Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

Primitive Love and Love-Stories by Henry Theophilus Finck

Part 5 out of 19

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 2.2 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

barbarous law which enabled a man to divorce any wife at pleasure by
simply pronouncing the words "thou art expelled." In modern Egypt,
says Lane (I., 247-51), there are many men who have had twenty,
thirty, or more wives, and women who have had a dozen or more
husbands. Some take a new wife every month. Thus the Egyptians are
matrimonially on a level with the savage and barbarian North American
Indians, Tasmanians, Samoans, Dyaks, Malayans, Tartars, many negro
tribes, Arabs, etc.

ARABIAN LOVE

Arabia is commonly supposed to be the country in which chivalry
originated. This belief seems to rest on the fact that the Arabs
spared women in war. But the Australians did the same, and where women
are saved only to be used as slaves or concubines we cannot speak of
chivalry. The Arabs treated their own women well only when they were
able to capture or buy slaves to do the hard work for them; in other
cases their wives were their slaves. To this day, when the family
moves, the husband rides on the camel while the wife trudges along on
foot, loaded down with kitchen utensils, bedding, and her child on
top. If a woman happens to ride on a camel she must get off and walk
if she meets a man, by way of showing her respect for the superior
sex. (Niebuhr, 50.) The birth of a daughter is regarded as a calamity,
mitigated only by the fact that she will bring in some money as a
bride. Marriage is often little more than a farce. Burckhardt knew
Bedouins who, before they were fifty years old, had been married to
more than fifty different women. Chavanne, in his book on the Sahara
(397-401), gives a pathetic picture of the fate of the Arab girls:

"Usually wedded very young (the marriage of a youth of
fourteen to a girl of eleven is nothing unusual), the
girl finds in most cases, after five or six years, that
her conjugal career is at an end. The husband tires of
her and sends her back, without cogent reasons, to her
parents. If there are no parents to return to, she
abandons herself, in many cases, to the vice of
prostitution."

If not discarded, her fate is none the less deplorable. "While young
she receives much attention, but when her charms begin to fade she
becomes the servant of her husband and of his new wife."

Chavanne gives a glowing description of the ravishing but short-lived
beauty of the Arab girl; also a specimen of the amorous songs
addressed to her while she is young and pretty. She is compared to a
gazelle; to a palm whose fruits grow high up out of reach; she is
equal in value to all Tunis and Algiers, to all the ships on the
ocean, to five hundred steeds and as many camels. Her throat is like a
peach, her eyes wound like arrows. Exaggerations like these abound in
the literature of the Arabs, and are often referred to as proof that
they love as we do. In truth, they indicate nothing beyond selfish,
amorous desires. The proof of unselfish affection lies not in words,
however glowing and flattering, but in kind _actions_; and the actions
of the Arabs toward their women are disgustingly selfish, except
during the few years that they are young and pretty enough to serve as
toys. The Arabs, with all their fine talk, are practically on a level
with the Samoyedes who, as we saw, ignore or maltreat their wives,
"except on an occasional amorous evening"; on a level with the Sioux
Indian, of whom Mrs. Eastman remarks that a girl is to him an object
of contempt and neglect from her birth to her grave, except during the
brief period when he wants her for his wife and may have a doubt of
his success.

THE UNCHIVALROUS GREEKS

A few pages back I cited the testimony of Morgan, who lived many years
among the Indians and studied them with the intelligence of an expert
ethnologist, that "no attempts by the unmarried to please or gratify
each other by acts of personal attention were ever made." From this we
can, once more, make a natural transition from the aboriginal American
to the ancient Greek. The Greek men, says the erudite Becker (III.,
335), "were quite strangers to that considerate, self-sacrificing
courtesy and those minute attentions to women which we commonly call
gallantry," Greek literature and all that we know of Greek life, bear
out this assertion fully. It is true the Alexandrian poets and their
Roman imitators frequently use the language of sentimental gallantry;
they declare themselves the slaves of their mistresses, are eager to
wear chains, to go through fire, to die for them, promising to take
their love to the next world. But all these things are mere "words,
words, words"--adulation the insincerity of which is exposed as soon
as we examine the actions and the motives of these poets, of whom more
will be said in a later chapter. Their flatteries are addressed
invariably to hetairai; they are conceived and written with the
selfish desire to tickle the vanity of these wantons in the hope and
expectation of receiving favors for which the poets, who were usually
poor, were not able to pay in any other way. Thus these poets are
below the Arabs, for these sons of the desert at least address their
flatteries to the girls whom they are eager to marry, whereas the
Greek and Roman poets sought merely to beguile a class of women whose
charms were for sale to anyone. One of these profligate men might
cringe and wail and cajole, to gain the good will of a capricious
courtesan, but he never dreamed of bending his knees to win the honest
love of the maid he took to be his wife (that he might have male
offspring.) Roman love was not romantic, nor was Greek. It was frankly
sensual, and the gallantry of the men was of a kind that made them
erect golden images in public places to honor Phryne and other
prostitutes. In a word, their gallantry was sham gallantry; it was
gallantry not in the sense of polite attentions to women, springing
from unselfish courtesy and esteem, but in the sinister sense of
profligacy and amorous intrigue. There were plenty of gallants, but no
real gallantry.

OVID'S SHAM GALLANTRY

While it is undoubtedly true that Ovid exercised a greater influence
on mediaeval bards, and through them on modern erotic writers, than
any other ancient poet, and while I still maintain that he anticipated
and depicted some of the imaginative phases of modern love (see my
_R.L.P.B_., 90-92), a more careful study of the nature of gallantry
has
convinced me that I erred in finding the "morning dawn of romantic
love" in the counsels regarding gallant behavior toward women given in
the pages of Ovid.[33] He does, indeed, advise a lover never to notice
the faults of a woman whose favor he wishes to win, but to compliment
her, on the contrary, on her face, her hair, her tapering fingers, her
pretty foot; to applaud at the circus whatever she applauds; to adjust
her cushion and put the footstool in its place; to keep her cool by
fanning her; and at dinner, when she has put her lips to the wine-cup
to seize the cup and put his lips to the same place. But when Ovid
wrote this, nothing was farther from his mind than what we understand
by gallantry--an eagerness to perform acts of disinterested courtesy
and deference for the purpose of pleasing a respected or adored woman.
His precepts are, on the contrary, grossly utilitarian, being intended
not for a man who wishes to win the heart and hand of an honest girl,
but for a libertine who has no money to buy the favors of a wanton,
and therefore must rely on flatteries and obsequious fawning.

The poet declares expressly that a rich man will not need his _Ars
Amandi_, but that it is written for the poor, who may be able to
overcome the greed of the hetairai by tickling their vanity. He
therefore teaches his readers how to deceive such a girl with false
flattery and sham gallantry. The Roman poet uses the word _domina_,
but this _domina_, nevertheless, is his mistress, not in the sense of
one who dominates his heart and commands his respect and affection,
but of a despised being lower than a concubine, on whom he smiles only
till he has beguiled her. It is the story of the cat and the mouse.

MEDIAEVAL AND MODERN GALLANTRY

How different this from the modern chivalry which in face of womanhood
makes a gentleman even out of a rough California miner. Joaquin Miller
relates how the presence of even an Indian girl--"a bud that in
another summer would unfold itself wide to the sun," affected the men
in one of the camps. Though she seldom spoke with the miners, yet the
men who lived near her hut dressed more neatly than others, kept their
beards in shape, and shirt-bosoms buttoned up when she passed by:

"On her face, through the tint of brown, lay the blush
and flush of maidenhood, the indescribable sacred
something that makes a maiden holy to every man of a
manly and chivalrous nature; that makes a man utterly
unselfish and perfectly content to love and be silent,
to worship at a distance, as turning to the holy
shrines of Mecca, to be still and bide his time; caring
not to possess in the low, coarse way that
characterizes your common love of to-day, but choosing
rather to go to battle for her--bearing her in his
heart through many lands, through storms and death,
with only a word of hope, a smile, a wave of the hand
from a wall, a kiss, blown far, as he mounts his steed
below and plunges into the night. That is love to live
for. I say the knights of Spain, bloody as they were,
were a noble and a splendid type of men in their
day."[34]

While the knights of Spain and other parts of mediaeval Europe
doubtless professed sentiments of chivalry like those uttered by
Joaquin Miller, there was as a rule nearly as much sham in their
pretensions as in Ovid's rules for gallant conduct. In the days of
militant chivalry, in the midst of deeds of extravagant homage to
individual ladies, women in general were as much despised and
maltreated as at any other time. "The chivalrous spirit is above all
things a class spirit," as Freeman wrote (V., 482):

"The good knight is bound to endless fantastic courtesies
toward men, and still more toward women, of a certain rank;
he may treat all below that rank with any degree of scorn
and cruelty."

This is still very far removed from the modern ideal; the knight may
be considered to stand half-way between the boor and the gentleman: he
is polite, at least, to some women, while the gentleman is polite to
all, kind, gentle, sympathetic, without being any the less manly.
Nevertheless there was an advantage in having some conception of
gallantry, a determination and vow to protect widows and orphans, to
respect and honor ladies. Though it was at first only a fashion, with
all the extravagances and follies usual to fashions, it did much good
by creating an ideal for later generations to live up to. From this
point of view even the quixotic pranks of the knights who fought duels
in support of their challenge that no other lady equalled theirs in
beauty, were not without a use. They helped to enforce the fashion of
paying deference to women, and made it a point of honor, thus forcing
many a boor to assume at least the outward semblance and conduct of a
gentleman. The seed sown in this rough and stony soil has slowly
grown, until it has developed into true civilization--a word of which
the last and highest import is civility or disinterested devotion to
the weak and unprotected, especially to women.

In our days chivalry includes compassion for animals too. I have never
read of a more gallant soldier than that colonel who, as related in
_Our Animal Friends_ (May, 1899), while riding in a Western desert at
the head of five hundred horsemen, suddenly made a slight
detour--which all the men had to follow--because in the direct path a
meadow lark was sitting on her nest, her soft brown eyes turned
upward, watching, wondering, fearing. It was a nobler deed than many
of the most gallant actions in battle, for these are often done from
selfish motives--ambition, the hope of promotion--while this deed was
the outcome of pure unselfish sympathy.

"Five hundred horses had been turned aside, and five hundred
men, as they bent over the defenceless mother and her brood,
received a lesson in that broad humanity which is the
essence of higher life."

To this day there are plenty of ruffians--many of them in fine
clothes--who are strangers to chivalrous feelings toward defenceless
women or animals--men who behave as gentlemen only under compulsion of
public opinion. The encouraging thing is that public opinion has taken
so strong a stand in favor of women; that it has written _Place aux
Dames_ on its shield in such large letters. While the red American
squaw shared with the dogs the bones left by her contemptuous
ungallant husband, the white American woman is served first at table
and gets the choicest morsels; she receives the window-seat in the
cars, the lower berth in the sleeper; she has precedence in society
and wherever she is in her proper place; and when a ship is about to
sink, the captain, if necessary (which is seldom the case), stands
with drawn revolver prepared to shoot any man who would ungallantly
get into a boat before all the women are saved.

