Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/51

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Testimony of Words. Agnatic Descent.

composite married body. The Mota people know that the word they use means this; it was owned to myself with a blush that it was so, with a Melanesian blush, and a protestation that the word did not represent a fact. The word used in Motlav, part of Saddle Island, gives hardly the less confirmation to this interpretation of the Mota word because it has not a plural form; in Motlav ignige has the same meaning with the Mota soai; a man says of his leg or his arm ignik, my member, one of my members, and he calls also his wife ignik, while she calls him the same.

As concerns the second point in question, it is apparent that the strict rule of exogamy as regards the kin leaves marriage open to those who are very near in blood; for a man is not of kin to his own children, and a man is not of kin to his brother's children. But although it is the intermarriage of sogoi, members of the same veve, that is strictly forbidden, and the descent is always counted by the mother, yet the blood connexion with the father and the father's near relations is never out of sight. Consequently the marriage of those who are near in blood, though they are not sogoi and may lawfully marry, is discountenanced. In Mota, for example, the children of a brother and sister are thought too near to marry. The brother and sister are both of one veve, A, as children of one mother; the children of the sister are of her veve, A; the brother's children are of the veve B, following their mother, who must needs be of the other side of the house. It appears then that the two cousins, children of a brother and sister, are not sogoi, one being A and the other B, and that they can marry. But they will not; the match will not be made; if they married they would be said to 'go wrong[1].' It will be seen that the succession to property shews the same tendency, perhaps a recent tendency, to the recognition of agnatic descent.

Florida, and the parts of the Solomon Islands adjacent to it, afford an example of the division of the people into more than two exogamous kindreds. In Florida these divisions are six,

  1. As in the case of Dudley and Agnes in the Mota pedigree further on.