Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/409

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Correspondence. ^ilZ

members of which would seem closer to one another than the rest, more bound up together in interest and ultimately in blood ; and these would be the germs of further fission, of new clans. Among savages there is no sharp line of distinction between sacred and secular. Their beliefs and practices, whether we call them magical or religious, are inseparable from their institutions and their ordinary life. Directly the members of a clan are for- bidden to intermarry, that taboo would associate itself in their minds with other taboos, and would attach to itself sanctions of a mysterious nature, such as enforce the observance of other taboos. In short, it would become part of their religion. Changed to a greater or less extent in its objects, it has remained part of the religion of their descendants, and as such we have inherited it. By our education and traditions it has become interwoven in the very texture of our minds. I do not deny that the attraction of new charms, where choice was permitted, may have emphasized the repulsion thus created. The desire for something new is natural, not only in making choice of a mate, but in all human affairs. And where the choice is that of a permanent mate, where the ideal of marriage has been elevated, and love in some- thing like our sense of the word has been evolved, the attraction of new charms may have powerfully reinforced the old taboo. What I do dispute is that it was the foundation of the taboo.

But it may be said, (I am not sure whether Mr. Andrew Lang has not said it, or something like it), that it is easier to introduce reforms in an existing marriage law than to enact a law altogether new. Granted that such changes as I have shown do occur, that is a different thing from making a marriage law where none pre- viously existed, from evolving a cosmos out of chaos. No doubt. Yet, if purposeful alterations are admittedly made in the marriage regulations, there is a strong presumption that the regulations were originally made knowingly, voluntarily, and for a purpose. In one respect they would have been more easily made. The institution of exogamy, in the first instance, would impose restric- tions on passing impulses. But, if there were then already a tendency to the formation of more durable unions, both sexes would have been to a great extent suited with mates. This con- dition of things would operate to enfeeble resistance to restrictions