"AN INSULT TO WOMAN"

This change from the primitive selfishness described in the preceding
pages, this voluntary yielding by man of the place of honor and of the
right of the strongest, is little less than a miracle; it is the
grandest triumph of civilization. Yet there are viragoes who have had
the indecency to call gallantry an "insult to woman." There is indeed
a kind of gallantry--the Ovidian--which is an insult to women; but
true masculine gallantry is woman's chief glory and conquest,
indicating the transformation of the savage's scorn for woman's
physical weakness into courteous deference to her as the nobler, more
virtuous and refined sex. There are some selfish, sour, disappointed
old maids, who, because of their lack of feminine traits, repel men
and receive less than their share of gallant courtesy. But that is
their own fault. Ninety-nine per cent. of all women have a happier lot
to-day than at any previous time in history, and this change is due to
the growth of the disinterested courtesy and sympathy known as
gallantry. At the same time the change is strikingly illustrated in
the status of old maids themselves. No one now despises an unselfish
woman simply because she prefers to remain single; but formerly old
maids were looked on nearly everywhere with a contempt that reached
its climax among the Southern Slavs, who, according to Krauss (Ploss,
II., 491), treated them no better than mangy dogs. No one associated
with them; they were not tolerated in the spinning-room or at the
dances; they were ridiculed and derided; were, in short, regarded as a
disgrace to the family.

SUMMARY

To sum up: among the lower races man habitually despises and maltreats
woman, looking on her as a being made, not for her own sake, but for
his comfort and pleasure. Gallantry is unknown. The Australian who
fights for his family shows courage, not gallantry, for he is simply
protecting his private property, and does not otherwise show the
slightest regard for his women. Nor does the early custom of serving
for a wife imply gallantry; for here the suitor serves the parents,
not the maid; he simply adopts a primitive way of paying for a bride.
Sparing women in battle for the purpose of making concubines or slaves
of them is not gallantry. One might as well call a farmer gallant
because, when he kills the young roosters for broilers, he saves the
young hens. He lets these live because he needs eggs. The motive in
both cases is utilitarian and selfish. Ovidian gallantry does not
deserve such a name, because it is nothing but false flattery for the
selfish purpose of beguiling foolish women. Arabic flatteries are of a
superior order because sincere at the time being and addressed to
girls whom the flatterer desires to marry. But this gallantry, too, is
only skin deep. Its motives are sensual and selfish, for as soon as
the girl's physical charm begins to fade she is contemptuously
discarded.

Our modern gallantry toward women differs radically from all those
attitudes in being unselfish. It is synonymous with true
chivalry--disinterested devotion to those who, while physically
weaker, are considered superior morally and esthetically. It treats
all women with polite deference, and does so not because of a vow or a
code, but because of the natural promptings of a kind, sympathetic
disposition. It treats a woman not as a toper does a whiskey bottle,
applying it to his lips as long as it can intoxicate him with pleasure
and then throwing it away, but cherishes her for supersensual
attributes that survive the ravages of time. To a lover, in
particular, such gallantry is not a duty, but a natural impulse. He
lies awake nights devising plans for pleasing the object of his
devotion. His gallantry is an impulse to sacrifice himself for the
beloved--an instinct so inbred by generations of practice that now
even a child may manifest it. I remember how, when I was six or seven
years old, I once ran out the school-house during recess to pick up
some Missouri hailstones, while others, large as marbles, were falling
about me, threatening to smash my skull. I gave the trophies to a
dark-eyed girl of my age--not with a view to any possible reward, but
simply because I loved her more than all the other girls combined and
wanted to please her.

A SURE TEST OF LOVE

Black relates in his _Things Chinese_, that after the wedding ceremony

"the bride tries hard ... to get a piece of her husband's
dress under her when she sits down, for if she does, it will
insure her having the upper hand of him, while he tries to
prevent her and to do the same thing himself."

Similar customs prevail in other parts of the world, as among the
Esthonians. (Schroeder, 234.) After the priest has united the couple
they walk toward the wagon or sleigh, and in doing so each of the two
tries to be first to step on the other's foot, because that will
decide who is to rule at home. Imagine such petty selfishness, such a
disgraceful lack of gallantry, on the very wedding-day! In our own
country, when we hear of a bride objecting to the word "obey" in the
wedding ceremony, we may feel absolutely sure that the marriage is not
a love-match, at least as far as she is concerned. A girl truly in
love with a man laughs at the word, because she feels as if she would
rather be his slave than any other man's queen; and as for the lover,
the bride's promise to "obey" him seems mere folly, for he is
determined she shall always remain the autocratic queen of his heart
and actions. Conjugal disappointments may modify that feeling, to be
sure, but that does not alter the fact that while romantic love
exists, one of its essential ingredients is an impulse of gallant
devotion and deference on both sides--an impulse which on occasion
rises to self-sacrifice, which is simply an extreme phase of
gallantry.

XI. ALTRUISTIC SELF-SACRIFICE

In the very olden time, if we may confide in the ingenious Frank
Stockton, there lived a semi-barbaric king who devised a highly
original way of administering justice, leaving the accused man's fate
practically in his own hands. There was an arena with the king's
throne on one side and galleries for the people all around. On a
signal by the king a door beneath him opened and the accused subject
stepped out into the amphitheatre. Directly opposite the throne were
two doors, exactly alike, and side by side. The person on trial had to
walk to those doors and open either of them. If he opened one, there
sprang out a fierce tiger who immediately tore him to pieces; if the
other, there came forth a beautiful lady, to whom he was forthwith
married. No one ever knew behind which of the doors was the tiger, so
that the audience no more than the prisoner knew whether he was to be
devoured or married.

This semi-barbaric king had a daughter who fell in love with a
handsome young courtier. When the king discovered this love-affair he
cast the youth into prison and had his realm searched for the fiercest
of tigers. The day came when the prisoner had to decide his own fate
in the arena by opening one of the doors. The princess, who was one of
the spectators, had succeeded, with the aid of gold, in discovering
the secret of the doors; she knew from which the tiger, from which the
lady, would issue. She knew, too, who the lady was behind the other
door--one of the loveliest of the damsels of the court--one who had
dared to raise her eyes to her loved one and had thereby aroused her
fiercest jealousy. She had thought the matter over, and was prepared
for action. The king gave the signal, and the courtier appeared. He
had expected the princess to know on which side lay safety for him,
nor was he wrong. To his quick and anxious glance at her, she replied
by a slight, quick movement of her arm to the right. The youth turned,
and without the slightest hesitation opened the door on the right.
Now, "which came out of the opened door--the lady or the tiger?"

THE LADY AND THE TIGER

With that question Stockton ends his story, and it is generally
supposed that he does not answer it. But he does, on the preceding
page, in these words:

"Think of it, fair reader, not as if the decision of the
question depended upon yourself, but upon that hot-blooded,
semi-barbaric princess, her soul at white heat beneath the
combined fires of despair and jealousy. She had lost him,
but who should have him?"

In these words the novelist hints plainly enough that the question was
decided by a sort of dog-in-the-manger jealousy. If the princess could
not have him, certainly her hated rival should never enjoy his love.
The tiger, we may be sure, was behind the door on the right.

In allowing the tiger to devour the courtier, the princess showed that
her love was of the primitive, barbarous type, being in reality
self-love, not other-love. She "loved" the man not for his own sake,
but only as a means of gratifying her desires. If he was lost to
_her_, the tiger might as well dine on him. How differently an
American girl would have acted, under the impulse of romantic love!
Not for a moment could she have tolerated the thought of his dying,
through her fault--the thought of his agony, his shrieks, his blood.
She would have _sacrificed her own happiness instead of her beloved's
life_. The lady would have come out of the door opened by him. Suppose
that, overcome by selfish jealousy, she acted otherwise; and suppose
that an amphitheatre full of cultured men and women witnessed her
deed: would there not be a cry of horror, condemning her as worse than
the tiger, as absolutely incapable of the feeling of true love? And
would not this cry of horror reveal on the part of the spectators an
instinctive perception of the truth which this chapter, this whole
book, is written to enforce, that voluntary self-sacrifice, where
called for, is the supreme, the infallible, test of love?

A GREEK LOVE-STORY

If we imagine the situation reversed--a man delivering his "beloved"
into the clutches of a tiger rather than to the legitimate caresses of
a rival--our horror at his loveless selfishness would be doubled. Yet
this is the policy habitually followed by savages and barbarians. In
later chapters instances will be given of such wooers killing coveted
girls with their own spears as soon as they find that the rival is the
winner. After what has been said about the absence of unselfish
gallantry among the lower races it would, of course, be useless to
look for instances of altruistic self-sacrifice for a woman's sake,
since such sacrifice implies so much more than gallantry. As for the
Greeks, in all my extensive reading I have come across only one author
who seemingly appreciates the significance of self-sacrifice for a
woman loved. Pausanias, in his _Description of Greece_ (Bk. VII.,
chap. 21), relates this love-story:

"When Calydon still existed there was among the
priests of Dionysus one named Coresus, whom love made,
without any fault of his own, the most wretched of
mortals. He loved a girl Callirrhoe, but as great as
his love for her was her hatred of him. When all his
pleadings and offerings of presents failed to change
the girl's attitude, he at last prostrated himself
before the image of Dionysus, imploring his help. The
god granted the prayers of his priest, for suddenly the
Calydonians began to lose their senses, like drunkards,
and to die in fits of madness. They appealed to the
oracle of Dodona ... which declared that the calamity
was due to the wrath of the god Dionysus, and that it
would not cease until Coresus had sacrificed to
Dionysus either Callirrhoe or anyone else willing to
die for her. Now when the girl saw no way of escaping,
she sought refuge with her former educators, but when
they too refused to receive her, nothing remained for
her but death. When all the preparations for the
sacrifice had been made in accordance with the precepts
of the oracle of Dodona, she was brought to the altar,
adorned like an animal that is to be sacrificed;
Coresus, however, whose duty it was to offer the
sacrifice, let love prevail in place of hate, and slew
himself instead of Callirrhoe, thus proving by his deed
that he had been animated by the purest love. But when
Callirrhoe saw Coresus as a corpse, overcome by pity
and repentance for her treatment of him, she went and
drowned herself in the fountain not far from the
Calydonian harbor, which since that time is known as
the fountain of Callirrhoe."

If a modern lover, desiring to possess a girl, got her into a
predicament which culminated in the necessity of his either slaying
her with his own hands or killing himself, and did not choose the
latter alternative, we should regard him as more contemptible than the
vilest assassin. To us self-sacrifice in such a case would seem not a
test of love, nor even of honor so much as of common decency, and we
should expect a man to submit to it even if his love of the poor girl
had been a mere infatuation of the senses. However, in view of the
contempt for women, and for love for women, prevalent among the Greeks
in general, we may perhaps discover at least a gleam of better things
in this legend of masculine self-sacrifice.

