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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/658

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ing, "both, with tears and with howls at such times of gladness, is known in many lands. It has been lately reported among the Andamanese and was noticed by Cabeza de Vaca in 1527 among the Caddoes of Texas and Louisiana. It may also be construed as mentioned about the ancient Israelites in the twenty-ninth, thirty-third, and forty-fifth chapters of Genesis, where weeping is recorded at the meeting of Jacob and Rachel, Jacob and Esau, and Joseph and Benjamin. Singularly enough, the same practice was found existing fifty years ago in central Australia, where parents upon meeting children after a long absence fell upon their necks and wept bitterly. The Tahitians cut themselves with shark's teeth and indulge in loud wailing to testify gladness at the arrival of a friend, and the New-Zealanders scarify themselves with lava on such meetings.

Dr. E. B. Tylor explains the practice as mourning for those who had died during the interval of separation, thus following Hennepin in his account of La Salle's visit to the Biskatronge nation in 1685 as follows: "At their arrival those people fell a-crying most bitterly for a quarter of an hour. This is their custom whenever there comes any strangers afar off amongst them, because their arrival puts them in mind of their deceased relations which they imagine to be upon a great journey, and whose return they expect every hour." The proceeding is explained in the account by Alexander Henry of the Assiniboin feasts in 1776 which were begun by the violent weeping of the whole party, and the reason they gave was that it was in memory of their deceased relatives whose absence was brought fresh into their minds. This religious ceremonial of the Indians was mistaken by some travelers for salutation, which it only resembled as the formal grace before meat resembles the modern "goodmorning" or the libation among the Romans was analogous to the "salve" of their daily life.

Hennepin's explanation does not apply to the large majority of the cases known, and indeed is properly grief-weeping. If joy-weeping is not to be classed with the tricks to deceive the jealous gods, it possibly arises from the familiar agitation in which the signs of extreme joy and mirth are similar to those of grief. Most of us have laughed until tears rolled down our cheeks. Such exhibitions may have induced the real or imitative expression of joy by crying. In this connection it is curious that the English word "greeting," defined as a kind salutation, is still preserved in the lowland Scotch dialect with the sense of weeping or mourning.

The Heart.—Gestures of salutation, the motions of which are directly connected with the heart, have some special interest.

In some Oriental countries the mere bow-was not held to be enough. Sometimes the right hand was placed across the head.