Page:The Kiss and its History.djvu/157

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143
THE KISS OF FRIENDSHIP

that the kiss of friendship is considerably in vogue. In Iceland it is still a general form of salutation, although of late years there is said to be a certain falling off in its use; and every one who travels in South Germany and Austria can study at the very first railway station the different forms of that kind of kiss which in those countries is specially used by way of leave-taking; officers and students, farmers and merchants, all treat each other to sounding kisses, usually on the cheek. One can observe the same sort of thing in France, but more especially in Italy. I can attest from personal experience that it is looked upon as the most natural thing in the world for people to kiss their intimate friends when saying good-bye, a shake of the hand being far too cold a leave-taking beneath the warm sky of Italy.

It is, however, undoubted that, speaking generally, the custom of kissing, as an ordinary greeting, has immensely declined; in ancient times and in the Middle Ages it was much more frequent than nowadays.

It was the common practice with the Hebrews for acquaintances, when they met, to kiss each other on the head, hands, and