PERSIAN LOVE

A closer approximation to our ideal may be found in a story related by
the Persian poet Saadi (358):

"There was a handsome and well-disposed young man, who
was embarked in a vessel with a lovely damsel: I have
read that, sailing on the mighty deep, they fell
together into a whirlpool: When the pilot came to offer
him assistance; God forbid that he should perish in
that distress; he was answering, from the midst of that
overwhelming vortex, Leave me and take the hand of my
beloved! The whole world admired him for this speech,
which, as he was expiring, he was heard to make; learn
not the tale of love from that faithless wretch who can
neglect his mistress when exposed to danger. In this
manner ended the lives of those lovers; listen to what
has happened, that you may understand; for Saadi knows
the ways and forms of courtship, as well as the Tazi,
or modern Arabic, is understood at Baghdad."

How did this Persian poet get such a correct and modern notion about
love into his head? Obviously not from his experiences and
observations at home, for the Persians, as the scholarly Dr. Polak
observes in his classical work on them (I., 206), do not know love in
our sense of the word. The love of which their poets sing has either a
symbolical or an entirely carnal meaning. Girls are married off
without any choice of their own at the early age of twelve or
thirteen; they are regarded as capital and sold for cash, and children
are often engaged in the cradle. When a Persian travels, he leaves his
wife at home and enters into a temporary marriage with other women in
the towns he visits. In rural districts if the traveller is a person
of rank, the mercenary peasants eagerly offer their daughters for such
"marriages." (Hellwald, 439.) Like the Greek poets the Persians show
their contempt for women by always speaking of boy-favorites when
their language rises above the coarsest sensuality. Public opinion
regarding Persian stories and poems has been led astray by the changes
of sex and the expurgations made freely by translators. Burton, whose
version of the _Thousand and One Nights_ was suppressed in England,
wrote _(F.F._, 36), that "about one-fifth is utterly unfit for
translation, and the most sanguine Orientalist would not dare to
render literally more than three-quarters of the remainder."

Where, then, I repeat, did Saadi get that modern European idea of
altruistic self-sacrifice as a test of love? Evidently from Europe by
way of Arabia. His own language indicates this--his suspicious boast
of his knowledge of real love as of one who has just made a strange
discovery, and his coupling it with the knowledge of Arabic. Now it is
well known that ever since the ninth century the Persian mind had been
brought into a contact with the Arabic which became more and more
intimate. The Arabs had a habit of sacrificing their lives in
chivalrous efforts to save the life or honor of maidens whom the enemy
endeavored to kidnap. The Arabs, on their part, were in close contact
with the European minds, and as they helped to originate the
chivalrous spirit in Europe, so they must have been in turn influenced
by the developments of the troubadour spirit which culminated in such
maxims as Montagnogout's declaration that "a true lover desires a
thousand times more the happiness of his beloved than his own." As
Saadi lived in the time of the troubadours--the twelfth and thirteenth
centuries--it was easy for him to get a knowledge of the European
"ways and forms of courtship." In Persia itself there was no courtship
or legitimate lovemaking, for the "lover" hardly ever had met his
bride before the wedding-day. Nevertheless, if we may believe William
Franklin,[35] a Persian woman might command a suitor to spend all day
in front of her house reciting verses in praise of her beauty; and
H.C. Trumbull naively cites, as evidence that Orientals love just as
we do, the following story:

"Morier tells ... of a large painting in a
pleasure-house in Shiraz, illustrative of the treatment
of a loyal lover by a heartless coquette, which is one
of the popular legends of Persia. Sheik Chenan, a
Persian of the true faith, and a man of learning and
consequence, fell in love with an Armenian lady of
great beauty who would not marry him unless he changed
his religion. To this he agreed. Still she would not
marry him unless he would drink wine. This scruple also
he yielded. She resisted still, unless he consented to
eat pork. With this also he complied. Still she was
coy, and refused to fulfil her engagement, unless he
would be contented to drive swine before her. Even this
condition he accepted. She then told him that she would
not have him at all, and laughed at him for his pains.
The picture represents the coquette at her window,
laughing at Sheik Chenan as he is driving his pigs
before her."

This story suggests and may have been invented in imitation of the
foolish and capricious tests to which mediaeval dames in Europe put
their quixotic knights. Few of these knights, as I have said elsewhere
_(R.L.P.B._, 100), "were so manly as the one in Schiller's ballad,
who, after fetching his lady's glove from the lion's den, threw it in
her face," to show how his feelings toward her had changed. If the
Persian in Trumbull's story had been manly and refined enough to be
capable of genuine love, his feelings toward a woman who could
wantonly subject him to such persistent insults and degradation, would
have turned into contempt. Ordinary sensual infatuation, on the other
hand, would be quite strong enough and unprincipled enough to lead a
man to sacrifice religion, honor, and self-respect, for a capricious
woman. This kind of self-sacrifice is not a test of true love, for it
is not altruistic. The sheik did not make his sacrifice to benefit the
woman he coveted, but to benefit himself, as he saw no other way of
gratifying his own selfish desires.[36]

HERO AND LEANDER

Very great importance attaches to this distinction between selfish and
altruistic self-sacrifice. The failure to make this distinction is
perhaps more than anything else responsible for the current belief
that romantic love was known to the ancients. Did not Leander risk and
sacrifice his life _for Hero_, swimming to her at night across the
stormy Hellespont? Gentle reader, he did not. He risked his life for
the purpose of continuing his illicit amours with a priestess of Venus
in a lonely tower. As we shall see in the chapter devoted to Greek
romances, there is in the story told by Musaeus not a single trait
rising above frank sensuality. In his eagerness to gratify his
appetite, Leander risked Hero's life as well as his own. His swimming
across the strait was, moreover, no more than any animal would do to
meet its mate on the other side of a river. It was a romantic thing to
do, but it was no proof of romantic love. Bearing in mind what
Westermarck says (134)--

"With wild animals sexual desire is not less powerful as an
incentive to strenuous exertion than hunger and thirst. In
the rut-time, the males, even of the most cowardly species,
engage in mortal combats"

--we see that Hero's risking of death for the sake
of his intrigue was not even a mark of exceptional courage; and
regarding the quality and nature of his "love" it tells us nothing
whatever.

THE ELEPHANT AND THE LOTOS

In the Hindoo drama _Malavika and Agnimitra_, Kalidasa represents the
king as seeking an interview with a new flame of his. When his
companion warns him that the queen might surprise them, the king
answers:

When the elephant sees the lotos leaves
He fears no crocodile.

Lotos leaves being the elephant's favorite food, these lines admirably
sum up the Hindoo idea of risking life for "love"--cupboard love. But
would the elephant risk his life to save the beautiful lotos flowers
from destruction? Foolish question! Was not the lotos created to
gratify the elephant's appetite just as beautiful women were created
to subserve man's desires?

Fighting crocodiles for the sake of the sweet lotos is a
characteristic of primitive "love" in all its various strata. "Nothing
is more certain," writes M'Lean (135), "than that the enamoured
Esquimau will risk life and limb in the pursuit of his object." Women,
he says, are the main cause of all quarrels among the Esquimaux; and
the same is true of the lower races in general. If an Australian wants
to run away with another man's wife, the thought of risking his
life--and hers too--does not restrain him one moment. Ascending to the
Greeks, we may cite Robert Burton's summing up of one of their
legends:

"Thirteen proper young men lost their lives for that
fair Hipodamia's sake, the daughter of Onomaus, King of
Elis: when that hard condition was proposed of death or
victory [in a race], they made no account of it, but
courageously for love died, till Pelops at last won her
by a sleight."

What is this but another version of the story of the lotos and the
elephant? The prize was great, and worth the risk. Men risk their
lives daily for gold, and for objects infinitely less attractive to
the senses and the selfish ambitions than a beautiful princess. In the
following, which Burton quotes from Hoedus, the sensual and selfish
basis of all such confronting of death for "love's" sake is laid bare
to the bone:

"What shall I say of the great dangers they undergo,
single combats they undertake, how they will venture
their lives, creep in at windows, gutters, climb over
walls to come to their sweethearts, and if they be
surprised, leap out at windows, cast themselves
headlong down, bruising or breaking their legs or arms,
and sometimes losing life itself, as Calisto did for
his lovely Meliboea?"

I have known rich young Americans and Europeans risk their lives over
and over again in such "gallant" adventures, but if I had asked them
if they loved these women, _i.e._, felt such a disinterested affection
for them (like a mother's for her child) that they would have risked
their lives to _benefit them_ when there was _nothing to gain for
themselves_--they would have laughed in my face. Whence we see how
foolish it is to infer from such instances of "gallantry" and
"self-sacrifice" that the ancients knew romantic love in our sense of
the word. It is useless to point to passages like this (again from
Burton):

"Polienus, when his mistress Circe did but frown upon
him, in Petronius, drew his sword, and bade her kill,
stab, or whip him to death, he would strip himself
naked and not resist."

Such fine talk occurs in Tibullus and other poets of the time; but
where are the _actions_ corresponding to it? Where do we read of these
Romans and Greeks ever braving the crocodile for the sake of
preserving the purity of the lotos herself? Or of sparing a lotos
belonging to another, but at their mercy? Perseus himself, much
vaunted for his chivalry, did not undertake to save the rock-chained
Andromeda from the sea monster until he had extorted a promise that
she should be his prize. Fine sort of chivalry, that!

SUICIDE IS SELFISH

One more species of pseudo-self-sacrifice remains to be considered.
When Hero finds Leander's dead body on the rocks she commits suicide.
Is not this self-sacrifice for love's sake? It is always so
considered, and Eckstein, in his eagerness to prove that the ancient
Greeks knew romantic love,[37] gives a list of six legendary suicides
from hopeless or foiled love. The question of suicide is an
interesting one and will be considered in detail in the chapter on the
American Indians, who, like other savages, were addicted to it, in
many cases for the most trivial reasons. In this place I will content
myself with noting that if Eckstein had taken the pains to peruse the
four volumes of Ramdohr's _Venus Urania_ (a formidable task, I admit),
he would have found an author who more than a hundred years ago knew
that suicide is no test of true love. There are indeed, he says (III.,
46), plenty of old stories of self-sacrifice, but they are all of the
kind where a man risks comfort and life to secure possession of a
coveted body for his own enjoyment, or else where he takes his own
life because he feels lonely after having failed to secure the desired
union. These actions are no index of love, for they "may coexist with
the cruelest treatment" of the coveted woman. Very ambitious persons
or misers may commit suicide after losing honor or wealth, and

"a coarse negro, in face of the danger of losing his
sweetheart, is capable of casting himself into the ocean
with her, or of plunging his dagger into her breast and then
into his own."

