266 HELPLESSNESS: ' CHAP. XI In this latter case we have a good instance, like those given in a former chapter, of the inheritance of a trick or gesture; for no one, I presume, will attribute to mere coincidence so peculiar a habit as this, which was com- mon to the grandfather and his two grandchildren who had never seen him. Considering all the circumstances with reference to these children shrugging their shoulders, it can hardly be doubted that they have inherited the habit from their French progenitors, although they have only one quar- ter French blood in their veins, and although their grandfather did not often shrug his shoulders. There is nothing very unusual, though the fact is interesting, in these children having gained by inheritance a habit during early youth, and then discontinuing it; for it is of frequent occurrence with many kinds of animals that certain characters are retained for a period by the young, and are then lost. As it appeared to me at one time improbable in a high degree that so complex a gesture as shrugging the shoulders, together with the accompanying movements, should be innate, I was anxious to ascertain whether the blind and deaf Laura Bridgman, who could not have learnt the habit by imitation, practised it. And I have heard, through Dr. Innes, from a lady who has lately had charge of her, that she does shrug her shoulders, turn in her elbows, and raise her eyebrows in the same .manner as other people, and under the same circumstances. I was also anxious to learn whether this gesture was prac- tised by the various races of man, especially by those who never have had much intercourse with Europeans. We shall see that they act in this manner; but it appears that the gesture is sometimes confined to merely raising or shrugging the shoulders, wrEhout the other move- ments.