Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/203

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parents and friends of the intended go to the tent of the young lady, where, as soon as they arrive, they are offered the sherbet or sorbet, a beverage made with water, lemon, sugar, amber and other spices. The purpose of this visit is to appoint a day for the marriage. When the time comes the young man engages a numerous escort of friends, and they start all together for the tent of the young woman. The bride has also gathered around her a large number of her friends to protect her. When the escort of the groom is near, the bride's protectors utter, at a signal, the wildest cries, run to the aggressors, insult them, and endeavor to defend the access of the tent. Insults and even blows are profusely exchanged between the two camps. This sham fight ends when one of the bravest succeeds in carrying off a goat or a sheep belonging to the father-in-law, and immolates it at once.

The blood shed is considered as a sacred libation, and from that moment the rights of the groom over his wife are recognized. The two families and all their friends are invited to a banquet in which they eat the sheep that was sacrificed.

Before night the bride is escorted to the tent of her husband on horseback. There, before alighting, she must remove the reins from her horse and throw them with force over the tent. If she succeeds in flinging them on the other side, without their touching the tent, they all declare it a happy omen.

At last some women execute dances appropriate to the circumstances, and, as they dance, all armed for the occasion, the effect of their graceful movements, in the magnificence and freshness of the Oriental twilight, is very impressive.

When all these formalities are accomplished, the guests retire, and the husband, accompanied by his most intimate friends, is led to the tent where his young wife awaits him. All the Yuruks espouse one woman at a time; polygamy is prohibited and severely punished.

Dr. D. G. Brinton and Dr. de la Tourette are agreed that nervous diseases and hysteria are not specially developed by civilization, as is commonly supposed. Dr. Brinton, in Science, quotes travelers for evidence that violent and epidemic nervous seizures are very common in uncultivated nations. Castian describes them among the Sibiric tribes. An unexpected blow on the outside of a tent will throw its occupants into spasms. The early Jesuit missionaries painted extraordinary pictures of epidemic nervous maladies among the Iroquois and Hurons. Scenes of this kind were witnessed in the middle ages that are impossible to-day. The hypothesis is advanced by Dr. I. C. Rosse, of Georgia Medical College, that a sudden change in the social habit and condition of any race, at any stage of advancement, may result in a prompt development of nervous disease; and that a stable high civilization may excite nervous disorders less than unstable conditions of lower grades of advancement.