All this is selfish. The only true index of love, Ramdohr continues,
lies in the sacrifice of one's own happiness _for another's sake_; in
resigning one's self to separation from the beloved, or even to death,
if that is necessary to secure her happiness or welfare. Of such
self-sacrifice he declares he cannot find a single instance in the
records and stories of the ancients; nor can I.

The suicide of Dido after her desertion by Aeneas is often cited as
proof of love, but Ramdohr insists (338) that, apart from the fact
that "a woman really in love would not have pursued Aeneas with
curses," such an act as hers was the outcome of purely selfish
despair, on a par with the suicide of a miser after the loss of his
money. It is needless to add to this that Hero's suicide was likewise
selfish; for of what possible benefit was it to the dead Leander that
she took her own life in a cowardly fit of despondency at having lost
her chief source of delight? Had she lost her life in an effort to
save his, the case would have been different.

Instances of women sacrificing themselves for men's sake abound in
ancient literature, though I am not so sure that they abounded in
life, except under compulsion, as in the Hindoo suttee.[38] As we
shall see in the chapter on India, tales of feminine self-sacrifice
were among the means craftily employed by men to fortify and gratify
their selfishness. Still, in the long run, just as man's fierce
"jealousy" helped to make women chaster than men, so the inculcation
in women of self-sacrifice as a duty, gradually made them naturally
inclined to that virtue--an inclination which was strengthened by
inveterate, deep-rooted, maternal love. Thus it happened that
self-sacrifice assumed rank in course of time as a specifically
feminine virtue; so much so that the German metaphysician Fichte could
declare that "the woman's life should disappear in the man's without a
remnant," and that this process is love. No doubt it is love, but love
demands at the same time that the man's life should disappear in the
woman's.

It is interesting to note the sexual aspects of gallantry and
self-sacrifice. Women are prevented by custom, etiquette, and inbred
coyness from showing gallant attentions to men before marriage,
whereas the impulse to sacrifice happiness or life for love's sake is
at least as strong in them as in men, and of longer standing. If a
girl of affectionate impulses on hearing that the man she
loved--though he might not have proposed to her--lay wounded, or ill
of yellow fever, in a hospital, threw away all reserve, coyness, and
fear of violating decorum, and went to nurse him day and night, at
imminent risk of her own life, all the world would applaud her,
convinced that she had done a more feminine thing than if she had
allowed coyness to suppress her sympathetic and self-sacrificing
impulses.

XII. AFFECTION

A German poem printed in the _Wunderhorn_ relates how a young man,
after a long absence from home, returns and eagerly hastens to see his
former sweetheart. He finds her standing in the doorway and informs
her that her beauty pleases his heart as much as ever:

Gott gruess dich, du Huebsche, du Feine,
Von Herzen gefallst du mir.

To which she retorts: "What need is there of my pleasing you? I got a
husband long ago--a handsome man, well able to take care of me."
Whereupon the disappointed lover draws his knife and stabs her through
the heart.

In his _History of German Song_ (chap, v.), Edward Schure comments on
this poem in the following amazing fashion:

"How necessary yet how tragic is this answer with the
knife to the heartless challenge of the former
sweetheart! How fatal and terrible is this sudden
change of a passionate soul from ardent love to the
wildest hatred! We see him taking one step back, we see
how he trembles, how the flush of rage suffuses his
face, and how his love, offended, injured, and dragged
in the dust, slakes its thirst with the blood of the
faithless woman."

EROTIC ASSASSINS

It seems almost incredible that such a villanous sentiment should have
been allowed to appear in a book without sending its author to prison.
"Necessary" to _murder_ a sweetheart because she has changed her mind
during a man's long absence! The wildest anarchist plot never included
a more diabolical idea. Brainless, selfish, impulsive young idiots are
only too apt to act on that principle if their proposals are not
accepted; the papers contain cases nearly every week of poor girls
murdered for refusing an unwelcome suitor; but the world is beginning
to understand that it is illogical and monstrous to apply the sacred
word of love to the feeling which animates these cowardly assassins,
whose only motives are selfish lust and a dog-in-the-manger jealousy.
_Love_ never "slakes its thirst" with the blood of a woman. Had that
man really loved that woman, he would have been no more capable of
murdering her than of murdering his father for disinheriting him.

Schure is by no means the only author who has thus confounded love
with murderous, jealous lust. A most astounding instance occurs in
Goethe's _Werther_--the story of a common servant who conceived a
passion for a well-to-do widow.

He lost his appetite, his sleep, forgot his errands; an evil spirit
pursued him. One day, finding her alone in the garret, he made an
improper proposal to her, and on her refusing he attempted violence,
from which she was saved only through the timely arrival of her
brother. In defending his conduct the servant, in a most ungallant,
unmanly, and cowardly way, tried to fasten the guilt on the widow by
saying that she had previously allowed him to take some liberties with
her. He was of course promptly ejected from the house, and when
subsequently another man was engaged to take his place, and began to
pay his addresses to the widow, the discharged servant fell upon him
and assassinated him. And this disgusting exhibition of murderous lust
and jealousy leads Goethe to exclaim, rapturously:

"This love, this fidelity(!), this passion, is thus
seen to be no invention of the poets(!). It lives, it
is to be found in its greatest purity(!) among that
class of people whom we call uneducated and coarse."

In view of the sensual and selfish attitude which Goethe held toward
women all his life, it is perhaps not strange that he should have
written the silly words just quoted. It was probably a guilty
conscience, a desire to extenuate selfish indulgence at the expense of
a poor girl's virtue and happiness, that led him to represent his
hero, Werther, as using every possible effort in court to secure the
pardon of that erotomaniac who had first attempted rape and then
finished up by assassinating his rival.

If Werther's friend had murdered the widow herself, Goethe would have
been logically bound to see in his act still stronger evidence of the
"reality," "fidelity," and "purity" of love among "people whom we call
uneducated and coarse." And if Goethe had lived to read the Rev. W.W.
Gill's _Savage Life in Polynesia_, he might have found therein (118) a
story of cannibal "love" still more calculated to arouse his rapturous
enthusiasm--

"An ill-looking but brave warrior of the cannibal tribe
of Ruanae, named Vete, fell violently in love with a
pretty girl named Tanuau, who repelled his advances and
foolishly reviled him for his ugliness. His only
thought now was how to be revenged for this
unpardonable insult. He could not kill her, as she
wisely kept to the encampment of Mantara. After some
months Tanuau sickened and died. The corpse was
conveyed across the island to be let down the chasm of
Raupa, the usual burial-place of her tribe."

Vete chose this as the time for revenge. Arrangements were made to
intercept the corpse secretly, and he had it carried away. It was too
decomposed to be eaten, so they cut it in pieces and burned
it--burning anything belonging to a person being the greatest injury
one can inflict on a native.

THE WISDOM OF SOLOMON

But what have all these disgusting stories to do with affection, the
subject of this chapter? Nothing whatever--and that is why I have put
them here--to show in a glaring light that what Goethe and Schure, and
doubtless thousands of their readers accepted as love is not love,
since there is no affection in it. A true patriot, a man who feels an
affection for his country, lays down his life for it without a thought
of personal advantage; and if his country treats him ungratefully he
does not turn traitor and assassin--like the German and Polynesian
"lovers" we have just read about. A real lover is indeed overjoyed to
have his affection returned; but if it is not reciprocated he is none
the less affectionate, none the less ready to lay down his life for
the other, and, above all, he is utterly incapable of taking hers.
What creates this difference between lust and love is affection, and,
so far at least as maternal love is concerned, the nature of affection
was known thousands of years ago. When two mothers came before King
Solomon, each claiming the same child as her own, the king sent for a
sword and said, "Divide the living child in two, and give half to the
one and half to the other." To this the false claimant agreed, but the
real mother exclaimed, "O my lord, give her the living child and in no
wise slay it." Then the king knew that she was the child's mother and
gave him to her. "And all Israel saw that the wisdom of God was in
Solomon, to do judgment."

If we ask why this infallible test of love was not applied to the
sexual passion, the answer is that it would have failed, because
ancient love between the sexes was, as all the testimony collected in
this book shows, too sensual and selfish to stand such a test. Yet it
is obvious that if we to-day are to apply the word love to the sexual
relations, we must use the same test of disinterested affection that
we use in the case of maternal love or love of country; and that love
is not love before affection is added to all the other ingredients
heretofore considered. In that servant's "love" which so excited the
wonder of Goethe, only three of the fourteen ingredients of love were
present--individual preference, monopoly, and jealousy--and those
three, as we have seen, occur also in plain lust. Of the tender,
altruistic, loving traits of love--sympathy, adoration, gallantry,
self-sacrifice, affection--there is not a trace.

STUFF AND NONSENSE

When a great poet can blunder so flagrantly in his diagnosis of love,
we cannot wonder that minor writers should often be erratic. For
instance, in _The Snake Dance of the Moquis of Arizona_ (45-46),
Captain J.D. Bourke exclaims:

"So much stuff and nonsense has been written about the
entire absence of affection from the Indian character,
especially in the relations between the sexes, that it
affords me great pleasure to note this little incident"

--namely, a scene between an Indian and a young squaw:

"They had evidently only lately had a quarrel, for
which each was heartily sorry. He approached, and was
received with a disdain tempered with so much sweetness
and affection that he wilted at once, and, instead of
boldly asserting himself, dared do nothing but timidly
touch her hand. The touch, I imagine, was not
disagreeable, because the girl's hand was soon firmly
held in his, and he, with earnest warmth, was pouring
into her ear words whose purport it was not difficult
to conjecture."

That the simplest kind of a sensual caress--squeezing a young woman's
hand and whispering in her ear--should be accepted as evidence of
_affection_ is naive, to say the least, and need not be commented on
after what has just been said about the true nature of affection and
its altruistic test. Unfortunately many travellers who came in contact
with the lower races shared Bourke's crude conception of the nature of
affection, and this has done much to mislead even expert
anthropologists; Westermarck, for instance, who is induced by such
testimony to remark (358) that conjugal affection has among certain
uncivilized peoples "reached a remarkably high degree of development."
Among those whom he relies on as witnesses is Schweinfurth, who says
of the man-eating African Niam-Niam that "they display an affection
for their wives which is unparalleled among natives of so low a grade.
... A husband will spare no sacrifice to redeem an imprisoned wife"
(I., 472).

SACRIFICES OF CANNIBAL HUSBANDS

This looks like strong evidence, but when we examine the facts the
illusion vanishes. The Nubians, it appears, are given to stealing the
wives of these Niam-Niam, to induce them to ransom them with ivory. A
case occurred within Dr. Schweinfurth's own experience (II., 180-187).
Two married women were stolen, and during the night

"it was touching, through the moaning of the wind, to catch
the lamentations of the Niam-Niam men bewailing the loss of
their captured wives; cannibals though they were, they were
evidently capable of true conjugal affection. The Nubians
remained quite unaffected by any of their cries, and never
for a moment swerved from their purpose of recovering the
ivory before they surrendered the women."

