Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/233

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221
SURVIVALS FROM MARRIAGE BY CAPTURE.

go to live with her husband till she is far advanced in pregnancy. If she does not become pregnant, she may not live in her husband's tent till a full year from the wedding-day.[1]

Our second subhead of this group comprises those forms in which social intercourse between the husband and the tribe, relations, or parents of the wife is forbidden. He is pretended to be regarded as an enemy who has robbed them of one of their number.

An example of the most complete form of this custom, occurring before marriage, has already been quoted from Caillie[2], and, apparently, the restrictions remain in force after marriage, at all events for a time. In most cases, however, the restriction is limited to the relations of the bride. This, according to Rochefort,[3] was the case with the Caribs. He says: "All the women talk with whom they will, but the husband dares not converse with his wife's relatives, except on extraordinary occasions." Baegert describes a similar custom among the Indians of California, with whom the son-in-law was not allowed to look in the face of his mother-in-law, or his wife's nearest relations, but had to step on one side, or to hide himself when they were present.[4] In Florida, the parents-in-law did not enter the son-in-law's house, nor he theirs, nor his brothers-in-law, and, if they met by chance, they went a bow-shot out of their way, with their heads down and eyes fixed on the ground, for they held it a bad thing to see or speak to one another.[5]

Among other peoples the restriction is limited to the mother-in-law, and this form is very wide-spread. It is, or was, observed by the Indians of North America generally, and by many tribes in South America. In Africa the custom is found among the tribes of the Gold Coast, the Mpongwe of the Gaboon, and the Bushmen. The Zulu and his mother-in-law may not mention one another's names, nor look in one another's faces. If they chance to meet they pretend not to see each other, the man hiding his face with his shield. "In Australia" it is compulsory on the mothers-in-law to avoid the sight of their sons-in-law, by making the mothers-in-law take a very circuitous route on all occasions to avoid being seen, and they hide the face and figure with the rug which the female carries with her." The custom which, among the Banyai of South Africa, compels a man to sit with his knees bent in presence of his mother-in-law, and forbids him to put out his feet toward her, has perhaps something to do with this form, as, no doubt, has also the proverbial hostility


  1. Burckhardt, vol. i, p. 269.
  2. Tylor, Early History of Mankind, p. 289.
  3. Hist. Nat. des ties Antilles, p. 545.
  4. Lubbock, p. 14.
  5. Smithsonian Reports, 1863-'64, p. 368.