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M. A., F. R. S., ETC. 





Authorized Edition. 


Introduction Pages 1-26 

CIIAP. I. — General Principles of Expression. 

The three chief principles stated — The first principle — Serviceable ac- 
tions become habitual in association with certain states of the mind, 
and are performed whether or not of service in each particular case — 
The force of habit— Inheritance — Associated habitual movements in 
man — Keflex actions — Passage of habits into reflex actions — Asso- 
ciated habitual movements in the lower animals — Concluding re- 
marks 27-49 

CIIAP. II. — General Principles of Expression — continued. 

The Principle of Antithesis — Instances in the dog and cat — Origin of 
the principle — Conventional signs — The principle of antithesis has 
not arisen from opposite actions being consciously performed under 
opposite impulses 50-65 

CHAP. III. — General Principles of Expression — concluded. 

The principle of the direct action of the excited nervous system on the 
body, independently of the will and in part of habit — Change of 
colour in the hair — Trembling of the muscles — Modified secretions — 
Perspiration— Expression of extreme pain — Of rage, great joy, and 
terror — Contrast between the emotions which cause and do not cause 
expressive movements — Exciting and depressing states of the mind — 
Summary 66-82 

CHAP. IV. — Means of Expression in Animals. 

The emission of sounds — Vocal sounds — Sounds otherwise produced— 
Erection of the dermal appendages, hairs, feathers, &c, under the 
emotions of anger and terror — The drawing back of the ears as a prep- 
aration for fighting, and as an expression of anger — Erection of the 

ears and raising the head, a sign of attention 83-114 



CHAP. V. — Special Expressions of Animals. 

The Dog, various expressive movements of — Cats — Horses — Ruminants 
— Monkeys, their expression of joy and affection — Of pain — Anger — 
Astonishment and Terror Pages 115-145 

CHAP. VI. — Special Expressions of Man: Suffering and 


The screaming and weeping of infants — Form of features — Age at which 
weeping commences — The effects of habitual restraint on weeping — 
Sobbing — Cause of the contraction of the muscles round the eyes dur- 
ing screaming — Cause of the secretion of tears 146-175 

CHAP. VII. — Low Spirits, Anxiety, Grief, Dejection, Despair. 

General effect of grief on the system — Obliquity of the eyebrows under 
Buffering — On the cause of the obliquity of the eyebrows — On the de- 
pression of the corners of the mouth 176-195 

CHAP. VIII. — Joy, High Spirits, Love, Tender Feelings, Devotion. 

Laughter primarily the expression of joy — Ludicrous ideas — Movements 
of the features during laughter — Nature of the sound produced — The 
secretion of tears during loud laughter — Gradation from loud laughter 
to gentle smiling — High spirits — The expression of love — Tender feel- 
ings—Devotion 196-219 


CHAP. IX. — Reflection — Meditation — Ill-temper — Sulkiness— 


The act of frowning — Reflection with an effort or with the perception of 
something difficult or disagreeable — Abstracted meditation — Ill-tem- 
per — Moroseness — Obstinacy — Sulkiness and pouting — Decision or 
determination — The firm closure of the mouth 220-236 

CHAP. X. — Hatred and Anger. 


Hatred — Rage, effects of on the system — Uncovering of the teeth — Rage 
in the insane — Anger and indignation — As expressed by the various 
races of man — Sneering and defiance — The uncovering of the canine 
tooth on one side of the face 237-252 

CHAP. XL — Disdain — Contempt — Disgust — Guilt— Pride, etc — 
Helplessness — Patience — Affirmation and Negation. 

Contempt, scorn and disdain, variously expressed — Derisive smile — 
Gestures expressive of contempt — Disgust — Guilt, deceit, pride, etc. — 
Helplessness or impotence — Patience — Obstinacy — Shrugging the 
shoulders common to most of the races of man — Signs of affirmation 
and negation 253-277 


CHAP. XII. — Surprise — Astonishment— Fear — Horror. 

Surprise, astonishment — Elevation of the eyebrows — Opening the mouth 
— Protrusion of the lips — Gestures aecompanying surprise — Admira- 
tion — Fear — Terror — Erection of the hair — Contraction of the platys- 
ma muscle — Dilatation of the pupils — Horror — Conclusion. 

Pages 278-308 

CHAP. XIII.— Self-attention — Shame — Shyness — Modesty : 


Nature of a blush — Inheritance — The parts of the body most affected — 
Blushing in the various races of man — Accompanying gestures — Con- 
fusion of mind — Causes of blushing — Self-attention, the fundamental 
element — Shyness — Shame, from broken moral laws and conventional 
rules — Modesty — Theory of blushing — Recapitulation 809-346 

CHAP. XIV. — Concluding Eemarks and Summary. 

The three leading principles which have determined the chief move- 
ments of expression — Their inheritance — On the part which the will 
and intention have played in the acquirement of various expressions 
— The instinctive recognition of expression — The bearing of our sub- 
ject on the specific unity of the races of man — On the successive ac- 
quirement of various expressions by the progenitors of man — The im- 
portance of expression — Conclusion 347-366 


Fig. Page 

1. Diagram of the muscles of the face, from Sir C. Bell 24 

2. " " " Henle 24 

3. " " " " 25 

4. Small dog watching a cat on a table 43 

5. Dog approaching another dog with hostile intentions 52 

6. Dog in a humble and affectionate frame of mind 53 

7. Half-bred Shepherd Dog 54 

8. Dog caressing his master 55 

9. Cat, savage, and prepared to fight 58 

10. Cat in an affectionate frame of mind 59 

11. Sound-producing quills from the tail of the Porcupine 93 

12. Hen driving away a dog from her chickens 98 

13. Swan driving away an intruder 99 

14. Head of snarling dog 117 

15. Cat terrified at a dog 125 

16. Cynopithecus niger, in a placid condition 135 

17. The same, when pleased by being caressed 135 

18. Chimpanzee disappointed and sulky 139 

19. Photograph of an insane woman 296 

20. Terror 299 

21. Horror and Agony 306 

Plate I. to face page 147. 
" II. " 178. 

" III. " 200. 

" IV. » 248. 

Plate V. to face page 254. 
« VI. " 264. 

« VII. " 300. 

N. B— Several of the figures in these seven Heliotype Plates have 
been reproduced from photographs, instead of from the original nega- 
tives; and they are in consequence somewhat indistinct. Nevertheless 
they are faithful copies, and are much superior for my purpose to any 
drawing, however carefully executed. 





Ma-ntt works have been written on Expression, but a 
greater number on Physiognomy, — that is, on the recog- 
nition of character through the study of the permanent 
form of the features. With this latter subject I am not 
here concerned. The older treatises, 1 which I have con- 
sulted, have been of little or no service to me. The 
famous ' Conferences ' 2 of the painter Le Brun, pub- 
lished in 1667, is the best known ancient work, and con- 
tains some good remarks. Another somewhat old essay, 
namely, the ' Discours/ delivered 1774-1782, by the 
well-known Dutch anatomist Camper, 3 can hardly be 
considered as having made any marked advance in the 
subject. The following works, on the contrary, deserve 
the fullest consideration. 

Sir Charles Bell, so illustrious for his discoveries in 
physiology, published in 1806 the first edition, and in 

1 J. Parsons, in his paper in the Appendix to the ' Philo- 
sophical Transactions ' for 1746, p. 41, gives a list of forty- 
one old authors who have written on Expression. 

2 ' Conferences sur l'expression des differents Carac- 
teres des Passions.' Paris, 4to, 1667. I always quote 
from the republication of the ' Conferences ' in the edition 
of Lavater, by Moreau, which appeared in 1820, as given 
in vol. ix. p. 257. 

3 ' Discours par Pierre Camper sur le moj-en de repre- 
senter les diverses passions,' &c. 1792. 



1844 the third edition of his ' Anatomy and Philosophy 
of Expression/ 4 He may with justice be said, not only 
to have laid the foundations of the subject as a branch 
of science, but to have built up a noble structure. His 
work is in every way deeply interesting; it includes 
graphic descriptions of the various emotions, and is ad- 
mirably illustrated. It is generally admitted that his 
service consists chiefly in having shown the intimate rela- 
tion which exists between the movements of expression 
and those of respiration. One of the most important 
points, small as it may at first appear, is that the muscles 
round the eyes are involuntarily contracted during violent 
expiratory efforts, in order to protect these delicate or- 
gans from the pressure of the blood. This fact, which 
has been fully investigated for me with the greatest kind- 
ness by Professors Donders of Utrecht, throws, as we shall 
hereafter see, a flood of light on several of the most im- 
portant expressions of the human countenance. The 
merits of Sir C. Bell's work have been undervalued or 
quite ignored by several foreign writers, but have been 
fully admitted by some, for instance by M. Lemoine, 6 
who with great justice says: — " Le livre de Ch. Bell 
devrait etre medite par quiconque essaye de faire parler 
le visage de l'homme, par les philosophes aussi bien que 
par les artistes, car, sous une apparence plus legere et 
sous le pretexte de l'esthetique, c'est un des plus beaux 
monuments de la science des rapports du physique et 
du moral." 

From reasons which will presently be assigned, Sir 

4 I always quote from the third edition, 1844, which 
was published after the death of Sir C. Bell, and contains 
his latest corrections. The first edition of 1806 is much 
inferior in merit, and does not include some of his more 
important views. 

6 « De la Physionomie et de la Parole,' par Albert Le- 
moine, 1865, p. 101. 


C. Bell did not attempt to follow out his views as far as 
thev might have been carried. He does not try to ex- 
plain why different muscles are brought into action 
under different emotions; why, for instance, the inner 
ends of the eyebrows are raised, and the corners of the 
mouth depressed, by a person suffering from grief or 

In 1807 M. Moreau edited an edition of Lavater 
on Physiognomy, 6 in which he incorporated several of 
his own essays, containing excellent descriptions of the 
movements of the facial muscles, together with many 
valuable remarks. He throws, however, very little light 
on the philosophy of the subject. For instance, M. 
Moreau, in speaking of the act of frowning, that is, of 
the contraction of the muscle called by French writers 
the sourcilier (comigator sujjercilii), remarks with 
truth : — " Cette action cles sourciliers est un des symp- 

6 ' L'Art de connaitre les Homines,' &c, par G. Lavater. 
The earliest edition of this work, referred to in the preface 
to the edition of 1820 in ten volumes, as containing- the 
observations of M. Moreau, is said to have been published 
in 1807; and I have no doubt that this is correct, because 
the ' Notice sur Lavater ' at the commencement of volume 
i. is dated April 13, 1806. In some bibliographical works, 
however, the date of 1S05-1S09 is given, but it seems im- 
possible that 1805 can be correct. Dr. Duchenne remarks 
(' Mecanisme de la Physionomie Humaine,' 8vo edit. 1862, 
p. 5, and ' Archives Generates de Medecine,' Jan. et Fev. 
1862) that M. Moreau " a compose pour son ouvrage un 
article important," &c, in the year 1805; and I find in vol- 
ume i. of the edition of 1820 passages bearing the dates of 
December 12, 1S05, and another January 5, 1S06, besides 
that of April 13, 1806, above referred to. In consequence 
of some of these passages having thus been composed in 
1805, Dr. Duchenne assigns to M. Moreau the priority over 
Sir C. Bell, whose work, as we have seen, was published 
in 1806. This is a very unusual manner of determining 
the priority of scientific works; but such questions are 
of extremely little importance in comparison with their 
relative merits. The passages above quoted from M. 
Moreau and from Le Brun are taken in this and all other 
cases from the edition of 1820 of Lavater, torn. iv. p. 228, 
and torn. ix. p. 279. 


tomes les plus tranches de l'expression des affections 
penibles ou concentrees." He then adds that these 
muscles, from their attachment and position, are fitted 
"a resserrer, a concentrer les principaux traits de la/«ce, 
comme il convient dans toutes ces passions vraiment 
oppress! ves ou profondes, dans ces affections dont le 
sentiment semble porter l'organisation a revenir sur 
elle-meme, a se contracter et a tfamoindrir, comme pour 
offrir moins de prise et de surface a des impressions re- 
doutables ou importunes." He who thinks that remarks 
of this kind throw any light on the meaning or origin 
of the different expressions, takes a very different view 
of the subject to what I do. 

In the above passage there is but a slight, if any, 
advance in the philosophy of the subject, beyond that 
reached by the painter Le Brun, who, in 1667, in de- 
scribing the expression of fright, says: — " Le sourcil 
qui est abaisse d'un cote et eleve de l'autre, fait voir 
que la partie elevee semble le vouloir joindre au cerveau 
pour le garantir du mal que Tame apercoit, et le cote 
qui est abaisse et qui parait enfle, nous fait trouver dans 
cet etat par les esprits qui viennent du cerveau en abon- 
dance, comme pour couvrir l'ame et la defendre du mal 
qu'elle craint ; la bouche fort ouverte fait voir le saisisse- 
ment du coeur, par le sang qui se retire vers lui, ce qui 
l'oblige, voulant respirer, a faire un effort qui est cause 
que la bouche s'ouvre extremement, et qui, lorsqu'il 
passe par les organes de la voix, forme un son qui n'est 
point articule ; que si les muscles et les veines parais- 
sent enfles, ce n'est que par les esprits que le cerveau 
envoie en ces parties-la." I have thought the fore- 
going sentences worth quoting, as specimens of the 
surprising nonsense which has been written on the sub- 

c The Physiology or Mechanism of Blushing/ by Dr. 


Burgess, appeared in 1839, and to this work I shall fre- 
quently refer in my thirteenth Chapter. 

In 1862 Dr. Duehenne published two editions, in 
folio and octavo, of his ' Mecanisrne de la Physionomie 
Humaine,' in which he analyses by means of electricity, 
and illustrates by magnificent photographs, the move- 
ments of the facial muscles. He has generously per- 
mitted me to copy as many of his photographs as I de- 
sired. His works have been spoken lightly of, or quite 
passed over, by some of his countrymen. It is possible 
that Dr. Duehenne may have exaggerated the impor- 
tance of the contraction of single muscles in giving ex- 
pression; for, owing to the intimate manner in winch 
the muscles are connected, as may be seen in Henle's 
anatomical drawings 7 — the best I believe ever published 
— it is difficult to believe in their separate action. Never- 
theless, it is manifest that Dr. Duehenne clearly appre- 
hended this and other sources of error, and as it is known 
that he was eminently successful in elucidating the 
physiology of the muscles of the hand by the aid of elec- 
tricity, it is probable that he is generally in the right 
about the muscles of the face. In my opinion, Dr. 
Duehenne has greatly advanced the subject by his treat- 
ment of it. Xo one has more carefully studied the con- 
traction of each separate muscle, and the consequent 
furrows produced on the skin. He has also, and this is 
a very important service, shown which muscles are least 
under the separate control of the will. He enters very 
little into theoretical considerations, and seldom at- 
tempts to explain why certain muscles and not others 
contract under the influence of certain emotions. 

A distinguished Trench anatomist, Pierre Gratiolet, 

7 ' Handbuch der Systematischen Anatomie des Men- 
schen.' Band I. Dritte Abtheilung-, 1858. 


gave a course of lectures on Expression at the Sorbonne, 
and his notes were published (1865) after his death, 
under the title of ' De la Physionomie et des Mouve- 
ments d'Expression.' This is a very interesting work, 
full of valuable observations. His theory is rather com- 
plex, and, as far as it can be given in a single sentence 
(p. 65), is as follows :— " II resulte, de tous les faits que 
j'ai rappeles, que les sens, rimagination et la pensee elle- 
meme, si elevee, si abstraite qu'on la suppose, ne peu- 
vent s'exercer sans eveiller un sentiment correlatif, et 
que ce sentiment se traduit directement, sympathique- 
ment, symboliquement ou metaphoriquement, dans 
toutes les spheres des organs exterieurs, qui la racontent 
tous, suivant leur mode d'action propre, comme si chacun 
d'eux avait ete directement aifecte." 

Gratiolet appears to overlook inherited habit, and 
even to some extent habit in the individual; and there- 
fore he fails, as it seems to me, to give the right explana- 
tion, or any explanation at all, of many gestures and ex- 
pressions. As an illustration of what he calls symbolic 
movements, I will quote his remarks (p. 37), taken from 
M. Chevreul, on a man playing at billiards. " Si une 
bille devie legerement de la direction que le joueur pre- 
tend lui imprimer, ne l'avez-vous pas vu cent fois la pous- 
ser du regard, de la tete et meme des epaules, comme si 
ces mouvements, purement symboliques, pouvaient recti- 
fier son trajet? Des mouvements non moins significatifs 
se produisent quand la bille manque d'une impulsion 
sumsante. Et chez les joueurs novices, ils sont quelque- 
fois accuses au point d'eveiller le sourire sur les levres 
des spectateurs." Such movements, as it appears to me, 
may be attributed simply to habit. As often as a man 
has wished to move an object to one side, he has always 
pushed it to that side; when forwards, he has pushed it 


forwards; and if he has wished to arrest it, he has pulled 
backwards. Therefore, when a man sees his ball travel- 
ling in a wrong direction, and he intensely wishes it to 
go in another direction, he cannot avoid, from long habit, 
unconsciously performing movements which in other 
cases he has found effectual. 

As an instance of sympathetic movements Gratiolet 
gives (p. 212) the following case : — " tin jeune chien a 
oreilles droites, auquel son maitre presente de loin quel- 
que viande appetissante, fixe avec ardeur ses yeux sur cet 
objet dont il suit tous les mouvements, et pendant que 
les yeux regardent, les deux oreilles se portent en avant 
comme si cet objet pouvait etre entendu." Here, in- 
stead of speaking of sympathy between the ears and eyes, 
it appears to me more simple to believe, that as dogs 
during many generations have, whilst intently looking 
at any object, pricked their ears in order to perceive any 
sound; and conversely have looked intently in the direc- 
tion of a sound to which they may have listened, the 
movements of these organs have become firmly associ- 
ated together through long-continued habit. 

Dr. Piderit published in 1859 an essay on Expression, 
which I have not seen, but in which, as he states, he 
forestalled Gratiolet in many of his views. In 1867 
he published his ' AYissenschaftliches Svstem der Mimik 
und Physiognomik/ It is hardly possible to give in a 
few sentences a fair notion of his views; perhaps the 
two following sentences will tell as much as can be 
briefly told : " the muscular movements of expression 
are in part related to imaginary objects, and in part to 
imaginary sensorial impressions. In this proposition 
lies the key to the comprehension of all expressive mus- 
cular movements." (s. 25.) Again, " Expressive move- 
ments manifest themselves chiefly in the numerous and 
mobile muscles of the face, partly because the nerves 


by which they are set into motion originate in the most 
immediate vicinity of the mind-organ, but partly also 
because these muscles serve to support the organs of 
sense." (s. 26.) If Dr. Piderit had studied Sir C. Bell's 
work, he would probably not have said (s. 101) that vio- 
lent laughter causes a frown from partaking of the na- 
ture of pain; or that with infants (s. 103) the tears irri- 
tate the eyes, and thus excite the contraction of the sur- 
rounding muscles. Many good remarks are scattered 
throughout this volume, to which I shall hereafter 

Short discussions on Expression may be found in 
various works, which need not here be particularised. 
Mr. Bain, however, in two of his works has treated the 
subject at some length. He says, 8 " I look upon the 
expression so-called as part and parcel of the feeling. 
I believe it to be a general law of the mind that, along 
with the fact of inward feeling or consciousness, there 
is a diffusive action or excitement over the bodily mem- 
bers." In another place he adds, " A very considerable 
number of the facts may be brought under the following 
principle: namely, that states of pleasure are connected 
with an increase, and states of pain with an abatement, 
of some, or all, of the vital functions." But the above 
law of the diffusive action of feelings seems too general 
to throw much light on special expressions. 

Mr. Herbert Spencer, in treating of the Feelings in 
his ' Principles of Psychology ' (1855), makes the fol- 
lowing remarks: — " Fear, when strong, expresses itself 
in cries, in efforts to hide or escape, in palpitations and 
tremblings; and these are just the manifestations that 

8 ' The Senses and the Intellect,' 2nd edit. 1864, pp. 96 
and 288. The preface to the first edition of this work is 
dated June, 1855. See also the 2nd edition of Mr. Bain's 
work on the ' Emotions and Will.' 


would accompany an actual experience of the evil feared. 
The destructive passions are shown in a general tension 
of the muscular system, in gnashing of the teeth and 
protrusion of the claws, in dilated eyes and nostrils, 
in growls; and these are weaker forms of the actions 
that accompany the killing of prey." Here we have, 
as I believe, the true theory of a large number of expres- 
sions; but the chief interest and difficulty of the subject 
lies in following out the wonderfully complex results. I 
infer that some one (but who he is I have not been able 
to ascertain) formerly advanced a nearly similar view, 
for Sir C. Bell says, 9 " It has been maintained that what 
are called the external signs of passion, are only the con- 
comitants of those voluntary movements which the struc- 
ture renders necessary." Mr. Spencer has also pub- 
lished 10 a valuable essay on the physiology of Laughter, 
in which he insists on "the general law that feeling 
passing a certain pitch, habitually vents itself in bodily 
action; " and that " an overflow of nerve-force undirected 
by any motive, will manifestly take first the most 
habitual routes; and if these do not suffice, will next 
overflow into the less habitual ones." This law I believe 
to be of the highest importance in throwing light on our 
subject. 11 

9 ' The Anatomy of Expression,' 3rd edit. p. 121. 

10 ' Essays, Scientific, Political, and Speculative,' Second 
Series, 1863, p. 111. There is a discussion on Laughter in 
the First Series of Essays, which discussion seems to me 
of very inferior value. 

11 Since the publication of the essay just referred to, 
Mr. Spencer has written another, on " Morals and Moral 
Sentiments," in the ' Fortnightly Review,' April 1, 1871, p. 
426. He has, also, now published his final conclusions in 
vol. ii. of the second edit, of the ' Principles of Psychology,' 
1872, p. 539. I may state, in order that I may not be ac- 
cused of trespassing on Mr. Spencer's domain, that I an- 
nounced in mv ' Descent of Man,' that I had then written 
a part of the present volume: my first MS. notes on the 
subject of expression bear the date of the year 1838. 



All the authors who have written on Expression, 
with the exception of Mr. Spencer — the great expounder 
of the principle of Evolution — appear to have been 
firmly convinced that species, man of course included, 
came into existence in their present condition. Sir C. 
Bell, being thus convinced, maintains that many of 
our facial muscles are " purely instrumental in expres- 
sion; " or are " a special provision " for this sole ob- 
ject. 12 But the simple fact that the anthropoid apes 
possess the same facial muscles as we do, 13 renders it 
very improbable that these muscles in our case serve 
exclusively for expression; for no one, I presume, would 
be inclined to admit that monkeys have been endowed 
with special muscles solely for exhibiting their hideous 
grimaces. Distinct uses, independently of expression, 
can indeed be assigned with much probability for almost 
all the facial muscles. 

Sir C. Bell evidently wished to draw as broad a dis- 
tinction as possible between man and the lower animals; 
and he consequently asserts that with " the lower crea- 
tures there is no expression but what may be referred, 
more or less plainly, to their acts of volition or neces- 
sary instincts." He further maintains that their faces 
" seem chiefly capable of expressing rage and fear." 14 
But man himself cannot express love and humility by 
external signs, so plainly as does a dog, when with droop- 
ing ears, hanging lips, flexuous body, and wagging tail, 
he meets his beloved master. Nor can these movements 

12 4 

Anatomy of Expression,' 3rd edit. pp. 98, 121, 131. 
Professor Owen expressly states (Proc. Zoolog". Soc. 
1830, p. 28) that this is the case with respect to the Orang", 
and specifies all the more important muscles which are 
well known to serve with man for the expression of his 
feelings. See, also, a description of several of the facial 
muscles in the Chimpanzee, by Prof. Macalister, in ' Annals 
and Magazine of Natural History,' vol. vii. May, 1871, p. 

14 * Anatomy of Expression,' pp. 121, 138. 


in the dog be explained by acts of volition or necessary 
instincts, any more than the beaming eyes and smiling 
cheeks of a man when he meets an old friend. If Sir 
C. Bell had been questioned about the expression of 
affection in the dog, he would no doubt have answered 
that this animal had been created with special instincts, 
adapting him for association with man, and that all 
further enquiry on the subject was superfluous. 

Although Gratiolet emphatically denies 15 that any 
muscle has been developed solely for the sake of ex- 
pression, he seems never to have reflected on the prin- 
ciple of evolution. He apparently looks at each species 
as a separate creation. So it is with the other writers 
on Expression. For instance, Dr. Duchenne, after 
speaking of the movements of the limbs, refers to those 
which give expression to the face, and remarks: 16 " Le 
createur n'a done pas eu a se preoccuper ici des besoins 
de la mecanique ; il a pn, selon sa sagesse, ou — que Ton 
me pardonne cette maniere de parler — par une divine 
fantaisie, mettre en action tel ou tel muscle, un seul ou 
plusieurs muscles a la fois, lorsqu'il a voulu que les signes 
caracteristiques des passions, meme les plus fugaces, fus- 
sent ecrits passagerement sur la face de l'homme. Ce 
langage de la physionomie une fois cree, il lui a suffi, 
pour le rendre universel et immuable, de donner a tout 
etre humain la faculte instinctive d'exprimer toujours 
ses sentiments par la contraction des memes muscles." 

Many writers consider the whole subject of Expres- 
sion as inexplicable. Thus the illustrious physiologist 
Muller, says, 17 " The completely different expression of 

15 < 

16 ( 

Be la Physionomie,' pp. 12, 73. 

' Mecanisme de la Physionomie Humaine,' Svo edit. 
p. 31. 

17 ' Elements of Physiologv,' English translation, vol. 
ii. p. 934. 


the features in different passions shows that, according 
to the kind of feeling excited, entirely different groups 
of the fibres of the facial nerve are acted on. Of the 
cause of this we are quite ignorant." 

No doubt as long as man and all other animals are 
viewed as independent creations, an effectual stop is put 
to our natural desire to investigate as far as possible 
the causes of Expression. By this doctrine, anything 
and everything can be equally well explained; and it 
has proved as pernicious with respect to Expression 
as to every other branch of natural history. With 
mankind some expressions, such as the bristling of the 
hair under the influence of extreme terror, or the un- 
covering of the teeth under that of furious rage, can 
hardly be understood, except on the belief that man once 
existed in a much lower and animal-like condition. The 
community of certain expressions in distinct though 
allied species, as in the movements of the same facial 
muscles during laughter by man and by various mon- 
keys, is rendered somewhat more intelligible, if we be- 
lieve in their descent from a common progenitor. He 
who admits on general grounds that the structure and 
habits of all animals have been gradually evolved, will 
look at the whole subject of Expression in a new and 
interesting light. 

The study of Expression is difficult, owing to the 
movements being often extremely slight, and of a fleet- 
ing nature. A difference may be clearly perceived, 
and yet it may be impossible, at least I have found it 
so, to state in what the difference consists. When we 
witness any deep emotion, our sympathy is so strongly 
excited, that close observation is forgotten or rendered 
almost impossible; of which fact I have had many curi- 
ous proofs. Our imagination is another and still more 
serious source of error; for if from the nature of the 


circumstances we expect to see any expression, we readily 
imagine its presence. Notwithstanding Dr. Duchenne's 
great experience, he for a long time fancied, as he states, 
that several muscles contracted under certain emotions, 
whereas he ultimately convinced himself that the move- 
ment was confined to a single muscle. 

In order to acquire as good a foundation as possible, 
and to ascertain, independently of common opinion, 
how far particular movements of the features and 
gestures are really expressive of certain states of the 
mind, I have found the following means the most serv- 
iceable. In the first place, to observe infants; for they 
exhibit many emotions, as Sir C.'Bell remarks, "with 
extraordinary force; " whereas, in after life, some of 
our expressions " cease to have the pure and simple 
source from which the} r spring in infancy." 18 

In the second place, it occurred to me that the in- 
sane ought to be studied, as they are liable to the strong- 
est passions, and give uncontrolled vent to them. I had, 
myself, no opportunity of doing this, so I applied to Dr. 
Maudsley and received from him an introduction to Dr. 
J. Crichton Browne, who has charge of an immense asv- 
him near Wakefield, and who, as I found, had already 
attended to the subject. This excellent observer has 
with unwearied kindness sent me copious notes and de- 
scriptions, with valuable suggestions on many points; 
and I can hardly over-estimate the value of his assist- 
ance. I owe also, to the kindness of Mr. Patrick Nicol, 
of the Sussex Lunatic Asylum, interesting statements 
on two or three points. 

Thirdly Dr. Duchenne galvanized, as we have already 
seen, certain muscles in the face of an old man, whose 
skin was little sensitive, and thus produced various ex- 

18 i 

Anatomy of Expression,' 3rd edit. p. 198, 


pressions which were photographed on a large scale. It 
fortunately occurred to me to show several of the best 
plates, without a word of explanation, to above twenty 
educated persons of various ages and both sexes, asking 
them, in each case, by what emotion or feeling the old 
man was supposed to be agitated; and I recorded their 
answers in the words which they used. Several of the 
expressions were instantly recognised by almost every- 
one, though described in not exactly the same terms; 
and these may, I think, be relied on as truthful, and 
will hereafter be specified. On the other hand, the most 
widely different judgments were pronounced in regard 
to some of them. This exhibition was of use in another 
way, by convincing me how easily we may be misguided 
by our imagination; for when I first looked through 
Dr. Duchenne's photographs, reading at the same time 
the text, and thus learning what was intended, I was 
struck with admiration at the truthfulness of all, with 
only a few exceptions. Nevertheless, if I had examined 
them without any explanation, no doubt I should have 
been as much perplexed, in some cases, as other persons 
have been. 

Fourthly, I had hoped to derive much aid from the 
great masters in painting and sculpture, who are such 
close observers. Accordingly, I have looked at photo- 
graphs and engravings of many well-known works; 
but, with a few exceptions, have not thus profited. The 
reason no doubt is, that in works of art, beauty is the 
chief object; and strongly contracted facial muscles 
destroy beauty. 19 The story of the composition is gen- 
erally told with wonderful force and truth by skilfully 
given accessories. 

Fifthly, it seemed to me highly important to ascer- 

19 See remarks to this effect in Lessing's ' Laocoon,' 
translated by W. Ross, 1836, p. 19. 


tain whether the same expressions and gestures prevail, 
as has often been asserted without much evidence, with 
all the races of mankind, especially with those who have 
associated but little with Europeans. Whenever the 
same movements of the features or body express the 
same emotions in several distinct races of man, we may 
infer with much probability, that such expressions are 
true ones, — that is, are innate or instinctive. Con- 
ventional expressions or gestures, acquired by the in- 
dividual during early life, would probably have dif- 
fered in the different races, in the same manner as do 
their languages. Accordingly I circulated, early in the 
year 1867, the following printed queries with a request, 
which has been fully responded to, that actual observa- 
tions, and not memory, might be trusted. These queries 
were written after a considerable interval of time, dur- 
ing which my attention had been otherwise directed, 
and I can now see that they might have been greatly 
improved. To some of the later copies, I appended, 
in manuscript, a few additional remarks: — 

(1.) Is astonishment expressed by the eyes and mouth 
being opened wide, and by the eyebrows being 

(2.) Does shame excite a blush when the colour of the 
skin allows it to be visible? and especially how 
low down the body does the blush extend? 

(3.) When a man is indignant or defiant does he frown, 
hold his body and head erect, square his shoulders 
and clench his fists? 

(4.) When considering deeply on any subject, or trying 
to understand any puzzle, does he frown, or 
wrinkle the skin beneath the lower eyelids? 

(5.) When in low spirits, are the corners of the mouth 
depressed, and the inner corner of the eyebrows 
raised by that muscle which the French call the 
" Grief muscle " ? The eyebrow in this state be- 
comes slightly oblique, with a little swelling at 
the inner end; and the forehead is transversely 
wrinkled in the middle part, but not across the 
whole breadth, as when the eyebrows are raised 
in surprise. 


(6.) When in good spirits do the eyes sparkle, with the 
skin a little wrinkled round and under them, and 
with the mouth a little drawn back at the 
corners ? 

(7.) When a man sneers or snarls at another, is the 
corner of the upper lip over the canine or eye 
tooth raised on the side facing the man whom he 

(8.) Can a dogged or obstinate expression be recog- 
nized, which is chiefly shown bj r the mouth being 
firmly closed, a lowering brow and a slight 
frown ? 

(9.) Is contempt expressed by a slight protrusion of 
the lips and by turning up the nose, and with a 
slight expiration? 

(10.) Is disgust shown by the lower lip being turned 
down, the upper lip slightly raised, with a sud- 
den expiration, something like incipient vomit- 
ing, or like something spit out of the mouth? 

(11.) Is extreme fear expressed in the same general 
manner as with Europeans? 

(12.) Is laughter ever carried to such an extreme as 
to bring tears into the eyes? 

(13.) When a man wishes to show that he cannot pre- 
vent something' being done, or cannot himself do 
something - , does he shrug his shoulders, turn in- 
wards his elbows, extend outwards his hands and 
open the palms; with the eyebrows raised? 

(14.) Do the children when sulky, pout or greatly pro- 
trude the lips? 

(15.) Can guilty, or sly, or jealous expressions be recog- 
nized? though I know not how these can be de- 

(16.) Is the head nodded vertically in affirmation, and 
shaken laterally in negation? 

Observations on natives who have had little communi- 
cation with Europeans would be of course the most valu- 
able, though those made on any natives would be of much 
interest to me. General remarks on expression are of com- 
paratively little value; and memory is so deceptive that 
I earnestly beg it may not be trusted. A definite descrip- 
tion of the countenance under any emotion or frame of 
mind, with a statement of the circumstances under which 
it occurred, would possess much value. 

To these queries I have received thirty-six answers 
from different observers, several of them missionaries 
or protectors of the aborigines, to all of whom I am 
deeply indebted for the great trouble which they have 
taken, and for the valuable aid thus received. I will 


specify their names, &c, towards the close of this chap- 
ter, so as not to interrupt my present remarks. The 
answers relate to several of the most distinct and savage 
races of man. In many instances, the circumstances 
have been recorded under which each expression was 
observed, and the expression itself described. In such 
cases, much confidence may be placed in the answers. 
When the answers have been simply yes or no, I have 
always received them with caution. It follows, from 
the information thus acquired, that the same state of 
mind is expressed throughout the world with remark- 
able uniformity; and this fact is in itself interesting 
as evidence of the close similarity in bodilv structure 
and mental disposition of all the races of mankind. 

Sixthly, and lastly, I have attended, as closely as I 
could, to the expression of the several passions in some 
of the commoner animals; and this I believe to be of 
paramount importance, not of course for deciding how 
far in man certain expressions are characteristic of 
certain states of mind, but as affording the safest basis 
for generalisation on the causes, or origin, of the various 
movements of Expression. In observing animals, we 
are not so likely to be biassed by our imagination; and 
Ave may feel safe that their expressions are not conven- 

From the reasons above assigned, namely, the fleeting 
nature of some expressions (the changes in the features 
being often extremely slight); our sympathy being 
easily aroused when we behold any strong emotion, 
and our attention thus distracted; our imagination de- 
ceiving us, from knowing in a vague manner what to 
expect, though certainly few of us know what the ex- 
act changes in the countenance are; and lastly, even 
our long familiarity with the subject, — from all these 


causes combined, the observation' of Expression is by 
no means easy, as many persons, whom I have asked to 
observe certain points, have soon discovered. Hence 
it is difficult to determine, with certainty, what are the 
movements of the features and of the body, which com- 
monly characterize certain states of the mind. Never- 
theless, some of the doubts and difficulties have, as I 
hope, been cleared away by the observation of infants, 
— of the insane, — of the different races of man, — of 
works of art, — and lastly, of the facial muscles under 
the action of galvanism, as effected by Dr. Duchenne. 

But there remains the much greater difficulty of 
understanding the cause or origin of the several ex- 
pressions, and of judging whether any theoretical ex- 
planation is trustworthy. Besides, judging as well as 
we can by our reason, without the aid of any rules, which 
of two or more explanations is the most satisfactory, 
or are quite unsatisfactory, I see only one way of test- 
ing our conclusions. This is to observe whether the 
same principle by which one expression can, as it ap- 
pears, be explained, is applicable in other allied cases; 
and especially, whether the same general principles can 
be applied with satisfactory results, both to man and 
the lower animals. This latter method, I am inclined 
to think, is the most serviceable of all. The difficulty 
of judging of the truth of any theoretical explanation, 
and of testing it by some distinct line of investigation, 
is the great drawback to that interest which the study 
seems well fitted to excite. 

Finally, with respect to my own observations, I may 
state that they were commenced in the year 1838; and 
from that time to the present day, I have occasionally 
attended to the subject. At the above date, I was al- 
ready inclined to believe in the principle of evolution, 
or of the derivation of species from other and lower 


forms. Consequently, when I read Sir C. Bell's great 
work, his view, that man had been created with cer- 
tain muscles specially adapted for the expression of 
his feelings, struck me as unsatisfactory. It seemed 
probable that the habit of expressing our feelings by 
certain movements, though now rendered innate, had 
been in some manner gradually acquired. But to dis- 
cover how such habits had been acquired was perplex- 
ing in no small degree. The whole subject had to be 
viewed under a new aspect, and each expression de- 
manded a rational explanation. This belief led me to 
attempt the present work, however imperfectly it may 
have been executed. 

I will now give the names of the gentlemen to whom, 
as I have said, I am deeply indebted for information in 
regard to the expressions exhibited by various races of 
man, and I will specify some of the circumstances under 
which the observations were in each case made. Owing 
to the great kindness and powerful influence of Mr. 
Wilson, of Hayes Place, Kent, I have received from 
Australia no less than thirteen sets of answers to my 
queries. This has been particularly fortunate, as the 
Australian aborigines rank amongst the most distinct of 
all the races of man. It will be seen that the observa- 
tions have been chiefly made in the south, in the out- 
lying parts of the colony of Victoria; but some excel- 
lent answers have been received from the north. 

Mr. Dyson Lacy has given me in detail some valu- 
able observations, made several hundred miles in the 
interior of Queensland. To Mr. E. Brough Smyth, 
of Melbourne, I am much indebted for observations made 
by himself, and for sending me several of the following 
letters, namely: — From the Eev. Mr. Hagenauer, of 


Lake Wellington, a missionary in Gippsland, Victoria, 
who has had much experience with the natives. From 
Mr. Samuel Wilson, a landowner, residing at Langere- 
nong, Wimmera, Victoria. From the Eev. George Tap- 
lin, superintendent of the native Industrial Settle- 
ment at Port Macleay. From Mr. Archibald G. Lang, 
of Coranderik, Victoria, a teacher at a school where 
aborigines, old and young, are collected from all parts 
of the colony. From Mr. H. B. Lane, of Belfast, Vic- 
toria, a police magistrate and warden, whose observa- 
tions, as I am assured, are highly trustworthy. From 
Mr. Templeton Bunnett, of Echuca, whose station is on 
the borders of the colonv of Victoria, and who has thus 
been able to observe many aborigines who have had 
little intercourse with white men. He compared his 
observations with those made by two other gentlemen 
long resident in the neighbourhood. Also from Mr. J. 
Buhner, a missionary in a remote part of Gippsland, 

I am also indebted to the distinguished botanist, Dr. 
Ferdinand Muller, of Victoria, for some observations 
made by himself, and for sending me others made by 
Mrs. Green, as well as for some of the foregoing letters. 

In regard to the Maoris of New Zealand, the Bev. 
J. W. Stack has answered only a few of my queries; 
but the answers have been remarkably full, clear, and 
distinct, with the circumstances recorded under which 
the observations were made. 

The Bajah Brooke has given me some information 
with respect to the Dyaks of Borneo. 

Bespecting the Malays, I have been highly success- 
ful; for Mr. F. Geach (to whom I was introduced by Mr. 
Wallace), during his residence as a mining engineer in 
the interior of Malacca, observed many natives, who had 
never before associated with white men. He wrote me 


two long letters with admirable and detailed observa- 
tions on their expression. He likewise observed the 
Chinese immigrants in the Malay archipelago. 

The well-known naturalist, H. M. Consul, Mr. Swin- 
hoe, also observed for me the Chinese in their native 
country; and he made inquiries from others whom he 
could trust. 

In India Mr. H. Erskine, whilst residing in his official 
capacity in the Admednugur District in the Bombay 
Presidency, attended to the expression of the inhabitants, 
but found much difficulty in arriving at any safe con- 
clusions, owing to their habitual concealment of all 
emotions in the presence of Europeans. He also ob- 
tained information for me from Mr. West, the Judge 
in Canara, and he consulted some intelligent native 
gentlemen on certain points. In Calcutta Mr. J. Scott, 
curator of the Botanic Gardens, carefully observed the 
various tribes of men therein employed during a con- 
siderable period, and no one has sent me such full and 
valuable details. The habit of accurate observation, 
gained by his botanical studies, has been brought to 
bear on our present subject. For Ceylon I am much 
indebted to the Bev. S. 0. Glenie for answers to some 
of my queries. 

Turning to Africa, I have been unfortunate with 
respect to the negroes, though Mr. Winwood Beade 
aided me as far as lay in his power. It would have been 
comparatively easy to have obtained information in 
regard to the negro slaves in America; but as they have 
long associated with white men, such observations would 
have possessed little value. In the southern parts of 
the continent Mrs. Barber observed the Kafirs and 
Fin^oes, and sent me many distinct answers. Mr. J. P. 
Mansel "Weale also made some observations on the na- 
tives, and procured for me a curious document, namely, 


the opinion, written in English, of Christian Gaika, 
brother of the Chief Sandilli, on the expressions of his 
fellow-countrymen. In the northern regions of Africa 
Captain Speedy, who long resided with the Abyssinians, 
answered my queries partly from memory and partly 
from observations made on the son of King Theodore, 
who was then under his charge. Professor and Mrs. 
Asa Gray attended to some points in the expressions of 
the natives, as observed by them whilst ascending the 

On the great American continent Mr. Bridges, a 
catechist residing with the Fuegians, answered some 
few questions about their expression, addressed to him 
many years ago. In the northern half of the conti- 
nent Dr. Rothrock attended to the expressions of the 
wild Atnah and Espyox tribes on the Nasse Eiver, in 
North- Western America. Mr. Washington Matthews, 
Assistant-Surgeon in the United States Army, also ob- 
served with special care (after having seen my queries, 
as printed in the ' Smithsonian Eeport ') some of the 
wildest tribes in the Western parts of the United States, 
namely, the Tetons, Grosventres, Mandans, and Assina- 
boines; and his answers have proved of the highest 

Lastly, besides these special sources of information, I 
have collected some few facts incidentally given in books 
of travels. 

As I shall often have to refer, more especially in the 
latter part of this volume, to the muscles of the human 
face, I have had a diagram (fig. 1) copied and reduced 
from Sir C. Bell's work, and two others, with more ac- 
curate details (figs. 2 and 3), from Henle's well-known 
'Handbuch der Systematischen Anatomie des Menschen.' 
The same letters refer to the same muscles in all three 


figures, but the names are given of only the more im- 
portant ones to which I shall have to allude. The facial 
muscles blend much together, and, as I am informed, 
hardly appear on a dissected face so distinct as they are 
here represented. Some writers consider that these 
muscles consist of nineteen pairs, with one unpaired; 20 
but others make the number much larger, amounting 
even to fifty-five, according to Moreau. They are, as is 
admitted by everyone who has written on the subject, 
very variable in structure; and Moreau remarks that 
they are hardly alike in half-a-dozen subjects. 21 They 
are also variable in function. Thus the power of un- 
covering the canine tooth on one side differs much in 
different persons. The power of raising the wings of 
the nostrils is also, according to Dr. Piderit, 22 variable 
in a remarkable degree; and other such cases could be 

Finally, I must have the pleasure of expressing my 
obligations to Mr. Eejlander for the trouble which he 
has taken in photographing for me various expressions 
and gestures. I am also indebted to Herr Kindermann, 
of Hamburg, for the loan of some excellent negatives of 
crying infants; and to Dr. Wallich for a charming one 
of a smiling girl. I have already expressed my obliga- 
tions to Dr. Duchenne for generously permitting me to 
have some of his large photographs copied and reduced. 
All these photographs have been printed by the Helio- 
type process, and the accuracy of the copy is thus guar- 
anteed. These plates are referred to by Eoman numerals. 

I am also greatly indebted to Mr. T. W. Wood for 

20 Mr. Partridge in Todd's ' Cj'clopsedia of Anatomy and 
Phvsiologw,' vol. ii. p. 227. 

21 ' La Physionomie,' par G. Lavater, torn. iv. 1820, p. 
274. On the number of the facial muscles, see vol. iv. pp. 

22 ' Mimik und Phvsiognomik,' 1867, s. 91. 



Fig. 1.— Diagram of the muscles of the face, from Sir C. Bell. 

Fig. 2.— Diagram from Henle. 



Fig. 3.— Diagram from Henle. 

A. Occipito-frontalis, or frontal mus- 

B. Cormgator snpercilii, or corruga- 
tor muscle. 

C. Orbicularis palpebrarum, or or- 
bicular muscles of the eyes. 

D. Pyramidalis nasi, or pyramidal 
muscle of the nose. 

E. Levator labii superioris ala?que 

F. Levator labii proprius. 

G. Zygomatic. 
H. Malaris. 

I. Little zygomatic. 

K. Triangularis oris, or depressor 
anguli oris. 

L. Quadratus menti. 

M. Risorius, part of the Platysma 

the extreme pains which he has taken in drawing from 

life the expressions of various animals. A distinguished 

artist, Mr. Riviere, has had the kindness to give me two 

drawings of dogs — one in a hostile and the other in a 

humble and caressing frame of mind. Mr. A. May has 

also given me two similar sketches of dogs. Mr. Cooper 

has taken much care in cutting the blocks. Some of 


the photographs and drawings, namely, those by Mr. 
May, and those by Mr. Wolf of the Cynopithecus, were 
first reproduced by Mr. Cooper on wood by means of 
photography, and then engraved: by this means almost 
complete fidelity is ensured. 

General Prixciples of Expression. 

The three chief principles stated — The first principle — 
Serviceable actions become habitual in association 
with certain states of the mind, and are performed 
whether or not of service in each particular case — 
The force of habit — Inheritance — Associated habitual 
movements in man — Reflex actions — Passage of habits 
into reflex actions — Associated habitual movements in 
the lower animals — Concluding- remarks. 

I will begin by giving the three Principles, which 
appear to me to account for most of the expressions 
and gestures involuntarily used by man and the lower 
animals, under the influence of various emotions and 
sensations. 1 I arrived, however, at these three Prin- 
ciples only at the close of my observations. They will 
be discussed in the present and two following chapters 
in a general manner. Facts observed both with man 
and the lower animals will here be made use of; but 
the latter facts are preferable, as less likely to deceive 
us. In the fourth and fifth chapters, I will describe 
the special expressions of some of the lower animals; 
and in the succeeding chapters those of man. Every- 
one will thus be able to judge for himself, how far my 

1 Mr. Herbert Spencer (' Essays,' Second Series, 1863, 
p. 138) has drawn a clear distinction between emotions 
and sensations, the latter being " generated in our cor- 
poreal framework." He classes as Feelings both emotions 
and sensations. 



three principles throw light on the theory of the sub- 
ject. It appears to me that so many expressions are 
thus explained in a fairly satisfactory manner, that 
probably all will hereafter be found to come under the 
same or closely analogous heads. I need hardly pre- 
mise that movements or changes in any part of the 
body, — as the wagging of a dog's tail, the drawing back 
of a horse's ears, the shrugging of a man's shoulders, 
or the dilatation of the capillary vessels of the skin, — 
may all equally well serve for expression. The three 
Principles are as follows. 

I. The principle of serviceable associated Habits. — 
Certain complex actions are of direct or indirect serv- 
ice under certain states of the mind, in order to relieve 
or gratify certain sensations, desires, &c; and when- 
ever the same state of mind is induced, however feebly, 
there is a tendency through the force of habit and asso- 
ciation for the same movements to be performed, though 
they may not then be of the least use. Some actions 
ordinarily associated through habit with certain states 
of the mind may be partially repressed through the 
will, and in such cases the muscles which are least under 
the separate control of the will are the most liable still 
to act, causing movements which we recognize as expres- 
sive. In certain other cases the checking of one habitual 
movement requires other slight movements; and these 
are likewise expressive. 

II. The principle of Antithesis. — Certain states of 
the mind lead to certain habitual actions, which are of 
service, as under our first principle. Now when a direct- 
ly opposite state of mind is induced, there is a strong and 
involuntary tendency to the performance of movements 
of a directly opposite nature, though these are of no 
use; and such movements are in some cases highly ex- 


III. The principle of actions due to the constitution 
of the Nervous System, independently from the first of 
the Will, and independently to a certain extent of Habit. 
— When the sensorium is strongly excited, nerve-force 
is generated in excess, and is transmitted in certain 
definite directions, depending on the connection of the 
nerve-cells, and partly on habit: or the supply of nerve- 
force may, as it appears, be interrupted. Effects are thus 
produced which we recognize as expressive. This third 
principle may, for the sake of brevity, be called that of 
the direct action of the nervous system. 

With respect to our first Principle, it is notorious 
how powerful is the force of habit. The most complex 
and difficult movements can in time be performed with- 
out the least effort or consciousness. It is not posi- 
tively known how it comes that habit is so efficient 
in facilitating complex movements; but physiologists 
admit 2 " that the conducting power of the nervous 
fibres increases with the frequency of their excitement." 
This applies to the nerves of motion and sensation, as 
well as to those connected with the act of thinking. 
That some physical change is produced in the nerve-cells 
or nerves which are habitually used can hardly be doubt- 
ed, for otherwise it is impossible to understand how the 
tendency to certain acquired movements is inherited. 
That they are inherited we see with horses in certain 
transmitted paces, such as cantering and ambling, which 
are not natural to them, — in the pointing of young 
pointers and the setting of young setters — in the peculiar 

2 Miiller, ' Elements of Physiology,' Eng. translat. vol. 
ii. p. 939. See also Mr. H. Spencer's interesting- specula- 
tions on the same subject, and on the genesis of nerves, 
in his ' Principles of Biology,' vol. ii. p. 346; and in his 
' Principles of Psychology,' 2nd edit. pp. 511—557. 


manner of flight of certain breeds of the pigeon, &c. 
We have analogous cases with mankind in the inheritance 
of tricks or unusual gestures, to which we shall presently 
recur. To those who admit the gradual evolution of 
species, a most striking instance of the perfection with 
which the most difficult consensual movements can be 
transmitted, is afforded by the humming-bird Sphinx- 
moth (Macroglossa) ; for this moth, shortly after its 
emergence from the cocoon, as shown by the bloom on its 
unruffled scales, may be seen poised stationary in the 
air, with its long hair-like proboscis uncurled and 
inserted into the minute orifices of flowers; and no 
one, I believe, has ever seen this moth learning to 
perform its difficult task, which requires such uner- 
ring aim. 

When there exists an inherited or instinctive tend- 
ency to the performance of an action, or an inherited 
taste for certain kinds of food, some degree of habit 
in the individual is often or generally requisite. We 
find this in the paces of the horse, and to a certain extent 
in the pointing of dogs; although some young dogs point 
excellently the first time they are taken out, yet they 
often associate the proper inherited attitude with a 
wrong odour, and even with eyesight. I have heard 
it asserted that if a calf be allowed to suck its mother 
only once, it is much more difficult afterwards to rear 
it by hand. 3 Caterpillars which have been fed on the 
leaves of one kind of tree, have been known to perish 
from hunger rather than to eat the leaves of another 
tree, although this afforded them their proper food, 

3 A remark to much the same effect was made long - ago 
by Hippocrates and by the illustrious Harvey; for both 
assert that a young* animal forgets in the course of a few 
days the art of sucking, and cannot without some diffi- 
culty again acquire it. I give these assertions on the au- 
thoritvof Dr. Darwin, ' Zoonomia,' 1794, vol. i. p. 140. 


under a state of nature; 4 and so it is in many other 

The power of Association is admitted by everyone. 
Mr. Bain remarks, that " actions, sensations and states 
of feeling, occurring together or in close succession, 
tend to grow together, or cohere, in such a way that 
when any one of them is afterwards presented to the 
mind, the others are apt to be brought up in idea." 5 
It is so important for our purpose fully to recognize that 
actions readily become associated with other actions 
and with various states of the mind, that I will give a 
good many instances, in the first place relating to man, 
and afterwards to the lower animals. Some of the in- 
stances are of a very trifling nature, but they are as good 
for our purpose as more important habits. It is known 
to everyone how difficult, or even impossible it is, with- 
out repeated trials, to move the limbs in certain opposed 
directions which have never been practised. Analogous 
cases occur with sensations, as in the common experiment 
of rolling a marble beneath the tips of two crossed fin- 
gers, when it feels exactly like two marbles. Everyone 
protects himself when falling to the ground by extend- 
ing his arms, and as Professor Alison has remarked, few 
can resist acting thus, when voluntarily falling on a 
soft bed. A man when going out of doors puts on his 
gloves quite unconsciously; and this may seem an ex- 
tremely simple operation, but he who has taught a child 

4 See for my authorities, and for various analogous 
facts, ' The Variation of Animals and Plants under Do- 
mestication,' 1868, vol. ii. p. 304. 

5 ' The Senses and the Intellect,' 2nd edit. 1864, p. 332. 
Prof. Huxley remarks (' Elementary Lessons in Physi- 
ology,' 5th edit. 1872, p. 306), "It may be laid down as a 
rule, that, if any two mental states be called up together, 
or in succession, with due frequency and vividness, the 
subsequent production of the one of them will suffice to 
call up the other, and that whether we desire it or not." 


to put on gloves, knows that this is by no means the 

When our minds are much affected, so are the move- 
ments of our bodies; but here another principle be- 
sides habit, namely the undirected overflow of nerve- 
force, partially comes into play. Norfolk, in speaking 
of Cardinal Wolsey, says — 

" Some strange commotion 
Is in his brain; he bites his lip and starts; 
Stops on a sudden, looks upon the ground, 
Then, lays his finger on his temple: straight, 
Springs out into fast gait; then, stops again, 
Strikes his breast hard; and anon, he casts 
His eye against the moon: in most strange postures 
We have seen him set himself." — Hen. VIII., act 3, sc. 2. 

A vulgar man often scratches his head when per- 
plexed in mind; and I believe that he acts thus from 
habit, as if he experienced a slightly uncomfortable 
bodily sensation, namely, the itching of his head, to 
which he is particularly liable, and which he thus re- 
lieves. Another man rubs his eyes when perplexed, or 
gives a little cough when embarrassed, acting in either 
case as if he felt a slightly uncomfortable sensation in 
his eyes or windpipe. 6 

From the continued use of the eyes, these organs 
are especially liable to be acted on through association 
under various states of the mind, although there is mani- 
festly nothing to be seen. A man, as Gratiolet remarks, 
who vehemently rejects a proposition, will almost cer- 
tainly shut his eyes or turn away his face; but if he 
accepts the proposition, he will nod his head in affirma- 
tion and open his eyes widely. The man acts in this 

6 Gratiolet (' De la Physionomie,' p. 324), in his discus- 
sion on this subject, gives many analogous instances. 
See p. 42, on the opening and shutting of the eyes. Engel 
is quoted (p. 323) on the changed paces of a man, as his 
thoughts change. 


latter case as if he clearly saw the thing, and in the 
former case as if he did not or would not see it. I 
have noticed that persons in describing a horrid sight 
often shut their eyes momentarily and firmly, or shake 
their heads, as if not to see or to drive away some- 
thing disagreeable; and I have caught myself, when 
thinking in the dark of a horrid spectacle, closing 
my eyes firmly. In looking suddenly at any object, 
or in looking all around, evervone raises his evebrows. 
so that the eyes may be quickly and widely ojiened; 
and Duchenne remarks that 7 a person in trying to re- 
member something often raises his eyebrows, as if to 
see it. A Hindoo gentleman made exactly the same 
remark to Mr. Erskine in regard to his countrymen. 
I noticed a young lady earnestly trying to recollect a 
painter's name, and she first looked to one corner of 
the ceiling and then to the opposite corner, arching 
the one eyebrow on that side; although, of course, there 
was nothing to be seen there. 

In most of the foregoing cases, we can understand 
how the associated movements were acquired through 
habit; but with some individuals, certain strange gestures 
or tricks have arisen in association with certain states of 
the mind, owing to wholly inexplicable causes, and are 
undoubtedly inherited. I have elsewhere given one 
instance from my own observation of an extraordinary 
and complex gesture, associated with pleasurable feel- 
ings, which was transmitted from a father to his 
daughter, as well as some other analogous facts. 8 

7 ' Mecanisme de la Physionomie Humaine,' 18G2. p. 17. 

8 ' The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domesti- 
cation,' vol. ii. p. 6. The inheritance of habitual gestures 
is so important for lis, that I gladly avail myself of Mr. 
F. Galton's permission to give in his own words the follow- 
ing - remarkable case: — "The following account of a habit 
occurring in individuals of three consecutive generations 


Another curious instance of an odd inherited move- 
ment, associated with the wish to obtain an object, will 
be given in the course of this volume. 

There are other actions which are commonly per- 
formed under certain circumstances, independently of 
habit, and which seem to be due to imitation or some 
sort of sympathy. Thus persons cutting anything with 

is of peculiar interest, because it occurs only during- sound 
sleep, and therefore cannot be due to imitation, but must 
be altogether natural. The particulars are perfectly trust- 
worthy, for I have enquired fully into them, and speak 
from abundant and independent evidence. A gentleman 
of considerable position was found by his wife to have the 
curious trick, when he lay fast asleep on his back in bed, 
of raising his right arm slowly in front of his face, up to 
his forehead, and then dropping it with a jerk, so that 
the wrist fell heavily on the bridge of his nose. The trick 
did not occur every night, but occasionally, and was in- 
dependent of any ascertained cause. Sometimes it was 
repeated incessantly for an hour or more. The gentle- 
man's nose was prominent, and its bridge often became 
sore from the blows which it received. At one time an 
awkward sore was produced, that was long in healing, 
on account of the recurrence, night after night, of the 
blows which first caused it. His wife had to remove the 
button from the wrist of his night-g'own as it made severe 
scratches, and some means were attempted of tying his 

" Many years after his death, his son married a lady 
who had never heard of the family incident. She, how- 
ever, observed precisely the same peculiarity in her hus- 
band; but his nose, from not being particularly promi- 
nent, has never as yet suffered from the blows. The trick 
does not occur when he is half-asleep, as, for example, 
when dozing in his arm-chair, but the moment he is fast 
asleep it is apt to begin. It is, as with his father, inter- 
mittent; sometimes ceasing for many nights, and some- 
times almost incessant during a part of every night. It 
is performed, as it was by his father, with his right hand. 

" One of his children, a girl, has inherited the same 
trick. She performs it, likewise, with the right hand, but 
in a slightly modified form; for, after raising the arm, 
she does not allow the wrist to drop upon the bridge of the 
nose, but the palm of the half-closed hand falls over and 
down the nose, striking it rather rapidly. It is also very in- 
termittent with this child, not occurring* for periods of some 
months, but sometimes occurring almost incessantly," 


a pair of scissors may be seen to move their jaws simul- 
taneously with the blades of the scissors. Children 
learning to write often twist about their tongues as 
their fingers move, in a ridiculous fashion. When a 
public singer suddenly becomes a little hoarse, many 
of those present may be heard, as I have been assured 
by a gentleman on whom I can rely, to clear their 
throats; but here habit probably comes into play, as we 
clear our own throats under similar circumstances. 
I have also been told that at leaping matches, as the 
performer makes his spring, many of the spectators, 
generally men and boys, move their feet; but here 
again habit probably comes into play, for it is very 
doubtful whether women would thus act. 

