Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/295

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
281
THEORIES OF PRIMITIVE MARRIAGE.

woman herself. Sir John Lubbock expresses the opinion that female coyness is not an adequate cause for the establishment of the form of capture; and it may be that, taken alone, it does not suffice to account for everything. But there are reasons for thinking it an important factor. Here are some of them. Crantz tells us concerning: the Esquimaux that, when a damsel is asked in marriage, she—

"directly falls into the greatest apparent consternation, and runs out-of-doors tearing her hunch of hair; for single women always affect the utmost bashfulness and aversion to any proposal of marriage, lest they should lose their reputation for modesty."

Like behavior is shown by Bushmen girls. When—

"a girl has grown up to womanhood without having previously been betrothed, her lover must gain her own approbation, as well as that of the parents; and on this occasion his attentions are received with an affectation of great alarm and disinclination on her part, and with some squabbling on the part of her friends."

Again, among the Sinai Arabs, says Burckhardt, a bride—

"defends herself with stones, and often inflicts wounds on the young men, even though she does not dislike the lover; for, according to custom, the more she struggles, bites, kicks, cries, and strikes, the more she is applauded ever after by her own companions." During the procession to the husband's camp, "decency obliges her to cry and sob most bitterly."

Of the Muzos, Piedrahita narrates that after agreement with the parents was made—

"the bridegroom came to see the bride, and staid three days caressing her, while she replied by beating him with her fists and with sticks. After these three days she got tamer, and cooked his meals."
 

In these cases, then, coyness, either real or affected for reputation's sake, causes resistance of the woman herself. In other cases there is joined with this the resistance of her female friends. We read of the Sumatran women that "both the bride and her female relatives make it a point of honor to prevent (or appear to prevent) the bridegroom from obtaining his bride." On the occasion of a marriage among the Araucanians, Smith tells us that "the women spring up en masse, and arming themselves with clubs, stones, and missiles of all kinds, rush to the defense of the distressed maiden.... It is a point of honor with the bride to resist and struggle, however willing she may be." And once more we learn from Grieve that when a Kamtchatkan "bridegroom obtains the liberty of seizing his bride, he seeks every opportunity of finding her alone, or in company of a few people, for during this time all the women in the village are obliged to protect her."

Here we have, I think, proof that one origin of the form of capture is feminine opposition primarily of the woman herself, and secondarily of female friends who naturally sympathize with her. Though the manners of the inferior races do not imply much coyness, yet we