Primitive Love and Love-Stories
by Henry Theophilus Finck
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In Equatorial Africa, "if a man marries and his wife thinks that he can afford another spouse, she pesters him to marry again, and calls him a stingy fellow if he declines to do so" (Reade, 259). Livingstone (N.E.Z., 284) says of the Makalolo women:

"On hearing that a man in England could marry but one wife, several ladies exclaimed that they would not like to live in such a country; that they could not imagine how English ladies could relish such a custom, for, in their way of thinking, every man of respectability should have a number of wives, as a proof of his wealth. Similar ideas prevail all down the Zambesi."

Some amusing instances are reported by Burton (T.T.G.L., I., 36, 78, 79). The lord of an African village appeared to be much ashamed because he had only two wives. His sole excuse was that he was only a boy—about twenty-two. Regarding the Mpongwe of the Gaboon, Burton says: "Polygamy is, of course, the order of the day; it is a necessity to the men, and even the women disdain to marry a 'one-wifer.'" In his book on the Kafirs of the Hindu-Kush, G.S. Robertson writes:

"It is considered a reproach to have only one wife, a sign of poverty and insignificance. There was on one occasion a heated discussion at Kamdesh concerning the best plans to be adopted to prepare for an expected attack. A man sitting on the outskirts of the assembly controverted something the priest said. Later on the priest turned round fiercely and demanded to be told how a man with 'only one wife' presumed to offer an opinion at all."

His religion allowed a Mohammedan to take four legitimate wives, while their prophet himself had a larger number. A Hindoo was permitted by the laws of Manu to marry four women if he belonged to the highest caste, but if he was of the lowest caste he was condemned to monogamy.

King Solomon was held in honor though he had unnumbered wives, concubines, and virgins at his disposal.

How far the sentiment of monogamy—one of the essential ingredients of Romantic Love—had penetrated the skulls of American Indians may be inferred from the amusing and typical details related by the historian Parkman (O.T., chap. xi.) of the Dakota or Sioux Indians, among whom he sojourned. The man most likely to become the next chief was a fellow named Mahto-Tatonka, whose father had left a family of thirty, which number the young man was evidently anxious to beat:

"Though he appeared not more than twenty-one years old, he had oftener struck the enemy, and stolen more horses and more squaws than any young man in the village. We of the civilized world are not apt to attach much credit to the latter species of exploits; but horse-stealing is well-known as an avenue to distinction on the prairies, and the other kind of depredation is esteemed equally meritorious. Not that the act can confer fame from its own intrinsic merits. Any one can steal a squaw, and if he chooses afterward to make an adequate present to her rightful proprietor, the easy husband for the most part rests content; his vengeance falls asleep, and all danger from that quarter is averted. Yet this is esteemed but a pitiful and mean-spirited transaction. The danger is averted, but the glory of the achievement also is lost. Mahto-Tatonka proceeded after a more gallant and dashing fashion. Out of several dozen squaws whom he had stolen, he could boast that he had never paid for one, but snapping his fingers in the face of the injured husband, had defied the extremity of his indignation, and no one had yet dared to lay the hand of violence upon him. He was following close in the footsteps of his father. The young men and the young squaws, each in their way, admired him. The one would always follow him to war, and he was esteemed to have an unrivalled charm in the eyes of the other."

Thus the admiration of the men, the love (Indian style) of the women, and the certainty of the chieftainship—the highest honor accessible to an Indian—were the rewards of actions which in a civilized community would soon bring such a "brave" to the gallows. Some of the agencies by which the belief that wife-stealing and polygamy are honorable was displaced by the modern sentiment in favor of monogamy, will be considered later on. Here I simply wish to enforce the additional moral that not only the ideas regarding bigamy and polygamy have changed, but the emotions aroused by such actions; execration having taken the place of admiration. Judging by such cases, is it likely that ideas concerning women and love could change so utterly as they have since the days of the ancient Greeks, without changing the emotions of love itself? Sentiments consist of ideas and emotions. If both are altered, the sentiments must have changed as a matter of course. Let us take as a further example the sentiment of modesty.


There are many Christian women who, if offered the choice between death and walking naked down the street, would choose death as being preferable to eternal disgrace and social suicide. If they preferred the other alternative, they would be arrested and, if known to be respectable, sent to an insane asylum. The English legend relates that "peeping Tom" was struck blind because he did not stay in the house as commanded when the good Lady Godiva was obliged to ride naked through the market-place. So strong, indeed, is the sentiment of modesty in our community that the old-fashioned philosophers used to maintain it was an innate instinct, always present under normal conditions. The fact that every child has to be gradually taught to avoid indecent exposure, ought to have enlightened these philosophers as to their error, which is further made plain to the orthodox by the Biblical story that in the beginning of human life the man and his wife were both naked and not ashamed.

Naked and not ashamed is the condition of primitive man wherever climatic and other motives do not prescribe dress. Writing of the Arabs at Wat El Negur, Samuel Baker says (N.T.A., 265):

"Numbers of young girls and women were accustomed to bathe perfectly naked in the river just before our tent. I employed them to catch small fish for bait; and for hours they would amuse themselves in this way, screaming with excitement and fun, and chasing the small fry with their long clothes in lieu of nets; their figures were generally well-shaped.... The men were constantly bathing in the clear waters of the Athabara, and were perfectly naked, although close to the women; we soon became accustomed to this daily scene, as we do at Brighton and other English bathing towns."

In his work on German Africa (II., 123) Zoeller says that in Togoland

"the young girls did not hesitate in the least to remove their only article of clothing, a narrow strip of cloth, rub themselves with a native soap and then take a dip in the lagoon, before the eyes of white men as well as black."

A page would be required merely to enumerate the tribes in Africa, Australia, and South America which never wear any clothing.

Max Buchner (352-4) gives a graphic description (1878) of the nude female surf swimmers in the Hawaiian Islands. Nor is this indifference to nudity manifested only by these primitive races. In Japan, to the present day, men and women bathe in the same room, separated merely by a partition, two or three feet high.[8] Zoeller relates of the Cholos of Ecuador (P. and A., 364) that "men and women bathe together in the rivers with a naivete surpassing that of the South Sea Islanders." A writer in the Ausland (1870, p. 294) reports that in Paraguay he saw the women washing their only dress, and while they waited for the sun to dry it, they stood by naked calmly smoking their cigars.

But natural indifference to nudity is the least of the curiosities of modesty. Sometimes nakedness is actually prescribed by law or by strict etiquette. In Rohl all women who are not Arabic are forbidden to wear clothing of any sort. The King of Mandingo allowed no women, not even princesses, to approach him unless they were naked (Hellwald, 77-8). Dubois (I., 265) says that in some of the southern provinces of India the women of certain castes must uncover their body from the head to the girdle when speaking to a man: "It would be thought a want of politeness and good breeding to speak to men with that part of the body clothed."

In his travels among the Cameroon negroes Zoeller (II., 185) came across a strange bit of religious etiquette in regard to nudity. The women there wear nothing but a loin cloth, except in case of a death, when, like ourselves, they appear all in black—with a startling difference, however. One day, writes Zoeller,

"I was astounded to see a number of women and girls strolling about stark naked before the house of a man who had died of diphtheria. This, I was told, was their mourning dress.... The same custom prevails in other parts of West Africa."

Modesty is as fickle as fashion and assumes almost as many different forms as dress itself. In most Australian tribes the women (as well as the men) go naked, yet in a few they not only wear clothes but go out of sight to bathe. Stranger still, the Pele islanders were so innocent of all idea of clothing that when they first saw Europeans they believed that their clothes were their skins. Nevertheless, the men and women bathed in different places. Among South American Indians nudity is the rule, whereas some North American Indians used to place guards near the swimming-places of the women, to protect them from spying eyes.

According to Gill (230), the Papuans of Southwestern New Guinea "glory in their nudeness and consider clothing fit only for women." There are many places where the women alone were clothed, while in others the women alone were naked. Mtesa, the King of Uganda, who died in 1884, inflicted the death penalty on any man who dared to approach him without having every inch of his legs carefully covered; but the women who acted as his servants were stark naked (Hellwald, 78).

While the etiquette of modesty is thus subject to an endless variety of details, every nation and tribe enforces its own ideal of propriety as the only correct thing. In Tahiti and Tonga it would be considered highly indecent to go about without being tattooed. Among Samoans and other Malayans the claims of propriety are satisfied if only the navel is covered. "The savage tribes of Sumatra and Celebes have a like feeling about the knee, which is always carefully covered" (Westermarck, 207). In China it is considered extremely indecent if a woman allows her bare feet to be seen, even by her husband, and a similar idea prevails among some Turkish women, who carefully wrap up their feet before they go to bed (Ploss, I., 344). Hindoo women must not show their faces, but it is not improper to wear a dress so gauzy that the whole figure is revealed through it. "In Moruland," says Emin Bey,

"the women mostly go about absolutely naked, a few only attaching a leaf behind to their waistband. It is curious to note, on meeting a bevy of these uncovered beauties carrying water, that the first thing they do with their free hand is to cover the face."

These customs prevail in all Moslem countries. Mariti relates in his Viaggi (II., 288):

"Travelling in summer across the fields of Syria I repeatedly came across groups of women, entirely naked, washing themselves near a well. They did not move from the place, but simply covered the face with one hand, their whole modesty consisting in the desire not to be recognized."

