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How Marriage Began
by [?]


At stated times we mortals have stated visitations.

One day it is the grippe, next day the financial problem.

Just now it is the marriage and divorce question, with much learned expounding by the good and the pure, such as bishops and members of Sorosis. —-

What is marriage? How did it begin? Whence does it come?

Why is it a feature of human life wherever that life is found.

You must begin with such questions. Always study beginnings. Nothing can be learned by taking hold of a thing in the middle and examining its imperfections.

The first priest to join man and woman together was no benign being with lawn sleeves and soul-stirring words.

Marriage was brought about on this earth by the will and wisdom of God Almighty working through primitive babyhood.

In the old days, when the world was cruder, men and women ran wild through forests and swamps. They fought nature, fought each other, as savage as other beasts around them. There was no love; there was no marriage. The instincts of self-preservation and of reproduction worked alone to keep the race here through its hard childhood. —-

But in cold stone caves or in rough nests under fallen tree trunks savage children were born and nursed by their savage mothers with savage affection.

Through those infants of the stone age, or of ages much earlier, marriage and pure affection came into the world.

It is not hard to reproduce in our minds the picture of the first marriage.

A savage woman, half human, half ape, with rough, matted locks hanging round her face, sits holding her new-born baby, protecting it from wind and cold.

It is a queer baby, covered perhaps with reddish hair, its brow no higher than a rat’s. Its jaw protrudes; its tiny, grimy hands clutch with monkey power all things within reach.

Along comes the father, full of plans to kill a mammoth or a cave bear; interested in his stone-tipped club, but caring nothing for the mother, who has been for some time only a whining nuisance.

He stops for a second to look at the small creature which he has added to earth’s animal life.

Its misshapen skull, ferret eyes, miniature shoulders–something about it reminds him of his royal self, as studied in the pool. He stoops to look closer. His bristly hairs are grabbed, and a weird, insane, toothless grin lights up the little monkey face.

Then the savage takes a new view of life; there the marriage institution and the marriage problem are born simultaneously.

Says the mammoth hunter, with whistling words and hoarse throat sounds half articulated:

“I like this baby. He’s like me. Let me hold him. Don’t you go out with him looking for food, and don’t leave him alone while I’m gone. I’ve got a bear located. No one can beat me killing bears. I’ll bring the bear’s heart to you this evening. You can give this baby some of the blood. It will do him good. Don’t have anything to say to that mammoth hunter in the next swamp. I want you to stick to me. I’ll look after you. I have taken a fancy to that baby. He looks very much like me.”

Off goes the father, and that savage mother, in a primitive way, is a wife. Hereafter she is to be cared for. Bears will be killed for her, even while she has children to keep her busy and unattractive. Society takes a new turn and the red-haired baby has done it.

To childhood, helpless and beautiful, we owe marriage and all that growth of morality which is gradually making us really civilized.

The basis of all real growth is altruism; and altruism, the inclination to think more of others than of yourself, came into the world through the cradle.