Reflex actions. — Reflex actions, in the strict sense of 
the term, are due to the excitement of a peripheral 
nerve, which transmits its influence to certain nerve- 
cells, and these in their turn excite certain muscles or 
glands into action; and all this may take place without 
any sensation or consciousness on our part, though often 
thus accompanied. As many reflex actions are highly 
expressive, the subject must here be noticed at some 
little length. We shall also see that some of them 
graduate into, and can hardly be distinguished from 
actions which have arisen through habit. 9 Coughing 
and sneezing are familiar instances of reflex actions. 
With infants the first act of respiration is often a sneeze, 
although this requires the co-ordinated movement of 

9 Prof. Huxley remarks (' Elementary Physiology,' 5th 
edit. p. 305) that reflex actions proper to the spinal cord 
are natural; but, by the help of the brain, that is through 
habit, an infinity of artificial reflex actions may be ac- 
quired. Virchow admits (' wSammlung %yissenschaft. Vor- 
trage,' &c, " Ueber das Plickenmark," 1871, ss. 24, 31) 
that some reflex actions can hardly be distinguished from 
instincts; and, of the latter, it may be added, some cannot 
be distinguished from inherited habits. 


numerous muscles. Respiration is partly voluntary, but 
mainly reflex, and is performed in the most natural and 
best manner without the interference of the will. A vast 
number of complex movements are reflex. As good an 
instance as can be given is the often-quoted one of a 
decapitated frog, which cannot of course feel, and cannot 
consciously perform, any movement. Yet if a drop of 
acid be placed on the lower surface of the thigh of a 
frog in this state, it will rub off the drop with the upper 
surface of the foot of the same leg. If this foot be cut 
off, it cannot thus act. " After some fruitless efforts, 
therefore, it gives up trying in that way, seems restless, 
as though, says Pfliiger, it was seeking some other way, 
and at last it makes use of the foot of the other leg and 
succeeds in rubbing off the acid. Notably we have here 
not merely contractions of muscles, but combined and 
harmonized contractions in due sequence for a special 
purpose. These are actions that have all the appear- 
ance of being guided by intelligence and instigated by 
will in an animal, the recognized organ of whose intelli- 
gence and will 'has been removed." 10 

We see the difference between reflex and voluntary 
movements in very young children not being able to 
perform, as I am informed by Sir Henry Holland, cer- 
tain acts somewhat analogous to those of sneezing and 
coughing, namely, in their not being able to blow their 
noses (i. e. to compress the nose and blow violently 
through the passage), and in their not being able to clear 
their throats of phlegm. They have to learn to perform 
these acts, yet they are performed by us, when a little 
older, almost as easily as reflex actions. Sneezing and 
coughine:, however, can be controlled bv the will onlv 
partially or not at all: whilst the clearing the throat 


Dr. Maudsley, ' Body and Mind,' 1870, p. 8. 


and blowing the nose are completely under our com- 

When we are conscious of the presence of an irritating 
particle in our nostrils or windpipe — that is, when the 
same sensory nerve-cells are excited, as in the case of 
sneezing and coughing — we can voluntarily expel the 
particle by forcibly driving air through these passages; 
but we cannot do this with nearly the same force, 
rapidity, and precision, as by a reflex action. In this 
latter case the sensory nerve-cells apparently excite 
the motor nerve-cells without any waste of power by 
first communicating with the cerebral hemispheres — the 
seat of our consciousness and volition. In all cases 
there seems to exist a profound antagonism between the 
same movements, as directed by the will and by a reflex 
stimulant, in the force with which they are performed 
and in the facility with which they are excited. As 
Claude Bernard asserts, " L'influence du cerveau tend 
done a entraver les mouvements reflexes, a limiter leur 
force et leur etendue." 11 

The conscious wish to perform a reflex action some- 
times stops or interrupts its performance, though the 
proper sensory nerves may be stimulated. For in- 
stance, many years ago I laid a small wager with a dozen 
young men that they would not sneeze if they took 
snuff, although they all declared that they invariably 
did so; accordingly they all took a pinch, but from 
wishing much to succeed, not one sneezed, though their 
eyes watered, and all, without exception, had to pay 
me the wager. Sir H. Holland remarks 12 that atten- 
tion paid to the act of swallowing interferes with the 
proper movements; from which it probably follows, 

11 See the very interesting* discussion on the whole sub- 
ject bv Claude Bernard, ' Tissus Yivants.' 1866, p. 353-356. 

12 'Chapters on Mental Physiology,' 1858, p. 85. 

;;S THE PRINCIPLE Ofl Chap. 1. 

at least in part, that some persons find it so difficult to 
swallow a pill. 

Another familiar instance of a reflex action is the 
involuntary closing of the eyelids when the surface of 
the eye is touched. A similar winking movement is 
caused when a blow is directed towards the face; but 
this is an habitual and not a strictly reflex action, as 
the stimulus is conveyed through the mind and not by 
the excitement of a peripheral nerve. The whole body 
and head are generally at the same time drawn suddenly 
backwards. These latter movements, however, can be 
prevented, if the danger does not appear to the imagi- 
nation imminent; but our reason telling us that there 
is no danger does not suffice. 1 may mention a trifling 
fact, illustrating this point, and which at the time 
amused me. I put my face close to the thick glass- 
plate in front of a puff-adder in the Zoological Gardens, 
with the firm determination of not starting back if the 
snake struck at me: but, as soon as the blow was struck, 
my resolution went for nothing, and I jumped a yard or 
two backwards with astonishing rapidity. My will and 
reason were powerless against the imagination of a 
danger which had never been experienced. 

The violence of a start seems to depend partly on the 
vividness of the imagination, and partly on the con- 
dition, either habitual or temporary, of the nervous 
system. He who will attend to the starting of his horse, 
when tired and fresh, will perceive how perfect is the 
gradation from a mere glance at some unexpected ob- 
ject, with a momentary doubt whether it is dangerous, 
to a jump so rapid and violent, that the animal probably 
could not voluntarily whirl round in so rapid a man- 
ner. The nervous svstem of a fresh and hi^hlv-fed 
horse sends its order to the motory system so quickly, 
that no time is allowed for him to consider whether 


or not the danger is real. After one violent start, when 
he is excited and the blood flows freely through his 
brain, he is very apt to start again; and so it is, as I have 
noticed, with young infants. 

A start from a sudden noise, when the stimulus is 
conveyed through the auditory nerves, is always accom- 
panied in grown-up persons by the winking of the eye- 
lids. 13 I observed, however, that though my infants 
started at sudden sounds, when under a fortnight old, 
they certainly did not always wink their eyes, and I be- 
lieve never did so. The start of an older infant appar- 
ently represents a vague catching hold of something to 
prevent falling. I shook a pasteboard box close before 
the eyes of one of my infants, when 114 days old, and 
it did not in the least wink; but when I put a few 
comfits into the box, holding it in the same position as 
before, and rattled them, the child blinked its eyes 
violently every time, and started a little. It was ob- 
viously impossible that a carefully-guarded infant could 
have learnt by experience that a rattling sound near its 
eyes indicated danger to them. But such experience 
will have been slowly gained at a later age during a 
long series of generations; and from what we know 
of inheritance, there is nothing improbable in the 
transmission of a habit to the offspring at an earlier 
age than that at which it was first acquired by the 

From the foregoing remarks it seems probable that 
some actions, which were at first performed consciously, 
have become through habit and association converted 
into reflex actions, and are now so firmly fixed and in- 
herited, that they are performed, even when not of the 

13 Miiller remarks (' Elements of Physiology,' Eng. tr. 
vol. ii. p. 1311) on starting- being" always accompanied 
by the closure of the eyelids. 


least use/ 4 as often as the same causes arise, which 
originally excited them in us through the volition. In 
such cases the sensory nerve-cells excite the motor cells, 
without first communicating with those cells on which 
our consciousness and volition depend. It is probable 
that sneezing and coughing were originally acquired by 
the habit of expelling, as violently as possible, any irri- 
tating particle from the sensitive air-passages. As far 
as time is concerned, there has been more than enough 
for these habits to have become innate or converted into 
reflex actions; for they are common to most or all of the 
higher quadrupeds, and must therefore have been first 
acquired at a very remote period. Why the act of clear- 
ing the throat is not a reflex action, and has to be learnt 
by our children, I cannot pretend to say; but we can 
see why blowing the nose on a handkerchief has to be 

It is scarcely credible that the movements of a head- 
less frog, when it wipes off a drop of acid or other object 
from its thigh, and which movements are so well co- 
ordinated for a special purpose, were not at first per- 
formed voluntarily, being afterwards rendered easy 
through long-continued habit so as at last to be per- 
formed unconsciously, or independently of the cerebral 

So again it appears probable that starting was 
originally acquired by the habit of jumping away as 
quickly as possible from danger, whenever any of our 
senses gave us warning. Starting, as we have seen, is 
accompanied by the blinking of the eyelids so as to 
protect the eyes, the most tender and sensitive organs 

14 Dr. Maudsley remarks (' Body and Mind,' p. 10) that 
" reflex movements which commonly effect a useful end 
may, under the chang'ed circumstances of disease, do great 
mischief, becoming even the occasion of violent suffering 
and of a most painful death." 


of the body; and it is, I believe, always accompanied 
by a sudden and forcible inspiration, which is the 
natural preparation for any violent effort. But when 
a man or horse starts, his heart beats wildly against 
his ribs, and here it may be truly said we have an organ 
which has never been under the control of the will, 
partaking in the general reflex movements of the body. 
To this point, however, I shall return in a future 

The contraction of the iris, when the retina is stimu- 
lated by a bright light, is another instance of a move- 
ment, which it appears cannot possibly have been at 
first voluntarily performed and then fixed by habit; 
for the iris is not known to be under the conscious 
control of the will in any animal. In such cases some 
explanation, quite distinct from habit, will have to be 
discovered. The radiation of nerve-force from strongly- 
excited nerve-cells to other connected cells, as in the 
case of a bright light on the retina causing a sneeze, may 
perhaps aid us in understanding how some reflex actions 
originated. A radiation of nerve-force of this kind, if 
it caused a movement tending to lessen the primary irri- 
tation, as in the case of the contraction of the iris pre- 
venting too much light from falling on the retina, might 
afterwards have been taken advantage of and modified 
for this special purpose. 

It further deserves notice that reflex actions are in 
all probability liable to slight variations, as are all 
corporeal structures and instincts; and any variations 
which were beneficial and of sufficient importance, would 
tend to be preserved and inherited. Thus reflex actions, 
when once gained for one purpose, might afterwards 
be modified independently of the will or habit, so as to 
serve for some distinct purpose. Such cases would be 
parallel with those which, as we have every reason to 


believe, have occurred with many instincts; for al- 
though some instincts have been developed simply 
through long-continued and inherited habit, other 
highly complex ones have been developed through the 
preservation of variations of pre-existing instincts — that 
is, through natural selection. 

I have discussed at some little length, though as I 
am well aware, in a very imperfect manner, the acquire- 
ment of reflex actions, because they are often brought 
into play in connection with movements expressive of 
our emotions; and it was necessary to show that at least 
some of them might have been first acquired through 
the will in order to satisfy a desire, or to relieve a dis- 
agreeable sensation. 

Associated liabitual movements in the lower animals. 
— I have already given in the case of Man several in- 
stances of movements associated with various states 
of the mind or body, which are now purposeless, but 
which were originally of use, and are still of use under 
certain circumstances. As this subject is very impor- 
tant for us, I will here give a considerable number of 
analogous facts, with reference to animals; although 
many of them are of a very trifling nature. My ob- 
ject is to show that certain movements were originally 
performed for a definite end, and that, under nearly 
the same circumstances, they are still pertinaciously per- 
formed through habit when not of the least use. That 
the tendency in most of the following cases is inherited, 
we may infer from such actions being performed in the 
same manner by all the individuals, young and old, of 
the same species. We shall also see that they are excited 
by the most diversified, often circuitous, and sometimes 
mistaken associations. 

Dogs, when they wish to go to sleep on a carpet or 


other hard surface, generally turn round and round and 
scratch the ground with their fore-paws in a senseless 
manner, as if they intended to trample down the grass 
and scoop out a hollow, as no doubt their wild parents 
did, when they lived on open grassy plains or in the 
woods. Jackals, fennecs, and other allied animals in 
the Zoological Gardens, treat their straw in this man- 
ner; but it is a rather odd circumstance that the keepers, 
after observing for some months, have never seen the 
wolves thus behave. A semi-idiotic dog — and an ani- 
mal in this condition would be particularly liable to 
follow a senseless habit — was observed by a friend to 
turn completely round on a carpet thirteen times before 
going to sleep. 

Many carnivorous animals, as they crawl towards 
their prey and prepare to rush or spring on it, lower their 
heads and crouch, partly, as it would appear, to hide 
themselves, and partly to get ready for their rush; and 
this habit in an exaggerated form has become heredi- 
tary in our pointers and setters. Now I have noticed 
scores of times that when two strange dogs meet on an 
open road, the one which first sees the other, though 
at the distance of one or 
two hundred yards, after 
the first glance always 
lowers its head, generally 
crouches a little, or even 
lies down; that is, he 
takes the proper attitude 
for concealing himself and 

for making a rush Or Pie. 4.— Small dog watching a cat on a 
1xl lii i table. From a photograph taken 

spring, although the road by Mr EejlaBder . 
is quite open and the dis- 
tance great. Again, dogs of all kinds when intently 
watching and slowly approaching their prey, frequently 


keep one of their fore-legs doubled up for a long time, 
ready for the next cautious step; and this is eminently 
characteristic of the pointer. But from habit they be- 
have in exactly the same manner whenever their atten- 
tion is aroused (fig. 4). I have seen a dog at the foot of 
a high wall, listening attentively to a sound on the oppo- 
site side, with one leg doubled up; and in this case there 
could have been no intention of making a cautious ap- 

Dogs after voiding their excrement often make with 
all four feet a few scratches backwards, even on a bare 
stone pavement, as if for the purpose of covering up 
their excrement with earth, in nearly the same manner 
as do cats. Wolves and jackals behave in the Zoo- 
logical Gardens in exactly the same manner, yet, as I 
am assured by the keepers, neither wolves, jackals, nor 
foxes, when they have the means of doing so, ever cover 
up their excrement, any more than do dogs. All these 
animals, however, bury superfluous food. Hence, if we 
rightly understand the meaning of the above cat-like 
habit, of which there can be little doubt, we have a 
purposeless remnant of an habitual movement, which 
was originally followed by some remote progenitor of 
the dog-genus for a definite purpose, and which has 
been retained for a prodigious length of time. 

Dogs and jackals 15 take much pleasure in rolling 
and rubbing their necks and backs on carrion. The 
odour seems delightful to them, though dogs at least 
do not eat carrion. Mr. Bartlett has observed wolves 
for me, and has given them carrion, but has never seen 
them roll on it. I have heard it remarked, and I be- 
lieve it to be true, that the larger dogs, which are prob- 
ably descended from wolves, do not so often roll in 

15 See Mr. F. H. Salvin's account of a tame jackal in 
1 Land and Water,' October, 1869. 


carrion as do smaller dogs, which are probably descended 
from jackals. When a piece of brown biscuit is offered 
to a terrier of mine and she is not hungry (and I have 
heard of similar instances), she first tosses it about and 
worries it, as if it were a rat or other prey; she then 
repeatedly rolls on it precisely as if it were a piece of 
carrion, and at last eats it. It would appear that an 
imaginary relish has to be given to the distasteful 
morsel; and to effect this the dog acts in his habitual 
manner, as if the biscuit was a live animal or smelt 
like carrion, though he knows better than we do that 
this is not the case. I have seen this same terrier 
act in the same manner after killing a little bird or 

Dogs scratch themselves by a rapid movement of one 
of their hind-feet; and when their backs are rubbed 
with a stick, so strong is the habit, that they cannot 
help rapidly scratching the air or the ground in a use- 
less and ludicrous manner. The terrier just alluded to, 
when thus scratched with a stick, will sometimes show 
her delight by another habitual movement, namely, by 
licking the air as if it were my hand. 

Horses scratch themselves by nibbling those parts of 
their bodies which they can reach with their teeth; 
but more commonly one horse shows another where he 
wants to be scratched, and they then nibble each other. 
A friend whose attention I had called to the subject, 
observed that when he rubbed his horse's neck, the 
animal protruded his head, uncovered his teeth, and 
moved his jaws, exactly as if nibbling another horse's 
neck, for he could never have nibbled his own neck. If 
a horse is much tickled, as when curry-combed, his wish 
to bite something becomes so intolerably strong, that he 
will clatter his teeth together, and though not vicious, 
bite his groom. At the same time from habit he closely 


depresses his ears, so as to protect them from being 
bitten, as if he were fighting with another horse. 

A horse when eager to start on a journey makes the 
nearest approach which he can to the habitual move- 
ment of progression by pawing the ground. Now when 
horses in their stalls are about to be fed and are eager 
for their corn, they paw the pavement or the straw. 
Two of my horses thus behave when they see or hear 
the corn given to their neighbours. But here we have 
what may almost be called a true expression, as pawing 
the ground is universally recognized as a sign of eager- 

Cats cover up their excrements of both kinds with 
earth; and my grandfather 17 saw a kitten scraping 
ashes over a spoonful of pure water spilt on the hearth; 
so that here an habitual or instinctive action was falsely 
excited, not by a previous act or by odour, but by eye- 
sight. It is well known that cats dislike wetting their 
feet, owing, it is probable, to their having aboriginally in- 
habited the dry country of Egypt; and when they wet 
their feet they shake them violently. My daughter 
poured some water into a glass close to the head of a 
kitten; and it immediately shook its feet in the usual 
manner; so that here we have an habitual movement 
falsely excited by an associated sound instead of by the 
sense of touch. 

Kittens, puppies, young pigs and probably many 
other young animals, alternately push with their fore- 
feet against the mammary glands of their mothers, to 
excite a freer secretion of milk, or to make it flow. Now 
it is very common with young cats, and not at all rare 
with old cats of the common and Persian breeds (be- 

16 Dr. Darwin, * Zoonomia,' 1794, vol. i. p. 160. I find that 
the fact of cats protruding their feet when pleased is also 
noticed (p. 151) in this work. 


lieved by some naturalists to be specifically extinct), 
when comfortably lying on a warm shawl or other soft 
substance, to pound it quietly and alternately with their 
fore-feet; their toes being spread out and claws slightly 
protruded, precisely as when sucking their mother. 
That it is the same movement is clearly shown by their 
often at the same time taking a bit of the shawl into 
their mouths and sucking it; generally closing their 
eyes and purring from delight. This curious move- 
ment is commonly excited only in association with the 
sensation of a warm soft surface; but I have seen an 
old cat, when pleased by having its back scratched, 
pounding the air with its feet in the same manner; so 
that this action has almost become the expression of a 
pleasurable sensation. 

Having referred to the act of sucking, I may add 
that this complex movement, as well as the alternate 
protrusion of the fore-feet, are reflex actions; for they 
are performed if a finger moistened with milk is placed 
in the mouth of a puppy, the front part of whose brain 
has been removed. 17 It has recently been stated in 
France, that the action of sucking is excited solely 
through the sense of smell, so that if the olfactory nerves 
of a puppy are destroyed, it never sucks. In like man- 
ner the wonderful power which a chicken possesses only 
a few hours after being hatched, of picking up small 
particles of food, seems to be started into action through 
the sense of hearing; for with chickens hatched by arti- 
ficial heat, a good observer found that " making a noise 
with the finger-nail against a board, in imitation of 
the hen-mother, first taught them to peck at their 
meat." 18 

17 Carpenter, ' Principles of Comparative Physiology,' 
1854, p. 690, and Miiller's 'Elements of Physiology,' Eng\ 
translat. vol. ii. p. 936. 

18 Mowbray on ' Poultry,' 6th edit. 1830, p. 54. 


I will give only one other instance of an habitual 
and purposeless movement. The Sheldrake (Tadorna) 
feeds on the sands left uncovered by the tide, and when 
a worm-cast is discovered, " it begins patting the ground 
with its feet, dancing as it were, over the hole; " and this 
makes the worm come to the surface. Now Mr. St. John 
says, that when his tame Sheldrakes " came to ask for 
food, they patted the ground in an impatient and rapid 
manner." 19 This therefore may almost be considered 
as their expression of hunger. Mr. Bartlett informs 
me that the Flamingo and the Kagu (Bhinochehis 
jubatus) when anxious to be fed, beat the ground with 
their feet in the same odd manner. So again King- 
fishers, when they catch a fish, always beat it until it is 
killed; and in the Zoological Gardens they always beat 
the raw meat, with which they are sometimes fed, before 
devouring it. 

We have now, I think, sufficiently shown the truth 
of our first Principle, namely, that when any sensation, 
desire, dislike, &c, has led during a long series of gen- 
erations to some voluntary movement, then a tendency 
to the performance of a similar movement will almost 
certainly be excited, whenever the same, or any anal- 
ogous or associated sensation &c, although very weak, 
is experienced; notwithstanding that the movement in 
this case may not be of the least use. Such habitual 
movements are often, or generally inherited; and they 
then differ but little from reflex actions. When we treat 
of the special expressions of man, the latter part of our 
first Principle, as given at the commencement of this 
chapter, will be seen to hold good; namely, that when 
movements, associated through habit with certain states 


See the account given by this excellent observer in 
' Wild Sports of the Highlands,' 1846, p. 142. 


of the mind, are partially repressed by the will, the 
strictly involuntary muscles, as well as those which are 
least under the separate control of the will, are liable 
still to act; and their action is often highly expressive. 
Conversely, when the will is temporarily or permanently 
weakened, the voluntary muscles fail before the involun- 
tary. It is a fact familiar to pathologists, as Sir C. Bell 
remarks, 20 " that when debility arises from affection of 
the brain, the influence is greatest on those muscles which 
are, in their natural condition, most under the command 
of the will." "We shall, also, in our future chapters, con- 
sider another proposition included in our first Principle; 
namely, that the checking of one habitual movement 
sometimes requires other slight movements; these latter 
serving as a means of expression. 

20 * 

Philosophical Translations,' 1823, p. 182. 

General Principles of Expression — continued. 

The Principle of Antithesis — Instances in the dog* and cat 
— Origin of the principle — Conventional signs — The 
principle of antithesis has not arisen from opposite 
actions being consciously performed under opposite im- 

We will now consider our second Principle, that of 
Antithesis. Certain states of the mind lead, as we have 
seen in the last chapter, to certain habitual movements 
which were primarily, or may still be, of service; and 
we shall find that when a directly opposite state of mind 
is induced, there is a strong and involuntary tendency 
to the performance of movements of a directly opposite 
nature, though these have never been of any service. 
A few striking instances of antithesis will be given, 
when we treat of the special expressions, of man; but 
as, in these cases, we are particularly liable to confound 
conventional or artificial gestures and expressions with 
those which are innate or universal, and which alone 
deserve to rank as true expressions, I will in the present 
chapter almost confine myself to the lower animals. 

When a dog approaches a strange dog or man in a 
savage or hostile frame of mind he walks upright and 
very stiffly; his head is slightly raised, or not much 
lowered; the tail is held erect and quite rigid; the hairs 
bristle, especially along the neck and back; the pricked 



ears are directed forwards, and the eves have a fixed 
stare: (see figs. 5 and T). These actions, as will hereafter 
be explained, follow from the dog's intention to attack 
his enemy, and are thus to a large extent intelligible. 
As he prepares to spring with a savage growl on his 
enemy, the canine teeth are uncovered, and the ears are 
pressed close backwards on the head; but with these 
latter actions, we are not here concerned. Let us now- 
suppose that the dog suddenly discovers that the man he 
is approaching, is not a stranger, but his master; and let 
it be observed how completely and instantaneously his 
whole bearing is reversed. Instead of walking up- 
right, the body sinks downwards or even crouches, and 
is thrown into flexuous movements; his tail, instead of 
being held stiff and upright, is lowered and wagged from 
side to side; his hair instantly becomes smooth; his 
ears are depressed and drawn backwards, but not closely 
to the head; and his lips hang loosely. From the draw- 
ing back of the ears, the eyelids become elongated, and 
the eyes no longer appear round and staring. It should 
be added that the animal is at such times in an excited 
condition from joy; and nerve-force will be generated 
in excess, which naturally leads to action of some kind. 
Xot one of the above movements, so clearly expressive 
of affection, are of the least direct service to the animal. 
They are explicable, as far as I can see, solely from being 
in complete opposition or antithesis to the attitude and 
movements which, from intelligible causes, are assumed 
when a dog intends to fight, and which consequently 
are expressive of anger. I request the reader to look 
at the four accompanying sketches, which have been 
given in order to recall vividly the appearance of a dog 
under these two states of mind. It is, however, not a 
little difficult to represent affection in a dog, whilst ca- 
ressing his master and wagdng his tail, as the essence of 

































) > 




t— 1 















| 53 

1 ffl 























Fig. 8.— The same caressing his master. By Mr. A. May. 


the expression lies in the continuous flexuous move- 

"We will now turn to the cat. When this animal is 
threatened hy a dog, it arches its back in a surprising 
manner, erects its hair, opens its mouth and spits. 
But we are not here concerned with this well-known 
attitude, expressive of terror combined with anger; 
we are concerned only with that of rage or anger. 
This is not often seen, but mav be observed when two 
cats are fighting together; and I have seen it well ex- 
hibited by a savage cat whilst plagued by a boy. The 
attitude is almost exactly the same as that of a tiger 
disturbed and growling over its food, which every one 
must have beheld in menageries. The animal assumes 
a crouching position, with the body extended; and the 
whole tail, or the tip alone, is lashed or curled from side 
to side. The hair is not in the least erect. Thus far, 
the attitude and movements are nearly the same as when 
the animal is prepared to spring on its prey, and when, 
no doubt, it feels savage. But when preparing to tight, 
there is this difference, that the ears are closely pressed 
backwards; the mouth is partially opened, showing the 
teeth; the fore feet are occasionally struck out with 
protruded claws; and the animal occasionally utters a 
fierce growl. (See figs. 9 and 10.) All, or almost all, 
these actions naturally follow (as hereafter to be ex- 
plained), from the cat's manner and intention of attack- 
ing its enemy. 

Let us now look at a cat in a directly opposite frame 
of mind, whilst feeling affectionate and caressing her 
master; and mark how opposite is her attitude in every 
respect. She now stands upright with her back slightly 
arched, which makes the hair appear rather rough, but 
it does not bristle; her tail, instead of being extended 
and lashed from side to side, is held quite stiff and per- 


pendicularly upwards; her cars are erect and pointed; 
her mouth is closed; and she rubs against her master 
with a purr instead of a growl. Let it further 
be observed how widely different is the whole bear- 
ing of an affectionate cat from that of a dog, when with 
his body crouching and flexuous, his tail lowered and 
wagging, and ears depressed, he caresses his master. 
This contrast in the attitudes and movements of these 
two carnivorous animals, under the same pleased and 
affectionate frame of mind, can be explained, as it 
appears to me, solely by their movements standing in 
complete antithesis to those which are naturally as- 
sumed, when these animals feel savage and are pre- 
pared either to fight or to seize their prey. 

In these cases of the dog and cat, there is every 
reason to believe that the gestures both of hostility and 
affection are innate or inherited; for they are almost 
identically the same in the different races of the spe- 
cies, and in all the individuals of the same race, both 
young and old. 

I will here give one other instance of antithesis in ex- 
pression. I formerly possessed a large dog, who, like 
every other dog, was much pleased to go out walking. 
He showed his pleasure by trotting gravely before me 
with high steps, head much raised, moderately erected 
ears, and tail carried aloft but not stiffly. Not far from 
my house a path branches off to the right, leading to 
the hot-house, which I used often to visit for a few 
moments, to look at my experimental plants. This was 
always a great disappointment to the dog, as he did not 
know whether I should continue my walk; and the in- 
stantaneous and complete change of expression which 
came over him as soon as my body swerved in the least 
towards the path (and I sometimes tried this as an 
experiment) was laughable. His look of dejection was 





Fig. 10.— Cat in an affectionate frame of mind, by Mr. Wood. 


known to every member of the family, and was called 
his hot-house face. This consisted in the head drooping 
much, the whole body sinking a little and remaining 
motionless; the ears and tail falling suddenly down, 
but the tail was by no means wagged. With the fall- 
ing of the ears and of his great chaps, the eyes became 
much changed in appearance, and I fancied that they 
looked less bright. His aspect was that of piteous, 
hopeless dejection; and it was, as I have said, laugh- 
able, as the cause was so slight. Every detail in his 
attitude was in complete opposition to his former joy- 
ful yet dignified bearing; and can be explained, as it 
appears to me, in no other way, except through the 
principle of antithesis. Had not the change been so 
instantaneous, I should have attributed it to his lowered 
spirits affecting, as in the case of man, the nervous sys- 
tem and circulation, and consequently the tone of his 
whole muscular frame; and this may have been in part 
the cause. 

We will now consider how the principle of antithesis 
in expression has arisen. With social animals, the power 
of intercommunication between the members of the community, — and with other species, between the 
opposite sexes, as well as between the young and the 
old, — is of the highest importance to them. This is 
generally effected by means of the voice, but it is cer- 
tain that gestures and expressions are to a certain ex- 
tent mutually intelligible. Man not only uses inar- 
ticulate cries, gestures, and expressions, but has in- 
vented articulate language; if, indeed, the word in- 
vented can be applied to a process, completed by in- 
numerable steps, half-consciously made. Any one who 
has watched monkeys will not doubt that they perfectly 
understand each other's gestures and expression, and 


to a large extent, as Eengger asserts/ those of man. 
An animal when going to attack another, or when afraid 
of another, often makes itself appear terrible, by erect- 
ing its hair, thus increasing the apparent bulk of its 
body, by showing its teeth, or brandishing its horns, 
or by uttering fierce sounds. 

As the power of intercommunication is certainly of 
high service to many animals, there is no a priori im- 
probability in the supposition, that gestures manifestly 
of an opposite nature to those by which certain feelings 
are already expressed, should at first have been volun- 
tarily employed under the influence of an opposite state 
of feeling. The fact of the gestures being now innate, 
would be no valid objection to the belief that they 
were at first intentional; for if practised during many 
generations, they would probably at last be inherited. 
Nevertheless it is more than doubtful, as we shall imme- 
diately see, whether anv of the cases which come under 
our present head of antithesis, have thus originated. 

With conventional signs which are not innate, such 
as those used by the deaf and dumb and by savages, 
the principle of opposition or antithesis has been par- 
tially brought into play. The Cistercian monks thought 
it sinful to speak, and as they could not avoid holding 
some communication, they invented a gesture language, 
in which the principle of opposition seems to have been 
employed. 2 Dr. Scott, of the Exeter Deaf and Dumb 
Institution, writes to me that " opposites are greatly 
used in teaching the deaf and dumb, who have a lively 
sense of them." Nevertheless I have been surprised 

1 ' Xaturgeschichte der Saugethiere von Paraguay,' 1830, 
s. 55. 

2 Mr. Tylor gives an account of the Cistercian gesture- 
language in his ' Early History of Mankind ' (2nd edit. 
1870, p. 40), and makes some remarks on the principle of 
opposition in gestures. 


how few unequivocal instances can be adduced. This 
depends partly on all the signs having commonly had 
some natural origin; and partly on the practice of the 
deaf and dumb and of savages to contract their signs 
as much as possible for the sake of rapidity. 3 Hence 
their natural source or origin often becomes doubtful or 
is completely lost; as is likewise the case with articulate 

Many signs, moreover, which plainly stand in oppo- 
sition to each other, appear to have had on both sides 
a significant origin. This seems to hold good with 
the signs used by the deaf and dumb for light and dark- 
ness, for strength and weakness, &c. In a future chap- 
ter I shall endeavour to show that the opposite gestures 
of affirmation and negation, namely, vertically nodding 
and laterally shaking the head, have both probably had 
a natural beginning. The waving of the hand from 
right to left, which is used as a negative by some savages, 
may have been invented in imitation of shaking the 
head; but whether the opposite movement of waving 
the hand in a straight line from the face, which is used 
in affirmation, has arisen through antithesis or in some 
quite distinct manner, is doubtful. 

If we now turn to the gestures which are innate 
or common to all the individuals of the same species, and 
which come under the present head of antithesis, it is 
extremely doubtful, whether any of them were at first 
deliberately invented and consciously performed. With 
mankind the best instance of a gesture standing in direct 

3 See on this subject Dr. W. E. Scott's interesting- work, 
' The Deaf and Dumb,' 2nd edit. 1870, p. 12. He says, " This 
contracting- of natural gestures into much shorter g-estures 
than the natural expression requires, is very common 
among-st the deaf and dumb. This contracted gesture 
is frequently so shortened as nearly to lose all semblance 
of the natural one, but to the (leaf and dumb who use it, 
it still has the force of the original expression." 


opposition to other movements, naturally assumed under 
an opposite frame of mind, is that of shrugging the 
shoulders. This expresses impotence or an apology, — 
something which cannot be done, or cannot be avoided. 
The gesture is sometimes used consciously and volun- 
tarily, but it is extremely improbable that it was at first 
deliberately invented, and afterwards fixed by habit; 
for not only do young children sometimes shrug their 
shoulders under the above states of mind, but the move- 
ment is accompanied, as will be shown in a future chap- 
ter, bv various subordinate movements, which not one 
man in a thousand is aware of, unless he has specially 
attended to the subject. 

Dogs when approaching a strange dog, may find it 
useful to show by their movements that they are friendly, 
and do not wish to fight. When two young dogs in 
play are growling and biting each other's faces and legs, 
it is obvious that they mutually understand each other's 
gestures and manners. There seems, indeed, some de- 
gree of instinctive knowledge in puppies and kittens, that 
they must not use their sharp little teeth or claws too 
freely in their play, though this sometimes happens and 
a squeal is the result; otherwise they would often injure 
each other's eyes. When my terrier bites my hand in 
play, often snarling at the same time, if he bites too 
hard and I say gently, gently, he goes on biting, but 
answers me by a few wags of the tail, which seems to 
say " Xever mind, it is all fun." Although dogs do thus 
express, and may wish to express, to other dogs and to 
man, that thev are in a friendlv state of mind, it is in- 
credible that they could ever have deliberately thought 
of drawing back and depressing their ears, instead of 
holding them erect, — of lowering and wagging their 
tails, instead of keeping them stiff and upright, &c, 
because thev knew that these movements stood in direct 


opposition to those assumed under an opposite and savage 
frame of mind. 

Again, when a cat, or rather when some early pro- 
genitor of the species, from feeling affectionate first 
slightly arched its back, held its tail perpendicularly 
upwards and pricked its ears, can it be believed that the 
animal consciously wished thus to show that its frame 
of mind was directly the reverse of that, when from being 
ready to fight or to spring on its prey, it assumed a 
crouching attitude, curled its tail from side to side and 
depressed its ears? Even still less can I believe that 
my dog voluntarily put on his dejected attitude and 
" hot-lionse face" which formed so complete a contrast 
to his previous cheerful attitude and whole bearing. It 
cannot be supposed that he knew that I should under- 
stand his expression, and that he could thus soften my 
heart and make me give up visiting the hot-house. 

Hence for the development of the movements which 
come under the present head, some other principle, dis- 
tinct from the will and consciousness, must have inter- 
vened. This principle appears to be that every move- 
ment which we have voluntarily performed through- 
out our lives has required the action of certain muscles; 
and when we have performed a directly opposite move- 
ment, an opposite set of muscles has been habitually 
brought into play, — as in turning to the right or to the 
left, in pushing away or pulling an object towards us, 
and in lifting or lowering a weight. So strongly are 
our intentions and movements associated together, that 
if we eagerly wish an object to move in any direction, 
we can hardly avoid moving our bodies in the same 
direction, although we may be perfectly aware that this 
can have no influence. A good illustration of this fact 
has already been given in the Introduction, namely, in 
the grotesque movements of a young and eager billiard- 


player, whilst watching the course of his ball. A man 
or child in a passion, if he tells airy one in a loud voice 
to begone, generally moves his' arm as if to push him 
away, although the offender may not be standing near, 
and although there may be not the least need to explain 
by a gesture what is meant. On the other hand, if we 
eagerly desire some one to approach us closely, we act 
as if pulling him towards us; and so in innumerable 
other instances. 

As the performance of ordinary movements of an 
opposite kind, under opposite impulses of the will, has 
become habitual in us and in the lower animals, so when 
actions of one kind have become firmly associated with 
any sensation or emotion, it appears natural that actions 
of a directly opposite kind, though of no use, should be 
unconsciously performed through habit and association, 
under the influence of a directly opposite sensation or 
emotion. On this principle alone can I understand 
how the gestures and expressions which come under 
the present head of antithesis have originated. If in- 
deed they are serviceable to man or to any other animal, 
in aid of inarticulate cries or language, they will like- 
wise be voluntarily employed, and the habit will thus 
be strengthened. But whether or not of service as a 
means of communication, the tendency to perform op- 
posite movements under opposite sensations or emotions 
would, if we may judge by analogy, become hereditary 
through long practice; and there cannot be a doubt that 
several expressive movements due to the principle of 
antithesis are inherited. 


General Principles of Expression — concluded. 

The principle of direct action of the excited nervous sys- 
tem on the body, independently of the will and in part 
of habit — Change of colour in the hair — Trembling of 
the muscles — Modified secretions — Perspiration — Ex- 
pression of extreme pain — Of rage, great joy, and 
terror — Contrast between the emotions which cause 
and do not cause expressive movements — Exciting and 
depressing states of the mind — Summary. 

We now come to our third Principle, namely, that cer- 
tain actions which we recognize as expressive of certain 
states of the mind, are the direct result of the consti- 
tution of the nervous system, and have been from the 
first independent of the will, and, to a large extent, of 
habit. When the sensorium is strongly excited nerve- 
force is generated in excess, and is transmitted in certain 
directions, dependent on the connection of the nerve- 
cells, and, as far as the muscular system is concerned, 
on the nature of the movements which have been ha- 
bitually practised. Or the supply of nerve-force may, 
as it appears, be interrupted. Of course every movement 
which we make is determined by the constitution of 
the nervous system; but actions performed in obedience 
to the will, or through habit, or through the principle 
of antithesis, are here as far as possible excluded. Our 

present subject is very obscure, but, from its impor- 



lance, must be discussed at some little length; and it is 
always advisable to perceive clearly our ignorance. 

The most striking case, though a rare and abnormal 
one, which can be adduced of the direct influence of the 
nervous system, when strongly affected, on the body, is 
the loss of colour in the hair, which has occasionally 
been observed after extreme terror or grief. One au- 
thentic instance has been recorded, in the case of a man 
brought out for execution in India, in which the change 
of colour was so rapid that it was perceptible to the eye. 1 

Another good case is that of the trembling of the 
muscles, which is common to man and to many, or 
most, of the lower animals. Trembling is of no service, 
often of much disservice, and cannot have been at first 
acquired through the will, and then rendered habitual 
in association with any emotion. I am assured by an 
eminent authority that young children do not tremble, 
but go into convulsions under the circumstances which 
would induce excessive trembling in adults. Trembling 
is excited in different individuals in very different de- 
grees, and by the most diversified causes, — by cold to 
the surface, before fever-fits, although the temperature 
of the body is then above the normal standard; in 
blood-poisoning, delirium tremens, and other diseases; 
by general failure of power in old age; by exhaustion 
after excessive fatigue; locally from severe injuries, such 
as burns; and, in an especial manner, by the passage of 
a catheter. Of all emotions, fear notoriously is the most 
apt to induce trembling; but so do occasionally great an- 
ger and joy. I remember once seeing a boy who had 
just shot his first snipe on the wing, and his hands 

1 See the interesting- cases collected by M. G. Pouchet 
in the ' Revue des Deux Mondes,' January 1, 1872, p. 79. 
An instance was also brought some years ago before the 
British Association at Belfast, 


trembled to such a degree from delight, that he could 
not for some time reload his gun; and I have heard 
of an exactly similar case with an Australian savage, 
to whom a gun had been lent. Fine music, from the 
vague emotions thus excited, causes a shiver to run 
down the backs of some persons. There seems to be 
very little in common in the above several physical 
causes and emotions to account for trembling; and Sir 
J. Paget, to whom I am indebted for several of the 
above statements, informs me that the subject is a very 
obscure one. As trembling is sometimes caused by 
rage, long before exhaustion can have set in, and as it 
sometimes accompanies great joy, it would appear that 
any strong excitement of the nervous system interrupts 
the steady flow of nerve-force to the muscles. 2 

The manner in which the secretions of the alimentary 
canal and of certain glands — as the liver, kidneys, or 
mammae — are affected by strong emotions, is another 
excellent instance of the direct action of the sensorium 
on these organs, independently of the will or of any 
serviceable associated habit. There is the greatest dif- 
ference in different persons in the parts which are thus 
affected, and in the degree of their affection. 

The heart, which goes on uninterruptedly beating 
night and day in so wonderful a manner, is extremely 
sensitive to external stimulants. The great physiologist, 
Claude Bernard, 3 has shown how the least excitement 
of a sensitive nerve reacts on the heart; even when a 
nerve is touched so slightly that no pain can possibly 

2 Miiller remarks (' Elements of Physiology,' Eng\ 
translat. vol. ii. p. 934) that when the feelings are very 
intense, " all the spinal nerves become affected to the ex- 
tent of imperfect paralysis, or the excitement of trem- 
bling- of the whole body." 

3 ' Lecons sur les Prop, des Tissus Vivants,' 1866, pp. 
457-466. ^ 


be felt by the animal under experiment. Hence when 
the mind is strongly excited, we might expect that it 
would instantly affect in a direct manner the heart; 
and this is universally acknowledged and felt to be the 
case. Claude Bernard also repeatedly insists, and this 
deserves especial notice, that when the heart is affected 
it reacts on the brain; and the state of the brain again 
reacts through the pneumo-gastric nerve on the heart; 
so that under any excitement there will be much mu- 
tual action and reaction between these, the two most 
important organs of the body. 

The vaso-motor system, which regulates the diameter 
of the small arteries, is directly acted on bv the sen- 

«/ «/ 

sorium, as we see when a man blushes from shame; but 
in this latter case the checked transmission of nerve- 
force to the vessels of the face can, I think, be partly 
explained in a curious manner through habit. We shall 
also be able to throw some light, though very little, on 
the involuntary erection of the hair under the emotions 
of terror and rage. The secretion of tears depends, no 
doubt, on the connection of certain nerve-cells; but 
here again we can trace some few of the steps by which 
the flow of nerve-force through the requisite channels 
has become habitual under certain emotions. 

A brief consideration of the outward signs of some of 
the stronger sensations and emotions will best serve to 
show us, although vaguely, in how complex a manner 
the principle under consideration of the direct action 
of the excited nervous system of the body, is combined 
with the principle of habitually associated, serviceable 

When animals suffer from an agony of pain, they 
generally writhe about with frightful contortions; and 
those which habitually use their voices utter piercing 


cries or groans. Almost every muscle of the body is 
brought into strong action. With man the mouth may 
be closely compressed, or more commonly the lips are 
retracted, with the teeth clenched or ground together. 
There is said to be " gnashing of teeth " in hell; and I 
have plainly heard the grinding of the molar teeth of 
a cow which was suffering acutely from inflammation 
of the bowels. The female hippopotamus in the Zoo- 
logical Gardens, when she produced her young, suf- 
fered greatly; she incessantly walked about, or rolled 
on her sides, opening and closing her jaws, and clatter- 
ing her teeth together. 4 With man the eyes stare wildly 
as in horrified astonishment, or the brows are heavily 
contracted. Perspiration bathes the body, and drops 
trickle down the face. The circulation and respiration 
are much affected. Hence the nostrils are generally 
dilated and often quiver; or the breath may be held 
until the blood stagnates in the purple face. If the 
agony be severe and prolonged, these signs all change; 
utter prostration follows, with fainting or convulsions. 

A sensitive nerve when irritated transmits some in- 
fluence to the nerve-cell, whence it proceeds; and this 
transmits its influence, first to the corresponding nerve- 
cell on the opposite side of the body, and then upwards 
and downwards along the cerebro-spinal column to other 
nerve-cells, to a greater or less extent, according to the 
strength of the excitement; so that, ultimately, the whole 
nervous system may be affected. 5 This involuntary trans- 
mission of nerve-force may or may not be accompa- 

4 Mr. Bartlett, " Notes on the Birth of a Hippopota- 
mus," Proe. Zoolog-. Soc. 1871, p. 255. 

5 See, on this subject, Claude Bernard, ' Tissus Vivants,' 
1866, pp. 316, 337, 358. Virchow expresses himself to al- 
most exactly the same effect in his essay " Ueber das 
Riickenmark " (Sammlung- wissenschaft. Vortrlige, 1871, 
s. 28). 


nied by consciousness. Why the irritation of a nerve- 
cell should generate or liberate nerve-force is not known; 
but that this is the case seems to be the conclusion ar- 
rived at by all the greatest physiologists, such as Miiller, 
Virchow, Bernard, &c. 6 As Mr. Herbert Spencer re- 
marks, it may be received as an " unquestionable truth 
that, at any moment, the existing quantity of liberated 
nerve-force, which in an inscrutable way produces in us 
the state we call feeling, must expend itself in some 
direction — must generate an equivalent manifestation 
of force somewhere; " so that, when the cerebro-spinal 
system is highly excited and nerve-force is liberated in 
excess, it may be expended in intense sensations, active 
thought, violent movements, or increased activity of 
the glands. 7 Mr. Spencer further maintains that an 
" overflow of nerve-force, undirected by any motive, will 
manifestly take the most habitual routes; and, if these 
do not suffice, will next overflow into the less habitual 
ones." Consequently the facial and respiratory mus- 
cles, which are the most used, will be apt to be first 
brought into action; then those of the upper extremi- 
ties, next those of the lower, and finally those of the 
whole body. 8 

An emotion may be very strong, but it will have 
little tendencv to induce movements of any kind, if it 

6 Miiller (' Elements of Physiology,' Eng. translat. vol. 
ii. p. 932) in speaking 1 of the nerves, says, " any sudden 
change of condition of whatever kind sets the nervous 
principle into action." See Virchow and Bernard on the 
same subject in passages in the two works referred to 
in my last foot-note. 

7 H. Spencer, ' Essays, Scientific, Political,' &c, Second 
Series, 1863, pp. 109, 111. 

8 Sir H. Holland, in speaking (' Medical Notes and Re- 
flexions,' 1839, p. 328) of that curious state of body called 
the ftdpets, remarks that it seems due to " an accumula- 
tion of some cause of irritation which requires muscular 
action for its relief." 


has not commonly led to voluntary action for its relief or 
gratification; and when movements are excited, their 
nature is, to a large extent, determined by those which 
have often and voluntarily been performed for some 
definite end under the same emotion. Great pain urges 
all animals, and has urged them during endless genera- 
tions, to make the most violent and diversified efforts to 
escape from the cause of suffering. Even when a limb 
or other separate part of the body is hurt, we often see 
a tendency to shake it, as if to shake off the cause, 
though this may obviously be impossible. Thus a habit 
of exerting with the utmost force all the muscles will 
have been established, whenever great suffering is ex- 
perienced. As the muscles of the chest and vocal or- 
gans are habitually used, these will be particularly liable 
to be acted on, and loud, harsh screams or cries will 
be uttered. But the advantage derived from outcries 
has here probably come into play in an important man- 
ner; for the young of most animals, when in dis- 
tress or danger, call loudly to their parents for aid, 
as do the members of the same community for mutual 

Another principle, namely, the internal conscious- 
ness that the power or capacity of the nervous system is 
limited, will have strengthened, though in a subordinate 
degree, the tendency to violent action under extreme 
suffering. A man cannot think deeply and exert his 
utmost muscular force. As Hippocrates long ago ob- 
served, if two pains are felt at the same time, the 
severer one dulls the other. Martyrs, in the ecstasy of 
their religious fervour have often, as it would appear, 
been insensible to the most horrid tortures. Sailors 
who are going to be flogged sometimes take a piece of 
lead into their mouths, in order to bite it with their 
utmost force, and thus to bear the pain. Parturient 


women prepare to exert their muscles to the utmost in 
order to relieve their sufferings. 

We thus see that the undirected radiation of nerve- 
force from the nerve-cells which are first alfected — 
the long-continued habit of attempting b} r struggling 
to escape from the cause of suffering — and the con- 
sciousness that voluntary muscular exertion relieves pain, 
have all probably concurred in giving a tendency to the 
most violent, almost convulsive, movements under ex- 
treme suffering; and such movements, including those 
of the vocal organs, are universally recognized as highly 
expressive of this condition. 

As the mere touching of a sensitive nerve reacts in a 
direct manner on the heart, severe pain will obviously 
react on it in like manner, but far more energetically. 
Nevertheless, even in this case, we must not overlook 
the indirect effects of habit on the heart, as we shall 
see when we consider the signs of rage. 

When a man suffers from an agony of pain, the per- 
spiration often trickles down his face; and I have been 
assured by a veterinary surgeon that he has frequently 
seen drops falling from the belly and running down the 
inside of the thighs of horses, and from the bodies of 
cattle, when thus suffering. He has observed this, when 
there has been no struggling which would account for 
the perspiration. The whole body of the female hippo- 
potamus, before alluded to, was covered with red-col- 
oured perspiration whilst giving birth to her young. So 
it is with extreme fear; the same veterinary has often 
seen horses sweating from this cause; as has Mr. Bartlett 
with the rhinoceros; and with man it is a well-known 
symptom. The cause of perspiration bursting forth in 
these cases is quite obscure; but it is thought by .some 
physiologists to be connected with the failing power of 

the capillary circulation; and we know that the vaso- 


motor system, which regulates the capillary circulation, 
is much influenced by the mind. With respect to the 
movements of certain muscles of the face under great 
suffering, as well as from other emotions, these will be 
best considered when we treat of the special expressions 
of man and of the lower animals. 

We will now turn to the characteristic symptoms of 
Rage. Under this powerful emotion the action of the 
heart is much accelerated, 9 or it may be much dis- 
turbed. The face reddens, or it becomes purple from the 
impeded return of the blood, or may turn deadly pale. 
The respiration is laboured, the chest heaves, and the 
dilated nostrils quiver. The whole body often trembles. 
The voice is affected. The teeth are clenched or ground 
together, and the muscular system is commonly stimu- 
lated to violent, almost frantic action. But the gestures 
of a man in this state usually differ from the purposeless 
writhings and struggles of one suffering from an agony 
of pain; for they represent more or less plainly the act 
of striking or fighting with an enemy. 

All these signs of rage are probably in large part, 
and some of them appear to be wholly, due to the direct 
action of the excited sensorium. But animals of all 
kinds, and their progenitors before them, when attacked 
or threatened by an enemy, have exerted their utmost 
powers in fighting and in defending themselves. Un- 
less an animal does thus act, or has the intention, or at 
least the desire, to attack its enemy, it cannot properly 
be said to be enraged. An inherited habit of muscular 
exertion will thus have been gained in association with 
rage; and this will directly or indirectly affect vari- 

9 I am much indebted to Mr. A. H. Garrod for having 
informed me of M. Lorain's work on the pulse, in which 
a sphygmogram of a woman in a rage is given; and 
this shows much difference in the rate and other charac- 
ters from that of the same woman in her ordinary state. 


ous organs, in nearly the same manner as does great bod- 
ily suffering. 

The heart no doubt will likewise be affected in a direct 
manner; but it will also in all probability be affected 
through habit; and all the more so from not being 
under the control of the will. We know that any great 
exertion which we voluntarily make, affects the heart, 
through mechanical and other principles which need 
not here be considered; and it was shown in the first 
chapter that nerve-force flows readily through habitu- 
ally used channels, — through the nerves of voluntary 
or involuntary movement, and through those of sen- 
sation. Thus even a moderate amount of exertion will 
tend to act on the heart; and on the principle of asso- 
ciation, of which so many instances have been given, 
we may feel nearly sure that any sensation or emotion, 
as great pain or rage, which has habitually led to much 
muscular action, will immediately influence the flow of 
nerve-force to the heart, although there may not be at 
the time any muscular exertion. 

The heart, as I have said, will be all the more readily 
affected through habitual associations, as it is not under 
the control of the will. A man when moderately angry, 
or even when enraged, may command the movements of 
his body, but he cannot prevent his heart from beating 
rapidly. His chest will perhaps give a few heaves, and 
his nostrils just quiver, for the movements of respiration 
are only in part voluntary. In like manner those mus- 
cles of the face which are least obedient to the will, 
will sometimes alone betray a slight and passing emo- 
tion. The glands again are wholly independent of the 
will, and a man suffering from grief may command 
his features, but cannot always prevent the tears from 
coming into his eyes. A hungry man, if tempting food 
is placed before him, may not show his hunger by any 


outward gesture, but lie cannot check the secretion of 

Under a transport of Joy or of vivid Pleasure, there is 
a strong tendency to various purposeless movements, and 
to the utterance of various sounds. AVe see this in our 
young children, in their loud laughter, clapping of hands, 
and jumping for joy; in the bounding and barking of a 
dog when going out to walk with his master; and in the 
frisking of a horse when turned out into an open field. 
Joy quickens the circulation, and this stimulates the 
brain, which again reacts on the whole body. The 
above purposeless movements and increased heart-action 
may be attributed in chief part to the excited state of 
the sensorium, 10 and to the consequent undirected over- 
flow, as Mr. Herbert Spencer insists, of nerve-force. It 
deserves notice, that it is chiefly the anticipation of a 
pleasure, and not its actual enjoyment, which leads to 
purposeless and extravagant movements of the body, 
and to the utterance of various sounds. We see this 
in our children when they expect any great pleasure or 
treat; and dogs, which have been bounding about at 


How powerfully intense joy excites the brain, and 
how the brain reacts on the body, is well shown in the 
rare cases of Psychical Intoxication. Dr. J. Crichton 
Browne (' [Medical Mirror,' 1S65) records the case of a 
young" man of strongly nervous temperament, who, on 
hearing by a telegram that a fortune had been bequeathed 
him, first became pale, then exhilarated, and soon in 
the highest spirits, but flushed and very restless. He then 
took a walk with a friend for the sake of tranquillising 
himself, but returned staggering in his gait, uproariously 
laughing, yet irritable in temper, incessantly talking, and 
singing loudly in the public streets. It was positively 
ascertained that he had not touched any spirituous liquor, 
though every one thought that he was intoxicated. Vomit- 
ing after a time came on, and the half-digested contents 
of his stomach were examined, but no odour of alcohol 
could be detected. He then slept heavily, and on awak- 
ing was well, except that he suffered from headache, 
nausea, and prostration of strength. 


the sight of a plate of food, when they get it do not 
show their delight by any outward sign, not even by 
wagging their tails. Now with animals of all kinds, 
the acquirement of almost all their pleasures, with the 
exception of those of warmth and rest, are associated, 
and have long been associated with active movements,, 
as in the hunting or search for food, and in their court- 
ship. Moreover, the mere exertion of the muscles after 
long rest or confinement is in itself a pleasure, as we 
ourselves feel, and as we see in the play of young ani- 
mals. Therefore on this latter principle alone we might 
perhaps expect, that vivid pleasure would be apt to show 
itself conversely in muscular movements. 

"With all or almost all animals, even with birds, 
Terror causes the body to tremble. The skin becomes 
pale, sweat breaks out, and the hair bristles. The se- 
cretions of the alimentary canal and of the kidneys are 
increased, and they are involuntarily voided, owing to 
the relaxation of the sphincter muscles, as is known to be 
the case with man, and as I have seen with cattle, dogs, 
cats, and monkeys. The breathing is hurried. The heart 
beats quickfy, wildly, and violently; but whether it 
pumps the blood more efficiently through the body may 
be doubted, for the surface seems bloodless and the 
strength of the muscles soon fails. In a frightened horse 
I have felt through the saddle the beating of the heart 
so plainly that I could have counted the beats. The 
mental faculties are much disturbed. Utter prostration 
soon follows, and even fainting. A terrified canary-bird 
has been seen not only to tremble and to turn white 
about the base of the bill, but to faint; 11 and I once 
caught a robin in a room, which fainted so completely, 
that for a time I thought it dead. 

11 Dr. Darwin, ' Zoonomia,' 1794, vol. i. p. 148. 


Most of these symptoms are probably the direct result, 
independently of habit, of the disturbed state of the 
sensorium; but it is doubtful whether they ought to be 
wholly thus accounted for. When an animal is alarmed 
it almost always stands motionless for a moment, in 
order to collect its senses and to ascertain the source 
of danger, and sometimes for the sake of escaping de- 
tection. But headlong flight soon follows, with no hus- 
banding of the strength as in fighting, and the animal 
continues to fly as long as the danger lasts, until utter 
prostration, with failing respiration and circulation, with 
all the muscles quivering and profuse sweating, renders 
further flight impossible. Hence it does not seem im- 
probable that the principle of associated habit may in 
part account for, or at least augment, some of the above- 
named characteristic symptoms of extreme terror. 

That the principle of associated habit has played an 
important part in causing the movements expressive of 
the foregoing several strong emotions and sensations, 
we ma} r , I think, conclude from considering firstly, some 
other strong emotions which do not ordinarily require 
for their relief or gratification any voluntary move- 
ment; and secondly the contrast in nature between 
the so-called exciting and depressing states of the 
mind. Xo emotion is stronger than maternal love; but 
a mother may feel the deepest love for her helpless 
infant, and yet not show it by any outward sign; or 
only by slight caressing movements, with a gentle smile 
and tender eyes. But let any one intentionally injure 
her infant, and see what a change! how T she starts up 
with threatening aspect, how her eyes sparkle and her 
face reddens, how her bosom heaves, nostrils dilate, and 
heart beats; for anger, and not maternal love, has ha- 
bitually led to action. The love between the opposite 


sexes is widely different from maternal love; and when 
lovers meet, we know that their hearts beat quickly, 
their breathing is hurried, and their faces flush; for 
this love is not inactive like that of a mother for her 

A man may have his mind filled with the blackest 
hatred or suspicion, or be corroded with envy or jealousy, 
but as these feelings do not at once lead to action, and as 
they commonly last for some time, they are not shown 
by any outward sign, excepting that a man in this state 
assuredly does not appear cheerful or good-tempered. 
If indeed these feelings break out into overt acts, rage 
takes their place, and will be plainly exhibited. Paint- 
ers can hardly portray suspicion, jealous}', envy, &c, 
except by the aid of accessories which tell the tale; 
and poets use such vague and fanciful expressions as 
" green-eyed jealousy." Spenser describes suspicion as 
" Foul, ill-favoured, and grim, under his eyebrows look- 
ing still askance," &c; Shakespeare speaks of envy "as 
lean-faced in her loathsome case; " and in another place 
he says, " no black envy shall make my grave; " and 
again as " above pale envy's threatening reach." 

Emotions and sensations have often been classed as 
exciting or depressing. When all the organs of the 
body and mind, — those of voluntary and involuntary 
movement, of perception, sensation, thought, &c, — 
perform their functions more energetically and rapidly 
than usual, a man or animal may be said to be excited, 
and, under an opposite state, to be depressed. Anger 
and joy are from the first exciting emotions, and they 
naturally lead, more especially the former, to energetic 
movements, which react on the heart and this again 
on the brain. A physician once remarked to me as a 
proof of the exciting nature of anger, that a man when 
excessively jaded will sometimes invent imaginary 


offences and put himself into a passion, unconsciously 
for the sake of reinvigorating himself; and since hear- 
ing this remark, I have occasionally recognized its full 

Several other states of mind appear to be at first 
exciting, but soon become depressing to an extreme 
degree. When a mother suddenly loses her child, some- 
times she is frantic with grief, and must be consid- 
ered to be in an excited state; she walks wildly about, 
tears her hair or clothes, and wrings her hands. This 
latter action is perhaps due to the principle of anti- 
thesis, betraying an inward sense of helplessness and 
that nothing can be done. The other wild and vio- 
lent movements may be in part explained by the relief 
experienced through muscular exertion, and in part by 
the undirected overflow of nerve-force from the excited 
sensorium. But under the sudden loss of a beloved 
person, one of the first and commonest thoughts which 
occurs, is that something more might have been done 
to save the lost one. An excellent observer, 12 in de- 
scribing the behaviour of a girl at the sudden death 
of her father, says she " went about the house wring- 
ing her hands like a creature demented, saying ' It was 
her fault; ' ' I should never have left him; ' ' If I had 
only sat up with him/ " &c. With such ideas vividly 
present before the mind, there would arise, through 
the principle of associated habit, the strongest tendency 
to energetic action of some kind. 

As soon as the sufferer is fully conscious that nothing 
can be done, despair or deep sorrow takes the place of 
frantic grief. The sufferer sits motionless, or gently 
rocks to and fro; the circulation becomes languid; res- 
piration is almost forgotten, and deep sighs are drawn. 

12 Mrs. Oliphant, in her novel of ' Miss Majoribanks,' 
p. 362. 


All this reacts on the brain, and prostration soon 
follows with collapsed muscles and dulled eyes. As 
associated habit no longer prompts the sufferer to action, 
he is urged by his friends to voluntary exertion, and 
not to give way to silent, motionless grief. Exertion 
stimulates the heart, and this reacts on the brain, and 
aids the mind to bear its heavy load. 