Sentimental topsy-turviness reaches its climax in those cases where women who usually go naked are ashamed to be seen clothed. Such cases are cited by several writers,[9] and appear to be quite common. The most amusing instance I have come across is in a little-known volume on Venezuela by Lavayasse, who writes (190):

"It is known that those [Indians] of the warm climates of South America, among whom civilization has not made any progress, have no other dress than a small apron, or kind of bandage, to hide their nakedness. A lady of my acquaintance had contracted a kindness for a young Paria Indian woman, who was extremely handsome. We had given her the name of Grace. She was sixteen years old, and had lately been married to a young Indian of twenty-five, who was our sportsman. This lady took a pleasure in teaching her to sew and embroider. We said to her one day, 'Grace, you are extremely pretty, speak French well, and are always with us: you ought not therefore to live like the other native women, and we shall give you some clothes. Does not your husband wear trousers and a shirt?' Upon this she consented to be dressed. The lady lost no time in arranging her dress, a ceremony at which I had the honor of assisting. We put on a shift, petticoats, stockings, shoes, and a Madras handkerchief on her head. She looked quite enchanting, and saw herself in the looking-glass with great complacency. Suddenly her husband returned from shooting, with three or four Indians, when the whole party burst into a loud fit of laughter at her, and began to joke about her new habiliments. Grace was quite abashed, blushed, wept, and ran to hide herself in the bed-chamber of the lady, where she stript herself of the clothes, went out of the window, and returned naked into the room. A proof that when her husband saw her dressed for the first time, she felt a sensation somewhat similar to that which a European woman might experience who was surprised without her usual drapery."

Another paradox remains to be noted. Anthropologists have now proved beyond all possibility of doubt that modesty, far from having led to the use of clothing, was itself merely a secondary consequence of the gradual adoption of apparel as a protection. They have also shown[10] that the earliest forms of dress were extremely scanty, and were intended not to cover certain parts of the body, but actually and wantonly to call attention to them, while in other cases the only parts of the body habitually covered were such as we should consider it no special impropriety to leave uncovered. But enough has been said to demonstrate what we started out to prove: that the strong sentiment of modesty in our community—so strong that many insist it must be part and parcel of human nature (like love!)—has, like all the other sentiments here discussed, grown up slowly from microscopic beginnings.


Closely connected with modesty, and yet entirely distinct from it, is another and still stronger sentiment—the regard for chastity. Many an American officer whose brave wife accompanied him in a frontier war has been asked by her to promise that he would shoot her with his own revolver rather than let her fall into the clutches of licentious Indians. Though deliberate murder is punishable by death, no American jury has ever convicted a man for slaying the seducer of his wife, daughter, or sister. Modern law punishes rape with death, and its victim is held to have suffered a fate worse than death. The brightest of all jewels in a bride's crown of virtues is chastity—a jewel without which all the others lose their value. Yet this jewel of jewels formerly had no more value than a pebble in a brook-bed. The sentiment in behalf of chastity had no existence for ages, and for a long time after it came into existence chastity was known not as a virtue but only as a necessity, inculcated by fear of punishment or loss of worldly advantages.

In support of this statement a whole volume might be written; but as abundant evidence will be given in later chapters relating to the lower races in Africa, Australia, Polynesia, America, and Asia, only a few instances need be cited here. In his recent work on the Origin and Growth of the Moral Sense (1898), Alexander Sutherland, an Australian author, writes (I., 180):

"In the House of Commons papers for 1844 will be found some 350 printed pages of reports, memoranda, and letters, gathered by the standing committee appointed in regard to the treatment of aboriginals in the Australian colonies. All these have the same unlovely tale to tell of an absolute incapacity to form even a rudimentary notion of chastity. One worthy missionary, who had been for some years settled among tribes of New South Wales, as yet brought in contact with no other white men, writes with horror of what he had observed. The conduct of the females, even young children, is most painful; they are cradled in prostitution and fostered in licentiousness. Brough Smith (II., 240) quotes several authorities who record that in Western Australia the women in early youth were almost prostitutes. 'For about six months after their initiation into manhood the youths were allowed an unbounded licence, and there was no possible blame attached to the young unmarried girl who entertained them'" (179).

In Lewis and Clark's account of their expedition across the American Continent they came to the conclusion that there was an utter absence of regard for chastity "among all Indians," and they relate the following as a sample (439):

"Among all the tribes, a man will lend his wife or daughter for a fish-hook or a strand of beads. To decline an offer of this sort is indeed to disparage the charms of the lady, and therefore gives such offence, that, although we had occasionally to treat the Indians with rigor, nothing seemed to irritate both sexes more than our refusal to accept the favors of the females. On one occasion we were amused by a Clatsop, who, having been cured of some disorder by our medical skill, brought his sister as a reward for our kindness. The young lady was quite anxious to join in this expression of her brother's gratitude, and mortified we did not avail ourselves of it."

De Varigny, who lived forty years in the Hawaiian Islands, says (159) that

"the chief difficulty of the missionaries in the Sandwich Islands was teaching the women chastity; they knew neither the word nor the thing. Adultery, incest, fornication, were the common order of things, accepted by public opinion, and even consecrated by religion."

The same is true of other Polynesians, the Tahitians, for instance, of whom Captain Cook wrote that they are

"people who have not even the idea of decency, and who gratify every appetite and passion before witnesses, with no more sense of impropriety than we feel when we satisfy our hunger at a social board with our friends."

Among the highest of all these island peoples, the Tongans, the only restriction to incontinence was that the lover must not be changed too often.

What Dalton says of the Chilikata Mishmis, one of the wild tribes of India, applies to many of the lower races in all parts of the world:

"Marriage ceremony there is, I believe, none; it is simply an affair of purchase, and the women thus obtained, if they can be called wives, are not much bound by the tie. The husbands do not expect them to be chaste; they take no cognizance of their temporary liaisons so long as they are not deprived of their services. If a man is dispossessed of one of his wives, he has a private injury to avenge, and takes the earliest opportunity of retaliating, but he cannot see that a woman is a bit the worse for a little incontinency."

In many cases not only was there complete indifference to chastity, but virginity in a bride was actually looked on with disfavor. The Finnish Votyaks considered it honorable in a girl to be a mother before she was a wife. The Central American Chibchas were like the Philippine Bisayos, of whom a sixteenth century writer, quoted by Jagor, said that a man is unhappy to find his bride above suspicion, "because, not having been desired by anyone, she must have some bad quality which will prevent him from being happy with her."

The wide prevalence in all parts of the world of the custom of lending or exchanging wives, or offering wife or daughter to a guest,[11] also bears witness to the utter indifference to chastity, conjugal and maiden; as does the custom known as the jus primae noctis. Dr. Karl Schmidt has tried very hard to prove that such a "right" to the bride never existed. But no one can read his treatises without noting that his argument rests on a mere quibble, the word jus. There may have been no codified law or "right" allowing kings, bishops, chiefs, landlords, medicine men, and priests to claim brides first, but that the privilege existed in various countries and was extensively made use of, there can be no doubt. Westermarck (73-80), Letourneau (56-62), Ploss (I., 400-405), and others have collected abundant proofs. Here I have room for only a few instances, showing that those whom we would consider the victims of such a horrible custom, not only submitted to it with resignation, but actually looked on it as an honor and a highly coveted privilege.

"The aboriginal inhabitants of Teneriffe are represented as having married no woman who had not previously spent a night with the chief, which was considered a great honor."

"Navarette tells us that, on the coast of Malabar, the bridegroom brought the bride to the King, who kept her eight days in the palace; and the man took it 'as a great honor and favor that the King should make use of her.'"

"Egede informs us that the women of Greenland thought themselves fortunate if an Angekokk, or prophet, honored them with his caresses; and some husbands even paid him, because they believed that the child of such a holy man could not but be happier and better than others." (Westermarck, 77, 80.)

"In Cumana the priests, who were regarded as holy, slept only with unmarried women, 'porque tenian por honorosa costumbre que ellos las quitassen la virginidad.'" (Bastian, K.A.A., II., 228.)

From this lowest depth of depravity it would be interesting, if space and the architectural plan of this volume permitted, to trace the growth of the sentiment which demands chastity; noting, in the first place, how married women were compelled, by the jealous fury of their masters, to practise continence; how, very much later, virginity began to be valued, not, indeed, at first, as a virtue having a value and charm of its own, but as a means of enhancing the market value of brides. Indifference to masculine chastity continued much longer still. The ancient civilized nations had advanced far enough to value purity in wives and maidens, but it hardly occurred to them that it was man's duty to cultivate the same virtue. Even so austere and eminent a moral philosopher as Cicero declared that one would have to be very severe indeed to ask young men to refrain from illicit relations. The mediaeval church fathers endeavored for centuries to enforce the doctrine that men should be as pure as women, with what success, every one knows. A more powerful agency in effecting a reform was the loathsome disease which in the fifteenth century began to sweep away millions of licentious men, and led to the survival of the fittest from the moral point of view. The masculine standard is still low, but immense progress has been made during the last hundred years. The number of prostitutes in Europe is still estimated at seven hundred thousand, yet that makes only seven to every thousand females, and though there are many other unchaste women, it is safe to say that in England and America, at any rate, more than nine hundred out of every thousand females are chaste, whereas among savages, as a rule, nearly all females are prostitutes (in the moral sense of the word), before they marry. In view of this astounding progress there is no reason to despair regarding man's future. It would be a great triumph of civilization if the average man could be made as pure as the average woman. At the same time, since the consequences of sin are infinitely more serious in women, it is eminently proper that they should be in the van of moral progress.

Chastity, modesty, polygamy, murder, religion, and nature have now furnished us an abundance of illustrations showing the changeableness and former non-existence of sentiments which in us are so strong that we are inclined to fancy they must have been the same always and everywhere. Before proceeding to prove that romantic love is another sentiment of which the same may be said, let us pause a moment to discuss a sentiment which presents one of the most difficult problems in the psychology of love, the Horror of Incest.