Here we see what the expression that the Niam-Niam "spare no sacrifice
to redeem their imprisoned women" amounts to: the Nubians counted on
it that they would rather part with their ivory than with their wives!
This, surely, involved no "sacrifice"; it was simply a question of
which the husbands preferred, the useless ivory or the useful
women--desirable as drudges and concubines. Why should buying back a
wife be evidence of affection any more than the buying of a bride,
which is a general custom of Africans? As for their howling over their
lost wives, that was natural enough; they would have howled over lost
cows too--as our children cry if their milk is taken away when they
are hungry. Actions which can be interpreted in such sensual and
selfish terms can never be accepted as proof of true affection. That
the captured wives, on their part, were not troubled by conjugal
affection is evident from Schweinfurth's remark that they "were
perfectly composed and apparently quite indifferent."

INCLINATIONS MISTAKEN FOR AFFECTION

Let us take one more case. There are plenty of men who would like to
kiss every pretty girl they see, and no one would be so foolish as to
regard a kiss as proof of _affection_. Yet Lyon (another of the
witnesses on whom Westermarck relies) accepts, with a naivete
equalling Captain Bourke's, the rubbing together of noses, which among
the Eskimos is an equivalent of our kissing, as a mark of "affection."
In the case of unscientific travellers, such a loose use of words may
perhaps be pardonable, but a specialist who writes a history of
marriage should not put the label of "affection" on everything that
comes into his drag-net, as Westermarck does (pp. 358-59); a
proceeding the less excusable because he himself admits, a few pages
later (362), that affection is chiefly provoked by "intellectual,
emotional, and moral qualities" which certainly could not be found
among some of the races he refers to. I have investigated a number of
the alleged cases of conjugal "affection" in books of travel, and
found invariably that some manifestation of sensual attachment was
recklessly accepted as an indication of "affection."

In part, it is true, the English language is to be blamed for this
state of affairs. The word affection has been used to mean almost any
disposition of the mind, including passion, lust, animosity, and a
morbid state. But in good modern usage it means or implies an
altruistic feeling of devotion which urges us to seek the welfare of
another even at the expense of our own. We call a mother affectionate
because she willingly and eagerly sacrifices herself for her child,
toils for it, loses sleep and food and health for its sake. If she
merely cared for it [note the subtle double sense of "caring for"]
because it is pretty and amusing, we might concede that she "liked"
it, was "attached" to it, or "fond" of it; but it would be incorrect
to speak of affection. Liking, attachment, and fondness differ from
affection not only in degree but in kind; they are selfish, while
affection is unselfish; they occur among savages, while affection is
peculiar to civilized persons and perhaps some animals.

SELFISH LIKING AND ATTACHMENT

Liking is the weakest kind of inclination toward another. It "never
has the intensity of love." To say that I like a man is to indicate
merely that he pleases me, gives me selfish pleasure--in some way or
other. A man may say of a girl who pleases him by her looks, wit,
vivacity, or sympathy, "I like her," though he may have known her only
a few minutes; while a girl who will rather die than give any sign of
affection, may be quite willing to confess that she likes him, knowing
that the latter means infinitely less and does not betray her; that
is, it merely indicates that he pleases her and not that she is
particularly anxious to please him, as she would be if she loved him.
Girls "like" candy, too, because it gives them pleasure, and cannibals
may like missionaries without having the least affection for them.

Attachment is stranger than liking, but it also springs from selfish
interests and habits. It is apt to be similar to that gratitude which
is "a lively sense of favors to come." Mrs. Bishop (Isabella Bird)
eloquently describes (II, 135-136) the attachment to her of a Persian
horse, and incidentally suggests the philosophy of the matter in one
sentence: "To him I am an embodiment of melons, cucumbers, grapes,
pears, peaches, biscuits, and sugar, with a good deal of petting and
ear-rubbing thrown in." Cases of attachment between husband and wife
no doubt abound among savages, even when the man is usually
contemptuous and rude in his treatment of the wife. The Niam-Niam
husbands of Schweinfurth did not, as we saw, give any evidence of
unselfish affection, but they were doubtless attached to their wives,
for obvious reasons. As for the women among the lower races, they are
apt, like dogs, to cling to their master, no matter how much he may
kick them about. They get from him food and shelter, and blind habit
does the rest to attach them to his hearth. What habit and association
can do is shown in the ease with which "happy families" of hostile
animals can be reared. But the beasts of prey must be well fed; a day
or two of fasting would result in the lamb lying down inside the lion.
The essential selfishness of attachment is shown also in the way a man
becomes attached to his pipe or his home, etc. At the same time,
personal attachment may prove the entering wedge of something higher.
"The passing attachments of young people are seldom entitled to
serious notice; although sometimes they may ripen by long intercourse
into a laudable and steady affection" (Crabb).

FOOLISH FONDNESS

The word fondness is sometimes used in the sense of a tender, loving
disposition; yet there is nearly always an implication of silly
extravagance or unseemly demonstrativeness, and in the most accurate
usage it means a foolish, doting indulgence, without discriminating
intelligence, or even common-sense. As Crabb puts it in his _English
Synonyms_, "A fond parent does not rise above a fool." Everybody knows
fathers and mothers whose fondness induces them to indulge all the
appetites, desires, and whims of their children, thereby ruining their
health and temper, making them greedy and selfish, and laying the
foundation for a wretched life for the children themselves and all who
are unfortunate enough to come into contact with them. This irrational
fondness is what travellers and anthropologists have so often mistaken
for genuine affection in the cases of savages and barbarians who were
found to be fondling their babes, doting upon them, playing with them,
and refusing to punish them for any naughtiness. But it is far from
being affection, because it is not only foolish, but _selfish_. To
some of my readers this may seem a strange accusation, but it is a
fact recognized in the best literary usage, for, as Crabb remarks, "a
person is fond, who caresses an object or makes it a source of
pleasure _to himself_." Savages fondle their children because in doing
so they please and amuse themselves. Their pranks entertain the
fathers, and as for the mothers, nature (natural selection) has
implanted in them an unconscious instinct of race preservation which,
recognizing the selfishness of primitive man, has brought it about
that it gives the mother a special pleasure to suckle and fondle her
infant. The essential selfishness of this fondness is revealed when
there is a conflict between the mother's comfort and the child's
welfare. The horrible prevalence among many of the lower races, of
infanticide--merely to save trouble--of which many examples are given
in various parts of this book (see index)--shows not only how selfish,
but how shallow, fondness is. There are thousands of mothers in our
modern cities who have not risen above this condition. An Italian,
Ferriani, has written a book on degenerate mothers (_Madri
Snaturate_), and I have in my note-books a statement of the London
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children referring to a
record of 2,141 cases of proved cruelty in the one month of August,
1898; which would make at least 25,000 cases a year, in one city
alone, or possibly double that number, for many cases are never found
out, or else consist of mental torture which is worse than bodily
maltreatment. Yet there can be no doubt that all, or nearly all, of
these mothers were fond of their babies--_i.e._, fondled them at
first, till the animal instinct implanted in them was overcome by the
desire for personal comfort. This animal instinct, given to them by
nature, is no virtue, for it is unconscious. A tigress has it, but we
do not call it a virtue in her any more than we call her cruelty to
her prey a vice; she is acting unconsciously in either case, knowing
no distinction between good and evil. Fondness, in a word, is not an
ethical virtue. In addition to all its enumerated shortcomings, it is,
moreover, transient. A dog mother will care for her young for a few
months with the watchfulness and temporary ferocity implanted in her
by natural selection, but after that she will abandon them and
recognize them no more as her own. Sometimes this instinctive fondness
ceases with startling rapidity. I remember once in a California yard,
how a hen flew in my face angrily because I had frightened her chicks.
A few days later she deserted them, before they were really quite old
enough to take care of themselves, and all my efforts to make her
return and let them sleep again under her warm feathers failed. She
even pecked at them viciously. Some of the lower savages similarly
abandon their young as soon as they are able to get along, while those
who care for them longer, do so not from affection, but because sons
are useful assistants in hunting and fighting, and daughters can be
sold or traded off for new wives. That they do not keep them from
affection is proved by the fact that in all cases where any selfish
advantage can be gained they marry them off without reference to their
wishes or chances of happiness.[39]

UNSELFISH AFFECTION

While the fondness of savages, which has been so often mistaken for
affection, is thus seen to be foolish, unconscious, selfish, shallow,
and transient, true affection is rational, conscious, unselfish, deep,
and enduring. Being rational, it looks not to the enjoyment or comfort
of the moment, but to future and enduring welfare, and therefore does
not hesitate to punish folly or misdeeds in order to avert future
illness or misfortune. Instead of being a mere instinctive impulse,
liable to cease at any moment, like that of the California hen
referred to, it is a conscious altruism, never faltering in its
ethical sense of duty, utterly incapable of sacrificing another's
comfort or well-being to its own. While fondness is found coexisting
with cruelty and even with infanticide and cannibalism (as in those
Australian mothers, who feed their children well and carry them when
tired, but when a real test of altruism comes--during a famine--kill
and eat them,[40] just as the men do their wives when they cease to be
sensually attractive), affection is horrified at the mere suggestion
of such a thing. No man into whose love affection enters as an
ingredient would ever injure his beloved merely to gratify himself.
Crabb is utterly wrong when he writes that

"love is more selfish in its nature than friendship; in
indulging another it seeks its own, and when this is not to
be obtained, it will change into the contrary passion of
hatred."

This is a definition of lust, not of love--a definition of the passion
as known to the Greek Euripides, of whose lovers Benecke says (53):

"If, or as soon as, they fail in achieving the
gratification of their sensual desires, their 'love'
immediately turns to hate. The idea of devotion or
self-sacrifice for the good of the beloved person, as
distinct from one's own, is absolutely unknown. 'Love
is irresistible,' they say, and, in obedience to its
commands, they set down to reckon how they can satisfy
themselves, at no matter what cost to the objects of
their passion."

How different this unaffectionate "love" from the love of which our
poets sing! Shakspere knew that absorbing affection is an ingredient
of love: Beatrice loves Benedick "with an enraged affection," which is
"past the infinite of the night." Rosalind does not know how many
fathom deep she is in love: "It cannot he sounded; my affection hath
an unknown bottom, like the Bay of Portugal." Dr. Abel has truly said
that

"affection is love tested and purified in the fire of
the intellect. It appears when, after the veil of fancy
has dropped, a beloved one is seen in the natural
beauty with various human limitations, and is still
found worthy of the warmest regards. It comes slowly,
but it endures; gives more than it takes and has a
tinge of tender gratitude for a thousand kind actions
and for the bestowal of enduring happiness. According
to English ideas, a deep affection, through whose clear
mirror the gold of the old love shimmers visibly,
should be the fulfilment of marriage."