Pain, if severe, soon induces extreme depression or 
prostration: but it is at first a stimulant and excites to 
action, as we see when we whip a horse, and as is shown 
bv the horrid tortures inflicted in foreign lands on ex- 
hausted dray-bullocks, to rouse them to renewed exertion. 
Fear again is the most depressing of all the emotions: 
and it soon induces utter, helpless prostration, as if in 
consequence of, or in association with, the most violent 
and prolonged attempts to escape from the danger, 
though no such attempts have actually been made. 
Nevertheless, even extreme fear often acts at first as a 
powerful stimulant. A man or animal driven through 
terror to desperation, is endowed with wonderful 
strength, and is notoriously dangerous in the highest 

On the whole we may conclude that the principle of 
the direct action of the sensorium on the body, due to 
the constitution of the nervous system, and from the first 
independent of the will, has been highly influential in 
determining many expressions. Good instances are 
afforded bv the trembling of the muscles, the sweating 
of the skin, the modified secretions of the alimentary 
canal and glands, under various emotions and sensations. 
But actions of this kind are often combined with others, 
which follow from our first principle, namely, that actions 
wliich have often been of direct or indirect service, under 
certain states of the mind, in order to gratify or relieve 


certain sensations, desires, &c, are still performed under 
analogous circumstances through mere habit although 
of no service. We have combinations of this kind, at least 
in part, in the frantic gestures of rage and in the writh- 
ings of extreme pain; and, perhaps, in the increased ac- 
tion of the heart and of the respiratory organs. Even 
when these and other emotions or sensations are aroused 
in a very feeble manner, there will still be a tendency to 
similar actions, owing to the force of long-associated 
habit; and those actions which are least under voluntary 
control will generally be longest retained. Our second 
principle of antithesis has likewise occasionally come into 

Finally, so many expressive movements can be ex- 
plained, as I trust will be seen in the course of this 
volume, through the three principles which have now 
been discussed, that we may hope hereafter to see all 
thus explained, or by closely analogous principles. It is, 
however, often impossible to decide how much weight 
ought to be attributed, in each particular case, to one 
of our principles, and how much to another; and very 
many points in the theory of Expression remain inex- 


Means of Expression in Animals. 

The emission of sounds — Vocal sounds — Sounds otherwise 
produced — Erection of the dermal appendages, hairs, 
feathers, &c, under the emotions of anger and terror 
— The drawing - back of the ears as a preparation for 
fighting, and as an expression of anger — Erection of 
the ears and raising the head, a sign of attention. 

In this and the following chapter I will describe, but 
only in sufficient detail to illustrate my subject, the ex- 
pressive movements, under different states of the mind, 
of some few well-known animals. But before consider- 
ing them in due succession, it will save much useless 
repetition to discuss certain means of expression common 
to most of them. 

Tlie emission of Sounds. — With many kinds of ani- 
mals, man included, the vocal organs are efficient in the 
highest degree as a means of expression. We have seen, 
in the last chapter, that when the sensorium is strongly 
excited, the muscles of the body are generally thrown 
into violent action; and as a consequence, loud sounds 
are uttered, however silent the animal may generally 
be, and although the sounds may be of no use. Hares 
and rabbits for instance, never, I believe, use their vocal 
organs except in the extremity of suffering; as, when 
a wounded hare is killed by the sportsman, or when a 
young rabbit is caught by a stoat. Cattle and horses 


suffer great pain in silence; but when this is excessive, 
and especially when associated with terror, they utter 
fearful sounds. I have often recognized, from a dis- 
tance on the Pampas, the agonized death-bellow of the 
cattle, when caught by the lasso and hamstrung. It is 
said that horses, when attacked by wolves, utter loud and 
peculiar screams of distress. 

Involuntary and purposeless contractions of the mus- 
cles of the chest and glottis, excited in the above man- 
ner, may have first given rise to the emission of vocal 
sounds. But the voice is now largely used by many ani- 
mals for various purposes; and habit seems to have 
played an important part in its employment under other 
circumstances. Naturalists have remarked, I believe 
with truth, that social animals, from habitually using 
their vocal organs as a means of intercommunication, 
use them on other occasions much more freely than other 
animals. But there are marked exceptions to this rule, 
for instance, with the rabbit. The principle, also, of as- 
sociation, which is so widely extended in its power, has 
likewise played its part. Hence it follows that the voice, 
from having been habitually employed as a serviceable 
aid under certain conditions, inducing pleasure, pain, 
rage, &c, is commonly used whenever the same sensa- 
tions or emotions are excited, under quite different con- 
ditions, or in a lesser degree. 

The sexes of many animals incessantly call for each 
other during the breeding-season; and in not a few cases, 
the male endeavours thus to charm or excite the female. 
This, indeed, seems to have been the primeval use and 
means of development of the voice, as I have attempted 
to show in my ' Descent of Man.' Thus the use of the 
vocal organs will have become associated with the an- 
ticipation of the strongest pleasure which animals are 
capable of feeling. Animals which live in society often 

Chap. IV. IX ANIMALS. 85 

call to each other when separated, and evidently feel 
much joy at meeting; as we see with a horse, on the re- 
turn of his companion, for whom he has been neighing. 
The mother calls incessantly for her lost young ones; for 
instance, a cow for her calf; and the young of many ani- 
mals call for their mothers. When a flock of sheep is 
scattered, the ewes bleat incessantly for their lambs, and 
their mutual pleasure at coming together is manifest. 
"Woe betide the man who meddles with the voun£ of the 
larger and fiercer quadrupeds, if they hear the cry of 
distress from their young. Rage leads to the violent 
exertion of all the muscles, including those of the voice; 
and some animals, when enraged, endeavour to strike 
terror into their enemies by its power and harshness, as 
the lion does by roaring, and the dog by growling. I 
infer that their object is to strike terror, because the lion 
at the same time erects the hair of its mane, and the dog 
the hair along its back, and thus they make themselves 
appear as large and terrible as possible. Rival males 
try to excel and challenge each other by their voices, 
and this leads to deadly contests. Thus the use of the 
voice will have become associated with the emotion of 
anger, however it may be aroused. We have also seen 
that intense pain, like rage, leads to violent outcries, and 
the exertion of screaming by itself gives some relief; 
and thus the use of the voice will have become associ- 
ated with suffering of any kind. 

The cause of widely different sounds being uttered 
under different emotions and sensations is a verv ob- 
seure subject. Nor does the rule always hold good that 
there is any marked difference. For instance with the 
dog, the bark of anger and that of joy do not differ much, 
though they can be distinguished. It is not probable 
that any precise explanation of the cause or source of 
each particular sound, under different states of the mind, 


will ever be given. We know that some animals, after 
being domesticated, have acquired the habit of utter- 
ing sounds which were not natural to them. 1 Thus do- 
mestic dogs, and even tamed jackals, have learnt to bark, 
which is a noise not proper to any species of the genus, 
with the exception of the Cams latrans of North Ameri- 
ca, which is said to bark. Some breeds, also, of the do- 
mestic pigeon have learnt to. coo in a new and quite 
peculiar manner. 

The character of the human voice, under the influ- 
ence of various emotions, has been discussed by Mr. Her- 
bert Spencer 2 in his interesting essay on Music. He 
clearlv shows that the voice alters much under different 
conditions, in loudness and in quality, that is, in reso- 
nance and timbre, in pitch and intervals. Xo one can 
listen to an eloquent orator or preacher, or to a man call- 
ing angrily to another, or to one expressing astonish- 
ment, without being struck with the truth of Mr. Spen- 
cer's remarks, It is curious how early in life the modu- 
lation of the voice becomes expressive. With one of my 
children, under the age of two years, I clearly perceived 
that his humph of assent was rendered by a slight modu- 
lation strongly emphatic; and that by a peculiar whine 
his negative expressed obstinate determination. Mr. 
Spencer further shows that emotional speech, in all the 
above respects is intimately related to vocal music, and 
consequently to instrumental music; and he attempts 
to explain the characteristic qualities of both on physio- 
logical grounds — namely, on " the general law that a 
feeling is a stimulus to muscular action." It may be 

1 See the evidence on this head in my ' Variation of 
Animals and Plants under Domestication,' vol. i. p. 27. 
On the cooing" of pigeons, vol. i. pp. 154, 155. 

2 ' Essays, Scientific, Political, and Speculative,' 1858. 
' The Origin and Function of Music,' p. 359. 

Chap. IV. IN ANIMALS. 87 

admitted that the voice is affected through this law; but 
the explanation appears to me too general and vague 
to throw much light on the various differences, with the 
exception of that of loudness, between ordinary speech 
and emotional speech, or singing. 

This remark holds good, whether we believe that 
the various qualities of the voice originated in speaking 
under the excitement of strong feelings, and that these 
qualities have subsequently been transferred to vocal 
music; or whether we believe, as I maintain, that the 
habit of uttering musical sounds was first developed, as 
a means of courtship, in the early progenitors of man, 
and thus became associated with the strongest emotions 
of which they were capable, — namely, ardent love, rival- 
ry and triumph. That animals utter musical notes is 
familiar to every one, as we may daily hear in the sing- 
ing of birds. It is a more remarkable fact that an ape, 
one of the Gibbons, produces an exact octave of musical 
sounds, ascending and descending the scale by half- 
tones; so that this monkey "alone of brute mammals 
may be said to sing." 3 From this fact, and from the 
analogy of other animals, I have been led to infer that 
the progenitors of man probably uttered musical tones, 
before they had acquired the power of articulate speech; 
and that consequently, when the voice is used under 
any strong emotion, it tends to assiyne, through the prin- 
ciple of association, a musical character. "We can plainly 
perceive, with some of the lower animals, that the males 
employ their voices to please the females, and that they 

3 ' The Descent of Man,' 1870, vol. ii. p. 332. The words 
quoted are from Professor Owen. It has lately been shown 
that some quadrupeds much lower in the scale than mon- 
keys, namely Rodents, are able to produce correct musical 
tones: see the account of a singing" Hesperomys, by the 
Rev. S. Lockwood, in the ' American Naturalist,' vol. v. 
December, 1871, p. 761. 


themselves take pleasure in their own vocal utterances; 
but why particular sounds are uttered, and why these 
give pleasure cannot at present be explained. 

That the pitch of the voice bears some relation to 
certain states of feeling is tolerably clear. A person 
gently complaining of ill-treatment, or slightly suffer- 
ing, almost always speaks in a high-pitched voice. Dogs, 
when a little impatient, often make a high piping note 
through their noses, which at once strikes us as plain- 
tive; 4 but how difficult it is to know whether the sound 
is essentially plaintive, or only appears so in this par- 
ticular case, from our having learnt by experience what 
it means! Eengger, states 5 that the monkeys (Cebus 
azarce), which he kept in Paraguay, expressed astonish- 
ment by a half -piping, half- snarling noise; anger or im- 
patience, by repeating the sound liu liu in a deeper, 
grunting voice; and fright or pain, by shrill screams.* 
On the other hand, with mankind, deep groans and high 
piercing screams equally express an agony of pain. 
Laughter may be either high or low; so that, with adult 
men, as Haller long ago remarked, 6 the sound partakes 
of the character of the vowels (as pronounced in German) 
and A ; whilst with children and women, it has more 
of the character of E and I ; and these latter vowel- 
sounds naturally have, as Helmholtz has shown, a higher 
pitch than the former; yet both tones of laughter equally 
express enjoyment or amusement. 

In considering the mode in which vocal utterances 
express emotion, we are naturally led to inquire into 

4 Mr. Trior ('Primitive Culture,' 1871, vol. i. p. 166), 
in his discussion on this subject, alludes to the whining 
of the dog-. 

5 ' Xaturgeschichte der SUugethiere von Paraguay,' 1830, 
s. 46. 

6 Quoted by Gratiolet, ' De la Physionomie,' 1865, p. 

Chap. IV. IN ANIMALS. 89 

the cause of what is called " expression ' in music. 
Upon this point Mr. Litchfield, who has long attended 
to the subject of music, has been so kind as to give me 
the following remarks: — " The question, what is the es- 
sence of musical ' expression ' involves a number of ob- 
scure points, which, so far as I am aware, are as yet 
unsolved enigmas. Up to a certain point, however, any 
law which is found to hold as to the expression of the 
emotions by simple sounds must apply to the more de- 
veloped mode of expression in song, which may be taken 
as the primary type of all music. A great part of the 
emotional effect of a song depends on the character of 
the action by which the sounds are produced. In songs, 
for instance, which express great vehemence of passion, 
the effect often chiefly depends on the forcible utterance 
of some one or two characteristic passages which demand 
great exertion of vocal force; and it will be frequently 
noticed that a song of this character fails of its proper 
effect when sung by a voice of sufficient power and range 
to give the characteristic passages without much exer- 
tion. This is, no doubt, the secret of the loss of effect 
so often produced by the transposition of a song from 
one key to another. The effect is thus seen to depend 
not merely on the actual sounds, but also in part on the 
nature of the action which produces the sounds. Indeed 
it is obvious that whenever we feel the ' expression ' of 
a song to be due to its quickness or slowness of move- 
ment — to smoothness of flow, loudness of utterance, and 
so on — we are, in fact, interpreting the muscular actions 
which produce sound, in the same way in which we in- 
terpret muscular action generally. But this leaves un- 
explained the more subtle and more specific effect which 
we call tihemusical expression of the song — the delight 
given by its melody, or even by the separate sounds which 
make up the melody. This is an effect indefinable in 


language — one which, so far as I am aware, no one has 
been able to analyse, and which the ingenious specula- 
tion of Mr. Herbert Spencer as to the origin of music 
leaves quite unexplained. For it is certain that the 
melodic effect of a series of sounds does not depend in 
the least on their loudness or softness, or on their abso- 
lute pitch. A tune is always the same tune, whether it 
is sung loudly or softly, by a child or a man; whether 
it is played on a flute or on a trombone. The purely 
musical effect of any sound depends on its place in what 
is technically called a i scale; ' the same sound produc- 
ing absolutely different effects on the ear, according as 
it is heard in connection with one or another series of 

" It is on this relative association of the sounds that 
all the essentially characteristic effects which are summed 
up in the phrase ' musical expression/ depend. But 
why certain associations of sounds have such-and-such 
effects, is a problem which yet remains to be solved. 
These effects must indeed, in some way or other, be con- 
nected with the well-known arithmetical relations be- 
tween the rates of vibration of the sounds which form 
a musical scale. And it is possible — but this is merely 
a suggestion — that the greater or less mechanical facility 
with which the vibrating apparatus of the human larynx 
passes from one state of vibration to another, may have 
been a primary cause of the greater or less pleasure pro- 
duced by various sequences of sounds." 

But leaving aside these complex questions and con- 
fining ourselves to the simpler sounds, we can, at least, 
see some reasons for the association of certain kinds of 
sounds with certain states of mind. A scream, for in- 
stance, uttered by a young animal, or by one of the 
members of a community, as a call for assistance, will 
naturally be loud, prolonged, and high, so as to pene- 

Chap. IV. IN ANIMALS. 91 

trate to a distance. For Helmholtz lias shown 7 that, 
owing to the shape of the internal cavity of the human 
ear and its consequent power of resonance, high notes 
produce a particularly strong impression. When male 
animals utter sounds in order to please the females, they 
would naturally employ those which are sweet to the 
ears of the species; and it appears that the same sounds 
are often pleasing to widely different animals, owing to 
the similarity of their nervous systems, as we ourselves 
perceive in the singing of birds and even in the chirping 
of certain tree-frogs giving us pleasure. On the other 
hand, sounds produced in order to strike terror into an 
enemy, would naturally be harsh or displeasing. 

"Whether the principle of antithesis has come into 
play with sounds, as might perhaps have been expected, 
is doubtful. The interrupted, laughing or tittering 
sounds made by man and by various kinds of monkeys 
when pleased, are as different as possible from the pro- 
longed screams of these animals when distressed. The 
deep grunt of satisfaction uttered by a pig, when pleased 
with its food, is widely different from its harsh scream 
of pain or terror. But with the dog, as lately remarked, 
the bark of an^er and that of iov are sounds which bv 
no means stand in opposition to each other; and so it is 
in some other cases. 

There is another obscure point, namely, whether the 
sounds which are produced under various states of the 
mind determine the shape of the mouth, or whether its 
shape is not determined by independent causes, and the 
sound thus modified. When vounsr infants crv thev 
open their mouths widely, and this, no doubt, is neces- 

7 ' Theorie Physiolog'ique de la Musique,' Paris, 1868, 
p. 146. Helmholtz has also fully discussed in this pro- 
found work the relation of the form of the cavity of 
the mouth to the production of vowel-sounds. 


sary for pouring forth a full volume of sound; but the 
mouth then assumes, from a quite distinct cause, an 
almost quadrangular shape, depending, as will hereafter 
be explained, on the firm closing of the eyelids, and con- 
sequent drawing up of the upper lip. How far this 
square shape of the mouth modifies the wailing or cry- 
ing sound, I am not prepared to say; but we know from 
the researches of Helmholtz and others that the form 
of the cavity of the mouth and lips determines the na- 
ture and pitch of the vowel sounds which are produced. 
It will also be shown in a future chapter that, under 
the feeling of contempt or disgust, there is a tendency, 
from intelligible causes, to blow out of the mouth or 
nostrils, and this produces sounds like pooh or pish. 
When any one is startled or suddenly astonished, there 
is an instantaneous tendency, likewise from an intel- 
ligible cause, namely, to be ready for prolonged exer- 
tion, to open the mouth widely, so as to draw a deep and 
rapid inspiration. When the next full expiration fol- 
lows, the mouth is slightly closed, and the lips, from 
causes hereafter to be discussed, are somewhat protruded; 
and this form of the mouth, if the voice be at all ex- 
erted, produces, according to Helmholtz, the sound of 
the vowel 0. Certainly a deep sound of a prolonged 
Oh! may be heard from a whole crowd of people im- 
mediately after witnessing any astonishing spectacle. 
If, together with surprise, pain be felt, there is a tend- 
ency to contract all the muscles of the body, including 
those of the face, and the lips will then be drawn back; 
and this will perhaps account for the sound becoming 
higher and assuming the character of Ah! or Ach! As 
fear causes all the muscles of the body to tremble, the 
voice naturally becomes tremulous, and at the same time 
husky from the dryness of the mouth, owing to the sali- 
vary glands failing to act. Why the laughter of man and 

Chap. IV. 



the tittering of monkeys should be a rapidly reiterated 
sound, cannot be explained. During the utterance of 
these sounds, the mouth is transversely elongated by 
the corners being drawn backwards and upwards; and 
of this fact an explanation will be attempted in a future 
chapter. But the whole subject of the differences of 
the sounds produced under different 
states of the mind is so obscure, that 
I have succeeded in throwing hardly 
any light on it; and the remarks which 
I have made, have but little signifi- 

All the sounds hitherto noticed de- 
pend on the respiratory organs; but 
sounds produced by wholly different 
means are likewise expressive. Bab- 
bits stamp loudly on the ground as a 
signal to their comrades; and if a man 
knows how to do so properly, he may 
on a quiet evening hear the rabbits 
answering him all around. These ani- 
mals, as well as some others, also stamp 
on the ground when made angry. Por- 
cupines rattle their quills and vibrate 
their tails when angered; and one be- 
haved in this manner when a live snake 
was placed in its compartment. The 
quills on the tail are very different from those on the 
body: they are short, hollow, thin like a goose-quill, 
with their ends transversely truncated, so that they are 
open; they are supported on long, thin, elastic foot- 
stalks. Now, when the tail is rapidly shaken, these 
hollow quills strike against each other and produce, 
as I heard in the presence of Mr. Bartlett, a peculiar 

Fig. 11. — Sound -pro- 
ducing- quills from the 
tail of the Porcupine. 


continuous sound. We can, I think, understand why 
porcupines have been provided, through the modifica- 
tion of their protective spines, with this special sound- 
producing instrument. They are nocturnal animals. 
and if they scented or heard a prowling beast of prey, 
it would be a great advantage to them in the dark to 
give warning to their enemy what they were, and that 
they were furnished with dangerous spines. They would 
thus escape being attacked. They are. as I may add, 
so fully conscious of the power of their weapons, that 
when enraged thev will charge backwards with their 
spines erected, yet still inclined backwards. 

Many birds during their courtship produce diversi- 
fied sounds by means of specially adapted feathers. 
Storks, when excited, make a loud clattering noise with 
their beaks. Some snakes produce a grating or rattling 
noise. Many insects stridulate by rubbing together spe- 
cially modified parts of their hard integuments. This 
stridulation generally serves as a sexual charm or call: 
but it is likewise used to express different emotions. 8 
Every one who has attended to bees knows that their 
humming chancres when thev are angrv: and this serves 
as a warning that there is danger of being stung. I have 
made these few remarks because some writers have laid 
so much stress on the vocal and respiratory organs as 
having been specially adapted for expression, that it was 
advisable to show that sounds otherwise produced serve 
equally well for the same purpose. 

Erection of the dermal appendages. — Hardly any ex- 
pressive movement is so general as the involuntary erec- 
tion of the hairs, feathers and other dermal appendages; 
for it is common throughout three of the great verte- 

8 I have sriven some details on this subject in niy 
Descent of Man,' vol. i. pp. 352, 3S4. 

Chap. IV. IN ANIMALS. 95 

brate classes. These appendages are erected under the 
excitement of anger or terror; more especially when 
these emotions are combined, or quickly succeed each 
other. The action serves to make the animal appear 
larger and more frightful to its enemies or rivals, and 
is generally accompanied by various voluntary move- 
ments adapted for the same purpose, and by the utter- 
ance of savage sounds. Mr. Bartlett, who has had such 
wide experience with animals of all kinds, does not doubt 
that this is the case; but it is a different question whether 
the power of erection was primarily acquired for this spe- 
cial purpose. 

I will first give a considerable body of facts showing 
how general this action is with mammals, birds and rep- 
tiles; retaining what I have to say in regard to man for 
a future chapter. Mr. Sutton, the intelligent keeper 
in the Zoological Gardens, carefully observed for me 
the Chimpanzee and Orang; and he states that when 
they are suddenly frightened, as by a thunderstorm, or 
when they are made angry, as by being teased, their 
hair becomes erect. I saw a chimpanzee who was alarmed 
at the sight of a black coalheaver, and the hair rose all 
over his body; he made little starts forward as if to at- 
tack the man, without any real intention of doing so, 
but with the hope, as the keeper remarked, of frighten- 
ing him. The Gorilla, when enraged, is described by Mr. 
Ford 9 as having his crest of hair " erect and projecting 
forward, his nostrils dilated, and his under lip thrown 
down; at the same time uttering his characteristic yell, 
designed, it would seem, to terrify his antagonists." I 
saw the hair on the Anubis baboon, when angered bris- 
tling along the back, from the neck to the loins, but not 

9 As quoted in Huxley's ' Evidence as to Man's Place 
in Nature,' 1863, p. 52, 


on the rump or other parts of the body. I took a stuffed 
snake into the monkey-house, and the hair on several 
of the species instantly became erect; especially on their 
tails, as I particularly noticed with the Cercopithecus 
nictitans. Brehm states 10 that the Midas osdipus (be- 
longing to the American division) when excited erects 
its mane, in order, as he adds, to make itself as frightful 
as possible. 

With the Carnivora the erection of the hair seems to 
be almost universal, often accompanied by threatening 
movements, the uncovering of the teeth and the utter- 
ance of savage growls. In the Herpestes, I have seen 
the hair on end over nearly the whole body, including 
the tail; and the dorsal crest is erected in a conspicu- 
ous manner by the Hyaena and Proteles. The enraged 
lion erects his mane. The bristling of the hair along 
the neck and back of the dog, and over the whole body 
of the cat, especially on the tail, is familiar to every one. 
With the cat it apparently occurs only under fear; with 
the dog, under anger and fear; but not, as far as I have 
observed, under abject fear, as when a dog is going to be 
flogged by a severe gamekeeper. If, however, the dog 
shows fight, as sometimes happens, up goes his hair. 
I have often noticed that the hair of a dog is particu- 
larly liable to rise, if he is half angry and half afraid, 
as on beholding some object only indistinctly seen in 
the dusk. 

I have been assured by a veterinary surgeon that he 
has often seen the hair erected on horses and cattle, on 
which he had operated and was again going to operate. 
When I showed a stuffed snake to a Peccary, the hair 
rose in a wonderful manner along its back; and so it 
does with the boar when enraged. An Elk which gored 

10 Illust, Thierleben, 1864, B. i. s. 130. 

Chap. IV. IN ANIMALS. 97 

a man to death in the United States, is described as first 
brandishing his antlers, squealing with rage and stamp- 
ing on the ground; " at length his hair was seen to rise 
and stand on end," and then he plunged forward to the 
attack. 11 The hair likewise becomes erect on goats, and, 
as I hear from Mr. Blyth, on some Indian antelopes. I 
have seen it erected on the hairy Ant-eater; and on the 
Agouti, one of the Rodents. A female Bat, 12 which 
reared her young under confinement, when any one 
looked into the cage " erected the fur on her back, and 
bit viciously at intruding ringers." 

Birds belonging to all the chief Orders ruffle their 
feathers when angry or frightened. Every one must 
have seen two cocks, even quite young birds, preparing 
to fight with erected neck-hackles; nor can these feath- 
ers when erected serve as a means of defence, for cock- 
fighters have found by experience that it is advantageous 
to trim them. The male Ruff {Machetes pugnax) like- 
wise erects its collar of feathers when fighting. When 
a dog approaches a common hen with her chickens, she 
spreads out her wings, raises her tail, ruffles all her feath- 
ers, and looking as ferocious as possible, dashes at the 
intruder. The tail is not always held in exactly the same 
position; it is sometimes so much erected, that the cen- 
tral feathers, as in the accompanying drawing, almost 
touch the back. Swans, when angered, likewise raise 
their wings and tail, and erect their feathers. They open 
their beaks, and make by paddling little rapid starts for- 
wards, against any one who approaches the water's edge 
too closely. Tropic birds 13 when disturbed on their nests 

11 The Hon. J. Caton, Ottawa Acad, of Nat. Sciences, 
May, 1868, pp. 36, 40. For the Capra Mgagrus, ' Land and 
Water,' 1867, p. 37. 

12 ' Land and Water,' July 20, 1867, p. 659. 

13 Phaeton rubricauda: 'Ibis,' vol. iii. 1861, p. 180. 



Chap. IV. 

are said not to fly away, but " merely to stick out their 
feathers and scream." The Barn-owl, when approached 
" instantly swells out its plumage, extends its wings and 
tail, hisses and clacks its mandibles with force and rapid- 
ity." 14 So do other kinds of owls. Hawks, as I am 

Fig. 12. — Hen driving away a dog from her chickens. 
Drawn from life by Mr. Wood. 

informed by Mr. Jenner Weir, likewise ruffle their feath- 
ers, and spread out their wings and tail under similar 
circumstances. Some kinds of parrots erect their feath- 
ers; and I have seen this action in the Cassowary, when 
angered at the sight of an Ant-eater. Young cuckoos 
in the nest, raise their feathers, open their mouths 
widely, and make themselves as frightful as possible. 

14 On the Stri.r flammed, Audubon, ' Ornithological Bi- 
ography,' 1864, vol. ii. p. 407. I have observed other cases 
in the Zoological Gardens. 

Chap. IV. 



Small birds, also, as I hear from Mr. Weir, such as 
various finches, buntings and warblers, when angry, 

Fig. 13. — Swan driving away an intruder. Drawn from life by Mr. Wood. 

ruffle all their feathers, or only those round the neck; 
or they spread out their wings and tail-feathers. "With 
their plumage in this state, they rush at each other with 
open beaks and threatening gestures. Mr. Weir con- 
cludes from his large experience that the erection of the 
feathers is caused much more by anger than by fear. He 
gives as an instance a hybrid goldfinch of a most irasci- 
ble disposition, which when approached too closely by 
a servant, instantly assumes the appearance of a ball of 
ruffled feathers. He believes that birds when frightened, 
as a general rule, closely adpress all their feathers, and 
their consequently diminished size is often astonishing. 


As soon as they recover from their fear or surprise, the 
first thing which they do is to shake ont their feathers. 
The best instances of this adpression of the feathers and 
apparent shrinking of the body from fear, which Mr. 
Weir has noticed, has been in the quail and grass-parra- 
keet. 15 The habit is intelligible in these birds from 
their being accustomed, when in danger, either to squat 
on the ground or to sit motionless on a branch, so as to 
escape detection. Though, with birds, anger may be 
the chief and commonest cause of the erection of the 
feathers, it is probable that young cuckoos when looked 
at in the nest, and a hen with her chickens when ap- 
proached by a dog, feel at least some terror. Mr. Teget- 
meier informs me that with game-cocks, the erection of 
the feathers on the head has long been recognized in the 
cock-pit as a sign of cowardice. 

The males of some lizards, when fighting together 
during their courtship, expand their throat pouches or 
frills, and erect their dorsal crests. 16 But Dr. Gunther 
does not believe that they can erect their separate spines 
or scales. 

We thus see how generally throughout the two higher 
vertebrate classes, and with some reptiles, the dermal 
appendages are erected under the influence of anger and 
fear. The movement is effected, as we know from Kolli- 
ker's interesting discovery, by the contraction of minute, 
unstriped, involuntary muscles, 17 often called arrectores 
pili, which are attached to the capsules of the separate 

15 Melopsittacus undulatus. See an account of its habits 
by Gould, ' Handbook of Birds of Australia,' 1865, vol. ii. 
p. 82. 

16 See, for instance, the account which I have gh<en 
(' Descent of Man,' vol. ii. p. 32) of an Anolis and Draco. 

17 These muscles are described in his well-known 
works. I am greatly indebted to this distinguished ob- 
server for having given me in a letter information on 
this same subject. 

Chap. IV. IX ANIMALS. 101 

hairs, feathers, &c. By the contraction of these muscles 
the hairs can be instantly erected, as we see in a dog, 
being at the same time drawn a little out of their sockets; 
they are afterwards quickly depressed. The vast num- 
ber of these minute muscles over the whole body of a 
hairy quadruped is astonishing. The erection of the hair 
is, however, aided in some cases, as with that on the head 
of a man, by the striped and voluntary muscles of the 
underlying panniculus carnosus. It is by the action of 
these latter muscles, that the hedgehog erects its spines. 
It appears, also, from the researches of Leydig 18 and 
others, that striped fibres extend from the panniculus 
to some of the larger hairs, such as the vibrissas of cer- 
tain quadrupeds. The arrectores pili contract not only 
under the above emotions, but from the application of 
cold to the surface. I remember that mv mules and dogs, 
brought from a lower and warmer country, after spend- 
ing a night on the bleak Cordillera, had the hair all over 
their bodies as erect as under the greatest terror. We see 
the same action in our own goose-shin during the chill 
before a fever-fit. Mr. Lister has also found, 19 that tick- 
ling a neighbouring part of the skin causes the erection 
and protrusion of the hairs. 

From these facts it is manifest that the erection of 
the dermal appendages is a reflex action, independent 
of the will; and this action must be looked at, when, 
occurring under the influence of anger or fear, not as a 
power acquired for the sake of some advantage, but 
as an incidental result, at least to a large extent, of the 
sensorium being affected. The result, in as far as it is 

18 ' Lehrbueh der Histolog-ie des Menschen,' 1857, s. 
82. I owe to Prof. W. Turner's kindness an extract from 
this work. 

19 ' Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science,' 1853, 
vol. i. p. 262. 


incidental, may be compared with the profuse sweating 
from an agony of pain or terror. Nevertheless, it is re- 
markable how slight an excitement often suffices to cause 
the hair to become erect; as when two dogs pretend to 
fight together in play. "We have, also, seen in a large 
number of animals, belonging to widely distinct classes, 
that the erection of the hair or feathers is almost always 
accompanied by various voluntary movements — by 
threatening gestures, opening the mouth, uncovering the 
teeth, spreading out of the wings and tail by birds, and 
by the utterance of harsh sounds; and the purpose of 
these voluntary movements is unmistakable. Therefore 
it seems hardly credible that the co-ordinated erection of 
the dermal appendages, by which the animal is made to 
appear larger and more terrible to its enemies or rivals, 
should be altogether an incidental and purposeless result 
of the disturbance of the sensorium. This seems almost 
as incredible as that the erection by the hedgehog of its 
spines, or of the quills by the porcupine, or of the orna- 
mental plumes by many birds during their courtship, 
should all be purposeless actions. 

We here encounter a great difficulty. How can the 
contraction of the unstriped and involuntary arrectores 
pili have been co-ordinated with that of various volun- 
tary muscles for the same special purpose? If we could 
believe that the arrectores primordially had been volun- 
tary muscles, and had since lost their stripes and become 
involuntary, the case would be comparatively simple. 
I am not, however, aware that there is any evidence in 
favour of this view; although the reversed transition 
would not have presented any great difficulty, as the 
voluntary muscles are in an unstriped condition in the 
embryos of the higher animals, and in the larvae of some 
crustaceans. Moreover in the deeper layers of the skin 
of adult birds, the muscular network is, according to 

Chap. IV. IN + ANIMALS. 103 

Ley dig, 20 in a transitional condition; the fibres exhibit- 
ing only indications of transverse striation. 

Another explanation seems possible. We may admit 
that originally the arrectores pill were slightly acted on 
in a direct manner, under the influence of rage and 
terror, by the disturbance of the nervous system; as is 
undoubtedly the case with our so-called goose-shin be- 
fore a fever-fit. Animals have been repeatedly excited 
by rage and terror during many generations; and con- 
sequently the direct effects of the disturbed nervous 
system on the dermal appendages will almost certainly 
have been increased through habit and through the tend- 
ency of nerve-force to pass readily along accustomed 
channels. We shall find this view of the force of habit 
strikingly confirmed in a future chapter, where it will 
be shown that the hair of the insane is affected in an 
extraordinary manner, owing to their repeated accesses 
of fury and terror. As soon as with animals the power 
of erection had thus been strengthened or increased, 
thev must often have seen the hairs or feathers erected 
in rival and enraged males, and the bulk of their bodies 
thus increased. In this case it appears possible that they 
might have wished to make themselves appear larger and 
more terrible to their enemies, bv voluntarilv assuming 
a threatening attitude and uttering harsh cries; such 
attitudes and utterances after a time becoming through 
habit instinctive. In this manner actions performed 
bv the contraction of voluntarv muscles mi^ht have been 
combined for the same special purpose with those ef- 
fected by involuntary muscles. It is even possible that 
animals, when excited and dimly conscious of some 
change in the state of their hair, might act on it by re- 
peated exertions of their attention and will; for we have 

20 ' Lekrbuch der Histologie,' 1S57, s. 82. 


reason to believe that the will is able to influence in an 
obscure manner the action of some unstriped or involun- 
tary muscles, as in the period of the peristaltic move- 
ments of the intestines, and in the contraction of the 
bladder. Nor must we overlook the part which varia- 
tion and natural selection may have played; for the 
males which succeeded in making themselves appear the 
most terrible to their rivals, or to their other enemies, 
if not of overwhelming power, will on an average have 
left more offspring to inherit their characteristic quali- 
ties, whatever these may be and however first acquired, 
than have other males. 

The inflation of the body, and other means of excit- 
ing fear in an enemy. — Certain Amphibians and Rep- 
tiles, which either have no spines to erect, or no muscles 
by which they can be erected, enlarge themselves when 
alarmed or angry by inhaling air. This is well known 
to be the case with toads and frogs. The latter animal 
is made, in iEsop's fable of the ( Ox and the Frog/ to 
blow itself up from vanity and envy until it burst. This 
action must have been observed during the most ancient 
times, as, according to Mr. Hensleigh Wedgwood, 21 the 
word toad expresses in all the languages of Europe the 
habit of swelling. It has been observed with some of the 
exotic species in the Zoological Gardens; and Dr. Giin- 
ther believes that it is general throughout the group. 
Judging from analogy, the primary purpose probably 
was to make the body appear as large and frightful as 
possible to an enemy; but another, and perhaps more im- 
portant secondary advantage is thus gained. When frogs 
are seized by snakes, which are their chief enemies, they 
enlarge themselves wonderfully; so that if the snake be 
of small size, as Dr. Gtinther informs me, it cannot swal- 
low the frog, which thus escapes being devoured. 


' Dictionary of English Etymology,' p. 403. 

Chap. IV. IN ANIMALS. 105 

Chameleons and some other lizards inflate themselves 
when angry. Tims a species inhabiting Oregon, the 
Tapaya Donglasu, is slow in its movements and does 
not bite, but has a ferocious aspect; " when irritated 
it springs in a most threatening manner at anything 
pointed at it, at the same time opening its mouth wide 
and hissing audibly, after which it inflates its body, and 
shows other marks of anger." 22 

Several kinds of snakes likewise inflate themselves 
when irritated. The puff-adder (Clotlio arietans) is re- 
markable in this respect; but I believe, after carefully 
watching these animals, that they do not act thus for 
the sake of increasing their apparent bulk, but simply 
for inhaling a large supply of air, so as to produce their 
surprisingly loud, harsh, and prolonged hissing sound. 
The Cobras-de-capello, when irritated, enlarge them- 
selves a little, and hiss moderately; but, at the same 
time thev lift their heads aloft, and dilate bv means of 
their elongated anterior ribs, the skin on each side of 
the neck into a large flat disk, — the so-called hood. "With 
their widely opened mouths, they then assume a terrific 
aspect. The benefit thus derived ought to be consider- 
able, in order to compensate for the somewhat lessened 
rapidity (though this is still great) with which, when di- 
lated, they can strike at their enemies or prey; on the 
same principle that a broad, thin piece of wood cannot 
be moved through the air so quickly as a small round 
stick. An innocuous snake, the Tropidonotus macroph- 
thahnus, an inhabitant of India, likewise dilates its neck 
when irritated; and consequently is often mistaken for 
its compatriot, the deadly Cobra. 23 This resemblance 
perhaps serves as some protection to the Tropidonotus. 

22 See the account of the habits of this animal by Dr. 
Cooper, as quoted in ' Nature,' April 27, 1871, p. 512. 

23 Dr. Giinther, ' Eeptiles of British India,' p. 262. 



Another innocuous species, the Dasypeltis of South Afri- 
ca, blows itself out, distends its neck, hisses and darts 
at an intruder. 24 Many other snakes hiss under similar 
circumstances. They also rapidly vibrate their protruded 
tongues; and this may aid in increasing their terrific 

Snakes possess other means of producing sounds 
besides hissing. Many years ago I observed in South 
America that a venomous Trigonocephalus, when dis- 
turbed, rapidly vibrated the end of its tail, which strik- 
ing against the dry grass and twigs produced a rattling 
noise that could be distinctly heard at the distance of 
six feet. 25 The deadly and fierce Edits carinata of India 
produces " a curious prolonged, almost hissing sound " 
in a very different manner, namely by rubbing " the 
sides of the folds of its body against each other," whilst 
the head remains in almost the same position. The 
scales on the sides, and not on other parts of the body, 
are strongly keeled, with the keels toothed like a saw; 
and as the coiled-up animal rubs its sides together, these 
grate against each other. 26 Lastly, we have the well- 
known case of the Eattle-snake. He who has merely 
shaken the rattle of a dead snake, can form no just idea 
of the sound produced by the living animal. Professor 
Shaler states that it is indistinguishable from that made 
by the male of a large Cicada (an Homopterous insect), 
which inhabits the same district. 27 In the Zoological 

24 Mr. J. Mansel Weale, ' Nature,' April 27, 1871, p. 508. 

25 ' Journal of Researches during- the Voyage of the 
" Beagle," ' 1845, p. 96. I have compared the rattling- thus 
produced with that of the Rattle-snake. 

28 See the account by Dr. Anderson, Proc. Zool. Soc. 
1871, p. 196. 

27 The ' American Naturalist,' Jan. 1872, p. 32. T regret 
that I cannot follow Prof. Shaler in believing that the 
rattle has been developed, by the aid of natural selection, 
for the sake of producing sounds which deceive and at- 
tract birds, so that they may serve as prey to the snake. 

Chap. IV. IN ANIMALS. 107 

Gardens, when the rattle-snakes and puff-adders were 
greatly excited at the same time, I was much struck at 
the similarity of the sound produced by them; and al- 
though that made by the rattle-snake is louder and 
shriller than the hissing of the puff-adder, yet when 
standing at some yards distance I could scarcely distin- 
guish the two. For whatever purpose the sound is pro- 
duced by the one species, I can hardly doubt that it serves 
for the same purpose in the other species; and I conclude 
from the threatening gestures made at the same time 
by many snakes, that their hissing, — the rattling of the 
rattle-snake and of the tail of the Trigonocephalus, — 
the grating of the scales of the Echis, — and the dilata- 
tion of the hood of the Cobra, — all subserve the same 
end, namely, to make them appear terrible to their ene- 

9 ft 


It seems at first a probable conclusion that venom- 
ous snakes, such as the foregoing, from being already 
so well defended by their poison-fangs, would never be 
attacked by any enemy; and consequently would have 

I do not, however, wish to doubt that the sounds may 
occasionally subserve this end. But the conclusion at 
which I have arrived, viz. that the rattling- serves as a 
warning 1 to would-be devourers, appears to me much more 
probable, as it connects together various classes of facts. 
If this snake had acquired its rattle and the habit of 
rattling, for the sake of attracting prey, it does not seem 
probable that it would have invariably used its instru- 
ment when angered or disturbed. Prof. Shaler takes 
nearly the same view as I do of the manner of develop- 
ment of the rattle; and I have always held this opinion 
since observing the Trigonocephalus in South America. 

28 From the accounts lately collected, and given in 
the ' Journal of the Linnean Society,' by Mrs. Barber, 
on the habits of the snakes of South Africa: and from 
the accounts published by several writers, for instance 
by Lawson, of the rattle-snake in Xorth America, — it 
does not seem improbable that the terrific appearance 
of snakes and the sounds produced by them, may like- 
wise serve in procuring prey, by paralysing, or as it is 
sometimes called fascinating, the smaller animals. 


no need to excite additional terror. But this is far from 
being the case, for they are largely preyed on in all quar- 
ters of the world by many animals. It is well known 
that pigs are employed in the United States to clear dis- 
tricts infested with rattle-snakes, which they do most 
effectually. 29 In England the hedgehog attacks and de- 
vours the viper. In India, as I hear from Dr. Jerdon, 
several kinds of hawks, and at least one mammal, the 
Herpestes, kill cobras and other venomous species; 30 
and so it is in South Africa. Therefore it is by no means 
improbable that any sounds or signs by which the venom- 
ous species could instantly make themselves recognized 
as dangerous, would be of more service to them than to 
the innocuous species which would not be able, if at- 
tacked, to inflict any real injury. 

Having said thus much about snakes, I am tempted 
to add a few remarks on the means by which the rattle 
of the rattle-snake was probably developed. Various 
animals, including some lizards, either curl or vibrate 
their tails when excited. This is the case with many 
kinds of snakes. 31 In the Zoological Gardens, an in- 

29 See the account by Dr. R. Brown, in Proc. Zool. Soc, 
1871, p. 39. He says that as soon as a pig- sees a snake it 
rushes upon it; and a snake makes off immediately on 
the appearance of a pig. 

30 Dr. Giinther remarks ('Reptiles of P>ritish India,' p. 
340) on the destruction of cobras by the ichneumon or 
herpestes, and whilst the cobras are young- by the jungle- 
fowl. It is well known that the peacock also eagerly kills 

31 Prof. Cope enumerates a number of kinds in his 
' Method of Creation of Organic Types,' read before the 
American Phil. Soc, December 15th, 1871, p. 20. Prof. 
Cope takes the same view as I do of the use of the ges- 
tures and sounds made by snakes. I briefly alluded to 
this subject in the last edition of my ' Origin of Species.' 
Since the passages in the text above have been printed, 
I have been pleased to find that Mr. Henderson (' The 
American Naturalist,' May, 1872, p. 260) also taxes a simi- 
lar view of the use of the rattle, namely " in preventing 
an attack from being made." 

Chap. IV. IN ANIMALS. 109 

nocuous species, the Coronella Sayi, vibrates its tail so 
rapidly that it becomes almost invisible. The Trigono- 
cephaly, before alluded to, has the same habit; and 
the extremity of its tail is a little enlarged, or ends 
in a bead. In the Lachesis, which is so closely allied 
to the rattle-snake that it was placed by Linnaeus in 
the same genus, the tail ends in a single, large, lancet- 
shaped point or scale. With some snakes the skin, as 
Professor Shaler remarks, " is more imperfectly detached 
from the region about the tail than at other parts of the 
body." Now if we suppose that the end of the tail of 
some ancient American species was enlarged, and was 
covered by a single large scale, this could hardly have 
been cast off at the successive moults. In this case it 
would have been permanently retained, and at each 
period of growth, as the snake grew larger, a new scale, 
larger than the last, would have been formed above it, 
and would likewise have been retained. The foundation 
for the development of a rattle would thus have been 
laid; and it would have been habitually used, if the spe- 
cies, like so many others, vibrated its tail whenever it was 
irritated. That the rattle has since been specially devel- 
oped to serve as an efficient sound-producing instrument, 
there can hardly be a doubt; for even the vertebras in- 
cluded within the extremity of the tail have been altered 
in shape and cohere. But there is no greater improb- 
abilitv in various structures, such as the rattle of the 
rattle-snake, — the lateral scales of the Echis, — the neck 
with the included ribs of the Cobra, — and the whole body 
of the puff-adder, — having been modified for the sake 
of warning and frightening away their enemies, than in 
a bird, namely, the wonderful Secretary-hawk (Gypo- 
geranus) having had its whole frame modified for the 
sake of killing snakes with impunity. It is highly prob- 
able, judging from what we have before seen, that this 


bird would ruffle its feathers whenever it attacked a 
snake; and it is certain that the Herpestes, when it 
eagerly rushes to attack a snake, erects the hair all over 
its body, and especially that on its tail. 32 We have also 
seen that some porcupines, when angered or alarmed at 
the sight of a snake, rapidly vibrate their tails, thus pro- 
ducing a peculiar sound by the striking together of the 
hollow quills. So that here both the attackers and the 
attacked endeavour to make themselves as dreadful as 
possible to each other; and both possess for this purpose 
specialised means, which, oddly enough, are nearly the 
same in some of these cases. Finally we can see that if, 
on the one hand, those individual snakes, which were 
best able to frighten away their enemies, escaped best 
from being devoured; and if, on the other hand, those 
individuals of the attacking enemy survived in larger 
numbers which were the best fitted for the dangerous 
task of killing and devouring venomous snakes; — then 
in the one case as in the other, beneficial variations, sup- 
posing the characters in question to vary, would com- 
monly have been preserved through the survival of the 

The Drawing lack and pressure of the Ears to the 
Head. — The ears through their movements are highly 
expressive in many animals; but in some, such as man, 
the higher apes, and many ruminants, they fail in this 
respect. A slight difference in position serves to express 
in the plainest manner a different state of mind, as we 
may daily see in the dog; but we are here concerned 
only with the ears being drawn closely backwards and 
pressed to the head. A savage frame of mind is thus 
shown, bat only in the case of those animals which fight 

32 Mr. des Vceux, in Proc. Zool. Soc. 1871, p. 3. 


with their teeth; and the care which they take to pre- 
vent their ears being seized by their antagonists, accounts 
for this position. Consequently, through habit and as- 
sociation, whenever they feel slightly savage, or pretend 
in their play to be savage, their ears are drawn back. 
That this is the true explanation may be inferred from 
the relation which exists in very many animals between 
their manner of fighting and the retraction of their ears. 

All the Carnivora fight with their canine teeth, and 
all, as far as I have observed, draw their ears back when 
feeling savage. This may be continually seen with dogs 
when fighting in earnest, and with puppies fighting in 
play. The movement is different from the falling 
down and slight drawing back of the ears, when a dog 
feels pleased and is caressed by his master. The retrac- 
tion of the ears may likewise be seen in kittens fighting 
together in their play, and in full-grown cats when really 
savage, as before illustrated in fig. 9 (p. 58). Although 
their ears are thus to a large extent protected, yet they 
often get much torn in old male cats during their mu- 
tual battles. The same movement is very striking in 
tigers, leopards, &c, whilst growling over their food in 
menageries. The lynx has remarkably long ears; and 
their retraction, when one of these animals is approached 
in its cage, is very conspicuous, and is eminently expres- 
sive of its savage disposition. Even one of the Eared 
Seals, the Otariapttsilla^hich has very small ears, draws 
them backwards, when it makes a savage rush at the legs 
of its keeper. 

When horses fight together they use their incisors for 
biting, and their fore-legs for striking, much more than 
they do their hind-legs for kicking backwards. This 
has been observed when stallions have broken loose and 
have fought together, and may likewise be inferred from 
the kind of wounds which they inflict on each other. 


Every one recognizes the vicious appearance which the 
drawing back of the ears gives to a horse. This move- 
ment is very different from that of listening to a sound 
behind. If an ill-tempered horse in a stall is inclined 
to kick backwards, his ears are retracted from habit, 
though he has no intention or power to bite. But when 
a horse throws up both hjnd-legs in play, as when enter- 
ing an open field, or when just touched by the whip, he 
does not generally depress his ears, for he does not then 
feel vicious. Guanacoes fight savagely with their teeth; 
and they must do so frequently, for I found the hides 
of several which I shot in Patagonia deeply scored. So 
do camels; and both these animals, when savage, draw 
their ears closely backwards. Guanacoes, as I have no- 
ticed, when not intending to bite, but merely to spit their 
offensive saliva from a distance at an intruder, retract 
their ears. Even the hippopotamus, when threatening 
with its widely-open enormous mouth a comrade, draws 
back its small ears, just like a horse. 

Now what a contrast is presented between the fore- 
going animals and cattle, sheep, or goats, which never 
use their teeth in fighting, and never draw back their 
ears when enraged! Although sheep and goats appear 
such placid animals, the males often join in furious con- 
tests. As deer form a closely related family, and as I 
did not know that they ever fought with their teeth, I 
was much surprised at the account given by Major Koss 
King of the Moose-deer in Canada. He says, when 
" two males chance to meet, laying back their ears and 
gnashing their teeth together, they rush at each other 
with appalling fury." 33 But Mr. Bartlett informs me 
that some species of deer fight savagely with their teeth, 

33 ' The Sportsman and Naturalist in Canada,' 1866, p. 53. 
p. 53. 

Chap. IV. IN ANIMALS. 113 

so that the drawing back of the ears by the moose ac- 
cords with our rule. Several kinds of kangaroos, kept 
in the Zoological Gardens, fight by scratching with their 
fore-feet and by kicking with their hind-legs; but they 
never bite each other, and the keepers have never seen 
them draw back their ears when angered. Rabbits fight 
chiefly by kicking and scratching, but they likewise bite 
each other; and I have known one to bite off half the 
tail of its antagonist. At the commencement of their 
battles they lay back their ears, but afterwards, as they 
bound over and kick each other, they keep their ears 
erect, or move them much about. 

Mr. Bartlett watched a wild boar quarrelling rather 
savagely with his sow; and both had their mouths open 
and their ears drawn backwards. But this does not 
appear to be a common action with domestic pigs when 
quarrelling. Boars fight together by striking upwards 
with their tusks; and Mr. Bartlett doubts whether they 
then draw back their ears. Elephants, which in like 
manner fight with their tusks, do not retract their ears, 
but, on the contrary, erect them when rushing at each 
other or at an enemy. 

The rhinoceroses in the Zoological Gardens fight with 
their nasal horns, and have never been seen to attempt 
biting each other except in play; and the keepers are 
convinced that they do not draw back their ears, like 
horses and dogs, when feeling savage. The following 
statement, therefore, by Sir S. Baker 34 is inexplicable, 
namely, that a rhinoceros, which he shot in Xorth Africa, 
" had no ears; they had been bitten off close to the head 
by another of the same species while fighting; and this 
mutilation is bv no means uncommon." 

Lastly, with respect to monkeys. Some kinds, which 

34 ' The Nile Tributaries of Abyssinia,' 1867, p. 443. 


have moveable ears, and which fight with their teeth — 
for instance the Cercopithecus ruber — draw back their 
ears when irritated just like dogs; and they then have 
a very spiteful appearance. Other kinds, as the Inuus 
ecaudatus, apparently do not thus act. Again, other 
kinds — and this is a great anomaly in comparison with 
most other animals — retract their ears, show their teeth, 
and jabber, when they are pleased by being caressed. 
I observed this in two or three species of Macacus, and 
in the Cynopitliecus niger. This expression, owing to 
our familiarity with dogs, would never be recognized 
as one of joy or pleasure by those unacquainted with 

Erection of the Ears. — This movement requires hard- 
ly any notice. All animals which have the power of 
freely moving their ears, when they are startled, or when 
they closely observe any object, direct their ears to the 
point towards which they are looking, in order to hear 
any sound from this quarter. At the same time they 
generally raise their heads, as all their organs of sense 
are there situated, and some of the smaller animals rise 
on their hind-legs. Even those kinds which squat on 
the ground or instantly flee away to avoid danger, gen- 
erally act momentarily in this manner, in order to ascer- 
tain the source and nature of the danger. The head 
being raised, with erected ears and eyes directed for- 
wards, gives an unmistakable expression of close atten- 
tion to any animal. 



Special Expkessioxs of Animals. 

The Dog, various expressive movements of — Cats — Horses 
— Ruminants — Monkeys, their expression of joy and 
affection — Of pain — Anger — Astonishment and Terror. 

The Dog. — I have already described (figs. 5 and 7) 
the appearance of a dog approaching another dog with 
hostile intentions, namely, with erected ears, eyes in- 
tently directed forwards, hair on the neck and back 
bristling, gait remarkably stiff, with the tail upright 
and rigid. So familiar is this appearance to us, that 
an angry man is sometimes said " to have his back up." 
Of the above points, the stiff gait and upright tail alone 
require further discussion. Sir C. Bell remarks x that, 
when a tiger or wolf is struck by its keeper and is sud- 
denly roused to ferocity, " every muscle is in tension, 
and the limbs are in an attitude of strained exertion, 
prepared to spring." This tension of the muscles and 
consequent stiff gait may be accounted for on the prin- 
ciple of associated habit, for anger has continually led 
to fierce struggles, and consequently to all the muscles 
of the body having been violently exerted. There is also 
reason to suspect that the muscular system requires some 
short preparation, or some degree of innervation, before 
being brought into strong action. My own sensations 

1 ' The Anatomy of Expression,' 1844, p. 190. 



lead me to this inference; but I cannot discover that it 
is a conclusion admitted by physiologists. Sir J. Paget, 
however, informs me that when muscles are suddenly 
contracted with the greatest force, without any prepara- 
tion, they are liable to be ruptured, as when a man slips 
unexpectedly; but that this rarely occurs when an 
action, however violent, is deliberately performed. 

With respect to the upright position of the tail, it 
seems to depend (but whether this is really the case I 
know not) on the elevator muscles being more powerful 
than the depressors, so that when all the muscles of the 
hinder part of the body are in a state of tension, the tail 
is raised. A dog in cheerful spirits, and trotting before 
his master with high, elastic steps, generally carries his 
tail aloft, though it is not held nearly so stiffly as when 
he is angered. A horse when first turned out into an 
open field, may be seen to trot with long elastic strides, 
the head and tail being held high aloft. Even cows when 
they frisk about from pleasure, throw up their tails 
in a ridiculous fashion. So it is with various animals 
in the Zoological Gardens. The position of the tail, 
however, in certain cases, is determined by special 
circumstances; thus as soon as a horse breaks into a 
gallop, at full speed, he always lowers his tail, so 
that as little resistance as possible may be offered to the 

When a dog is on the point of springing on his an- 
tagonist, he utters a savage growl; the ears are pressed 
closely backwards, and the upper lip (fig. 14) is retracted 
out of the way of his teeth, especially of his canines. 
These movements may be observed with dogs and pup- 
pies in their play. But if a dog gets really savage in his 
play, his expression immediately changes. This, how- 
ever, is simply due to the lips and ears being drawn back 
with much greater energy. If a dog only snarls at an- 

Chap. V. 



other, the lip is generally retracted on one side alone, 
namely towards his enemy. 

The movements of a dog whilst exhibiting affection 
towards his master were described (figs. 6 and 8) in our 
second chapter. These consist in the head and whole 
body being lowered and thrown into flexuous movements, 
with the tail extended and wagged from side to side. 
The ears fall down and are drawn somewhat backwards, 
which causes the eyelids to be elongated, and alters the 

Fig 14.— Head of snailing Dog. From life, by Mr. Wood. 

whole appearance of the face. The lips hang loosely, 
and the hair remains smooth. All these movements or 
gestures are explicable, as I believe, from their stand- 
ing in complete antithesis to those naturally assumed 
by a savage dog under a directly opposite state of mind. 
^Yhen a man merely speaks to, or just notices, his dog, 


we see the last vestige of these movements in a slight wag 
of the tail, without any other movement of the body, and 
without even the ears being lowered. Dogs also exhibit 
their affection by desiring to rub against their masters, 
and to be rubbed or patted by them. 

Gratiolet explains the above gestures of affection in 
the following manner: and the reader can judge whether 
the explanation appears satisfactor}^. Speaking of ani- 
mals in general, including the dog, he says, 2 " C'est tou- 
jours la partie la plus sensible de leurs corps qui re- 
cherche les caresses ou les donne. Lorsque toute la 
longueur des flancs et du corps est sensible, l'animal ser- 
pente et rampe sous les caresses; et ces ondulations se 
propageant le long des muscles analogues des segments 
jusqu'aux extremites de la colonne vertebrale, la queue 
se ploie et s'agite." Further on, he adds, that dogs, when 
feeling affectionate, lower their ears in order to exclude 
all sounds, so that their whole attention may be concen- 
trated on the caresses of their master! 

Dogs have another and striking wav of exhibiting 
their affection, namely, by licking the hands or faces of 
their masters. They sometimes lick other dogs, and 
then it is always their chops. I have also seen dogs lick- 
ing cats with whom they were friends. This habit prob- 
ably originated in the females carefully licking their 
puppies — the dearest object of their love — for the sake 
of cleansing them. They also often give their puppies, 
after a short absence, a few cursory licks, apparently 
from affection. Thus the habit will have become asso- 
ciated with the emotion of love, however it may after- 
wards be aroused. It is now so firmly inherited or in- 
nate, that it is transmitted equally to both sexes. A 
female terrier of mine lately had her puppies destroyed, 

2 ( 

De la Physionomie,' 1865, pp. 187, 218. 

Chap. V. DOGS. 119 

and though at all times a very affectionate creature, I was 
much struck with the manner in which she then tried 
to satisfy her instinctive maternal love by expending it 
on me ; and her desire to lick my hands rose to an insati- 
able passion. 

The same principle probably explains why dogs, 
when feeling affectionate, like rubbing against their 
masters and being rubbed or patted by them, for from 
the nursing of their puppies, contact with a beloved ob- 
ject has become firmly associated in their minds with the 
emotion of love. 

The feeling of affection of a dog towards his master 
is combined with a strong sense of submission, which is 
akin to fear. * Hence dogs not only lower their bodies and 
crouch a little as they approach their masters, but some- 
times throw themselves on the ground with their bellies 
upwards. This is a movement as completely opposite 
as is possible to any show of resistance. I formerly pos- 
sessed a large dog who was not at all afraid to fight with 
other dogs; but a wolf -like shepherd-dog in the neigh- 
bourhood, though not ferocious and not so powerful as 
my dog, had a strange influence over him. \Vhen they 
met on the road, my dog used to run to meet him, with 
his tail partly tucked in between his legs and hair not 
erected; and then he would throw himself on the 
ground, belly upwards. By this action he seemed to say 
more plainly than by words, " Behold, I am your slave/' 

A pleasurable and excited state of mind, associated 
with affection, is exhibited by some dogs in a very pecul- 
iar manner; namely, by grinning. This was noticed 
long ago by Somerville, who says, 

" And with a courtly grin, the fawning 1 hound 
Salutes thee cow'ring', his wide op'ning* nose 
Upward he curls, and his large sloe-back eyes 
Melt in soft blandishments, and humble ."joy.' 

The Chase, book i. 


Sir W. Scott's famous Scotch greyhound, Maida, had 
this habit, and it is common with terriers. I have also 
seen it in a Spitz and in a sheep-dog. Mr. Riviere, who 
has particularly attended to this expression, informs me 
that it is rarely displayed in a perfect manner, but is quite 
common in a lesser degree. The upper lip during the 
act of grinning is retracted, as in snarling, so that the 
canines are exposed, and the ears are drawn backwards; 
but the general appearance of the animal clearly shows 
that anger is not felt. Sir C. Bell 3 remarks " Dogs, in 
their expression of fondness, have a slight eversion of 
the lips, and grin and sniff amidst their gambols, in a 
way that resembles laughter." Some persons speak of 
the grin as a smile, but if it had been really a smile, we 
should see a similar, though more pronounced, move- 
ment of the lips and ears, when dogs utter their bark of 
joy; but this is not the case, although a bark of joy often 
follows a grin. On the other hand, dogs, when playing 
with their comrades or masters, almost always pretend 
to bite each other; and they then retract, though not 
energetically, their lips and ears. Hence I suspect that 
there is a tendency in some dogs, whenever they feel live- 
ly pleasure combined with affection, to act through habit 
and association on the same muscles, as in playfully bit- 
ing each other, or their masters' hands. 