A young man does not fall in love with his sister though she be the most attractive girl he knows. Nor does her father fall in love with her, nor the mother with the son, or the son with the mother. Not only is there no sexual love between them, but the very idea of marriage fills their mind with unutterable horror, and in the occasional cases where such a marriage is made through ignorance of the relationship, both parties usually commit suicide, though they are guiltless of deliberate crime. Here we have the most striking and absolute proof that circumstances, habits, ideas, laws, customs, can and do utterly annihilate sexual love in millions of individuals. Why then should it be so unlikely that the laws and customs of the ancient Greeks, for instance, with their ideas about women and marriage, should have prevented the growth of sentimental love? Note the modesty of my claim. While it is certain that both the sensual and the sentimental sides of sexual love are stifled by the horror of incest, all that I claim in regard to ancient and primitive races is that the sentimental side of love was smothered by unfavorable circumstances and hindered in growth by various obstacles which will be described later on in this volume. Surely this is not such a reckless theory as it seemed to some of my critics.

Like the other sentiments discussed in this chapter, the horror of incest has been found to be absent among races in various stages of development. Incestuous unions occurred among Chippewas and other American Indians. Of the Peruvian Indians, Garcilasso de la Vega says that some cohabited with their sisters, daughters, or mothers; similar facts are recorded of some Brazilians, Polynesians, Africans, and wild tribes of India. "Among the Annamese, according to a missionary who has lived among them for forty years, no girl who is twelve years old and has a brother is a virgin" (Westermarck, 292). Gypsies allow a brother to marry a sister, while among the Veddahs of Ceylon the marriage of a man with his younger sister is considered the proper marriage. In the Indian Archipelago and elsewhere there are tribes who permit marriage between parents and their children. The legends of India and Hindoo theology abound in allusions to incestuous unions, and a nation's mythology reflects its own customs. According to Strabo the ancient Irish married their mothers and sisters. Among the love-stories of the ancient Greeks, as we shall see later on, there are a surprising number the subject of which is incest, indicating that that crime was of not infrequent occurrence. But it is especially by royal personages that incest has been practised. In ancient Persia, Parthia, Egypt, and other countries the kings married their own sisters, as did the Incas of Peru, for political reasons, other women being regarded as too low in rank to become queens; and the same phenomenon occurs in Hawaii, Siam, Burma, Ceylon, Madagascar, etc. In some cases incestuous unions for kings and priests are even prescribed by religion. At the licentious festivals common among tribes in America, Africa, India, and elsewhere, incest was one of the many forms of bestiality indulged in; this gives it a wide prevalence.

Much ingenuity has been expended in attempts to account for the origin of the horror of incest. The main reason why it has so far remained more or less of a mystery, is that each writer advanced a single cause, which he pressed into service to explain all the facts, the result being confusion and contradiction. In my opinion different agencies must be assumed in different cases. When we find among Australians, American Indians (and even the Chinese), customs, enforced by the strongest feelings, forbidding a man to marry a woman belonging to the same clan or having the same surname, though not at all related, while allowing a marriage with a sister or other near blood relative, we are obviously not dealing with a question of incest at all, but with some of the foolish taboos prevalent among these races, the origin of which they themselves have forgotten. Mr. Andrew Lang probably hit the nail on the head when he said (258) in regard to the rule which compels savages to marry only outside of the tribe, that these prohibitions "must have arisen in a stage of culture when ideas of kindred were confused, included kinship with animals and plants, and were to us almost, if not quite, unintelligible." To speak of instinct and natural selection teaching the Veddahs to abhor marriage with an elder sister while making union with a younger sister the proper marriage (Westermarck, 292) is surely to assume that instinct and natural selection act in an asinine way, which they never do—except in asses.

In a second class of cases, where lower races have ideas similar to ours, I believe that the origin of domestic chastity must be sought in utilitarian practices. In the earlier stages of marriage, girls are usually bought of their parents, who profit by the sale or barter. Now when a man marries a girl to be his wife and maid of all work, he does not want to take her to his home hampered by a bevy of young children. Fathers guilty of incestuous practices would therefore be unable to dispose of their daughters to advantage, and thus a prejudice in favor of domestic purity would gradually arise which a shrewd medicine man would some day raise to the rank of a religious or social taboo.

As regards modern society, Darwin, Brinton, Hellwald, Bentham, and others have advocated or endorsed the view that the reason why such a horror of incestuous unions prevails, is that novelty is the chief stimulus to the sexual feelings, and that the familiarity of the same household breeds indifference. I do not understand how any thinker can have held such a view for one moment. When Bentham wrote (Theory of Legislation, pt. iii., chap. V.) that "individuals accustomed to see each other from an age which is capable neither of conceiving desire nor of inspiring it, will see each other with the same eyes to the end of life," he showed infinitely less knowledge of human nature than the author of Paul and Virginia, who makes a boy and a girl grow up almost like brother and sister, and at the proper time fall violently in love with one another. Who cannot recall in his own experience love marriages of schoolmates or of cousins living in intimate association from their childhood? To say that such bringing up together creates "indifference" is obviously incorrect; to say that it leads to "aversion" is altogether unwarranted; and to trace to it such a feeling as our horror at the thought of marrying a sister, or mother, is simply preposterous.

The real source of the horror of incest in civilized communities was indicated more than two thousand years ago by Plato. He believed that the reason why incestuous unions were avoided and abhorred, was to be found in the constant inculcation, at home and in literature, that

"They are unholy, hated of God, and most infamous.... Everyone from his earliest childhood has heard men speaking in the same manner about them always and everywhere, whether in comedy or in the graver language of tragedy. When the poet introduces on the stage a Thyestes or an Oedipus, or a Macareus having secret intercourse with his sister, he represents him, when found out, ready to kill himself as the penalty of his sin." (Laws, VIII., 838.)

Long before Plato another great "medicine man," Moses, saw the necessity of enforcing a "taboo" against incest by the enactment of special severe laws relating to intercourse between relatives; and that there was no "instinct" against incest in his time is shown by the fact that he deemed it necessary to make such circumstantial laws for his own people, and by his specific testimony that "in all these things the nations are defiled which I cast out from before you, and the land is defiled." Regarding his motives in making such laws, Milman has justly remarked (H.J., I., 220),

"The leading principle of these enactments was to prohibit near marriage between those parties among whom, by the usage of their society, early and frequent intimacy was unavoidable and might lead to abuse."

If Moses lived now, he would still be called upon to enact his laws; for to this day the horror of incest is a sentiment which it is necessary to keep up and enforce by education, moral precept, religion, and law. It is no more innate or instinctive than the sentiment of modesty, the regard for chastity, or the disapproval of bigamy. Children are not born with it any more than with the feeling that it is improper to be seen naked. Medical writers bear witness to the wide prevalence of unnatural practices among children, even in good families, while in the slums of the large cities, where the families are herded like swine, there is a horrible indulgence in every kind of incest by adults as well as children.

Absolute proof that the horror of incest is not innate lies furthermore in the unquestionable fact that a man can escape the calamity of falling in love with his sister or daughter only if he knows the relationship. There are many instances on record—to which the daily press adds others—of incestuous unions brought about by ignorance of the consanguinity. Oedipus was not saved by an instinct from marrying his mother. It was only after the discovery of the relationship that his mind was filled with unutterable horror, while his wife and mother committed suicide. This case, though legendary, is typical—a mirror of actuality—showing how potent ideas are to alter emotions. Yet I am assailed for asserting that the Greeks and the lower races, whose ideas regarding women, love, polygamy, chastity, and marriage were so different from ours, also differed from us in their feelings—the quality of their love. There were numerous obstacles to overcome before romantic love was able to emerge—obstacles so serious and diverse that it is a wonder they were ever conquered. But before considering those obstacles it will be advisable to explain definitely just what romantic love is and how it differs from the sensual "love" or lust which, of course, has always existed among men as among other animals.


How does it feel to be in love?

When a man loves a girl, he feels such an overwhelming individual preference for her that though she were a beggar-maid he would scorn the offer to exchange her for an heiress, a princess, or the goddess of beauty herself. To him she seems to have a monopoly of all the feminine charms, and she therefore monopolizes his thoughts and feelings to the exclusion of all other interests, and he longs not only for her reciprocal affection but for a monopoly of it. "Does she love me?" he asks himself a hundred times a day. "Sometimes she seems to treat me with cold indifference—is that merely the instinctive assertion of feminine coyness, or does she prefer another man?" The pangs, the agony of jealousy overcome him at this thought. He hopes one moment, despairs the next, till his moods become so mixed that he hardly knows whether he is happy or miserable. He, who is usually so bold and self-confident, is humbled; feels utterly unworthy of her. In his fancy she soars so far above all other women that calling her an angel seems not a hyperbole, but a compliment to the angel. Toward such a superior being the only proper attitude is adoration. She is spotless as an angel, and his feelings toward her are as pure, as free from coarse cravings, as if she were a goddess. How royally proud a man must feel at the thought of being preferred above all mortals by this divine being! In personal beauty had she ever a peer? Since Venus left this planet, has such grace been seen? In face of her, the strongest of all impulses—selfishness—is annihilated. The lover is no longer "number one" to himself; his own pleasures and comforts are ignored in the eager desire to please her, to show her gallant attentions. To save her from disaster or grief he is ready to sacrifice his life. His cordial sympathy makes him share all her joys and sorrows, and his affection for her, though he may have known her only a few days—nay, a few minutes—is as strong and devoted as that of a mother for the child that is her own flesh and blood.


