Page:The Kiss and its History.djvu/199

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185
THE ORIGIN OF KISSING

in taste, or—which is even more probable—in both smell and taste? These latter, as you know, are very closely related to each other.

The dog shows his joy at his master's presence by licking the latter's hand. Why is this? It would not, I suppose, be too rash to assume that he as good as "tastes" him; loving his master, he therefore loves the taste and smell peculiar to him.

The cow licks her calf, and in this one may presumably see the expression of a feeling which is to some extent satisfied by this action. And why so? Undoubtedly by recognising by the tongue (and nose) the taste (and smell) peculiar to the calf.

Now, is it not exceedingly probable that the human kiss, in its original form, can, as to its passive element, be accounted for in an identical way, viz., as a purely sensual assimilation, by means of the nerves of taste and smell, of another person's peculiar qualities with respect to gustus and odor? These qualities have probably been much more conspicuous in primitive mankind than nowadays, just as

    as the active or the passive element predominates, the kiss accompanies and interprets according to the erotic phase. In what follows I shall confine myself exclusively to the receptive element in the kiss.