Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/312

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

been less exaggerated; and they have decreased as freedom has increased. In the fourteenth century, in France, at the royal table, "every time the herald cried, 'The king drinks!' every one made vœux and cried, 'Long live the king!'" And, though both abroad and at home the same or an allied form of wish is still used, it recurs with nothing like the same frequency. So, too, is it with the good wishes expressed in social intercourse. Though the exclamation, "Long life to your honor!" may still be heard, it is heard among a race who, till late times under personal rule, are even now greatly controlled by their loyalty to representatives of old families; while in parts of the kingdom longer emancipated from feudal forms, and disciplined by industrialism, the ordinary expressions of interest, abridged to "How do you do?" and "Good-by," are uttered in a manner that conveys not much more feeling than is entertained. It is interesting to note that along with these phrases, very generally diffused, in which divine aid is invoked on behalf of the person saluted—as in the "May God grant you his favors" of the Arab, "God keep you well" of the Hungarian, "God protect you" of the negro; and along with those which express interest by inquiries after state of health and strength and fortune, which are also wide-spread—there are some which take their character from surrounding conditions. One is the Oriental "Peace be with you," descending from turbulent times when peace was the great desideratum; another is the "How do you perspire?" alleged of the Egyptians; and a still more curious one is, "How have the mosquitoes used you?" which, according to Humboldt, is the morning salutation on the Orinoco.

 

There remain to be noted those modifications of language, grammatical and other, which, by implication, exalt the person addressed or abase the person addressing. These have certain analogies with other elements of ceremony. We have seen that, where subjection is extreme, the ruler, if he does not keep himself invisible, must, when present, not be looked at, on pain of death; and, from the idea that it is an unpardonable liberty to gaze at an exalted person, there has arisen in some countries the usage of turning the back on a superior. Similarly the practice of kissing the ground before a reverenced person, or kissing some object belonging to him, implies that the subject person is so remote in station that he may not take the liberty of kissing even the foot or the dress. And in a kindred spirit the linguistic forms used in compliment have, in part, the trait that they avoid direct relations with the person addressed.

Special modifications of language, having, as their common result, the maintenance of a distance between superiors and inferiors, are widely diffused, and make their appearance in some comparatively early social stages. Of the superior people among the Abipones we read that "the names of men belonging to this class end in in; those