Of romantic love affection obviously could not become an ingredient
till minds were cultured, women esteemed, men made altruistic, and
opportunities were given for youths and maidens to become acquainted
with each other's minds and characters before marriage; as Dr. Abel
says, affection "comes slowly--but it endures." The love of which
affection forms an ingredient can never change to hatred, can never
have any murderous impulses, as Schure and Goethe believed. It
survives time and sensual charms, as Shakspere knew:

Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds.

* * * * *

Love's not time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out ev'n to the edge of doom:--

If this be error, and upon me proved;
I never writ nor no man ever loved.

XIII. MENTAL PURITY

Romantic love has worked two astounding miracles. We have seen how,
with the aid of five of its ingredients--sympathy, adoration,
gallantry, self-sacrifice, and affection--it has overthrown the
Goliath of selfishness. We shall now see how it has overcome another
formidable foe of civilization--sensualism--by means of two other
modern ingredients, one of which I will call mental purity (to
distinguish it from bodily purity or chastity) and the other
_esthetic_ admiration of personal beauty.

GERMAN TESTIMONY

Modern German literature contains many sincere tributes, in prose and
verse, to the purity and nobility of true love and its refining
influence. The psychologist Horwicz refers briefly (38) to the way in
which

"love, growing up as a mighty passion from the substratum of
sexual life, has, under the repressing influence of
centuries of habits and customs, taken on an entirely new,
_supersensual, ethereal_ character, so that to a lover every
thought of _naturalia_ seems indelicate and improper." "I
feel it deeply that love must ennoble, not crush me,"

wrote the poet Korner; and again,

"Your sweet name was my talisman, which led me undefiled
through youth's wild storms, amid the corruption of the
times, and protected my inner sanctum." "O God!" wrote
Beethoven, "let me at last find her who is destined to be
mine, and who shall strengthen me in virtue."

According to Dr. Abel, while love longs ardently to possess the
beloved, to enjoy her presence and sympathy, it has also a more or
less prominent mental trait which ennobles the passion and places it
at the service of the ideal of its fancy. It is accompanied by an
enthusiasm for the good and the beautiful in general, which comes to
most people only during the brief period of love. "It is a temporary
self-exaltation, _purifying the desires_ and urging the lover to
generous deeds."

Des hoechste Glueck hat keine Lieder,
Der Liebe Lust ist still und mild;
Ein Kuss, ein Blicken hin und wieder,
Und alle Sehnsucht ist gestillt.
--_Geibel_.

Schiller defined love as an eager "desire for another's happiness."
"Love," he adds, "is the most beautiful phenomenon in all animated
nature, the mightiest magnet in the spiritual world, the source of
veneration and the sublimest virtues." Even Goethe had moments when he
appreciated the purity of love, and he confutes his own coarse
conception that was referred to in the last section when he makes
Werther write: "She is sacred to me. _All desire is silent in her
presence."_[41]

The French Edward Schure exclaims, in his _History of German Song_:

"What surprises us foreigners in the poems of this
people is the unbounded faith in love, as the supreme
power in the world, as the most beautiful and _divine
thing_ on earth, ... the first and last word of
creation, its only principle of life, because it alone
can urge us to complete self-surrender."

Schure's intimation that this respect for love is peculiar to the
Germans is, of course, absurd, for it is found in the modern
literature of all civilized countries of Europe and America; as for
instance in Michael Angelo's

The might of one fair face sublimes my love,
For it _hath weaned my heart from low desires_.

ENGLISH TESTIMONY

English literature, particularly, has been saturated with this
sentiment for several centuries. Love is "all purity," according to
Shakspere's Silvius. Schlegel remarked that by the manner in which
Shakspere handled the story of _Romeo and Juliet_, it has become

"a glorious song of praise on that inexpressible feeling
which _ennobles the soul_ and gives to it its highest
sublimity, and which _elevates even the senses_ themselves
into soul;"

--which reminds one of Emerson's expression that the body is
"ensouled" through love. Steele declared that "Love is a passion of
the mind (_perhaps the noblest_), which was planted in it by the same
hand that created it;" and of Lady Elizabeth Hastings he wrote that
"to love her was a liberal education." In Steel's _Lover_ (No. 5) we
read:

"During this emotion I am highly elated in my Being, and my
every sentiment improved by the effects of that Passion....
I am more and more convinced that this Passion is in lowest
minds the strongest Incentive that can move the Soul of Man
to laudable Accomplishments."

And in No. 29: "Nothing can _mend the Heart_ better than an honorable
Love, except Religion." Thomas Otway sang:

O woman! lovely woman! Nature made thee
To temper man: we had been brutes without you.
There's in you all that we believe of heaven,
Amazing brightness, purity, and truth,
Eternal joy, and everlasting love.

"Love taught him shame," said Dryden, and Spenser wrote a Hymn in
Honor of Love, in which he declared that

Such is the power of that sweet passion
That it _all sordid baseness doth expel_,
And the refined mind doth newly fashion
Unto a fairer form, which now doth dwell
In his high thought, that would itself excel.

Leigh Hunt wrote: "My love has made me better and more desirous of
improvement than I have been."

Love, indeed, is light from heaven;
A spark of that immortal fire,
With angels shared, by Allah given,
To _lift from earth our low desire_.
Devotion wafts the mind above,
But heaven itself descends in love.
--_Byron_.

Why should we kill the _best of passions_, love?
It aids the hero, bids ambition rise
To nobler heights, inspires immortal deeds,
Ev'n _softens brutes_, and adds a grace to virtue.
--_Thomson_.

Dr. Beddoe, author of the _Browning Cyclopaedia_, declares that "the
passion of love, throughout Mr. Browning's works, is treated as the
most _sacred_ thing in the human soul." How Browning himself loved we
know from one of his wife's letters, in which she relates how she
tried to discourage his advances:

"I showed him how he was throwing away into the ashes
his best affections--how the common gifts of youth and
cheerfulness were behind me--how I had not strength,
even of heart, for the ordinary duties of
life--everything I told him and showed him. 'Look at
this--and this--and this,' throwing down all my
disadvantages. To which he did not answer by a single
compliment, but simply that he had not then to choose,
and that I might be right or he might be right, he was
not there to decide; but that he loved me and should to
his last hour. He said that the freshness of youth had
passed with him also, and that he had studied the world
out of books and seen many women, yet had never loved
one until he had seen me. That he knew himself, and
knew that, if ever so repulsed, he should love me to
his last hour--it should be first and last."

No poet understood better than Tennyson that purity is an ingredient
of love:

For indeed I know
Of no more subtle master under heaven
Than is the maiden passion for a maid,
Not only _to keep down the base in man_,
But teach high thoughts and amiable words,
And courtliness, and the desire of fame
And love of truth, and all that makes a man.

MAIDEN FANCIES

Bryan Waller Proctor fell in love when he was only five years old: "My
love," he wrote afterward, "had the fire of passion, but not the clay
which drags it downward; it partook of the innocence of my years,
while it etherealized me."

Such ethereal love too is the prerogative of a young maiden, whose
imagination is immaculate, ignorant of impurity.

Her feelings have the fragrancy,
The freshness of young flowers.

No, no, the utmost share
Of my desire shall be,
Only to kiss that air
That lately kissed thee.

In high school, when sentimental impulses first manifest themselves in
a girl, she is more likely than not to transfer them to a girl. Her
feelings, in these cases, are not merely those of a warm friendship,
but they resemble the passionate, self-sacrificing attitude of
romantic love. New York schoolgirls have a special slang phrase for
this kind of love--they call it a "crush," to distinguish it from a
"mash," which refers to an impression made on a man. A girl of
seventeen told me one day how madly she was in love with another girl
whose seat was near hers; how she brought her flowers, wiped her pens,
took care of her desk; "but I don't believe she cares for me at all,"
she added, sadly.

PATHOLOGIC LOVE

Such love is usually as innocent as a butterfly's flirtation with a
flower.[42] It has a pathologic phase, in some cases, which need not
be discussed here. But I wish to call attention to the fact that even
in abnormal states modern love preserves its purity. The most eminent
authority on mental pathology, Professor Krafft-Ebing, says,
concerning erotomania:

"The kernel of the whole matter is the delusion of
being singled out and loved by a person of the other
sex, who regularly belongs to a higher social class.
And it should be noted that the love felt by the
patient toward this person is a romantic, ecstatic, but
entirely 'Platonic' affection."

I have among my notes a remarkable case, relating to that most awful
of diseases that can befall a woman--nymphomania.[43] The patient
relates:

"I have also noticed that when my affections are
aroused, they counteract animal passion. I could never
love a man because he was a man. My tendency is to
worship the good I find in friends. I feel just the
same toward those of my own sex. If they show any
regard for me, the touch of a hand has power to take
away all morbid feelings."

A MODERN SENTIMENT

There are all sorts and conditions of love. To those who have known
only the primitive (sensual) sort, the conditions described in the
foregoing pages will seem strange and fantastic if not
fictitious--that is, the products of the writers' imaginations.
Fantastic they are, no doubt, and romantic, but that they are real I
can vouch for by my own experience whenever I was in love, which
happened several times. When I was a youth of seventeen I fell in love
with a beautiful, black-eyed young woman, a Spanish-American of
Californian stock. She was married, and I am afraid she was amused at
my mad infatuation. Did I try to flirt with her? A smile, a glance of
her eyes, was to me the seventh heaven beyond which there could be no
other. I would not have dared to touch her hand, and the thought of
kissing her was as much beyond my wildest flights of fancy as if she
had been a real goddess. To me she was divine, utterly unapproachable
by mortal. Every day I used to sit in a lonely spot of the forest and
weep; and when she went away I felt as if the son had gone out and all
the world were plunged into eternal darkness.

Such is romantic love--a supersensual feeling of crystalline purity
from which all gross matter has been distilled. But the love that
includes this ingredient is a modern sentiment, less than a thousand
years old, and not to be found among savages, barbarians, or
Orientals. To them, as the perusal of past and later chapters must
convince the reader, it is inconceivable that a woman should serve any
other than sensual and utilitarian purposes. The whole story is told
in what Dodge says of the Indians, who, "animal-like, approach a woman
only to make love to her"; and of the squaws who do not dare even go
with a beau to a dance, or go a short distance from camp, without
taking precautions against rape--precautions without which they "would
not be safe for an instant" (210, 213).

PERSIANS, TURKS, AND HINDOOS

We shall read later on of the obscene talk and sights that poison the
minds of boys and girls among Indians, Polynesians, etc., from their
infancy; in which respect Orientals are not much better than Hurons
and Botocudos. "The Persian child," writes Mrs. Bishop (I., 218),

"from infancy is altogether interested in the topics of
adults; and as the conversation of both sexes is said
by those who know them best to be without reticence or
modesty, the purity which is one of the greatest charms
of childhood is absolutely unknown."

