Skip to main content

Full text of "Expression Of The Emotions In Man And Animals"

See other formats

CHAP. XIV.                AND SUMMARY.                         351

earliest days and throughout life quite beyond our con-
trol; for instance, the relaxation of the arteries of the
skin in blushing, and the increased action of the heart
in anger. We may see children, only two or three years
old, and even those born blind, blushing from shame;
and the naked scalp of a very young infant reddens from
passion. Infants scream from pain directly after birth,                               ^

and all their features then assume the same form as
during subsequent years. These facts alone suffice to                                 ;•

show that many of our most important expressions have
not been learnt; but it is remarkable that some, which-                              ~*\

are certainly innate, require practice in the individual,
before they are performed in a full and perfect manner;                                 ''

for instance, weeping and laughing.    The inheritance                             '„ ^

of most of our expressive actions explains the fact that                             ;   '

those bom blind display them, as I hear from the Eev.
E. H. Blair, equally well with those gifted with eyesight.                                 ^

We can thus also understand the fact that the young and                                 |

the old of widely different races, both with man and
animals, express the same state of mind by the^feaote
movements.                                                                                                          j.

We are so familiar with the fact of young and old                              j -

animals displaying their feelings in the same manner,
that we hardly perceive how remarkable it is that a                                 f

young puppy should wag its tail when pleased, depress                             ,$*

its ears and uncover its canine teeth when pretending
to be savage, just like an old dog; or that a kitten should
arch its little back and erect its hair when frightened
and angry, like an old cat. When, however, we turn to
less common gestures in ourselves, which we are accus-
tomed to look at as artificial or conventional,—such as
shrugging the shoulders, as a sign of impotence, or the
raising the arms with open hands and extended fingers,
as a sign of wonder,—we feel perhaps too much surprise
at finding that they are innate. That these and some