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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/498

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

favor was shown in the East, not by withdrawal, but by turning the palm to be kissed sometimes instead of, and sometimes in addition to, the back of the hand, which was normally approached by the lips. It is also clear that the hand-taking or grasping, 1 with or without the shaking, was in its essence mutual, which hand-kissing could not be, as the nearest approach to the idea of mutuality in that action would be its exchange in succession. So Mr. Spencer's explanation does not apply to the great majority of the salutes now in question. It is also necessary to bear in mind that the expression "hand-shaking" as reported by English travelers is deceptive, being, as before explained, a mere term. When detailed descriptions are presented it generally appears that there is no "shake," but a mutual grasp or some other use of joined hands. In the present discussion, therefore, the so-called shake may be dismissed as non-essential.

The Chinese saluter clasps his hands together, holds them out, waves them gently, bends forward, and says, "Chin! chin!" meaning, "Please, please!"—or, less definitely, "Thank you," or "Goodby," as the circumstances explain. In the Society Islands the clasping of hands marked the marriage union or the loving compact between two brothers-in-arms, but had no place in ordinary greetings. Among the North American Indians, and in other parts of the world where, as among the Indians, the hand-grasp in simple salutation has not been found, the junction of the hands between two persons is the ceremonial for union and peace, and the sign for the same concept is exhibited by the two hands of one person similarly grasped as an invitation to, or signification of, union and peace. It must be remembered that among the North American Indians to smoke tobacco is the most common salutation. Indians are at peace only with those with whom they smoke, and to smoke is to make peace. When actual smoking is not practicable the gesture-sign for it is also that for "peace" and "friend." The Cheyenne form is—tips of the first two fingers of the right hand placed against or at a right angle to the mouth and suddenly elevated upward and outward to imitate smoke expelled. Apart from this prevailing sign, one, often made for peace, is by clasping the hands in front of the body, the back of the left hand usually down. Some Indians clasp the hands by interlocking the fingers, holding the forearms vertical. The Sac, Fox, and Kickapoo tribes hold before the body the extended left hand, and grasp it with the right. It is of interest, in confirming the above-mentioned concept of these signs, that since the Cherokees have learned to write in their own language by their own syllabary, they place at the end of their friendly missives the word "wiguyáligû," meaning, "I grasp your hand at a distance."