No one who has ever been truly in love will deny that this description, however romantic it may seem in its apparent exaggeration, is a realistic reflection of his feelings and impulses. As this brief review shows, Individual Preference, Monopolism, Coyness, Jealousy, Mixed Moods of Hope and Despair, Hyperbole, Adoration, Purity, Pride, Admiration of Personal Beauty, Gallantry, Self-sacrifice, Sympathy, and Affection, are the essential ingredients in that very composite mental state, which we call romantic love. Coyness, of course, occurs only in feminine love, and there are other sexual differences which will be noted later on. Here I wish to point out that the fourteen ingredients named may be divided into two groups of seven each—the egoistic and the altruistic. The prevailing notion that love is a species of selfishness—a "double selfishness," some wiseacre has called it—is deplorably untrue and shows how little the psychology of love has heretofore been understood.

It has indeed an egoistic side, including the ingredients I have called Individual Preference, Monopolism, Jealousy, Coyness, Hyperbole, Mixed Moods, and Pride; and it is not a mere accident that these are also the seven features which may be found in sensual love too; for sensuality and selfishness are twins. But the later and more essential characteristics of romantic love are the altruistic and supersensual traits—Sympathy, Affection, Gallantry, Self-sacrifice, Adoration, Purity, and Admiration of Personal Beauty. The two divisions overlap in some places, but in the main they are accurate. It is certain that the first group precedes the second, but the order in which the ingredients in each group first made their appearance cannot be indicated, as we know too little of the early history of man. The arrangement here adopted is therefore more or less arbitrary. I shall try in this long chapter to answer the question "What is Romantic Love?" by discussing each of its fourteen ingredients and tracing its evolution separately.


If a man pretended to be in love with a girl while confessing that he liked other girls equally well and would as soon marry one as another, everybody would laugh at him; for however ignorant many persons may be as to the subtler traits of sentimental love, it is known universally that a decided and obstinate preference for one particular individual is an absolute condition of true love.


As I have just intimated, a modern romantic lover would not exchange a beloved beggar-maid for an heiress or princess; nor would he give her for a dozen other girls, however charming, and with permission to marry them all. Now if romantic love had always existed, the lower races would have the same violent and exclusive preference for individuals. But what are the facts? I assert, without fear of contradiction from any one familiar with anthropological literature, that a savage or barbarian, be he Australian, African, American, or Asiatic, would laugh at the idea of refusing to exchange one woman for a dozen others equally young and attractive. It is not necessary to descend to the lowest savages to find corroboration of this view. Dr. Zoeller, an unusually intelligent and trustworthy observer, says, in one of his volumes on German Africa (III., 70-71), that

"on the whole no distinction whatever is made between woman and woman, between the good-looking and the ugly, the intelligent and the stupid ones. In all my African experiences I have never heard of a single young man or woman who conceived a violent passion for a particular individual of the opposite sex."

So in other parts of Africa. The natives of Borgou, we are told by R. and J. Lander, marry with perfect indifference. "A man takes no more thought about choosing a wife than he does in picking a head of wheat." Among the Kaffirs, says Fritsch (112) it may occur that a man has an inclination toward a particular girl; but he adds that "in such cases the suitor is obliged to pay several oxen more than is customary, and as he usually takes cattle more to heart than women, such cases are rare;" and though, when he has several wives, he may have a favorite, the attachment to her is shallow and transient, for she is at any moment liable to displacement by a new-comer. Among the Hottentots at Angra Pequena, when a man covets a girl he goes to her hut, prepares a cup of coffee and hands it to her without saying a word. If she drinks half of it, he knows the answer is Yes. "If she refuses to touch the coffee, the suitor is not specially grieved, but proceeds to another hut to try his luck again in the same way." (Ploss, I., 454.)

Of the Fijians Williams (148) says: "Too commonly there is no express feeling of connubial bliss, men speak of 'our women' and women of 'our men' without any distinctive preference being apparent." Catlin, speaking (70-71) of the matrimonial arrangements of the Pawnee Indians, says that daughters are held as legitimate merchandise, and, as a rule, accept the situation "with the apathy of the race." A man who advertised for a wife would hardly be accused of individual preference or anything else indicating love. From a remark made by George Gibbs (197) we may infer that the Indians of Oregon and Washington used to advertise for wives, in their own fashion:

"It is not unusual to find on the small prairies human figures rudely carved upon trees. These I have understood to have been cut by young men who were in want of wives, as a sort of practical intimation that they were in the market as purchasers."

It might be suggested that such a crude love-letter to the sex in general, as compared with one of our own love-letters to a particular girl, gives a fair idea of what Indian love is, compared with the love of civilized men and women.


Even where there is an appearance of predilection it is apt to be shallow and fragile. In the Jesuit Relations (XVIII., 129) we read how a Huron youth came to one of the missionaries and said he needed a wife to make his snow-shoes and clothes. "I am in love with a young girl," said he. "I beg you to call my relatives together and to consider whether she is suitable for me. If you decide that it is for my good, I will marry her; if not, I will follow your advice." Other young Indians used to come to the missionaries to ask them to find wives for them. I have been struck, in reading Indian love-stories, by the fact that their gist usually lies not in an exhibition of decided preference for one man but of violent aversion to another—some old and disagreeable suitor. It is well known, too, that among Indians, as among Australians, marriage was sometimes considered an affair of the tribe rather than of the individual; and we have some curious illustrations of the way in which various tribes of Indians would try to crush the germs of individual preference.


Thus Hunter relates (243) of the Missouri and Arkansas tribes that "It is considered disgraceful for a young Indian publicly to prefer one woman to another until he has distinguished himself either in war or in the chase." Should an Indian pay any girl, though he may have known her from childhood, special attention before he has won reputation as a warrior, "he would be sure to suffer the painful mortification of a rejection; he would become the derision of the warriors and the contempt of the squaws." In the Jesuit Relations (III., 73) we read of some of the Canadian Indians that

"they have a very rude way of making love; for the suitor, as soon as he shows a preference for a girl, does not dare look at her, nor speak to her, nor stay near her unless accidentally; and then he must force himself not to look her in the face, nor to give any sign of his passion, otherwise he would be the laughing-stock of all, and his sweetheart would blush for him."

Not only must he show no preference, but the choice, too, is not left to him; for the relatives take up the matter and decide whether his age, skill as a hunter, reputation, and family make him a desirable match.

In the face of such facts, can we agree with Rousseau that to a savage one woman is as good as another? The question is very difficult to answer, because if a man is to marry at all, he must choose a particular girl, and this choice can be interpreted as preference, though it may be quite accidental. It is probable, as I have suggested, that with a people as low as the Australians it would be difficult to find a man having sufficient predilection for one young woman to refuse to exchange her for two others. Probably the same is true of the higher savages and even of the barbarians, as a rule.


We do, indeed, find, at a comparatively early stage, evidences of one girl or man being chosen in preference to others; but when we examine these cases closely we see that the choice is not based on personal qualities but on utilitarian considerations of the most selfish or sensual description. Thus Zoeller, in the passage just referred to, says of the negro:

"It is true that when he buys a woman he prefers a young one, but his motive for so doing is far from being mental admiration of beauty. He buys the younger ones because they are youthful, strong, and able to work for him."

Similarly Belden, who lived twelve years among the Plains Indians, states (302) that "the squaws are valued by the middle-aged men only for their strength and ability to work, and no account whatever is taken of their personal beauty." The girls are no better than the men. Young Comanche girls, says Parker (Schoolcraft, V., 683) "are not averse to marry very old men, particularly if they are chiefs, as they are always sure of something to eat." In describing Amazon Valley Indians, Wallace says (497-498) that there is

"a trial of skill at shooting with the bow and arrow, and if the young man does not show himself a good marksman, the girl refuses him, on the ground that he will not be able to shoot fish and game enough for the family."

These cases are typical, and might be multiplied indefinitely; they show how utterly individual preference on personal grounds is out of the question here. It is true that many of our own girls marry for such utilitarian reasons; but no one would be so foolish as to speak of these marriages as love-matches, whereas in the cases of savages we are often invited by sentimentalists to witness the "manifestation of love" whenever a man shows a utilitarian or sensual interest in a particular girl. A modern civilized lover marries a girl for her own sake, because he is enamoured of her individuality, whereas the uncivilized suitor cares not a fig for the other's individuality; he takes her as an instrument of lust, a drudge, or as a means of raising a family, in order that the superstitious rites of ancestor-worship may be kept up and his selfish soul rest in peace in the next world. He cares not for her personally, for if she proves barren he repudiates her and marries another. Trial marriages are therefore widely prevalent. The Dyaks of Borneo, as St. John tells us, often make as many as seven or eight such marriages; with them marriage is "a business of partnership for the purpose of having children, dividing labor, and by means of their offspring providing for their old age."


An amusing incident related by Ernst von Weber (II., 215-6) indicates how easily utilitarian considerations override such skin-deep preference as may exist among Africans. He knew a girl named Yanniki who refused to marry a young Kaffir suitor though she confessed that she liked him. "I cannot take him," she said, "as he can offer only ten cows for me and my father wants fifteen." Weber observed, that it was not kind of her father to let a few cows stand in the way of her happiness; but the African damsel did not fall in with his sentimental view of the case. Business and vanity were to her much more important matters than individual preference for a particular lover, and she exclaimed, excitedly:

"What! You expect my father to give me away for ten cows? That would be a fine sort of a bargain! Am I not worth more than Cilli, for whom the Tambuki chief paid twelve cows last week? I am pretty, I can cook, sew, crochet, speak English, and with all these accomplishments you want my father to dispose of me for ten miserable cows? Oh, sir, how little you esteem me! No, no, my father is quite right in refusing to yield in this matter; indeed, in my opinion he might boldly ask thirty cows for me, for I am worth that much."


