utilitarian
that the difference of a few cows more or less may decide a lover's
fate. Like sunflowers in the same garden, the girls in a tribe differ
so little from one another that there is no particular cause for
discrimination. They are all brought up in exactly the same way, eat
the same food, think the same thoughts, do the same work--carrying
water and wood, dressing skins, moving tents and utensils, etc.; they
are alike uneducated, and marry at the same childish age before their
minds can have unfolded what little is in them; so that there is small
reason why a man should covet one of them much more than another. A
savage may be as eager to possess a woman as a miser is to own a gold
piece: but he has little more reason to prefer one girl to another
than a miser has to prefer one gold piece to another of the same size.

Humboldt observed (_P.E_., 141) that "in barbarous nations there is a
physiognomy peculiar to the tribe or horde rather than to any
individual." It has been noted by various observers that the lower the
race is the more do its individuals thus resemble one another. Nay,
this approximation goes so far as to make even the two sexes much less
distinct than they are with us. Professor Pritsch, in his classical
treatise on the natives of South Africa (407), dwells especially on
the imperfect sexual differentiation of the Bushmen. The faces,
stature, limbs, and even the chest and hips of the women differ so
little from those of the men that in looking at photographs (as he
says and illustrates by specimens), one finds it difficult to tell
them apart, though the figures are almost nude. Both sexes are equally
lean and equally ugly. The same may be said of the typical
Australians, and in Professor and Mrs. Agassiz's _Journey in Brazil_
(530) we read that

"the Indian woman has a very masculine air, extending
indeed more or less to her whole bearing; for even her
features have rarely the feminine delicacy of higher
womanhood. In the Negro, on the contrary, the
narrowness of chest and shoulder characteristic of the
woman is almost as marked in the man; indeed, it may
well be said, that, while the Indian female is
remarkable for her masculine build, the negro male is
equally so for his feminine aspect."

In the _Jesuit Relations_ there are repeated references to the
difficulty of distinguishing squaws from male Indians except by
certain articles of dress. Burton writes of the Sioux _(C.O.S_., 59)
that "the unaccustomed eye often hesitates between the sexes." In
Schoolcraft (V., 274) we are told concerning the Creek women that
"being condemned to perform all the hard labor, they are _universally
masculine in appearance_, without one soft blandishment to render them
desirable or lovely." Nor is there anything alluringly feminine in the
disposition which, as all observers agree, makes Indian women more
cruel in torture than the most pitiless men. Equally decisive is the
testimony regarding the similarity of the sexes, physical and mental,
in the islands of the Pacific. Hawkesworth (II., 446) found the women
of New Zealand so lacking in feminine delicacy that it was difficult
to distinguish them from the men, except by their voices. Captain Cook
(II., 246) observed in Fiji differences in form between men and
females, but little difference in features; and of the Hawaiians he
wrote that with few exceptions they

"have little claim to those peculiarities that
distinguish the sex in other countries. There is,
indeed, a more remarkable equality in the size, color,
and figure of both sexes, than in most places I have


A most important inference may be deduced from these facts. A man does
not, normally, fall in love with a man. He falls in love with a woman,
because she is a woman. Now when, as in the cases cited, the men and
women differ only in regard to the coarsest anatomical peculiarities
known as the primary sexual qualities, it is obvious that their "love"
also can consist only of such coarse feelings and longings as these
primary qualities can inspire. In other words they can know the great
passion only on its sensual side. Love, to them, is not a sentiment
but an appetite, or at best an instinct for the propagation of the

Of the secondary sexual qualities--those not absolutely necessary for
the maintenance of the species--the first to appear prominently in
women is _fat_; and as soon as it does appear, it is made a ground of
individual preference. Brough Smyth tells us that in Australia a fat
woman is never safe from being stolen, no matter how old and ugly she
may be. In the chapter on Personal Beauty I shall marshal a number of
facts showing that among the uncivilized and Oriental races in
general, fat is the criterion of feminine attractiveness. It is so
among coarse men (_i.e._, most men) even in Europe and America to this
day. Hindoo poets, from the oldest times to Kalidasa and from Kalidasa
to the present day, laud their heroines above all things for their
large thighs--thighs so heavy that in walking the feet make an
impression on the ground "deep as an elephant's hoofs."


It is hardly necessary to say that the "love" based on _these_
secondary qualities is not sentimental or romantic. It may,
however--and this is a very important point to remember--be extremely
violent and stubborn. In other words, there may he a strong individual
preference in love that is entirely sensual. Indeed, lust may he as
fastidious as love. Tarquinius coveted Lucretia; no other woman would
have satisfied him. Yet he did not _love_ her. Had he loved _her_ he
would have sacrificed his own life rather than offered violence to one
who valued her honor more than her life. He loved only _himself_; his
one object was to please his beloved ego; he never thought of her
feelings and of the consequences of his act to her. The literature of
ancient Rome, Greece, and Oriental countries is full of such cases of
individualized "love" which, when closely examined, reduce themselves
to cases of selfish lust--eagerness to gratify an appetite with a
particular victim, for whom the "lover" has not a particle of
affection, respect, or sympathy, not to speak of adoration or gallant,
self-sacrificing devotion. Unless we have positive evidence of the
presence of these traits of unselfish affection, we are not entitled
to assume the existence of genuine love; especially among races that
are coarse, unsympathetic, and cruel.


