Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/171

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EVOLUTION OF CEREMONIAL GOVERNMENT.

can hardly be questioned. Even in certain European usages the relation between the two has been recognized, as by Ford, who remarks that "uncloaking in Spain is. . . . equivalent to our taking off the hat." It is recognized in Africa itself, where, as in Dahomey, the two are joined; "the men bared their shoulders, doffing their caps and large umbrella hats," says Burton, speaking of his reception. It is recognized in Polynesia, where, as in Tahiti, along with the stripping down to the waist before the king, there goes the uncovering of the head. Hence it seems that the familiar taking off of the hat among European peoples, often reduced among ourselves to touching the hat, is a remnant of that process of unclothing himself by which, in early times, the captive expressed the yielding up of all he had.

That baring the feet is an observance having the same origin, is well shown by these same Gold Coast natives; for while, as we have seen, they partially bare the upper part of the body in signification of their reverence, they also remove the sandals from their feet "as a mark of respect," says Cruickshank: they begin to strip the body at both ends. Throughout ancient America uncovering of the feet had a like meaning. In Peru, "no lord, however great he might be, entered the presence of the Ynca in rich clothing, but in humble attire and barefooted;" and in Mexico, "the kings who were vassals of Montezuma were obliged to take off their shoes when they came into his presence:" the significance of this act being so great that as "Michoacan was independent of Mexico, the sovereign took the title of cazonzi—that is, 'shod.'" Kindred accounts of Asiatics have made the usage familiar to us. In Burmah, "even in the streets and highways, a European, if he meets with the king, or joins his party, is obliged to take off his shoes." And similarly in Persia, every person who approaches the royal presence is obliged to bare his feet.

Verification of these several interpretations is yielded by the more obvious interpretations of certain usages which we similarly meet with in societies where extreme expressions of subjection are insisted upon. I refer to the appearing in presence of rulers, dressed in coarse clothing—the clothing of slaves. In ancient Mexico, whenever, to serve him, Montezuma's attendants "entered his apartments, they had first to take off their rich costumes and put on meaner garments. . . . and were only allowed to enter into his presence barefooted, with eyes cast down." So was it, too, in Peru: along with the rule that a subject, however great, should appear before the Ynca with a burden on his back, simulating servitude, and along with the rule that he should be barefooted, further simulating servitude, there went, as we have seen, the rule that "no lord, however great he might be, entered the presence of the Ynca in rich clothing, but in humble attire," again simulating servitude. The kindred though less extreme usage exists in Dahomey, where also autocracy is rigorous and subjection unqualified: the highest subjects, the king's ministers, may "ride on horseback, be car-