It is not difficult to explain why among the lower races individual preference either does not occur at all or is so weak and utilitarian that the difference of a few cows more or less may decide a lover's fate. Like sunflowers in the same garden, the girls in a tribe differ so little from one another that there is no particular cause for discrimination. They are all brought up in exactly the same way, eat the same food, think the same thoughts, do the same work—carrying water and wood, dressing skins, moving tents and utensils, etc.; they are alike uneducated, and marry at the same childish age before their minds can have unfolded what little is in them; so that there is small reason why a man should covet one of them much more than another. A savage may be as eager to possess a woman as a miser is to own a gold piece: but he has little more reason to prefer one girl to another than a miser has to prefer one gold piece to another of the same size.

Humboldt observed (P.E., 141) that "in barbarous nations there is a physiognomy peculiar to the tribe or horde rather than to any individual." It has been noted by various observers that the lower the race is the more do its individuals thus resemble one another. Nay, this approximation goes so far as to make even the two sexes much less distinct than they are with us. Professor Pritsch, in his classical treatise on the natives of South Africa (407), dwells especially on the imperfect sexual differentiation of the Bushmen. The faces, stature, limbs, and even the chest and hips of the women differ so little from those of the men that in looking at photographs (as he says and illustrates by specimens), one finds it difficult to tell them apart, though the figures are almost nude. Both sexes are equally lean and equally ugly. The same may be said of the typical Australians, and in Professor and Mrs. Agassiz's Journey in Brazil (530) we read that

"the Indian woman has a very masculine air, extending indeed more or less to her whole bearing; for even her features have rarely the feminine delicacy of higher womanhood. In the Negro, on the contrary, the narrowness of chest and shoulder characteristic of the woman is almost as marked in the man; indeed, it may well be said, that, while the Indian female is remarkable for her masculine build, the negro male is equally so for his feminine aspect."

In the Jesuit Relations there are repeated references to the difficulty of distinguishing squaws from male Indians except by certain articles of dress. Burton writes of the Sioux (C.O.S., 59) that "the unaccustomed eye often hesitates between the sexes." In Schoolcraft (V., 274) we are told concerning the Creek women that "being condemned to perform all the hard labor, they are universally masculine in appearance, without one soft blandishment to render them desirable or lovely." Nor is there anything alluringly feminine in the disposition which, as all observers agree, makes Indian women more cruel in torture than the most pitiless men. Equally decisive is the testimony regarding the similarity of the sexes, physical and mental, in the islands of the Pacific. Hawkesworth (II., 446) found the women of New Zealand so lacking in feminine delicacy that it was difficult to distinguish them from the men, except by their voices. Captain Cook (II., 246) observed in Fiji differences in form between men and females, but little difference in features; and of the Hawaiians he wrote that with few exceptions they

"have little claim to those peculiarities that distinguish the sex in other countries. There is, indeed, a more remarkable equality in the size, color, and figure of both sexes, than in most places I have visited."


A most important inference may be deduced from these facts. A man does not, normally, fall in love with a man. He falls in love with a woman, because she is a woman. Now when, as in the cases cited, the men and women differ only in regard to the coarsest anatomical peculiarities known as the primary sexual qualities, it is obvious that their "love" also can consist only of such coarse feelings and longings as these primary qualities can inspire. In other words they can know the great passion only on its sensual side. Love, to them, is not a sentiment but an appetite, or at best an instinct for the propagation of the species.

Of the secondary sexual qualities—those not absolutely necessary for the maintenance of the species—the first to appear prominently in women is fat; and as soon as it does appear, it is made a ground of individual preference. Brough Smyth tells us that in Australia a fat woman is never safe from being stolen, no matter how old and ugly she may be. In the chapter on Personal Beauty I shall marshal a number of facts showing that among the uncivilized and Oriental races in general, fat is the criterion of feminine attractiveness. It is so among coarse men (i.e., most men) even in Europe and America to this day. Hindoo poets, from the oldest times to Kalidasa and from Kalidasa to the present day, laud their heroines above all things for their large thighs—thighs so heavy that in walking the feet make an impression on the ground "deep as an elephant's hoofs."


It is hardly necessary to say that the "love" based on these secondary qualities is not sentimental or romantic. It may, however—and this is a very important point to remember—be extremely violent and stubborn. In other words, there may he a strong individual preference in love that is entirely sensual. Indeed, lust may he as fastidious as love. Tarquinius coveted Lucretia; no other woman would have satisfied him. Yet he did not love her. Had he loved her he would have sacrificed his own life rather than offered violence to one who valued her honor more than her life. He loved only himself; his one object was to please his beloved ego; he never thought of her feelings and of the consequences of his act to her. The literature of ancient Rome, Greece, and Oriental countries is full of such cases of individualized "love" which, when closely examined, reduce themselves to cases of selfish lust—eagerness to gratify an appetite with a particular victim, for whom the "lover" has not a particle of affection, respect, or sympathy, not to speak of adoration or gallant, self-sacrificing devotion. Unless we have positive evidence of the presence of these traits of unselfish affection, we are not entitled to assume the existence of genuine love; especially among races that are coarse, unsympathetic, and cruel.


From this point of view we must judge two Indian love-stories related by Keating (II., 164-166):

I. A Chippewa named Ogemans, married to a woman called Demoya, fell in love with her sister. When she refused him he affected insanity. His ravings were terrible, and nothing could appease him but her presence; the moment he touched her hand or came near her he was gentle as they could wish. One time, in the middle of a winter night, he sprang from his couch and escaped into the woods, howling and screaming in the wildest manner; his wife and her sister followed him, but he refused to be calmed until the sister (Okoj) laid her hand on him, when he became quiet and gentle. This kind of performance he kept up a long time till all the Indians, including the girl, became convinced he was possessed by a spirit which she alone could subdue. So she married him and never after was he troubled by a return of madness.

II. A young Canadian had secured the favor of a half-breed girl who had been brought up among the Chippewas and spoke only their language. Her name was Nisette, and she was the daughter of a converted squaw who, being very pious, induced the young couple to go to an Algonquin village and get regularly married by a clergyman. Meanwhile the Canadian's love cooled away, and by the time they reached the village he cared no more for the poor girl. Soon thereafter she became the subject of fits and was finally considered to be quite insane. The only lucid intervals she had were in the presence of her inconstant husband. Whenever he came near her, her reason would return, and she would appear the same as before her illness. Flattered by what he deemed so strong an evidence of his influence over her, the Canadian felt a return of kindness toward her, and was finally induced to renew his attentions, which, being well received, they were soon united by a clergyman. Her reason appeared to be restored, and her improving health showed that her happiness was complete.


Keating's guide was convinced that in both these cases the insanity was feigned for the selfish purpose of working upon the feelings of the unwilling party. Even apart from that, there is no trace of evidence in either story that the feelings of the lovers rose above sensual attachment, though the girl, being half white, might have been capable of an approximation to a higher feeling. Indeed it is among women that such approximations to a higher type of attachment must be sought; for the uncivilized woman's basis of individual preference, while apt to be utilitarian, is less sensual than the man's. She is influenced by his manly qualities of courage, valor, aggressiveness, because those are of value to her, while he chooses her for her physical charms and has little or no appreciation of the higher feminine qualities. Schoolcraft (V., 612) cites the following as an Indian girl's ideal:

"My love is tall and graceful as the young pine waving on the hill—-and as swift in his course as the stately deer. His hair is flowing, and dark as the blackbird that floats through the air, and his eyes, like the eagle's, both piercing and bright. His heart, it is fearless and great—and his arm it is strong in the fight."

Now it is true that Schoolcraft is a very unreliable witness in such matters, as we shall see in the chapter on Indians. He had a way of taking coarse Indian tales, dressing them up in a fine romantic garb and presenting them as the aboriginal article. An Indian girl would not be likely to compare a man's hair to a blackbird's feathers, and she certainly would never dream of speaking of a "tall and graceful pine waving on the hill." She might, however, compare his swiftness to a deer's, and she might admire his sharp sight, his fearlessness, his strong arm in a fight; and that is enough to illustrate what I have just said—that her preference, though utilitarian, is less sensual than the man's. It includes mental elements, and as moreover her duties as mother teach her sympathy and devotion, it is not to be wondered at that the earliest approximations to a higher type of love are on the part of women.


As civilization progresses, the sexes become more and more differentiated, thus affording individual preference an infinitely greater scope. The stamp of sex is no longer confined to the pelvis and the chest, but is impressed on every part of the body. The women's feet become smaller and more daintily shaped than the men's, the limbs more rounded and tapering and less muscular, the waist narrower, the neck longer, the skin smoother, softer, and less hairy, the hands more comely, with more slender fingers, the skeleton more delicate, the stature lower, the steps shorter, the gait more graceful, the features more delicately cut, the eyes more beautiful, the hair more luxuriant and lustrous, the cheeks rounder and more susceptible to blushes, the lips more daintily curved, the smile sweeter.

But the mind has sex as well as the body. It is still in process of evolution, and too many individuals still approximate the type of the virago or the effeminate man; but the time will come for all, as it has already come for many, when a masculine trait in a woman's character will make as disagreeable an impression as a blacksmith's sinewy arm on the body of a society belle would make in a ball-room. To call a woman pretty and sweet is to compliment her; to call a man pretty and sweet would be to mock or insult him. The ancient Greeks betrayed their barbarism in amorous matters in no way more conspicuously than by their fondness for coy, effeminate boys, and their admiration of masculine goddesses like Diana and Minerva. Contrast this with the modern ideal of femininity, as summed up by Shakspere:

Why are our bodies soft and weak and smooth, Unapt to toil and trouble in the world, But that our soft conditions and our hearts Should well agree with our external parts?