I have described, in the second chapter, the gait and 
appearance of a dog when cheerful, and the marked 
antithesis presented by the same animal when dejected 
and disappointed, with his head, ears, body, tail, and 
chops drooping, and eyes dull. Under the expectation 
of any great pleasure, dogs bound and jump about in 
an extravagant manner, and bark for joy. The tendency 
to bark under this state of mind is inherited, or runs in 

3 ' The Anatomy of Expression,' 1844, p. 140. 

Chap. V. DOGS. 121 

the breed: greyhounds rarely bark, whilst the Spitz-dog 
barks so incessantly on starting for a walk with his mas- 
ter that he becomes a nuisance. 

An agony of pain is expressed by dogs in nearly the 
same way as by many other animals, namely, by howl- 
ing, writhing, and contortions of the whole body. 

Attention is shown by the head being raised, with 
the ears erected, and eyes intently directed towards the 
object or quarter under observation. If it be a sound 
and the source is not known, the head is often turned 
obliquely from side to side in a most significant manner, 
apparently in order to judge with more exactness from 
what point the sound proceeds. But I have seen a dog 
greatly surprised at a new noise, turning his head to one 
side through habit, though he clearly perceived the 
source of the noise. Dogs, as formerly remarked, when 
their attention is in any way aroused, whilst watching 
some object, or attending to some sound, often lift up 
one paw (fig. 4) and keep it doubled up, as if to make 
a slow and stealthy approach. 

A dog under extreme terror will throw himself down, 
howl, and void his excretions; but the hair, I believe, 
does not become erect unless some anger is felt. I have 
seen a dog much terrified at a band of musicians who 
were playing loudly outside the house, with every mus- 
cle of his body trembling, with his heart palpitating so 
quickly that the beats could hardly be counted, and pant- 
ing for breath with widely open mouth, in the same 
manner as a terrified man does. Yet this dog had not 
exerted himself; he had only wandered slowly and rest- 
lesslv about the room, and the dav was cold. 

Even a very slight degree of fear is invariably shown 
by the tail being tucked in between the legs. This tuck- 
ing in of the tail is accompanied by the ears being drawn 
backwards; but they are not pressed closely to the head, 


as in snarling, and they are not lowered, as when a dog 
is pleased or affectionate. When two young dogs chase 
each other in play, the one that runs away always keeps 
his tail tucked inwards. So it is when a dog, in the high- 
est spirits, careers like a mad creature round and round 
his master in circles, or in figures of eis:ht. He then 
acts as if another dog were chasing him. This curious 
kind of play, which must be familiar to every one who 
has attended to dogs, is particularly apt to be excited, 
after the animal has been a little startled or frightened, 
as by his master suddenly jumping out on him in the 
dusk. In this case, as well as when two young dogs are 
chasing each other in play, it appears as if the one that 
runs away was afraid of the other catching him bv the 
tail; but as far as I can find out, do^s very rarelv catch 
each other in this manner. I asked a gentleman, who 
had kept foxhounds all his life, and he applied to other 
experienced sportsmen, whether they had ever seen 
hounds thus seize a fox; but they never had. It appears 
that when a dog is chased, or when in danger of being 
struck behind, or of anything falling on him, in all these 
cases he wishes to withdraw as quickly as possible his 
whole hind-quarters, and that from some sympathy or 
connection between the muscles, the tail is then drawn 
closelv inwards. 

A similarly connected movement between the hind- 
quarters and the tail may be observed in the hyaena. 
Mr. Bartlett informs me that when two of these animals 
fight together, they are mutually conscious of the won- 
derful power of each other's jaws, and are extremely 
cautious. Thev well know that if one of their le^s were 
seized, the bone would instantly be crushed into atoms: 
hence they approach each other kneeling, with their legs 
turned as much as possible inwards, and with their whole 
bodies bowed, so as not to present any salient point; the 

Chap. V. DOG- 123 

tail at the same time being closelv tucked in between 
the legs. In this attitude they approach each other side- 
ways, or even partly backwards. So again with de- 
- veral of the species, when savage and fighting, tuck in 
their tails. When one horse in a field tries to bite the 
hind-quarters of another in play, or when a rough boy 
strikes a donkey from behind, the hind-quarters and the 
tail are drawn in, though it does not appear as if tins 
were done merely to save the tail from being injured. 
We have also seen the reverse of these movements; for 
when an animal trots with high elastic steps, the tail is 
almost always carried aloft. 

As I have said, when a dog is chased and runs away, 
he keeps his ears directed backwards but still open; and 
this is clearly done for the sake of hearing the footsteps 
of his pursuer. From habit the ears are often held in 
this same position, and the tail tucked in, when the dan- 
ger is obviously in front. I have repeatedly noticed, with 
a timid terrier of mine, that when she is afraid of some 
object in front, the nature of which she perfectly knows 
and does not need to reconnoitre, vet she will for a lon£ 
time hold her ears and tail in this position, looking the 
image of discomfort. Discomfort, without any fear, is 
similarly expressed: thus, one day I went out of doors, 
just at the time when this same dog knew that her dinner 
would be brought. I did not call her, but she wished 
much to accompany me, and at the same rime she wished 
much for her dinner: and there she stood, first looking 
one way and then the other, with her tail tucked in and 
ears drawn back, presenting an unmistakable appear- 
ance of perplexed discomfort. 

Almost all the expressive movements now described, 
with the exception of the grinning from joy. are innate 
or instinctive, for thev are common to all the individ- 
uals, voung and old, of all the breeds. Most of them 


are likewise common to the aboriginal parents of the 
dog, namely the wolf and jackal; and some of them to 
other species of the same group. Tamed wolves and 
jackals, when caressed by their masters, jump about for 
joy, wag their tails, lower their ears, lick their master's 
hands, crouch down, and even throw themselves on the 
ground belly upwards. 4 I have seen a rather fox-like 
African jackal, from the Gaboon, depress its ears when 
caressed. Wolves and jackals, when frightened, certain- 
ly tuck in their tails; and a tamed jackal has been de- 
scribed as careering round his master in circles and fig- 
ures of eight, like a dog, with his tail between his legs. 

It has been stated 5 that foxes, however tame, never 
display any of the above expressive movements; but 
this is not strictly accurate. Many years ago I observed 
in the Zoological Gardens, and recorded the fact at the 
time, that a very tame English fox, when caressed by 
the keeper, wagged its tail, depressed its ears, and then 
threw itself on the ground, belly upwards. The black 
fox of North America likewise depressed its ears in a 
slight degree. But I believe that foxes never lick the 
hands of their masters, and I have been assured that 
when frightened they never tuck in their tails. If the 
explanation which I have given of the expression of 
affection in dogs be admitted, then it would appear that 
animals which have never been domesticated — namely 
wolves, jackals, and even foxes — have nevertheless ac- 

4 Many particulars are given by Gueldenstadt in his 
account of the jackal in Nov. Comm. Acad. Sc. Imp. 
Petrop. 1775, torn. xx. p. 449. See also another excellent 
account of the manners of this animal and of its play, in 
' Land and Water,' October, 1869. Lieut. Annesley, R. A., 
has also communicated to me some particulars with re- 
spect to the jackal. I have made many inquiries about 
wolves and jackals in the Zoological Gardens, and have 
observed them for myself. 

6 ' Land and Water,' November 6, 1869. 

Chap. V. 



quired, through the principle of antithesis, certain ex- 
pressive gestures; for it is not probable that these ani- 
mals, confined in cages, should have learnt them by imi- 

tating dogs. 

Cats. — I have already described the actions of a cat 

Fig. 15.— Cat terrified at a dog. From life, by Mr. Wood. 

(fig. 9), when feeling savage and not terrified. She as- 
sumes a crouching attitude and occasionally protrudes 
her fore-feet, with the claws exserted ready for striking. 


The tail is extended, being curled or lashed from side to 
side. The hair is not erected — at least it was not so in 
the few cases observed by me. The ears are drawn closely 
backwards and the teeth are shown. Low savage growls 
are uttered. We can understand why the attitude as- 
sumed by a cat when preparing to fight with another 
cat, or in any way greatly irritated, is so widely different 
from that of a dog approaching another dog with hostile 
intentions; for the cat uses her fore-feet for striking, 
and this renders a crouching position convenient or 
necessary. She is also much more accustomed than a 
dog to lie concealed and suddenly spring on her prey. 
No cause can be assigned with certainty for the tail 
being lashed or curled from side to side. This habit is 
common to many other animals — for instance, to the 
puma, when prepared to spring; 6 but it is not common 
to dogs, or to foxes, as I infer from Mr. St. John's ac- 
count of a fox lying in wait and seizing a hare. We 
have already seen that some kinds of lizards and various 
snakes, when excited, rapidly vibrate the tips of their 
tails. It would appear as if, under strong excitement, 
there existed an uncontrollable desire for movement of 
some kind, owing to nerve-force being freely liberated 
from the excited sensorium; and that as the tail is left 
free, and as its movement does not disturb the general 
position of the body, it is curled or lashed about. 

All the movements of a cat, when feeling affection- 
ate, are in complete antithesis to those just described. 
She now stands upright, with slightly arched back, tail 
perpendicularly raised, and ears erected; and she rubs 
her cheeks and flanks against her master or mistress. 
The desire to rub something is so strong in cats under 
this state of mind, that they may often be seen rubbing 

6 Azara, ' Quadmpedes du Paraquay,' 1801, torn. i. p. 136. 

Chap. V. CATS. 127 

themselves against the legs of chairs or tables, or against 
door-posts. This manner of expressing affection prob- 
ably originated through association, as in the case of 
dogs, from the mother nursing and fondling her young; 
and perhaps from the young themselves loving each 
other and playing together. Another and very different 
gesture, expressive of pleasure, has already been de- 
scribed, namelv, the curious manner in which young and 
even old cats, when pleased, alternately protrude their 
fore-feet, with separated toes, as if pushing against and 
sucking their mother's teats. This habit is so far analo- 
gous to that of rubbing against something, that both 
apparently are derived from actions performed during 
the nursing period. Why cats should show affection by 
rubbing so much more than do dogs, though the latter 
delight in contact with their masters, and why cats only 
occasionally lick the hands of their friends, whilst dogs 
always do so, I cannot say. Cats cleanse themselves by 
licking their own coats more regularly than do dogs. 
On the other hand, their tongues seem less well fitted 
for the work than the longer and more flexible tongues 
of dogs. 

Cats, when terrified, stand at full height, and arch 
their backs in a well-known and ridiculous fashion. 
They spit, hiss, or growl. The hair over the whole body, 
and especially on the tail, becomes erect. In the in- 
stances observed by me the basal part of the tail was held 
upright, the terminal part being thrown on one side; but 
sometimes the tail (see fig. 15) is only a little raised, and 
is bent almost from the base to one side. The ears are 
drawn back, and the teeth exposed. When two kittens 
are playing together, the one often thus tries to frighten 
the other. From what we have seen in former chapters, 
all the above points of expression are intelligible, except 
the extreme arching of the back. I am inclined to be- 


lieve that, in the same manner as many birds, whilst they 
ruffle their feathers, spread out their wings and tail, to 
make themselves look as big as possible, so cats stand 
upright at their full height, arch their backs, often raise 
the basal part of the tail, and erect their hair, for the 
same purpose. The lynx, when attacked, is said to arch 
its back, and is thus figured by Brehm. But the keepers 
in the Zoological Gardens have never seen any tendency 
to this action in the larger feline animals, such as tigers, 
lions, &c; and these have little cause to be afraid of any 
other animal. 

Cats use their voices much as a means of expression, 
and they utter, under various emotions and desires, at 
least six or seven different sounds. The purr of satis- 
faction, which is made during both inspiration and ex- 
piration, is one of the most curious. The puma, cheetah, 
and ocelot likewise purr; but the tiger, when pleased, 
" emits a peculiar short snuffle, accompanied by the clos- 
ure of the eyelids." 7 It is said that the lion, jaguar, 
and leopard, do not purr. 

Horses. — Horses when savage draw their ears closely 
back, protrude their heads, and partially uncover their 
incisor teeth, ready for biting. When inclined to kick 
behind, they generally, through habit, draw back their 
ears; and their eyes are turned backwards in a peculiar 
manner. 8 When pleased, as when some coveted food is 
brought to them in the stable, they raise and draw in 
their heads, prick their ears, and looking intently to- 
wards their friend, often whinny. Impatience is ex- 
pressed by pawing the ground. 

7 ' Land and Water,' 1867, p. 657. See also Azara on the 
Puma, in the work above quoted. 

8 Sir C. Bell, ' Anatomy of Expression,' 3rd edit. p. 123. 
See also p. 126, on horses not breathing" through their 
mouths, with reference to their distended nostrils. 

Chap. V. RUMINANTS. 120 

The actions of a horse when much startled are highly- 
expressive. One day my horse was much frightened 
at a drilling machine, covered by a tarpaulin, and lying 
on an open field. He raised his head so high, that his 
neck became almost perpendicular; and this he did from 
habit, for the machine lay on a slope below, and could 
not have been seen with more distinctness through the 
raising of the head; nor if any sound had proceeded 
from it, could the sound have been more distinctly heard. 
His eyes and ears were directed intently forwards; and I 
could feel through the saddle the palpitations of his 
heart. With red dilated nostrils he snorted violently, 
and whirling round, would have dashed off at full speed, 
had I not prevented him. The distension of the nostrils 
is not for the sake of scenting the source of danger, for 
when a horse smells carefully at any object and is not 
alarmed, he does not dilate his nostrils. Owing to the 
presence of a valve in the throat, a horse when panting 
does not breathe through his open mouth, but through 
his nostrils; and these consequently have become en- 
dowed with great powers of expansion. This expansion 
of the nostrils, as well as the snorting, and the palpita- 
tions of the heart, are actions which have become firmly 
associated during a long series of generations with the 
emotion of terror; for terror has habitually led the horse 
to the most violent exertion in dashing away at full speed 
from the cause of danger. 

Ruminants. — Cattle and sheep are remarkable from 
displaying in so slight a degree their emotions or sen- 
sations, excepting that of extreme pain. A bull when 
enraged exhibits his rage only by the manner in which 
he holds his lowered head, with distended nostrils, and 
by bellowing. He also often paws the ground; but 
this pawing seems quite different from that of an im- 


patient horse, for when the soil is loose, he throws up 
clouds of dust. I believe that bulls act in this manner 
when irritated by flies, for the sake of driving them 
away. The wilder breeds of sheep and the chamois 
when startled stamp on the ground, and whistle through 
their noses; and this serves as a danger-signal to their 
comrades. The musk-ox of the Arctic regions, when 
encountered, likewise stamps on the ground. 9 How this 
stamping action arose I cannot conjecture; for from in- 
quiries which I have made it does not appear that any 
of these animals fight with their fore-legs. 

Some species of deer, when savage, display far more 
expression than do cattle, sheep, or goats, for, as has 
already been stated, they draw back their ears, grind 
their teeth, erect their hair, squeal, stamp on the ground, 
and brandish their horns. One day in the Zoological 
Gardens, the Formosan deer (Cervus pseudaxis) ap- 
proached me in a curious attitude, with his muzzle 
raised high up, so that the horns were pressed back on 
his neck; the head being held rather obliquely. From 
the expression of his eye I felt sure that he was savage; 
he approached slowly, and as soon as he came close to 
the iron bars, he did not lower his head to butt at me, 
but suddenly bent it inwards, and struck his horns with 
great force against the railings. Mr. Bartlett informs 
me that some other species of deer place themselves in 
the same attitude when enraged. 

Monkeys. — The various species and genera of mon- 
keys express their feelings in many different ways; and 
this fact is interesting, as in some degree bearing on the 
question, whether the so-called races of man should be 
ranked as distinct species or varieties; for, as we shall 

9 < 

Land and Water,' 1869, p. 152, 

Chap. V. MONKEYS. 131 

see in the following chapters, the different races of man 
express their emotions and sensations with remarkable 
uniformity throughout the world. Some of the expres- 
sive actions of monkeys are interesting in another way, 
namely from being closely analogous to those of man. As 
I have had no opportunity of observing any one species 
of the group under all circumstances, my miscellaneous 
remarks will be best arranged under different states of 
the mind. 

Pleasure, joy, affection. — It is not possible to distin- 
guish in monkeys, at least without more experience than 
I have had, the expression of pleasure or joy from that 
of affection. Young chimpanzees make a kind of bark- 
ing noise, when pleased by the return of any one to whom 
they are attached. When this noise, which the keepers 
call a laugh, is uttered, the lips are protruded; but so 
they are under various other emotions. Nevertheless 
I could perceive that when they were pleased the form 
of the lips differed a little from that assumed when they 
were angered, If a young chimpanzee be tickled — and 
the armpits are particularly sensitive to tickling, as in 
the case of our children, — a more decided chuckling or 
laughing sound is uttered; though the laughter is some- 
times noiseless. The corners of the mouth are then 
drawn backwards; and this sometimes causes the lower 
eyelids to be slightly wrinkled. But this wrinkling, 
which is so characteristic of our own laughter, is more 
plainly seen in some other monkeys. The teeth in the 
upper jaw in the chimpanzee are not exposed when they 
utter their laughing noise, in which respect they differ 
from us. But their eyes sparkle and grow brighter, as 
Mr. W. L. Martin, 10 who has particularly attended to 
their expression, states. 

10 ' Natural History of Mammalia,' 1841, vol. i. pp. 383, 


Young Orangs, when tickled, likewise grin and make 
a chuckling sound; and Mr. Martin says that their eyes 
grow brighter. As soon as their laughter ceases, an ex- 
pression may be detected passing over their faces, which, 
as Mr. Wallace remarked to me, may be called a smile. 
I have also noticed something of the same kind with 
the chimpanzee. Dr. Duchenne — and I cannot quote a 
better authority — informs me that he kept a very tame 
monkey in his house for a year; and when he gave it dur- 
ing meal-times some choice delicacy, he observed that 
the corners of its mouth were slightly raised; thus an 
expression of satisfaction, partaking of the nature of an 
incipient smile, and resembling that often seen on the 
face of man, could be plainly perceived in this animal. 

The Cebus azarce, 11 when rejoiced at again seeing a 
beloved person, utters a peculiar tittering (kicliernclen) 
sound. It also expresses agreeable sensations, by drawing 
back the corners of its mouth, without producing any 
sound. Eengger calls this movement laughter, but it 
would be more appropriately called a smile. The form 
of the mouth is different when either pain or terror is 
expressed, and high shrieks are uttered. Another spe- 
cies of Cebus in the Zoological Gardens (C. liypoleacus) 
when pleased, makes a reiterated shrill note, and likewise 
draws back the corners of its mouth, apparently through 
the contraction of the same muscles as with us. So does 
the Barbary ape (Inuus ecaudatus) to an extraordinary 
degree; and I observed in this monkey that the skin of 
the lower eyelids then became much wrinkled. At the 
same time it rapidly moved its lower jaw or lips in a 
spasmodic manner, the teeth being exposed; but the 
noise produced was hardly more distinct than that which 


Rengger (' Saugetheire von Paraquay', 1830, s. 46) 
kept these monkeys in confinement for seven years in 
their native country of Paraguay. 

Chap. V. MONKEYS. 133 

we sometimes call silent laughter. Two of the keepers 
affirmed that this slight sound was the animal's laughter, 
and when I expressed some doubt on this head (being at 
the time quite inexperienced), they made it attack or 
rather threaten a hated Entellus monkey, living in the 
same compartment. Instantly the whole expression of 
the face of the Inuus changed; the mouth was opened 
much more widely, the canine teeth were more fully 
exposed, and a hoarse barking noise was uttered. 

The Anubis baboon (Cynocephalus anubis) was first 
insulted and put into a furious rage, as was easily done, 
by his keeper, who then made friends with him and 
shook hands. As the reconciliation was effected the ba- 
boon rapidly moved up and down his jaws and lips, and 
looked pleased. When we laugh heartily, a similar move- 
ment, or quiver, may be observed more or less distinctly 
in our jaws; but with man the muscles of the chest are 
more particularly acted on, whilst with this baboon, and 
with some other monkeys, it is the muscles of the jaws 
and lips which are spasmodically affected. 

I have already had occasion to remark on the curious 
manner in which two or three species of Macacus and 
the Cynopithecus niger draw back their ears and utter a 
slight jabbering noise, when they are pleased by being 
caressed. With the Cynopithecus (fig. 17), the corners 
of the mouth are at the same time drawn backwards 
and upwards, so that the teeth are exposed. Hence this 
expression would never be recognized by a stranger as 
one of pleasure. The crest of long hairs on the forehead 
is depressed, and apparently the whole skin of the head 
drawn backwards. The evebrows are thus raised a little, 
and the eyes assume a staring appearance. The lower 
evelids also become slightlv wrinkled; but this wrin- 
kling is not conspicuous, owing to the permanent trans- 
verse furrows on the face. 


Painful emotions and sensations. — "With monkeys 
the expression of slight pain, or of any painful emotion, 
such as grief, vexation, jealousy, &c., is not easily dis- 
tinguished from that of moderate anger; and these states 
of mind readily and quickly pass into each other. Grief, 
however, with some species is certainly exhibited by 
weeping. A woman, who sold a monkey to the Zoological 
Society, believed to have come from Borneo (Macacus 
maurusot M.inornatus of Gray), said that it often cried; 
and Mr. Bartlett, as well as the keeper Mr. Sutton, have 
repeatedly seen it, when grieved, or even when much 
pitied, weeping so copiously that the tears rolled down 
its cheeks. There is, however, something strange about 
this case, for two specimens subsequently kept in the 
Gardens, and believed to be the same species, have never 
been seen to weep, though they were carefully observed 
by the keeper and myself when much distressed and 
loudly screaming. Eengger states 12 that the eyes of the 
Cebus azarm fill with tears, but not sufficiently to over- 
flow, when it is prevented getting some much desired 
object, or is much frightened. Humboldt also asserts 
that the eyes of the Callithrix sciureus " instantly fill 
with tears when it is seized with fear; " but when this 
pretty little monkey in the Zoological Gardens was 
teased, so as to cry out loudly, this did not occur. I do 
not, however, wish to throw the least doubt on the ac- 
curacv of Humboldt's statement. 

The appearance of dejection in young orangs and 
chimpanzees, when out of health, is as plain and almost 
as pathetic as in the case of our children. This state of 
mind and body is shown by their listless movements, 
fallen countenances, dull eyes, and changed complexion. 

12 Rengg-er, ibid. s. 46. Humboldt, 4 Personal Narra- 
tive,' Eng. translat. vol. iv. p. 527. 

Chap. V 



Fig. 16. — Cynopithecus niger, in a placid condition. 
Drawn from life by Mr. Wolf. 

Fig. IT.— The tame, when pleased by being caressed. 


Anger. — This emotion is often exhibited by many- 
kinds of monkeys, and is expressed, as Mr. Martin re- 
marks, 13 in many different ways. " Some species, when 
irritated, pout the lips, gaze with a fixed and savage glare 
on their foe, and make repeated short starts as if about 
to spring forward, uttering at the same time inward gut- 
tural sounds. Many display their anger by suddenly 
advancing, making abrupt starts, at the same time open- 
ing the mouth and pursing up the lips, so as to conceal 
the teeth, while the eyes are daringly fixed on the enemy, 
as if in savage defiance. Some again, and principally 
the long-tailed monkeys, or Guenons, display their teeth, 
and accompany their malicious grins with a sharp, 
abrupt, reiterated cry." Mr. Sutton confirms the state- 
ment that some species uncover their teeth when en- 
raged, whilst others conceal them by the protrusion of 
their lips; and some kinds draw back their ears. The 
Cynopithecus niger, lately referred to, acts in this man- 
ner, at the same time depressing the crest of hair on its 
forehead, and showing its teeth; so that the movements 
of *the features from anger are nearly the same as those 
from pleasure; and the two expressions can be distin- 
guished only by those familiar with the animal. 

Baboons often show their passion and threaten their 
enemies in a very odd manner, namely, by opening their 
mouths widely as in the act of yawning. Mr. Bartlett 
has often seen two baboons, when first placed in the 
same compartment, sitting opposite to each other and 
thus alternately opening their mouths; and this action 
seems frequently to end in a real yawn. Mr. Bartlett 
believes that both animals wish to show to each other 
that they are provided with a formidable set of teeth, as 
is undoubtedly the case. As I could hardly credit the 

13 A T 

Nat. Hist, of Mammalia, 1841, p. 351. 

Chap. V. MONKEYS. 13*} 

reality of this yawning gesture, Mr. Bartlett insulted 
an old baboon and put him into a violent passion; and 
he almost immediately thus acted. Some species of 
Maeacus and of Cercopithecus 14 behave in the same 
manner. Baboons likewise show their anger, as was ob- 
served by Brehm with those which he kept alive in Abys- 
sinia, in another manner, namely, by striking the ground 
with one hand, " like an angry man striking the table 
with his fist." I have seen this movement with the ba- 
boons in the Zoological Gardens; but sometimes the 
action seems rather to represent the searching for a stone 
or other object in their beds of straw. 

Mr. Sutton has often observed the face of the Maca- 
cus rhesus, when much enraged, growing red. As he was 
mentioning: this to me, another monkev attacked a rlie- 
sus, and I saw its face redden as plainly as that of a man 
in a violent passion. In the course of a few minutes, 
after the battle, the face of this monkey recovered its 
natural tint. At the same time that the face reddened, 
the naked posterior part of the body, which is always 
red, seemed to grow still redder; but I cannot positively 
assert that this was the case. "When the Mandrill is in 
any way excited, the brilliantly coloured, naked parts 
of the skin are said to become still more vividly coloured. 

With several species of baboons the ridge of the fore- 
head projects much over the eyes, and is studded with 
a few long hairs, representing our eyebrows. These 
animals are always looking about them, and in order to 
look upwards they raise their eyebrows. They have 
thus, as it would appear, acquired the habit of frequently 
moving their eyebrows. However this may be, many 
kinds of monkeys, especially the baboons, when angered 

14 Brehm, ' Thierleben,' B. i. s. 84. On baboons strik- 
ing the ground, s. 61. 



or in any way excited, rapidly and incessantly move their 
eyebrows up and down, as well as the hairy skin of their 
foreheads. 15 As we associate in the case of man the rais- 
ing and lowering of the eyebrows with definite states of 
the mind, the almost incessant movement of the eye- 
brows by monkeys gives them a senseless expression. I 
once observed a man who had a trick of continually rais- 
ing his eyebrows without any corresponding emotion, 
and this gave to him a foolish appearance; so it is with 
some persons who keep the corners of their mouths a lit- 
tle drawn backwards and upwards, as if by an incipient 
smile, though at the time they are not amused or pleased. 

A young orang, made jealous by her keeper attending 
to another monkey, slightly uncovered her teeth, and, 
uttering a peevish noise like tish-shist, turned her back 
on him. Both orangs and chimpanzees, when a little 
more angered, protrude their lips greatly, and make a 
harsh barking noise. A young female chimpanzee, in a 
violent passion, presented a curious resemblance to a 
child in the same state. She screamed loudly with widely 
open mouth, the lips being retracted so that the teeth 
were fully exposed. She threw her arms wildly about, 
sometimes clasping them over her head. She rolled on 
the ground, sometimes on her back, sometimes on her 
belly, and bit everything within reach. A young gibbon 
{Hylobates syndactylies) in a passion has been described 10 
as behaving in almost exactly the same manner. 

The lips of young orangs and chimpanzees are pro- 
truded, sometimes to a wonderful degree, under various 
circumstances. They act thus, not only when slightly 
angered, sulky, or disappointed, but when alarmed at 

15 Brehm remarks (' Thierleben,' s. 68) that the eye- 
brows of the Inuus ecaudatus are frequently moved up 
and down when the animal is angered. 

16 G. Bennett, ' Wanderings in New South Wales,' &c. 
vol. ii. 1834, p. 153. 

Chap. V. 




Fig. 18.— Chimpanzee disappointed and sulky. Drawn from life by Mr. Wood. 


anything — in one instance, at the sight of a turtle/ 7 — 
and likewise when pleased. But neither the degree of 
protrusion nor the shape of the month is exactly the 
same, as I believe, in all cases; and the sounds which 
are then nttered are different. The accompanying 
drawing represents a chimpanzee made sulky by an 
orange having been offered him, and then taken away. 
A similar protrusion or pouting of the lips, though 
to a much slighter degree, may be seen in sulky chil- 

Many years ago, in the Zoological Gardens, I placed 
a looking-glass on the floor before two young orangs, 
who, as far as it was known, had never before seen one. 
At first they gazed at their own images with the most 
steady surprise, and often changed their point of view. 
They then approached close and protruded their lips 
towards the image, as if to kiss it, in exactly the same 
manner as they had previously done towards each other, 
when first placed, a few days before, in the same room. 
They next made all sorts of grimaces, and put them- 
selves in various attitudes before the mirror; they 
pressed and rubbed the surface; they placed their hands 
at different distances behind it; looked behind it; and 
finally seemed almost frightened, started a little, became 
cross, and refused to look any longer. 

When we try to perform some little action which is 
difficult and requires precision, for instance, to thread 
a needle, we generally close our lips firmly, for the sake, 
I presume, of not disturbing our movements by breath- 
ing; and I noticed the same action in a young Orang. 
The poor little creature was sick, and was amusing itself 
by trying to kill the flies on the window-panes with its 

17 W. L. Martin, Nat. Hist, of Mamm. Animals, 1841, 
p. 405. 

Chap. V. MONKEYS. Ul 

knuckles; this was difficult as the flies buzzed about, 
and at each attempt the lips were firmly compressed, and 
at the same time slightly protruded. 

Although the countenances, and more especially the 
gestures, of orangs and chimpanzees are in some re- 
spects highly expressive, I doubt whether on the whole 
they are so expressive as those of some other kinds of 
monkeys. This may be attributed in part to their ears 
being immovable, and in part to the nakedness of their 
eyebrows, of which the movements are thus rendered less 
conspicuous. When, however, they raise their eyebrows 
their foreheads become, as with us, transversely wrinkled. 
In comparison with man, their faces are inexpressive, 
chieflv owing to their not frowning under anv emotion 
of the mind — that is, as far as I have been able to ob- 
serve, and I carefully attended to this point. Frown- 
ing, which is one of the niost'important of all the expres- 
sions in man, is due to the contraction of the corrugators 
by which the eyebrows are lowered and brought together, 
so that vertical furrows are formed on the forehead. 
Both the orang and chimpanzee are said 18 to possess 
this muscle, but it seems rarely brought into action, at 
least in a conspicuous manner. I made my hands into 
a sort of cage, and placing some tempting fruit within, 
allowed both a young orang and chimpanzee to try their 
utmost to get it out; but although they grew rather 
cross, thev showed not a trace of a frown. Xor was there 
any frown when they were enraged. Twice I took two 
chimpanzees from their rather dark room suddenly into 
bright sunshine, which would certainly have caused us 
to frown; they blinked and winked their eyes, but only 

18 Prof. Owen on the Orang 1 , Proc. Zool. Soc. 1830, p. 
28. On the Chimpanzee, see Prof. Macalister, in Annals 
and Mag-, of Xat. Hist. vol. vii. 1871, p. 342, who states 
that the corrugator supercilii is inseparable from the 
orbicularis palpebrarum. 


once did I see a very slight frown. On another occasion, 
I tickled the nose of a chimpanzee with a straw, and as 
it crumpled up its face, slight vertical furrows appeared 
between the eyebrows. I have never seen a frown on the 
forehead of the orang. 

The gorilla, when enraged, is described as erecting 
its crest of hair, throwing down its under lip, dilating 
its nostrils, and uttering terrific yells. Messrs. Savage 
and Wyman 19 state that the scalp can be freely moved 
backwards and forwards, and that when the animal is 
excited it is strongly contracted; but I presume that 
they mean by this latter expression that the scalp is low- 
ered; for they likewise speak of the young chimpanzee, 
when crying out, " as having the eyebrows strongly con- 
tracted." The great power of movement in the scalp 
of the gorilla, of many baboons and other monkeys, de- 
serves notice in relation to the power possessed by some 
few men, either through reversion or persistence, of vol- 
untarily moving their scalps. 20 

Astonishment, Terror. — A living fresh-water turtle 
was placed at my request in the same compartment in 
the Zoological Gardens with many monkeys; and they 
showed unbounded astonishment, as well as some fear. 
This was displayed by their remaining motionless, star- 
ing intently with widely opened eyes, their eyebrows 
being often moved up and down. Their faces seemed 
somewhat lengthened. They occasionally raised them- 
selves on their hind-legs to get a better view. They often 
retreated a few feet, and then turning their heads over 
one shoulder, again stared intently. It was curious to 
observe how much less afraid they were of the turtle 
than of a living snake which I had formerly placed in 

19 Boston Journal of Nat. Hist. 1845--47, vol. v. p. 423. 
On the Chimpanzee, ibid. 1843—44, vol. iv. p. 365. 

20 See on this subject, ' Descent of Man,' vol. i. p. 20. 

Chap. V. MONKEYS. 143 

their compartment; 21 for in the course of a few min- 
utes some of the monkeys ventured to approach and 
touch the turtle. On the other hand, some of the larger 
baboons were greatly terrified, and grinned as if on the 
point of screaming out. When I showed a little dressed- 
up doll to the Cynopithecus niger, it stood motionless, 
stared intently with widely opened eyes, and advanced 
its ears a little forwards. But when the turtle was 
placed in its compartment, this monkey also moved 
its lips in an odd, rapid, jabbering manner, which the 
keeper declared was meant to conciliate or please the 

I was never able clearly to perceive that the eye- 
brows of astonished monkeys were kept permanently 
raised, though they were frequently moved up and down. 
Attention, which precedes astonishment, is expressed by 
man by a slight raising of the eyebrows; and Dr. Du- 
chenne informs me that when he gave to the monkey 
formerly mentioned some quite new article of food, it 
elevated its eyebrows a little, thus assuming an appear- 
ance of close attention. It then took the food in its 
fingers, and, with lowered or rectilinear eyebrows, 
scratched, smelt, and examined it, — an expression of re- 
flection being thus exhibited. Sometimes it would 
throw back its head a little, and again with sud- 
denly raised eyebrows re-examine and finally taste the 

In no case did any monkey keep its mouth open when 
it was astonished. Mr. Sutton observed for me a young 
orang and chimpanzee during a considerable length of 
time; and however much they were astonished, or whilst 
listening intently to some strange sound, they did not 
keep their mouths open. This fact is surprising, as with 

21 ' Descent of Man,' vol. i. p. 43. 


mankind hardly any expression is more general than a 
widely open month under the sense of astonishment. 
As far as I have been able to observe, monkeys breathe 
more freely through their nostrils than men do; and 
this may account for their not opening their mouths 
when they are astonished; for, as we shall see in a future 
chapter, man apparently acts in this manner when 
startled, at first for the sake of quickly drawing a full 
inspiration, and afterwards for the sake of breathing 
as quietly as possible. 

Terror is expressed by many kinds of monkeys by 
the utterance of shrill screams; the lips being drawn 
back, so that the teeth are exposed. The hair becomes 
erect, especially when some anger is likewise felt. Mr. 
Sutton has distinctly seen the face of the Macacus rhesus 
grow pale from fear. Monkeys also tremble from fear; 
and sometimes they void their excretions. I have seen 
one which, when caught, almost fainted from an excess 
of terror. 

Sufficient facts have now been given with respect to 
the expressions of various animals. It is impossible to 
agree with Sir C. Bell when he says 22 that " the faces 
of animals seem chiefly capable of expressing rage and 
fear; " and again, when he says that all their expressions 
" may be referred, more or less plainly, to their acts of 
volition or necessary instincts." He who will look at a 
dog preparing to attack another dog or a man, and at 
the same animal when caressing his master, or will watch 
the countenance of a monkey when insulted, and when 
fondled by his keeper, will be forced to admit that the 
movements of their features and their gestures are almost 
as expressive as those of man. Although no explanation 


' Anatomy of Expression,' 3rd edit. 1844, pp. 138, 121. 

Chap. V. MONKEYS. 145 

can be given of some of the expressions in the lower ani- 
mals, the greater number are explicable in accordance 
with the three principles given at the commencement of 
the first chapter. 



Special Expressions of Man: Suffering and 


The screaming" and weeping of infants — Forms of features 
— Age at which weeping 1 commences — The effects of 
habitual restraint on weeping- — Sobbing- — Cause of the 
contraction of the muscles round the eyes during 
screaming — Cause of the secretion of tears. 

In this and the following chapters the expressions 
exhibited by Man under various states of the mind will 
be described and explained, as far as lies in my power. 
My observations will be arranged according to the order 
which I have found the most convenient; and this will 
generally lead to opposite emotions and sensations suc- 
ceeding each other. 

Suffering of the tody and mind: weeping. — I have 
already described in sufficient detail, in the third chap- 
ter, the signs of extreme pain, as shown by screams or 
groans, with the writhing of the whole body and the 
teeth clenched or ground -together. These signs are 
often accompanied or followed by profuse sweating, pal- 
lor, trembling, utter prostration, or faintness. No suf- 
fering is greater than that from extreme fear or horror, 
but here a distinct emotion comes into play, and will be 
elsewhere considered. Prolonged suffering, especially of 
the mind, passes into low spirits, grief, dejection, and 
despair, and these states will be the subject of the follow- 

Tab 1 


Fhalogrzvuie by VHnxiisJiayi^?' 

Chap. VI. WEEPING. 14.7 

ing chapter. Here I shall almost confine myself to weep- 
ing or crying, more especially in children. 

Infants, when suffering even slight pain, moderate 
hunger, or discomfort, utter violent and prolonged 
screams. Whilst thus screaming their eyes are firmly 
closed, so that the skin round them is wrinkled, and the 
forehead contracted into a frown. The mouth is widely 
opened with the lips retracted in a peculiar manner, 
which causes it to assume a squarish form; the gums 
or teeth being more or less exposed. The breath is in- 
haled almost spasmodically. It is easy to observe in- 
fants whilst screaming; but I have found photographs 
made by the instantaneous process the best means for 
observation, as allowing more deliberation. I have col- 
lected twelve, most of them made purposely for me; and 
they all exhibit the same general characteristics. I have, 
therefore, had six of them x (Plate I.) reproduced by the 
heliotype process. 

The firm closing of the eyelids and consequent com- 
pression of the eyeball, — and this is a most important 
element in various expressions, — serves to protect the 
eyes from becoming too much gorged with blood, as will 
presently be explained in detail. With respect to the 
order in which the several muscles contract in firmly 
compressing the eyes, I am indebted to Dr. Langstaff, 
of Southampton, for some observations, which I have 
since repeated. The best plan for observing the order 
is to make a person first raise his eyebrows, and this pro- 
duces transverse wrinkles across the forehead; and then 
very gradually to contract all the muscles round the eyes 

1 The best photographs in my collection are by Mr. 
Rejlander, of Victoria Street, London, and by Herr Kinder- 
mann, of Hamburg". Figs. 1, 3, 4, and 6 are by the former; 
and tigs. 2 and 5, by the latter gentleman. Fig - . 6 is given 
to show moderate crying in an older child. 


with as much force as possible. The reader who is un- 
acquainted with the anatomy of the face, ought to refer 
to p. 24, and look at the woodcuts 1 to 3. The corru- 
gators of the brow (corrugator siipercilii) seem to be the 
first muscles to contract; and these draw the eyebrows 
downwards and inwards towards the base of the nose, 
causing vertical furrows, that is a frown, to appear be- 
tween the eyebrows; at the same time they cause the 
disappearance of the transverse wrinkles across the fore- 
head. The orbicular muscles contract almost simultane- 
ously with the corrugators, and produce wrinkles all 
round the eyes; they appear, however, to be enabled to 
contract with greater force, as soon as the contraction of 
the corrugators has given them some support. Lastly, 
the p} T ramidal muscles of the nose contract; and these 
draw the evebrows and the skin of the forehead still 
lower down, producing short transverse wrinkles across 
the base of the nose. 2 For the sake of brevity these mus- 
cles will generally be spoken of as the orbiculars, or as 
those surrounding the eyes. 

When these muscles are strongly contracted, those 
running to the upper lip 3 likewise 'contract and raise 
the upper lip. This might have been expected from 
the manner in which at least one of them, the malar is , 

2 Henle (' Handbuch d. Syst. Anat. 1858, B. i. s. 139) 
agrees with Duchenne that this is the effect of the con- 
traction of the pyramidalis nasi. 

3 These consist of the levator labii superioris alceque nasi, 
the levator labii proprius, the malaris, and the zijgomatieus 
minor, or little zygomatic. This latter muscle runs parallel 
to and above the great zygomatic, and is attached to the 
outer part of the upper lip. It is represented in fig. 2 
(I. p. 24), but not in figs. 1 and 3. Dr. Duchenne first 
showed (' Meeanisme de la Physionomie Humaine,' Al- 
bum, 1862, p. 39) the importance of the contraction of 
this muscle in the shape assumed by the features in cry- 
ing. Henle considers the above-named muscles (except- 
ing the malaris) as subdivisions of the quadratits labii 

Chap. VI. WEEPING. 149 

is connected with the orbiculars. Any one who will 
gradually contract the muscles round his eyes, will feel, 
as he increases the force, that his upper lip and the 
wings of his nose (which are partly acted on by one of 
the same muscles) are almost always a little drawn up. 
If he keeps his mouth firmly shut whilst contracting 
the muscles round the eyes, and then suddenly relaxes 
his lips, he will feel that the pressure on his eyes im- 
mediately increases. So again when a person on a bright, 
glaring day wishes to look at a distant object, but is 
compelled partially to close his eyelids, the upper lip 
may almost always be observed to be somewhat raised. 
The mouths of some very short-sighted persons, who 
are forced habitually to reduce the aperture of their 
eyes, wear from this same reason a grinning expression. 
The raising of the upper lip draws upwards the flesh 
of the upper parts of the cheeks, and produces a strongly 
marked fold on each cheek, — the naso-iabial fold, — 
which runs from near the wings of the nostrils to the 
corners of the mouth and below them. This fold or fur- 
row may be seen in all the photographs, and is very 
characteristic of the expression of a crying child; though 
a nearly similar fold is produced in the act of laughing 
or smiling. 4 

4 Although Dr. Duchenne has so carefully studied the 
contraction of the different muscles during" the act of 
crying-, and the furrows on the face thus produced, there 
seems to be something incomplete in his account: but 
what this is I cannot say. He has given a figure (Album, 
fig-. 48) in which one half of the face is made, by gal- 
vanizing- the proper muscles, to smile; whilst the other 
half is similarly made to begin crying-. Almost all those 
(viz. nineteen out of twenty-one persons) to whom I 
showed the smiling- half of the face instantly recognized 
the expression: but, with respect to the other half, only 
six persons out of twenty-one recognized it, — that is, if 
we accept such terms as " grief," " misery," " annoy- 
ance," as correct; — whereas, fifteen persons were ludi- 
crously mistaken; some of them saying- the face ex- 


As the upper lip is much drawn up during the act of 
screaming, in the manner just explained, the depressor 
muscles of the angles of the mouth (see K in woodcuts 
1 and 2) are strongly contracted in order to keep the 
mouth widely open, so that a full volume of sound may 
be poured forth. The action of these opposed muscles, 
above and below, tends to give to the mouth an oblong, 
almost squarish outline, as may be seen in the accom- 
panying photographs. An excellent observer, 5 in de- 
scribing a baby crying whilst being fed, says, " it made 
its mouth like a square, and let the porridge run out at 
all four corners/' I believe, but we shall return to this 
point in a future chapter, that the depressor muscles of 
the angles of the mouth are less under the separate con- 
trol of the will than the adjoining muscles; so that if a 
young child is only doubtfully inclined to cry, this mus- 
cle is generally the first to contract, and is the last to 
cease contracting. "When older children commence cry- 
ing, the muscles which run to the upper lip are often the 
first to contract; and this may perhaps be due to older 
children not having so strong a tendency to scream 
loudly, and consequently to keep their mouths widely 

pressed " fun," " satisfaction," " cunning-," " disgust," &c. 
We may infer from this that there is something" wrong in 
the expression. Some of the fifteen persons may, how- 
ever, have been partly misled by not expecting* to see 
an old man crying, and by tears not being secreted. With 
respect to another figure by Dr. Duchenne (fig. 49), in 
which the muscles of half the face are galvanized in 
order to represent a man beginning to cry, with the eye- 
brow on the same side rendered oblique, which is charac- 
teristic of misery, the expression was recognized by a 
greater proportional number of persons. Out of twenty- 
three persons, fourteen answered correctly, " sorrow," 
" distress," " grief," " just going to cry," " endurance 
of pain," &c. On the other hand, nine persons either 
could form no opinion or were entirely wrong, answer- 
ing, " cunning leer," " jocund," " looking at an intense 
light," " looking at a distant object," &c. 

Mrs. Gaskell, ' Mary Barton,' new edit. p. 84. 

Chap. VI. WEEPING. 151 

open; so that the above-named depressor muscles are not 
brought into such strong action. 

With one of my own infants, from his eighth day and 
for some time afterwards, I often observed that the first 
sign of a screaming-fit, when it could be observed com- 
ing on gradually, was a little frown, owing to the con- 
traction of the corrugators of the brows; the capillaries 
of the naked head and face becoming at the same time 
reddened with blood. As soon as the screaming-fit ac- 
tually began, all the muscles round the eyes were strongly 
contracted, and the mouth widely opened in the manner 
above described; so that at this early period the features 
assumed the same form as at a more advanced age. 

Dr. Piderit 6 lays great stress on the contraction of 
certain muscles which draw down the nose and narrow 
the nostrils, as eminently characteristic of a crying ex- 
pression. The depressores dnguli oris, as we have just 
seen, are usually contracted at the same time, and they 
indirectly tend, according to Dr. Duchenne, to act in 
this same manner on the nose. With children having 
bad colds a similar pinched appearance of the nose may 
be noticed, which is at least partly due, as remarked to 
me by Dr. Langstaff, to their constant snuffling, and the 
consequent pressure of the atmosphere on the two sides. 
The purpose of this contraction of the nostrils by chil- 
dren having bad colds, or whilst erring", seems to be to 
check the downward flow of the mucus and tears, and 
to prevent these fluids spreading over the upper lip. 

After a prolonged and severe screaming-fit, the scalp, 
face, and eyes are reddened, owing to the return of the 
blood from the head having been impeded by the violent 
expiratory efforts; but the redness of the stimulated 

« ' 

Mimik und Physioernomik,' 1867, s. 102. Duchenne, 
Mecanisme de la Phys. Humaine, Alburn, p. 34. 


eyes is chiefly due to the copious effusion of tears. The 
various muscles of the face which have been strongly- 
contracted, still twitch a little, and the upper lip is still 
slightly drawn up or everted/ with the corners of the 
mouth still a little drawn downwards. I have myself 
felt, and have observed in other grown-up persons, that 
when tears are restrained with difficulty, as in reading 
a pathetic story, it is almost impossible to prevent the 
various muscles, which with young children are brought 
into strong action during their screaming-fits, from 
slightly twitching or trembling. 

Infants whilst young do not shed tears or weep, as is 
well known to nurses and medical men. This circum- 
stance is not exclusively due to the lacrymal glands 
being as yet incapable of secreting tears. I first noticed 
this fact from having accidentally brushed with the cuff 
of my coat the open eye of one of my infants, when 
seventy-seven days old, causing this eye to water freely; 
and though the child screamed violently, the other eye 
remained dry, or was only slightly suffused with tears. 
A similar slight effusion occurred ten days previously 
in both eyes during a screaming-fit. The tears did not 
run over the eyelids and roll down the cheeks of this 
child, whilst screaming badly, when 122 days old. This 
first happened 17 days later, at the age of 139 days. A 
few other children have been observed for me, and the 
period of free weeping appears to be very variable. In 
one case, the eyes became slightly suffused at the age 
of only 20 days; in another, at 62 days. With two other 
children, the tears did not run down the face at the ages 
of 84 and 110 days; but in a third child they did run 
down at the age of 104 days. In one instance, as I was 
positively assured, tears ran down at the unusually early 

7 Dr. Duchenne makes this remark, ibid. p. 39. 

Chap. VI. WEEPING. 153 

age of 42 days. It would appear as if the lacrymal glands 
required some practice in the individual before they are 
easily excited into action, in somewhat the same manner 
as various inherited consensual movements and tastes 
require some exercise before they are fixed and perfected. 
This is all the more likely with a habit like weeping, 
which must have been acquired since the period when 
man branched off from the common progenitor of the 
genus Homo and of the non-weeping anthropomorphous 

The fact of tears not being shed at a very early age 
from pain or any mental emotion is remarkable, as, later 
in life, no expression is more general or more strongly 
marked than weeping. "When the habit has once been 
acquired by an infant, it expresses in the clearest man- 
ner suffering of all kinds, both bodily pain and mental 
distress, even though accompanied by other emotions, 
such as fear or rage. The character of the crying, how- 
ever, changes at a very early age, as I noticed in my own 
infants, — the passionate cry differing from that of grief. 
A lady informs me that her child, nine months old, when 
in a passion screams loudly, but does not weep; tears, 
however, are shed when she is punished by her chair 
being turned with its back to the table. This difference 
may perhaps be attributed to weeping being restrained, 
as we shall immediately see, at a more advanced age, 
under most circumstances excepting grief; and to the 
influence of such restraint being transmitted to an earlier 
period of life, than that at which it was first practised. 

"With adults, especially of the male sex, weeping soon 
ceases to be caused by, or to express, bodily pain. This 
may be accounted for by its being thought weak and 
unmanly by men, both of civilized and barbarous races, 
to exhibit bodily pain by any outward sign. With this 
exception, savages weep copiously from very slight 


causes, of which fact Sir J. Lubbock 8 has collected in- 
stances. A New Zealand chief " cried like a child be- 
cause the sailors spoilt his favourite cloak by powdering 
it with flour." I saw in Tierra del Fuego a native who 
had lately lost a brother, and who alternately cried with 
hysterical violence, and laughed heartily at anything 
which amused him. With the civilized nations of Eu- 
rope there is also much difference in the frequency of 
weeping. Englishmen rarely cry, except under the pres- 
sure of the acutest grief; whereas in some parts of the 
Continent the men shed tears much more readily and 

The insane notoriously give way to all their emo- 
tions with little or -no restraint; and I am informed by 
Dr. J. Crichton Browne, that nothing is more charac- 
teristic of simple melancholia, even in the male sex, than 
a tendenc}' to weep on the slightest occasions, or from no 
cause. They also weep disproportionately on the occur- 
rence of any real cause of grief. The length of time dur- 
ing which some patients weep is astonishing, as well as 
the amount of tears which they shed. One melancholic 
girl wept for a whole day, and afterwards confessed to 
Dr. Browne, that it was because she remembered that 
she had once shaved off her eyebrows to promote their 
growth. Many patients in the asylum sit for a long time 
rocking themselves backwards and forwards; " and if 
spoken to, they stop their movements, purse up their 
eyes, depress the corners of the mouth, and burst out 
crying." In some of these cases, the being spoken to or 
kindly greeted appears to suggest some fanciful and sor- 
rowful notion; but in other cases an effort of anv kind 
excites weeping, independently of any sorrowful idea. 
Patients suffering from acute mania likewise have parox- 

8 ' 

The Origin of Civilization,' 1870, p. 355. 

Chap. VI. WEEPING. 155 

ysms of violent crying or blubbering, in the midst of 
their incoherent ravings. We must not, however, lay too 
much stress on the copious shedding of tears by the in- 
sane, as being due to the lack of all restraint; for cer- 
tain brain-diseases, as hemiplegia, brain-wasting, and 
senile decay, have a special tendency to induce weep- 
ing. Weeping is common in the insane, even after a 
complete state of fatuity has been reached and the power 
of speech lost. Persons born idiotic likewise weep; 9 
but it is said that this is not the case with cretins. 

Weeping seems to be the primary and natural expres- 
sion, as we see in children, of suffering of any kind, 
whether bodily pain short of extreme agony, or mental 
distress. But the foregoing facts and common experi- 
ence show us that a frequently repeated effort to restrain 
weeping, in association with certain states of the mind, 
does much in checking the habit. On the other hand, 
it appears that the power of weeping can be increased 
through habit; thus the Eev. E. Taylor, 10 who long re- 
sided in Xew Zealand, asserts that the women can volun- 
tarily shed tears in abundance; they meet for this pur- 
pose to mourn for the dead, and they take pride in cry- 
ing " in the most affecting manner." 

A single effort of repression brought to bear on the 
lacrymal glands does little, and indeed seems often to 
lead to an opposite result. An old and experienced phy- 
sician told me that he had always found that the only 
means to check the occasional bitter weeping of ladies 
who consulted him, and who themselves wished to de- 
sist, was earnestly to beg them not to try, and to assure 

9 See, for instance, Mr. Marshall's account of an idiot 
in Philosoph. Transact. 1864, p. 526. With respect to 
cretins, see Dr. Piderit, ' Mimik mid Phvsiog-nomik,' 1867, 
s. 61. 

10 'Xew Zealand and its Inhabitants,' 1S55, p. 175. 


them that nothing would relieve them so much as pro- 
longed and copious crying. 

The screaming of infants consists of prolonged ex- 
pirations, with short and rapid, almost spasmodic in- 
spirations, followed at a somewhat more advanced age 
by sobbing. According to Gratiolet, 11 the glottis is 
chiefly affected during the act of sobbing. This sound 
is heard " at the moment when the inspiration conquers 
the resistance of the glottis, and the air rushes into the 
chest." But the whole act of respiration is likewise 
spasmodic and violent. The shoulders are at the same 
time generally raised, as by this movement respiration 
is rendered easier. With one of mv infants, when sev- 
enty-seven days old, the inspirations were so rapid and 
strong that they approached in character to sobbing; 
when 138 days old I first noticed distinct sobbing, which 
subsequently followed every bad crying-fit. The res- 
piratory movements are partly voluntary and partly in- 
voluntary, and I apprehend that sobbing is at least in 
part due to children having some power to command 
after early infancy their vocal organs and to stop their 
screams, but from having less power over their respira- 
tory muscles, these continue for a time to act in an in- 
voluntary or spasmodic manner, after having been 
brought into violent action. Sobbing seems to be pecul- 
iar to the human species; for the keepers in the Zoologi- 
cal Gardens assure me that they have never heard a sob 
from any kind of monkey; though monkeys often scream 
loudly whilst being chased and caught, and then pant 
for a long time. We thus see that there is a close anal- 
ogy between sobbing and the free shedding of tears; for 
with children, sobbing does not commence during early 
infancy, but afterwards comes on rather suddenly and 


' De la Physionomie,' 1865, p. 126. 

Chap. VI. WEEPING. I57 

then follows every bad crying-fit, until the habit is 
checked with advancing years. 

On the cause of the contraction of the muscles round 
the eyes during screaming. — We have seen that infants 
and yonng children, whilst screaming, invariably close 
their eyes firmly, by the contraction of the surrounding 
muscles, so that the skin becomes wrinkled all around. 
With older children, and even with adults, whenever 
there is violent and unrestrained crying, a tendency to 
the contraction of these same muscles may be observed; 
though this is often checked in order not to interfere 
with vision. 

Sir C. Bell explains 12 this action in the following 
manner: — " During every violent act of expiration, 
whether in hearty laughter, weeping, coughing, or sneez- 
ing, the eyeball is firmly compressed by the fibres of the 
orbicularis; and this is a provision for supporting and 
defending the vascular system of the interior of the eye 
from a retrograde impulse communicated to the blood 
in the veins at that time. When we contract the chest 
and expel the air, there is a retardation of the blood in 
the veins of the neck and head; and in the more power- 
ful acts of expulsion, the blood not only distends the 
vessels, but is even regurgitated into the minute 
branches. Were the eye not properly compressed at that 
time, and a resistance given to the shock, irreparable 
injury might be inflicted on the delicate textures of the 
interior of the eye." He further adds, " If we separate 
the eyelids of a child to examine the eye, while it cries 
and struggles with passion, by taking off the natural 
support to the vascular system of the eye, and means of 

12 ' The Anatomy of Expression,' 1844, p. 106. See 
also his paper in the ' Philosophical Transactions,' 1822, 
p. 284, ibid. 1823, pp. 166 and 289. Also ' The Nervous 
System of the Human Body,' 3rd edit. 1S36, p. 175. 


guarding it against the rush of blood then occurring, 
the conjunctiva becomes suddenly filled with blood, and 
the eyelids everted." 

Not only are the muscles round the eyes strongly 
contracted, as Sir C. Bell states and as I have often ob- 
served, during screaming, loud laughter, coughing, and 
sneezing, but during several other analogous actions. 
A man contracts these muscles when he violently blows 
his nose. I asked one of my boys to shout as loudly as 
he possibly could, and as soon as he began, he firmly 
contracted his orbicular muscles; I observed this repeat- 
edly, and on asking him why he had every time so firmly 
closed his eyes, I found that he was quite unaware of the 
fact: he had acted instinctively or unconsciously. 

It is not necessary, in order to lead to the contrac- 
tion of these muscles, that air should actually be expelled 
from the chest; it suffices that the muscles of the chest 
and abdomen should contract with great force, whilst 
by the closure of the glottis no air escapes. In violent 
vomiting or retching the diaphragm is made to descend 
by the chest being filled with air; it is then held in this 
position by the closure of the glottis, " as well as by the 
contraction of its own fibres." 13 The abdominal mus- 
cles now contract strongly upon the stomach, its proper 
muscles likewise contracting, and the contents are thus 
ejected. During each effort of vomiting " the head be- 
comes greatly congested, so that the features are red and 
swollen, and the large veins of the face and temples visi- 
bly dilated." At the same time, as I know from observa- 
tion, the muscles round the eyes are strongly contracted. 
This is likewise the case when the abdominal muscles 

13 See Dr. Brinton's account of the act of vomiting", 
in Todd's Cyclop, of Anatomy and Physiology, 1859, vol. 
v. Supplement, p. 318. 

Chap. VI. WEEPING. 159 

act downwards with unusual force in expelling the con- 
tents of the intestinal canal. 

The greatest exertion of the muscles of the body, if 
those of the chest are not brought into strong action in 
expelling or compressing the air within the lungs, does 
not lead to the contraction of the muscles round the 
eyes. I have observed my sons using great force in gym- 
nastic exercises, as in repeatedly raising their suspended 
bodies by their arms alone, and in lifting heavy weights 
from the ground, but there was hardly any trace of con- 
traction in the muscles round the eyes. 

As the contraction of these muscles for the protection 
of the eyes during violent expiration is indirectly, as 
we shall hereafter see, a fundamental element in several 
of our most important expressions, I was extremely 
anxious to ascertain how far Sir C. Bell's view could be 
substantiated. Professor Donders, of Utrecht, 14 well 
known as one of the highest authorities in Europe on 
vision and on the structure of the eye, has most kindly 
undertaken for me this investigation with the aid of the 
many ingenious mechanisms of modern science, and has 
published the results. 15 He shows that during violent 
expiration the external, the intra-ocular, and the retro- 
ocular vessels of the eye are all affected in two ways, 
namely by the increased pressure of the blood in the 
arteries, and by the return of the blood in the veins 

14 I am greatly indebted to Mr. Bowman for having 
introduced me to Prof. Donders, and for his aid in per- 
suading - this great physiologist to undertake the inves- 
tigation of the present subject. I am likewise much in- 
debted to Mr. Bowman for having given me, with the 
utmost kindness, information on many points. 

15 This memoir first appeared in the ' Xederlandsch 
Archief voor Genees en Xatuurkunde,' Deel 5, 1870. It 
has been translated by Dr. W. D. Moore, under the title 
of " On the Action of the Eyelids in determination of 
Blood from expiratorv effort," in ' Archives of Medicine,' 
edited by Dr. L. S. Beale, 1870, vol. v. p. 20. 


being impeded. It is, therefore, certain that both the 
arteries and the veins of the eye are more or less dis- 
tended during violent expiration. The evidence in de- 
tail may be found in Professor Donders' valuable me- 
moir. "We see the effects on the veins of the head, in 
their prominence, and in the purple colour of the face 
of a man who coughs violently from being half choked. 
I may mention, on the same authority, that the whole 
eye certainly advances a little during each violent ex- 
piration. This is due to the dilatation of the retro-ocular 
vessels, and might have been expected from the intimate 
connection of the eye and brain; the brain being known 
to rise and fall with each respiration, when a portion of 
the skull has been removed; and as may be seen along 
the unclosed sutures of infants' heads. This also, I pre- 
sume, is the reason that the eyes of a strangled man ap- 
pear as if they were starting from their sockets. 

With respect to the protection of the eye during vio- 
lent expiratory efforts by the pressure of the eyelids, Pro- 
fessor Donders concludes from his various observations 
that this action certainly limits or entirely removes the 
dilatation of the vessels. 16 At such times, he adds, we 


Prof. Donders remarks (ibid. p. 28), that, "After 
injury to the eye, after operations, and in some forms 
of internal inflammation, we attach great value to the 
uniform support of the closed eyelids, and we increase 
this in many instances by the application of a bandage. 
In both cases we carefully endeavour to avoid great ex- 
piratory pressure, the disadvantage of which is well known." 
Mr. Bowman informs me that in the excessive photo- 
phobia, accompanying" what is called scrofulous ophthal- 
mia in children, when the light is so very painful that 
during weeks or months it is constantly excluded by the 
most forcible closure of the lids, he has often been 
struck on opening the lids by the paleness of the eye, 
— not an unnatural paleness, but an absence of the red- 
ness that might have been expected when the surface 
is somewhat inflamed, as is then usually the case; and 
this paleness he is inclined to attribute to the forcible 
closure of the eyelids. 

Chap. VI. WEEPING. 161 

not unfrequently see the hand involuntarily laid upon 
the eyelids, as if the better to support and defend the 

Nevertheless much evidence cannot at present be 
advanced to prove that the eye actually suffers injury 
from the want of support during violent expiration; but 
there is some. It is " a fact that forcible expiratory 
efforts in violent coughing or vomiting, and especially 
in sneezing, sometimes give rise to ruptures of the little 
(external) vessels " of the eye. 17 With respect to the 
internal vessels, Dr. Gunning has lately recorded a case 
of exophthalmos in consequence of whooping-cough, 
which in his opinion depended on the rupture of the 
deeper vessels; and another analogous case has been re- 
corded. But a mere sense of discomfort would probably 
suffice to lead to the associated habit of protecting the 
eyeball by the contraction of the surrounding muscles. 
Even the expectation or chance of injury would probably 
be sufficient, in the same manner as an object moving too 
near the eye induces involuntary winking of the eyelids. 
We may, therefore, safelv conclude from Sir C. Bell's 
observations, and more especially from the more careful 
investigations by Professor Donders, that the firm clo- 
sure of the eyelids during the screaming of children is an 
action full of meaning and of real service. 

"We have already seen that the contraction of the 


orbicular muscles leads to the drawing up of the upper 
lip, and consequently, if the mouth is kept widely open, 
to the drawing down of the corners by the contraction 
of the depressor muscles. The formation of the naso- 
labial fold on the cheeks likewise follows from the draw- 
ing up of the upper lip. Thus all the chief expressive 
movements of the face during crying apparently result 

17 Donders, ibid. p. 36. 


from the contraction of the muscles round the eyes. We 
shall also find that the shedding of tears depends on, or 
at least stands in some connection with, the contraction 
of these same muscles. 

In some of the foregoing cases, especially in those of 
sneezing and coughing, it is possible that the contrac- 
tion of the orbicular muscles may serve in addition to 
protect the eyes from too severe a jar or vibration. I 
think so, because dogs and cats, in crunching hard bones, 
always close their eyelids, and at least sometimes in 
sneezing; though dogs do not do so whilst barking 
loudly. Mr. Sutton carefully observed for me a young 
orang and chimpanzee, and he found that both always 
closed their eyes in sneezing and coughing, but not whilst 
screaming violently. I gave a small pinch of snuff to a 
monkey of the American division, namely, a Cebus, and 
it closed its eyelids whilst sneezing; but not on a sub- 
sequent occasion whilst uttering loud cries. 

Cause of the secretion of tears. — It is an important 
fact which must be considered in any theory of the se- 
cretion of tears from the mind being affected, that when- 
ever the muscles round the eyes are strongly and invol- 
untarily contracted in order to compress the blood-ves- 
sels and thus to protect the eyes, tears are secreted, often 
in sufficient abundance to roll down the cheeks. This 
occurs under the most opposite emotions, and under no 
emotion at all. The sole exception, and this is only a 
partial one, to the existence of a relation between the in- 
voluntary and strong contraction of these muscles and 
the secretion of tears is that of young infants, who, whilst 
screaming violently with their eyelids firmly closed, do 
not commonly weep until they have attained the age 
of from two to three or four months. Their eyes, how- 
ever, become suffused with tears at a much earlier age. 
It would appear, as already remarked, that the lacrymal 

Chap. VI. WEEPING. 1G3 

glands do not, from the want of practice or some other 
cause, come to full functional activity at a very early 
period of life. With children at a somewhat later age, 
crying out or wailing from any distress is so regularly 
accompanied by the shedding of tears, that weeping and 
crying are synonymous terms. 18 

JO J *> 

Under the opposite emotion of great joy or amuse- 
ment, as long as laughter is moderate there is hardly 
any contraction of the muscles round the eyes, so that 
there is no frowning; but when peals of loud laughter 
are uttered, with rapid and violent spasmodic expira- 
tions, tears stream down the face. I have more than 
once noticed the face of a person, after a paroxysm of 
violent laughter, and I could see that the orbicular mus- 
cles and those running to the upper lip were still par- 
tially contracted, which together with the tear-stained 
cheeks gave to the upper half of the face an expression 
not to be distinguished from that of a child still blub- 
bering from grief. The fact of tears streaming down the 
face during violent laughter is common to all the races 
of mankind, as we shall see in a future chapter. 

In violent coughing, especially when a person is half- 
choked, the face becomes purple, the veins distended, 
the orbicular muscles strongly contracted, and tears run 
down the cheeks. Even after a fit of ordinary cough- 
ing, almost every one has to wipe his eyes. In violent 
vomiting or retching, as I have myself experienced and 
seen in others, the orbicular muscles are strongly con- 
tracted, and tears sometimes flow freely down the cheeks. 
It has been suggested to me that this may be due to irri- 
tating matter being injected into the nostrils, and caus- 

18 Mr. Hensleigh Wedgwood (Diet, of English Ety- 
mology, 1859, vol. i. p. 410) says, " the verb to weep comes 
from Anglo-Saxon wop, the primary meaning of which 
is simply outcry." 


ing by reflex action the secretion of tears. Accordingly 
I asked one of my informants, a surgeon, to attend to 
the effects of retching when nothing was thrown up 
from the stomach; and, by an odd coincidence, he him- 
self suffered the next morning from an attack of retch- 
ing, and three days subsequently observed a lady under 
a similar attack; and he is certain that in neither case 
an atom of matter was ejected from the stomach; yet the 
orbicular muscles were strongly contracted, and tears 
freely secreted. I can also speak positively to the ener- 
getic contraction of these same muscles round the eyes, 
and to the coincident free secretion of tears, when the 
abdominal muscles act with unusual force in a downward 
direction on the intestinal canal. 

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 
contracted, including those round the eyes. During this 
act tears are often secreted, and I have seen them even 
rolling down the cheeks. 

I have frequently observed that when persons scratch 
some point which itches intolerably, they forcibly close 
their eyelids; but they do not, as I believe, first draw a 
deep breath and then expel it with force; and I have 
never noticed that the eyes then become filled with tears; 
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 time rendered rigid. It 
is quite different from the gentle closure of the eyes 
which often accompanies, as Gratiolet remarks, 19 the 
smelling a delicious odour, or the tasting a delicious 
morsel, and which probably originates in the desire to 
shut out any disturbing impression through the eyes. 


' De la Physionomie,' 1SG5, p. 217. 

Chap. VI. WEEPING. 165 

Professor Donders writes to me to the following ef- 
fect: " I have observed some cases of a very curious 
affection when, after a slight rub (attouchement), for ex- 
ample, from the friction of a coat, which caused neither 
a wound nor a contusion, spasms of the orbicular mus- 
cles occurred, with a very profuse flow of tears, lasting 
about one hour. Subsequently, sometimes after an in- 
terval of several weeks, violent spasms of the same mus- 
cles re-occurred, accompanied by the secretion of tears, 
together with primary or secondary redness of the eye." 
Mr. Bowman informs me that he has occasionallv ob- 
served closely analogous cases, and that, in some of these, 
there was no redness or inflammation of the eyes. 

I was anxious to ascertain whether there existed in 
any of the lower animals a similar relation between the 
contraction of the orbicular muscles during violent ex- 
piration and the secretion of tears; but there are very 
few animals which contract these muscles in a prolonged 
manner, or which shed tears. The Macacus mauriis, 
which formerly wept so copiously in the Zoological Gar- 
dens, would have been a fine case for observation; but 
the two monkevs now there, and which are believed to 
belong to the same species, do not weep. Nevertheless 
they were carefully observed by Mr. Bartlett and myself, 
whilst screaming loudly, and they seemed to contract 
these muscles; but they moved about their cages so rap- 
idly, that it was difficult to observe with certainty. No 
other monkey, as far as I have been able to ascertain, 
contracts its orbicular muscles whilst screaming. 

The Indian elephant is known sometimes to weep. 
Sir E. Tennent, in describing these which he saw cap- 
tured and bound in Ceylon, says, some " lay motionless 
on the ground^ with no other indication of suffering than 
the tears which suffused their eyes and flowed incessant- 
ly." Speaking of another elephant he says, " When 


overpowered and made fast, his grief was most affecting; 
his violence sank to utter prostration, and he lay on the 
ground, uttering choking cries, with tears trickling 
down his cheeks." -° In the Zoological Gardens the 
keeper of the Indian elephants positively asserts that he 
has several times seen tears rolling down the face of the 
old female, when distressed by the removal of the young 
one. Hence I was extremely anxious to ascertain, as an 
extension of the relation between the contraction of the 
orbicular muscles and the shedding of tears in man, 
whether elephants when screaming or trumpeting loudly 
contract these muscles. At Mr. Bartlett's desire the 
keeper ordered the old and the young elephant to trum- 
pet; and we repeatedly saw in both animals that, just 
as the trumpeting began, the orbicular muscles, espe- 
cially the lower ones, were distinctly contracted. On a 

20 ' Ceylon,' 3rd edit. 1859, vol. ii. pp. 364, 376. I applied 
to Mr. Thwaites, in Ceylon, for further information with 
respect to the weeping of the elephant; and in conse- 
quence received a letter from the Rev. Mr Glenie, who, 
with others, kindly observed for me a herd of recently 
captured elephants. These, when irritated, screamed vio- 
lentty; but it is remarkable that they never when thus 
screaming- contracted the muscles round the eyes. Nor 
did they shed tears; and the native hunters asserted 
that they had never observed elephants weeping - . Never- 
theless, it appears to me impossible to doubt Sir E. Ten- 
nent's distinct details about their weeping, supported 
as they are by the positive assertion of the keeper in the 
Zoological Gardens. It is certain that the two elephants 
in the Gardens, when they began to trumpet loudly, in- 
variably contracted their orbicular muscles. I can recon- 
cile these conflicting statements only by supposing that 
the recently captured elephants in Ceylon, from being 
enraged or frightened, desired to observe their perse- 
cutors, and consequently did not contract their orbicular 
muscles, so that their vision might not be impeded. 
Those seen weeping by Sir E. Tennent were prostrate, 
and had given up the contest in despair. The elephants 
which trumpeted in the Zoological Gardens at the word 
of command, were, of course, neither alarmed nor en- 

Chap. VI. WEEPING. 167 

subsequent occasion the keeper made the old elephant 
trumpet much more loudly, and invariably both the 
upper and lower orbicular muscles were strongly con- 
tracted, and now in an equal degree. It is a singular 
fact that the African elephant, which, however, is so 
diiferent from the Indian species that it is placed by 
some naturalists in a distinct sub-genus, when made on 
two occasions to trumpet loudly, exhibited no trace of 
the contraction of the orbicular muscles. 

From the several foregoing cases with respect to 
Man, there can, I think, be no doubt that the contrac- 
tion of the muscles round the eyes, during violent ex- 
piration or when the expanded chest is forcibly com- 
pressed, is, in some manner, intimately connected with 
the secretion of tears. This holds good under widely 
different emotions, and independently of any emotion. 
It is not, of course, meant that tears cannot be secreted 
without the contraction of these muscles; for it is notori- 
ous that they are often freely shed with the eyelids not 

«/ %} %/ 

closed, and with the brows unwrinkled. The contrac- 
tion must be both involuntary and prolonged, as during 
a choking fit, or energetic, as during a sneeze. The mere 
involuntary winking of the eyelids, though often re- 
peated, does not bring tears into the eyes. Xor does the 
voluntary and prolonged contraction of the several sur- 
rounding muscles suffice. As the lacrymal glands of 
children are easily excited, I persuaded my own and sev- 
eral other children of different ages to contract these 
muscles repeatedly with their utmost force, and to con- 
tinue doing so as long as they possibly could; but this 
produced hardly any effect. There was sometimes a lit- 
tle moisture in the eyes, but not more than apparently 
could be accounted for by the squeezing out of the al- 
ready secreted tears within the glands. 

The nature of the relation between the involuntary 


and energetic contraction of the muscles round the eyes, 
and the secretion of tears, cannot be positively ascer- 
tained, but a probable view may be suggested. The 
primary function of the secretion of tears, together with 
some mucus, is to lubricate the surface of the eye; and 
a secondary one, as some believe, is to keep the nostrils 
damp, so that the inhaled air may be moist, 21 and like- 
wise to favour the power of smelling. But another, and 
at least equally important function of tears, is to wash 
out particles of dust or other minute objects which may 
get into the eyes. That this is of great importance is 
clear from the cases in which the cornea has been ren- 
dered opaque through inflammation, caused by particles 
of dust not being removed, in consequence of the eye 
and eyelid becoming immovable. 22 The secretion of 
tears from the irritation of any foreign body in the eye 
is a reflex action; — that is, the body irritates a peripheral 
nerve which sends an impression to certain sensory 
nerve-cells; these transmit an influence to other cells, 
and these again to the lacrymal glands. The influence 
transmitted to these glands causes, as there is good rea- 
son to believe, the relaxation of the muscular coats of 
the smaller arteries; this allows more blood to permeate 
the glandular tissue, and this induces a free secretion of 
tears. When the small arteries of the face, including 
those of the retina, are relaxed under very different cir- 
cumstances, namely, during an intense blush, the lacry- 
mal glands are sometimes affected in a like manner, for 
the eyes become suffused with tears. 

It is difficult to conjecture how many reflex actions 
have originated, but, in relation to the present case of 

21 Bergeon, as quoted in the ' Journal of Anatomy and 
Physiology,' Nov. 1871, p. 235. 

22 See, for instance, a case given by Sir Charles Bell, 
' Philosophical Transactions,' 1S23, p. 177. 

Chap. VI. WEEPIXG. 169 

the affection of the lacrymal glands through irritation 
of the surface of the eye, it may be worth remarking 
that, as soon as some primordial form became semi- 
terrestrial in its habits, and was liable to get particles 
of dust into its eyes, if these were not washed out they 
would cause much irritation; and on the principle of 
the radiation of nerve-force to adjoining nerve-cells, the 
lacrymal glands would be stimulated to secretion. As 
this would often recur, and as nerve-force readily passes 
along accustomed channels, a slight irritation would 
ultimately suffice to cause a free secretion of tears. 

As soon as by this, or by some other means, a reflex 
action of this nature had been established and rendered 
easy, other stimulants applied to the surface of the eye 
— such as a cold wind, slow inflammatory action, or a 
blow on the eyelids — would cause a copious secretion 
of tears, as we know to be the case. The glands are also 
excited into action through the irritation of adjoining 
parts. Thus when the nostrils are irritated by pungent 
vapours, though the eyelids may be kept firmly closed, 
tears are copiously secreted; and this likewise follows 
from a blow on the nose, for instance from a boxing- 
glove. A stinging switch on the face produces, as I have 
seen, the same effect. In these latter cases the secretion 
of tears is an incidental result, and of no direct service. 
As all these parts of the face, including the lacrymal 
glands, are supplied with branches of the same nerve, 
namely, the fifth, it is in some degree intelligible 
that the effects of the excitement of any one branch 
should spread to the nerve-cells or roots of the other 

The internal parts of the eye likewise act, under cer- 
tain conditions, in a reflex manner on the lacrymal 
glands. The following statements have been kindly 

communicated to me by Mr. Bowman; but the subject 


is a very intricate one, as all the parts of the eye are 
so intimately related together, and are so sensitive to 
various stimulants. A strong light acting on the retina, 
when in a normal condition, has very little tendency to 
cause lacrymation; but with unhealthy children having 
small, old-standing ulcers on the cornea, the retina be- 
comes excessively sensitive to light, and exposure even 
to common daylight causes forcible and sustained closure 
of the lids, and a profuse flow of tears. When persons 
who ought to begin the use of convex glasses habitually 
strain the waning power of accommodation, an undue 
secretion of tears very often follows, and the retina is 
liable to become unduly sensitive to light. In general, 
morbid affections of the surface of the eye, and of the 
ciliary structures concerned in the accommodative act, 
are prone to be accompanied with excessive secretion of 
tears. Hardness of the eyeball, not rising to inflamma- 
tion, but implying a want of balance between the fluids 
poured out and again taken up by the intra-ocular ves- 
sels, is not usually attended with any laciwmation. When 
the balance is on the other side, and the eye becomes 
too soft, there is a greater tendency to lacrymation. 
Finallv, there are numerous morbid states and structural 
alterations of the eyes, and even terrible inflammations, 
which may be attended with little or no secretion of 
tears. • 

It also deserves notice, as indirectly bearing on our 
subject, that the eye and adjoining parts are subject to 
an extraordinary number of reflex and associated move- 
ments, sensations, and actions, besides those relating to 
the lacrymal glands. When a bright light strikes the 
retina of one eye alone, the iris contracts, but the iris 
of the other eye moves after a measurable interval of 
time. The iris likewise moves in accommodation to near 
or distant vision, and when the two eyes are made to 

Chap. VI. WEEPIXG. 171 

converge. 23 Every one knows how irresistibly the eye- 
brows are drawn down under an intensely bright light. 
The eyelids also involuntarily wink when an object is 
moved near the eyes, or a sound is suddenly heard. The 
well-known case of a bright light causing some persons 
to sneeze is even more curious; for nerve-force here radi- 
ates from certain nerve-cells in connection with the 
retina, to the sensory nerve-cells of the nose, causing 
it to tickle; and from these, to the cells which command 
the various respiratory muscles (the orbiculars included) 
which expel the air in so peculiar a manner that it rushes 
through the nostrils alone. 

To return to our point: why are tears secreted during 
a screaming-fit or other violent expiratory efforts? As 
a slight blow on the eyelids causes a copious secretion 
of tears, it is at least possible that the spasmodic con- 
traction of the eyelids, by pressing strongly on the eye- 
ball, should in a similar manner cause some secretion. 
This seems possible, although the voluntary contraction 
of the same muscles does not produce any such effect. 
"We know that a man cannot voluntarily sneeze or cough 
with nearly the same force as he does automatically: and 
so it is with the contraction of the orbicular muscles: 
Sir C. Bell experimented on them, and found that by 
suddenly and forcibly closing the eyelids in the dark, 
sparks of light are seen, like those caused by tapping 
the eyelids with the fingers; " but in sneezing the com- 
pression is both more rapid and more forcible, and the 
sparks are more brilliant." That these sparks are due 
to the contraction of the eyelids is clear, because if they 
" are held open during the act of sneezing, no sensation 
of light will be experienced." In the peculiar cases re- 

23 See, on these several points, Prof. Donders ' On the 
Anomalies of Accommodation and Pcefraction of the Eye,' 
1864, p. 573. 


f erred to by Professor Donders and Mr. Bowman, we 
have seen that some weeks after the eye lias been very 
slightly injured, spasmodic contractions of the eyelids 
ensue, and these are accompanied by a profuse flow of 
tears. In the act of yawning, the tears are apparently 
due solely to the spasmodic contraction of the muscles 
round the eyes. Notwithstanding these latter cases, it 
seems hardly credible that the pressure of the eyelids 
on the surface of the eye, although effected spasmodi- 
cally and therefore with much greater force than can 
be done voluntarily, should be sufficient to cause by re- 
flex action the secretion of tears in the many cases in 
which this occurs during violent expiratory efforts. 

Another cause may come conjointly into play. We 
have seen that the internal parts of the eye, under cer- 
tain conditions, act in a reflex manner on the lacrymal 
glands. We know that during violent expiratory efforts 
the pressure of the arterial blood within the vessels of 
the eye is increased, and that the return of the venous 
blood is impeded. It seems, therefore, not improbable 
that the distension of the ocular vessels, thus induced, 
might act by reflection on the lacrymal glands — the ef- 
fects due to the spasmodic pressure of the eyelids on the 
surface of the eye being thus increased. 

In considering how far this view is probable, we 
should bear in mind that the eyes of infants have been 
acted on in this double manner during numberless gen- 
erations, whenever they have screamed; and on the prin- 
ciple of nerve-force readily passing along accustomed 
channels, even a moderate compression of the eyeballs 
and a moderate distension of the ocular vessels would 
ultimately come, through habit, to act on the glands. 
We have an analogous case in the orbicular muscles 
being almost always contracted in some slight degree, 
even during a gentle crying-fit, when there can be no 

Chap. VI. WEEPING. 173 

distension of the vessels and no uncomfortable sensation 
excited within the eyes. 

Moreover, when complex actions or movements have 
long been performed in strict association together, and 
these are from any cause at first voluntarily and after- 
wards habitually checked, then if the proper exciting 
conditions occur, any part of the action or movement 
which is least under the control of the will, will often 
still be involuntarily performed. The secretion by a 
gland is remarkably free from the influence of the will; 
therefore, when with the advancing age of the individ- 
ual, or with the advancing culture of the race, the habit 
of crying out or screaming is restrained, and there is 
consequently no distension of the blood-vessels of the 
eye, it may nevertheless well happen that tears should 
still be secreted. T\ T e may see, as lately remarked, the 
muscles round the eyes of a person who reads a pathetic 
story, twitching or trembling in so slight a degree as 
hardly to be detected. In this case there has been no 
screaming and no distension of the blood-vessels, yet 
through habit certain nerve-cells send a small amount 
of nerve-force to the cells commanding the muscles 
round the eyes; and they likewise send some to the cells 
commanding the lacrymal glands, for the eyes often 
become at the same time just moistened with tears. 
If the twitching of the muscles round the eyes and the 
secretion of tears had been completely prevented, never- 
theless it is almost certain that there would have been 
some tendency to transmit nerve-force in these same 
directions; and as the lacrymal glands are remarkably 
free from the control of the will, they would be emi- 
nently liable still to act, thus betra} T ing, though there 
were no other outward signs, the pathetic thoughts 
which were passing through the person's mind. 

As a further illustration of the view here advanced, 


I may remark that if, during an early period of life, when 
habits of all kinds are readily established, our infants, 
when pleased, had been accustomed to utter loud peals 
of laughter (during which the vessels of their eyes are 
distended) as often and as continuously as they have 
yielded when distressed to screaming-fits, then it is prob- 
able that in after life tears would have been as copiously 
and as regularly secreted under the one state of mind 
as under the other. Gentle laughter, or a smile, or even 
a pleasing thought, would have sufficed to cause a mod- 
erate secretion of tears. There does indeed exist an evi- 
dent tendency in this direction, as will be seen in a future 
chapter, when we treat of the tender feelings. With the 
Sandwich Islanders, according to Freycinet, 24 tears are 
actually recognized as a sign of happiness; but we should 
require better evidence on this head than that of a pass- 
ing voyager. So again if our infants, during many gen- 
erations, and each of them during several years, had al- 
most daily suffered from prolonged choking-fits, during 
which the vessels of the eye are distended and tears 
copiously secreted, then it is probable, such is the force 
of associated habit, that during after life the mere 
thought of a choke, without any distress of mind, would 
have sufficed to bring tears into our eyes. 

To sum up this chapter, weeping is probably the re- 
sult of some such chain of events as follows. Children, 
when wanting food or suffering in any way, cry out 
loudly, like the young of most other animals, partly as a 
call to their parents for aid, and partly from any great 
exertion serving as a relief. Prolonged screaming in- 
evitably leads to the gorging of the blood-vessels of the 
eye; and this will have led, at first consciously and at 

24 Quoted by Sir J. Lubbock, « Prehistoric Times,' 1865, 
p. 458. 

Chap. VI. WEEPING. 175 

last habitually, to the contraction of the muscles round 
the eyes in order to protect them. At the same time the 
spasmodic pressure on the surface of the eye, and the 
distension of the vessels within the eye, without neces- 
sarily entailing any conscious sensation, will have af- 
fected, through reflex action, the lacrymal glands. 
Finally, through the three principles of nerve-force read- 
ily passing along accustomed channels — of association, 
which is so widely extended in its power — and of cer- 
tain actions, being more under the control of the will 
than others — it has come to pass that suffering readily 
causes the secretion of tears, without being necessarily 
accompanied by any other action. 

Although in accordance with this view we must look 
at weeping as an incidental result, as purposeless as the 
secretion of tears from a blow outside the eye, or as a 
sneeze from the retina being affected by a bright light, 
yet this does not present any difficulty in our under- 
standing how the secretion of tears serves as a relief to 
suffering. And by as much as the weeping is more vio- 
lent or hysterical, by so much will the relief be greater, 
— on the same principle that the writhing of the whole 
body, the grinding of the teeth, and the uttering of 
piercing shrieks, all give relief under an agony of pain. 



Low Spirits, Anxiety, Grief, Dejection, Despair. 

General effect of grief on the system — Obliquity of the 
eyebrows under suffering — On the cause of the ob- 
liquity of the eyebrows — On the depression of the 
corners of the mouth. 

After the mind has suffered from an acute parox- 
ysm of grief, and the cause still continues, we fall into a 
state of low spirits; or we may be utterly cast down and 
dejected. Prolonged bodily pain, if not amounting to 
an agony, generally leads to the same state of mind. 
If we expect to suffer, we are anxious; if we have no 
hope of relief, we despair. 

Persons suffering from excessive grief often seek re- 
lief by violent and almost frantic movements, as de- 
scribed in a former chapter; but when their suffering is 
somewhat mitigated, yet prolonged, they no longer wish 
for action, but remain motionless and passive, or may 
occasionally rock themselves to and fro. The circula- 
tion becomes languid; the face pale; the muscles flaccid; 
the eyelids droop; the head hangs on the contracted 
chest; the lips, cheeks, and lower jaw all sink down- 
wards from their own weight. Hence all the features 
are lengthened; and the face of a person who hears bad 
news is said to fall. A party of natives in Tierra del 
Fuego endeavoured to explain to us that their friend, 


the captain of a sealing vessel, was out of spirits, by 
pulling down their cheeks with both hands, so as to 
make their faces as long as possible. Mr. Bunnet in- 
forms me that the Australian aborigines when out of 
spirits have a chop-fallen appearance. After prolonged 
suffering the eyes become dull and lack expression, and 
are often slightly suffused with tears. The eyebrows 
not rarely are rendered oblique, winch is due to their 
inner ends being raised. This produces peculiarly- 
formed wrinkles on the forehead, which are very differ- 
ent from those of a simple frown; though in some cases 
a frown alone may be present. The corners of the mouth 
are drawn downwards, which is so universally recognized 
as a sign of being out of spirits, that it is almost pro- 

The breathing becomes slow and feeble, and is often 
interrupted by deep sighs. As Gratiolet remarks, when- 
ever our attention is long concentrated on any subject, 
we forget to breathe, and then relieve ourselves by a 
deep inspiration; but the sighs of a sorrowful person, 
owing to his slow respiration and languid circulation, 
are eminently characteristic. 1 As the grief of a person 
in this state occasionally recurs and increases into a par- 
oxysm, spasms affect the respiratory muscles, and he 
feels as if something, the so-called globus hystericus, 
was rising in his throat. These spasmodic movements 
are clearly allied to the sobbing of children, and are 
remnants of those severer spasms which occur when a 
person is said to choke from excessive grief. 2 

1 The above descriptive remarks are taken in part 
from mv own observations, but chiefly from Gratiolet 
('De la Physionomie,' pp. 53, 337; on Sighing-, 232), who 
has well treated this whole subject. See, also, Huschke, 
' Mimices et Phvsiognomices, Fragmentum Physiologi- 
cum,' 1821, p. 21. " On the dulness of the eyes, Dr. Piderit, 
' Mimik und Physiognomik,' 1867, s. 65. 

2 0» the actfon pf grief on the organs of respiration, 


Obliquity of the eyebrows. — Two points alone in the 
above description require further elucidation, and these 
are very curious ones; namely, the raising of the inner 
ends of the eyebrows, and the drawing down of the cor- 
ners of the mouth. With respect to the eyebrows, they 
may occasionally be seen to assume an oblique position 
in persons suffering from deep dejection or anxiety; for 
instance, I have observed this movement in a mother 
whilst speaking about her sick son; and it is sometimes 
excited by quite trifling or momentary causes of real or 
pretended distress. The eyebrows assume this position 
owing to the contraction of certain muscles (namely, the 
orbiculars, corrugators, and pyramidals of the nose, 
which together tend to lower and contract the eyebrows) 
being partially checked by the more powerful action of 
the central fasciae of the frontal muscle. These latter 
fascia? by their contraction raise the inner ends alone 
of the eyebrows; and as the corrugators at the same time 
draw the eyebrows together, their inner ends become 
puckered into a fold or lump. This fold is a highly char- 
acteristic point in the appearance of the eyebrows when 
rendered oblique, as may be seen in figs. 2 and 5, Plate 
II. The eyebrows are at the same time somewhat rough- 
ened, owing to the hairs being made to project. Dr. J. 
Crichton Browne has also often noticed in melancholic 
patients who keep their eyebrows persistently oblique, 
" a peculiar acute arching of the upper eyelid." A trace 
of this may be observed by comparing the right and left 
eyelids of the young man in the photograph (fig. 2, Plate 
II.) ; for he was not able to act equally on both eyebrows. 
This is also shown by the unequal furrows on the two 
sides of his forehead. The acute arching of the eyelids 

see more especially Sir C. Bell, ' Anatomy of Expression,' 
3rd edit. 1844, p. 151. 

ib 11 


Phalogravurz hyYFrxhJhf-iScn 


depends, I believe, on the inner end alone of the eye- 
brows being raised; for when the whole eyebrow is ele- 
vated and arched, the upper eyelid follows in a slight 
degree the same movement. 

But the most conspicuous result of the opposed con- 
traction of the above-named muscles, is exhibited by the 
peculiar furrows formed on the forehead. These mus- 
cles, when thus in conjoint yet opposed action, may be 
called, for the sake of brevity, the grief-muscles. When 
a person elevates his eyebrows by the contraction of the 
whole frontal muscle, transverse wrinkles extend across 
the whole breadth of the forehead; but in the present 
case the middle fasciae alone are contracted; consequent- 
ly, transverse furrows are formed across the middle part 
alone of the forehead. The skin over the exterior parts 
of both evebrows is at the same time drawn downwards 
and smooth, by the contraction of the outer portions of 
the orbicular muscles. The eyebrows are likewise 
brought together through the simultaneous contraction 
of the corrugators; 3 and this latter action generates 

3 In the foregoing" remarks on the manner in which 
the eyebrows are made oblique, I have followed what 
seems to be the universal opinion of all the anatomists, 
whose works I have consulted on the action of the above- 
named muscles, or with whom I have conversed. Hence 
throughout this work I shall take a similar view of the 
action of the corrugator supercilii, orbicularis, pyramidalis 
nasi, and frontalis muscles. Dr. Duchenne, however, be- 
lieves, and every conclusion at which he arrives deserves 
serious consideration, that it is the corrugator, called by 
him the sourcilier, which raises the inner corner of the 
eyebrows and is antagonistic to the upper and inner 
part of the orbicular muscle, as well as to the pyramidalis 
nasi (see Mecanisme de la Phys. Humaine, 1862, folio, art. 
v., text and figures 19 to 29: octavo edit. 1862, p. 43 text). 
He admits, however, that the corrugator draws together 
the eyebrows, causing vertical furrows above the base of 
the nose, or a frown. He further believes that towards 
the outer two-thirds of the eyebrow the corrugator acts 
in conjunction with the upper orbicular muscle; both 
here standing in antagonism to the frontal muscle. I 


vertical furrows, separating the exterior and lowered 
part of the skin of the forehead from the central and 
raised part. The union of these vertical furrows with 
the central and transverse furrows (see figs. 2 and 3) 
produces a mark on the forehead which has been com- 
pared to a horse-shoe; but the furrows more strictly 
form three sides of a quadrangle. They are often con- 
spicuous on the foreheads of adult or nearly adult per- 
sons, when their eyebrows are made oblique; but with 
young children, owing to their skin not easily wrinkling, 
they are rarely seen, or mere traces of them can be de- 

These peculiar furrows are best represented in fig. 3, 
Plate II., on the forehead of a young lady who has the 
power in an unusual degree of voluntarily acting on the 
requisite muscles. As she' was absorbed in the attempt, 
whilst being photographed, her expression was not at 
all one of grief; I have therefore given the forehead 
alone. Fig. 1 on the same plate, copied from Dr. Du- 
chenne's work, 4 represents, on a reduced scale, the face, 
in its natural state, of a young man who was a good 
actor. In fig. 2 he is shown simulating grief, but the 

am unable to understand, judging from Henle's drawings 
(woodcut, fig. 3), how the corrugator can act in the man- 
ner described by Duchenne. See, also, on this subject, 
Prof. Donders' remarks in the ' Archives of Medicine,' 
1870, vol. v. p. 34. Mr. J. Wood, who is so well known 
for his careful study of the muscles of the human frame, 
informs me that he believes the account which I have 
given of the action of the corrugator to be correct. But 
this is not a point of any importance with respect to 
the expression which is caused by the obliquity of the 
eyebrows, nor of much importance to the theory of its 

4 I am greatly indebted to Dr. Duchenne for permission 
to have these two photographs (figs. 1 and 2) reproduced 
by the heliotype process from his work in folio. Many 
of the foregoing remarks on the furrowing of the skin, 
when the ej^ebrows are rendered oblique, are taken from 
his excellent discussion on this subject. 


two eyebrows, as before remarked, are not equally acted 
on. That the expression is true, may be inferred from 
the fact that out of fifteen persons, to whom the origi- 
nal photograph was shown, without any clue to what was 
intended being given them, fourteen immediately an- 
swered, " despairing sorrow," " suffering endurance," 
" melancholy," and so forth. The history of fig. 5 is 
rather curious: I saw the photograph in a shop-window, 
and took it to Mr. Rejlander for the sake of finding out 
by whom it had been made; remarking to him how 
pathetic the expression was. He answered, " I made it, 
and it was likely to be pathetic, for the boy in a few min- 
utes burst out crying." He then showed me a photo- 
graph of the same boy in a placid state, which I have 
had (fig. 4) reproduced. In fig. 6, a trace of obliquity 
in the eyebrow s may be detected ; but this figure, as well 
as fig. 7, is given to show the depression of the corners 
of the mouth, f o which subject I shall presently refer. 

Few persons, without some practice, can voluntarily 
act on their grief -muscles; but after repeated trials a 
considerable number succeed, whilst others never can. 
The degree of obliquity in the eyebrows, whether as- 
sumed voluntarily or unconsciously, differs much in dif- 
ferent persons. With some who apparently have unusu- 
ally strong pyramidal muscles, the contraction of the 
central fascia? of the frontal muscle, although it mav be 
energetic, as shown by the quadrangular furrows on the 
forehead, does not raise the inner ends of the eyebrows, 
but only prevents their being so much lowered as they 
otherwise would have been. As far as I have been able 
to observe, the grief-muscles are brought into action 
much more frequently by children and women than by 
men. They are rarely acted on, at least with grown-up 
persons, from bodily pain, but almost exclusively from 
mental distress. Two persons who, after some practice, 


succeeded in acting on their grief-muscles, found by 
looking at a mirror that when they made their eyebrows 
oblique, they unintentionally at the same time depressed 
the corners of their mouths; and this is often the case 
when the expression is naturally assumed. 

The power to bring the grief -muscles freely into play 
appears to be hereditary, like almost every other human 
faculty. A lady belonging to a family famous for hav- 
ing produced an extraordinary number of great actors 
and actresses, and who can herself give this expression 
" with singular precision," told Dr. Crichton Browne 
that all her family had possessed the power in a remark- 
able degree. The same hereditary tendency is said to 
have extended, as I likewise hear from Dr. Browne, to 
the last descendant of the famil} r , which gave rise to 
Sir Walter Scott's novel of ' Eed Gauntlet; ' but the 
hero is described as contracting his forehead into a horse- 
shoe mark from any strong emotion. I have also seen 
a young woman whose forehead seemed almost habit- 
ually thus contracted, independently of any emotion 
being at the time felt. 

The grief-muscles are not very frequently brought 
into play; and as the action is often momentary, it easily 
escapes observation. Although the expression, when ob- 
served, is universally and instantly recognized as that 
of grief or anxiety, yet not one person out of a thousand 
who has never studied the subject, is able to say precisely 
what change passes over the sufferer's face. Hence prob- 
ably it is that this expression is not even alluded to, as 
far as I have noticed, in any work of fiction, with the 
exception of ' Eed Gauntlet ' and of one other novel; 
and the authoress of the latter, as I am informed, be- 
longs to the famous family of actors just alluded to; so 
that her attention may have been specially called to the 


The ancient Greek sculptors were familiar with the 
expression, as shown in the statues of the Laocoon and 
Arretino; but, as Duchenne remarks, they carried the 
transverse furrows across the whole breadth of the fore- 
head, and thus committed a great anatomical mistake: 
this is likewise the case in some modern statues. It is, 
however, more probable that these wonderfully accurate 
observers intentionally sacrificed truth for the sake of 
beauty, than that they made a mistake; for rectangular 
furrows on the forehead would not have had a grand 
appearance on the marble. The expression, in its fully 
developed condition, is, as far as I can discover, not 
often represented in pictures by the old masters, no 
doubt owing to the same cause; but a lady who is per- 
fectly familiar with this expression, informs me that in 
Fra x\ngelico's ' Descent from the Cross/ in Florence, it 
is clearly exhibited in one of the figures on the right- 
hand; and I could add a few other instances. 

Dr. Crichton Browne, at my request, closely attended 
to this expression in the numerous insane patients under 
his care in the West Biding Asylum; and he is familiar 
with Duchenne's photographs of the action of the grief- 
muscles. He informs me that they may constantly be 
seen in energetic action in cases of melancholia, and 
especially of hypochondria; and that the persistent lines 
or furrows, due to their habitual contraction, are char- 
acteristic of the physiognomy of the insane belonging 
to these two classes. Dr. Browne carefully observed for 
me during a considerable period three cases of hypochon- 
dria, in which the grief-muscles were persistently con- 
tracted. In one of these, a widow, aged 51, fancied that 
she had lost all her viscera, and that her whole body was 
empty. She wore an expression of great distress, and 
beat her semi-closed hands rhythmically together for 
hours. The grief-muscles were permanently contracted, 


and the upper eyelids arched. This condition lasted for 
months; she then recovered, and her countenance re- 
sumed its natural expression. A second case presented 
nearly the same peculiarities, with the addition that the 
corners of the mouth were depressed. 

Mr. Patrick Xicol has also kindly observed for me 
several cases in the Sussex Lunatic Asylum, and has 
communicated to me full details with respect to three 
of them; but they need not here be given. From his 
observations on melancholic patients, Mr. Xicol con- 
cludes that the inner ends of the eyebrows are almost 
always more or less raised, with the wrinkles on the fore- 
head more or less plainly marked. In the case of one 
young woman, these wrinkles were observed to be in 
constant slight play or movement. In some cases the 
corners of the mouth are depressed, but often only in 
a slight degree. Some amount of difference in the ex- 
pression of the several melancholic patients could almost 
always be observed. The eyelids generally droop; and 
the skin near their outer corners and beneath them is 
wrinkled. The naso-labial fold, which runs from the 
wings of the nostrils to the corners of the mouth, and 
which is so conspicuous in blubbering children, is often 
plainly marked in these patients. 

Although with the insane the grief -muscles often act 
persistently; yet in ordinary cases they are sometimes 
brought unconsciously into momentary action by ludi- 
crously slight causes. A gentleman rewarded a young 
lady by an absurdly small present; she pretended to be 
offended, and as she upbraided him, her eyebrows be- 
came extremely oblique, with the forehead properly 
wrinkled. Another young lady and a youth, both in 
the highest spirits, were eagerly talking together with 
extraordinary rapidity; and I noticed that, as often as 
the young lady was beaten, and could not get out her 


words fast enough, her eyebrows went obliquely up- 
wards, and rectangular furrows were formed on her fore- 
head. She thus each time hoisted a flag of distress; and 
this she did half-a-dozen times in the course of a few 
minutes. I made no remark on the subject, but on a sub- 
sequent occasion I asked her to act on her grief-muscles; 
another girl who was present, and who could do so vol- 
untarily, showing her what was intended. She tried re- 
peatedl}', but utterly failed; yet so slight a cause of dis- 
tress as not being able to talk quickly enough, sufficed 
to bring these muscles over and over again into energetic 

The expression of grief, due to the contraction of the 
grief-muscles, is by no means confined to Europeans, 
but appears to be common to all the races of mankind. 
I have, at least, received trustworthy accounts in re- 
gard to Hindoos, Dhangars (one of the aboriginal hill- 
tribes of India, and therefore belonging to a quite dis- 
tinct race from the Hindoos), Malays, Negroes and Aus- 
tralians. With respect to the latter, two observers an- 
swer my query in the affirmative, but enter into no 
details. Mr. Taplin, however, appends to my descriptive 
remarks the words " this is exact." "With respect to 
negroes, the lady who told me of Fra Angelico's picture, 
saw a negro towing a boat on the Nile, and as he encoun- 
tered an obstruction, she observed his grief-muscles in 
strong action, with the middle of the forehead well wrin- 
kled. Mr. Geach watched a Malay man in Malacca, with 
the corners of his mouth much depressed, the eyebrows 
oblique, with deep short grooves on the forehead. This 
expression lasted for a very short time; and Mr. Geach 
remarks it "was a strange one, very much like a person 
about to cry at some great loss/' 

In India Mr. H. Erskine found that the natives were 

familiar with this expression; and Mr. J. Scott, of the 


Botanic Gardens, Calcutta, has obligingly sent me a full 
description of two cases. He observed during some time, 
himself unseen, a very young Dhangar woman from Nag- 
pore, the wife of one of the gardeners, nursing her baby 
who was at the point of death; and he distinctly saw the 
eyebrows raised at the inner corners, the eyelids droop- 
ing, the forehead wrinkled in the middle, the mouth 
slightly open, with the corners much depressed. He 
then came from behind a screen of plants and spoke to 
the poor woman, who started, burst into a bitter flood 
of tears, and besought him to cure her baby. The sec- 
ond case was that of a Hindustani man, who from illness 
and poverty was compelled to sell his favourite goat. 
After receiving the money, he repeatedly looked at the 
money in his hand and then at the goat, as if doubting 
whether he would not return it. He went to the goat, 
which was tied up ready to be led away, and the animal 
reared up and licked his hands. His eyes then wavered 
from side to side; his " mouth was partially closed, with 
the corners very decidedly depressed." At last the poor 
man seemed to make up his mind that he must part with 
his goat, and then, as Mr. Scott saw, the eyebrows be- 
came slightly oblique, with the characteristic puckering 
or swelling at the inner ends, but the wrinkles on the 
forehead were not present. The man stood thus for a 
minute, then heaving a deep sigh, burst into tears, raised 
up his two hands, blessed the goat, turned round, and 
without looking again, went away. 

On the cause of the obliquity of the eyebrows under 
suffering. — During several years no expression seemed 
to me so utterly perplexing as this which we are here 
considering. Why should grief or anxiety cause the 
central fascia? alone of the frontal muscle together with 
those round the eyes, to contract? Here we seem to 
have a complex movement for the sole purpose of ex- 


pressing grief; and yet it is a comparatively rare expres- 
sion, and often overlooked. I believe the explanation is 
not so difficult as it at first appears. Dr. Duchenne 
gives a photograph of the young man before referred to, 
who, when looking upwards at a strongly illuminated 
surface, involuntarily contracted his grief-muscles in an 
exaggerated manner. I had entirely forgotten this 
photograph, when on a very bright day with the sun 
behind me, I met, whilst on horseback, a girl whose eye- 
brows, as she looked up at me, became extremely oblique, 
with the proper furrows on her forehead. I have ob- 
served the same movement under similar circumstances 
on several subsequent occasions. On my return home 
I made three of my children, without giving them any 
clue to my object, look as long and as attentively as they 
could, at the summit of a tall tree standing against an 
extremely bright sky. With all three, the orbicular, 
corrugator, and pyramidal muscles were energetically 
contracted, through reflex action, from the excitement 
of the retina, so that their eyes might be protected from 
the bright light. But they tried their utmost to look 
upwards; and now a curious struggle, with spasmodic 
twitchings, could be observed between the whole or only 
the central portion of the frontal muscle, and the sev- 
eral muscles which serve to lower the evebrows and close 
the eyelids. The involuntary contraction of the pyram- 
idal caused the basal part of their noses to be trans- 
versely and deeply wrinkled. In one of the three chil- 
dren, the whole evebrows were momentarily raised and 
lowered by the alternate contraction of the whole frontal 
muscle and of the muscles surrounding the eyes, so that 
the whole breadth of the forehead was alternately wrin- 
kled and smoothed. In the other two children the fore- 
head became wrinkled in the middle part alone, rectan- 
gular furrows being thus produced; and the eyebrows 


were rendered oblique, with their inner extremities puck- 
ered and swollen; — in the one child in a slight degree, 
in the other in a strongly marked manner. This differ- 
ence in the obliquity of the eyebrows apparently de- 
pended on a difference in their general mobility, and 
in the strength of the pyramidal muscles. In both these 
cases the eyebrows and forehead were acted on under 
the influence of a strong light, in precisely the same 
manner, in every characteristic detail, as under the in- 
fluence of grief or anxiety. 

Duchenne states that the pyramidal muscle of the 
nose is less under the control of the will than are the 
other muscles round the eyes. He remarks that the 
young man who could so well act on his grief-muscles, 
as well as on most of his other facial muscles, could not 
contract the pyramidals. 5 This power, however, no 
doubt differs in different persons. The pyramidal mus- 
cle serves to draw down the skin of the forehead be- 
tween the eyebrows, together with their inner extremi- 
ties. The central fasciae of the frontal are the antago- 
nists of the pyramidal; and if the action of the latter is 
to be specially checked, these central fasciae must be 
contracted. So that with persons having powerful pyram- 
idal muscles, if there is under the influence of a bright 
light an unconscious desire to prevent the lowering of 
the eyebrows, the central fasciae of the frontal muscle 
must be brought into play; and their contraction, if suf- 
ficiently strong to overmaster the pyramidals, together 
with the contraction of the corrugator and orbicular 
muscles, will act in the manner just described on the 
eyebrows and forehead. 

When children scream or cry out, they contract, as 
we know, the orbicular, corrugator, and pyramidal mus- 

* Mecanisme de la Phys. Humaine, Album, p. 15. 


cles, primarily for the sake of compressing their eyes, 
and thus protecting them from being gorged with blood, 
and secondarily through habit. I therefore expected 
to find with children, that when they endeavoured either 
to prevent a crying-fit from coining on, or to stop crying, 
they would check the contraction of the above-named 
muscles, in the same manner as when looking upwards 
at a bright light; and consequently that the central fas- 
cia of the frontal muscle would often be brought into 
play. Accordingly, I began myself to observe children 
at such times, and asked others, including some medical 
men, to do the same. It is necessary to observe care- 
fully, as the peculiar opposed action of these muscles 
is not nearly so plain in children, owing to their fore- 
heads not easily wrinkling, as in adults. But I soon 
found that the grief-muscles were very frequently 
brought into distinct action on these occasions. It would 
be superfluous to give all the cases which have been ob- 
served; and I will specify only a few. A little girl, a 
year and a half old, was teased by some other children, 
and before bursting into tears her eyebrows became de- 
cidedly oblique. With an older girl the same obliquity 
was observed, with the inner ends of the eyebrows plain- 
ly puckered; and at the same time the corners of the 
mouth were drawn downwards. As soon as she burst 
into tears, the features all changed and this peculiar 
expression vanished. Again, after a little boy had been 
vaccinated, which made him scream and cry violently, 
the surgeon gave him an orange brought for the pur- 
pose, and this pleased the child much; as he stopped 
crying all the characteristic movements were observed, 
including the formation of rectangular wrinkles in the 
middle of the forehead. Lastly, I met on the road a 
little girl three or four years old, who had been fright- 
ened by a dog, and when I asked her what was the mat- 


ter, she stopped whimpering, and her eyebrows instantly 
became oblique to an extraordinary degree. 

Here then, as I cannot doubt, we have the key to 
the problem why the central fasciae of the frontal mus- 
cle and the muscles round the eyes contract in oppo- 
sition to each other under the influence of grief; — wheth- 
er their contraction be prolonged, as with the melan- 
cholic insane, or momentary, from some trifling cause 
of distress. We have all of us, as infants, repeatedly 
contracted our orbicular, corrugator, and pyramidal mus- 
cles, in order to protect our eyes whilst screaming; our 
progenitors before us have done the same during many 
generations; and though with advancing years we easily 
prevent, when feeling distressed, the utterance of 
screams, we cannot from long habit always prevent a 
slight contraction of the above-named muscles; nor in- 
deed do we observe their contraction in ourselves, or 
attempt to stop it, if slight. But the pyramidal mus- 
cles seem to be less under the command of the will than 
the other related muscles; and if they be well devel- 
oped, their contraction can be checked only by the an- 
tagonistic contraction of the central fascia? of the frontal 
muscle. The result which necessarilv follows, if these 
fasciae contract energetically, is the oblique drawing up 
of the eyebrows, the puckering of their inner ends, and 
the formation of rectangular furrows on the middle of the 
forehead.-. As children and women cry much more freely 
than men, and as grown-up persons of both sexes rarely 
weep except from mental distress, we can understand 
why the grief -muscles are more frequently seen in action, 
as I believe to be the case, with children and women 
than with men; and with adults of both sexes from men- 
tal distress alone. In some of the cases before recorded, 
as in that of the poor Dhangar woman and of the Hin- 
dustani man, the action of the grief -muscles was quickly 


followed by bitter weeping. In all cases of distress, 
whether great or small, our brains tend through long 
habit to send an order to certain muscles to contract, 
as if we were still infants on the point of screaming out; 
but this order we, by the wondrous power of the will, 
and through habit, are able partially to counteract; al- 
though this is effected unconsciously, as far as the means 
of counteraction are concerned. 

On the depression of the comers of the mouth. — This 
action is effected by the depressores anguili oris (see let- 
ter K in figs. 1 and 2). The fibres of this muscle diverge 
downwards, with the upper convergent ends attached 
round the angles of the mouth, and to the lower lip 
a little way within the angles. 6 Some of the fibres ap- 
pear to be antagonistic to the great zygomatic muscle, 
and others to the several muscles running to the outer 
part of the upper lip. The contraction of this muscle 
draws downwards and outwards the corners of the 
mouth, including the outer part of the upper lip, and 
even in a slight degree the wings of the nostrils. When 
the mouth is closed and this muscle acts, the commis- 
sure or line of junction of the two lips forms a curved 
line with the concavity downwards, 7 and the lips them- 
selves are generally somewhat protruded, especially the 
lower one. The mouth in this state is well represented 
in the two photographs (Plate II., figs. 6 and 7) by Mr. 
Eejlander. The upper boy (fig. 6) had just stopped cry- 
ing, after receiving a slap on the face from another boy; 
and the right moment was seized for photographing him. 

6 Henle, Handbuch der Anat. des Menschen, 1858, B. 
i. s. 148, fig-s. 68 and 69. 

7 See the account of the action of this muscle by Dr. 
Duchenne, ' Mecanisme de la Physionomie Humaine, 
Album (1862), viii. p. 34. 


The expression of low spirits, grief or dejection, due 
to the contraction of this muscle has been noticed by 
every one who has written on the subject. To say that 
a person " is down in the mouth/' is synonymous with 
saying that he is out of spirits. The depression of the 
corners may often be seen, as already stated on the au- 
thority of Dr. Crichton Browne and Mr. Nicol, with the 
melancholic insane, and was well exhibited in some 
photographs sent to me by the former gentleman, of 
patients with a strong tendency to suicide. It has been 
observed with men belonging to various races, namely 
with Hindoos, the dark hill-tribes of India, Malays, and, 
as the Rev. Mr. Hagenauer informs me, with the abo- 
rigines of Australia. 

When infants scream they firmly contract the mus- 
cles round their eyes, and this draws up the upper lip; 
and as they have to keep their mouths widely open, the 
depressor muscles running to the corners are likewise 
brought into strong action. This generally, but not 
invariably, causes a slight angular bend in the lower 
lip on both sides, near the corners of the mouth. The 
result of the upper and lower lip being thus acted on, 
is that the mouth assumes a squarish outline. The con- 
traction of the depressor muscle is best seen in infants 
when not screaming violently, and especially just before 
they begin, or when they cease to scream. Their little 
faces then acquire an extremely piteous expression, as 
I continually observed with my own infants between 
the ages of about six weeks and two or three months. 
Sometimes, when they are struggling against a crying- 
fit, the outline of the mouth is curved in so exaggerated a 
manner as to be like a horseshoe; and the expression of 
misery then becomes a ludicrous caricature. 

The explanation of the contraction of this muscle, 
under the influence of low spirits or dejection, appar- 


ently follows from the same general principles as in the 
case of the obliquity of the eyebrows. Dr. Duchenne 
informs me that he concludes from his observations, now 
prolonged during many years, that this is one of the 
facial muscles which is least under the control of the 
will. This fact may indeed be inferred from what has 
just been stated with respect to infants when doubtfully 
beginning to cry, or endeavouring to stop crying; for 
they then generally command all the other facial mus- 
cles more effectually than they do the depressors of the 
corners of the mouth. Two excellent observers who 
had no theory on the subject, one of them a surgeon, 
carefully watched for me some older children and women 
as with some opposed struggling they very gradually 
approached the point of bursting out into tears; and 
both observers felt sure that the depressors began to 
act before any of the other muscles. Xow as the de- 
pressors have been repeatedly brought into strong action 
during infancy in many generations, nerve-force will 
tend to flow, on the principle of long associated habit, 
to these muscles as well as to various other facial mus- 
cles, whenever in after life even a slight feeling of dis- 
tress is experienced. But as the depressors are some- 
what less under the control of the will than most of the 
other muscles, we might expect that they would often 
slightly contract, whilst the others remained passive. 
It is remarkable how small a depression of the corners 
of the mouth gives to the countenance an expression of 
low spirits or dejection, so that an extremely slight con- 
traction of these muscles would be sufficient to betray 
this state of mind. 

I may here mention a trifling observation, as it will 
serve to sum up our present subject. An old lady with 
a comfortable but absorbed expression sat nearly oppo- 


site to me in a railway carriage. Whilst I was looking 
at her, I saw that her clep ressor es anguli oris became 
very slightly, yet decidedly, contracted; but as her 
countenance remained as placid as ever, I reflected how 
meaningless was this contraction, and how easily one 
might be deceived. The thought had hardly occurred 
to me when I saw that her eyes suddenly became suf- 
fused with tears almost to overflowing, and her whole 
countenance fell. There could now be no doubt that 
some painful recollection, perhaps that of a long-lost 
child, was passing through her mind. As soon as her 
sensorium was thus affected, certain nerve-cells from 
long habit instantly transmitted an order to all the re- 
spiratory muscles, and to those round the mouth, to pre- 
pare for a fit of crying. But the order was counter- 
manded by the will, or rather by a later acquired habit, 
and all the muscles were obedient, excepting in a slight 
degree the depressor es anguli oris. The mouth was not 
even opened; the respiration was not hurried; and no 
muscle was affected except those which draw down the 
corners of the mouth. 

As soon as the mouth of this lady began, involun- 
tarily and unconsciously on her part, to assume the 
proper form for a crying-fit, we may feel almost sure 
that some nerve-influence would have been transmitted 
through the long accustomed channels to the various 
respiratory muscles, as well as to those round the eyes, 
and to the vaso-motor centre which governs the supply of 
blood sent to the lacrymal glands. Of this latter fact we 
have indeed clear evidence in her eyes becoming slightly 
suffused with tears; and we can understand this, as the 
lacrymal glands are less under the control of the will 
than the facial muscles. No doubt there existed at the 
same time some tendency in the muscles round the eyes 
at contract, as if for the sake of protecting them from 


being gorged with blood, but this contraction was com- 
pletely overmastered, and her brow remained unruffled. 
Had the pyramidal, corrugator, and orbicular muscles 
been as little obedient to the will, as they are in many 
persons, they would have been slightly acted on; and 
then the central fasciae of the frontal muscle would have 
contracted in antagonism, and her eyebrows would have 
become oblique, with rectangular furrows on her fore- 
head. Her countenance would then have expressed still 
more plainly than it did a state of dejection, or rather 
one of grief. 

Through steps such as these we can understand how 
it is, that as soon as some melancholy thought passes 
through the brain, there occurs a just perceptible draw- 
ing down of the corners of the mouth, or a slight raising 
up of the inner ends of the eyebrows, or both movements 
combined, and immediately afterwards a slight suffu- 
sion of tears. A thrill of nerve-force is transmitted along 
several habitual channels, and produces an effect on any 
point where the will has not acquired through long 
habit much power of interference. The above actions 
may be considered as rudimental vestiges of the scream- 
ing-fits, which are so frequent and prolonged during 
infancy. In this case, as well as in many others, the 
links are indeed wonderful which connect cause and 
effect in giving rise to various expressions on the human 
countenance; and they explain to us the meaning of 
certain movements, which we involuntarily and uncon- 
sciously perform, whenever certain transitory emotions 
pass through our minds. 



Joy, High Spieits, Love, Tender Feelings, 


Laughter primarily the expression of joy — Ludicrous ideas 
— Movements of the features during laughter — Nature 
of the sound produced — The secretion of tears during 
loud laughter — Gradation from loud laughter to g'entle 
smiling — High spirits — The expression of love — Tender 
feelings — Devotion. 

Joy, when intense, leads to various purposeless move- 
ments — to dancing about, clapping the hands, stamping, 
&c, and to loud laughter. Laughter seems primarily 
to be the expression of mere joy or happiness. We 
clearly see this in children at play, who are almost inces- 
santly laughing. With young persons past childhood, 
when they are in high spirits, there is always much 
meaningless laughter. The laughter of the gods is de- 
scribed bv Homer as " the exuberance of their celestial 
joy after their daily banquet." A man smiles — and 
smiling, as we shall see, graduates into laughter — at 
meeting an old friend in the street, as he does at any 
trifling pleasure, such as smelling a sweet perfume. 1 
Laura Bridgman, from her blindness and deafness, could 
not have acquired any expression through imitation, 
yet when a letter from a beloved friend was communi- 
cated to her by gesture-language, she " laughed and 

1 Herbert Spencer, ' Essays Scientific,' &c, 1858, p. 360. 

Chap. VIII. LAUGHTER. 197 

clapped her hands, and the colour mounted to her 
cheeks." On other occasions she has been seen to stamp 
for joy. 2 

Idiots and imbecile persons likewise afford good evi- 
dence that laughter or smiling primarily expresses mere 
happiness or joy. Dr. Crichton Browne, to whom, as 
on so many other occasions, I am indebted for the results 
of his wide experience, informs me that with idiots 
laughter is the most prevalent and frequent of all the 
emotional expressions. Many idiots are morose, pas- 
sionate, restless, in a painful state of mind, or utterly 
stolid, and these never laugh. Others frequently laugh 
in a quite senseless manner. Thus an idiot boy, incapa- 
ble of speech, complained to Dr. Browne, by the aid of 
signs, that another boy in the asylum had given him 
a black eye; and this was accompanied by " explosions 
of laughter and with his face covered with the broadest 
smiles." There is another large class of idiots who are 
persistently joyous and benign, and who are constantly 
laughing or smiling. 3 Their countenances often exhibit 
a stereotyped smile; their joyousness is increased, and 
they grin, chuckle, or giggle, whenever food is placed 
before them, or when they are caressed, are shown bright 
colours, or hear music. Some of them laugh more than 
usual when they walk about, or attempt any muscular 
exertion. The joyousness of most of these idiots cannot 
possibly be associated, as Dr. Browne remarks, with any 
distinct ideas: they simply feel pleasure, and express 
it by laughter or smiles. With imbeciles rather higher 
in the scale, personal vanity seems to be the commonest 
cause of laughter, and next to this, pleasure arising from 
the approbation of their conduct. 

