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could not conceive of a man being seized by an unmanly soft desire and urged on by it to passionate disregard of all human conventions and laws."


Greek poets from Stesichorus to the Alexandrians are fond of representing coy men. The story told by Athenæus (XIV., ch. 11) of Harpalyke, who committed suicide because the youth Iphiclus coyly spurned her, is typical of a large class. No less significant is the circumstance that when the coy backwardness happens to be on the side of a female, she is usually a woman of masculine habits, devoted to Diana and the chase. Several centuries after Christ we still find in the romances an echo of this thoroughly Greek sentiment in the coy attitude, at the beginning, of their youthful heroes.1

The well-known legend of Sappho-who flourished about a thousand years before the romances just referred to were written is quite in the Greek spirit. It is thus related by Strabo :

"There is a white rock which stretches out from Leucas to the sea and toward Cephalonia, that takes its name from its whiteness. The rock of Leucas has upon it a temple of Apollo, and the leap from it was supposed to stop love. From this it is said that Sappho first, as Menander says somewhere, in pursuit of the haughty Phaon, urged on by maddening desire, threw herself from its far-seen rocks, imploring thee [Apollo], lord and king."

Four centuries after Sappho we find Theocritus harping on the same theme. His Enchantress is a monologue in which a woman relates how she made advances to a youth and won him. She saw him walking along the road and was so smitten that she was prostrated and confined to her bed for ten days. Then she sent her slave to waylay the youth, with these instructions: "If you see him alone, say to him: Simaitha

1 Rohde, 35, 28, 147. See his list of corroborative cases in the long footnote, pp. 147-148.

desires you,' and bring him here." In this case the youth is not coy in the least; but the sequel of the story is too bucolic to be told here.


It is well-known that the respectable women of Greece, especially the virgins, were practically kept under lock and key in the part of the house known as the gynaikonitis. This resulted in making them shy and bashful-but not coy, if we may judge from the mirror of life known as literature. Ramdohr observes, pertinently (III., 270): "Remarkable is the easy triumph of lovers over the innocence of free-born girls, daughters of citizens, examples of which may be found in the Eunuchus and Adelphi of Terence. They call attention to the low opinion the ancients had of a woman's power to guard her sensual impulses, and of her own accord resist attacks on her honor." The Abbé Dubois says the same thing about Hindoo girls, and the reason why they are so carefully guarded. It is hardly necessary to add that since no one would be so foolish as to call a man honest who refrains from stealing merely because he has no opportunity, it is equally absurd to call a woman honest or coy who refrains from vice only because she is locked up all the time. The fact (which seems to give Westermarck (64-65) much satisfaction), that some Australians, American Indian and other tribes watch young girls so carefully, does not argue the prevalence of chaste coyness, but the contrary. If the girls had an instinctive inclination to repel improper advances it would not be necessary to cage and watch them. This inclination is not inborn, does not characterize primitive women, but is a result of education and culture.


Greatly as Greeks and Indians differ in some respects, they have two things in common-a warlike spirit and contempt for women. "When Greek meets Greek then comes a tug of war," and the Indian's chief delight is scalp hunting.

The Greeks, as Rohde notes (42), "depict their greatest heroes as incited to great deeds only by eagerness for battle and desire for glory. The love of women barely engages their attention transiently in hours of idleness." Militarism is ever hostile to love except in its grossest forms. It brutalizes the men and prevents the growth of feminine qualities, coyness among others. Hence, wherever militarism prevails, we seek in vain for feminine reserve. An interesting illustration of this may be found in a brochure by Theodor Krabbes, Die Frau im Altfranzösischen Karls-Epos (9-38). The author, basing his inferences on an exhaustive study and comparison of the Chansons de Geste of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, draws the following general conclusions:

"Girlish shyness is not a trait of the daughters, least of all those of heathen origin. Masculine tendencies characterize them from childhood. Fighting pleases them and they like to look on when there is a battle. Love plays an important rôle in nearly all the Chansons de Geste. The woman wooes, the man grants: nearly always in these epics we read of a woman who loves, rarely of one who is loved. In the very first hour of their acquaintance. the girl is apt to yield herself entirely to the chosen knight, and she persists in her passion for him even if she is entirely repulsed. There is no more rest for her. Either she wooes him in person, or chooses a messenger who invites the coveted man to a rendezvous. The heathen woman who has to guard captured Franks and who has given her heart to one of them, hies herself to the dungeon and offers him her love. She begs for his love in return and seeks in every way to win it. If he resists, she curses him, makes his lot less endurable, withholds his food or threatens him with death until he is willing to accede to her wishes. If this has come to pass she overwhelms him with caresses at the first meeting. She is eager to have them reciprocated; often the lover is not tender enough to please her, then she repeatedly begs for kisses. She embraces him delightedly even though he be in full armor and in presence of all his companions. Girlish shyness and modest backwardness are altogether foreign to her nature. . She never has any moral scruples. If he is unwilling to give up his campaign, she is satisfied to let him go the next morning if he will only marry her.

"The man is generally described as cold in love. Refer

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ences to a knight's desire for a woman's love are very scant, and only once do we come across a hero who is quite in love. The young knight prefers more serious matters; his first desire is to win fame in battle, make rich booty. He looks on love as superfluous, indeed he is convinced that it incapacitates him from what he regards as his proper life-task. He also fears the woman's infidelity. If he allows her to persuade him to love, he seeks material gain from it; delivery from captivity, property, vassals. The lover is often tardy, careless, too deficient in tenderness, so that the woman has to chide him and invite his caresses. A rendezvous is always brought about only through her efforts, and she alone is annoyed if it is disturbed too soon. Even when the man desires a woman, he hardly appears as a wooer. He knows he is sure of the women's favor; they make it easy for him; he can have any number of them if he belongs to a noble family. . Even when the knight is in lovewhich is very rare-the first advances are nearly always made by the woman; it is she who proposes marriage.



Marriage as treated in the epics is seldom based on love. The woman desires wedlock, because she hopes thereby to secure her rights and better her chances of protection. It is for this reason that we see her so often eagerly endeavoring to secure a promise of marriage."


Sufficient evidence has now been adduced to make it clear that the first of the two questions posed at the outset of this chapter must be answered in the negative. Coyness is not an innate or universal trait of femininity, but is often absent, particularly where man's absorption in war and woman's need of protection prevent its growth and induce the females to do the courting. This being the case and war being the normal state of the lower races, our next task is to ascertain what were the influences that induced woman to adopt the habit of repelling advances instead of making them. It is one of the most interesting questions in sexual psychology, which has never been answered satisfactorily; it and gains additional interest from the fact that we find among the

Compare this with what Rohde says (42) about the Homeric heroes and their complete absorption in warlike doings.

most ancient and primitive races phenomena which resemble coyness and have been habitually designated as such. As we shall see in a moment, this is an abuse of language, confounding genuine resistance or aversion with coyness.

Chinese maidens often feel so great an aversion to marriage as practised in their country that they prefer suicide to it. Douglas says (196) that Chinese women often ask English ladies, "Does your husband beat you?" and are surprised if answered "No." The gallant Chinaman calls his wife his dull thorn," and there are plenty of reasons apart from Confucian teachings why "for some days before the date fixed, the bride assumes all the panoply of woe, and weeps and wails without ceasing." She is about to face the terrible ordeal of being confronted for the first time with the man who has been chosen for her, and who may be the ugliest, vilest wretch in the world-possibly even a leper, such cases being on record. Douglas (124) reports the case of six girls who committed suicide together to avoid marriage. There exist in China anti-matrimonial societies of girls and young widows, the latter doubtless, supplying the experience that serves as the motive for establishing such associations.


Descending to the lowest stratum of human life as witnessed in Australia, we find that, as Meyer asserts (11), the bride appears "generally to go very unwillingly" to the man she has been assigned to. Lumholtz relates that the man seizes the woman by the wrists and carries her off despite her screams, which can be heard till she is a mile away." "The women," he says, "always make resistance; for they do not like to leave their tribe, and in many instances they have the best of reasons for kicking their lovers.” What are these reasons? As all observers testify, they are not allowed any voice in the choice of their husbands. They are usually bartered by their father or brothers for other women, and in many if not most cases the husbands assigned to them are several times their age. Before they are assigned to a particular man the girls indulge in promiscuous intercourse, whereas after marriage they are fiercely guarded. They may indeed attempt to elope with another man more


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