A woman's voice differs from a man's not only in pitch but in timbre; its quality suggests the sex. There is great scope for variety, from the lowest contralto to the highest soprano, as there is in man's from the lowest bass to the highest tenor; a variety so great that voices differ as much as faces and can be instantly recognized; but unless it has the proper sexual quality a voice affects us disagreeably. A coarse, harsh voice has marred many a girl's best marriage chances, while, on the other hand, it may happen that "the ear loveth before the eye." Now what is true of the male and female voice holds true of the male and female mind in all its diverse aspects. We expect men to be not only bigger, stronger, taller, hardier, more robust, but more courageous and aggressive, more active, more creative, more sternly just, than women; while coarseness, cruelty, selfishness, and pugnacity, though not virtues in either sex, affect us much less repulsively in men than in women, for the reason that the masculine struggle for existence and competition in business foster selfishness, and men have inherited pugnacious instincts from their fighting ancestors, while women, as mothers, learned the lessons of sympathy and self-sacrifice much sooner than men. The distinctively feminine virtues are on the whole of a much higher order than the masculine, which is the reason why they were not appreciated or fostered at so early an epoch. Gentleness, modesty, domesticity, girlishness, coyness, kindness, patience, tenderness, benevolence, sympathy, self-sacrifice, demureness, emotionality, sensitiveness, are feminine qualities, some of which, it is true, we expect also in gentlemen; but their absence is not nearly so fatal to a man as it is to a woman. And as men gradually approach women in patience, tenderness, sympathy, self-sacrifice, and gentleness, it behooves women to keep their distance by becoming still more refined and feminine, instead of trying, as so many of them do, to approach the old masculine standard—one of the strangest aberrations recorded in all social history.

Men and women fall in love with what is unlike, not with what is like them. The refined physical and mental traits which I have described in the preceding paragraphs constitute some of the secondary sexual characters by which romantic love is inspired, while sensual love is based on the primary sexual characters. Havelock Ellis (19) has well defined a secondary sexual character as "one which, by more highly differentiating the sexes, helps to make them more attractive to each other," and so to promote marriages. And Professor Weissmann, famed for his studies in heredity, opens up deep vistas of thought when he declares (II., 91) that

"all the numerous differences in form and function which characterize sex among the higher animals, all the so-called 'secondary sexual characters,' affecting even the highest mental qualities of mankind, are nothing but adaptations to bring about the union of the hereditary tendencies of two individuals."

Nature has been at work on this problem of differentiating the sexes ever since it created the lowest animal organisms, and this fact, which stands firm as a rock, gives us the consoling assurance that the present abnormal attempts to make women masculine by giving them the same education, employments, sports, ideals, and political aspirations as men have, must end in ignominious failure. If the viragoes had their way, men and women would in course of time revert to the condition of the lowest savages, differing only in their organs of generation. How infinitely nobler, higher, more refined and, fascinating, is that ideal which wants women to differ from men by every detail, bodily and mental; to differ from them in the higher qualities of disposition, of character, of beauty, physical and spiritual, which alone make possible the existence of romantic love as distinguished from lust on one side and friendship on the other.


If these secondary sexual characters could be destroyed by the extraordinary—one might almost say criminal—efforts of unsexed termagants to make all women ape men and become like them, romantic love, which was so slow in coming, would disappear again, leaving only sensual appetite, which may be (selfishly) fastidious and intense, but has no depth, duration, or altruistic nobility, and which, when satiated, cares no more for the object for which it had temporarily hungered. It is these secondary sexual characters, with their subtle and endless variations, that have given individual preference such a wide field of choice that every lover can find a girl after his heart and taste. A savage is like a gardener who has only one kind of flowers to choose between—all of one color too; whereas we, with our diverse secondary characters, our various intermixtures of nationalities, our endless shades of blonde and brunette, and differences in manners and education can have our choice among the lilies, roses, violets, pansies, daisies, and thousands of other flowers—or the girls named after them. Samuel Baker says there are no broken hearts in Africa. Why should there be when individuals are so similar that if a man loses his girl he can easily find another just like her in color, face, rotundity, and grossness? A civilized lover would mourn the loss of his bride—though he were offered his choice of the beauties of Baltimore—because it would be absolutely impossible to duplicate her.

In that last line lies the explanation of one of the mysteries of modern love—its stubborn fidelity to the beloved after the choice has been made. But there is another mystery of individual preference that calls for an explanation—its capriciousness, apparent or real, in making a choice—that quality which has made the poets declare so often that "love is blind." On this point much confusion of ideas prevails.

Matters are simplified if we first dispose of those numerous cases in which the individual preference is only approximate. If a girl of eighteen has the choice between a man of sixty and a youth of twenty, she will, if she exercises a personal preference, take the youth, as a matter of course, though he may be far from her ideal. Such preference is generic rather than individual. Again, in most cases of first love, as I have remarked elsewhere (R.L.P.B., 139) "man falls in love with woman, woman with man, not with a particular man or woman." Young men and women inherit, from a long series of ancestors, a disposition to love which at puberty reveals itself in vague longings and dreams. The "bump of amativeness," as a phrenologist might say, is like a powder magazine, ready to explode at a touch, and it makes no great difference what kind of a match is applied. In later love affairs the match is a matter of more importance.

Robert Burton threw light on the "capriciousness" and accidentally of this kind of (apparent) amorous preference when he wrote that "it is impossible, almost, for two young folks equal in years to live together and not be in love;" and further he says, sagaciously:

"Many a serving man, by reason of this opportunity and importunity, inveigles his master's daughter, many a gallant loves a dowdy, many a gentleman runs after his wife's maids; many ladies dote upon their men, as the queen in Aristo did upon the dwarf, many matches are so made in haste and they are compelled, as it were by necessity, so to love, which had they been free, come in company with others, seen that variety which many places afford, or compared them to a third, would never have looked upon one another."

Such passions are merely pent-up emotions seeking to escape one way or another. They do not indicate real, intense preference, but at best an approach to it; for they are not properly individualized, and, as Schopenhauer pointed out, the differences in the intensity of love-cases depend on their different degrees of individualization—an apercu which this whole chapter confirms. Yet these mere approximations to real preference embrace the vast majority of so-called love-affairs. Genuine preference of the highest type finds its explanation in special phases of sympathy and personal beauty which will be discussed later on.

What is usually considered the greatest mystery of the amorous passion is the disposition of a lover to "see Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt." "What can Jack have seen in Jill to become infatuated with her, or she in him?" The trouble with those who so often ask this question is that they fix the attention on the beloved instead of on the lover, whose lack of taste explains everything. The error is of long standing, as the following story related by the Persian poet Saadi (of the thirteenth century) will show (346):


"A king of Arabia was told that Mujnun, maddened by love, had turned his face toward the desert and assumed the manners of a brute. The king ordered him to be brought in his presence and he wept and said: 'Many of my friends reproach me for my love of her, namely Laila; alas! that they could one day see her, that my excuse might be manifest for me.' The king sent for her and beheld a person of tawny complexion, and feeble frame of body. She appeared to him in a contemptible light, inasmuch as the lowest menial in his harem, or seraglio, surpassed her in beauty and excelled her in elegance. Mujnun, in his sagacity, penetrated what was passing in the king's mind and said: 'It would behove you, O King, to contemplate the charms of Laila through the wicket of a Mujnun's eye, in order that the miracle of such a spectacle might be illustrated to you.'"

This story was referred to by several critics of my first book as refuting my theory regarding the modernity of true love. They seemed to think, with the Persian poet, that there must be something particularly wonderful and elevated in the feelings of a lover who is indifferent to the usual charms of femininity and prefers ugliness. This, indeed, is the prevalent sentiment on the subject, though the more I think of it, the more absurd and topsy turvy it seems to me. Do we commend an Eskimo for preferring the flavor of rancid fish oil to the delicate bouquet of the finest French wine? Does it evince a particularly exalted artistic sense to prefer a hideous daub to a Titian or Raphael? Does it betoken a laudable and elevated taste in music to prefer a vulgar tune to one that has the charms of a romantic or classical work of acknowledged beauty? Why, then, should we specially extol Mujnun for admiring a woman who was devoid of all feminine charms? The confusion probably arises from fancying that she must have had mental charms to offset her ugliness, but nothing whatever is said about such a notion, which, in fact, would have been utterly foreign to the Oriental, purely sensual, way of regarding women.

Fix the attention on the man in the story instead of on the woman and the mystery vanishes. Mujnun becomes infatuated with an ugly woman simply because he has no taste, no sense of beauty. There are millions of such men the world over, just as there are millions who cannot appreciate choice wines, good music, and fine pictures. Everywhere the majority of men prefer vulgar tunes, glaring chromos, and coarse women—luckily for the women, because most of them are coarse, too. "Birds of a feather flock together"—there you have the philosophy of preference so far as such love-affairs are concerned. How often do we see a bright, lovely girl, with sweet voice and refined manners, neglected by men who crowd around other women of their own rude and vulgar caste! Most men still are savages so far as the ability to appreciate the higher secondary sexual qualities in women is concerned. But the exceptions are growing more numerous. Among savages there are no exceptions. Romantic love does not exist among them, both because the women have not the secondary sexual qualities, and because, even if they had them, the men would not appreciate them or be guided by them in their choice of mates.


Whenever she speaks, my ravished ear No other voice but hers can hear, No other wit but hers approve: Tell me, my heart, if this be love? —Lyttleton.

Every lover of nature must have noticed how the sun monopolizes the attention of flowers and leaves. Twist and turn them whichever way you please, on returning afterward you will find them all facing the beloved sun again with their bright corollas and glossy surface. Romantic love exacts a similar monopoly of its devotees. Be their feelings as various, their thoughts as numerous, as the flowers in a garden, the leaves in a forest, they will always be turned toward the beloved one.


