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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/656

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the gesture-reader. They generally suppose some degree of real or perfunctory respect, but may indicate pride as well as humility, familiar affection or cold formality, welcome or aversion, even irony or derision. The Poles and Cossacks use the phrase, "With the forehead to you" when, in fact, there is no bow made. This is on the same principle as the phrase, "I kiss your hands," when the hands are not kissed. Both expressions are relics of actions, and neither means more than the English "my respects." Likewise, through the Russian Empire, "I fall at your feet," is often said to men, and "I kiss your feet" to women, though those performances do not take place.

The above considerations lead to the conclusion that several known motions expressive of emotions, both separately and together, tend to explain the bow. Furthermore, these motions, and the emotions or concepts expressed by them, seem to be as ancient as any known to have been common among men. It will, therefore, appear that the genesis of our bow does not appear exclusively and among all peoples in the groveling of the whipped hound or the cowering of the dastard slave. Perhaps on examining all the tribes of men a theory that prostration was but an exaggerated bow might be as well maintained as one that the bow is a relic and symbol of prostration, but it is now only suggested that the two expressions may be independent.

Clapping Hands.—At this point an attempt may be made to explain the curious custom of clapping the hands in salutation.

Among the Uvinza, "when two 'grandees' meet, the junior leans forward, bends his knees, and places the palms of his hands on the ground on each side of his feet, while the senior claps his own hands six or seven times. They then change round, and the junior slaps himself first under the left armpit, and then under the right. But, when a 'swell' meets an inferior, the superior only claps his hands, and does not fully return the salutation by following the motions of the one who first salutes. On two commoners meeting, they pat their stomachs, then clap hands at each other, and finally shake" (i. e., take) "hands. These greetings are observed to an unlimited extent, and the sound of patting and clapping is almost unceasing." Serpa Pinto found this ceremonial clapping in violent exercise among the Ambuellas. Paul du Chaillu reports the salute of the Ishogos to be clapping the hands together and stretching them out alternately several times. Among the Walunga, in the morning, on every side a continuous clapping of hands goes on, with the accompaniment of "Kwi-tata, Tcwi-tata?" which is their mode of saying, "How d'ye do?" If a chief passes, they drop on their knees, bow their heads to tho ground, clap vigorously, and humbly mutter, "Kwi-tata, kwi--