Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/821

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ON POLYANDRY.

the purpose of fastening these skirts behind; the curiously cut collar keeps the now misplaced notches made to allow of its being worn turned up or down; the smart facings represent the old ordinary lining; and the sham cuffs, now made with a seam about the wrist, are survivals from real cuffs, when the sleeves used to be turned back."

We have tried to show that, while three motives have been influential in dress development, the desire for ornament has been the most powerful; that shame for nudeness, though sometimes acting, has been least potent; that two types of dress have been developed; and that our dress is a combination of these two. We have claimed that the desire for dress has urged on man's mental progress, leading to a search for materials and to development of the arts whereby they are made of service. We have considered some examples of dress of no mean workmanship made by low and barbarous tribes. We have inquired how the forms of garments came to be what they are, and have seen that in our own dress much that is useless survives from the past.

 

ON POLYANDRY.
By Lieutenant-Colonel A. B. ELLIS.

THE numerous examples of the forms of marriage by capture which we gave in a former paper in The Popular Science Monthly will have shown how almost universal the practice of taking wives by violence from other groups must have been in primitive times—a practice which, it may be remembered, we attributed to a prevailing scarcity of women. In the present paper we purpose showing that we were right in predicating of the primitive groups that they usually contained fewer women than men, by adducing evidence of the exceedingly wide distribution of polyandry, a system which can only be attributed to a scarcity of women; for it is inconceivable that men should have voluntarily initiated a form of marriage under which two, three, or more men—sometimes as many as seven or eight—would be the associated husbands of one woman, if there was a possibility of their obtaining a wife apiece. Even if, by doing violence to our common sense, we suppose such a thing to be possible on the part of the men, how would the women submit to a state of affairs which would compel at least three women out of every four, supposing the sexes to be equally balanced, to remain unmarried? It is obvious, however, that polyandry could in its origin only be induced by necessity. There must have been fewer—much fewer—women than men; and as experience and observation show that