A man may have several intimate friends, and a mother may dote on a dozen or more children with equal affection; but romantic love is a monopolist, absolutely exclusive of all participation and rivalry. A genuine Romeo wants Juliet, the whole of Juliet, and nothing but Juliet. She monopolizes his thoughts by day, his dreams at night; her image blends with everything he sees, her voice with everything he hears. His imagination is a lens which gathers together all the light and heat of a giant world and focuses them on one brunette or blonde. He is a miser, who begrudges every smile, every look she bestows on others, and if he had his own way he would sail with her to-day to a desert island and change their names to Mr. and Mrs. Robinson Crusoe. This is not fanciful hyperbole, but a plain statement in prose of a psychological truth. The poets did not exaggerate when they penned such sentiments as these:

She was his life, The ocean to the river of his thoughts, Which terminated all. —Byron.

Thou art my life, my love, my heart, The very eyes of me, And hast command of every part, To live and die for thee. —Herrick.

Give me but what that ribband bound, Take all the rest the world goes round. —Waller.

But I am tied to very thee By every thought I have; Thy face I only care to see Thy heart I only crave. —Sedley.

I see her in the dewy flowers, Sae lovely sweet and fair: I hear her voice in ilka bird, Wi' music charm the air: There's not a bonnie flower that springs By fountain, shaw, or green; There's not a bonny bird that sings, But minds me o' my Jean. —Burns.

For nothing this wide universe I call Save thou, my rose: in it thou art my all. —Shakspere.

Like Alexander I will reign, And I will reign alone, My thoughts shall evermore disdain A rival on my throne. —James Graham.

Love, well thou know'st no partnerships allows. Cupid averse, rejects divided vows. —Prior.

O that the desert were my dwelling-place, With one fair spirit for my minister, That I might all forget the human race And, hating no one, love but only her. —Byron.


The imperative desire for an absolute monopoly of one chosen girl, body and soul—and one only—is an essential, invariable ingredient of romantic love. Sensual love, on the contrary, aims rather at a monopoly of all attractive women—or at least as many as possible. Sensual love is not an exclusive passion for one; it is a fickle feeling which, like a giddy butterfly, flits from flower to flower, forgetting the fragrance of the lily it left a moment ago in the sweet honey of the clover it enjoys at this moment. The Persian poet Sadi, says (Bustan, 12), "Choose a fresh wife every spring or New Year's Day; for the almanack of last year is good for nothing." Anacreon interprets Greek love for us when he sings:

"Can'st count the leaves in a forest, the waves in the sea? Then tell me how oft I have loved. Twenty girls in Athens, and fifteen more besides; add to these whole bevies in Corinth, and from Lesbos to Ionia, from Caria and from Rhodos, two thousand sweethearts more.... Two thousand did I say? That includes not those from Syros, from Kanobus, from Creta's cities, where Eros rules alone, nor those from Gadeira, from Bactria, from India—girls for whom I burn."

Lucian vies with Anacreon when he makes Theomestus (Dial. Amor.) exclaim: "Sooner can'st thou number the waves of the sea and the snowflakes falling from the sky than my loves. One succeeds another, and the new one comes on before the old is off." We call such a thing libertinism, not love. The Greeks had not the name of Don Juan, yet Don Juan was their ideal both for men and for the gods they made in the image of man. Homer makes the king of gods tell his own spouse (who listens without offence) of his diverse love-affairs (Iliad, xiv., 317-327). Thirteen centuries after Homer the Greek poet Nonnus gives ([Greek: Dionusiaka], vii.) a catalogue of twelve of Zeus's amours; and we know from other sources (e.g., Hygin, fab., 155) that these accounts are far from exhaustive. A complete list would match that yard-long document made for Don Juan by Leporello in Mozart's opera. A French writer has aptly called Jupiter the "Olympian Don Juan;" yet Apollo and most of the other gods might lay claim to the same title, for they are represented as equally amorous, sensual, and fickle; seeing no more wrong in deserting a woman they have made love to, than a bee sees in leaving a flower whose honey it has stolen.

Temporarily, of course, both men and gods focus their interest on one woman—maybe quite ardently—and fiercely resent interference, as an angry bee is apt to sting when kept from the flower it has accidentally chosen; but that is a different thing from the monopolism of true love.


The romantic lover's dream is to marry one particular woman and her alone; the sensual lover's dream embraces several women, or many. The unromantic ideal of the ancient Hindoo is romantically illustrated in a story told in the Hitopadesa of a Brahman named Wedasarman. One evening someone made him a present of a dish of barley-meal. He carried it to the market hall and lay down in a corner near where a potter had stored his wares. Before going to sleep, the Brahman indulged in these pleasant reveries:

"If I sell this dish of meal I shall probably get ten farthings for it. For that I can buy some of these pots, which I can sell again at a profit; thus my money will increase. Then I shall begin to trade in betel-nuts, dress-goods and other things, and thus I may bring my wealth up to a hundred thousand. With that I shall be able to marry four wives, and to the youngest and prettiest of them I shall give my tenderest love. How the others will be tortured by jealousy! But just let them dare to quarrel. They shall know my wrath and feel my club!"

With these words he laid about him with his club, and of course broke his own dish besides many of the potter's wares. The potter hearing the crash, ran to see what was the matter, and the Brahman was ignominiously thrown out of the hall.

The polygamous imagination of the Hindoos runs riot in many of their stories. To give another instance: The Kathakoca, or Treasury of Stories (translated by C.H. Tawney, 34), includes an account of the adventures of King Kanchanapura, who had five hundred wives; and of Sanatkumara who beheld eight daughters of Manavega and married them. Shortly afterward he married a beautiful lady and her sister. Then he conquered Vajravega and married one hundred maidens.

Hindoo books assure us that women, unless restrained, are no better than men. We read in the same Hitopadesa that they are like cows—always searching for new herbs in the meadows to graze on. In polyandrous communities the women make good use of their opportunities. Dalton, in his book on the wild tribes of Bengal, tells this quaint story (36):

"A very pretty Dophla girl once came into the station of Luckimpur, threw herself at my feet and in most poetical language asked me to give her protection. She was the daughter of a chief and was sought in marriage and promised to a peer of her father who had many other wives. She would not submit to be one of many, and besides she loved and she eloped with her beloved. This was interesting and romantic. She was at the time in a very coarse travelling dress, but assured of protection she took fresh apparel and ornament from her basket and proceeded to array herself, and very pretty she looked as she combed and plaited her long hair and completed her toilette. In the meantime I had sent for the 'beloved,' who had kept in the background, and alas! how the romance was dispelled when a dual appeared! She had eloped with two men!"

Every reader will laugh at this denouement, and that laugh is eloquent proof that in saying there can be no real love without absolute monopolism of one heart by another I simply formulated and emphasized a truth which we all feel instinctively. Dalton's tale also brings out very clearly the world-wide difference between a romantic love-story and a story of romantic love.

Turning from the Old World to the New we find stories illustrating the same amusing disregard of amorous monopolism. Rink, in his book of Eskimo tales and traditions, cites a song which voices the reveries of a Greenland bachelor:

"I am going to leave the country—in a large ship—for that sweet little woman. I'll try to get some beads—of those that look like boiled ones. Then when I've gone abroad—I shall return again. My nasty little relatives—I'll call them all to me—and give them a good thrashing—with a big rope's end. Then I'll go to marry—taking two at once. That darling little creature—shall only wear clothes of the spotted seal-skins, and the other little pet shall have clothes of the young hooded seals."

Powers (227) tells a tragic tale of the California Indians, which in some respects reminds one of the man who jumped into a bramble-bush and scratched out both his eyes.

"There was once a man who loved two women and wished to marry them. Now these two women were magpies, but they loved him not, and laughed his wooing to scorn. Then he fell into a rage and cursed these two women, and went far away to the North. There he set the world on fire, then made for himself a tule boat, wherein he escaped to sea, and was never seen more."

Belden, who spent twelve years among the Sioux and other Indians, writes (302):

"I once knew a young man who had about a dozen horses he had captured at different times from the enemy, and who fell desperately in love with a girl of nineteen. She loved him in return, but said she could not bear to leave her tribe, and go to a Santee village, unless her two sisters, aged respectively fifteen and seventeen, went with her. Determined to have his sweetheart, the next time the warrior visited the Yankton village he took several ponies with him, and bought all three of the girls from their parents, giving five ponies for them."


Heriot, during his sojourn among Canadian Indians, became convinced from what he saw that love does not admit of divided affections, and can hardly coexist with polygamy (324). Schoolcraft notes the "curious fact" concerning the Indian that after a war "one of the first things he thought of as a proper reward for his bravery was to take another wife." In the chapter entitled "Honorable Polygamy" we saw how, in polygamous communities the world over, monogamy was despised as the "poor man's marriage," and was practised, not from choice, but from necessity. Every man who was able to do so bought or stole several women, and joined the honorable guild of polygamists. Such a custom, enforced by a strong public opinion, created a sentiment which greatly retarded the development of monopolism in sexual love. A young Indian might dream of marrying a certain girl, not, however, with a view to giving her his whole heart, but only as a beginning. The woman, it is true, was expected to give herself to one husband, but he seldom hesitated to lend her to a friend as an act of hospitality, and in many cases, would hire her out to a stranger in return for gifts.

In not a few communities of Asia, Melanesia, Polynesia, Australia, Africa, and America polyandry prevailed; that is, the woman was expected to bestow her caresses in turn on two or more men, to the destruction of the desire for exclusive possession which is an imperative trait of love. Rowney describes (154) what we might call syndicate marriage which has prevailed among the Meeris of India:

"All the girls have their prices, the largest price for the best-looking girl varying from twenty to thirty pigs, and, if one man cannot give so many, he has no objection to take partners to make up the number."

