Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/403

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Correspondence. 367

of his investigations on the subject ; and those who have given attention to AustraHan sociology will agree that it correctly repre- sents the facts.

On one important matter we are entirely ignorant, — the liberty of choice permitted to either sex in the days when the law of exogamy was in process of evolution. Certain it is that a large number of peoples at the present day allow little choice to the woman. Infant betrothals are a late development. But besides this, both in the eastern and western hemispheres, there are plenty of tribes who pay little or no regard to the wishes of either of the parties chiefly concerned. And usually both parties submit without difficulty. The fact probably is that, though there are from time to time individual preferences, what we call love does not enter into the question. Marriage is much more the satisfaction of an animal instinct, or of a social need largely independent of the will of the parties. If any contrary preference be manifested, social pressure, or that of the potesias, is brought effectively to bear on the recalcitrant person ; the union once formed settles down into use and wont, or it is broken at the bidding of caprice, or when it is found for some other reason intolerable, or merely inconvenient, by either party. It may have been thus in early times, or it may not. Even promiscuity is not altogether inconsistent with a measure of compulsion. All I want to point out is that it is unsafe to argue from the assumption that connubium in early days was the free choice by either sex of a life- partner under emotional conditions at all similar to those we associate with love and marriage.

For these reasons, here only roughly and rapidly stated, and others, I cannot see my way to accept Dr. Westermarck's theory. Both his theory and Mr. Lang's are based on their common rejection of the hypothesis of primitive promiscuity, — an hypo- thesis which, in spite of the incisive criticisms which have been addressed to it, especially by Dr. Westermarck, seems to me by no means untenable. It is impossible here to discuss this question at length. But two observations may be made. The first is that unwarrantable stress has been laid upon jealousy. I have collected a large number of examples drawn from every quarter of the globe which prove that in the lower culture jealousy is a