From this point of view we must judge two Indian love-stories related
by Keating (II., 164-166):

I. A Chippewa named Ogemans, married to a woman called
Demoya, fell in love with her sister. When she refused
him he affected insanity. His ravings were terrible,
and nothing could appease him but her presence; the
moment he touched her hand or came near her he was
gentle as they could wish. One time, in the middle of a
winter night, he sprang from his couch and escaped into
the woods, howling and screaming in the wildest manner;
his wife and her sister followed him, but he refused to
be calmed until the sister (Okoj) laid her hand on him,
when he became quiet and gentle. This kind of
performance he kept up a long time till all the
Indians, including the girl, became convinced he was
possessed by a spirit which she alone could subdue. So
she married him and never after was he troubled by a
return of madness.

II. A young Canadian had secured the favor of a
half-breed girl who had been brought up among the
Chippewas and spoke only their language. Her name was
Nisette, and she was the daughter of a converted squaw
who, being very pious, induced the young couple to go
to an Algonquin village and get regularly married by a
clergyman. Meanwhile the Canadian's love cooled away,
and by the time they reached the village he cared no
more for the poor girl. Soon thereafter she became the
subject of fits and was finally considered to be quite
insane. The only lucid intervals she had were in the
presence of her inconstant husband. Whenever he came
near her, her reason would return, and she would appear
the same as before her illness. Flattered by what he
deemed so strong an evidence of his influence over her,
the Canadian felt a return of kindness toward her, and
was finally induced to renew his attentions, which,
being well received, they were soon united by a
clergyman. Her reason appeared to be restored, and her
improving health showed that her happiness was


Keating's guide was convinced that in both these cases the insanity
was feigned for the selfish purpose of working upon the feelings of
the unwilling party. Even apart from that, there is no trace of
evidence in either story that the feelings of the lovers rose above
sensual attachment, though the girl, being half white, might have been
capable of an approximation to a higher feeling. Indeed it is among
women that such approximations to a higher type of attachment must be
sought; for the uncivilized woman's basis of individual preference,
while apt to be utilitarian, is less sensual than the man's. She is
influenced by his manly qualities of courage, valor, aggressiveness,
because those are of value to her, while he chooses her for her
physical charms and has little or no appreciation of the higher
feminine qualities. Schoolcraft (V., 612) cites the following as an
Indian girl's ideal:

"My love is tall and graceful as the young pine waving
on the hill---and as swift in his course as the stately
deer. His hair is flowing, and dark as the blackbird
that floats through the air, and his eyes, like the
eagle's, both piercing and bright. His heart, it is
fearless and great--and his arm it is strong in the

Now it is true that Schoolcraft is a very unreliable witness in such
matters, as we shall see in the chapter on Indians. He had a way of
taking coarse Indian tales, dressing them up in a fine romantic garb
and presenting them as the aboriginal article. An Indian girl would
not be likely to compare a man's hair to a blackbird's feathers, and
she certainly would never dream of speaking of a "tall and graceful
pine waving on the hill." She might, however, compare his swiftness to
a deer's, and she might admire his sharp sight, his fearlessness, his
strong arm in a fight; and that is enough to illustrate what I have
just said--that her preference, though utilitarian, is less sensual
than the man's. It includes mental elements, and as moreover her
duties as mother teach her sympathy and devotion, it is not to be
wondered at that the earliest approximations to a higher type of love
are on the part of women.


As civilization progresses, the sexes become more and more
differentiated, thus affording individual preference an infinitely
greater scope. The stamp of sex is no longer confined to the pelvis
and the chest, but is impressed on every part of the body. The women's
feet become smaller and more daintily shaped than the men's, the limbs
more rounded and tapering and less muscular, the waist narrower, the
neck longer, the skin smoother, softer, and less hairy, the hands more
comely, with more slender fingers, the skeleton more delicate, the
stature lower, the steps shorter, the gait more graceful, the features
more delicately cut, the eyes more beautiful, the hair more luxuriant
and lustrous, the cheeks rounder and more susceptible to blushes, the
lips more daintily curved, the smile sweeter.

But the mind has sex as well as the body. It is still in process of
evolution, and too many individuals still approximate the type of the
virago or the effeminate man; but the time will come for all, as it
has already come for many, when a masculine trait in a woman's
character will make as disagreeable an impression as a blacksmith's
sinewy arm on the body of a society belle would make in a ball-room.
To call a woman pretty and sweet is to compliment her; to call a man
pretty and sweet would be to mock or insult him. The ancient Greeks
betrayed their barbarism in amorous matters in no way more
conspicuously than by their fondness for coy, effeminate boys, and
their admiration of masculine goddesses like Diana and Minerva.
Contrast this with the modern ideal of femininity, as summed up by

Why are our bodies soft and weak and smooth,
Unapt to toil and trouble in the world,
But that our soft conditions and our hearts
Should well agree with our external parts?


A woman's voice differs from a man's not only in pitch but in timbre;
its quality suggests the sex. There is great scope for variety, from
the lowest contralto to the highest soprano, as there is in man's from
the lowest bass to the highest tenor; a variety so great that voices
differ as much as faces and can be instantly recognized; but unless it
has the proper sexual quality a voice affects us disagreeably. A
coarse, harsh voice has marred many a girl's best marriage chances,
while, on the other hand, it may happen that "the ear loveth before
the eye." Now what is true of the male and female voice holds true of
the male and female mind in all its diverse aspects. We expect men to
be not only bigger, stronger, taller, hardier, more robust, but more
courageous and aggressive, more active, more creative, more sternly
just, than women; while coarseness, cruelty, selfishness, and
pugnacity, though not virtues in either sex, affect us much less
repulsively in men than in women, for the reason that the masculine
struggle for existence and competition in business foster selfishness,
and men have inherited pugnacious instincts from their fighting
ancestors, while women, as mothers, learned the lessons of sympathy
and self-sacrifice much sooner than men. The distinctively feminine
virtues are on the whole of a much higher order than the masculine,
which is the reason why they were not appreciated or fostered at so
early an epoch. Gentleness, modesty, domesticity, girlishness,
coyness, kindness, patience, tenderness, benevolence, sympathy,
self-sacrifice, demureness, emotionality, sensitiveness, are feminine
qualities, some of which, it is true, we expect also in gentlemen; but
their absence is not nearly so fatal to a man as it is to a woman. And
as men gradually approach women in patience, tenderness, sympathy,
self-sacrifice, and gentleness, it behooves women to keep their
distance by becoming still more refined and feminine, instead of
trying, as so many of them do, to approach the old masculine
standard--one of the strangest aberrations recorded in all social

