Page:The Kiss and its History.djvu/201

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187
THE ORIGIN OF KISSING

sort, and whenever savage tribes come into contact with civilised nations the nose-kiss is gradually discarded. Such, for instance, was the case in Madagascar. There is no doubt that savages can express very deep emotions by the nose-kiss. A French missionary tells the story of how he was received when he went back to the island of Pomotu: "When we approached the country all the population assembled on the beach. They had harpoons in their hands, for they imagined we were enemies; but, as soon as they saw my cassock, they shouted, 'That's the Father, away with the harpoons,' and when we reached the shore they all rushed forward to kiss me by rubbing their noses against mine, according to the custom of that country. The ceremony was not very agreeable to me, and I was not altogether pleased at having to take part in it."[1] Civilised people, on the other hand, regard the nose-kiss as something highly ludicrous, and I doubt if any poet has the power of casting a halo of romance over it.

The mouth-kiss, on the contrary, is redolent of the purest and most delicate poesy. A German minnesinger rhapsodises

  1. Retranslated from the Danish Version in the Text