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SECONDARY TABOO, CHAPTERS XV-XVII

HUSBAND and wife are thus in the relation of ngia ngiampe, emphasised by its being a sexual form ; they have been brought into that relation by a special ceremony of union, and remain in it both as a result of that ceremony, of which the permanence of union is not the least important object, and as a result of living together, which is itself a potential mode of ngia ngiampe. This continuous contact introduces once more all the original dangers of sexual taboo, as it were in spite of the act of ngia ngiampe ; in other words, the factors of contact which produce the taboo remain, after the taboo is broken by union, so as to give that union its sanction or binding force. The resulting taboo, that of responsibility, is thus emphasised by the original ideas of contact. We saw how this new taboo of responsibility arises, and that it is the psychological basis of altruism ; of this and of the original sexual taboos between husband and wife, which also now recur, not inconsistently, as a result of the ngia ngiampe relation, it is unnecessary to quote instances, but a few illustrations will be given to show how the mutual responsibility of married persons is based on the original ideas of contact. The duty resulting is primarily between husband and

wife, then between parents and children, and between the children themselves, secondarily between either of the married pair and those brought by the marriage into relation with each. Many details, such as the following, show how conscious application of the ideas of contact supplement such biological relations. A Zulu mother, when about to leave her baby for a few minutes, will squeeze her milk over its hands, breast and back, or spit on it, "as a protective charm " to ensure its safety during her absence.1 Amongst the Maoris, if the mother's breasts give no milk, she and her husband are kept apart for a night, to allow the karakia, incantation, which has been employed as cure, to take effect.3 In Luang Sermata, if a woman's children have died while being suckled, the next born is given to other people to be nursed.3 Amongst the people of the Loango Coast, the bridegroom and the bride before the marriage ceremony have to confess their sins to the priest; if they fail to do so, or if either keep back anything, evil and misfortune "will result when they eat together."4 This example is an excellent illustration of all these ideas. In South-East Africa a guilty wife may be forgiven, but the husband cannot live with her till a third party has been with her. If a guilty woman were to put salt in her husband's food, and he were to eat it, he would surely die ; therefore many women ask a little girl to put in the salt.5 We see here and in the following how the adhesive substance of guilt which

may injure the wronged party is prevented from acting by the use of an intermediary. After divorce an Egyptian husband cannot legally take his wife again, till she has been married and divorced by another man. They employ a poor, ugly or blind man for this, called moostah hill. Many rich Turks keep a special black slave for this purpose, generally one who has not reached puberty.1