Men and women fall in love with what is unlike, not with what is like
them. The refined physical and mental traits which I have described in
the preceding paragraphs constitute some of the secondary sexual
characters by which romantic love is inspired, while sensual love is
based on the primary sexual characters. Havelock Ellis (19) has well
defined a secondary sexual character as "one which, by more highly
differentiating the sexes, helps to make them more attractive to each
other," and so to promote marriages. And Professor Weissmann, famed
for his studies in heredity, opens up deep vistas of thought when he
declares (II., 91) that

"all the numerous differences in form and function
which characterize sex among the higher animals, all
the so-called 'secondary sexual characters,' affecting
even the highest mental qualities of mankind, are
nothing but adaptations to bring about the union of the
hereditary tendencies of two individuals."

Nature has been at work on this problem of differentiating the sexes
ever since it created the lowest animal organisms, and this fact,
which stands firm as a rock, gives us the consoling assurance that the
present abnormal attempts to make women masculine by giving them the
same education, employments, sports, ideals, and political aspirations
as men have, must end in ignominious failure. If the viragoes had
their way, men and women would in course of time revert to the
condition of the lowest savages, differing only in their organs of
generation. How infinitely nobler, higher, more refined and,
fascinating, is that ideal which wants women to differ from men by
every detail, bodily and mental; to differ from them in the higher
qualities of disposition, of character, of beauty, physical and
spiritual, which alone make possible the existence of romantic love as
distinguished from lust on one side and friendship on the other.


If these secondary sexual characters could be destroyed by the
extraordinary--one might almost say criminal--efforts of unsexed
termagants to make all women ape men and become like them, romantic
love, which was so slow in coming, would disappear again, leaving only
sensual appetite, which may be (selfishly) fastidious and intense, but
has no depth, duration, or altruistic nobility, and which, when
satiated, cares no more for the object for which it had temporarily
hungered. It is these secondary sexual characters, with their subtle
and endless variations, that have given individual preference such a
wide field of choice that every lover can find a girl after his heart
and taste. A savage is like a gardener who has only one kind of
flowers to choose between--all of one color too; whereas we, with our
diverse secondary characters, our various intermixtures of
nationalities, our endless shades of blonde and brunette, and
differences in manners and education can have our choice among the
lilies, roses, violets, pansies, daisies, and thousands of other
flowers--or the girls named after them. Samuel Baker says there are no
broken hearts in Africa. Why should there be when individuals are so
similar that if a man loses his girl he can easily find another just
like her in color, face, rotundity, and grossness? A civilized lover
would mourn the loss of his bride--though he were offered his choice
of the beauties of Baltimore--because it would be _absolutely
impossible to duplicate her_.

In that last line lies the explanation of one of the mysteries of
modern love--its stubborn fidelity to the beloved after the choice has
been made. But there is another mystery of individual preference that
calls for an explanation--its capriciousness, apparent or real, in
making a choice--that quality which has made the poets declare so
often that "love is blind." On this point much confusion of ideas

Matters are simplified if we first dispose of those numerous cases in
which the individual preference is only approximate. If a girl of
eighteen has the choice between a man of sixty and a youth of twenty,
she will, if she exercises a _personal_ preference, take the youth, as
a matter of course, though he may be far from her ideal. Such
preference is generic rather than individual. Again, in most cases of
first love, as I have remarked elsewhere (_R.L.P.B_., 139) "man falls
in love with woman, woman with man, not with a particular man or
woman." Young men and women inherit, from a long series of ancestors,
a disposition to love which at puberty reveals itself in vague
longings and dreams. The "bump of amativeness," as a phrenologist
might say, is like a powder magazine, ready to explode at a touch, and
it makes no great difference what kind of a match is applied. In later
love affairs the match is a matter of more importance.

Robert Burton threw light on the "capriciousness" and accidentally of
this kind of (apparent) amorous preference when he wrote that "it is
impossible, almost, for two young folks equal in years to live
together and not be in love;" and further he says, sagaciously:

"Many a serving man, by reason of this opportunity and
importunity, inveigles his master's daughter, many a
gallant loves a dowdy, many a gentleman runs after his
wife's maids; many ladies dote upon their men, as the
queen in Aristo did upon the dwarf, many matches are so
made in haste and they are compelled, as it were by
necessity, so to love, which had they been free, come
in company with others, seen that variety which many
places afford, or compared them to a third, would never
have looked upon one another."

Such passions are merely pent-up emotions seeking to escape one way or
another. They do not indicate real, intense preference, but at best an
approach to it; for they are not properly individualized, and, as
Schopenhauer pointed out, the differences in the intensity of
love-cases depend on their different degrees of individualization--an
_apercu_ which this whole chapter confirms. Yet these mere
approximations to real preference embrace the vast majority of
so-called love-affairs. Genuine preference of the highest type finds
its explanation in special phases of sympathy and personal beauty
which will be discussed later on.