2 F. Lieber on the vocal sounds of L. Bridg-man, ' Smith- 
sonian Contributions,' 1851, vol. ii. p. 6. 

8 See, also, Mr. Marshall, in Phil. Transact. 1864, p. 526. 


With grown-up persons laughter is excited by causes 
considerably different from those which suffice during 
childhood; but this remark hardly applies to smiling. 
Laughter in this respect is analogous with weeping, 
which with adults is almost confined to mental distress, 
whilst with children it is excited by bodily pain or any 
suffering, as well as by fear or rage. Many curious dis- 
cussions have been written on the causes of laughter 
with grown-up persons. The subject is extremely com- 
plex. Something incongruous or unaccountable, excit- 
ing surprise and some sense of superiority in the laugher, 
who must be in a happy frame of mind, seems to be the 
commonest cause. 4 The circumstances must not be of 
a momentous nature : no poor man would laugh or smile 
on suddenly hearing that a large fortune had been be- 
queathed to him. If the mind is strongly excited by 
pleasurable feelings, and any little unexpected event or 
thought occurs, then, as Mr. Herbert Spencer remarks, 5 
" a large amount of nervous energy, instead of being 
allowed to expend itself in producing an equivalent 
amount of the new thoughts and emotion which were 
nascent, is suddenly checked in its flow." ..." The 
excess must discharge itself in some other direction, and 
there results an efflux through the motor nerves to vari- 
ous classes of the muscles, producing the half-convul- 
sive actions we term laughter." An observation, bear- 
ing on this point, was made by a correspondent during 
the recent siege of Paris, namely, that the German sol- 
diers, after strong excitement from exposure to extreme 

4 Mr. Bain (' The Emotions and the Will,' 1865, p. 247) 
has a long" and interesting" discussion on the Ludicrous. 
The quotation above given about the laug'hter of the 
gods is taken from this work. See, also, Mandeville, 
' The Fable of the Bees,' vol. ii. p. 168. 

5 ' The Physiology of Laughter,' Essays, Second Series, 
1863, p. 114. 

Chap. VIII. LAUGHTER. 199 

danger, were particularl} T apt to burst out into loud 
laughter at the smallest joke. So again when young 
children are just beginning to cry, an unexpected event 
will sometimes suddenly turn their crying into laughter, 
which apparently serves equally well to expend their 
superfluous nervous energy. 

The imagination is sometimes said to be tickled by a 
ludicrous idea; and this so-called tickling of the mind 
is curiously analogous with that of the body. Every one 
knows how immoderately children laugh, and how their 
whole bodies are convulsed when they are tickled. The 
anthropoid apes, as we have seen, likewise utter a re- 
iterated sound, corresponding with our laughter, when 
they are tickled, especially under the armpits. I touched 
with a bit of paper the sole of the foot of one of my 
infants, when only seven days old, and it was suddenly 
jerked away and the toes curled about, as in an older 
child. Such movements, as well as laughter from being 
tickled, are manifestlv reflex actions; and this is like- 
wise shown by the minute unstriped muscles, which 
serve to erect the separate hairs on the body, contract- 
ing near a tickled surface. 6 Yet laughter from a ludi- 
crous idea, though involuntary, cannot be called a strict- 
ly reflex action. In this case, and in that of laughter 
from being tickled, the mind must be in a pleasurable 
condition; a voung child, if tickled by a strange man, 
would scream from fear. The touch must be light, and 
an idea or event, to be ludicrous, must not be of grave 
import. The parts of the body which are most easily 
tickled are those which are not commonly touched, such 
as the armpits or between the toes, or parts such as the 
soles of the feet, which are habitually touched by a broad 

8 J. Lister in ' Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Sci- 
ence,' 1853, vol. i. p. 266. 


surface; but the surface on which we sit offers a marked 
exception to this rule. According to Gratiolet, 7 certain 
nerves are much more sensitive to tickling than others. 
From the fact that a child can hardly tickle itself, or in 
a much less degree than when tickled by another person, 
it seems that the precise point to be touched must not 
be known; so with the mind, something unexpected — a 
novel or incongruous idea which breaks through an 
habitual train of thought — appears to be a strong ele- 
ment in the ludicrous. 

The sound of laughter is produced by a deep inspira- 
tion followed by short, interrupted, spasmodic contrac- 
tions of the chest, and especially of the diaphragm. 8 
Hence we hear of " laughter holding both his sides." 
From the shaking of the body, the head nods to and fro. 
The lower jaw often quivers up and down, as is likewise 
the case with some species of baboons, when they are 
much pleased. 

During laughter the mouth is opened more or less 
widely, with the corners drawn much backwards, as 
well as a little upwards; and the upper lip is somewhat 
raised. The drawing back of the corners is best seen 
in moderate laughter, and especially in a broad smile — 
the latter epithet showing how the mouth is widened. 
In the accompanying figs. 1-3, Plate III., different 
degrees of moderate laughter and smiling have been 
photographed. The figure of the little girl, with the 
hat, is by Dr. Wallich, and the expression was a genuine 
one; the other two are by Mr. Eejlander. Dr. Duchenne 
repeatedly insists 9 that, under the emotion of joy, the 

7 * De la Phvsionomie,' p. 186. 

8 Sir C. Bell (Anat, of Expression, p. 147) makes some 
remarks on the movement of the diaphragm during 

9 ' Mecanisme de la Phvsionomie Humaine,' Album, 
Legende vi. 

Tab ill 

Phclajravure byVBfixkDap&Sim 

Chap. VIII. LAUGHTER. 201 

mouth is acted on exclusively by the great zygomatic 
muscles, which serve to draw the corners backwards and 
upwards; but judging from the manner in which the 
upper teeth are always exposed during laughter and 
broad smiling, as well as from my own sensations, I can- 
not doubt that some of the muscles running to the upper 
lip are likewise brought into moderate action. The 
upper and lower orbicular muscles of the eyes are at the 
same time more or less contracted; and there is an inti- 
mate connection, as explained in the chapter on weep- 
ing, between the orbiculars, especially the lower ones, 
and some of the muscles running to the upper lip. 
Henle remarks 10 on this head, that when a man closely 
shuts one eye he cannot avoid retracting the upper lip 
on the same side; conversely, if any one will place his 
ringer on Iris lower eyelid, and then uncover his upper 
incisors as much as possible, he will feel, as his upper 
lip is drawn strongly upwards, that the muscles of the 
lower eyelid contract. In Henle's drawing, given in 
woodcut, fig. 2, the musculiis malaris (H) which runs 
to the upper lip may be seen to form an almost integral 
part of the lower orbicular muscle. 

Dr. Duchenne has given a large photograph of an old 
man (reduced on Plate III. fig 4), in his usual passive 
condition, and another of the same man (fig. 5), nat- 
urally smiling. The latter was instantly recognized by 
every one to whom it was shown as true to nature. He 
has also given, as an example of an unnatural or false 
smile, another photograph (fig. 6) of the same old man, 
with the corners of his mouth strongly retracted by the 
galvanization of the great zygomatic muscles. That 
the expression is not natural is clear, for I showed this 

10 Handbuch der System. Anat. des Menschen, 1858, 
B. i. s. 144. See my woodcut (H. fig. 2). 



photograph to twenty-four persons, of whom three could 
not in the least tell what was meant, whilst the others, 
though they perceived that the expression was of the 
nature of a smile, answered in such words as " a wicked 
joke," " trying to laugh," " grinning laughter," " half- 
amazed laughter," &c. Dr. Duchenne attributes the 
falseness of the expression altogether to the orbicular 
muscles of the lower eyelids not being sufficiently con- 
tracted; for he justly lays great stress on their contrac- 
tion in the expression of joy. No doubt there is much 
truth in this view, but not, as it appears to me, the whole 
truth. The contraction of the lower orbiculars is always 
accompanied, as we have seen, by the drawing up of the 
upper lip. Had the upper lip, in fig. 6, been thus acted 
on to a slight extent, its curvature would have been less 
rigid, the naso-labial furrow would have been slightly 
different, and the whole expression would, as I believe, 
have been more natural, independently of the more con- 
spicuous effect from the stronger contraction of the 
lower eyelids. The corrugator muscle, moreover, in fig. 
6, is too much contracted, causing a frown; and this 
muscle never acts under the influence of joy except dur- 
ing strongly pronounced or violent laughter. 

By the drawing backwards and upwards of the cor- 
ners of the mouth, through the contraction of the great 
zygomatic muscles, and by the raising of the upper lip, 
the cheeks are drawn upwards. Wrinkles are thus 
formed under the eyes, and, with old people, at their 
outer ends; and these are highly characteristic of laugh- 
ter or smiling. As a gentle smile increases into a strong 
one, or into a laugh, every one may feel and see, if he will 
attend to his own sensations and look at himself in a 
mirror, that as the upper lip is drawn up and the lower 
orbiculars contract, the wrinkles in the lower eyelids 
and those beneath the eyes are much strengthened or 

Chap. VIII. LAUGHTER. 203 

increased. At the same time, as I have repeatedly ob- 
served, the eyebrows are slightly lowered, which shows 
that the upper as well as the lower orbiculars contract 
at least to some degree, though this passes unperceived, 
as far as our sensations are concerned. If the original 
photograph of the old man, with his countenance in its 
usual placid state (fig. 4), be compared with that (fig. 5) 
in which he is naturally smiling, it may be seen that the 
eyebrows in the latter are a little lowered. I presume 
that this is owing to the upper orbiculars being impelled, 
through the force of long-associated habit, to act to a 
certain extent in concert with the lower orbiculars, 
which themselves contract in connection with the draw- 
ing up of the upper lip. 

The tendency in the zygomatic muscles to contract 
under pleasurable emotions is shown by a curious fact, 
communicated to me by Dr. Browne, with respect to 
patients suffering from general paralysis of the insane. 11 
" In this malady there is almost invariably optimism — 
delusions as to wealth, rank, grandeur — insane joyous- 
ness, benevolence, and profusion, while its very earliest 
physical symptom is trembling at the corners of the 
mouth and at the outer corners of the eyes. This is a 
well-recognized fact. Constant tremulous agitation of 
the inferior palpebral and great zygomatic muscles is 
pathognomic of the earlier stages of general paralysis. 
The countenance has a pleased and benevolent expres- 
sion. As the disease advances other muscles become 
involved, but until complete fatuity is reached, the pre- 
vailing expression is that of feeble benevolence." 

As in laughing and broadly smiling the cheeks and 
upper lip are much raised, the nose appears to be short- 

11 See, also, remarks to the same effect by Dr. J. Crich- 
ton Browne in ' Journal of Mental Science,' April, 1871, 
p. 149. 


ened, and the skin on the bridge becomes finely wrin- 
kled in transverse lines, with other oblique longitudinal 
lines on the sides. The upper front teeth are commonly 
exposed. A well-marked naso-labial fold is formed, 
which runs from the wing of each nostril to the corner 
of the mouth; and this fold is often double in old per- 

A bright and sparkling eye is as characteristic of a 
pleased or amused state of mind, as is the retraction 
of the corners of the mouth and upper lip with the 
wrinkles thus produced. Even the eyes of microcepha- 
lous idiots, who are so degraded that they never learn 
to speak, brighten slightly when they are pleased. 12 
Under extreme laughter the eyes are too much suffused 
with tears to sparkle; but the moisture squeezed out of 
the glands during moderate laughter or smiling may 
aid in giving them lustre; though this must be of alto- 
gether subordinate importance, as they become dull from 
grief, though they are then often moist. Their bright- 
ness seems to be chiefly due to their tenseness, 13 owing 
to the contraction of the orbicular muscles and to the 
pressure of the raised cheeks. But, according to Dr. 
Piderit, who has discussed this point more fully than 
any other writer, 14 the tenseness may be largely attrib- 
uted to the eyeballs becoming filled with blood and other 
fluids, from the acceleration of the circulation, conse- 
quent on the excitement of pleasure. He remarks on the 
contrast in the appearance of the eyes of a hectic pa- 
tient with a rapid circulation, and of a man suffering 
from cholera with almost all the fluids of his body 
drained from him. Any cause which lowers the circula- 
tion deadens the eye. I remember seeing a man utterly 

12 C. Vog-t, ' Memoire sur les Microcephales,' 1867, p. 21. 
s Sir C. Bell, ' Anatomy of Expression,' p. 133. 

14 ' 

Mimik und Physiognomik,' 1867, s. 63--67. 

Chap. VIII. LAUGHTER. 205 

prostrated by prolonged and severe exertion during a 
very hot day, and a bystander compared his eyes to those 
of a boiled codfish. 

To return to the sounds produced during laughter. 
We can see in a vague manner how the utterance of 
sounds of some kind would naturally become associated 
with a pleasurable state of mind; for throughout a large 
part of the animal kingdom vocal or instrumental sounds 
are employed either as a call or as a charm by one sex 
for the other. They are also employed as the means for 
a joyful meeting between the parents and their offspring, 
and between the attached members of the same social 
community. But why the sounds which man utters 
when he is pleased have the peculiar reiterated charac- 
ter of laughter we do not know. ^Nevertheless we can 
see that they would naturally be as different as possible 
from the screams or cries of distress; and as in the pro- 
duction of the latter, the expirations are prolonged and 
continuous, with the inspirations short and interrupted, 
so it might perhaps have been expected with the sounds 
uttered from joy, that the expirations would have been 
short and broken with the inspirations prolonged; and 
this is the case. 

It is an equally obscure point why the corners of the 
mouth are retracted and the upper lip raised during 
ordinary laughter. The mouth must not be opened to 
its utmost extent, for when this occurs during a parox- 
ysm of excessive laughter hardly any sound is emitted; 
or it changes its tone and seems to come from deep down 
in the throat. The respiratory muscles, and even those 
of the limbs, are at the same time thrown into rapid 
vibratory movements. The lower jaw often partakes of 
this movement, and this would tend to prevent the 
mouth from being widely opened. But as a full volume 
of sound has to be poured forth, the orifice of the mouth 


must be large; and it is perhaps to gain this end that 
the corners are retracted and the upper lip raised. Al- 
though we can hardly account for the shape of the mouth 
during laughter, which leads to wrinkles being formed 
beneath the eyes, nor for the peculiar reiterated sound 
of laughter, nor for the quivering of the jaws, neverthe- 
less we may infer that all these effects are due to some 
common cause. For they are all characteristic and ex- 
pressive of a pleased state of mind in various kinds of 

A graduated series can be followed from violent to 
moderate laughter, to a broad smile, to a gentle smile, 
and to the expression of mere cheerfulness. During 
excessive laughter the whole body is often thrown back- 
ward and shakes, or is almost convulsed; the respira- 
tion is much disturbed; the head and face become gorged 
with blood, with the veins distended; and the orbicular 
muscles are spasmodically contracted in order to pro- 
tect the eyes. Tears are freely shed. Hence, as for- 
merly remarked, it is scarcely possible to point out any 
difference between the tear-stained face of a person after 
a paroxysm of excessive laughter and after a bitter cry- 
ing-fit. 15 It is probably due to the close similarity of the 
spasmodic movements caused by these widely different 
emotions that hysteric patients alternately cry and laugh 
with violence, and that young children sometimes pass 
suddenly from the one to the other state. Mr. Swin- 
hoe informs me that he has often seen the Chinese, when 
suffering from deep grief, burst out into hysterical fits 
of laughter. 

15 Sir J. Reynolds remarks (' Discourses,' xii. p. 100), 
" It is curious to observe, and it is certainly true, that the 
extremes of contrary passions are, with very little varia- 
tion, expressed by the same action." He gives as an in- 
stance the frantic joy of a Bacchante and the grief of a 
Mary Magdalen, 

Chap. VIII. LAL'GHTER. 207 

I was anxious to know whether tears are freely shed 
during excessive laughter by most of the races of men, 
and I hear from my correspondents that this is the case. 
One instance was observed with the Hindoos, and they 
themselves said that it often occurred. So it is with 
the Chinese. The women of a wild tribe of Malays in 
the Malacca peninsula, sometimes shed tears when they 
laugh heartily, though this seldom occurs. With the 
Dyaks of Borneo it must frequently be the case, at least 
with the women, for I hear from the Eajah C. Brooke 
that it is a common expression with them to say " we 
nearly made tears from laughter." The aborigines of 
Australia express their emotions freely, and they are 
described by my correspondents as jumping about and 
clapping their hands for joy, and as often roaring with 
laughter. No less than four observers have seen their 
eyes freely watering on such occasions; and in one in- 
stance the tears rolled down their cheeks. Mr. Buhner, 
a missionary in a remote part of Victoria, remarks, " that 
they have a keen sense of the ridiculous; they are ex- 
cellent mimics, and when one of them is able to imitate 
the peculiarities of some absent member of the tribe, it 
is very common to hear all in the camp convulsed with 
laughter." With Europeans hardly anything excites 
laughter so easily as mimicry; and it is rather curious 
to find the same fact with the savages of Australia, who 
constitute one of the most distinct races in the world. 

In Southern Africa with two tribes of Kafirs, espe- 
cially with the women, their eyes often fill with tears- 
during laughter. Gaika, the brother of the chief San- 
dilli, answers my query on this head, with the words, 
" Yes, that is their common practice." Sir Andrew 
Smith has seen the painted face of a Hottentot woman 
all furrowed with tears after a fit of laughter. In North- 
ern Africa, with the Abyssinians, tears are secreted under 


the same circumstances. Lastly, in North America, the 
same fact has been observed in a remarkably savage and 
isolated tribe, but chiefly with the women; in another 
tribe it was observed only on a single occasion. 

Excessive laughter, as before remarked, graduates 
into moderate laughter. In this latter case the muscles 
round the eyes are much less contracted, and there is 
little or no frowning. Between a gentle laugh and a 
broad smile there is hardly any difference, excepting 
that in smiling no reiterated sound is uttered, though a 
single rather strong expiration, or slight noise — a rudi- 
ment of a laugh — may often be heard at the commence- 
ment of a smile. On a moderately smiling countenance 
the contraction of the upper orbicular muscles can still 
just be traced by a slight lowering of the eyebrows. The 
contraction of the lower orbicular and palpebral mus- 
cles is much plainer, and is shown by the wrinkling of 
the lower eyelids and of the skin beneath them, together 
with a slight drawing up of the upper lip. From the 
broadest smile we pass by the finest steps into the gen- 
tlest one. In this latter case the features are moved in 
a much less degree, and much more slowly, and the 
mouth is kept closed. The curvature of the naso-labial 
furrow is also slightly different in the two cases. We 
thus see that no abrupt line of demarcation can be 
drawn between the movement of the features during the 
most violent laughter and a very faint smile. 16 

A smile, therefore, may be said to be the first stage 
in the development of a laugh. But a different and 
more probable view may be suggested; namely, that 
the habit of uttering loud reiterated sounds from a sense 
of pleasure, first led to the retraction of the corners of 
the mouth and of the upper lip, and to the contraction 

16 Dr. Piderit has come to the same conclusion, ibid. s. 99. 

Chap. VIII. LAUGHTER. 209 

of the orbicular muscles; and that now, through associa- 
tion and long-continued habit, the same muscles are 
brought into slight play whenever any cause excites in 
us a feeling which, if stronger, would have led to laugh- 
ter; and the result is a smile. 

Whether we look at laughter as the full development 
of a smile, or, as is more probable, at a gentle smile as 
the last trace of a habit, firmly fixed during many gen- 
erations, of laughing whenever we are joyful, we can 
follow in our infants the gradual passage of the one into 
the other. It is well known to those who have the charge 
of voting infants, that it is difficult to feel sure when cer- 
tain movements about their mouths are really expressive; 
that is, when thev reallv smile. Hence I carefully 
watched my own infants. One of them at the age of 
forty-five days, and being at the time in a happy frame 
of mind, smiled; that is, the corners of the mouth were 
retracted, and simultaneously the eyes became decidedly 
bright. I observed the same thing on the following 
day; but on the third day the child was not quite well 
and there was no trace of a smile, and this renders it 
probable that the previous smiles were real. Eight days 
subsequently and during the next succeeding week, it 
was remarkable how his eyes brightened whenever he 
smiled, and his nose became at the same time trans- 
versely wrinkled. This was now accompanied by a little 
bleating noise, which perhaps represented a laugh. At 
the age of 113 days these little noises, which were al- 
ways made during expiration, assumed a slightly differ- 
ent character, and were more broken or interrupted, as 
in sobbing; and this was certainly incipient laughter. 
The change in tone seemed to me at the time to be con- 
nected with the greater lateral extension of the mouth 
as the smiles became broader. 

In a second infant the first real smile was observed 


at about the same age, viz. forty-five days; and in a 
third, at a somewhat earlier age. The second infant, 
when sixty-five days old, smiled much more broadly and 
plainly than did the one first mentioned at the same 
age; and even at this early age uttered noises very like 
laughter. In this gradual acquirement, by infants, of 
the habit of laughing, we have a case in -some degree 
analogous to that of weeping. As practice is requisite 
with the ordinary movements of the body, such as walk- 
ing, so it seems to be with laughing and weeping. The 
art of screaming, on the other hand, from being of serv- 
ice to infants, has become finely developed from the 
earliest days. 

High spirits, cheerfulness. — A man in high spirits, 
though he may not actually smile, commonly exhibits 
some tendency to the retraction of the corners of his 
mouth. From the excitement of pleasure, the circula- 
tion becomes more rapid; the eyes are bright, and the 
colour of the face rises. The brain, being stimulated by 
the increased flow of blood, reacts on the mental powers; 
lively ideas pass still more rapidly through the mind, 
and the affections are warmed. I heard a child, a little 
under four years old, when asked what was meant by 
being in good spirits, answer, " It is laughing, talking, 
and kissing." It would be difficult to give a truer and 
more practical definition. A man in this state holds his 
body erect, his head upright, and his eyes open. There 
is no drooping of the features, and no contraction of the 
eyebrows. On the contrary, the frontal muscle, as Mo- 
reau observes, 17 tends to contract slightly; and this 
smooths the brow, removes every trace of a frown, arches 

17 ' La Physionomie,' par G. Lavater, edit, of 1820, vol. 
iv.'p. 224. See, also, Sir C. Bell, 'Anatomy of Expression,' 
p. 172, for the quotation given below. 


the eyebrows a little, and raises the eyelids. Hence the 
Latin phrase, exporrigere front em — to unwrinkle the 
brow — means, to be cheerful or merry. The whole ex- 
pression of a man in good spirits is exactly the opposite 
of that of one suffering from sorrow. According to Sir 
C. Bell, " In all the exhilarating emotions the eyebrows, 
eyelids, the nostrils, and the angles of the mouth are 
raised. In the depressing passions it is the reverse." 
-Under the influence of the latter the brow is heavy, the 
eyelids, cheeks, mouth, and whole head droop; the eyes 
are dull; the countenance pallid, and the respiration 
slow. In joy the face expands, in grief it lengthens. 
Whether the principle of antithesis has here come into 
play in producing these opposite expressions, in aid of 
the direct causes which have been specified and which 
are sufficiently plain, I will not pretend to say. 

With all the races of man the expression of good 
spirit appears to be the same, and is easily recognized. 
My informants, from various parts of the Old and New 
Worlds, answer in the affirmative to my queries on this 
head, and they give some particulars with respect to 
Hindoos, Malays, and New Zealanders. The brightness 
of the eyes of the Australians has struck four observers, 
and the same fact has been noticed with Hindoos, New 
Zealanders, and the Dyaks of Borneo. 

Savages sometimes express their satisfaction not only 
by smiling, but by gestures derived from the pleasure 
of eating. Thus Mr. Wedgwood 18 quotes Petherick 
that the negroes on the Upper Nile began a general rub- 
bing of their bellies when he displayed his beads; and 
Leichhardt says that the Australians smacked and clacked 
their mouths at the sight of his horses and bullocks, and 


A ' Dictionary of English Etymology,' 2nd edit. 1872, 
Introduction, p. xliv. 


more especially of his kangaroo dogs. The Greenland- 
ers, " when they affirm anything with pleasure, suck 
down air with a certain sound; " 19 and this may be an 
imitation of the act of swallowing savoury food. 

Laughter is suppressed by the firm contraction of the 
orbicular muscles of the mouth, which prevents the great 
zygomatic and other muscles from drawing the lips 
backwards and upwards. The lower lip is also some- 
times held by the teeth, and this gives a roguish ex- 
pression to the face, as was observed with the blind and 
deaf Laura Bridgman. 20 The great zygomatic muscle 
is sometimes variable in its course, and I have seen a 
young woman in whom the depressores a?iguli oris were 
brought into strong action in suppressing a smile; but 
this by no means gave to her countenance a melancholy 
expression, owing to the brightness of her eyes. 

Laughter is frequently employed in a forced manner 
to conceal or mask some other state of mind, even anger. 
We often see persons laughing in order to conceal their 
shame or shyness. When a person purses up his mouth, 
as if to prevent the possibility of a smile, though there 
is nothing to excite one, or nothing to prevent its free 
indulgence, an affected, solemn, or pedantic expression 
is given; but of such hybrid expressions nothing more 
need here be said. In the case of derision, a real or pre- 
tended smile or laugh is often blended with the expres- 
sion proper to contempt, and this may pass into angry 
contempt or scorn. In such cases the meaning of the 
laugh or smile is to show the offending person that he 
excites only amusement. 

Love, tender feelings, &c. — Although the emotion of 

18 Crantz, quoted by Tylor, 'Primitive Culture,' 1871, 
vol. i. p. 169. 

20 F. Lieber, ' Smithsonian Contributions,' 1851, vol. 
n. p. 7. 


love, for instance that of a mother for her infant, is one 
of the strongest of which the mind is capable, it can 
hardly be said to have any proper or peculiar means of 
expression; and this is intelligible, as it has not habit- 
ually led to any special line of action. Xo doubt, as 
affection is a pleasurable sensation, it generally causes a 
gentle smile and some brightening of the eyes. A 
strong desire to touch the beloved person is commonly 
felt; and love is expressed by this means more plainly 
than by any other. 21 Hence we long to clasp in our 
arms those whom we tenderly love. We probably owe 
this desire to inherited habit, in association with the 
nursing and tending of our children, and with the mu- 
tual caresses of lovers. 

With the lower animals we see the same principle of 
pleasure derived from contact in association with love. 
Dogs and cats manifestly take pleasure in rubbing against 
their masters and mistresses, and in being rubbed or 
patted by them. Many kinds of monkeys, as I am as- 
sured by the keepers in the Zoological Gardens, delight 
in fondling and being fondled by each other, and by 
persons to whom they are attached. Mr. Bartlett has 
described to me the behaviour of two chimpanzees, rather 
older animals than those generally imported into this 
country, when they were first brought together. They 
sat opposite, touching each other with their much pro- 
truded lips; and the one put his hand on the shoulder of 
the other. They then mutually folded each other in 
their arms. Afterwards they stood up, each with one 
arm on the shoulder of the other, lifted up their heads, 
opened their mouths, and yelled with delight. 

21 Mr. Bain remarks (' Mental and Moral Science,' 1868, 
p. 239), "Tenderness is a pleasurable emotion, variously 
stimulated, whose effort is to draw human beings into 
mutual embrace." 


We Europeans are so accustomed to kissing as a 
mark of affection, that it might be thought to be innate 
in mankind; but this is not the case. Steele was mis- 
taken when he said " Nature was its author, and it began 
with the first courtship." Jemmy Button, the Fuegian, 
told me that this practice was unknown in his land. It 
is equally unknown with the New Zealanders, Tahitians, 
Papuans, Australians, Somals of Africa, and the Esqui- 
maux. 22 But it is so far innate or natural that it appar- 
ently depends on pleasure from close contact with a be- 
loved person; and it is replaced in various parts of the 
world, by the rubbing of noses, as with the New Zea- 
landers and Laplanders, by the rubbing or patting of 
the arms, breasts, or stomachs, or by one man striking 
his own face with the hands or feet of another. Perhaps 
the practice of blowing, as a mark of affection, on vari- 
ous parts of the body may depend on the same princi- 
ple. 23 

The feelings which are called tender are difficult to 
analyse; they seem to be compounded of affection, joy, 
and especially of sympathy. These feelings are in them- 
selves of a pleasurable nature, excepting when pity is 
too deep, or horror is aroused, as in hearing of a tortured 
man or animal. They are remarkable under our present 
point of view from so readily exciting the secretion of 
tears. Many a father and son have wept on meeting after 
a long separation, especially if the meeting has been un- 
expected. No doubt extreme joy by itself tends to act 
on the lacrymal glands; but on such occasions as the 
foregoing vague thoughts of the grief which would have 

22 Sir J. Lubbock, ' Prehistoric Times,' 2nd edit. 1869, 
p. 552, gives full authorities for these statements. The 
quotation from Steele is taken from this work. 

23 See a full acount, with references, by E. B. Tylor, 
' Researches into the Early History of Mankind,' 2nd edit. 
1870, p. 51. 


been felt had the father and son never met, will prob- 
ably have passed through their minds; and grief nat- 
urally leads to the secretion of tears. Thus on the re- 
turn of Ulysses: — 

" Telemachus 
Rose, and clung weeping - round his father's breast. 
There the pent grief rained o'er them, yearning- thus. 

Thus piteously thej* wailed in sore unrest, 
And on their weepings had gone down the day, 
But that at last Telemachus found words to say." 
^Yorsley , s Translation of the Odyssey, 

Book xvi. st. 27. 

So again when Penelope at last recognized her hus- 
band : — 

" Then from her eyelids the quick tears did start 
And she ran to him from her place, and threw 
Her arms about his neck, and a warm dew 
Of kisses poured upon him, and thus spake: " 

Book xxiii. st. 27. 

The vivid recollection of our former home, or of 
long-past happy days, readily causes the eyes to be suf- 
fused with tears; but here, again, the thought naturally 
occurs that these days will never return. In such cases 
we may be said to sympathize with ourselves in our pres- 
ent, in comparison with our former, state. Sympathy 
with the distresses of others, even with the imaginary 
distresses of a heroine in a pathetic story, for whom we 
feel no affection, readily excites tears. So does sympa- 
thy with the happiness of others, as with that of a lover, 
at last successful after many hard trials in a well-told 

Sympathy appears to constitute a separate or distinct 
emotion; and it is especially apt to excite the lacrymal 
glands. This holds good whether we give or receive 
sympathy. Every one must have noticed how readily 
children burst out crying if we pity them for some small 


hurt. "With the melancholic insane, as Dr. Crichton 
Browne informs me, a kind word will often plunge them 
into unrestrained weeping. As soon as we express our 
pity for the grief of a friend, tears often come into our 
own eyes. The feeling of sympathy is commonly ex- 
plained by assuming that, when Ave see or hear of suf- 
fering in another, the idea of suffering is called up so viv- 
idly in our own minds that we ourselves suffer. But this 
explanation is hardly sufficient, for it does not account 
for the intimate alliance between sympathy and affec- 
tion. "We undoubtedly sympathize far more deeply with 
a beloved than with an indifferent person; and the 
sympathy of the one gives us far more relief than that 
of the other. Yet assuredly we can sympathize with 
those for whom we feel no affection. 

"Why suffering, when actually experienced by our- 
selves, excites weeping, has been discussed in a former 
chapter. "With respect to joy, its natural and universal 
expression is laughter; and with all the races of man 
loud laughter leads to the secretion of tears more freely 
than does any other cause excepting distress. The suf- 
fusion of the eyes with tears, which undoubtedly occurs 
under great joy, though there is no laughter, can, as it 
seems to me, be explained through habit and associa- 
tion on the same principles as the effusion of tears from 
grief, although there is no screaming. Nevertheless it 
is not a little remarkable that sympathy with the dis- 
tresses of others should excite tears more freely than 
our own distress; and this certainly is the case. Many 
a man, from whose eyes no suffering of his own could 
wring a tear, has shed tears at the sufferings of a be- 
loved friend. It is still more remarkable that sympathy 
with the happiness or good fortune of those whom we 
tenderly love should lead to the same result, whilst a 
similar happiness felt by ourselves would leave our eyes 


dry. We should, however, bear in mind that the long- 
continued habit of restraint which is so powerful in 
checking the free flow of tears from bodily pain, has not 
been brought into play in preventing a moderate effu- 
sion of tears in sympathy with the sufferings or happi- 
ness of others. 

Music has a wonderful power, as I have elsewhere 
attempted to show, 24 of recalling in a vague and in- 
definite manner, those strong emotions which were felt 
during long-past ages, when, as is probable, our early 
progenitors courted each other by the aid of vocal tones. 
And as several of our strongest emotions — grief, great 
joy, love, and sympathy — lead to the free secretion of 
tears, it is not surprising that music should be apt to 
cause our eyes to become suffused with tears, especially 
when we are already softened by any of the tenderer 
feelings. Music often produces another peculiar effect. 
We know that every strong sensation, emotion, or ex- 
citement — extreme pain, rage, terror, joy, or the pas- 
sion of love — all have a special tendency to cause the 
muscles to tremble; and the thrill or slight shiver which 
runs down the backbone and limbs of many persons 
when they are powerfully affected by music, seems to 
bear the same relation to the above trembling of the 
body, as a slight suffusion of tears from the power of 
music does to weeping from any strong and real emo- 

Devotion. — As devotion is, in some degree, related to 
affection, though mainly consisting of reverence, often 
combined with fear, the expression of this state of mind 
may here be briefly noticed. With some sects, both 
past and present, religion and love have been strangely 
combined; and it has even been maintained, lamentable 

24 ' The Descent of Man,' vol. ii. p. 336. 


as the fact may be, that the holy kiss of love differs but 
little from that which a man bestows on a woman, or a 
woman on a man. 25 Devotion is chiefly expressed by 
the face being directed towards the heavens, with the 
eyeballs upturned. Sir C. Bell remarks that, at the ap- 
proach of sleep, or of a fainting-fit, or of death, the 
pupils are drawn upwards and inwards; and he believes 
that " when we are wrapt in devotional feelings, and 
outward impressions are unheeded, the eyes are raised 
by an action neither taught nor acquired; " and that 
this is due to the same cause as in the above cases. 26 
That the eyes are upturned during sleep is, as I hear 
from Professor Donders, certain. With babies, whilst 
sucking their mother's breast, this movement of the eye- 
balls often gives to them an absurd appearance of ec- 
static delight; and here it may be clearly perceived that 
a struggle is going on against the position naturally 
assumed during sleep. But Sir C. Bell's explanation of 
the fact, which rests on the assumption that certain 
muscles are more under the control of the will than 
others is, as I hear from Professor Donders, incorrect. 
As the eyes are often turned up in prayer, without the 
mind being so much absorbed in thought as to approach 
to the unconsciousness of sleep, the movement is prob- 
ably a conventional one — the result of the common be- 
lief that Heaven, the source of Divine power to which 
we pray, is seated above us. 

A humble kneeling posture, with the hands upturned 
and palms joined, appears to us, from long habit, a ges- 
ture so appropriate to devotion, that it might be thought 
to be innate; but I have not met with any evidence to 

25 Dr. Maudsley has a discussion to this effect in his 
' Body and Mind,' 1870, p. 85. 

26 ' The Anatomy of Expression,' p. 103, and ' Philo- 
sophical Transactions,' 1823, p. 182. 


this effect with the various extra-European races of 
mankind. During the classical period of Roman history 
it does not appear, as I hear from an excellent classic, 
that the hands were thus joined during prayer. Mr. 
Hensleigh Wedgwood has apparently given 27 the true 
explanation, though this implies that the attitude is one 
of slavish subjection. " When the suppliant kneels and 
holds up his hands with the palms joined, he represents 
a captive who proves the completeness of his submission 
by offering up his hands to be bound by the victor. It 
is the pictorial representation of the Latin dare manus, 
to signify submission." Hence it is not probable that 
either the uplifting of the eyes or the joining of the open 
hands, under the influence of devotional feelings, are in- 
nate or truly expressive actions; and this could hardly 
have been expected, for it is very doubtful whether feel- 
ings, such as we should now rank as devotional, affected 
the hearts of men, whilst they remained during past 
ages in an uncivilized condition. 


« The Origin of Language,' 1866, p. 146. Mr. Tylor 
(' Early History of Mankind,' 2nd edit. 1870, p. 48) gives 
a more complex origin to the position of the hands dur- 
ing prayer. 

220 REFLECTION. Chap. IX. 


Reflection — Meditation — Ill-temper — Sulkiness 

— Determination. 

The act of frowning* — Reflection with an effort, or with the 
perception of something- difficult or disagreeable — Ab- 
stracted meditation — Ill-temper — Moroseness — Obsti- 
nacy — Sulkiness and pouting — Decision or determina- 
tion — The firm closure of the mouth. 

The corrugators, by their contraction, lower the eye- 
brows and bring them together, producing vertical fur- 
rows on the forehead — that is, a frown. Sir C. Bell, 
who erroneously thought that the corrugator was pecul- 
iar to man, ranks it as " the most remarkable muscle 
of the human face. It knits the eyebrows with an ener- 
getic effort, which unaccountably, but irresistibly, con- 
veys the idea of mind." Or, as he elsewhere says, " when 
the eyebrows are knit, energy of mind is apparent, and 
there is the mingling of thought and emotion with the 
savage and brutal rage of the mere animal." 1 There 

i « 

Anatomy of Expression,' pp. 137, 139. It is not sur- 
prising that the corrugators should have become much 
more developed in man than in the anthropoid apes; for 
they are brought into incessant action by him under vari- 
ous circumstances, and will have been strengthened and 
modified by the inherited effects of use. We have seen 
how important a part they play, together with the orbicu- 
lares, in protecting the eyes from being too much gorged 
with blood during violent expiratory movements. When 
the eyes are closed as quickly and as forcibly as possible, 

Chap. IX. REFLECTION. 221 

is much truth in these remarks, but hardly the whole 
truth. Dr. Duehenne has called the corrugator the 
muscle of reflection; 2 but this name, without some lim- 
itation, cannot be considered as quite correct. 

A man may be absorbed in the deepest thought, and 
his brow will remain smooth until he encounters some 
obstacle in his train of reasoning, or is interrupted by 
some disturbance, and then a frown passes like a shadow 
over his brow. A half-starved man may think intently 
how to obtain food, but he probably will not frown un- 
less he encounters either in thought or action some dif- 
ficulty, or finds the food when obtained nauseous. I 
have noticed that almost everyone instantly frowns if 
he perceives a strange or bad taste in what he is eating. 
I asked several persons, without explaining my object, 
to listen intently to a very gentle tapping sound, the 
nature and source of which they all perfectly knew, and 
not one frowned; but a man who joined us, and who 
could not conceive what we were all doing in profound 
silence, when asked to listen, frowned much, though not 
in an ill-temper, and said he could not in the least under- 
stand what we all wanted. Dr. Piderit, 3 who has pub- 
lished remarks to the same effect, adds that stammerers 
generally frown in speaking; and that a man in doing 
even so trifling a thing as pulling on a boot, frowns if 

to save them from being 1 injured by a blow, the corrugators 
contract. With savages or other men whose heads are 
uncovered, the evebrows are continually lowered and con- 
tracted to serve as a shade against a too strong light; and 
this is effected partly by the corrugators. This movement 
would have been more especially serviceable to man, as 
soon as his early progenitors held their heads erect. Last- 
ly, Prof. Donders believes (' Archives of Medicine,' ed. by 
L. Beale, 1870, vol. v. p. 34), that the corrugators are 
brought into action in causing the eyeball to advance in 
accommodation for proximity in vision. 

2 ' Mecanisnie de la Physionomie .Humaine,' Album, 
Legende iii. 

3 ' Mimik und Physiognomik,' s. 46. 

222 REFLECTION. Chap. IX. 

he finds it too tight. Some persons are such habitual 
frowners, that the mere effort of speaking almost always 
causes their brows to contract. 

Men of all races frown when the} 7 are in any way per- 
plexed in thought, as I infer from the answers which 
I have received to my queries; but I framed them badly, 
confounding absorbed meditation with perplexed reflec- 
tion. Nevertheless, it is clear that the Australians, 
Malays, Hindoos, and Kafirs of South Africa frown, 
when they are puzzled. Dobritzhoffer remarks that the 
Guaranies of South America on like occasions knit their 
brows. 4 

From these considerations, we may conclude that 
frowning is not the expression of simple reflection, how- 
ever profound, or of attention, however close, but of 
something difficult or displeasing encountered in a train 
of thought or in action. Deep reflection can, however, 
seldom be long carried on without some difficulty, so 
that it will generally be accompanied by a frown. Hence 
it is that frowning commonly gives to the countenance, 
as Sir C. Bell remarks, an aspect of intellectual energy. 
But in order that this effect may be produced, the eyes 
must be clear and steady, or they may be cast downwards, 
as often occurs in deep thought. The countenance must 
not be otherwise disturbed, as in the case of an ill-tem- 
pered or peevish man, or of one who shows the effects 
of prolonged suffering, with dulled eyes and drooping 
jaw, or who perceives a bad taste in his food, or who 
finds it difficult to perform some trifling act, such as 
threading a needle. In these cases a frown may often be 
seen, but it will be accompanied by some other expres- 
sion, which will entirely prevent the countenance hav- 

4 ' History of thte Abipones,' En£\ translat. vol. ii. p. 59, 
as quoted by Lubbock, ' Origin of Civilisation,' 1870, p. 355. 

Chap. IX. REFLECTION. 223 

ing an appearance of intellectual energy or of profound 

We may now inquire how it is that a frown should 
express the perception of something difficult or dis- 
agreeable, either in thought or action. In the same 
way as naturalists find it advisable to trace the embryo- 
logical development of an organ in order fully to under- 
stand its structure, so with the movements of expression 
it is advisable to follow as nearly as possible the same 
plan. The earliest and almost sole expression seen dur- 
ing the first days of infancy, and then often exhibited, 
is that displayed during the act of screaming; and 
screaming is excited, both at first and for some time 
afterwards, by every distressing or displeasing sensation 
and emotion, — by hunger, pain, anger, jealousy, fear, 
&c. At such times the muscles round the eyes are 
strongly contracted; and this, as I believe, explains to a 
large extent the act of frowning during the remainder 
of our lives. I repeatedly observed my own infants, 
from under the age of one week to that of two or three 
months, and found that when a screaming-fit came on 
gradually, the first sign was the contraction of the cor- 
rugators, which produced a slight frown, quickly fol- 
lowed bv the contraction of the other muscles round 
the eyes. When an infant is uncomfortable or unwell, 
little frowns — as I record in my notes — may be seen in- 
cessantly passing like shadows over its face; these being 
generally, but not always, followed sooner or later by 
a crying-fit. For instance, I watched for some time a 
baby, between seven and eight weeks old, sucking some 
milk winch was cold, and therefore displeasing to him; 
and a steady little frown was maintained all the time. 
This was never developed into an actual crying-fit, 
though occasionally every stage of close approach could 
be observed. 

224 REFLECTION. Chap. IX. 

As the habit of contracting the brows has been fol- 
lowed by infants during innumerable generations, at the 
commencement of every crying or screaming fit, it has 
become firmly associated with the incipient sense of 
something distressing or disagreeable. Hence under 
similar circumstances it would be apt to be continued 
during maturity, although never then developed into a 
crying-fit. Screaming or weeping begins to be volun- 
tarily restrained at an early period of life, whereas frown- 
ing is hardly ever restrained at any age. It is perhaps 
worth notice that with children much given to weeping, 
anything which perplexes their minds, and which would 
cause most other children merely to frown, readily 
makes them weep. So with certain classes of the insane, 
any effort of mind, however slight, which with an ha- 
bitual frowner would cause a slight frown, leads to their 
weeping in an unrestrained manner. It is not more sur- 
prising that the habit of contracting the brows at the 
first perception of something distressing, although 
gained during infancy, should be retained during the 
rest of our lives, than that many other associated habits 
acquired at an early age should be permanently retained 
both by man and the lower animals. For instance, full- 
grown cats, when feeling warm and comfortable, often 
retain the habit of alternately protruding their fore-feet 
with extended toes, which habit they practised for a 
definite purpose whilst sucking their mothers. 

Another and distinct cause has probably strengthened 
the habit of frowning, whenever the mind is intent on 
any subject and encounters some difficulty. Vision is 
the most important of all the senses, and during prime- 
val times the closest attention must have been incessantly 
directed towards distant objects for the sake of obtain- 
ing prey and avoiding danger. I remember being struck, 
whilst travelling in parts of South America, which were 

Chap. IX. REFLECTION. 225 

dangerous from the presence of Indians, how incessantly, 
yet as it appeared unconsciously, the half-wild Gauchos 
closely scanned the whole horizon. Now, when any one 
with no covering on his head (as must have been abo- 
riginally the case with mankind), strives to the utmost 
to distinguish in broad daylight, and especially if the 
sky is bright, a distant object, he almost invariably con- 
tracts his brows to prevent the entrance of too much 
light; the lower eyelids, cheeks, and upper lip being at 
the same time raised, so as to lessen the orifice of the 
eyes. I have purposely asked several persons, young 
and old, to look, under the above circumstances, at dis- 
tant objects, making them believe that I only wished 
to test the power of their vision; and they all behaved 
in the manner just described. Some of them, also, put 
their open, flat hands over their eyes to keep out the 
excess of light. Gratiolet, after making some remarks 
to nearlv the same effect, 5 says, " Ce sont la des atti- 
tudes de vision difficile." He concludes that the muscles 
round the eyes contract partly for the sake of excluding 
too much light (which appears to me the more impor- 
tant end), and partly to prevent all rays striking the 
retina, except those which come direct from the object 
that is scrutinized. Mr. Bowman, whom I consulted on 
this point, thinks that the contraction of the surround- 
ing muscles may, in addition, " partly sustain the con- 
sensual movements of the two eyes, by giving a firmer 
support while the globes are brought to binocular vision 
by their own proper muscles." 

As the effort of viewing with care under a bright 
light a distant object is both difficult and irksome, and 

5 ' De la Physionomie,' pp. 15, 144, 146. Mr. Herbert 
Spencer accounts for frowning- exclusively by the habit 
of contracting the brows as a shade to the eyes in a bright 
light: see 'Principles of Physiology,' 2nd edit. 1872, p. 546. 

226 MEDITATION. Chap. IX. 

as this effort has been habitually accompanied, during 
numberless generations, by the contraction of the eye- 
brows, the habit of frowning will thus have been much 
strengthened; although it was originally practised dur- 
ing infancy from a quite independent cause, namely as 
the first step in the protection of the eyes during scream- 
ing. There is, indeed, much analogy, as far as the state 
of the mind is concerned, between intently scrutinizing 
a distant object, and following out an obscure train of 
thought, or performing some little and troublesome me- 
chanical work. The belief that the habit of contracting 
the brows is continued when there is no need whatever 
to exclude too much light, receives support from the 
cases formerly alluded to, in which the eyebrows or eye- 
lids are acted on under certain circumstances in a use- 
less manner, from having been similarly used, under 
analogous circumstances, for a serviceable purpose. 
For instance, we voluntarily close our eyes when we do 
not wish to see any object, and we are apt to close them, 
when we reject a proposition, as if we could not or would 
not see it; or when we think about something horrible. 
We raise our eyebrows when we wish to see quickly all 
round us, and we often do the same, when we earnestly 
desire to remember something; acting as if we endeav- 
oured to see it. 

Abstraction. Meditation. — When a person is lost in 
thought with his mind absent, or, as it is sometimes 
said, " when he is in a brown study," he does not frown, 
but his eyes appear vacant. The lower eyelids are gen- 
erally raised and wrinkled, in the same manner as when 
a short-sighted person tries to distinguish a distant ob- 
ject; and the upper orbicular muscles are at the same 
time slightly contracted. The wrinkling of the lower 
eyelids under these circumstances has been observed 

Chap. IX. MEDITATION. 227 

with some savages, as by Mr. Dyson Lacy with the Aus- 
tralians of Queensland, and several times by Mr. Geach 
with the Malays of the interior of Malacca. What the 
meaning or cause of this action may be, cannot at pres- 
ent be explained; but here we have another instance of 
movement round the eyes in relation to the state of the 

The vacant expression of the eyes is very peculiar, and 
at once shows when a man is completely lost in thought. 
Professor Donders has, with his usual kindness, investi- 
gated this subject for me. He has observed others in 
this condition, and has been himself observed by Pro- 
fessor Engelmann. The eyes are not then fixed on any 
object, and therefore not, as I had imagined, on some 
distant object. The lines of vision of the two eyes even 
often become slightly divergent; the divergence, if the 
head be held vertically, with the plane of vision hori- 
zontal, amounting to an angle of 2° as a maximum. 
This was ascertained by observing the crossed double 
image of a distant object. When the head droops for- 
ward, as often occurs with a man absorbed in thought, 
owing to the general relaxation of his muscles, if the 
plane of vision be still horizontal, the eyes are necessarily 
a little turned upwards, and then the divergence is as 
much as 3°, or 3° 5': if the eyes are turned still more 
upwards, it amounts to between 6° and 7°. Professor 
Donders attributes this divergence to the almost com- 
plete relaxation of certain muscles of the eyes, which 
would be apt to follow from the mind being wholly ab- 
sorbed. 6 The active condition of the muscles of the eyes 

6 Gratiolet remarks (De la Phys. p. 35), " Quand l'atten- 
tion est fixee sur quelque image interieure, l'ceil regarde 
dans le vide et s'associe automatiqnement a la contem- 
plation de l'esprit." But this view hardly deserves to be 
called an explanation. 

228 ILL-TEMPER. Chap. IX. 

is that of convergence; and Professor Donders remarks, 
as bearing on their divergence during a period of com- 
plete abstraction, that when one eye becomes blind, it 
almost always, after a short lapse of time, deviates out- 
wards; for its muscles are no longer used in moving the 
eyeball inwards for the sake of binocular vision. 

Perplexed reflection is often accompanied by certain 
movements or gestures. At such times we commonly 
raise our hands to our foreheads, mouths, or chins; but 
we do not act thus, as far as I have seen, when we are 
quite lost in meditation, and no difficulty is encountered. 
Plautus, describing in one of his plays 7 a puzzled man, 
says, " Now look, he has pillared his chin upon his 
hand." Even so trifling and apparently unmeaning a 
gesture as the raising of the hand to the face has been 
observed with some savages. M. J. Mansel Weale has 
seen it with the Kafirs of South Africa; and the native 
chief Gaika adds, that men then " sometimes pull their 
beards." Mr. Washington Matthews, who attended to 
some of the wildest tribes of Indians in the western 
regions of the United States, remarks that he has seen 
them when concentrating their thoughts, bring their 
" hands, usually the thumb and index finger, in contact 
with some part of the face, commonly the upper lip." 
We can understand why the forehead should be pressed 
or rubbed, as deep thought tries the brain; but why the 
hand should be raised to the mouth or face is far from 

Ill-temper. — We have seen that frowning is the nat- 
ural expression of some difficulty encountered, or of 
something disagreeable experienced either in thought or 
action, and he whose mind is often and readily affected 

7 ' Miles Gloriosus,' act ii. sc. 2. 

Chap. IX. ILL-TEMPER. 229 

in this way, will be apt to be ill-tempered, or slightly 
angry, or peevish, and will commonly show it by frown- 
ing. But a cross expression, due to a frown, may be 
counteracted, if the mouth appears sweet, from being 
habitually drawn into a smile, and the eves are bright 
and cheerful. So it will be if the eye is clear and steady, 
and there is the appearance of earnest reflection. Frown- 
ing, with some depression of the corners of the mouth, 
which is a sign of grief, gives an air of peevishness. If 
a child (see Plate IV., fig. 2) 8 frowns much whilst cry- 
ing, but does not strongly contract in the usual man- 
ner the orbicular muscles, a well-marked expression of 
anger or even of rage, together with misery, is dis- 

If the whole frowning brow be drawn much down- 
ward by the contraction of the pyramidal muscles of the 
nose, which produces transverse wrinkles or folds across 
the base of the nose, the expression becomes one of mo- 
roseness. Duchenne believes that the contraction of 
this muscle, without any frowning, gives the appearance 
of extreme and aggressive hardness. 9 But I much doubt 
whether this is a true or natural expression. I have 
shown Duchenne's photograph of a young man, with 
this muscle strongly contracted by means of galvanism, 
to eleven persons, including some artists, and none of 
them could form an idea what was intended, except one, 
a girl, who answered correctly, " surely reserve." When 
I first looked at this photograph, knowing what was in- 
tended, my imagination added, as I believe, what was 
necessary, namely, a frowning brow; and consequently 

8 The original photograph by Herr Kindermann is much 
more expressive than this copy, as it shows the frown on 
the brow more plainly. 

9 ' Mecanisme de la Phvsionomie Humaine,' Album, 
Legende iv. figs. 16—18. 

230 SULKINESS. Chap. IX. 

the expression appeared to me true and extremely mo- 

A firmly closed mouth, in addition to a lowered and 
frowning brow, gives determination to the expression, 
or may make it obstinate and sullen. How it comes 
that the firm closure of the mouth gives the appear- 
ance of determination will presently be discussed. An 
expression of sullen obstinacy has been clearly recog- 
nized by my informants, in the natives of six different 
regions of Australia. It is well marked, according to 
Mr. Scott, with the Hindoos. It has been recognized 
with the Malays, Chinese, Kafirs, Abyssinians, and in 
a conspicuous degree, according to Dr. Eothrock, with 
the wild Indians of North America, and according to 
Mr. D. Forbes, with the Aymaras of Bolivia. I have 
also observed it with the Araucanos of southern Chili. 
Mr. Dyson Lacy remarks that the natives of Australia, 
when in this frame of mind, sometimes fold their arms 
across their breasts, an attitude which may be seen with 
us. A firm determination, amounting to obstinacy, is, 
also, sometimes expressed by both shoulders being kept 
raised, the meaning of which gesture will be explained 
in the following chapter. 

With young children sulkiness is shown by pouting, 
or, as it is sometimes called, " making a snout." 10 When 
the corners of the mouth are much depressed, the lower 
lip is a little everted and protruded; and this is like- 
wise called a pout. But the pouting here referred to, 
consists of the protrusion of both lips into a tubular 
form, sometimes to such an extent as to project as far 
as the end of the nose, if this be short. Pouting is gen- 
erally accompanied by frowning, and sometimes by the 

10 Hensleigh Wedgwood on ' The Origin of Language,' 
1866, p. 78. 

Chap. IX. StJLKINESS. 231 

utterance of a booing or whooing noise. This expression 
is remarkable, as almost the sole one, as far as I know, 
which is exhibited much more plainly during childhood, 
at least with Europeans, than during maturity. There 
is, however, some tendency to the protrusion of the lips 
with the adults of all races under the influence of great 
rage. Some children pout when they are shy, and they 
can then hardly be called sulky. 

From inquiries which I have made in several large 
families, pouting does not seem very common with Euro- 
pean children; but it prevails throughout the world, and 
must be both common and strongly marked with most 
savage races, as it has caught the attention of many ob- 
servers. It has been noticed in eight different districts 
of Australia; and one of my informants remarks how 
greatly the lips of the children are then protruded. Two 
observers have seen pouting with the children of Hin- 
doos; three, with those of the Kafirs and Fingoes of 
South Africa, and with the Hottentots; and two, with 
the children of the wild Indians of North America. 
Pouting has also been observed with the Chinese, Abys- 
sinians, Malays of Malacca, Dyaks of Borneo, and often 
with the Xew Zealanders. Mr. Mansel YVeale informs 
me that he has seen the lips much protruded, not only 
with the children of the Kafirs, but with the adults of 
both sexes when sulky; and Mr. Stack has sometimes 
observed the same thing with the men, and very fre- 
quently with the women of New Zealand. A trace of the 
same expression may occasionally be detected even with 
adult Europeans. 

We thus see that the protrusion of the lips, espe- 
cially with young children, is characteristic of sulkiness 
throughout the greater part of the world. This move- 
ment apparently results from the retention, chiefly dur- 
ing youth, of a primordial habit, or from an occasional 

232 SULKINESS. Chap. IX. 

reversion to it. Young orangs and chimpanzees pro- 
trude their lips to an extraordinary degree, as described 
in a former chapter, when they are discontented, some- 
what angry, or sulky; also when they are surprised, a 
little frightened, and even when slightly pleased. Their 
mouths are protruded apparently for the sake of mak- 
ing the various noises proper to these several states of 
mind; and its shape, as I observed with the chimpanzee, 
differed slightly when the cry of pleasure and that of 
anger were uttered. As soon as these animals become 
enraged, the shape of the mouth wholly changes, and 
the teeth are exposed. The adult orang when wounded 
is said to emit " a singular cry, consisting at first of high 
notes, which at length deepen into a low roar. While 
giving out the high notes he thrusts out his lips into a 
funnel shape, but in uttering the low notes he holds his 
mouth wide open." 1X With the gorilla, the lower lip is 
said to be capable of great elongation. If then our semi- 
human progenitors protruded their lips when sulky or 
a little angered, in the same manner as do the existing 
anthropoid apes, it is not an anomalous, though a curi- 
ous fact, that our children should exhibit, when similarly 
affected, a trace of the same expression, together with 
some tendency to utter a noise. For it is not at all un- 
usual for animals to retain, more or less perfectly, during 
early youth, and subsequently to lose, characters which 
were aboriginally possessed by their adult progenitors, 
and which are still retained by distinct species, their 
near relations. 

Nor is it an anomalous fact that the children of sav- 
ages should exhibit a stronger tendency to protrude 
their lips, when sulky, than the children of civilized 

11 Miiller, as quoted by Huxley, ' Man's Place in Nature,' 
1863, p. 38. 

Chap. IX. DECISION. 233 

Europeans; for the essence of savagery seems to consist 
in the retention of a primordial condition, and this occa- 
sionally holds good even with bodily peculiarities. 12 It 
may be objected to this view of the origin of pouting, 
that the anthropoid apes likewise protrude their lips 
when astonished and even when a little pleased; whilst 
with us this expression is generally confined to a sulky 
frame of mind. But we shall see in a future chapter 
that with men of various races surprise does sometimes 
lead to a slight protrusion of the lips, though great sur- 
prise or astonishment is more commonly shown by the 
mouth being widely opened. As when we smile or laugh 
we draw back the corners of the mouth, we have lost 
any tendency to protrude the lips, when pleased, if in- 
deed our early progenitors thus expressed pleasure. 

A little gesture made by sulky children may here be 
noticed, namely, their " showing a cold shoulder." This 
has a different meaning, as, I believe, from the keeping 
both shoulders raised. A cross child, sitting on its par- 
ent's knee, will lift up the near shoulder, then jerk it 
away, as if from a caress, and afterwards give a backward 
push with it, as if to push away the offender. I have 
seen a child, standing at some distance from any one, 
clearly express its feelings by raising one shoulder, giving 
it a little backward movement, and then turning away its 
whole body. 

Decision or determination. — The firm closure of the 
mouth tends to give an expression of determination or 
decision to the countenance. Xo determined man prob- 
ably ever had an habitually gaping mouth. Hence, also, 
a small and weak lower jaw, which seems to indicate that 

12 1 have given several instances in my ' Descent of Man,' 
vol. i. chap. iv. 


234 - DECISION. Chap. IX. 

the mouth is not habitually and firmly closed, is com- 
monly thought to be characteristic of feebleness of char- 
acter. A prolonged effort of any kind, whether of body 
or mind, implies previous determination; and if it can 
be shown that the mouth is generally closed with firm- 
ness before and during a great and continued exertion 
of the muscular system, then, through the principle of 
association, the mouth would almost certainly be closed 
as soon as any determined resolution was taken. Now 
several observers have noticed that a man, in commenc- 
ing any violent muscular effort, invariably first distends 
his lungs with air, and then compresses it by the strong 
contraction of the muscles of the chest; and to effect 
this the mouth must be firmly closed. Moreover, as soon 
as the man is compelled to draw breath, he still keeps 
his chest as much distended as possible. 

Various causes have been assigned for this manner of 
acting. Sir C. Bell maintains 13 that the chest is dis- 
tended with air, and is kept distended at such times, in 
order to give a fixed support to the muscles which are 
thereto attached. Hence, as he remarks, when two men 
are engaged in a deadly contest, a terrible silence pre- 
vails, broken only by hard stifled breathing. There is 
silence, because to expel the air in the utterance of any 
sound would be to relax the support for the muscles of 
the arms. If an outcry is heard, supposing the struggle 
to take place in the dark, we at once know that one of 
the two has given up in despair. 

Gratiolet admits 14 that when a man has to struggle 
with another to his utmost, or has to support a great 
weight, or to keep for a long time the same forced atti- 
tude, it is necessary for him first to make a deep inspira- 

13 ' Anatomy of Expression,' p. 190. 
" ' De la Physionomie,' pp. 118-121. 

Chap. IX. DECISION. 235 

tion, and then to cease breathing; but he thinks that 
Sir C. Bell's explanation is erroneous. lie maintains 
that arrested respiration retards the circulation of the 
blood, of which I believe there is no doubt, and he ad- 
duces some curious evidence from the structure of the 
lower animals, showing, on the one hand, that a retarded 
circulation is necessary for prolonged muscular exertion, 
and, on the other hand, that a rapid circulation is neces- 
sary for rapid movements. According to this view, when 
we commence any great exertion, we close our mouths 
and stop breathing, in order to retard the circulation of 
the blood. Gratiolet sums up the subject by saying, 
" C'est la la vraie theorie de l'effort continu; " but how 
far this theory is admitted by other physiologists I do 
not know. 

Dr. Piderit accounts 15 for the firm closure of the 
mouth during strong muscular exertion, on the principle 
that the influence of the will spreads to other muscles be- 
sides those necessarily brought into action in making any 
particular exertion; and it is natural that the muscles 
of respiration and of the mouth, from being so habit- 
ually used, should be especially liable to be thus acted 
on. It appears to me that there probably is some truth 
in this view, for we are apt to press the teeth hard to- 
gether during violent exertion, and this is not requisite 
to prevent expiration, whilst the muscles of the chest 
are strongly contracted. 

Lastly, when a man has to perform some delicate and 
difficult operation, not requiring the exertion of any 
strength, he nevertheless generally closes his mouth and 
ceases for a time to breathe; but he acts thus in order 
that the movements of his chest may not disturb those 
of his arms. A person, for instance, whilst threading a 

18 ' Mimik unci Phvsiog-nomik,' s. 79. 

236 DECISION. Chap. IX. 

needle, may be seen to compress his lips and either to 
stop breathing, or to breathe as quietly as possible. So 
it was, as formerly stated, with a young and sick chim- 
panzee, whilst it amused itself by killing flies with its 
knuckles, as they buzzed about on the window-panes. 
To perform an action, however trifling, if difficult, im- 
plies some amount of previous determination. 

There appears nothing improbable in all the above 
assigned causes having come into play in different de- 
grees, either conjointly or separately, on various occa- 
sions. The result would be a well-established habit, 
now perhaps inherited, of firmly closing the mouth at 
the commencement of and during any violent and pro- 
longed exertion, or any delicate operation. Through 
the principle of association there would also be a strong 
tendency towards this same habit, as soon as the mind 
had resolved on any particular action or line of con- 
duct, even before there was any bodily exertion, or if 
none were requisite. The habitual and firm closure of 
the mouth would thus come to show decision of char- 
acter; and decision readily passes into obstinacy. 

Chap. X. ANGER. 237 

Hatred axd Anger. 

Hatred — Rage, effects of on the system — Uncovering- of the 
teeth — Rage in the insane — Anger and indignation — As 
expressed by the various races of man — Sneering and 
defiance — The uncovering of the canine tooth on one 
side of the face. 

If we have suffered or expect to suffer some wilful 
injury from a man, or if he is in any way offensive to 
us, we dislike him; and dislike easily rises into hatred. 
Such feelings, if experienced in a moderate degree, are 
not clearly expressed by any movement of the body or 
features, excepting perhaps by a certain gravity of be- 
haviour, or by some ill-temper. Few individuals, how- 
ever, can long reflect about a hated person, without feel- 
ing and exhibiting signs of indignation or rage. But 
if the offending person be quite insignificant, we ex- 
perience merely disdain or contempt. If, on the other 
hand, he is all-powerful, then hatred passes into terror, 
as when a slave thinks about a cruel master, or a savage 
about a bloodthirsty malignant deity. 1 Most of our 
emotions are so closely connected with their expression, 
that they hardly exist if the body remains passive — the 
nature of the expression depending in chief part on the 

1 See some remarks to this effect by Mr. Bain, ' The 
Emotions and the Will,' 2nd edit. 1S65, p/l27. 

238 ANGER. Chap. X. 

nature of the actions which have been habitually per- 
formed under this particular state of the mind. A man, 
for instance, may know that his life is in the extremest 
peril, and may strongly desire to save it; yet, as Louis 
XVI. said, when surrounded by a fierce mob, " Am I 
afraid? feel my pulse." So a man may intensely hate 
another, but until his bodilv frame is affected, he can- 
not be said to be enraged. 

Rage. — I have already had occasion to treat of this 
emotion in the third chapter, when discussing the direct 
influence of the excited sensorium on the bodv, in com- 
bination with the effects of habitually associated actions. 
Rage exhibits itself in the most diversified manner. The 
heart and circulation are always affected; the face red- 
dens or becomes purple, with the veins on the forehead 
and neck distended. The reddening of the skin has been 
observed with the copper-coloured Indians of South 
America, 2 and even, as it is said, on the white cicatrices 
left by old wounds on negroes. 3 Monkeys also redden 
from passion. With one of my own infants, under four 
months old, I repeatedly observed that the first symp- 
tom of an approaching passion was the rushing of the 
blood into his bare scalp. On the other hand, the action 
of the heart is sometimes so much impeded by great rage, 
that the countenance becomes pallid or livid, 4 and not 
a few men with heart-disease have dropped down dead 
under this powerful emotion. 

2 Rengger, Naturgesch. der Sangethiere von Paraguay, 
1830, s. 3. 

3 Sir C. Bell, ' Anatomy of Expression,' p. 96. On the 
other hand, Dr. Burgess (' Physiology of Blushing,' 1839, 
p. 31) speaks of the reddening of a cicatrix in a negress 
as of the nature of a blush. 

4 Moreau and Gratiolet have discussed the colour of the 
face under the influence of intense passion: see the edit, 
of 1820 of Lavater, vol. iv. pp. 282 and 300; and Gratiolet, 
' De la Physionomie,' p. 345. 

Chap. X. ANGER. 239 

The respiration is likewise affected; the chest heaves, 
and the dilated nostrils quiver. 5 As Tennyson writes, 
" sharp breaths of anger puffed her fairy nostrils out." 
Hence we have such expressions as " breathing out 
vengeance," and " fuming with anger." 6 

The excited brain gives strength to the muscles, and 
at the same time energy to the will. The body is com- 
monly held erect ready for instant action, but sometimes 
it is bent forward towards the offending person, with 
the limbs more or less rigid. The mouth is generally 
closed with firmness, showing fixed determination, and 
the teeth are clenched or ground together. Such ges- 
tures as the raising of the arms, with the fists clenched, 
as if to strike the offender, are common. Few men in 
a great passion, and telling some one to begone, can re- 
sist acting as if they intended to strike or push the man 
violently away. The desire, indeed, to strike often be- 
comes so intolerably strong, that inanimate objects are 
struck or dashed to the ground; but the gestures fre- 
quently become altogether purposeless or frantic. Young 
children, when in a violent rage roll on the ground on 
their backs or bellies, screaming, kicking, scratching, or 

5 Sir C. Bell (' Anatomy of Expression,' pp. 91, 107) has 
fully discussed this subject. Moreau remarks (in the edit, 
of 1820 of ' La Physionomie, par G. Lavater,' vol. iv. p. 237), 
and quotes Portal in confirmation, that asthmatic patients 
acquire permanently expanded nostrils, owing" to the ha- 
bitual contraction of the elevatory muscles of the wing's 
of the nose. The explanation by Dr. Piderit (' Mimik und 
Physiognomik,' s. 82) of the distension of the nostrils, 
namely, to allow free breathing 1 whilst the mouth is closed 
and the teeth clenched, does not appear to be nearly so 
correct as that by Sir C. Bell, who attributes it to the sym- 
pathy (i. e. habitual co-action) of all the respiratory mus- 
cles. The nostrils of an angry man may be seen to become 
dilated, although his mouth is open. 

6 Mr. Wedgwood, ' On the Origin of Language,' 1866, 
p. 76. He also observes that the sound of hard breathing 
"is represented by the syllables puff, huff, whiff, whence a 
huff is a fit of ill-temper." 

240 ANGER. Chap. X. 

biting everything within reach. So it is, as I hear from 
Mr. Scott, with Hindoo children; and, as we have seen, 
with the yonng of the anthropomorphous apes. 

But the muscular system is often affected in a wholly 
different way; for trembling is a frequent consequence 
of extreme rage. The paralysed lips then refuse to obey 
the will, " and the voice sticks in the throat; " 7 or it 
is rendered loud, harsh, and discordant. If there be 
much and rapid speaking, the mouth froths. The hair 
sometimes bristles; but I shall return to this subject 
in another chapter, when I treat of the mingled emo- 
tions of rage and terror. There is in most cases a 
strongly-marked frown on the forehead; for this follows 
from the sense of anything displeasing or difficult, to- 
gether with concentration of mind. But sometimes the 
brow, instead of being much contracted and lowered, 
remains smooth, with the glaring eyes kept widely open. 
The eyes are always bright, or may, as Homer expresses 
it, glisten with fire. They are sometimes bloodshot, and 
are said to protrude from their sockets — the result, no 
doubt, of the head being gorged with blood, as shown 
by the veins being distended. According to Gratiolet, 8 
the pupils are always contracted in rage, and I hear from 
Dr. Crichton Browne that this is the case in the fierce 
delirium of meningitis; but the movements of the iris 
under the influence of the different emotions is a very 
obscure subject. 

Shakspeare sums up the chief characteristics of rage 
as follows: — 

" In peace there's nothing" so becomes a man, 
As modest stillness and humility; 
But when the blast of war blows in our ears, 

7 Sir C. Bell (' Anatomy of Expression,' p. 95) has some 
excellent remarks on the expression of rage. 

8 ' De la Physionomie,' 1865, p. 346. 

Chap. X. ANGER. 241 

Then imitate the action of the tiger: 
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, 
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect; 
Now set the teeth, and stretch the nostril wide, 
Hold hard the breath, and bend up every spirit 
To his full height! On, on, you noblest English." 

Henry V., act iii. sc. 1. 

The lips are sometimes protruded during rage in a 
manner, the meaning of which I do not understand, 
unless it depends on our descent from some ape-like 
animal. Instances have been observed, not only with 
Europeans, but with the Australians and Hindoos. The 
lips, however, are much more commonly retracted, the 
grinning or clenched teeth being thus exposed. This 
has been noticed by almost every one who has written 
on expression. 9 The appearance is as if the teeth were 
uncovered, ready for seizing or tearing an enemy, though 
there may be no intention of acting in this manner. Mr. 
Dyson Lacy has seen this grinning expression with the 
Australians, when quarrelling, and so has Gaika with 
the Kafirs of South America. Dickens, 10 in speaking 
of an atrocious murderer who had just been caught, and 
was surrounded by a furious mob, describes " the people 
as jumping up one behind another, snarling with their 
teeth, and making at him like wild beasts." Every one 
who has had much to do with vounGj children must have 

• Sir C. Bell, ' Anatomy of Expression,' p. 177. Gratiolet 
(De la Phys. p. 369) says, " les dents se decouvrent, et 
imitent symboliquement Taction de dechirer et de mordre." 
If, instead of using the vague term symboliquement, Gratio- 
let had said that the action was a remnant of a habit ac- 
quired during primeval times when our semi-human pro- 
genitors fought together with their teeth, like gorillas and 
orangs at the present day, he would have been more intel- 
ligible. Dr. Piderit (' Mimik,' &c, s. 82) also speaks of 
the retraction of the upper lip during rage. In an engrav- 
ing of one of Hogarth's wonderful pictures, passion is rep- 
resented in the plainest manner by the open glaring eyes, 
frowning forehead, and exposed grinning teeth-. 

10 ' Oliver Twist,' vol. iii. p. 245. 

2 ±2 ANGER. Chai>. X. 

seen how naturally they take to biting, when in a passion. 
It seems as instinctive in them as in young crocodiles, 
who snap their little jaws as soon as they emerge from 
the egg. 

A grinning expression and the protrusion of the lips 
appear sometimes to go together. A close observer says 
that he has seen many instances of intense hatred (which 
can hardly be distinguished from rage, more or less sup- 
pressed) in Orientals, and once in an elderly English 
woman. In all these cases there " was a grin, not a scowl 
— the lips lengthening, the cheeks settling downwards, 
the eyes half-closed, whilst the brow remained perfectly 
calm." " 

This retraction of the lips and uncovering of the teeth 
during paroxysms of rage, as if to bite the offender, is 
so remarkable, considering how seldom the teeth are 
used by men in fighting, that I inquired from Dr. J. 
Crichton Browne whether the habit was common in the 
insane whose passions are unbridled. He informs me 
that he has repeatedly observed it both with the insane 
and idiotic, and has given me the following illustra- 
tions: — 

Shortly before receiving my letter, he witnessed an 
uncontrollable outbreak of anger and delusive jealousy 
in an insane lady. At first she vituperated her husband, 
and whilst doing so foamed at the mouth. Next she ap- 
proached close to him with compressed lips, and a viru- 
lent set frown. Then she drew back her lips, especially 
the corners of the upper lip, and showed her teeth, at 
the same time aiming a vicious blow at him. A second 
case is that of an old soldier, who, when he is requested 
to conform to the rules of the establishment, gives way 
to discontent, terminating in fury. He commonly begins 

11 ' The Spectator,' July 11, 1S6S, p. 819. 

Chap. X. ANGER. 243 

by asking Dr. Browne whether he is not ashamed to 
treat him in such a manner. He then swears and blas- 
phemes, paces up and down, tosses his arms wildly about, 
and menaces any one near him. At last, as his exaspera- 
tion culminates, he rushes up towards Dr. Browne with 
a peculiar sidelong movement, shaking his doubled fist, 
and threatening destruction. Then his upper lip may 
be seen to be raised, especially at the corners, so that 
his huge canine teeth are exhibited. He hisses forth his 
curses through his set teeth, and his whole expression 
assumes the character of extreme ferocity. A similar 
description is applicable to another man, excepting that 
he generally foams at the mouth and spits, dancing and 
jumping about in a strange rapid manner, shrieking out 
his maledictions in a shrill falsetto voice. 

Dr. Browne also informs me of the case of an epileptic 
idiot, incapable of independent movements, and who 
spends the whole day in playing with some toys; but 
his temper is morose and easily roused into fierceness. 
"When any one touches his toys, he slowly raises his 
head from its habitual downward position, and fixes his 
eyes on the offender, with a tardy yet angry scowl. If 
the annoyance be repeated, he draws back his thick lips 
and reveals a prominent row of hideous fangs (large 
canines being especially noticeable), and then makes a 
quick and cruel clutch with his open hand at the offend- 
ing person. The rapidity of this clutch, as Dr. Browne 
remarks, is marvellous in a being ordinarily so torpid 
that he takes about fifteen seconds, when attracted by 
any noise, to turn his head from one side to the other. 
If, when thus incensed, a handkerchief, book, or other 
article, be placed into his hands, he drags it to his mouth 
and bites it. Mr. Xicol has likewise described to me two 
cases of insane patients, whose lips are retracted during 
paroxysms of rage. 

2U ANGER. Chap. X. 

Dr. Maudsley, after detailing various strange animal- 
like traits in idiots, asks whether these are not due to 
the reappearance of primitive instincts — " a faint echo 
from a far-distant past, testifying to a kinship which 
man has almost outgrown." He adds, that as every 
human brain passes, in the course of its development, 
through the same stages as those occurring in the lower 
vertebrate animals, and as the brain of an idiot is in an 
arrested condition, we may presume that it " will mani- 
fest its most primitive functions, and no higher func- 
tions." Dr. Maudsley thinks that the same view may 
be extended to the brain in its degenerated condition 
in some insane patients; and asks, whence come " the 
savage snarl, the destructive disposition, the obscene lan- 
guage, the wild howl, the offensive habits, displayed by 
some of the insane? Why should a human being, de- 
prived of his reason, ever become so brutal in character, 
as some do, unless he has the brute nature within 
him?" 12 This question must, as it would appear, be 
answered in the affirmative. 

Anger, Indignation. — These states of the mind differ 
from rage only in degree, and there is no marked dis- 
tinction in their characteristic signs. Under moderate 
anger the action of the heart is a little increased, the 
colour heightened, and the eyes become bright. The 
respiration is likewise a little hurried; and as all the 
muscles serving for this function act in association, the 
wings of the nostrils are somewhat raised to allow of a 
free indraught of air; and this is a highly characteristic 
sign of indignation. The mouth is commonly com- 
pressed, and there is almost always a frown on the brow. 
Instead of the frantic gestures of extreme rage, an in- 
dignant man unconsciously throws himself into an atti- 


' Body and Mind,' 1870, pp. 51-53. 

Chap. X. ANGER. 245 

tude ready for attacking or striking his enemy, whom 
he will perhaps scan from head to foot in defiance. 
He carries his head erect, with Ins chest well expand- 
ed, and the feet planted firmly on the ground. He 
holds his arms in various positions, with one or 
both elbows squared, or with the arms rigidly sus- 
pended by his sides. With Europeans the fists are com- 
monly clenched. 13 The figures 1 and 2 in Plate VI. 
are fairly good representations of men simulating indig- 
nation. Any one may see in a mirror, if he will vividly 
imagine that he has been insulted and demands an 
explanation in an angry tone of voice, that he suddenly 
and unconsciously throws himself into some such at- 

Eage, anger, and indignation are exhibited in nearly 
the same manner throughout the world; and the fol- 
lowing descriptions may be worth giving as evidence of 
this, and as illustrations of some of the foregoing re- 
marks. There is, however, an exception with respect to 
clenching the fists, which seems confined chiefly to the 
men who fight with their fists. With the Australians 
only one of my informants has seen the fists clenched. 
All agree about the body being held erect; and all, with 
two exceptions, state that the brows are heavily con- 
tracted. Some of them allude to the firmly-compressed 
mouth, the distended nostrils, and flashing eyes. Accord- 
ing to the Eev. Mr. Taplin, rage, with the Australians, 
is expressed by the lips being protruded, the eyes being 
widely open; and in the case of the women by their danc- 
ing about and casting dust into the air. Another ob- 

13 Le Brim, in his well-known ' Conference sur l'Expres- 
sion ' (' La Physionomie, par Lavater,' edit, of 1820, vol. ix. 
p. 268), remarks that anger is expressed by the clenching" 
of the fists. See, to the same effect, Huschke, ' Mimices 
et Physiognomices, Fragmentum Plrysiologieum,' 1824, p. 
20. Also Sir C. Bell, ' Anatomy of Expression,' p. 219. 

2-16 ANGER. Chap. X. 

server speaks of the native men, when enraged, throwing 
their arms wildly about. 

I have received similar accounts, except as to the 
clenching of the fists, in regard to the Malays of the 
Malacca peninsula, the Abyssinians, and the natives of 
South Africa. So it is with the Dakota Indians of North 
America; and, according to Mr. Matthews, they then 
hold their heads erect, frown, and often stalk away with 
long strides. Mr. Bridges states that the Fuegians, when 
enraged, frequently stamp on the ground, walk distract- 
edly about, sometimes cry and grow pale. The Rev. Mr. 
Stack watched a New Zealand man and woman quarrel- 
ling, and made the following entry in his note-book: 
" Eyes dilated, body swayed violently backwards and for- 
wards, head inclined forwards, fists clenched, now thrown 
behind the body, now directed towards each other's 
faces." Mr. Swinhoe says that my description agrees 
with what he has seen of the Chinese, excepting that an 
angry man generally inclines his body towards his an- 
tagonist, and pointing at him, pours forth a volley of 

Lastly, with respect to the natives of India, Mr. J. 
Scott has sent me a full description of their gestures 
and expression when enraged. Two low-caste Bengalees 
disputed about a loan. At first they were calm, but soon 
grew furious and poured forth the grossest abuse on each 
other's relations and progenitors for many generations 
past. Their gestures were very different from those of 
Europeans; for though their chests were expanded and 
shoulders squared, their arms remained rigidly sus- 
pended, with the elbows turned inwards and the hands 
alternately clenched and opened. Their shoulders were 
often raised high, and then again lowered. They looked 
fiercely at each other from under their lowered and 
strongly wrinkled brows, and their protruded lips were 


firmly closed. They approached each other, with heads 
and necks stretched forwards, and pushed, scratched, 
and grasped at each other. This protrusion of the head 
and body seems a common gesture with the enraged; 
and I have noticed it with degraded English women 
whilst quarrelling violently in the streets. In such cases 
it may be presumed that neither party expects to receive 
a blow from the other. 

A Bengalee employed in the Botanic Gardens was 
accused, in the presence of Mr. Scott, by the native 
overseer of having stolen a valuable plant. He listened 
silentlv and scornfullv to the accusation: his attitude 
erect, chest expanded, mouth closed, lips protruding, 
eyes firmly set and penetrating. He then defiantly 
maintained his innocence, with upraised and clenched 
hands, his head being now pushed forwards, with the 
eyes widely open and eyebrows raised. Mr. Scott also 
watched two Mechis, in Sikhim, quarrelling about their 
share of pa} r ment. They soon got into a furious pas- 
sion, and then their bodies became less erect, with their 
heads pushed forwards; they made grimaces at each 
other; their shoulders were raised; their arms rigidly 
bent inwards at the elbows, and their hands spasmodic- 
ally closed, but not properly clenched. They continually 
approached and retreated from each other, and often 
raised their arms as if to strike, but their hands were 
open, and no blow was given. Mr. Scott made similar 
observations on the Lepchas whom he often saw quar- 
relling, and he noticed that they kept their arms rigid 
and almost parallel to their bodies, with the hands pushed 
somewhat backwards and partially closed, but not 

Sneering, Defiance : Vncovering the canine tooth on 
one side. — The expression which I wish here to consider 


differs but little from that already described, when the 
lips are retracted and the grinning teeth exposed. The 
difference consists solely in the upper lip being retracted 
in such a manner that the canine tooth on one side of 
the face alone is shown; the face itself being generally 
a little upturned and half averted from the person caus- 
ing offence. The other signs of rage are not necessarily 
present. This expression may occasionally be observed 
in a person who sneers at or defies another, though there 
may be no real anger; as when any one is playfully ac- 
cused of some fault, and answers, " I scorn the imputa- 
tion." The expression is not a common one, but I have 
seen it exhibited with perfect distinctness by a lady 
who was being quizzed by another person. It was de- 
scribed by Parsons as long ago as 1746, with an engrav- 
ing, showing the uncovered canine on one side. 14 Mr. 
Pejlander, without my having made any allusion to the 
subject, asked me whether I had ever noticed this ex- 
pression, as he had been much struck by it. He has 
photographed for me (Plate IV. fig 1) a lady, who some- 
times unintentionally displays the canine on one side, 
and who can do so voluntarily with unusual distinctness. 
The expression of a half-playful sneer graduates into 
one of great ferocity when, together with a heavily 
frowning brow and fierce eye, the canine tooth is exposed. 
A Bengalee boy was accused before Mr. Scott of some 
misdeed. The delinquent did not dare to give vent to 
his wrath in words, but it was plainly shown on his 
countenance, sometimes by a defiant frown, and some- 
times " by a thoroughly canine snarl." When this was 
exhibited, " the corner of the lip over the eye-tooth, 
which happened in this case to be large and projecting, 
was raised on the side of his accuser, a strong frown 


Transact. Philosoph. Soc, Ai)pendix, 1746, p. 65. 


Thdlojruvmr ' 


being still retained on the brow." Sir C. Bell states 15 
that the actor Cooke conld express the most determined 
hate " when with the oblique cast of his eyes he drew up 
the outer part of the upper lip, and discovered a sharp 
angular tooth." 

The uncovering of the canine tooth is the result of a 
double movement. The angle or corner of the mouth 
is drawn a little backwards, and at the same time a mus- 
cle which runs parallel to and near the nose draws up 
the outer part of the upper lip, and exposes the canine 
on this side of the face. The contraction of this mus- 
cle makes a distinct furrow on the cheek, and produces 
strong wrinkles under the eye, especially at its inner 
corner. The action is the same as that of a snarling dog; 
and a dog when pretending to fight often draws up the 
lip on one side alone, namely that facing his antagonist. 
Our word sneer is in fact the same as snarl, which was 
originally snar, the I " being merely an element imply- 
ing continuance of action." 16 

I suspect that we see a trace of this same expression 
in what is called a derisive or sardonic smile. The lips 
are then kept joined or almost joined, but one corner 
of the mouth is retracted on the side towards the de- 
rided person; and this drawing back of the corner is 
part of a true sneer. Although some persons smile 
more on one side of their face than on the other, it is 
not easy to understand why in cases of derision the 
smile, if a real one, should so commonly be confined to 
one side. I have also on these occasions noticed a slight 
twitching of the muscle which draws up the outer part 

15 ' Anatomy of Expression,' p. 136. Sir C. Bell calls (p. 
131) the muscles which uncover the canines the snarling 
m useless. 

18 Hensleig*h Wedg-wood, ' Dictionary of English Ety- 
mology,' 1865, vol. iii. pp. 240, 243. 



of the upper lip; and this movement, if fully carried 
out, would have uncovered the canine, and would have 
produced a true sneer. 

Mr. Bulmer, an Australian missionary in a remote 
part of Gipps' Land, says, in answer to my query about 
the uncovering of the canine on one side, " I find that 
the natives in snarling at each other speak with the 
teeth closed, the upper lip drawn to one side, and a 
general angry expression of face; but they look direct 
at the person addressed." Three other observers in Aus- 
tralia, one in Abyssinia, and one in China, answer my 
query on this head in the affirmative; but as the ex- 
pression is rare, and as they enter into no details, I am 
afraid of implicitly trusting them. It is, however, by 
no means improbable that this animal-like expression 
may be more common with savages than with civilized 
races. Mr. Geach is an observer who may be fully 
trusted, and he has observed it on one occasion in a Malay 
in the interior of Malacca. The Eev. S. 0. Glenie an- 
swers, " We have observed this expression with the 
natives of Ceylon, but not often." Lastly, in North 
America, Dr. Bothrock has seen it with some wild In- 
dians, and often in a tribe adjoining the Atnahs. 

Although the upper lip is certainly sometimes raised 
on one side alone in sneering at or defying any one, I 
do not know that this is always the case, for the face 
is commonly half averted, and the expression is often 
momentary. The movement being confined to one side 
may not be an essential part of the expression, but may 
depend on the proper muscles being incapable of move- 
ment excepting on one side. I asked four persons to 
endeavour to act voluntarilv in this manner; two could 
expose the canine only on the left side, one only on the 
right side, and the fourth on neither side. Neverthe- 
less it is by no means certain that these same persons, 


if defying any one in earnest, would not unconsciously 
have uncovered their canine tooth on the side, which- 
ever it might be, towards the offender. For we have 
seen that some persons cannot voluntarily make their 
eyebrows oblique, yet instantly act in this manner when 
affected by any real, although most trifling, cause of dis- 
tress. The power of voluntarily uncovering the canine 
on one side of the face being thus often wholly lost, 
indicates that it is a rarely used and almost abortive 
action. It is indeed a surprising fact that man should 
possess the power, or should exhibit any tendency to its 
use; for Mr. Sutton has never noticed a snarling action 
in our nearest allies, namely, the monkeys in the Zoologi- 
cal Gardens, and he is positive that the baboons, though 
furnished with great canines, never act thus, but un- 
cover all their teeth when feeling savage and ready for 
an attack. Whether the adult anthropomorphous apes, 
in the males of whom the canines are much larger than 
in the females, uncover them when prepared to fight, 
is not known. 

The expression here considered, whether that of a 
playful sneer or ferocious snarl, is one of the most curi- 
ous which occurs in man. It reveals his animal descent; 
for no one, even if rolling on the ground in a deadly grap- 
ple with an enemy, and attempting to bite him, would 
try to use his canine teeth more than his other teeth. 
We may readily believe from our affinity to the anthropo- 
morphous apes that our male semi-human progenitors 
possessed great canine teeth, and men are now occasion- 
ally* born having them of unusuallv large size, with inter- 
spaces in the opposite jaw for their reception. 17 We may 
further suspect, notwithstanding that we have no sup- 
port from analogy, that our semi-human progenitors un- 

17 ' The Descent of Man,' 1871, vol. i. p. 126. 



covered their canine teeth when prepared for battle, as 
we still do when feeling ferocious, or when merely sneer- 
ing at or defying some one, without any intention of 
making a real attack with our teeth. 

Chai\ XI. CONTEMPT. 253 


Disdain — Contempt — Disgust — Guilt — Pride, etc. 
— Helplessness — Patience — Affirmation and 

Contempt, scorn and disdain, variously expressed — De- 
risive smile — Gestures expressive of contempt — Disgust 
 — Guilt, deceit, pride, &c. — Helplessness or impotence 
 — Patience — Obstinacy — Shrugging- the shoulders com- 
mon to most of the races of man — Signs of affirmation 
and negation. 

Scorn and disdain can hardly be distinguished from 
contempt, excepting that they imply a rather more angry 
frame of mind. Nor can they he clearly distinguished 
from the feelings discussed in the last chapter under 
the terms of sneering and defiaDce. Disgust is a sensa- 
tion rather more distinct in its nature, and refers to 
something revolting, primarily in relation to the sense 
of taste, as actually perceived or vividly imagined; and 
secondarily to anything which causes a similar feeling, 
through the sense of smell, touch, and even of eyesight. 
Nevertheless, extreme contempt, or as it is often called 
loathing contempt, hardly differs from disgust. These 
several conditions of the mind are, therefore, nearly re- 
lated; and each of them may be exhibited in many dif- 
ferent ways. Some writers have insisted chieflv on one 
mode of expression, and others on a different mode. 

254 CONTEMPT. Chap. XI. 

From this circumstance M. Lemoine has argued 1 that 
their descriptions are not trustworthy. But we shall 
immediately see that it is natural that the feelings which 
we have here to consider should be expressed in many 
different ways, inasmuch as various habitual actions 
serve equally well, through the principle of association, 
for their expression. 

Scorn and disdain, as well as sneering and defiance, 
may be displayed by a slight uncovering of the canine 
tooth on one side of the face; and this movement ap- 
pears to graduate into one closely like a smile. Or the 
smile or laugh may be real, although one of derision; 
and this implies that the offender is so insignificant that 
he excites only amusement; but the amusement is gen- 
erally a pretence. Gaika in his answers to my queries 
remarks, that contempt is commonly shown by his coun- 
trymen, the Kafirs, by smiling; and the Eajah Brooke 
makes the same observation with respect to the Dyaks 
of Borneo. As laughter is primarily the expression of 
simple joy, very young children do not, I believe, ever 
laugh in derision. 

The partial closure of the eyelids, as Duchenne 2 in- 
sists, or the turning away of the eyes or of the whole 
body, are likewise highly expressive of disdain. These 
actions seem to declare that the despised person is not 
worth looking at, or is disagreeable to behold. The ac- 
companying photograph (Plate V. fig. 1) by Mr. Eej- 
lander, shows this form of disdain. It represents a young 
lady, who is supposed to be tearing up the photograph 
of a despised lover. 

The most common method of expressing contempt is 

1 * De la Physionomie et la Parole,' 1865, p. 89. 
2 ' Physionomie Humaine,' Album, Legende viii. p. 35. 
Gratiolet also speaks (De la Phys. 18G5, p. 52) of the turn- 
ing* away of the eyes and body. 


Fkotogi .A Sen. 

Chap. XI. CONTEMPT. 255 

by movements about the nose, or round the mouth; but 
the latter movements, when strongly pronounced, indi- 
cate disgust. The nose may be slightly turned up, which 
apparently follows from the turning up of the upper 
lip; or the movement may be abbreviated into the mere 
wrinkling of the nose. The nose is often slightly con- 
tracted, so as partly to close the passage; 3 and this is 
commonly accompanied by a slight snort or expiration. 
All these actions are the same with those which we em- 
ploy when we perceive an offensive odour, and wish to 
exclude or expel it. In extreme cases, as Dr. Piderit 
remarks, 4 we protrude and raise both lips, or the upper 
lip alone, so as to close the nostrils as by a valve, the 
nose being thus turned up. We seem thus to say to the 
despised person that he smells offensively, 5 in nearly 
the same manner as we express to him by half-closing our 
eyelids, or turning away our faces, that he is not worth 
looking at. It must not, however, be supposed that such 
ideas actually pass through the mind when we exhibit 
our contempt; but as whenever we have perceived a dis- 

3 Dr. W. Ogle, in an interesting" paper on the Sense of 
Smell (' Medico-Chirurgical Transactions,' vol. liii. p. 268), 
shows that when we wish to smell carefully, instead of 
taking* one deep nasal inspiration, we draw in the air by 
a succession of rapid short sniffs. If " the nostrils be 
watched during this process, it will be seen that, so far 
from dilating, they actually contract at each sniff. The 
contraction does not include the whole anterior opening, 
but only the posterior portion." He then explains the 
cause of this movement. When, on the other hand, we wish 
to exclude any odour, the contraction, I presume, affects 
only the anterior part of the nostrils. 

4 ' Mimik und Physiognomik,' ss. 84, 93. Gratiolet (ibid, 
p. 155) takes nearly the same view with Dr. Piderit respect- 
ing the expression of contempt and disgust. 

5 Scorn implies a strong form of contempt; and one of 
the roots of the word ' scorn ' means, according to Mr. 
Wedgwood (Diet, of English Etymology, vol. iii. p. 125), 
ordure or dirt. A person who is scorned is treated like 

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, 6 " 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, con- 
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 ( 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. 

Chap. XI. DISGUST. 257 

served meat which I was eating at our bivouac, and plain- 
ly showed utter disgust at its softness; whilst I felt 
utter disgust at my food being touched by a naked sav- 
age, though his hands did not appear dirty. A smear 
of soup on a man's beard looks disgusting, though there 
is of course nothing disgusting in the soup itself. I pre- 
sume that this follows from the strong association in 
our minds between the sight of food, however circum- 
stanced, and the idea of eating it. 

As the sensation of disgust primarily arises in con- 
nection with the act of eating or tasting, it is natural 
that its expression should consist chiefly in movements 
round the mouth. But as disgust also causes annoyance, 
it is generally accompanied by a frown, and often by 
gestures as if to push away or to guard oneself against 
the offensive object. In the two photographs (figs. 2 
and 3, on Plate V.) Mr. Eejlander has simulated this 
expression with some success. With respect to the face, 
moderate disgust is exhibited in various ways; by the 
mouth being widely opened, as if to let an offensive 
morsel drop out; by spitting; by blowing out of the pro- 
truded lips; or by a sound as of clearing the throat. 
Such guttural sounds are written ach or ugh ; and their 
utterance is sometimes accompanied by a shudder, the 
arms being pressed close to the sides and the shoulders 
raised in the same manner as when horror is experienced. 7 
Extreme disgust is expressed by movements round the 
mouth identical with those preparatory to the act of 
vomiting. The mouth is opened widely, with the upper 
lip strongly retracted, which wrinkles the sides of the 
nose, and with the lower lip protruded and everted as 
much as possible. This latter movement requires the 

7 See, to this effect, Mr. Hensleigh Wedgwood's Intro- 
duction to the ' Dictionary of English Etymology,' 2nd 
edit. 1872, p. xxxvii. 

258 DISGUST. Chap. XI. 

contraction of the muscles which draw downwards the 
corners of the month. 8 

It is remarkable how readily and instantly retching 
or actual vomiting is induced in some persons by the 
mere idea of having partaken of any unusual food, as 
of an animal which is not commonly eaten; although 
there is nothing in such food to cause the stomach to 
reject it. When vomiting results, as a reflex action, 
from some real cause — as from too rich food, or tainted 
meat, or from an emetic — it does not ensue immediately, 
but generally after a considerable interval of time. 
Therefore, to account for retching or vomiting being so 
quickly and easily excited by a mere idea, the suspicion 
arises that our progenitors must formerly have had the 
power (like that possessed by ruminants and some other 
animals) of voluntarily rejecting food which disagreed 
with them, or which they thought would disagree with 
them; and now, though this power has been lost, as far 
as the will is concerned, it is called into involuntary 
action, through the force of a formerly well-established 
habit, whenever the mind revolts at the idea of having 
partaken of any kind of food, or at anything disgusting. 
This suspicion receives support from the fact, of which 
I am assured by Mr. Sutton, that the monkeys in the 
Zoological Gardens often vomit whilst in perfect health, 
which looks as if the act were voluntary. We can see 
that as man is able to communicate by language to his 
children and others, the knowledge of the kinds of food 
to be avoided, he would have little occasion to use the 
faculty of voluntary rejection; so that this power would 
tend to be lost through disuse. 

8 Duchenne believes that in the eversion of the lower lip, 
the corners are drawn downwards by the dcprcssores anguli 
oris. Henle (Handbnch d. Anat. des Menschen, 1858, B. i. s. 
151) concludes that this is effected by the musculus quadra- 
tus mcnti. 

Chaf. XI. DISGUST. 250 

As the sense of smell is so intimately connected with 
that of taste, it is not surprising that an excessively bad 
odour should excite retching or vomiting in some per- 
sons, quite as readily as the thought of revolting food 
does; and that, as a further consequence, a moderately 
offensive odour should cause the various expressive move- 
ments of disgust. The tendency to retch from a fetid 
odour is immediately strengthened in a curious manner 
by some degree of habit, though soon lost by longer 
familiarity with the cause of offence and by voluntary re- 
straint. For instance, I wished to clean the skeleton 
of a bird, which had not been sufficiently macerated, 
and the smell made my servant and mvself (we not hav- 
ing had much experience in such work) retch so vio- 
lently, that we were compelled to desist. During the 
previous days I had examined some other skeletons, 
which smelt slightly: yet the odour did not in the least 
affect me, but, subsequently for several days, whenever 
I handled these same skeletons, they made me retch. 

From the answers received from my correspondents 
it appears that the various movements, which have now 
been described as expressing contempt and disgust, pre- 
vail throughout a large part of the world. Dr. Rothrock, 
for instance, answers with a decided affirmative with 
respect to certain wild Indian tribes of Xorth America. 
Crantz says that when a Greenlander denies anything 
with contempt or horror he turns up his nose, and gives 
a slight sound through it. 9 Mr. Scott has sent me a 
graphic description of the face of a young Hindoo at 
the sight of castor-oil, which he was compelled occa- 
sionally to take. Mr. Scott has also seen the same ex- 
pression on the faces of high-caste natives who have 

9 As quoted by Tylor, ' Primitive Culture,' 1871, vol. i. 
p. 169. 

260 DISGUST. Chap. XI. 

approached close to some defiling object. Mr. Bridges 
says that the Fuegians " express contempt by shooting 
out the lips and hissing through them, and by turning 
up the nose." The tendency either to snort through 
the nose, or to make a noise expressed by ugh or ach, is 
noticed by several of my correspondents. 

Spitting seems an almost universal sign of contempt 
or disgust; and spitting obviously represents the rejec- 
tion of anything offensive from the mouth. Shakspeare 
makes the Duke of Xorfolk say, " I spit at him — call 
him a slanderous coward and a villain." So, again, Fal- 
staff says, " Tell thee what, Hal, — if I tell thee a lie, 
spit in my face." Leichhardt remarks that the Aus- 
tralians " interrupted their speeches by spitting, and ut- 
tering a noise like pooh! pooh! apparently expressive of 
their disgust." And Captain Burton speaks of certain 
negroes " spitting with disgust upon the ground." 10 
Captain Speedy informs me that this is likewise the case 
with the Abyssinians. Mr. Geach says that with the 
Malays of Malacca the expression of disgust " answers 
to spitting from the mouth; ' and with the Fuegians, 
according to Mr. Bridges " to spit at one is the highest 
mark of contempt." 

I never saw disgust more plainly expressed than on 
the face of one of my infants at the age of five months, 
when, for the first time, some cold water, and again a 
month afterwards, when a piece of ripe cherry was put 
into his mouth. This was shown by the lips and whole 
mouth assuming a shape which allowed the contents to 
run or fall quickly out; the tongue being likewise pro- 
truded. These movements were accompanied by a little 
shudder. It was all the more comical, as I doubt whether 

10 Both these quotations are given by Mr. H. Wedg- 
wood, ' On the Origin of Language,' 1866, p. 75. 

Chap. XI. PRIDE. 261 

the child felt real disgust — the eyes and forehead express- 
ing much surprise and consideration. The protrusion 
of the tongue in letting a nasty object fall out of the 
mouth, may explain how it is that lolling out the tongue 
universally serves as a sign of contempt and hatred. 11 

We have now seen that scorn, disdain, contempt, and 
disgust are expressed in many different ways, by move- 
ments of the features, and by various gestures; and that 
these are the same throughout the world. They all con- 
sist of actions representing the rejection or exclusion of 
some real object which Ave dislike or abhor, but which 
does not excite in us certain other strong emotions, such 
as rage or terror; and through the force of habit and as- 
sociation similar actions are performed, whenever any 
analogous sensation arises in our minds. 

Jealousy, Envy, Avarice, Revenge, Suspicion, Deceit, 
Slyness, Guilt. Vanity, Conceit, Ambition, Pride, Hu- 
mility, &c. — It is doubtful whether the greater number 
of the above complex states of mind are revealed by any 
fixed expression, sufficiently distinct to be described or 
delineated. AVhen Shakspeare speaks of Envy as lean- 
faced, or black, or pale, and Jealousy as " the green-eyed 
monster;" and when Spenser describes Suspicion as 
"foul, ill-favoured, and grim" they must have felt this 
difficulty. Xevertheless, the above feelings — at least 
many of them — can be detected by the eye; for instance, 
conceit; but we are often guided in a much greater de- 
gree than we suppose by our previous knowledge of the 
persons or circumstances. 

My correspondents almost unanimously answer in 
the affirmative to my query, whether the expression of 

11 This is stated to be the case by Mr. Tylor (Early Hist, 
of Mankind, 2nd edit. 1870, p. 52) ; and he adds, " it is not 
clear why this should be so." 

262 PRIDE. Chap. XI. 

guilt and deceit can be recognized amongst the various 
races of man; and I have confidence in their answers, as 
they generally deny that jealousy can thus be recognized. 
In the cases in which details are given, the eyes are 
almost always referred to. The guilty man is said to 
avoid looking at his accuser, or to give him stolen looks. 
The eves are said " to be turned askant," or " to waver 
from side to side," or " the eyelids to be lowered and 
partly closed." This latter remark is made by Mr. 
Hagenauer with respect to the Australians, and by Gaika 
with respect to the Kafirs. The restless movements of 
the eyes apparently follow, as will be explained when 
we treat of blushing, from the guilty man not enduring 
to meet the gaze of his accuser. I may add, that I have 
observed a guilty expression, without a shade of fear, in 
some of my own children at a very early age. In one in- 
stance the expression was unmistakably clear in a child 
two years and seven months old, and led to the detec- 
tion of his little crime. It was shown, as I record in mv 
notes made at the time, by an unnatural brightness in 
the eyes, and by an odd, affected manner, impossible to 

Slyness is also, I believe, exhibited chiefly by move- 
ments about the eyes; for these are less under the con- 
trol of the will, owing to the force of long-continued 
habit, than are the movements of the body. Mr. Her- 
bert Spencer remarks, 12 " When there is a desire to see 
something on one side of the visual field without being 
supposed to see it, the tendency is to check the con- 
spicuous movement of the head, and to make the re- 
quired adjustment entirely with the eyes; which are, 
therefore, drawn very much to one side. Hence, when 
the eyes are turned to one side, while the face is not 

12 ' Principles of rsychologT,' 2nd edit. 1872, p. 552. 


turned to the same side, we get the natural language of 
what is called slyness." 

Of all the above-named complex emotions, Pride, per- 
haps, is the most plainly expressed. A proud man ex- 
hibits his sense of superiority over others by holding 
his head and body erect. He is haughty (haut), or high, 
and makes himself appear as large as possible; so that 
metaphorically he is said to be swollen or puffed up with 
pride. A peacock or a turkey-cock strutting about with 
puffed-up feathers, is sometimes said to be an emblem 
of pride. 13 The arrogant man looks down on others, 
and with lowered eyelids hardly condescends to see them; 
or he may show his contempt by slight movements, such 
as those before described, about the nostrils or lips. 
Hence the muscle which everts the lower lip has been 
called the musculus siqjerlus. In some photographs of 
patients affected by a monomania of pride, sent me by 
Dr. Crichton Browne, the head and body were held erect, 
and the mouth firmly closed. This latter action, ex- 
pressive of decision, follows, I presume, from the proud 
man feeling perfect self-confidence in himself. The 
whole expression of pride stands in direct antithesis to 
that of humility; so that nothing need here be said of 
the latter state of mind. 

Heljrtessness, Impotence: Shrugging the shoulders. 
— When a man wishes to show that he cannot do some- 
thing, or prevent something being done, he often raises 
with a quick movement both shoulders. At the same 
time, if the whole gesture is completed, he bends his 
elbows closely inwards, raises his open hands, turning 

13 Gratiolet (De la Phys. p. 351) makes this remark, and 
has some g-ood observations on the expression of pride. 
See Sir C. Bell (' Anatomy of Expression,' p. Ill) on the 
action of the musculus supcrbus. 


them outwards, with the fingers separated. The head 
is often thrown a little on one side; the eyebrows are 
elevated, and this causes wrinkles across the forehead. 
The mouth is generally opened. I may mention, in order 
to show how unconsciously the features are thus acted 
on, that though I had often intentionally shrugged my 
shoulders to observe how my arms were placed, I was 
not at all aware that my eyebrows were raised and mouth 
opened, until I looked at myself in a glass; and since 
then I have noticed the same movements in the faces 
of others. In the accompanying Plate VI., figs. 3 and 
4, Mr. Rejlander has successfully acted the gesture of 
shrugging the shoulders. 

Englishmen are much less demonstrative than the 
men of most other European nations, and they shrug 
their shoulders far less frequently and energetically than 
Frenchmen or Italians do. The gesture varies in all 
degrees from the complex movement, just described, to 
only a momentary and scarcely perceptible raising of 
both shoulders; or, as I have noticed in a lady sitting in 
an arm-chair, to the mere turning slightly outwards of 
the open hands with separated fingers. I have never 
seen very young English children shrug their shoulders, 
but the following case was observed with care by a 
medical professor and excellent observer, and has been 
communicated to me by him. The father of this gen- 
tleman was a Parisian, and his mother a Scotch lady. 
His wife is of British extraction on both sides, and my 
informant does not believe that she ever shrugged her 
shoulders in her life. His children have been reared in 
England, and the nursemaid is a thorough English- 
woman, who has never been seen to shrug her shoulders. 
Now, his eldest daughter was observed to shrug her 
shoulders at the age of between sixteen and eighteen 
months; her mother exclaiming at the time, " Look at 








the little French girl shrugging her shoulders! " At 
first she often acted thus, sometimes throwing her head 
a little backwards and on one side, but she did not, as 
far as was observed, move her elbows and hands in the 
usual manner. The habit gradually wore away, and 
now. when she is a little over four rears old, she is never 
seen to act thus. The father is told that he sometimes 
shrugs his shoulders, especially when arguing with any 
one; but it is extremely improbable that his daughter 
should have imitated him at so early an age; for, as he 
remarks, she could not possibly have often seen this 
gesture in him. Moreover, if the habit had been ac- 
quired through imitation, it is not probable that it would 
so soon have been spontaneously discontinued by this 
child, and, as we shall immediately see, by a second child, 
though the father still lived with his family. This little 
girl, it may be added, resembles her Parisian grand- 
father in countenance to an almost absurd degree. She 
also presents another and very curious resemblance to 
him, namely, by practising a singular trick. When she 
impatiently wants something, she holds out her little 
hand, and rapidly rubs the thumb against the index 
and middle finger: now this same trick was frequently 
performed under the same circumstances by her grand- 

This gentleman's second daughter also shrugged her 
shoulders before the age of eighteen months, and after- 
wards discontinued the habit. It is of course possible 
that she may have imitated her elder sister; but she 
continued it after her sister had lost the habit. She at 
first resembled her Parisian grandfather in a less degree 
than did her sister at the same age, but now in a greater 
degree. She likewise practises to the present time the 
peculiar habit of rubbing together, when impatient, her 
thumb and two of her fore-fingers. 


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 the}' 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, without the other move- 


Mr. Scott has frequently seen this gesture in the 
Bengalees and Dhangars (the latter constituting a dis- 
tinct race) who are employed in the Botanic Garden at 
Calcutta; when, for instance, they have declared that 
they could not do some work, such as lifting a heavy 
weight. He ordered a Bengalee to climb a lofty tree; 
but the man, with a shrug of his shoulders and a lat- 
eral shake of his head, said he could not. Mr. Scott 
knowing that the man was lazy, thought he could, 
and insisted on his trying. His face now became 
pale, his arms dropped to his sides, his mouth and 
eyes were widely opened, and again surveying the tree, 
he looked askant at Mr. Scott, shrugged his shoul- 
ders, inverted his elbows, extended his open hands, 
and with a few quick lateral shakes of the head de- 
clared his inability. Mr. H. Erskine has likewise seen 
the natives of India shrugging their shoulders; but 
he has never seen the elbows turned so much in- 
wards as with us; and whilst shrugging their shoulders 
they sometimes lay their uncrossed hands on their 

With the wild Malays of the interior of Malacca, and 
with the Bugis (true Malays, though speaking a different 
language), Mr. Geach has often seen this gesture. I 
presume that it is complete, as, in answer to my query 
descriptive of the movements of the shoulders, arms, 
hands, and face, Mr. Geach remarks, " it is performed 
in a beautiful style." I have lost an extract from a 
scientific voyage, in which shrugging the shoulders by 
some natives (Micronesians) of the Caroline Archipelago 
in the Pacific Ocean, was well described. Capt. Speedy 
informs me that the Abyssinians shrug their shoulders, 
but enters into no details. Mrs. Asa Gray saw an Arab 
dragoman in Alexandria acting exactly as described in 
my query, when an old gentleman, on whom he attended, 


would not go in the proper direction which had been 
pointed out to him. 

Mr. Washington Matthews says, in reference to the 
wild Indian tribes of the western parts of the United 
States, " I have on a few occasions detected men using 
a slight apologetic shrug, but the rest of the demonstra- 
tion which you describe I have not witnessed." Fritz 
Muller informs me that he has seen the negroes in Brazil 
shrugging their shoulders; but it is of course possible 
that they may have learnt to do so by imitating the Por- 
tuguese. Mrs. Barber has never seen this gesture with 
the Kafirs of South Africa; and Gaika, judging from his 
answer, did not even understand what was meant by 
my description. Mr. Swinhoe is also doubtful about 
the Chinese; but he has seen them, under the circum- 
stances which would make us shrug our shoulders, press 
their right elbow against their side, raise their eye- 
brows, lift up their hand with the palm directed to- 
wards the person addressed, and shake it from right to 
left. Lastly, with respect to the Australians, four of 
my informants answer by a simple negative, and one 
by a simple affirmative. Mr. Bunnett, who has had 
excellent opportunities for observation on the borders 
of the Colony of Victory, also answers by a "yes," 
adding that the gesture is performed " in a more sub- 
dued and less demonstrative manner than is the case 
with civilized nations." This circumstance may ac- 
count for its not having been noticed by four of my in- 

These statements, relating to Europeans, Hindoos, 
the hill-tribes of India, Malays, Micronesians, Abyssin- 
ians, Arabs, Negroes, Indians of North America, and ap- 
parently to the Australians — many of these natives hav- 
ing had scarcely any intercourse with Europeans — are 
sufficient to show that shrugging the shoulders, accom- 


panied in some cases by the other proper movements, is 
a gesture natural to mankind. 

This gesture implies an unintentional or unavoidable 
action on our own part, or one that we cannot perform; 
or an action performed by another person which we 
cannot prevent. It accompanies such speeches as, " It 
was not my fault; " " It is impossible for me to grant 
this favour; " " He must follow his own course, I can- 
not stop him." Shrugging the shoulders likewise ex- 
presses patience, or the absence of any intention to re- 
sist. Hence the muscles which raise the shoulders are 
sometimes called, as I have been informed by an artist, 
" the patience muscles." Shylock the Jew, says, 

" Signor Antonio, many a time and oft 
In the Rialto have you rated me 
About my monies and usances; 
Still have I borne it with a patient shrug." 

Merchant of Venice, act i. sc. 3. 

Sir C. Bell has given 14 a life-like figure of a man, 
who is shrinking back from some terrible danger, and is 
on the point of screaming out in abject terror. He is 
represented with his shoulders lifted up almost to his 
ears; and this at once declares that -there is no thought 
of resistance. 

As shrugging the shoulders generally implies " I 
cannot do this or that," so by a slight change, it some- 
times implies " I won't do it." The movement then ex- 
presses a dogged determination not to act. Olmsted 
describes 15 an Indian in Texas as giving a great shrug 
to his shoulders, when he was informed that a party of 
men were Germans and not Americans, thus expressing 
that he would have nothing to do with them. Sulky and 

14 ' Anatomy of Expression,' p. 166. 

15 ' Journey through Texas,' p. 352. 


obstinate children may be seen with both their shoulders 
raised high up; but this movement is not associated with 
the others which generally accompany a true shrug. An 
excellent observer 16 in describing a young man who was 
determined not to yield to his father's desire, says, " He 
thrust his hands deep down into his pockets, and set 
up his shoulders to his ears, which was a good warning 
that, come right or wrong, tins rock should fly from its 
firm base as soon as Jack would; and that any remon- 
strance on the subject was purely futile." As soon as 
the son got his own way, he " put his shoulders into their 
natural position." 

Resignation is sometimes shown by the open hands 
being placed, one over the other, on the lower part of 
the body. I should not have thought this little gesture 
worth even a passing notice, had not Dr. W. Ogle re- 
marked to me that he had two or three times observed 
it in patients who were preparing for operations under 
chloroform. They exhibited no great fear, but seemed 
to declare by this posture of their hands, that they had 
made up their minds, and were resigned to the inevi- 

We may now inquire why men in all parts of the 
world when they feel, — whether or not they wish to show 
this feeling, — that they cannot or will not do something, 
or will not resist something if done by another, shrug 
their shoulders, at the same time often bending in their 
elbows, showing the palms of their hands with extended 
fingers, often throwing their heads a little on one side, 
raising their eyebrows, and opening their mouths. These 
states of the mind are either simply passive, or show a 
determination not to act. None of the above move- 
ments are of the least service. The explanation lies, I 


Mrs. Oliphant, ' The Brownlows,' vol. ii. p. 206. 


cannot doubt, in the principle of unconscious antithesis. 
This principle here seems to come into play as clearly as 
in the case of a dog, who, when feeling savage, puts him- 
self in the proper attitude for attacking and for making 
himself appear terrible to his enemy; but as soon as he 
feels affectionate, throws his whole body into a directly 
opposite attitude, though this is of no direct use to him. 

Let it be observed how an indignant man, who re- 
sents, and will not submit to some injury, holds his head 
erect, squares his shoulders, and expands his chest. He 
often clenches his fists, and puts one or both arms in the 
proper position for attack or defence, with the muscles 
of his limbs rigid. He frowns, — that is, he contracts 
and lowers his brows, — and, being determined, closes 
his mouth. The actions and attitude of a helpless man 
are, in every one of these respects, exactly the reverse. 
In Plate VI. we may imagine one of the figures on the 
left side to have just said, " What do you mean by in- 
sulting me ? " and one of the figures on the right side 
to answer, " I really could not help it." The helpless 
man unconsciously contracts the muscles of his forehead 
which are antagonistic to those that cause a frown, and 
thus raises his evebrows: at the same time he relaxes 
the muscles about the mouth, so that the lower jaw 
drops. The antithesis is complete in every detail, not 
only in the movements of the features, but in the position 
of the limbs and in the attitude of the whole body, as 
may be seen in the accompanying plate. As the helpless 
or apologetic man often wishes to show his state of mind, 
he then acts in a conspicuous or demonstrative manner. 

In accordance with the fact that squaring the elbows 
and clenching the fists are gestures by no means uni- 
versal with the men of all races, when they feel indig- 
nant and are prepared to attack their enemy, so it ap- 
pears that a helpless or apologetic frame of mind is ex- 


pressed in many parts of the world by merely shrugging 
the shoulders, without turning inwards the elbows and 
opening the hands. The man or child who is obstinate, 
or one who is resigned to some great misfortune, has 
in neither case any idea of resistance by active means; 
and he expresses this state of mind, by simply keeping 
his shoulders raised; or he may possibly fold his arms 
across his breast. 

Signs of affirmation or approval, and of negation or 
disapproval: nodding and shaking the head. — I was 
curious to ascertain how far the common signs used by 
us in affirmation and negation were general throughout 
the world. These signs are indeed to a certain extent 
expressive of our feelings, as we give a vertical nod of 
approval with a smile to our children, when we approve 
of their conduct; and shake our heads laterally with a 
frown, when we disapprove. With infants, the first act 
of denial consists in refusing food; and I repeatedly 
noticed with my own infants, that they did so by with- 
drawing their heads laterally from the breast, or from 
anything offered them in a spoon. In accepting food 
and taking it into their mouths, they incline their heads 
forwards. Since making these observations I have been 
informed that the same idea had occurred to Charma. 17 
It deserves notice that in accepting or taking food, there 
is only a single movement forward, and a single nod im- 
plies an affirmation. On the other hand, in refusing 
food, especially if it be pressed on them, children fre- 
quently move their heads several times from side to side, 
as we do in shaking our heads in negation. Moreover, 
in the case of refusal, the head is not rarely thrown back- 
wards, or the mouth is closed, so that these movements 

17 ' Essai sur le Lang-ag-e,' 2nd edit. 1846. I am much in- 
debted to Miss Wedgwood for having- given me this in- 
formation, with an extract from the work. 

Chap. XI. AND NEGATION. 273 

might likewise come to serve as signs of negation. Mr. 
"Wedgwood remarks on this subject/ 8 that " when the 
voice is exerted with closed teeth or lips, it produces the 
sound of the letter n or m. Hence we may account for 
the use of the particle ne to signify negation, and possi- 
bly also of the Greek fxrj in the same sense." 

That these signs are innate or instinctive, at least 
with Anglo-Saxons, is rendered, highly probable by the 
blind and deaf Laura Bridgman " constantly accom- 
panying her yes with the common affirmative nod, and 
her no with our negative shake of the head." Had not 
Mr. Lieber stated to the contrary, 19 I should have imag- 
ined that these gestures might have been acquired or 
learnt by her, considering her wonderful sense of touch 
and appreciation of the movements of others. "With 
microcephalous idiots, who are so degraded that they 
never learn to speak, one of them is described by Vogt, 20 
as answering, when asked whether he wished for more 
food or drink, by inclining or shaking his head. Schmalz, 
in his remarkable dissertation on the education of the 
deaf and dumb, as well as of children raised only one 
degree above idiotcy, assumes that they can always both 
make and understand the common signs of affirmation 
and negation. 21 

Nevertheless if we look to the various races of man, 
these signs are not so universally employed as I should 
have expected; yet they seem too general to be ranked 
as altogether conventional or artificial. My informants 
assert that both signs are used by the Malays, by the 
natives of Ceylon, the Chinese, the negroes of the Guinea 

18 ' On the Origin of Language,' 1866, p. 91. 

19 'On the Vocal Sounds of L. Bridgman; ' Smithsonian 
Contributions, 1851, vol. ii. p. 11. 

20 ' Memoire sur les Microcephales,' 1867, p. 27. 

