256 DISGUST. CHAP. XI. agreeable odour or seen a disagreeable sight, actions of this kind have been performed, they have become habit- ual or fixed, and are now employed under any analogous state of mind. Various odd little gestures likewise indicate con- tempt; for instance, snapping one's fingers. This, as Mr. Tylor remarks/ " is not very intelligible as we gen- erally see it; but when we notice that the same sign made quite gently, as if rolling some tiny object away between the finger and thumb, or the sign of flipping it away with the thumb-nail and forefinger, are usual and well-understood deaf-and-dumb gestures, denoting anything tiny, insignificant, contemptible, it seems as though we had exaggerated and conventionalized a per- fectly natural action, so as to lose sight of its original meaning. There is a curious mention of this gesture by Strabo." Mr. Washington Matthews informs me that, with the Dakota Indians of North America, eon- tempt is shown not only by movements of the face, such as those above described, but " conventionally, by the hand being closed and held near the breast, then, as the forearm is suddenly extended, the hand is opened and the fingers separated from each other. If the person at whose expense the sign is made is present, the hand is moved towards him, and the head sometimes averted from him." This sudden extension and opening of the hand perhaps indicates the dropping or throwing away a valueless object. The term tf disgust/ in its simplest sense, means something offensive to the taste. It is curious how read- ily this feeling is excited by anything unusual in the appearance, odour, or nature of our food. In Tierra del Fuego a native touched with his finger some cold pre- e • Early History of Mankind,' 2nd edit. 1870, p. 45.