What is usually considered the greatest mystery of the amorous passion
is the disposition of a lover to "see Helen's beauty in a brow of
Egypt." "What can Jack have seen in Jill to become infatuated with
her, or she in him?" The trouble with those who so often ask this
question is that they fix the attention on the beloved instead of on
the lover, whose lack of taste explains everything. The error is of
long standing, as the following story related by the Persian poet
Saadi (of the thirteenth century) will show (346):


"A king of Arabia was told that Mujnun, maddened by
love, had turned his face toward the desert and assumed
the manners of a brute. The king ordered him to be
brought in his presence and he wept and said: 'Many of
my friends reproach me for my love of her, namely
Laila; alas! that they could one day see her, that my
excuse might be manifest for me.' The king sent for her
and beheld a person of tawny complexion, and feeble
frame of body. She appeared to him in a contemptible
light, inasmuch as the lowest menial in his harem, or
seraglio, surpassed her in beauty and excelled her in
elegance. Mujnun, in his sagacity, penetrated what was
passing in the king's mind and said: 'It would behove
you, O King, to contemplate the charms of Laila through
the wicket of a Mujnun's eye, in order that the miracle
of such a spectacle might be illustrated to you.'"

This story was referred to by several critics of my first book as
refuting my theory regarding the modernity of true love. They seemed
to think, with the Persian poet, that there must be something
particularly wonderful and elevated in the feelings of a lover who is
indifferent to the usual charms of femininity and prefers ugliness.
This, indeed, is the prevalent sentiment on the subject, though the
more I think of it, the more absurd and topsy turvy it seems to me. Do
we commend an Eskimo for preferring the flavor of rancid fish oil to
the delicate bouquet of the finest French wine? Does it evince a
particularly exalted artistic sense to prefer a hideous daub to a
Titian or Raphael? Does it betoken a laudable and elevated taste in
music to prefer a vulgar tune to one that has the charms of a romantic
or classical work of acknowledged beauty? Why, then, should we
specially extol Mujnun for admiring a woman who was devoid of all
feminine charms? The confusion probably arises from fancying that she
must have had mental charms to offset her ugliness, but nothing
whatever is said about such a notion, which, in fact, would have been
utterly foreign to the Oriental, purely sensual, way of regarding

Fix the attention on the man in the story instead of on the woman and
the mystery vanishes. Mujnun becomes infatuated with an ugly woman
simply because he has no taste, no sense of beauty. There are millions
of such men the world over, just as there are millions who cannot
appreciate choice wines, good music, and fine pictures. Everywhere the
majority of men prefer vulgar tunes, glaring chromos, and coarse
women--luckily for the women, because most of them are coarse, too.
"Birds of a feather flock together"--there you have the philosophy of
preference so far as such love-affairs are concerned. How often do we
see a bright, lovely girl, with sweet voice and refined manners,
neglected by men who crowd around other women of their own rude and
vulgar caste! Most men still are savages so far as the ability to
appreciate the higher secondary sexual qualities in women is
concerned. But the exceptions are growing more numerous. Among savages
there are no exceptions. Romantic love does not exist among them, both
because the women have not the secondary sexual qualities, and
because, even if they had them, the men would not appreciate them or
be guided by them in their choice of mates.


Whenever she speaks, my ravished ear
No other voice but hers can hear,
No other wit but hers approve:
Tell me, my heart, if this be love?

Every lover of nature must have noticed how the sun monopolizes the
attention of flowers and leaves. Twist and turn them whichever way you
please, on returning afterward you will find them all facing the
beloved sun again with their bright corollas and glossy surface.
Romantic love exacts a similar monopoly of its devotees. Be their
feelings as various, their thoughts as numerous, as the flowers in a
garden, the leaves in a forest, they will always be turned toward the
beloved one.


A man may have several intimate friends, and a mother may dote on a
dozen or more children with equal affection; but romantic love is a
monopolist, absolutely exclusive of all participation and rivalry. A
genuine Romeo wants Juliet, the whole of Juliet, and nothing but
Juliet. She monopolizes his thoughts by day, his dreams at night; her
image blends with everything he sees, her voice with everything he
hears. His imagination is a lens which gathers together all the light
and heat of a giant world and focuses them on one brunette or blonde.
He is a miser, who begrudges every smile, every look she bestows on
others, and if he had his own way he would sail with her to-day to a
desert island and change their names to Mr. and Mrs. Robinson Crusoe.
This is not fanciful hyperbole, but a plain statement in prose of a
psychological truth. The poets did not exaggerate when they penned
such sentiments as these:

She was his life,
The ocean to the river of his thoughts,
Which terminated all.

Thou art my life, my love, my heart,
The very eyes of me,
And hast command of every part,
To live and die for thee.

Give me but what that ribband bound,
Take all the rest the world goes round.

But I am tied to very thee
By every thought I have;
Thy face I only care to see
Thy heart I only crave.

I see her in the dewy flowers,
Sae lovely sweet and fair:
I hear her voice in ilka bird,
Wi' music charm the air:
There's not a bonnie flower that springs
By fountain, shaw, or green;
There's not a bonny bird that sings,
But minds me o' my Jean.

For nothing this wide universe I call
Save thou, my rose: in it thou art my all.

Like Alexander I will reign,
And I will reign alone,
My thoughts shall evermore disdain
A rival on my throne.
--_James Graham_.

Love, well thou know'st no partnerships allows.
Cupid averse, rejects divided vows.

