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THE GALLANT ROOSTER
The dictionary makers derive the word gallant from all sorts of roots in divers languages, meaning gay, brave, festive, proud, lascivious, and so on. Why not derive if from the Latin gallus, rooster? A rooster combines in himself all the different meanings of the word gallant. He is showy in appearance, brave, daring, attentive to females, and, above all, chivalrous, that is, inclined to show disinterested courtesy to the weaker sex, as we have just seen. In this last respect, it is true, the rooster stands not alone. It is a trait of male animals in general to treat their females unselfishly in regard to feeding and otherwise.
UNGALLANT LOWER RACES OF MEN
If we now turn to human beings, we have to ascend many strata of civilization before we come across anything resembling the unselfish gallantry of the rooster. The Australian savage, when he has speared a kangaroo, makes his wife cook it, then selects the juiciest cuts for himself and the other men, leaving the bones to the women and dogs.
Ascending to the much higher Polynesians and American Indians we still find that the women have to content themselves with what the men leave. A Hawaiian even considers it a disgrace to eat at the same place as his wife, or with the same utensils.
What Rowney says (173) of the Nágás of India" she does everything the husband will not, and he considers it effeminate to do anything but fight, hunt, and fish"-is true of the lower races in general. An African Kaffir, says Wood (73), would consider it beneath his dignity to as much as lift a basket of rice on the head of even his favorite wife; he sits calmly on the ground and allows some woman to help his busy wife. "One of my friends," he continues,
"when rather new to Kaffirland, happened to look into a hut and there saw a stalwart Kaffir sitting and smoking his pipe, while the women were hard at work in the sun, build
ing huts, carrying timber, and performing all kinds of severe labor. Struck with a natural indignation at such behavior, he told the smoker to get up and work like a man. This idea was too much even for the native politeness of the Kaffir, who burst into a laugh at so absurd a notion. 'Women work,' said he, men sit in the house and smoke.'
MacDonald relates (in Africana, I., 35) that "a woman always kneels when she has occasion to talk to a man.' Even queens must in some cases go on their knees before, their husbands. (Ratzel, I., 254.) Caillé gives similar testimony regarding the Waissulo, and Mungo Park (347) describes the return of one of his companions to the capital of Dentila, after an absence of three years:
"As soon as he had seated himself upon a mat, by the threshold of his door, a young woman (his intended bride) brought a little water in a calabash, and kneeling down before him, desired him to wash his hands; when he had done this, the girl, with a tear of joy sparkling in her eyes, drank the water; this being considered as the greatest proof she could possibly give him of her fidelity and attachment."
An Eskimo, when building a house, looks on lazily while his women carry stones "almost heavy enough to break their backs." The ungallant men not only compel the women to be their drudges, but slyly create a sentiment that it is disgraceful for a man to assist them. Of the Patagonian Indians Falkner asserts that the women are so rigidly "obliged to perform their duty, that their husbands cannot help them on any occasion, or in the greatest distress, without incurring the highest ignominy," and this is the general feeling, of which other illustrations will be given in later chapters. Foolish sentimentalists have tried to excuse the Indians on the ground that they have no time to attend to anything but fighting and hunting. But they always make the squaws do the hard work, whether there be any war and hunting or not. A white American girl, accustomed to the gallant attentions of her lover, would not smile on the red Dacota suitor of whom Riggs writes (205):
"When the family are abed and asleep, he often visits her in her mother's tent, or he finds her out in the grove in the
day time gathering fuel. She has the load of sticks made up, and when she kneels down to take it on her back, possibly he takes her hand and helps her up and then walks home by her side. Such was the custom in the olden time."
Still, there is a germ of gallantry here. The Dacota at least helps to load his human donkey, while the Kaffir refuses to do even that.
Colonel James Smith, who had been adopted by the Indians, relates (45) how one day he helped the squaws to hoe corn. They approved of it, but the old men afterward chid him for degrading himself by hoeing corn like a squaw. He slyly adds that, as he was never very fond of work, they had no occasion to scold him again. We read in Schoolcraft (V., 268) that among the Creeks, during courtship, the young man used to help the girl hoe the corn in her field, plant her beans and set poles for them to run upon. But this was not intended as an act of gallant assistance; it had a symbolic meaning. The running up of the beans on the poles and the entwining of their vines was "thought emblematical of their approaching union and bondage." Morgan states expressly in his classical work on the Iroquois (332) that "no attempts by the unmarried to please or gratify each other by acts of personal attention were ever made." In other words the Indians knew not gallantry in the sense of disinterested courtesy to the weaker sex-the gallantry which is an essential ingredient of romantic love.
Germs of gallantry may perhaps be found in Borneo where, as St. John relates (I., 161), a young Dyak may help the girl he wants to marry in her farm work, carrying home her load of vegetables or wood, or make her presents of rings, a petticoat, etc. But such a statement must be interpreted with caution.
The very fact that they make the women do the field work and carry the wood habitually, shows that the Dyaks are not gallant. Momentary favors for the sake of securing favors in return, or of arranging an ephemeral Bornean "marriage," are not acts of disinterested courtesy to the The Dyaks themselves clearly understand that
such attentions are mere bids for favors. As a missionary cited by Ling Roth (I., 131) remarks:
"If a woman handed to a man betel-nut and sirah to eat, or if a man paid her the smallest attention, such as we should term only common politeness, it would be sufficient to excuse a jealous husband for striking a man."
It is the same in India. "The politeness, attention, and gallantry which the Europeans practise toward the ladies, although often proceeding from esteem and respect, are invariably ascribed by the Hindoos to a different motive." (Dubois, I., 271.) Here, as everywhere in former times, woman existed not for her own sake but for man's convenience, comfort, and pleasure; why, therefore, should he bother to do anything to please her? In the Kamasoutram there is a chapter on the duties of a model wife, in which she is instructed to do all the work not only at home but in garden, field, and stable. She must go to bed after her husband and get up before him. She must try to excel all other wives in faithfully serving her lord and master. She must not even allow the maid-servant to wash his feet, but must do it with her own hands. The Laws of Manu are full of such precepts, most of them amazingly ungallant. The horrible maltreatment of women in India, which it would be an unpardonable euphuism to call simply ungallant, will be dwelt on in a later chapter.
It has been said a thousand times that the best measure of a nation's civilization is its treatment of women. It would be more accurate to say that kind, courteous treatment of women is the last and highest product of civilization. The Greeks and Hindoos had reached a high level of culture in many respects, yet, judged by their treatment of women, the Greeks were barbarians and the Hindoos incarnate fiends. Scholars are sometimes surprisingly reckless in their assumptions. Thus Hommel (I., 417) declares that woman must have held an honored position in Babylonia,1 because in the ancient texts
1 How capable of honoring women the Babylonians were may be inferred from the testimony of Herodotus (I., ch. 199) that every woman had to sacrifice her chastity to strangers in the temple of Mylitta.
that have come down to us the words mother and wife always precede the words father and husband. Yet, as Dubois mentions incidentally, the Brahmin texts also place the feminine word before the masculine, and the Brahmins treat women more cruelly than the lowest savages treat them.
I have not been able to find evidence of a gallant, chivalrous, magnanimous attitude toward women in the records of any ancient nation, and as romantic love is inconceivable without such an attitude, and a constant interchange of kindnesses, we may infer from this alone that these nations. were strangers to such love. Professor Ebers makes a special plea for the Egyptians. Noting the statements of Herodotus and Diodorus regarding the greater degree of liberty enjoyed by their women as compared with the Greek, he bases thereon the inference that in their treatment of women the Egyptians were superior to all other nations of antiquity. Perhaps they were; it is not claiming much. But Professor Kendrick notes (I., 46) that although it may be true that the Egyptian women went to market and carried on trades while the men remained at home working at the loom, this is capable of receiving quite a different interpretation from that given by Ebers. The Egyptians regarded work at the loom more as a matter of skill than the Greeks did; and if they allowed the women to do the marketing, that may have been because they preferred to have them carry the heavy burdens and do the harder work, after the fashion of savages and barbarians.
If the Egyptians ever did show any respect for women. they have carefully wiped out all traces of it in modern life. To-day, "among the lower classes and in rural districts the wife is her husband's servant. She works while he smokes and gossips. But among the higher classes, too, the woman actually stands far below the man. He never chats with her, never communicates to her his affairs and cares. Even after death she does not rest by his side, but is separated from him