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SHALLOW PREDILECTION

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

REPRESSION OF PREFERENCE

Thus Hunter relates (243) of the Missouri and Arkansas tribes that "It is considered disgraceful for a young Indian publicly to prefer one woman to another until he has distinguished himself either in war or in the chase." Should an Indian pay any girl, though he may have known her from childhood, special attention before he has won reputation as a warrior, "he would be sure to suffer the painful mortification of a rejection; he would become the derision of the warriors and the contempt of the squaws." In the Jesuit Relations (III., 73) we read of some of the Canadian Indians that "they have a very rude way of making love; for the suitor, as soon as he shows a preference for a girl, does not dare look at her, nor speak to her, nor stay near her unless accidentally; and then he must force himself not to look her

in the face, nor to give any sign of his passion, otherwise he would be the laughing-stock of all, and his sweetheart would blush for him." Not only must he show no preference, but the choice, too, is not left to him; for the relatives take up the matter and decide whether his age, skill as a hunter, reputation, and family make him a desirable match.

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

UTILITY VERSUS SENTIMENT

We do, indeed, find, at a comparatively early stage, evidences of one girl or man being chosen in preference to others; but when we examine these cases closely we see that the choice is not based on personal qualities but on utilitarian considerations of the most selfish or sensual description. Thus Zöller, in the passage just referred to, says of the negro: "It is true that when he buys a woman he prefers a young one, but his motive for so doing is far from being mental admiration of beauty. He buys the younger ones because they are youthful, strong, and able to work for him." Similarly Belden, who lived twelve years among the Plains Indians, states (302) that "the squaws are valued by the middle-aged men only for their strength and ability to work, and no account whatever is taken of their personal beauty." The girls are no better than the men. Young Comanche girls, says Parker (Schoolcraft, V., 683) “are not averse to marry very old men, particularly if they are chiefs, as they are always sure of something to eat." In describing Amazon Valley Indians, Wallace says (497-498) that there is "a trial of skill

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

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

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A STORY OF AFRICAN LOVE

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

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

SIMILARITY OF INDIVIDUALS AND SEXES

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

Humboldt observed (P. E., 141) that "in barbarous nations there is a physiognomy peculiar to the tribe or horde rather than to any individual." It has been noted by various observers that the lower the race is the more do its individuals thus resemble one another. Nay, this approximation goes so far as to make even the two sexes much less distinct than they

are with us. Professor Fritsch, in his classical treatise on the natives of South Africa (407), dwells especially on the imperfect sexual differentiation of the Bushmen. The faces, stature, limbs, and even the chest and hips of the women differ so little from those of the men that in looking at photographs (as he says and illustrates by specimens), one finds it difficult to tell them apart, though the figures are almost nude. Both sexes are equally lean and equally ugly. The same may be said of the typical Australians, and in Professor and Mrs. Agassiz's Journey in Brazil (530) we read that "the Indian woman has a very masculine air, extending indeed more or less to her whole bearing; for even her features have rarely the feminine delicacy of higher womanhood. In the Negro, on the contrary, the narrowness of chest and shoulder characteristic of the woman is almost as marked in the man ; indeed, it may well be said, that, while the Indian female is remarkable for her masculine build, the negro male is equally so for his feminine aspect." In the Jesuit Relations there are repeated references to the difficulty of distinguishing squaws from male Indians except by certain articles of dress. Burton writes of the Sioux (C. O. S., 59) that "the unaccustomed eye often hesitates between the sexes." In Schoolcraft (V., 274) we are told concerning the Creek women that "being condemned to perform all the hard labor, they are universally masculine in appearance, without one soft blandishment to render them desirable or lovely." Nor is there anything alluringly feminine in the disposition which, as all observers agree, makes Indian women more cruel in torture than the most pitiless men. Equally decisive is the testimony regarding the similarity of the sexes, physical and mental, in the islands of the Pacific. Hawkesworth (II., 446) found the women of New Zealand so lacking in feminine delicacy that it was difficult to distinguish them from the men, except by their voices. Captain Cook (II., 246) observed in Fiji differences in form between men and females, but little difference in features; and of the Hawaiians he wrote that with few exceptions they "have little claim to those peculiarities that distinguish the sex in other countries. There is, indeed, a

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