O that the desert were my dwelling-place,
With one fair spirit for my minister,
That I might all forget the human race
And, hating no one, love but only her.


The imperative desire for an absolute monopoly of one chosen girl,
body and soul--_and one only_--is an essential, invariable ingredient
of romantic love. Sensual love, on the contrary, aims rather at a
monopoly of all attractive women--or at least as many as possible.
Sensual love is not an exclusive passion for one; it is a fickle
feeling which, like a giddy butterfly, flits from flower to flower,
forgetting the fragrance of the lily it left a moment ago in the sweet
honey of the clover it enjoys at this moment. The Persian poet Sadi,
says (_Bustan_, 12), "Choose a fresh wife every spring or New Year's
Day; for the almanack of last year is good for nothing." Anacreon
interprets Greek love for us when he sings:

"Can'st count the leaves in a forest, the waves in the sea?
Then tell me how oft I have loved. Twenty girls in Athens,
and fifteen more besides; add to these whole bevies in
Corinth, and from Lesbos to Ionia, from Caria and from
Rhodos, two thousand sweethearts more.... Two thousand did I
say? That includes not those from Syros, from Kanobus, from
Creta's cities, where Eros rules alone, nor those from
Gadeira, from Bactria, from India--girls for whom I burn."

Lucian vies with Anacreon when he makes Theomestus (_Dial. Amor._)
exclaim: "Sooner can'st thou number the waves of the sea and the
snowflakes falling from the sky than my loves. One succeeds another,
and the new one comes on before the old is off." We call such a thing
libertinism, not love. The Greeks had not the name of Don Juan, yet
Don Juan was their ideal both for men and for the gods they made in
the image of man. Homer makes the king of gods tell his own spouse
(who listens without offence) of his diverse love-affairs (_Iliad_,
xiv., 317-327). Thirteen centuries after Homer the Greek poet Nonnus
gives ([Greek: Dionusiaka], vii.) a catalogue of twelve of Zeus's
amours; and we know from other sources (_e.g., Hygin, fab._, 155) that
these accounts are far from exhaustive. A complete list would match
that yard-long document made for Don Juan by Leporello in Mozart's
opera. A French writer has aptly called Jupiter the "Olympian Don
Juan;" yet Apollo and most of the other gods might lay claim to the
same title, for they are represented as equally amorous, sensual, and
fickle; seeing no more wrong in deserting a woman they have made love
to, than a bee sees in leaving a flower whose honey it has stolen.

Temporarily, of course, both men and gods focus their interest on one
woman--maybe quite ardently--and fiercely resent interference, as an
angry bee is apt to sting when kept from the flower it has
accidentally chosen; but that is a different thing from the monopolism
of true love.


The romantic lover's dream is to marry one particular woman and her
alone; the sensual lover's dream embraces several women, or many. The
unromantic ideal of the ancient Hindoo is romantically illustrated in
a story told in the _Hitopadesa_ of a Brahman named Wedasarman. One
evening someone made him a present of a dish of barley-meal. He
carried it to the market hall and lay down in a corner near where a
potter had stored his wares. Before going to sleep, the Brahman
indulged in these pleasant reveries:

"If I sell this dish of meal I shall probably get ten
farthings for it. For that I can buy some of these
pots, which I can sell again at a profit; thus my money
will increase. Then I shall begin to trade in
betel-nuts, dress-goods and other things, and thus I
may bring my wealth up to a hundred thousand. With that
I shall be able to marry _four wives_, and to the
youngest and prettiest of them I shall give my
tenderest love. How the others will be tortured by
jealousy! But just let them dare to quarrel. They shall
know my wrath and feel my club!"

With these words he laid about him with his club, and of course broke
his own dish besides many of the potter's wares. The potter hearing
the crash, ran to see what was the matter, and the Brahman was
ignominiously thrown out of the hall.

The polygamous imagination of the Hindoos runs riot in many of their
stories. To give another instance: _The Kathakoca, or Treasury of
Stories_ (translated by C.H. Tawney, 34), includes an account of the
adventures of King Kanchanapura, who had five hundred wives; and of
Sanatkumara who beheld eight daughters of Manavega and married them.
Shortly afterward he married a beautiful lady and her sister. Then he
conquered Vajravega and married one hundred maidens.

Hindoo books assure us that women, unless restrained, are no better
than men. We read in the same _Hitopadesa_ that they are like
cows--always searching for new herbs in the meadows to graze on. In
polyandrous communities the women make good use of their
opportunities. Dalton, in his book on the wild tribes of Bengal, tells
this quaint story (36):

"A very pretty Dophla girl once came into the station
of Luckimpur, threw herself at my feet and in most
poetical language asked me to give her protection. She
was the daughter of a chief and was sought in marriage
and promised to a peer of her father who had many other
wives. She would not submit to be one of many, and
besides she loved and she eloped with her beloved. This
was interesting and romantic. She was at the time in a
very coarse travelling dress, but assured of protection
she took fresh apparel and ornament from her basket and
proceeded to array herself, and very pretty she looked
as she combed and plaited her long hair and completed
her toilette. In the meantime I had sent for the
'beloved,' who had kept in the background, and alas!
how the romance was dispelled when a _dual_ appeared!
_She had eloped with two men!_"

Every reader will laugh at this denouement, and that laugh is eloquent
proof that in saying there can be no real love without absolute
monopolism of one heart by another I simply formulated and emphasized
a truth which we all feel instinctively. Dalton's tale also brings out
very clearly the world-wide difference between a romantic love-story
and a story of romantic love.

