Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/411

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love-birds indicate an affection which is gratified by the gustatory sensation, cannot well be questioned. No act of this kind on the part of an inferior creature, as of a cow licking her calf, can have any other origin than the direct prompting of a desire which gains by the act satisfaction; and in such a case the satisfaction is obviously that which vivid perception of offspring gives to the maternal yearning. In some animals like acts arise from other forms of affection. Licking the hand, or, where it is accessible, the face, is a common display of attachment on a dog's part; and when we remember how keen must be the olfactory sense by which a dog traces his master, we cannot doubt that to his gustatory sense, too, there is yielded some impression—an impression associated with those pleasures of affection which his master's presence gives. The inference that kissing as a mark of affection in the human race has a kindred origin, is sufficiently probable. Though kissing is not universal—though the negro races do not appear to understand it, and though, as we have seen, there are cases in which sniffing replaces it—yet, being common to unlike and widely-dispersed races, we may conclude that it originated in the same manner as the analogous action among lower creatures. Here, however, we are chiefly concerned to observe the indirect result. From kissing as a natural sign of affection, there is derived the kissing which, as a means of simulating affection, gratifies those who are kissed, and, by gratifying them, propitiates them. Hence an obvious root for the kissing of feet, hands, garments, as a part of ceremonial.

Feeling, sensational or emotional, causes muscular contractions, which are strong in proportion as it is intense; and, among other feelings, those of love and liking have an effect of this kind, which takes on its appropriate form. The most significant of the actions hence originating is not much displayed by inferior creatures, because their limbs are unfitted for prehension; but in the human race its natural genesis is sufficiently manifest. Mentioning a mother's embrace of her child will remind all that the strength of the embrace (unless restrained to prevent mischief) measures the strength of the feeling; and while reminded that the feeling thus naturally vents itself in muscular actions, they may further see that these actions are directed in such a way as to give satisfaction to the feeling by yielding a vivid consciousness of possession. That among adults the allied feelings originate like acts, scarcely needs adding. It is not so much these facts, however, as the derived facts, which we have to take note of. Here is another root for a ceremony: an embrace, too, serving to express liking, serves to propitiate in cases where it is not negatived by those other observances which subjection entails. We find it where governmental subordination is but little developed. Of some Snake Indians they met, we read in Lewis and Clarke, that "the three men immediately leaped from their horses, came up to Captain Lewis, and embraced him with great cordiality." Marcy tells of