Of the Turks (at Bagdad) Ida Pfeiffer writes _(L.J.R.W._, 202-203)
that she found it

"very painful to notice the tone of the conversation
that goes on in these harems and in the baths. Nothing
can exceed the demureness of the women in public; but
when they come together in these places, they indemnify
themselves thoroughly for the restraint. While they
were busy with their pipes and coffee, I took the
opportunity to take a glance into the neighboring
apartments, and in a few minutes I saw enough to fill
me at once with disgust and compassion for these poor
creatures, whom idleness and ignorance have degraded
almost below the level of humanity. A visit to the
women's baths left a no less melancholy impression.
There were children of both sexes, girls, women, and
elderly matrons. The poor children! how should they in
after life understand what is meant by modesty and
purity, when they are accustomed from their infancy to
witness such scenes, and listen to such conversation?"

These Orientals are too coarse-fibred to appreciate the spotless,
peach-down purity which in our ideal is a maiden's supreme charm. They
do not care to prolong, even for a year what to us seems the sweetest,
loveliest period of life, the time of artless, innocent maidenhood.
They cannot admire a rose for its fragrant beauty, but must needs
regard it as a thing to be picked at once and used to gratify their
appetite. Nay, they cannot even wait till it is a full-blown rose, but
must destroy the lovely bud. The "civilized" Hindoos, who are allowed
legally to sacrifice girls to their lusts before the poor victims have
reached the age of puberty, are really on a level with the African
savages who indulge in the same practice. An unsophisticated reader of
_Kalidasa_ might find in the King's comparison of Sakuntala to "a
flower that no one has smelt, a sprig that no one has plucked, a pearl
that has not yet been pierced," a recognition of the charm of maiden
purity. But there is a world-wide difference between this and the
modern sentiment. The King's attitude, as the context shows, is simply
that of an epicure who prefers his oysters fresh. The modern sentiment
is embodied in Heine's exquisite lines:

DU BIST WIE EINE BLUME.

E'en as a lovely flower
So fair, so pure, thou art;
I gaze on thee and sadness
Comes stealing o'er my heart.

My hands I fain had folded
Upon thy soft brown hair,
Praying that God may keep thee
So lovely, pure, and fair.
--_Trans, of Kate Freiligrath Kroeker_.

It is not surprising that this intensely modern poem should have been
set to music--the most modern of all the arts--more frequently than
any other verses ever written. To Orientals, to savages, to Greeks, it
would be incomprehensible--as incomprehensible as Ruskin's "there is
no true conqueror of lust but love," or Tennyson's

'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

To them the love between men and women seems not a purifying,
ennobling emotion, a stimulus to self-improvement and an impulse to do
generous, unselfish deeds, but a mere animal passion, low and
degrading.

LOVE DESPISED IN JAPAN AND CHINA

The Japanese have a little more regard for women than most Orientals,
yet by them, too, love is regarded as a low passion--as, in fact,
identical with lust. It is not considered respectable for young folks
to arrange their own marriages on a basis of love.

"Among the lower classes, indeed," says Kuechler,[44] "such direct
unions are not infrequent; but they are held in contempt, and are
known as yago (meeting on a moor), a term of disrespect, showing the
low opinion entertained of it." Professor Chamberlain writes, in his
_Things Japanese_ (285):

"One love marriage we have heard of, one in eighteen years!
But then both the young people had been brought up in
America. Accordingly they took the reins in their own hands,
to the great scandal of all their friends and relations."

On another page (308) he says:

"According to the Confucian ethical code, which the Japanese
adopted, a man's parents, his teacher, and his lord claim
his life-long service, his wife standing on an immeasurably
lower plane."[45]

Ball, in his _Things Chinese_ comments on the efforts made by Chinamen
to suppress love-matches as being immoral; and the French author, L.A.
Martin, says, in his book on Chinese morals (171):

"Chinese philosophers know nothing of Platonic love;
they speak of the relations between men and women with
the greatest reserve, and we must attribute this to the
low esteem in which they generally hold the fair sex;
in their illustrations of the disorders of love, it is
almost always the woman on whom the blame of seduction
is laid."

GREEK SCORN FOR WOMAN-LOVE

The Greeks were in the same boat. They did indeed distinguish between
two kinds of love, the sensual and the celestial, but--as we shall see
in detail in the special chapter devoted to them--they applied the
celestial kind only to friendship and boy-love, never to the love
between men and women. That love was considered impure and degrading,
a humiliating affliction of the mind, not for a moment comparable to
the friendship between men or the feelings that unite parents and
children. This is the view taken in Plato's writings, in Xenophon's
_Symposium_ and everywhere. In Plutarch's _Dialogue on Love_, written
five hundred years after Plato, one of the speakers ventures a faint
protest against the current notion that "there is no gust of
friendship or heavenly ravishment of mind," in the love for women; but
this is a decided innovation on the traditional Greek view, which is
thus brutally expressed by one of the interlocutors in the same
dialogue:

"True love has nothing to do with women, and I assert that
you who are passionately inclined toward women and maidens
do not love any more than flies love milk or bees honey, or
cooks the calves and birds whom they fatten in the dark....
The passion for women consists at the best in the gain of
sensual pleasure and the enjoyment of bodily beauty."

Another interlocutor sums up the Greek attitude in these words: "It
behooves respectable women neither to love nor to be loved."

Goethe had an apercu of the absence of purity in Greek love when he
wrote, in his _Roman Elegies:_

In der heroischen Zeit, da Goetter und Goettinnen liebten.
Folgte Begierde dem Blick, folgte Genuss der Begier.

PENETRATIVE VIRGINITY

The change in love from the barbarian and ancient attitude to the
modern conception of it as a refining, purifying feeling is closely
connected with the growth of the altruistic ingredients of
love--sympathy, gallantry, self-sacrifice, affection, and especially
adoration. It is one of the points where religion and love meet.
Mariolatry greatly affected men's attitude toward women in general,
including their notions about love. There is a curious passage in
Burton worth citing here (III., 2):

"Christ himself, and the Virgin Mary, had most
beautiful eyes, as amiable eyes as any persons, saith
Baradius, that ever lived, yet withal so modest, so
chaste, that whosoever looked on them was freed from
that passion of burning lust, if we may believe Gerson
and Bonaventure; there was no such antidote against it
as the Virgin Mary's face."

Mediaeval theologians had a special name for this faculty--Penetrative
Virginity--which McClintock and Strong's _Cyclopedia of Biblical
Literature_ defines as

"such an extraordinary or perfect gift of chastity, to
which some have pretended that it overpowered those by
whom they have been surrounded, and created in them an
insensibility to the pleasures of the flesh. The Virgin
Mary, according to some Romanists, was possessed of
this gift, which made those who beheld her,
notwithstanding her beauty, to have no sentiments but
such as were consistent with chastity."

In the eyes of refined modern lovers, every spotless maiden has that
gift of penetrative virginity. The beauty of her face, or the charm of
her character, inspires in him an affection which is as pure, as
chaste, as the love of flowers. But it was only very gradually and
slowly that human beauty gained the power to inspire such a pure love;
the proof of which assertion is to be unfolded in our next section.

XIV. ADMIRATION OF PERSONAL BEAUTY

"When beauty fires the blood, how love exalts the mind," exclaimed
Dryden; and Romeo asks:

Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight!
For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.

In full-fledged romantic love of the masculine type the admiration of
a girl's personal beauty is no doubt the most entrancing ingredient.
But such love is rare even to-day, while in ordinary love-affairs the
sense of beauty does not play nearly so important a role as is
commonly supposed. In woman's love, as everybody knows, the regard for
masculine beauty usually forms an unimportant ingredient; and a man's
love, provided sympathy, adoration, gallantry, self-sacrifice,
affection, and purity enter into it, may be of the genuine romantic
type, even though he has no sense of beauty at all. And this is lucky
for the prospects of love, since, even among the most civilized races
to-day, the number of men and women who, while otherwise refined and
estimable, have no real appreciation of beauty, personal or otherwise,
is astonishingly large.

DARWIN'S UNFORTUNATE MISTAKE

This being true of the average man and woman among the most cultured
races, we ought to be able to conclude, as a matter of course and
without the necessity of argumentation, that the admiration of
personal beauty has still less to do with the motives that lead a
savage to marry this or that girl, or a savage girl to prefer this or
that suitor. Strange to say, this simple corollary of the doctrine of
evolution has been greatly obscured by Darwin himself, by his theory
of sexual selection, which goes so far as to attribute the beauty of
the male _animals_ to the continued preference by the females of the
more showy males, and the consequent hereditary transmission of their
colors and other ornaments. When we bear in mind how unimportant a
role the regard for personal beauty plays even among the females of
the most advanced human beings, the idea that the females of the lower
animals are guided in their pairing by minute subtle differences in
the beauty of masculine animals seems positively comic. It is an idea
such as could have emanated only from a mind as unesthetic as Darwin's
was.

So far as animals are concerned, Alfred Russell Wallace completely
demolished the theory of sexual selection,[46] after it had created a
great deal of confusion in scientific literature. In regard to the
lower races of man this confusion still continues, and I therefore
wish to demonstrate here, more conclusively than I did in my first
book (60, 61, 327-30), that among primitive men and women, too, the
sense of beauty does not play the important role attributed to it in
their love-affairs. "The Influence of Beauty in determining the
Marriages of Mankind" is one of the topics discussed in the _Descent
of Man_. Darwin tries to show that, "especially" during the earlier
period of our long history, the races of mankind were modified by the
continued selection of men by women and women by men in accordance
with their peculiar standards of beauty. He gives some of the numerous
instances showing how savages "ornament" or mutilate their bodies;
adding:

"The motives are various; the men paint their bodies to
make themselves appear terrible in battle; certain
mutilations are connected with religious rites, or they
mark the age of puberty, or the rank of the man, or
they serve to distinguish the tribes. Among savages the
same fashions prevail for long periods, and thus
mutilations, from whatever cause first made, soon come
to be valued as distinctive marks. _But self-adornment,
vanity, and the admiration of others seem to be the
commonest motives_."