Turning from the Old World to the New we find stories illustrating the
same amusing disregard of amorous monopolism. Rink, in his book of
Eskimo tales and traditions, cites a song which voices the reveries of
a Greenland bachelor:

"I am going to leave the country--in a large ship--for
that sweet little woman. I'll try to get some beads--of
those that look like boiled ones. Then when I've gone
abroad--I shall return again. My nasty little
relatives--I'll call them all to me--and give them a
good thrashing--with a big rope's end. Then I'll go to
marry--_taking two at once_. That darling little
creature--shall only wear clothes of the spotted
seal-skins, and the other little pet shall have clothes
of the young hooded seals."

Powers (227) tells a tragic tale of the California Indians, which in
some respects reminds one of the man who jumped into a bramble-bush
and scratched out both his eyes.

"There was once a man who loved two women and wished to
marry them. Now these two women were magpies, but they
loved him not, and laughed his wooing to scorn. Then he
fell into a rage and cursed these two women, and went
far away to the North. There he set the world on fire,
then made for himself a tule boat, wherein he escaped
to sea, and was never seen more."

Belden, who spent twelve years among the Sioux and other Indians,
writes (302):

"I once knew a young man who had about a dozen horses
he had captured at different times from the enemy, and
who fell desperately in love with a girl of nineteen.
_She loved him in return_, but said she could not bear
to leave her tribe, and go to a Santee village, unless
her two sisters, aged respectively fifteen and
seventeen, went with her. Determined to have his
sweetheart, the next time the warrior visited the
Yankton village he took several ponies with him, and
bought all three of the girls from their parents,
giving five ponies for them."


Heriot, during his sojourn among Canadian Indians, became convinced
from what he saw that love does not admit of divided affections, and
can hardly coexist with polygamy (324). Schoolcraft notes the "curious
fact" concerning the Indian that after a war "one of the first things
he thought of as a proper reward for his bravery was to take another
wife." In the chapter entitled "Honorable Polygamy" we saw how, in
polygamous communities the world over, monogamy was despised as the
"poor man's marriage," and was practised, not from choice, but from
necessity. Every man who was able to do so bought or stole several
women, and joined the honorable guild of polygamists. Such a custom,
enforced by a strong public opinion, created a sentiment which greatly
retarded the development of monopolism in sexual love. A young Indian
might dream of marrying a certain girl, not, however, with a view to
giving her his whole heart, but only as a beginning. The woman, it is
true, was expected to give herself to one husband, but he seldom
hesitated to lend her to a friend as an act of hospitality, and in
many cases, would hire her out to a stranger in return for gifts.

In not a few communities of Asia, Melanesia, Polynesia, Australia,
Africa, and America polyandry prevailed; that is, the woman was
expected to bestow her caresses in turn on two or more men, to the
destruction of the desire for exclusive possession which is an
imperative trait of love. Rowney describes (154) what we might call
syndicate marriage which has prevailed among the Meeris of India:

"All the girls have their prices, the largest price for the
best-looking girl varying from twenty to thirty pigs, and,
if one man cannot give so many, he has no objection to take
partners to make up the number."

According to Julius Caesar, it was customary among the ancient Britons
for brothers, and sometimes for father and sons, to have their wives
in common, and Tacitus found evidence of a similar custom among the
ancient Germans; while in some parts of Media it was the ambition of
the women to have two or more husbands, and Strabo relates that those
who succeeded looked down with pride on their less fortunate sisters.
When the Spaniards first arrived at Lanzarote, in South America, they
found the women married to several husbands, who lived with their
common spouse in turn each a month. The Tibetans, according to Samuel
Turner, look on marriage as a disagreeable duty which the members of a
family must try to alleviate by sharing its burdens. The Nair woman in
India may have up to ten or twelve husbands, with each of whom she
lives ten days at a time. Among some Himalayan tribes, when the oldest
brother marries, he generally shares his wife with his younger


Of the Port Lincoln Tribe in Australia, Schuermann says (223) that the
brothers practically have their wives in common.

"A peculiar nomenclature has arisen from these singular
connections; a woman honors the brothers of the man to
whom she is married by the indiscriminate name of
husbands; but the men make a distinction, calling their
own individual spouses yungaras, and those to whom they
have a secondary claim, by right of brotherhood,

R.H. Codrington, a scientifically educated missionary who had
twenty-four years' experience on the islands of the Pacific, wrote a
valuable book on the Melanesians in which occur the following luminous

"All women who may become wives in marriage, and are
not yet appropriated, are to a certain extent looked
upon by those who may be their husbands as open to a
more or less legitimate intercourse. In fact,
appropriation of particular women to their own
husbands, though established by every sanction of
native custom, has by no means so strong a hold in
native society, nor in all probability anything like so
deep a foundation in the history of the native people,
as the severance of either sex by divisions which most
strictly limit the intercourse of men and women to
those of the section or sections to which they
themselves do not belong. Two proofs or
exemplifications of this are conspicuous. (1) There is
probably no place in which the common opinion of
Melanesians approves the intercourse of the unmarried
youths and girls as a thing good in itself, though it
allows it as a thing to be expected and excused; but
intercourse within the limit which restrains from
marriage, where two members of the same division are
concerned, is a crime, is incest.... (2) The feeling,
on the other hand, that the intercourse of the sexes
was natural where the man and woman belonged to
different divisions, was shown by that feature of
native hospitality which provided a guest with a
temporary wife." Though now denied in some places,
"there can be no doubt that it was common everywhere."

