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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/505

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GREETING BY GESTURE.

would prevent the approximation requisite. If such use be not admitted as a causa sufficiens, it at least affords evidence that the kiss was not customary among the people by whom nose-rings and labrets were worn. Indeed, Prof. Dall gives instances where labrets being common and the kiss unknown, the tongues are protruded in affectionate salutes.

The kiss of the hand is undoubtedly ancient, and therefore is not derived from that of the lips, but probably the converse is true. The hand-kiss is loosely asserted to be developed from servile obeisances in which the earth, the foot, and the garments were kissed, the hand and cheek succeeding in order of time and approach to equality of rank. But it is doubtful if that was the actual order, and it is certain that at the time when hand-kissing began there were less numerous gradations of rank than at a later stage. Kissing of the hands between men is mentioned in the Old Testament, also by Homer, Pliny, and Lucian. The kiss was applied reverentially to sacred objects, such as statues of the gods, as is shown by ancient works of art, and also, among numerous etymologies, by that of the Latin word adoro; and it was also metaphorically applied by the inferior or worshiper kissing his own hand and throwing the salute to the superior or statue. In republican Rome kissing the hands of superiors was common, but the greeting was more energetic than the emperors could endure, and soon courtiers of even important station were compelled to kneel and with the right hand carry the hem of the emperor's robe to their lips. Even this became a too precious, or, through proximity, a too dangerous privilege, and they were only allowed to salute at a distance by kissing their own hands, as when they adored the gods. This sign of Rome's decadence has survived in the locality. The mouth kissing the hand, by which Job described a species of idolatry, is a species of adulation practiced by every cringing servant in Italy. When the actual practice has ceased, it survives in phrases. Austrian men habitually say to one another, "Küss d'Hand!" and Spaniards "Beso á Vd. los manos!" A variant form was found among the Algonkins and Iroquois, as Champlain related, in 1622, that "they kissed each his own hand and then placed it in mine."

Affection, together with respect, is sometimes shown in the Orient when a servant salutes a master, a son his father, or a wife her husband, by kissing the other's hand either on back or palm or both and then carrying it to the kisser's forehead. Among the-Malays the visitor approaches the 'man he wishes to salute with his hands joined as if in supplication, while the other touches them lightly with his own on either side, and afterward raises his hands to his lips or forehead. These motions are similar to the ceremonies in the feudal acts of homage and fealty. The