In the savage state the rule seems to be—the more wives the more children, and the more children the greater power. The primitive man is proud of his progeny; and the larger his family the more he is feared and respected. Speaking of the Equatorial Africans, where the rate of mortality is very high, and the fecundity of women very low, Mr. Reade says—"propagation is a perfect struggle; polygyny becomes a law of nature; and even with the aid of this institution, so favorable to reproduction, there are far fewer children than wives"3 Nor is our idea, as I have before remarked, that rivalry and jealousy must exist among women living in the polygynous state, well borne out in fact. It frequently happens that the first wife, if barren or old, will insist upon her husband having a fresh one, or a concubine;' and, in many portions of the East, ladies themselves are the very strongest advocates of polygyny. "If a man marries," says a very interesting writer/ "and his wife thinks that he can afford another spouse, she pesters him to marry again, and calls him a stingy fellow if he refuse."
Livingstone observes the same of the Makololo women, and of those farther down the Zambesi;* and among the Indians of this country, the California-Modoc ladies strongly oppose any change in the polygynous habits of their braves." The Greenlanders have a proverb that "whales, musk-oxen and reindeer deserted the country because the women were jealous at the conduct of their husbands/'7 and in the New Hebrides, Australia, New Guinea and the Aleutian Islands, polygyny is common. Regarding the North American Indians, however, Mr. Hearne says that, as " the men in general are very jealous of their wives, I make no doubt the same spirit reigns among the women; but they are kept so much in awe of their husbands that the liberty of thinking is about the only liberty the poor wives enjoy."'
1 Genesis xxx, 3.
And the same rule works both ways. If one man cannot satisfy a woman she is greatly tempted to seek another who can. Gnllus expresses this sentiment in his couplet, "And now she requires other youths and other loves, calls me an imbecile and a decrepit old man;" and Apuleius speaks an unfortunate wife's complaint in almost similar words—"poor woman that I am, what shall I do? I have an old sire for husband, bald as a coot, and as little and unable as a child, and he keeps all the doors barred on me." Pontanus speaks of "an old fellow who, having but a peck of corn to grind, weekly, must needs build a new mill, which he must either let lie idle or have others grind at it;" and Cyprian denounces the old profligate who, "when he can scarce lift his leg over a sill," one foot in the grave and the other trembling with the gout, must go "horning after young wenches;" the writer forgetting that good old Scotch proverb, that "an auld tooth maun hue tender meat."