Nor can there be any doubt that what Codrington here says of the
Melanesians applies also to Polynesians, Australians, and to
uncivilized peoples in general. It shows that even where monogamy
prevails--as it does quite extensively among the lower races[12]--we
must not look for monopolism as a matter of course. The two are very
far from being identical. Primitive marriage is not a matter of
sentiment but of utility and sensual greed. Monogamy, in its lower
phases, does not exclude promiscuous intercourse before marriage and
(with the husband's permission) after marriage. A man appropriates a
particular woman, not because he is solicitous for a monopoly of her
chaste affections, but because he needs a drudge to cook and toil for
him. Primitive marriage, in short, has little in common with civilized
marriage except the name--an important fact the disregard of which has
led to no end of confusion in anthropological and sociological


At a somewhat higher stage, marriage becomes primarily an institution
for raising soldiers for the state or sons to perform ancestor
worship. This is still very far from the modern ideal which makes
marriage a lasting union of two loving souls, children or no children.
Particularly instructive, from our point of view, is the custom of
trial marriage, which has prevailed among many peoples differing
otherwise as widely as ancient Egyptians and modern Borneans.[14] A
modern lover would loathe the idea of such a trial marriage, because
he feels sure that his love will be eternal and unalterable. He may be
mistaken, but that at any rate is his ideal: it includes lasting
monopolism. If a modern sweetheart offered her lover a temporary
marriage, he would either firmly and anxiously decline it, fearing
that she might take advantage of the contract and leave him at the end
of the year; or, what is much more probable, his love, if genuine,
would die a sudden death, because no respectable girl could make such
an offer, and genuine love cannot exist without respect for the
beloved, whatever may be said to the contrary by those who know not
the difference between sensual and sentimental love.


While I am convinced that all these things are as stated, I do not
wish to deny that monopolism of a violent kind may and does occur in
love which is merely sensual. In fact, I have expressly classed
monopolism among those seven ingredients of love which occur in its
sensual as well as its sentimental phases. For a correct diagnosis of
love it is indeed of great importance to bear this in mind, as we
might otherwise be led astray by specious passages, especially in
Greek and Roman literature, in which sensual love sometimes reaches a
degree of subtility, delicacy, and refinement, which approximate it to
sentimental love, though a critical analysis always reveals the
difference. The two best instances I know of occur in Tibullus and
Terence. Tibullus, in one of his finest poems (IV., 13), expresses the
monopolistic wish that his favorite might seem beautiful to him only,
displeasing all others, for then he would be safe from all rivalry;
then he might live happy in forest solitudes, and she alone would be
to him a multitude:

Atque utinam posses uni mihi bella videri;
Displiceas aliis: sic ego tutus ero.

Sic ego secretis possum bene vivere silvis
Qua nulla humano sit via trita pede.
Tu mihi curarum requies, tu nocte vel atra
Lumen, et in solis tu mihi turba locis.

Unfortunately, the opening line of this poem:

Nulla tuum nobis subducet femina lectum,

and what is known otherwise of the dissolute character of the poet and
of all the women to whom he addressed his verses, make it only too
obvious that there is here no question of purity, of respect, of
adoration, of any of the qualities which distinguish supersensual love
from lust.

More interesting still is a passage in the _Eunuchus_ of Terence (I.,
2) which has doubtless misled many careless readers into accepting it
as evidence of genuine romantic love, existing two thousand years ago:

"What more do I wish?" asks Phaedria of his girl Thais:
"That while at the soldier's side you are not his, that
you love me day and night, desire me, dream of me,
expect me, think of me, hope for me, take delight in
me, finally, be my soul as I am yours."

Here, too, there is no trace of supersensual, self-sacrificing
affection (the only sure test of love); but it might be argued that
the monopolism, at any rate, is absolute. But when we read the whole
play, even that is seen to be mere verbiage and
affectation--sentimentality,[15] not sentiment. The girl in question
is a common harlot "never satisfied with one lover," as Parmeno tells
her, and she answers: "Quite true, but do not bother me"--and her
Phaedria, though he talks monopolism, does not _feel_ it, for in the
first act she easily persuades him to retire to the country for a few
days, while she offers herself to a soldier. And again, at the end of
the play, when he seems at last to have ousted his military rival, the
latter's parasite Gnatho persuades him, without the slightest
difficulty, to continue sharing the girl with the soldier, because the
latter is old and harmless, but has plenty of money, while Phaedria is

Thus a passage which at first sight seemed sentimental and romantic,
resolves itself into flabby sensualism, with no more moral fibre than
the "love" of the typical Turk, as revealed, for instance, in a love
song, communicated by Eugene Schuyler (I., 135):

"Nightingale! I am sad! As passionately as thou lovest the
rose, so loudly sing that my loved one awake. Let me die in
the embrace of my dear one, for I envy no one. I know that
thou hast many lovers; but what affair of mine is that?"

One of the most characteristic literary curiosities relating to
monopolism that I have found occurs in the Hindoo drama, _Malavika and
Agnimitra_ (Act V.). While intended very seriously, to us it reads for
all the world like a polygamous parody by Artemus Ward of Byron's
lines just cited ("She was his life, The ocean to the river of his
thoughts, Which terminated all"). An Indian queen having generously
bestowed on her husband a rival to be his second wife, Kausiki, a
Buddhist nun, commends her action in these words:

"I am not surprised at your magnanimity. If wives are kind
and devoted to their husbands they even serve them by
bringing them new wives, like the streams which become
channels for conveying the water of the rivers to the

Monopolism has a watch-dog, a savage Cerberus, whose duty it is to
ward off intruders. He goes by the name of Jealousy, and claims our
attention next.


For love, thou know'st, is full of jealousy.

