Skip to main content
164: EXPRESSION OF SUFFERING: CHAP. VI.
ing by reflex action the secretion of tears. Accordingly
I / . | i I asked one of my informants, a surgeon, to attend to
r * _' *:. the effects of retching when nothing was thrown up
r '; ' *..' from the stomach; and, by an odd coincidence, he him-
f I"' : self suffered the next morning from an attack of retch-
^ '•' ' ing, and three days subsequently observed a lady under
f; i ! a similar attack; and he is certain that in neither case
\ l < an atom of matter was ejected from the stomach; yet the
orbicular muscles were strongly contracted, and tears
;j ' freely secreted. I can also speak positively to the ener-
'j getic contraction of these same muscles round the eyes,
\ ' . and to the coincident free secretion of tears, when the
£ (r abdominal muscles act with unusual force in a downward
i''' [ direction on the intestinal canal.
ff' Yawning commences with a deep inspiration, fol-
',! lowed by a long and forcible expiration; and at the
< ; • same time almost all the muscles of the body are strongly
I1 contracted, including those round the eyes. During this
\ t ' act tears are often secreted, and I have seen them even
! rolling down the cheeks.
i I have frequently observed that when persons scratch
some point which itches intolerably, they forcibly close
j .* x their eyelids; but they do not, as I believe, first draw a
"I deep breath and then expel it with force; and I have
* ' never noticed that the eyes then become filled with tears;
i but I am not prepared to assert that this does not occur.
| The forcible closure of the eyelids is, perhaps, merely a
part of that general action by which almost all the mus-
, , cles of the body are at the same ftme rendered rigid. It
] , ' is quite different from the gentle closure of the eyes
I ' which often accompanies, as Gratiolet remarks;10 the
|'f smelling a delicious odour, or the tasting a delicious
1 '>' morsel, and which probably originates in the desire to
j | shut out any disturbing impression through the eyes.
** 'Be la Physionomie,' 1865, p. 217.