According to Julius Caesar, it was customary among the ancient Britons for brothers, and sometimes for father and sons, to have their wives in common, and Tacitus found evidence of a similar custom among the ancient Germans; while in some parts of Media it was the ambition of the women to have two or more husbands, and Strabo relates that those who succeeded looked down with pride on their less fortunate sisters. When the Spaniards first arrived at Lanzarote, in South America, they found the women married to several husbands, who lived with their common spouse in turn each a month. The Tibetans, according to Samuel Turner, look on marriage as a disagreeable duty which the members of a family must try to alleviate by sharing its burdens. The Nair woman in India may have up to ten or twelve husbands, with each of whom she lives ten days at a time. Among some Himalayan tribes, when the oldest brother marries, he generally shares his wife with his younger brothers.


Of the Port Lincoln Tribe in Australia, Schuermann says (223) that the brothers practically have their wives in common.

"A peculiar nomenclature has arisen from these singular connections; a woman honors the brothers of the man to whom she is married by the indiscriminate name of husbands; but the men make a distinction, calling their own individual spouses yungaras, and those to whom they have a secondary claim, by right of brotherhood, kartetis."

R.H. Codrington, a scientifically educated missionary who had twenty-four years' experience on the islands of the Pacific, wrote a valuable book on the Melanesians in which occur the following luminous remarks:

"All women who may become wives in marriage, and are not yet appropriated, are to a certain extent looked upon by those who may be their husbands as open to a more or less legitimate intercourse. In fact, appropriation of particular women to their own husbands, though established by every sanction of native custom, has by no means so strong a hold in native society, nor in all probability anything like so deep a foundation in the history of the native people, as the severance of either sex by divisions which most strictly limit the intercourse of men and women to those of the section or sections to which they themselves do not belong. Two proofs or exemplifications of this are conspicuous. (1) There is probably no place in which the common opinion of Melanesians approves the intercourse of the unmarried youths and girls as a thing good in itself, though it allows it as a thing to be expected and excused; but intercourse within the limit which restrains from marriage, where two members of the same division are concerned, is a crime, is incest.... (2) The feeling, on the other hand, that the intercourse of the sexes was natural where the man and woman belonged to different divisions, was shown by that feature of native hospitality which provided a guest with a temporary wife." Though now denied in some places, "there can be no doubt that it was common everywhere."

Nor can there be any doubt that what Codrington here says of the Melanesians applies also to Polynesians, Australians, and to uncivilized peoples in general. It shows that even where monogamy prevails—as it does quite extensively among the lower races[12]—we must not look for monopolism as a matter of course. The two are very far from being identical. Primitive marriage is not a matter of sentiment but of utility and sensual greed. Monogamy, in its lower phases, does not exclude promiscuous intercourse before marriage and (with the husband's permission) after marriage. A man appropriates a particular woman, not because he is solicitous for a monopoly of her chaste affections, but because he needs a drudge to cook and toil for him. Primitive marriage, in short, has little in common with civilized marriage except the name—an important fact the disregard of which has led to no end of confusion in anthropological and sociological literature.[13]


At a somewhat higher stage, marriage becomes primarily an institution for raising soldiers for the state or sons to perform ancestor worship. This is still very far from the modern ideal which makes marriage a lasting union of two loving souls, children or no children. Particularly instructive, from our point of view, is the custom of trial marriage, which has prevailed among many peoples differing otherwise as widely as ancient Egyptians and modern Borneans.[14] A modern lover would loathe the idea of such a trial marriage, because he feels sure that his love will be eternal and unalterable. He may be mistaken, but that at any rate is his ideal: it includes lasting monopolism. If a modern sweetheart offered her lover a temporary marriage, he would either firmly and anxiously decline it, fearing that she might take advantage of the contract and leave him at the end of the year; or, what is much more probable, his love, if genuine, would die a sudden death, because no respectable girl could make such an offer, and genuine love cannot exist without respect for the beloved, whatever may be said to the contrary by those who know not the difference between sensual and sentimental love.


While I am convinced that all these things are as stated, I do not wish to deny that monopolism of a violent kind may and does occur in love which is merely sensual. In fact, I have expressly classed monopolism among those seven ingredients of love which occur in its sensual as well as its sentimental phases. For a correct diagnosis of love it is indeed of great importance to bear this in mind, as we might otherwise be led astray by specious passages, especially in Greek and Roman literature, in which sensual love sometimes reaches a degree of subtility, delicacy, and refinement, which approximate it to sentimental love, though a critical analysis always reveals the difference. The two best instances I know of occur in Tibullus and Terence. Tibullus, in one of his finest poems (IV., 13), expresses the monopolistic wish that his favorite might seem beautiful to him only, displeasing all others, for then he would be safe from all rivalry; then he might live happy in forest solitudes, and she alone would be to him a multitude:

Atque utinam posses uni mihi bella videri; Displiceas aliis: sic ego tutus ero.

Sic ego secretis possum bene vivere silvis Qua nulla humano sit via trita pede. Tu mihi curarum requies, tu nocte vel atra Lumen, et in solis tu mihi turba locis.

Unfortunately, the opening line of this poem:

Nulla tuum nobis subducet femina lectum,

and what is known otherwise of the dissolute character of the poet and of all the women to whom he addressed his verses, make it only too obvious that there is here no question of purity, of respect, of adoration, of any of the qualities which distinguish supersensual love from lust.

More interesting still is a passage in the Eunuchus of Terence (I., 2) which has doubtless misled many careless readers into accepting it as evidence of genuine romantic love, existing two thousand years ago:

"What more do I wish?" asks Phaedria of his girl Thais: "That while at the soldier's side you are not his, that you love me day and night, desire me, dream of me, expect me, think of me, hope for me, take delight in me, finally, be my soul as I am yours."

Here, too, there is no trace of supersensual, self-sacrificing affection (the only sure test of love); but it might be argued that the monopolism, at any rate, is absolute. But when we read the whole play, even that is seen to be mere verbiage and affectation—sentimentality,[15] not sentiment. The girl in question is a common harlot "never satisfied with one lover," as Parmeno tells her, and she answers: "Quite true, but do not bother me"—and her Phaedria, though he talks monopolism, does not feel it, for in the first act she easily persuades him to retire to the country for a few days, while she offers herself to a soldier. And again, at the end of the play, when he seems at last to have ousted his military rival, the latter's parasite Gnatho persuades him, without the slightest difficulty, to continue sharing the girl with the soldier, because the latter is old and harmless, but has plenty of money, while Phaedria is poor.

Thus a passage which at first sight seemed sentimental and romantic, resolves itself into flabby sensualism, with no more moral fibre than the "love" of the typical Turk, as revealed, for instance, in a love song, communicated by Eugene Schuyler (I., 135):

"Nightingale! I am sad! As passionately as thou lovest the rose, so loudly sing that my loved one awake. Let me die in the embrace of my dear one, for I envy no one. I know that thou hast many lovers; but what affair of mine is that?"

One of the most characteristic literary curiosities relating to monopolism that I have found occurs in the Hindoo drama, Malavika and Agnimitra (Act V.). While intended very seriously, to us it reads for all the world like a polygamous parody by Artemus Ward of Byron's lines just cited ("She was his life, The ocean to the river of his thoughts, Which terminated all"). An Indian queen having generously bestowed on her husband a rival to be his second wife, Kausiki, a Buddhist nun, commends her action in these words:

"I am not surprised at your magnanimity. If wives are kind and devoted to their husbands they even serve them by bringing them new wives, like the streams which become channels for conveying the water of the rivers to the ocean."

Monopolism has a watch-dog, a savage Cerberus, whose duty it is to ward off intruders. He goes by the name of Jealousy, and claims our attention next.


For love, thou know'st, is full of jealousy. —Shakspere.

Jealousy may exist apart from sexual love, but there can be no such love without jealousy, potential at any rate, for in the absence of provocation it need never manifest itself. Of all the ingredients of love it is the most savage and selfish, as commonly witnessed, and we should therefore expect it to be present at all stages of this passion, including the lowest. Is this the case? The answer depends entirely upon what we mean by jealousy. Giraud-Teulon and Le Bon have held—as did Rousseau long before them—that this passion is unknown among almost all uncivilized peoples, whereas the latest writer on the subject, Westermarck, tries to prove (117) that "jealousy is universally prevalent in the human race at the present day" and that "it is impossible to believe that there ever was a time when man was devoid of that powerful feeling." It seems strange that doctors should disagree so radically on what seems so simple a question; but we shall see that the question is far from being simple, and that the dispute arose from that old source of confusion, the use of one word for several entirely different things.


It is among fishes, in the scale of animal life, that jealousy first makes its appearance, according to Romanes. But in animals "jealousy," be it that of a fish or a stag, is little more than a transient rage at a rival who comes in presence of the female he himself covets or has appropriated. This murderous wrath at a rival is a feeling which, as a matter of course a human savage may share with a wolf or an alligator; and in its ferocious indulgence primitive man places himself on a level with brutes—nay, below them, for in the struggle he often kills the female, which an animal never does. This wrath is not jealousy as we know it; it lacks a number of essential moral, intellectual, imaginative elements as we shall presently see; some of these are found in the amorous relations of birds, but not of savages, who are now under discussion. If it is true that, as some authorities believe, there was a time when human beings had, like animals, regular and limited annual mating periods, this rage at rivals must have often assumed the most ferocious aspect, to be followed, as with animals, by long periods of indifference.[16]

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