Jealousy may exist apart from sexual love, but there can be no such
love without jealousy, potential at any rate, for in the absence of
provocation it need never manifest itself. Of all the ingredients of
love it is the most savage and selfish, as commonly witnessed, and we
should therefore expect it to be present at all stages of this
passion, including the lowest. Is this the case? The answer depends
entirely upon what we mean by jealousy. Giraud-Teulon and Le Bon have
held--as did Rousseau long before them--that this passion is unknown
among almost all uncivilized peoples, whereas the latest writer on the
subject, Westermarck, tries to prove (117) that "jealousy is
universally prevalent in the human race at the present day" and that
"it is impossible to believe that there ever was a time when man was
devoid of that powerful feeling." It seems strange that doctors should
disagree so radically on what seems so simple a question; but we shall
see that the question is far from being simple, and that the dispute
arose from that old source of confusion, the use of one word for
several entirely different things.


It is among fishes, in the scale of animal life, that jealousy first
makes its appearance, according to Romanes. But in animals "jealousy,"
be it that of a fish or a stag, is little more than a transient rage
at a rival who comes in presence of the female he himself covets or
has appropriated. This murderous wrath at a rival is a feeling which,
as a matter of course a human savage may share with a wolf or an
alligator; and in its ferocious indulgence primitive man places
himself on a level with brutes--nay, below them, for in the struggle
he often kills the female, which an animal never does. This wrath is
not jealousy as we know it; it lacks a number of essential moral,
intellectual, imaginative elements as we shall presently see; some of
these are found in the amorous relations of birds, but not of savages,
who are now under discussion. If it is true that, as some authorities
believe, there was a time when human beings had, like animals, regular
and limited annual mating periods, this rage at rivals must have often
assumed the most ferocious aspect, to be followed, as with animals, by
long periods of indifference.[16]


It is obvious, however, that since the human infant needs parental
care much longer than young animals need it, natural selection must
have favored the survival of the offspring of couples who did not
separate after a mating period but remained together some years. This
tendency would be further favored by the warrior's desire to have a
private drudge or conjugal slave. Having stolen or bought such a
"wife" and protected her against wild beasts and men, he would come to
feel a sense of _ownership_ in her--as in his private weapons. Should
anyone steal his weapons, or, at a higher stage, his cattle or other
property, he would be animated by a _fierce desire for revenge_; and
the same would be the case if any man stole his wife--or her favors.
This savage desire for revenge is the second phase of "jealousy," when
women are guarded like other property, encroachment on which impels
the owner to angry retaliation either on the thief or on the wife who
has become his accomplice. Even among the lowest races, such as the
Fuegians and Australians, great precautions are taken to guard women
from "robbers." From the nature of the case, women are more difficult
to guard than any other kind of "movable" property, as they are apt to
move of their own accord. Being often married against their will, to
men several times their age, they are only too apt to make common
cause with the gallant. Powers relates that among the California
Indians, a woman was severely punished or even killed by her husband
if seen in company with another man in the woods; and an Australian
takes it for granted, says Curr, "that his wife has been unfaithful to
him whenever there has been an opportunity for criminality." The
poacher may be simply flogged or fined, but he is apt to be mutilated
or killed. The "injured husband" reserves the right to intrigue with
as many women as he pleases, but his wife, being his absolute
property, has no rights of her own, and if she follows his bad example
he mutilates or kills her too.


Strangling, stoning, burning, impaling, flaying alive, tearing limb
from limb, throwing from a tower, burying alive, disemboweling,
enslaving, drowning, mutilating, are some of the punishments inflicted
by savages and barbarians in all parts of the world on adulterous men
or women. Specifications would be superfluous. Let one case stand for
a hundred. Maximilian Prinz zu Wied relates (I., 531, 572), that the
Indians (Blackfeet),

"severely punished infidelity on the part of their
wives by cutting off their noses. At Fort Mackenzie we
saw a number of women defaced in this hideous manner.
In about a dozen tents we saw at least half a dozen
females thus disfigured."

Must we not look upon the state of mind which leads to such terrible
actions as genuine jealousy? Is there any difference between it and
the feeling we ourselves know under that name? There is--a world-wide
difference. Take Othello, who though a Moor, acts and feels more like
an Englishman. The desire for revenge animates him too: "I'll tear her
to pieces," he exclaimed when Iago slanders Desdemona--"will chop her
into messes," and as for Cassio,

Oh, that the slave had forty thousand lives!
One is too poor, too weak for my revenge.

* * * * *

Arise, black vengeance from the hollow hell.


But this eagerness for revenge is only one phase of his passion.
Though it leads him, in a frenzy of despair, to smother his wife, it
is yet, even in his violent soul, subordinate to those feelings of
_wounded honor and outraged affection_ which constitute the essence of
true jealousy. When he supposes himself betrayed by his wife and his
friend he clutches, as Ulrici remarks (I., 404), with the blind
despair of a shipwrecked man to his sole remaining property--_honor_:

"His honor, as he thinks, demands the sacrifice of the
lives of Desdemona and Cassio. The idea of honor in
those days, especially in Italy, inevitably required
the death of the faithless wife as well as that of the
adulterer. Othello therefore regards it as his duty to
comply with this requirement, and, accordingly it is no
lie when he calls himself 'an honorable murderer,'
doing 'naught in hate, but all in honor,'.... Common
thirst for revenge would have thought only of
increasing the sufferings of its victim, of adding to
its own satisfaction. But how touching, on the other
hand, is Othello's appeal to Desdemona to pray and to
confess her sins to Heaven, that he may not kill her
soul with her body! Here, at the moment of the most
intense excitement, in the desperate mood of a
murderer, his love still breaks forth, and we again see

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