Among those who were led astray by these views of Darwin is
Westermarck, who declares (257, 172) that "in every country, in every
race, beauty stimulates passion," and that

"it seems to be beyond doubt that men and women began to
ornament, mutilate, paint, and tattoo themselves chiefly in
order to make themselves attractive to the opposite
sex--that they might court successfully, or be courted"

--an opinion in which Grosse follows him, in his interesting
treatise on the _Beginnings of Art_ (111, etc.), thereby marring his
chapter on "Personal Decoration." In the following pages I shall show,
on the contrary, that when we subject these primitive customs of
"ornamentation" and mutilation to a critical examination we find in
nearly every case that they are either not at all or only indirectly
(not esthetically), connected with the relations of the sexes; and
that neither does personal beauty exist as a rule among savages, nor
have they the esthetic sense to appreciate its exceptional occurrence.
They nearly always paint, tattoo, decorate, or mutilate themselves
without the least reference to courtship or the desire to please the
other sex. It is the easiest thing in the world to fill page after
page--as Darwin, Westermarck, Grosse, and others have done--with the
remarks of travellers regarding the addiction of savages to personal
"ornamentation"; but this testimony rests, as we shall see, on the
unwarranted assumptions of superficial observers, who, ignorant of the
real reasons why the lower races paint, tattoo, and otherwise "adorn"
themselves, recklessly inferred that they did it to "make themselves
beautiful." The more carefully the customs and traditions of these
races are studied, the more obvious becomes the non-esthetic and
non-erotic origin of their personal "decorations." In my extensive
researches, for every single fact that seemed to favor the sexual
selection theory I have found a hundred against it; and I have become
more and more amazed at the extraordinary _sang froid_ with which its
advocates have ignored the countless facts that speak against it while
boosting into prominence the very few that at first sight appear to
support it. In the following pages I shall attempt to demolish the
theory of sexual selection in reference to the lower races of man as
Wallace demolished it in reference to animals; premising that the mass
of cumulative evidence here presented is only a very small part of
what might be adduced on my side. Let us consider the different
motives for personal "decoration" in succession.

"DECORATION" FOR PROTECTION

Many of the alleged personal "decorations" of inferior races are
merely measures to protect themselves against climate, insects, etc.
The Maoris of New Zealand besmear themselves with grease and red ochre
as a defence against the sand-flies.[47] The Andaman islanders plaster
themselves with a mixture of lard and colored earth to protect their
skins from heat and mosquitoes.[48] Canadian Indians painted their
faces in winter as a protection against frost-bite. In Patagonia

"both sexes smear their faces, and occasionally their bodies
with paint, the Indians alleging as the reasons for using
this cosmetic that it is a protection against the effects of
the wind; and I found from personal experience that it
proved a complete preservative from excoriation or chapped
skin."[49]

C. Bock notes that in Sumatra rice powder is lavishly employed by many
of the women, but "not with the object of preserving the complexion or
reducing the color, but to prevent perspiration by closing the pores
of the skin."[50] Baumann says of the African Bakongo that many of
their peculiar ways of arranging the hair "seem to be intended less as
ornamental head-dresses than as a bolster for the burdens they carry
on their heads;"[51] and Squier says that the reason given by the
Nicaraguans for flattening the heads of their children is that they
may be better fitted in adult life to bear burdens.[52]

WAR "DECORATIONS"

Equally remote as the foregoing from all ideas of personal beauty or
of courtship and the desire to inspire sexual passion is the custom so
widely prevalent of painting and otherwise "adorning" the body for
war. The Australians diversely made use of red and yellow ochre, or of
white pigment for war paint.[53] Caesar relates that the ancient
Britons stained themselves blue with woad to give themselves a more
horrid aspect in war. "Among ourselves," as Tylor remarks, "the guise
which was so terrific in the Red Indian warrior has comedown to make
the circus clown a pattern of folly,"[54] Regarding Canadian Indians
we read that

"some may be seen with blue noses, but with cheeks and
eyebrows black; others mark forehead, nose, and cheeks with
lines of various colors; one would think he beheld so many
hobgoblins. They believe that in colors of this description
they are dreadful to their enemies, and that otherwise their
own line of battle will be concealed as by a veil; finally,
that it hardens the skin of the body, so that the cold of
the winter is easily borne."[55]

The Sioux Indians blackened their faces when they went on the warpath.
They

"highly prize personal bravery, and therefore constantly
wear the marks of distinction which they received for their
exploits; among these are, especially, tufts of human hair
attached to the arms and legs, and feathers on their
heads."[56]

When Sioux warriors return from the warpath with scalps "the squaws as
well as the men paint with vermilion a semicircle in front of each
ear."[57] North Carolina Indians when going to war painted their faces
all over red, while those of South Carolina, according to DeBrahm,
"painted their faces red in token of friendship and black in
expression of warlike intentions." "Before charging the foe," says
Dorsey, "the Osage warriors paint themselves anew. This is called the
death paint." The Algonquins, on the day of departure for war, dressed
in their best, coloring the hair red and painting their faces and
bodies red and black. The Cherokees when going to war dyed their hair
red and adorned it with feathers of various colors.[58] Bancroft says
(I., 105) that when a Thlinkit arms himself for war he paints his face
and powders his hair a brilliant red. "He then ornaments his head with
a white eagle feather as a token of stern, vindictive determination."

John Adair wrote of the Chickasaws, in 1720, that they "readily know
achievements in war by the blue marks over their breasts and arms,
they being as legible as our alphabetical characters are to us"--which
calls attention to a very frequent use of what are supposed to be
ornaments as merely part of a language of signs. Irving remarks in
_Astoria,_ regarding the Arikara warriors, that "some had the stamp of
a red hand across their mouths, a sign that they had drunk the
life-blood of an enemy." In Schoolcraft we read (II., 58) that among
the Dakotas on St. Peter's River a red hand means that the wearer has
been wounded by an enemy, while a black hand indicates "I have slain
an enemy." The Hidatsa Indians wore eagle feathers "to denote acts of
courage or success in war"; and the Dakotas and others indicated by
means of special spots or colored bars in their feathers or cuts in
them, that the wearer had killed an enemy, or wounded one, or taken a
scalp, or killed a woman, etc. A black feather denoted that an Ojibwa
woman was killed. The marks on their blankets had similar
meanings.[59] Peter Carder, an Englishman captive among the
Brazilians, wrote:

"This is to be noted, that how many men these savages
doe kill, so many holes they will have in their visage,
beginning first in the nether lippe, then in the
cheekes, thirdly, in both their eye-browes, and lastly
in their eares."[60]

Of the Abipones we read that,

"distrusting their courage, strength, and arms, they
think that paint of various colors, feathers, shouting,
trumpets, and other instruments of terror will forward
their success."[61]

Fancourt(314) says of the natives of Yucatan that "in their wars, and
when they went to their sacrificial dances and festivals, they had
their faces, arms, thighs, and legs painted and naked." In Fiji the
men bore a hole through the nose and put in a couple of feathers, nine
to twelve inches long, which spread out over each side of the face
like immense mustaches. They do this "to give themselves a fiercer
appearance."[62] Waitz notes that in Tahiti mothers compressed the
heads of their infant boys "to make their aspect more terrible and
thus turn them into more formidable warriors." The Tahitians, as Ellis
informs us, "went to battle in their best clothes, sometimes perfumed
with fragrant oil, and adorned with flowers."[63] Of the wild tribes
in Kondhistan, too, we read that "it is only, however, when they go
out to battle ... that they adorn themselves with all their
finery."[64]

AMULETS, CHARMS, MEDICINES.

The African tribes along the Congo wear on their bodies

"the horn, the hoof, the hair, the teeth, and the bones of
all manner of quadrupeds; the feathers, beaks, claws,
skulls, and bones of birds; the heads and skins of snakes;
the shells and fins of fishes, pieces of old iron, copper,
wood, seeds of plants, and sometimes a mixture of all, or
most of them, strung together."

Unsophisticated travellers speak of these things as "ornaments"
indicating the strange "sense of beauty" of these natives. In reality,
they have nothing to do with the sense of beauty, but are merely a
manifestation of savage superstition. In Tuckey's _Zaire_, from which
the above citation is made (375), they are properly classed as
fetiches, and the information is added that in the choice of them the
natives consult the fetich men. A picture is given in the book of one
appendage to the dress "which the weaver considered an infallible
charm against poison." Others are "considered as protection against
the effects of thunder and lightning, against the attacks of the
alligator, the hippopotamus, snakes, lions, tigers," etc., etc.
Winstanley relates (II., 68) that in Abyssinia

"the Mateb, or baptismal cord, is _de rigueur_, and worn
when nothing else is. It formed the only clothing of the
young at Seramba, but was frequently added to with amulets,
sure safeguards against sorcery."

Concerning the Bushmen, Mackenzie says:

"Certain marks on the face, or bits of wood on his hair, or
tied around his neck, are medicines or charms to be taken in
sickness, or proximity to lions, or in other circumstances
of danger."[65]

Bastian relates that in many parts of Africa every infant is tattooed
on the belly, to dedicate it thereby to a certain fetich.[66] The
inland negroes mark all sorts of patterns on their skins, partly "to
expel evil influences."[67] The Nicaraguans punctured and scarified
their tongues because, as they explained to Oviedo, it would bring
them luck in bargains. The Peruvians, says Cieza, pulled out three
teeth of each jaw in children of very tender age because that would be
acceptable to the gods; and Garcilassa notes that the Peruvians pulled
out a hair of an eyebrow when making an offering. Jos. d'Acosta also
describes how the Peruvians pulled out eyelashes and eyebrows and
offered them to the deities. The natives of Yucatan, according to
Fancourt, wore their hair long as "a sign of idolatry."[68] When
Franklin relates that Chippewayan Indians "prize pictures very highly
and esteem any they can get," we seem to have come across a genuine
esthetic sense, till we read that it makes no difference how badly
they are executed, and that they are valued "as efficient charms."[69]
All Abipones of both sexes

"pluck up the hair from the forehead to the crown of the
head, so that the forepart of the head is bald almost for
the space of two inches; this baldness they ... account a
religious mark of their nation."[70]

The Point Barrow Eskimos believe that clipping their hair on the back
of the head in a certain way "prevents snow-blindness in the spring."
These Eskimos painted their faces when they went whaling, and the
Kadiaks did so before any important undertaking, such as crossing a
wide strait, chasing the sea-otter, etc.[71] In regard to the amulets
or charms worn by Eskimos, Crantz says:

"These powerful preventives consist in a bit of old wood
hung around their necks, or a stone, or a bone, or a beak or
claw of a bird, or else a leather strap tied round their
forehead, breast, or arm."[72]

Marcano says that "the Indians of French Guiana paint themselves in
order to drive away the devil when they start on a journey or for
war."[73] In his treatise on the religion of the Dakotas, Lynd
remarks:

"Scarlet or red is the religious color for sacrifices....
The use of paint, the Dakotas aver, was taught them by the
gods. Unkteh taught the first medicine men how to paint
themselves when they worshipped him and what colors to use.
Takushkanshkan (the moving god) whispers to his favorites
what colors to use. Heyoka hovers over them in dreams, and
informs them how many streaks to employ upon their bodies
and the tinge they must have. No ceremony of worship is
complete without the wakan, or sacred application of
paint."[74]

By the Tasmanians "the bones of relatives were worn around the neck,
less, perhaps, as ornaments than as charms."[75] The Ainos of Japan
and the Fijians held that tattooing was a custom introduced by the

Book of the day: