Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/222

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
210
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

party was anxious to avoid bloodshed, both being "Tribes of the River." The uproar was therefore greater than had they been engaged in actual warfare, it being more difficult to master a man by strength of muscle than to knock a hole through him. At length superior numbers prevailed. Those who fought around the lady were dragged away; she was roughly seized, and such a tugging and hauling ensued that, had she not been to the manner born, she must have been rent in pieces. At last but one young man, a secret admirer of the lady, retained his hold. An active young fellow, he had so twisted his hands and arms into the girl's hair, and fought so vigorously with his legs, that he could not be removed until he was knocked down senseless. The contest ended, and the bride being borne in triumph to the canoes, both parties proceeded to pick up their weapons and smooth their feathers. Everything had been conducted in the most honorable and satisfactory manner. The Ngatiroa had duly declared their intention, and, if they had surprised the Mania, the latter had learned a lesson, and had only succumbed to superior numbers. No lives had been lost; only a few bones broken, which would soon mend, and it would be their turn next time. In the mean time their own characters required them to fulfill the duties of hospitality, and the tawa was requested to remain until food was cooked and placed before it,

The Wa Kamba (Africa) observe a form of capture very similar to the foregoing. Among them the bridegroom is required to carry off his bride by force after the preliminaries are completed. This is attempted by the help of all the friends and relatives that the man can muster, and resisted by the friends and relatives of the woman, and the conflict now and then terminates in the discomfiture of the unlucky husband, who is reduced to the necessity of waylaying his wife when she may be alone in the fields or fetching water from the well.

In these examples resistance is offered by both the men and women of the bride's party, even to the extent of causing a failure of the marriage, at all events for a time. The first disintegration, therefore, appears to be when such resistance is still offered, but where, if it be successful, the bride is finally produced and given up to the party of the bridegroom.

This form is observed by the Kookies of the northeastern frontier of India, of whom Colonel McCulloch says: "When they go to bring away the bride, after having paid for her, they usually receive more kicks than halfpence from the village—that is, they usually get well beaten. But, after the fight is over, the woman is quietly brought from her home and given to the party that came for her, outside the village gate." The custom of the Karens (Burmah), mentioned by Sir John Bowring, is a survival,