Historical Reprints History Primitive Love and Love-Stories

Primitive Love and Love-Stories

Primitive Love and Love-Stories
Catalog # SKU3836
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 4.00 lbs
Author Name Henry T. Finck
ISBN 10: 0000000000
ISBN 13: 0000000000000


Primitive Love
and Love-Stories

Three Volumes

Dedicated To One Who Taught The Author
That Conjugal Affection
Is Not Inferior To Romantic Love

Henry T. Finck

"Love is always the same. As Sappho loved, fifty years ago, so did people love ages before her; so will they love thousands of years hence."

These words, placed by Professor Ebers in the mouth of one of the characters in his historic novel, An Egyptian Princess, express the prevalent opinion on this subject, an opinion which I, too, shared fifteen years ago. Though an ardent champion of the theory of evolution, I believed that there was one thing in the world to which modern scientific ideas of gradual development did not apply-that love was too much part and parcel of human nature to have ever been different from what it is to-day.

Print size, 13 point font



What Made Women Coy?

Sufficient evidence has now been adduced to make it clear that the first of the two questions posed at the outset of this chapter must be answered in the negative. Coyness is not an innate or universal trait of femininity, but is often absent, particularly where man's absorption in war and woman's need of protection prevent its growth and induce the females to do the courting. This being the case and war being the normal state of the lower races, our next task is to ascertain what were the influences that induced woman to adopt the habit of repelling advances instead of making them. It is one of the most interesting questions in sexual psychology, which has never been answered satisfactorily; it and gains additional interest from the fact that we find among the most ancient and primitive races phenomena which resemble coyness and have been habitually designated as such.

As we shall see in a moment, this is an abuse of language, confounding genuine resistance or aversion with coyness. Chinese maidens often feel so great an aversion to marriage as practised in their country that they prefer suicide to it. Douglas says that Chinese women often ask English ladies, "Does your husband beat you?" and are surprised if answered "No." The gallant Chinaman calls his wife his "dull thorn," and there are plenty of reasons apart from Confucian teachings why "for some days before the date fixed, the bride assumes all the panoply of woe, and weeps and wails without ceasing." She is about to face the terrible ordeal of being confronted for the first time with the man who has been chosen for her, and who may be the ugliest, vilest wretch in the world-possibly even a leper, such cases being on record. Douglas reports the case of six girls who committed suicide together to avoid marriage. There exist in China anti-matrimonial societies of girls and young widows, the latter doubtless, supplying the experience that serves as the motive for establishing such associations.

Descending to the lowest stratum of human life as witnessed in Australia, we find that, as Meyer asserts, the bride appears "generally to go very unwillingly" to the man she has been assigned to. Lumholtz relates that the man seizes the woman by the wrists and carries her off "despite her screams, which can be heard till she is a mile away." "The women," he says, "always make resistance; for they do not like to leave their tribe, and in many instances they have the best of reasons for kicking their lovers." What are these reasons? As all observers testify, they are not allowed any voice in the choice of their husbands. They are usually bartered by their father or brothers for other women, and in many if not most cases the husbands assigned to them are several times their age. Before they are assigned to a particular man the girls indulge in promiscuous intercourse, whereas after marriage they are fiercely guarded. They may indeed attempt to elope with another man more suited to their age, but they do so at the risk of cruel injury and probable death. The wives have to do all the drudgery; they get only such food as the husbands do not want, and on the slightest suspicion of intrigue they are maltreated horribly.

Causes enough surely for their resistance to obligatory marriage. This resistance is a frank expression of genuine unwillingness, or aversion, and has nothing in common with real coyness, which signifies the mere semblance of unwillingness on the part of a woman who is at least half-willing. Such expressions as Goldsmith's "the coy maid, half willing to be pressed," and Dryden's

"When the kind nymph would coyness feign,
And hides but to be found again,"

indicate the nature of true coyness better than any definitions. There are no "coy looks," no "feigning" in the actions of an Australian girl about to be married to a man who is old enough to be her grandfather. The "cold disdain" is real, not assumed, and there is no "dissemblance of feminine affection."

Reasons for Bathing.

Among the inhabitants of the islands of the Pacific we meet with apparent exceptions. These natives are practically amphibious, spending half their time in the ocean, and are therefore of necessity clean. So are certain coast negroes and Indian tribes living along river-banks. But Ellis was shrewd enough to see that the habit of frequent bathing indulged in by the South Sea Islanders was a luxury-a result of the hot climate-and not an indication of the virtue of cleanliness. In this respect Captain Cook showed less acumen, for he remarks that "nothing appears to give them greater pleasure than personal cleanliness, to produce which they frequently bathe in ponds." His confusion of ideas is made apparent in the very next sentence, where he adds that the water in most of these ponds "stinks intolerably."

That it is merely the desire for comfort and sport that induces the Polynesians to bathe so much is proved further by the attitude of the New Zealanders. Hawksworth declares that they "stink like Hottentots;" and the reason lies in the colder climate which makes bathing less of a luxury to them. The Micronesians also spend much of their time in the water, for comfort, not for cleanliness. Gerland cites grewsome details of their nastiness. The Kaffirs, says Gardiner, "although far from cleanly," are fond of bathing. In some other cases the water is sought for its warmth instead of its coolness. In Brazil the morning air is much colder than the water, wherefore the natives take to the river for comfort, as the Japanese do in winter to their hot tubs. All Indians, says Bancroft, "attach great importance to their sweatbaths," not for cleanliness-for they are "extremely filthy in their persons and habits"-but "as a remedial measure."

Unless they happen to indulge in bathing for comfort, the lowest of savages are also the dirtiest. Leigh writes that in South Australia many of the women, including the wives of chiefs, had "sore eyes from the smoke, the filth, and their abominable want of cleanliness." Sturt refers to the Australian women as "disgusting objects." At funerals, "the women besmear themselves with the most disgusting filth." The naked boys in Taplin's school "had no notion of cleanliness." The youths from the age of ten to sixteen or seventeen were compelled by custom to let their hair grow, the result being "a revolting mass of tangled locks and filth." Sturt sums up his impressions by declaring : "Really, the loathsome condition and hideous countenances of the women would, I should imagine, have been a complete antidote to the sexual passion."

Softcover, 7 x 8½ , 1685 pages
Perfect-Bound - 3 Volumes
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