Page:Totem and Taboo (1919).djvu/34

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for an elderly woman, old enough to be his mother.[1]

The same objection was also raised against the conception of Fison who called attention to the fact that certain marriage class systems show a gap in that they make marriage between a man and his mother-in-law theoretically not impossible and that a special guarantee was therefore necessary to guard against this possibility.

Sir J. Lubbock, in his book “The Origin of Civilization,” traces back the behavior of the mother-in-law toward the son-in-law to the former “marriage by capture.” “As long as the capture of women actually took place, the indignation of the parents was probably serious enough. When nothing but symbols of this form of marriage survived, the indignation of the parents was also symbolized and this custom continued after its origin had been forgotten.” Crawley has found it easy to show how little this tentative explanation agrees with the details of actual observation.

E. B. Tylor thinks that the treatment of the son-in-law on the part of the mother-in-law is nothing more than a form of “cutting” on the part of the woman’s family. The man counts as a stranger, and this continues until the first child is born. But even if no account is taken of cases

  1. V. Crawley: “The Mystic Rose,” London, 1902, p. 405.