Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/678

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Besides scars resulting from lacerations made in propitiation of dead relatives, dead chiefs, and deities, there are scars resulting from wounds received in battle. The presence of many such implies many conflicts with enemies; and hence, all the world over, they are held in honor and displayed with pride. The sentiment associated with them among ourselves in past times is indicated in Shakespeare by sundry references to "such as boasting show their scars." Lafeu says, "A scar nobly got, or a noble scar, is a good livery of honor;" and Henry V. foretells of an old soldier that "then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars."

Animated as are savages in still higher degrees than civilized by the feelings thus indicated—having no other kind of honor than that derived from the reputation for bravery—what may be expected to result? Will not the anxiety to bear honorable scars sometimes lead to the artificial making of scars? We have evidence that it does. Lichtenstein tells us that the priest among the Bechuanas makes a long cut in the skin from the thigh to the knee of each warrior who has slain some of the enemy in battle. There is a kindred usage among the Bachapin Caffres. Among the Damaras, "for every wild animal that a young man destroys, his father makes four small incisions on the front of the son's body as marks of honor and distinction." And then Tuckey, speaking of certain Congo people who make scars, says that this is "principally done with the idea of rendering themselves agreeable to the women:" a motive which is intelligible if such scars originally passed for scars got in war, and implying bravery. American races yield some evidence of like meaning. We read that "the Itzaex Indians [in Yucatan] have handsome faces, though some of them were marked with lines as a sign of courage." Facts furnished by other American tribes suggest that the infliction of torture on entering maturity originated from the habit of making scars artificially in imitation of scars bequeathed by battle. If self-injury to avoid service in war has in all times been frequent among those lacking courage, we may reasonably infer that among the more courageous, who have received no wounds, self-injury might be not unfrequent, where there was gained by it that character for bravery desired above everything. Though at first secret and exceptional, the reputation achieved might make it gradually more common and at length general; until, finally, public opinion, vented against those who did not follow it, made the usage peremptory. When we read in Dobrizhoffer that, among the Abipones, "boys of seven years old pierce their little arms in imitation of their parents, and display plenty of wounds," we are shown the rise of a feeling, and a consequent practice, which, growing, may end in a system of initiatory tortures at manhood. Hence, when of the Arawaks Schomburgk tells us that after a Mariquarri dance the blood will be running down their swollen calves, and strips of skin and muscle hang down the