21 Quoted by Tylor, ' Early History of Mankind,' 2nd 
edit. 1870, p. 38. 


coast, and, according to Gaika, by the Kafirs of South 
Africa, though with these latter people Mrs. Barber has 
never seen a lateral shake used as a negative. With re- 
spect to the Australians, seven observers agree that a nod 
is given in affirmation; five agree about a lateral shake 
in negation, accompanied or not by some word; but 
Mr. Dyson Lacy has never seen this latter sign in Queens- 
land, and Mr. Bulmer says that in Gipps' Land a nega- 
tive is expressed by throwing the head a little backwards 
and putting out the tongue. At the northern extremity 
of the continent, near Torres Straits, the natives when 
uttering a negative " don't shake the head with it, but 
holding up the right hand, shake it by turning it half 
round and back again two or three times." 22 The throw- 
ing back of the head with a cluck of the tongue is said 
to be used as a negative by the modern Greeks and Turks, 
the latter people expressing yes by a movement like that 
made by us when we shake our heads. 23 The Abys- 
sinians, as I am informed by Captain Speedy, express a 
negative by jerking the head to the right shoulder, to- 
gether with a slight cluck, the mouth being closed; an 
affirmation is expressed by the head being thrown back- 
wards and the eyebrows raised for an instant. The 
Tagals of Luzon, in the Philippine Archipelago, as I hear 
from Dr. Adolf Meyer, when they say " yes," also throw 
the head backwards. According to the Eajah Brooke, 
the Dyaks of Borneo express an affirmation by raising 
the eyebrows, and a negation by slightly contracting 
them, together with a peculiar look from the eyes. With 
the Arabs on the Nile, Professor and Mrs. Asa Gray 
concluded that nodding in affirmation was rare, whilst 

22 Mr. J. B. Jukes, ' Letters and Extracts,' &c. 1871, p. 

F. Lieber, ' On the Vocal Sounds,' &c. p. 11. Tylor, 


• 1 • 

ibid. p. 53. 


shaking the head in negation was never used, and was 
not even understood by them. With the Esquimaux 24 
a nod means yes and a wink no. The New Zealanders 
" elevate the head and chin in place of nodding acquies- 
cence." 25 

With the Hindoos Mr. H. Erskine concludes from 
inquiries made from experienced Europeans, and from 
native gentlemen, that the signs of affirmation and ne- 
gation vary — a nod and a lateral shake being sometimes 
used as we do; but a negative is more commonly ex- 
pressed by the head being thrown suddenly backwards 
and a little to one side, with a cluck of the tongue. What 
the meaning may be of this cluck of the tongue, which 
has been observed with various people, I cannot imagine. 
A native gentleman stated that affirmation is frequently 
shown by the head being thrown to the left. I asked 
Mr. Scott to attend particularly to this point, and, after 
repeated observations, he believes that a vertical nod 
is not commonly used by the natives in affirmation, but 
that the head is first thrown backwards either to the 
left or right, and then jerked obliquely forwards only 
once. This movement would perhaps have been de- 
scribed by a less careful observer as a lateral shake. He 
also states that in negation the head is usually held 
nearly upright, and shaken several times. 

Mr. Bridges informs me that the Fuegians nod their 
heads vertically in affirmation, and shake them laterally 
in denial. With the wild Indians of North America, 
according to Mr. Washington Matthews, nodding and 
shaking the head have been learnt from Europeans, and 
are not naturally employed. They express affirmation 
" by describing with the hand (all the fingers except the 

24 Dr. King-, Edinburgh Phil. Journal, 1845, p. 313. 

25 Tylor, ' Early History of Mankind,' 2nd edit. 1870, 
p. 53. 


index being flexed) a curve downwards and outwards 
from the bod}', whilst negation is expressed by moving 
the open hand outwards, with the palm facing inwards." 
Other observers state that the sign of affirmation with 
these Indians is the forefinger being raised, and then 
lowered and pointed to the ground, or the hand is waved 
straight forward from the face; and that the sign of 
negation is the finger or whole hand shaken from side 
to side. 26 This latter movement probably represents in 
all cases the lateral shaking of the head. The Italians 
are said in like manner to move the lifted finger from 
right to left in negation, as indeed we English some- 
times do. 

On the whole we find considerable diversity in the 
signs of affirmation and negation in the different races 
of man. With respect to negation, if we admit that the 
shaking of the finger or hand from side to side is sym- 
bolic of the lateral movement of the head; and if we 
admit that the sudden backward movement of the head 
represents one of the actions often practised by young 
children in refusing food, then there is much uniformity 
throughout the world in the signs of negation, and we 
can see how they originated. The most marked excep- 
tions are presented by the Arabs, Esquimaux, some Aus- 
tralian tribes, and Dyaks. With the latter a frown is 
the sign of negation, and with us frowning often accom- 
panies a lateral shake of the head. 

"With respect to nodding in affirmation, the excep- 
tions are rather more numerous, namely with some of 
the Hindoos, with the Turks, Abyssinians, Dyaks, 
Tagals, and New Zealanders. The eyebrows are some- 
times raised in affirmation, and as a person in bending 

r — . — — . . - . — —  > 

26 Lubbock, 'The Origin of Civilization,' 1870, p. 277. 
Tylor, ibid. p. 38. Lieber (ibid. p. 11) remarks on the nega- 
tive of the Italians. 

Chap. XI. AND NEGATION. 277 

his head forwards and downwards naturally looks up to 
the person whom he addresses, he will be apt to raise his 
eyebrows, and this sign may thus have arisen as an abbre- 
viation. So again with the Xew Zealanders, the lifting 
up the chin and head in affirmation may perhaps repre- 
sent in an abbreviated form the upward movement of the 
head after it has been nodded forwards and downwards. 

278 SURPRISE. Chap. XI. 


Surprise — Astonishment — Fear — Horror. 

Surprise, astonishment — Elevation of the eyebrows — Open- 
ing the mouth — Protrusion of the lips — Gestures accom- 
panying surprise — Admiration — Fear — Terror — Erection 
of the hair — Contraction of the platysma muscle — Dila- 
tation of the pupils — Horror — Conclusion. 

Attention, if sudden and close, graduates into sur- 
prise; and this into astonishment; and this into stupe- 
fied amazement. The latter frame of mind is closely 
akin to terror. Attention is shown by the eyebrows being 
slightly raised; and as this state increases into surprise, 
they are raised to a much greater extent, with the eyes 
and mouth widely open. The raising of the eyebrows 
is necessary in order that the eyes should be opened 
quickly and widely; and this movement produces trans- 
verse wrinkles across the forehead. The degree to which 
the eyes and mouth are opened corresponds with the de- 
gree of surprise felt; but these movements must be co- 
ordinated; for a widely opened mouth with eyebrows 
only slightly raised results in a meaningless grimace, as 
Dr. Duchenne has shown in one of his photographs. 1 
On the other hand, a person may often be seen to pre- 
tend surprise by merely raising his eyebrows. 

Dr. Duchenne has given a photograph of an old man 

i « 

Mecanisme de la Physionomie,' Album, 1862, p. 42. 

Chap.XM. SURPRISE. 279 

with his eyebrows well elevated and arched by the gal- 
vanization of the frontal muscle; and with his mouth 
voluntarily opened. This figure expresses surprise with 
much truth. I showed it to twenty-four persons without 
a word of explanation, and one alone did not at all under- 
stand what was intended. A second person answered 
terror, which is not far wrong; some of the others, how- 
ever, added to the words surprise or astonishment, the 
epithets horrified, woful, painful, or disgusted. 

The eyes and mouth being widely open is an expres- 
sion universally recognized as one of surprise or aston- 
ishment. Thus Shakespeare says, " I saw a smith stand 
with open mouth swallowing a tailor's news." (' King 
John/ act iv. scene ii.) And again, " They seemed al- 
most, with staring on one another, to tear the cases of 
their eyes; there was speech in the dumbness, language 
in their very gesture; they looked as they had heard of 
a world destroyed." (' "Winter's Tale/ act v. scene ii.) 

My informants answer with remarkable uniformity to 
the same effect, with respect to the various races of man; 
the above movements of the features being often accom- 
panied by certain gestures and sounds, presently to be 
described. Twelve observers in different parts of Aus- 
tralia agree on this head. Mr. Winwood Eeade has ob- 
served this expression with the negroes on the Guinea 
coast. The chief Gaika and others answer yes to my 
query with respect to the Kafirs of South Africa; and 
so do others emphatically with reference to the Abys- 
sinians, Ceylonese, Chinese, Fuegians, various tribes of 
North America, and New Zealanders. With the latter, 
Mr. Stack states that the expression is more plainly 
shown by certain individuals than by others, though all 
endeavour as much as possible to conceal their feelings. 
The Dvaks of Borneo are said by the Raiah Brooke to 
open their eyes widely, when astonished, often swinging 


their heads to and fro, and beating their breasts. Mr. 
Scott informs me that the workmen in the Botanic Gar- 
dens at Calcutta are strictly ordered not to smoke; but 
they often disobey this order, and when suddenly sur- 
prised in the act, they first open their eyes and mouths 
widely. They then often slightly shrug their shoulders, 
as they perceive that discovery is inevitable, or frown 
and stamp on the ground from vexation. Soon they 
recover from their surprise, and abject fear is exhibited 
by the relaxation of all their muscles; their heads seem 
to sink between their shoulders; their fallen eyes wan- 
der to and fro; and they supplicate forgiveness. 

The well-known Australian explorer, Mr. Stuart, has 
given 2 a striking account of stupefied amazement to- 
gether with terror in a native who had never before seen 
a man on horseback. Mr. Stuart approached unseen and 
called to him from a little distance. " He turned round 
and saw me. What he imagined I was I do not know; 
but a finer picture of fear and astonishment I never saw. 
He stood incapable of moving a limb, riveted to the spot, 
mouth open and eyes staring. . . . He remained mo- 
tionless until our black got within a few yards of him, 
when suddenly throwing down his waddies, he jumped 
into a mulga bush as high as he could get." He could 
not speak, and answered not a word to the inquiries made 
by the black, but, trembling from head to foot, " waved 
with his hand for us to be off." 

That the eyebrows are raised by an innate or instinc- 
tive impulse may be inferred from the fact that Laura 
Briclgman invariably acts thus when astonished, as I 
have been assured by the lady who has lately had charge 
of her. As surprise is excited by something unexpected 
or unknown, we naturally desire, when startled, to per- 

2 < 

The Polyglot News Letter,' Melbourne, Dec. 1858, p. 2. 


ceive the cause as quickly as possible; and we consequent- 
ly open our eyes fully, so that the field of vision may be 
increased, and the eyeballs moved easily in any direc- 
tion. But this hardly accounts for the eye"brows being 
so greatly raised as is the case, and for the wild staring 
of the open eyes. The explanation lies, I believe, in the 
impossibility of opening the eyes with great rapidity by 
merely raising the upper lids. To effect this the eye- 
brows must be lifted energetically. Any one who will 
try to open his eyes as quickly as possible before a mirror 
will find that he acts thus; and the energetic lifting up 
of the eyebrows opens the eyes so widely that they stare, 
the white being exposed all round the iris. Moreover, 
the elevation of the eyebrows is an advantage in looking 
upwards; for as long as they are lowered they impede 
our vision in this direction. Sir C. Bell gives 3 a curious 
little proof of the part which the eyebrows play in open- 
ing the eyelids. In a stupidly drunken man all the mus- 
cles are relaxed, and the eyelids consequently droop, in 
the same manner as when we are falling asleep. To coun- 
teract this tendency the drunkard raises his eyebrows; 
and this gives to him a puzzled, foolish look, as is well 
represented in one of Hogarth's drawings. The habit of 
raising the eyebrows having once been gained in order 
to see as quickly as possible all around us, the movement 
would follow from the force of association whenever 
astonishment was felt from any cause, even from a sud- 
den sound or an idea. 

With adult persons, when the eyebrows are raised, 
the whole forehead becomes much wrinkled in trans- 
verse lines; but with children this occurs onlv to a 
slight degree. The wrinkles run in lines concentric with 
each eyebrow, and are partially confluent in the middle. 

3 ' The Anatomy of Expression,' p. 106. 


They are highly characteristic of the expression of sur- 
prise or astonishment. Each eyebrow, when raised, be- 
comes also, as Duchenne remarks, 4 more arched than it 
was before. 

The cause of the mouth being opened when astonish- 
ment is felt, is a much more complex affair; and several 
causes apparently concur in leading to this movement. 
It has often been supposed 5 that the sense of hearing 
is thus rendered more acute; but I have watched per- 
sons listening intently to a slight noise, the nature and 
source of which they knew perfectly, and they did not 
open their mouths. Therefore I at one time imagined 
that the open mouth might aid in distinguishing the 
direction whence a sound proceeded, by giving another 
channel for its entrance into the ear through the eu- 
stachian tube, But Dr. W. Ogle 6 has been so kind as to 
search the best recent authorities on the functions of the 
eustachian tube, and he informs me that it is almost 
conclusively proved that it remains closed except during 
the act of deglutition; and that in persons in whom the 
tube remains abnormally open, the sense of hearing, as 
far as external sounds are concerned, is by no means 
improved; on the contrary, it is impaired by the respira- 
tory sounds being rendered more distinct. If a watch 
be placed within the mouth, but not allowed to touch 
the sides, the ticking is heard much less plainly than 
when held outside. In persons in whom from disease 
or a cold the eustachian tube is permanently or tempo- 
rarily closed, the sense of hearing is injured; but this may 

4 ' Mecanisme de la Physionomie,' Album, p. 6. 

See, for instance, Dr. Piderit (' Mimik und Physiog"- 
nomik,' s. 88), who has a good discussion on the expression 
of surprise. 

6 Dr. Murie has also given me information leading" to 
the same conclusion, derived in part from comparative 


be accounted for by mucus accumulating within the tube, 
and the consequent exclusion of air. We may therefore 
infer that the mouth is not kept open under the sense 
of astonishment for the sake of hearing sounds more 
distinctly; notwithstanding that most deaf people keep 
their mouths open. 

Every sudden emotion, including astonishment, 
quickens the action of the heart, and with it the respira- 
tion. Xow we can breathe, as Gratiolet remarks 7 and as 
appears to me to be the case, much more quietly through 
the open mouth than through the nostrils. Therefore, 
when we wish to listen intently to any sound, we either 
stop breathing, or breathe as quietly as possible, by open- 
ing our mouths, at the same time keeping our bodies 
motionless. One of mv sons was awakened in the night 
bv a noise under circumstances which naturally led to 
great care, and after a few minutes he perceived that his 
mouth was widely open. He then became conscious that 
he had opened it for the sake of breathing as quietly as 
possible. This view receives support from the reversed 
case which occurs with dogs. A dog when panting after 
exercise, or on a hot dav, breathes loudlv; but if his at- 
tention be suddenly aroused, he instantly pricks his ears 
to listen, shuts his mouth, and breathes quietly, as he is 
enabled to do, through his nostrils. 

When the attention is concentrated for a length of 
time with fixed earnestness on any object or subject, all 
the organs of the body are forgotten and neglected; 8 
and as the nervous energy of each individual is limited 
in amount, little is transmitted to any part of the system, 
excepting that which is at the time brought into ener- 
getic action. Therefore manv of the muscles tend to 

7 ' De la Physionomie,' 1865, p. 234. 

8 See, on this subject, Gratiolet, ibid. p. 254. 


become relaxed, and the jaw drops from its own weight. 
This will account for the dropping of the jaw and open 
mouth of a man stupefied with amazement, and perhaps 
when less strongly affected. I have noticed this appear- 
ance, as I find recorded in my notes, in very young chil- 
dren when they were only moderately surprised. 

There is still another and highly effective cause, lead- 
ing to the mouth being opened, when we are astonished, 
and more especially when we are suddenly startled. We 
can draw a full and deep inspiration much more easily 
through the widely open mouth than through the nos- 
trils. Now when we start at any sudden sound or sight, 
almost all the muscles of the body are involuntarily and 
momentarily thrown into strong action, for the sake of 
guarding ourselves against or jumping away from the 
danger, which we habitually associate with anything un- 
expected. But we always unconsciously prepare our- 
selves for any great exertion, as formerly explained, by 
first taking a deep and full inspiration, and we conse- 
quently open our mouths. If no exertion follows, and 
we still remain astonished, we cease for a time to breathe, 
or breathe as quietly as possible, in order that every 
sound may be distinctly heard. Or again, if our atten- 
tion continues long and earnestly absorbed, all our mus- 
cles become relaxed, and the jaw, which was at first sud- 
denly opened, remains dropped. Thus several causes 
concur towards this same movement, whenever surprise, 
astonishment, or amazement is felt. 

Although when thus affected, our mouths are gen- 
erally opened, yet the lips are often a little protruded. 
This fact reminds us of the same movement, though in 
a much more strongly marked degree, in the chimpanzee 
and orang when astonished. As a strong expiration nat- 
urally follows the deep inspiration which accompanies 
the first sense of startled surprise, and as the lips are 


often protruded, the various sounds which are then com- 
monly uttered can apparently be accounted for. But 
sometimes a strong expiration alone is heard; thus Laura 
Bridgman, when amazed, rounds and protrudes her lips, 
opens them, and breathes strongly. 9 One of the com- 
monest sounds is a deep Oh ; and this would naturally 
follow, as explained by Helmholtz, from the mouth being 
moderately opened and the lips protruded. On a quiet 
night some rockets were fired from the ' Beagle/ in a 
little creek at Tahiti, to amuse the natives; and as each 
rocket was let off there was absolute silence, but this was 
invariably followed by a deep groaning Oh, resounding 
all round the bay. Mr. "Washington Matthews savs that 
the Xorth American Indians express astonishment by a 
groan; and the negroes on the West Coast of Africa, ac- 
cording to Mr. Winwood Reade, protrude their lips, and 
make a sound like heigh, heigh. If the mouth is not 
much opened, whilst the lips are considerably protruded, 
a blowing, hissing, or whistling noise is produced. Mr. 
E. Brough Smith informs me that an Australian from 
the interior was taken to the theatre to see an acrobat 
rapidly turning head over heels: " he was greatly aston- 
ished, and protruded his lips, making a noise with his 
mouth as if blowing out a match." According to Mr. 
Buhner the Australians, when surprised, utter the ex- 
clamation korki, " and to do this the mouth is drawn 
out as if going to whistle." We Europeans often whistle 
as a sign of surprise; thus, in a recent novel 10 it is said, 
" here the man expressed his astonishment and disap- 
probation by a prolonged whistle." A Kafir girl, as Mr. 
J. Mansel Weale informs me, " on hearing of the high 
price of an article, raised her eyebrows and whistled just 

9 Lieber, ' On the Vocal Sounds of Laura Bridgman,' 
Smithsonian Contributions. 1851, vol. ii. p. 7. 

10 ' Wenderholme,' vol. ii. p. 91. 


as a European would." Mr. Wedgwood remarks that 
such sounds are written down as ichew, and they serve 
as interjections for surprise. 

According to three other observers, the Australians 
often evince astonishment by a clucking noise. Euro- 
peans also sometimes express gentle surprise by a little 
clicking noise of nearly the same kind. We have seen 
that when we are startled, the mouth is suddenly opened; 
and if the tongue happens to be then pressed closely 
against the palate, its sudden withdrawal will produce a 
sound of this kind, which might thus come to express 

Turning to gestures of the body. A surprised person 
often raises his opened hands high above his head, or by 
bending his arms only to the level of his face. The flat 
palms are directed towards the person who causes this 
feeling, and the straightened fingers are separated. This 
gesture is represented by Mr. Eejlander in Plate VII. 
fig. 1. In the i Last Supper/ by Leonardo da Vinci, two 
of the Apostles have their hands half uplifted, clearly 
expressive of their astonishment. A trustworthy ob- 
server told me that he had lately met his wife under 
most unexpected circumstances: "She started, opened her 
mouth and eyes very widely, and threw up both her arms 
above her head." Several years ago I was surprised by 
seeing several of my young children earnestly doing 
something together on the ground; but the distance was 
too great for me to ask what they were about. Therefore 
I threw up my open hands with extended fingers above 
my head; and as soon as I had done this, I became con- 
scious of the action. I then waited, without saying a 
word, to see if my children had understood this gesture; 
and as they came running to me they cried out, " We 
saw that you were astonished at us." I do not know 
whether this gesture is common to the various races of 


man, as I neglected to make inquiries on this head. That 
it is innate or natural may be inferred from the fact that 
Laura Bridgman, when amazed, " spreads her arms and 
turns her hands with extended fingers upwards; " xx nor 
is it likely, considering that the feeling of surprise is gen- 
erally a brief one, that she should have learnt this ges- 
ture through her keen sense of touch. 

Huschke describes 12 a somewhat different yet allied 
gesture, which he says is exhibited by persons when 
astonished. They hold themselves erect, with the fea- 
tures as before described, but with the straightened 
arms extended backwards — the stretched fingers being 
separated from each other. I have never myself seen 
this gesture; but Huschke is probably correct; for a 
friend asked another man how he would express great 
astonishment, and he at once threw himself into tins 

These gestures are, I believe, explicable on the prin- 
ciple of antithesis. We have seen that an indignant 
man holds his head erect, squares his shoulders, turns 
out his elbows, often clenches his fist, frowns, and closes 
his mouth; whilst the attitude of a helpless man is in 
every one of these details the reverse. Now, a man in an 
ordinary frame of mind, doing nothing and thinking 
of nothing in particular, usually keeps his two arms sus- 
pended laxly by his sides, with his hands somewhat 
flexed, and the fingers near together. Therefore, to 
raise the arms suddenlv, either the whole arms or the 
fore-arms, to open the palms flat, and to separate the 

11 Lieber, ' On the Vocal Sounds,' &c, ibid. p. 7. 

12 Huschke, ' Mimices et Physiognomices,' 1821, p. 18. 
Gratiolet (De la Phys. p. 255) gives a figure of a man in this 
attitude, which, however, seems to me expressive of fear 
combined with astonishment. Le Brun also refers (Lava- 
ter, vol. ix. p. 299) to the hands of an astonished man being 


fingers, — 01% again, to straighten the arms, extending 
them backwards with separated fingers, — are movements 
in complete antithesis to those preserved under an indif- 
ferent frame of mind, and they are, in consequence, un- 
consciously assumed by an astonished man. There is, 
also, often a desire to display surprise in a conspicuous 
manner, and the above attitudes are well fitted for this 
purpose. It may be asked why should surprise, and only 
a few other states of the mind, be exhibited by move- 
ments in antithesis to others. But this principle will 
not be brought into play in the case of those emotions, 
such as terror, great joy, suffering, or rage, which nat- 
urally lead to certain lines of action and produce certain 
effects on the body, for the whole system is thus pre- 
occupied; and these emotions are already thus expressed 
with the greatest plainness. 

There is another little gesture, expressive of astonish- 
ment, of which I can offer no explanation; namely, the 
hand being placed over the mouth or on some part of 
the head. This has been observed with so many races 
of man, that it must have some natural origin. A wild 
Australian was taken into a large room full of official 
papers, which surprised him greatly, and he cried out, 
cluck, cluck, cluck, putting the back of his hand towards 
his lips. Mrs. Barber says that the Kafirs and Fingoes 
express astonishment by a serious look and by placing 
the right hand upon the mouth, uttering the word mawo, 
which means ' wonderful.' The Bushmen are said 13 
to put their right hands to their necks, bending their 
heads backwards. Mr. Winwood Eeade has observed that 
the negroes on the West Coast of Africa, when surprised, 
clap their hands to their mouths, saying at the same 
time, " My mouth cleaves to me," i. e. to my hands; and 

13 Huschke, ibid. p. 18. 

Chap. XII. FEAR. 2S9 

he has heard that this is their usual gesture on such oc- 
casions. Captain Speedy informs me that the Abys- 
sinians place their right hand to the forehead, with the 
palm outside. Lastly, Mr. Washington Matthews states 
that the conventional sign of astonishment with, the wild 
tribes of the western parts of the United States " is made 
by placing the half-closed hand over the mouth; in 
doing this, the head is often bent forwards, and words 
or low groans are sometimes uttered." Catlin 14 makes 
the same remark about the hand being pressed over the 
mouth by the Mandans and other Indian tribes. 

Admiration.. — Little need be said on this head. Ad- 
miration apparently consists of surprise associated with 
some pleasure and a sense of approval. "When vividly 
felt, the eyes are opened and the eyebrows raised; the 
eyes become bright, instead of remaining blank, as under 
simple astonishment; and the mouth, instead of gaping 
open, expands into a smile. 

Fear, Terror. — The word ' fear ' seems to be derived 
from what is sudden and dangerous; 15 and that of terror 
from the trembling of the vocal organs and body. I 
use the word ' terror ' for extreme fear; but some writers 
think it ought to be confined to cases in which the imag- 
ination is more particularly concerned. Fear is often 
preceded by astonishment, and is so far akin to it, that 
both lead to the senses of sight and hearing being in- 
stantly aroused. In both cases the eyes and mouth are 
widely opened, and the eyebrows raised. The frightened 

14 ' Xorth American Indians,' 3rd edit. 1842, vol. i. p. 105. 

15 H. Wedgwood, Diet, of English Etymology, vol. ii. 
1862, p. 35. See, also, Gratiolet (' De la Physionomie,' p. 
135) on the sources of such -words as ' terror, horror, 
rigidus, frigidus,' &c. 

290 FEAR. Chap. XII. 

man at first stands like a statue motionless and breathless, 
or crouches down as if instinctively to escape observa- 

The heart beats quickly and violently, so that it palpi- 
tates or knocks against the ribs; but it is very doubtful 
whether it then works more efficiently than usual, so as 
to send a greater supply of blood to all parts of the body; 
for the skin instantly becomes pale, as during incipient 
faintness. This paleness of the surface, however, is 
probably in large part, or exclusively, due to the vaso- 
motor centre being affected in such a manner as to cause 
the contraction of the small arteries of the skin. That 
the skin is much affected under the sense of great fear, 
we see in the marvellous and inexplicable manner in 
which perspiration immediately exudes from it. This 
exudation is all the more remarkable, as the surface is 
then cold, and hence the term a cold sweat; whereas, 
the sudorific glands are properly excited into action 
when the surface is heated. The hairs also on the skin 
stand erect; and the superficial muscles shiver. In con- 
nection with the disturbed action of the heart, the breath- 
ing is hurried. The salivary glands act imperfectly; the 
mouth becomes dry, 16 and is often opened and shut. I 
have also noticed that under slight fear there is a strong 
tendency to yawn. One of the best-marked symptoms 
is the trembling of all the muscles of the body; and this 
is often first seen in the lips. From this cause, and from 
the dryness of the mouth, the voice becomes husky or 

16 Mr. Bain (' The Emotions and the Will,' 1865, p. 54) 
explains in the following manner the origin of the custom 
" of subjecting criminals in India to the ordeal of the 
morsel of rice. The accused is made to take a mouthful 
of rice, and after a little time to throw it out. If the 
morsel is quite dry, the party is believed to be guilty, — 
his own evil conscience operating to paralyse the salivating 

Chap. XII. FEAR. 291 

indistinct, or may altogether fail. " Obstupui, stete- 
runtque comas, et vox faucibus haesit." 

Of vague fear there is a well-known and grand de- 
scription in Job: — " In thoughts from the visions of the 
night, when deep sleep falleth on men, fear came upon 
me, and trembling, winch made all my bones to shake. 
Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my 
flesh stood up. It stood still, but I could not discern 
the form thereof: an image was before my eyes, there 
was silence, and I heard a voice, saying, Shall mortal 
man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure 
than his Maker? " (Job iv. 13.) 

As fear increases into an agony of terror, we behold, 
as under all violent emotions, diversified results. The 
heart beats wildly, or may fail to act and faintness ensue; 
there is a death-like pallor; the breathing is laboured; 
the wings of the nostrils are wildly dilated; " there is 
a gasping and convulsive motion of the lips, a tremor 
on the hollow cheek, a gulping and catching of the 
throat; " 17 the uncovered and protruding eyeballs are 
fixed on the object of terror; or they may roll restlessly 
from side to side, hue illuc volvens oculos tot unique 
pererrat. is The pupils are said to be enormously dilated. 
All the muscles of the body may become rigid, or may 
be thrown into convulsive movements. The hands are 
alternately clenched and opened, often with a twitching 
movement. The arms may be protruded, as if to avert 
some dreadful danger, or may be thrown wildly over the 
head. The Rev. Mr. Hagenauer has seen this latter 
action in a terrified Australian. In other cases there is 

17 Sir C. Bell, Transactions of Royal Phil. Soc. 1822, p. 
308. ' Anatomy of Expression.' p. 88 and pp. 164--169. 

18 See Moreau on the rolling" of the eyes, in the edit, of 
1820 of Lavater, tome iv. p. 263. Also, Gratiolet, De la 
Phys. p. 17. 

292 FEAR. Chap. XII. 

a sudden and uncontrollable tendency to headlong flight; 
and so strong is this, that the boldest soldiers may be 
seized with a sudden panic. 

As fear rises to an extreme pitch, the dreadful scream 
of terror is heard. Great beads of sweat stand on the 
skin. All the muscles of the body are relaxed. Utter 
prostration soon follows, and the mental powers fail. 
The intestines are affected. The sphincter muscles cease 
to act, and no longer retain the contents of the body. 

Dr. J. Crichton Browne has given me so striking an 
account of intense fear in an insane woman, aged thirty- 
five, that the description though painful ought not to 
be omitted. When a paroxysm seizes her, she screams 
out, " This is hell! " " There is a black woman! " " I 
can't get out! " — and other such exclamations. When 
thus screaming, her movements are those of alternate 
tension and tremor. For one instant she clenches her 
hands, holds her arms out before her in a stiff semi- 
flexed position; then suddenly bends her body forwards, 
sways rapidly to and fro, draws her fingers through 
her hair, clutches at her neck, and tries to tear off her 
clothes. The sterno-cleido-mastoid muscles (which serve 
to bend the head on the chest) stand out prominently, 
as if swollen, and the skin in front of them is much 
wrinkled. Her hair, which is cut short at the back of 
her head, and is smooth when she is calm, now stands 
on end; that in front being dishevelled by the move- 
ments of her hands. The countenance expresses great 
mental agony. The skin is flushed over the face and 
neck, down to the clavicles, and the veins of the forehead 
and neck stand out like thick cords. The lower lip drops, 
and is somewhat everted. The mouth is kept half open, 
with the lower jaw projecting. The cheeks are hollow 
and deeply furrowed in curved lines running from the 
wings of the nostrils to the corners of the mouth. The 

Chap. XII. FEAR. 293 

nostrils themselves are raised and extended. The eyes 
are widely opened, and beneath them the skin appears 
swollen; the pupils are large. The forehead is wrinkled 
transversely in many folds, and at the inner extremities 
of the eyebrows it is strongly furrowed in diverging lines, 
produced by the powerful and persistent contraction of 
the eorruffators. 


Mr. Bell has also described 19 an a^onv of terror and 
of despair, which he witnessed in a murderer, whilst 
carried to the place of execution in Turin. " On each 
side of the car the officiating priests were seated; and 
in the centre sat the criminal himself. It was impossible 
to witness the condition of this unhappy wretch without 
terror; and yet, as if impelled by some strange infatua- 
tion, it was equally impossible not to gaze upon an ob- 
ject so wild, so full of horror. He seemed about thirty- 
five years of age; of large and muscular form; his coun- 
tenance marked by strong and savage features; half 
naked, pale as death, agonized with terror, every limb 
strained in anguish, his hands clenched convulsively, 
the sweat breaking out on his bent and contracted brow, 
he kissed incessantly the figure of our Saviour, painted 
on the flag which was suspended before him; but with 
an agony of wildness and despair, of which nothing ever 
exhibited on the stage can give the slightest conception." 

I will add only one other case, illustrative of a man 
utterly prostrated by terror. An atrocious murderer of 
two persons was brought into a hospital, under the mis- 
taken impression that he had poisoned himself; and Dr. 
\Y. Ogle carefully watched him the next morning, while 
he was being handcuffed and taken away by the police. 
His pallor was extreme, and his prostration so great that 

19 ' Observations on Italy,' 1S25, p. 48, as quoted in ' The 
Anatomy of Expression,' p. 168. 

294 FEAR. Chap. XII. 

he was hardly able to dress himself. His skin perspired; 
and his eyelids and head drooped so much that it was 
impossible to catch even a glimpse of his eyes. His 
lower jaw hung down. There was no contraction of any 
facial muscle, and Dr. Ogle is almost certain that the 
hair did not stand on end, for he observed it narrowly, 
as it had been dyed for the sake of concealment. 

With respect to fear, as exhibited by the various 
races of man, my informants agree that the signs are 
the same as with Europeans. They are displayed in 
an exaggerated degree with the Hindoos and natives of 
Ceylon. Mr. Geach has seen Malays when terrified turn 
pale and shake; and Mr. Brough Smyth states that a 
native Australian "being on one occasion much fright- 
ened, showed a complexion as nearly approaching to what 
we call paleness, as can well be conceived in the case of a 
very black man." Mr. Dyson Lacy has seen extreme 
fear shown in an Australian, by a nervous twitching of 
the hands, feet, and lips; and by the perspiration stand- 
ing on the skin. Many savages do not repress the signs 
of fear so much as Europeans; and they often tremble 
greatly. With the Kafir, Gaika says, in his rather quaint 
English, the shaking " of the body is much experienced, 
and the eyes are widely open." With savages, the sphinc- 
ter muscles are often relaxed, just as may be observed in 
much frightened dogs, and as I have seen with monkeys 
when terrified by being caught. 

The erection of the hair. — Some of the signs of fear 
deserve a little further consideration. Poets continually 
speak of the hair standing on end; Brutus says to the 
ghost of Caesar, " that mak'st my blood cold, and my 
hair to stare." And Cardinal Beaufort, after the murder 
of Gloucester exclaims, " Comb down his hair; look, 
look, it stands upright." As I did not feel sure whether 


writers of fiction might not have applied to man what 
they had often observed in animals, I begged for informa- 
tion from Dr. Crichton Browne with respect to the in- 
sane. He states in answer that he has repeatedly seen 
their hair erected under the influence of sudden and ex- 
treme terror. For instance, it is occasionally necessary 
to inject morphia under the skin of an insane woman, 
who dreads the operation extremely, though it causes 
very little pain; for she believes that poison is being 
introduced into her svstem, and that her bones will be 
softened, and her flesh turned into dust. She becomes 
deadly pale; her limbs are stiffened by a sort of tetanic 
spasm, and her hair is partially erected on the front of 
the head. 

Dr. Browne further remarks that the bristling of the 
hair which is so common in the insane, is not always 
associated with terror. It is perhaps most frequently 
seen in chronic maniacs, who rave incoherently and have 
destructive impulses; but it is during their paroxysms 
of violence that the bristling is most observable. The 
fact of the hair becoming erect under the influence both 
of rage and fear agrees perfectly with what we have seen 
in the lower animals. Dr. Browne adduces several cases 
in evidence. Thus with a man now in the Asylum, be- 
fore the recurrence of each maniacal paroxysm, " the hair 
rises up from his forehead like the mane of a Shetland 
pony." He has sent me photographs of two women, 
taken in the intervals between their paroxysms, and he 
adds with respect to one of these women, " that the state 
of her hair is a sure and convenient criterion of her men- 
tal condition." I have had one of these photographs 
copied, and the engraving gives, if viewed from a little 
distance, a faithful representation of the original, with 
the exception that the hair appears rather too coarse and 
too much curled. The extraordinary condition of the 



Chap. XII. 

hair in the insane is due, not only to its erection, but to 
its dryness and harshness, consequent on the subcutane- 
ous glands failing to act. Dr. Bucknill has said 20 that a 


Fig. 19. — From a photograph of an insane woman, to show the condition of 

her hair. 

lunatic " is a lunatic to his finger's ends; " he might have 
added, and often to the extremity of each particular hair. 
Dr. Browne mentions as an empirical confirmation 
of the relation which exists in the insane between the 
state of their hair and minds, that the wife of a medical 
man, who has charge of a lady suffering from acute 
melancholia, with a strong fear of death, for herself, 
her husband and children, reported verbally to him 
the day before receiving my letter as follows, " I think 

Mrs. will soon improve, for her hair is getting 

smooth; and I always notice that our patients get better 
whenever their hair ceases to be rough and unmanage- 


Dr. Browne attributes the persistently rough condi- 


Quoted by Dr. Maudsley, ' Body and Mind,' 1870, p. 41. 


tion of the hair in many insane patients, in part to their 
minds being always somewhat disturbed, and in part to 
the effects of habit, — that is, to the hair being frequently 
and strongly erected during their many recurrent parox- 
ysms. In patients in whom the bristling of the hair is 
extreme, the disease is generally permanent and mortal; 
but in others, in whom the bristling is moderate, as soon 
as they recover their health of mind the hair recovers 
its smoothness. 

In a previous chapter we have seen that with animals 
the hairs are erected by the contraction of minute, un- 
striped, and involuntary muscles, which run to each 
separate follicle. In addition to this action, Mr. J. Wood 
has clearly ascertained by experiment, as he informs 
me, that with man the hairs on the front of the head 
which slope forwards, and those on the back which slope 
backwards, are raised in opposite directions by the con- 
traction of the occipito-frontalis or scalp muscle. So 
that this muscle seems to aid in the erection of the hairs 
on the head of man, in the same manner as the homolo- 
gous panniculus carnosus aids, or takes the greater part, 
in the erection of the spines on the backs of some of the 
lower animals. 

Contraction of the platysma myoides muscle. — This 
muscle is spread over the sides of the neck, extending 
downwards to a little beneath the collar-bonjes, and up- 
wards to the lower part of the cheeks. A portion, called 
the risorius, is represented in the woodcut (M) fig. 2. 
The contraction of this muscle draws the corners of the 
mouth and the lower parts of the cheeks downwards and 
backwards. It produces at the same time divergent, 
longitudinal, prominent ridges on the sides of the neck 
in the young; and, in old thin persons, fine transverse 

wrinkles. This muscle is sometimes said not to be under 

298 FEAR, Chap. XII. 

the control of the will; but almost every one, if told to 
draw the corners of his mouth backwards and downwards 
with great force, brings it into action. I have, however, 
heard of a man who can voluntarily act on it only on one 
side of his neck. 

Sir C. Bell 21 and others have stated that this muscle 
is strongly contracted under the influence of fear; and 
Duchenne insists so strongly on its importance in the 
expression of this emotion, that he calls it the muscle of 
fright. 22 He admits, however, that its contraction is 
quite inexpressive unless associated with widely open 
eyes and mouth. He has given a photograph (copied 
and reduced in the accompanying woodcut) of the same 
old man as on former occasions, with his eyebrows strong- 
ly raised, his mouth opened, and the platysma contracted, 
all by means of galvanism. The original photograph 
was shown to twenty-four persons, and they were sep- 
arately asked, without any explanation being given, what 
expression was intended: twenty instantly answered, 
" intense fright " or " horror; " three said pain, and one 
extreme discomfort. Dr. Duchenne has given another 
photograph of the same old man, with the platysma 
contracted, the eyes and mouth opened, and the eye- 
brows rendered oblique, by means of galvanism. The 
expression thus induced is very striking (see Plate VII. 
fig. 2); the obliquity of the eyebrows adding the appear- 
ance of great mental distress. ' The original was shown 
to fifteen persons; twelve answered terror or horror, and 
three agony or great suffering. From these cases, and 
from an examination of the other photographs given 
by Dr. Duchenne, together with his remarks thereon, 
I think there can be little doubt that the contraction of 

21 ' Anatomy of Expression,' p. 168. 

22 Mecanisme de la Phj^s. Huniaine, Album, Legende xi. 



the platysma does add greatly to the expression of fear. 
Nevertheless this muscle ought hardly to be called that 
of fright, for its contraction is certainly not a necessary 
concomitant of this state of mind. 

Fig. 20. — Terror, from a photograph by Dr. Duchenne. 

A man may exhibit extreme terror in the plainest 
manner by death-like pallor, by drops of perspiration on 
his skin, and by utter prostration, with, all the muscles 
of his body, including the platysma, completely relaxed. 
Although Dr. Browne has often seen this muscle quiver- 

300 FEAR. Chap. XII. 

ing and contracting in the insane, he has not been able 
to connect its action with any emotional condition in 
them, though he carefully attended to patients suffering 
from great fear. Mr. Nicol, on the other hand, has ob- 
served three cases in which this muscle appeared to be 
more or less permanently contracted under the influence 
of melancholia, associated with much dread; but in one 
of these cases, various other muscles about the neck and 
head were subject to sjDasmodic contractions. 

Dr. W. Ogle observed for me in one of the London 
hospitals about twenty patients, just before, they were 
put under the influence of chloroform for operations. 
They exhibited some trepidation, but no great terror. 
In only four of the cases was the platysma visibly con- 
tracted; and it did not begin to contract until the pa- 
tients began to crv. The muscle seemed to contract at 
the moment of each deep-drawn inspiration; so that it 
is very doubtful whether the contraction depended at 
all on the emotion of fear. In a fifth case, the patient, 
who was not chloroformed, was much terrified; and his 
platysma was more forcibly and persistently contracted 
than in the other cases. But even here there is room 
for doubt, for the muscle which appeared to be unusually 
developed, was seen by Dr. Ogle to contract as the man 
moved his head from the pillow, after the operation was 

As I felt much perplexed why, in any case, a super- 
ficial muscle on the neck should be especially affected 
by fear, I applied to my many obliging correspondents 
for information about the contraction of this muscle 
under other circumstances. It would be superfluous to 
give all the answers which I have received. They show 
that this muscle acts, often in a variable manner and 
degree, under many different conditions. It is violently 
contracted in hydrophobia, and in a somewhat less de- 

Photogravure by VBrvoks.~ :: 


gree in lockjaw; sometimes in a marked manner during 
the insensibility from chloroform. Dr. W. Ogle observed 
two male patients, suffering from such difficulty in 
breathing, that the trachea had to be opened, and in both 
the platysma was strongly contracted. One of these men 
overheard the conversation of the surgeons surrounding 
him, and when he was able to speak, declared that he 
had not been frightened. In some other cases of extreme 
difficulty of respiration, though not requiring trache- 
otomy, observed by Drs. Ogle and Langstaff, the platysma 
was not contracted. 

Mr. J. Wood, who has studied with such care the 
muscles of the human body, as shown by his various 
publications, has often seen the platysma contracted in 
vomiting, nausea, and disgust; also in children and 
adults under the influence of rage, — for instance, in 
Irishwomen, quarrelling and brawling together with 
angry gesticulations. This may possibly have been due 
to their high and angry tones; for I know a lady, an ex- 
cellent musician, who, in singing certain high notes, 
always contracts her platysma. So does a young man, 
as I have observed, in sounding certain notes on the 
flute. Mr. J. Wood informs me that he has found the 
platysma best developed in persons with thick necks and 
broad shoulders; and that in families inheriting these 
peculiarities, its development is usually associated with 
much voluntary power over the homologous oceipito- 
frontalis muscle, by which the scalp can be moved. 

None of the foregoing cases appear to throw any light 
on the contraction of the platysma from fear; but it 
is different, I think, with the following cases. The 
gentleman before referred to, who can voluntarily act 
on this muscle only on one side of his neck, is positive 
that it contracts on both sides whenever he is startled. 
Evidence has already been given showing that this mus- 

302 FEAR. Chap. XII. 

cle sometimes contracts, perhaps for the sake of opening 
the mouth widely, when the breathing is rendered diffi- 
cult by disease, and during the deep inspirations of cry- 
ing-fits before an operation. Xow, whenever a person 
starts at any sudden sight or sound, he instantaneously 
draws a deep breath; and thus the contraction of the 
platysma may possibly have become associated with the 
sense of fear. But there is, I believe, a more efficient 
relation. The first sensation of fear, or the imagination 
of something dreadful, commonly excites a shudder. I 
have caught myself giving a little involuntary shudder 
at a painful thought, and I distinctly perceived that my 
platysma contracted; so it does if I simulate a shudder. 
I have asked others to act in this manner; and in some 
the muscle contracted, but not in others. One of my 
sons, whilst getting out of bed, shuddered from the cold, 
and, as he happened to have his hand on his neck, he 
plainly felt that this muscle strongly contracted. He 
then voluntarily shuddered, as he had done on former 
occasions, but the platysma was not then affected. Mr. 
J. Wood has also several times observed this muscle con- 
tracting in patients, when stripped for examination, and 
who were not frightened, but shivered slightly from the 
cold. Unfortunately I have not been able to ascertain 
whether, when the whole body shakes, as in the cold stage 
of an ague fit, the platysma contracts. But as it cer- 
tainly often contracts during a shudder; and as a shud- 
der or shiver often accompanies the first sensation of 
fear, we have, I think, a clue to its action in this latter 
case. 23 Its contraction, however, is not an invariable 

23 Duchenne takes, in fact, this view (ibid. p. 45), as he 
attributes the contraction of the platysma to the shiver- 
ing- of fear (frisson de la peur); but he elsewhere compares 
the action with that which causes the hair of frightened 
quadrupeds to stand erect; and this can hardly be consid- 
ered as quite correct. 


concomitant of fear; for it probably never acts under the 
influence of extreme, prostrating terror. 

Dilatation of the Pupils. — Gratiolet repeatedly in- 
sists 2i that the pupils are enormously dilated whenever 
terror is felt. I have no reason to doubt the accuracy 
of this statement, but have failed to obtain confirmatory 
evidence, excepting in the one instance before given of 
an insane woman suffering from great fear. When 
writers of fiction speak of the eyes being widely dilated, 
I presume that they refer to the eyelids. Munro's state- 
ment, 25 that with parrots the iris is affected by the pas- 
sions, independently of the amount of light, seems to 
bear on this question; but Professor Donders informs 
me, that he has often seen movements in the pupils of 
these birds which he thinks may be related to their power 
of accommodation to distance, in nearly the same manner 
as our own pupils contract when our eyes converge for 
near vision. Gratiolet remarks that the dilated pupils 
appear as if they were gazing into profound darkness. 
No doubt the fears of man have often been excited in the 
dark; but hardly so often or so exclusively, as to account 
for a fixed and associated habit having thus arisen. It 
seems more probable, assuming that Gratiolet's state- 
ment is correct, that the brain is directly affected by 
the powerful emotion of fear and reacts on the pupils; 
but Professor Donders informs me that this is an ex- 
tremely complicated subject. I may add, as possibly 
throwing light on the subject, that Dr. Fyffe, of Xetley 
Hospital, has observed in two patients that the pupils 
were distinctly dilated during the cold stage of an ague 
fit. Professor Donders has also often seen dilatation 
of the pupils in incipient faintness. 

24 ' De la Physionomie,' pp. 51, 256, 346. 

25 As quoted in White's ' Gradation in Man,' p. 57. 

304 HORROR. Chap. XII. 

Horror. — The state of mind expressed by this term 
implies terror, and is in some cases almost synonymous 
with it. Many a man must have felt, before the blessed 
discovery of chloroform, great horror at the thought of 
an impending surgical operation. He who dreads, as 
well as hates a man, will feel, as Milton uses the word, 
a horror of him. We feel horror if we see any one, for 
instance a child, exposed to some instant and crushing 
danger. Almost every one would experience the same 
feeling in the highest degree in witnessing a man being 
tortured or going to be tortured. In these cases there 
is no danger to ourselves; but from the power of the 
imagination and of sympathy we put ourselves in the 
position of the sufferer, and feel something akin to fear. 

Sir C. Bell remarks, 26 that " horror is full of energy; 
the body is in the utmost tension, not unnerved by fear." 
It is, therefore, probable that horror would generally 
be accompanied by the strong contraction of the brows; 
but as fear is one of the elements, the eyes and mouth 
would be opened, and the eyebrows would be raised, as 
far as the antagonistic action of the corrugators per- 
mitted this movement. Duchenne has given a photo- 
graph 27 (fig. 21) of the same old man as before, with his 
eyes somewhat staring, the eyebrows partially raised, and 
at the same time strongly contracted, the mouth opened, 
and the platysma in action, all effected by the means of 
galvanism. He considers that the expression thus pro- 
duced shows extreme terror with horrible pain or torture. 
A tortured man, as long as his sufferings allowed him 
to feel any dread for the future, would probably exhibit 
horror in an extreme degree. I have shown the original 
of this photograph to twenty-three persons of both sexes 

28 ' Anatomy of Expression,' p. 169. 

27 ' Mecanisme de la Physionomie,' Album, pi. 65, pp. 
44, 45. 

Chap. XII. HORROR. 305 

and various ages; and thirteen immediately answered 
horror, great pain, torture, or agony; three answered 
extreme fright; so that sixteen answered nearly in 
accordance with Duchenne's belief. Six, however, 
said anger, guided no doubt, by the strongly con- 
tracted brows, and overlooking the peculiarly opened 
mouth. One said disgust. On the whole, the evidence 
indicates that we have here a fairly good representation 
of horror and agony. The photograph before referred 
to (PI. VII. fig. 2) likewise exhibits horror; but in this 
the oblique eyebrows indicate great mental distress in 
place of energy. 

Horror is generally accompanied by various gestures, 
which differ in different individuals. Judging from pic- 
tures, the whole body is often turned away or shrinks; 
or the arms are violently protruded as if to push away 
some dreadful object. The most frequent gesture, as far 
as can be inferred from the action of persons who en- 
deavour to express a vividly-imagined scene of horror, 
is the raising of both shoulders, with the bent arms 
pressed closely against the sides or chest. These move- 
ments are nearly the same with those commonly made 
when we feel very cold; and they are generally accom- 
panied by a shudder, as well as by a deep expiration or 
inspiration, according as the chest happens at the time 
to be expanded or contracted. The sounds thus made 
are expressed by words like uh or vgJi. 2d It is not, how- 
ever, obvious why, when we feel cold or express a sense 
of horror, we press our bent arms against our bodies, 
raise our shoulders, and shudder. 

28 vSee remarks to this effect by Mr. Wedgwood, in the 
Introduction to his ' Dictionary of English Etymology,' 2nd 
edit. 1872, p. xxxvii. He shows by intermediate forms that 
the sounds here referred to have probably given rise to 
many words, such as ugly, huge, &c. 



Chap. XII. 

Fig. 21.— Horror and Agony, copied from a photograph by Dr. Duchenne. 

Conclusion. — I have now endeavoured to describe the 
diversified expressions of fear, in its gradations from 
mere attention to a start of surprise, into extreme terror 
and horror. Some of the signs may be accounted for 
through the principles of habit, association, and inherit- 
ance, — such as the wide opening of the mouth and eyes, 
with upraised eyebrows, so as to see as quickly as possible 
all around us, and to hear distinctly whatever sound may 
reach our ears. For we have thus habitually prepared 


ourselves to discover and encounter any danger. Some 
of the other signs of fear may likewise be accounted for, 
at least in part, through these same principles. Men, 
during numberless generations, have endeavoured to es- 
cape from their enemies or danger by headlong flight, 
or by violently struggling with them; and such great 
exertions will have caused the heart to beat rapidly, the 
breathing to be hurried, the chest to heave, and the nos- 
trils to be dilated. As these exertions have often been 
prolonged to the last extremity, the final result will have 
been utter prostration, pallor, perspiration, trembling of 
all the muscles, or their complete relaxation. And now, 
whenever the emotion of fear is strongly felt, though it 
may not lead to any exertion, the same results tend to 
reappear, through the force of inheritance and associa- 

Nevertheless, it is probable that many or most of the 
above symptoms of terror, such as the beating of the 
heart, the trembling of the muscles, cold perspiration, 
&c, are in large part directly due to the disturbed or 
interrupted transmission of nerve-force from the cerebro- 
spinal system to various parts of the body, owing to the 
mind being so powerfully affected. "We may confidently 
look to this cause, independently of habit and associa- 
tion, in such cases as the modified secretions of the in- 
testinal canal, and the failure of certain glands to act. 
With respect to the involuntary bristling of the hair, we 
have good reason to believe that in the case of animals 
this action, however it may have originated, serves, to- 
gether with certain voluntary movements, to make them 
appear terrible to their enemies; and as the same invol- 
untary and voluntary actions are performed by animals 
nearly related to man, we are led to believe that man has 
retained through inheritance a relic of them, now become 
useless. It is certainly a remarkable fact, that the minute 


Tinstriped muscles, by which the hairs thinly scattered 
over man's almost naked body are erected, should have 
been preserved to the present day; and that they should 
still contract under the same emotions, namely, terror 
and rage, which cause the hairs to stand on end in the 
lower members of the Order to which man belongs. 

Chap. XIII. BLUSHING. 309 


Self-attention — Shame — Shyness — Modesty: 


Nature of a blush — Inheritance — The parts of the body 
most affected — Blushing- in the various races of man — 
Accompanying' gestures — Confusion of mind — Causes of 
blushing- — Self-attention, the fundamental element — 
Shyness — Shame, from broken moral laws and conven- 
tional rules — Modest}' — Theory of blushing' — Kecapitu- 

Blushing is the most peculiar and the most human 
of all expressions. Monkeys redden from passion, but it 
would require an overwhelming amount of evidence to 
make us believe that any animal could blush. The red- 
dening of the face from a blush is due to the relaxation 
of the muscular coats of the small arteries, bv which 
the capillaries become filled with blood; and this de- 
pends on the proper vaso-motor centre being affected. 
Xo doubt if there be at the same time much mental agi- 
tation, the general circulation will be affected; but it is 
not due to the action of the heart that the network of 
minute vessels covering the face becomes under a sense 
of shame gorged with blood. We can cause laughing 
by tickling the skin, weeping or frowning by a blow, 
trembling from the fear of pain, and so forth; but we 
cannot cause a blush, as Dr. Burgess remarks, 1 bv 

7 O 7 %/ 

1 ' The Physiology or Mechanism of Blushing',' 1839, p. 
156. I shall have occasion often to quote this work in the 
present chapter. 

310 BLUSHING. Chap. XII T. 

any physical means, — that is by any action on the 
body. It is the mind which must be affected. Blush- 
ing is not only involuntary; but the wish to restrain it, 
by leading to self-attention actually increases the ten- 

The young blush much more freely than the old, but 
not during infancy, 2 which is remarkable, as we know 
that infants at a very early age redden from passion. I 
have received authentic accounts of two little girls 
blushing at the ages of between two and three years; 
and of another sensitive child, a year older, blushing, 
when reproved for a fault. Many children, at a some- 
what more advanced age blush in a strongly marked 
manner. It appears that the mental powers of infants 
are not as yet sufficiently developed to allow of their 
blushing. Hence, also, it is that idiots rarely blush. 
Dr. Crichton Browne observed for me those under his 
care, but never saw a genuine blush, though he 
has seen their faces flash, apparently from joy, 
when food was placed before them, and from anger. 
Nevertheless some, if not utterly degraded, are capable 
of blushing. A microcephalous idiot, for instance, thir- 
teen years old, whose eyes brightened a little when he 
was pleased or amused, has been described by Dr. Behn, 3 
as blushing and turning to one side, when undressed for 
medical examination. 

Women blush much more than men. It is rare to 
see an old man, but not nearly so rare to see an old 
woman blushing. The blind do not escape. Laura 
Bridgman, born in this condition, as well as completely 

2 Dr. Burgess, ibid. p. 56. At p. 33 he also remarks on 
women blushing 1 more freely than men, as stated below. 

3 Quoted by Yogt, ' Memoire sur les Microcephales,' 18G7, 
p. 20. Dr. Burg-ess (ibid. p. 56) doubts. whether idiots ever 

Chap. XIII. BLUSHING. 311 

deaf, blushes. 4 The Rev. E. H. Blair, Principal of the 
Worcester College, informs me that three children born 
blind, out of seven or eight then in the Asylum, are 
great blushers. The blind are not at first conscious that 
they are observed, and it is a most important part of their 
education, as Mr. Blair informs me, to impress this 
knowledge on their minds; and the impression thus 
gained would greatly strengthen the tendency to blush, 
by increasing the habit of self -attention. 

The tendency to blush is inherited. Dr. Burgess 
gives the case 5 of a family consisting of a father, mother, 
and ten children, all of whom, without exception, were 
prone to blush to a most painful degree. The children 
were grown up; " and some of them were sent to travel 
in order to wear away this diseased sensibility, but noth- 
ing was of the slightest avail." Even peculiarities in 
blushing seem to be inherited. Sir James Paget, whilst 
examining the spine of a girl, was struck at her singular 
manner of blushing; a big splash of red appeared first 
on one cheek, and then other splashes, variously scat- 
tered over the face and neck. He subsequently asked 
the mother whether her daughter always blushed in 
this peculiar manner; and was answered, " Yes, she 
takes after me." Sir J. Paget then perceived that by 
asking this question he had caused the mother to 
blush; and she exhibited the same peculiarity as her 

In most cases the face, ears and neck are the sole 
parts which redden; but many persons, whilst blushing 
intensely, feel that their whole bodies grow hot and 
tingle; and this shows that the entire surface must be 
in some manner affected. Blushes are said sometimes 

4 Lieber 'On the Vocal Sounds,' &c; Smithsonian Con- 
tributions, 1851, vol. ii. p. 6. 
e Ibid. p. 182. 

312 BLUSHING. * Chap. XIII. 

to commence on the forehead, but more commonly on 
the cheeks, afterwards spreading to the ears and neck. 6 
In two Albinos examined by Dr. Burgess, the blushes 
commenced by a small circumscribed spot on the cheeks, 
over the parotidean plexus of nerves, and then increased 
into a circle; between this blushing circle and the blush 
on the neck there was an evident line of demarcation; 
although both arose simultaneously. The retina, which 
is naturally red in the Albino, invariably increased at 
the same time in redness. 7 Every one must have noticed 
how easily after one blush fresh blushes chase each other 
over .the face. Blushing is preceded by a peculiar sensa- 
tion in the skin. According to Dr. Burgess the redden- 
ing of the skin is generally succeeded by a slight pallor, 
which shows that the capillary vessels contract after di- 
lating. In some rare cases paleness instead of redness 
is caused under conditions which would naturally induce 
a blush. For instance, a young lady told me that in a 
large and crowded party she caught her hair so firm- 
ly on the button of a passing servant, that it took 
some time before she could be extricated; from her sen- 
sations she imagined that she had blushed crimson; 
but was assured by a friend that she had turned ex- 
tremely pale. 

I was desirous to learn how far down the body blushes 
extend; and Sir J. Paget, who necessarily has frequent 
opportunities for observation, has kindly attended to 
this point for me during two or three years. He finds 
that with women who blush intensely on the face, 
ears, and nape of neck, the blush does not commonly 
extend any lower down the body. It is rare to see it as 
low down as the collar-bones and shoulder-blades; and 
he has never himself seen a single instance in which it 

G Moreau, in edit, of 1820 of Lavater, vol. iv. p. 303. 

7 Burg-ess, ibid. p. 38, on paleness after blushing", p. 177. 

Chap. XIIT. BLUSHING. 313 

extended below the upper part of the chest. He has also 
noticed that blushes sometimes die away downwards, 
not gradually and insensibly, but by irregular ruddy 
blotches. Dr. Langstaff has likewise observed for me 
several women whose bodies did not in the least redden 
while their faces were crimsoned with blushes. With 
the insane, some of whom appear to be particularly liable 
to blushing, Dr. J. Crichton Browne has several times 
seen the blush extend as far down as the collar-bones, 
and in two instances to the breasts. He gives me the 
case of a married woman, aged twenty-seven, who suf- 
fered from epilepsy. On the morning after her arrival 
in the Asylum, Dr. Browne, together with his assistants, 
visited her whilst she was in bed. The moment that he 
approached, she blushed deeply over her cheeks and 
temples; and the blush spread quickly to her ears. She 
was much agitated and tremulous. He unfastened the 
collar of her chemise in order to examine the state of 
her lungs; and then a brilliant blush rushed over her 
chest, in an arched line over the upper third of each 
breast, and extended downwards between the breasts 
nearly to the ensiform cartilage of the sternum. This 
case is interesting, as the blush did not thus extend 
downwards until it became intense by her attention being 
drawn to this part of her person. As the examination 
proceeded she became composed, and the blush disap- 
peared; but on several subsequent occasions the same 
phenomena were observed. 

The foregoing facts show that, as a general rule, 
with English women, blushing does not extend beneath 
the neck and upper part of the chest. Nevertheless Sir 
J. Paget informs me that he has lately heard of a case, 
on which he can fully rely, in which a little girl, shocked 
by what she imagined to be an act of indelicacy, blushed 
all over her abdomen and the upper parts of her legs. 

314 BLUSHING. Chap. XIII. 

Moreau also 8 relates, on the authority of a celebrated 
painter, that the chest, shoulders, arms, and whole body 
of a girl, who unwillingly consented to serve as a model, 
reddened when she was first divested of her clothes. 

It is a rather curious question why, in most cases the 
face, ears, and neck alone redden, inasmuch as the whole 
surface of the body often tingles and grows hot. This 
seems to depend, chiefly, on the face and adjoining parts 
of the skin having been habitually exposed to the air, 
light, and alternations of temperature, by which the 
small arteries not only have acquired the habit of readily 
dilating and contracting, but appear to have become 
unusually developed in comparison with other parts of 
the surface. 9 It is probably owing to this same cause, 
as M. Moreau and Dr. Burgess have remarked, that the 
face is so liable to redden under various circumstances, 
such as a fever-fit, ordinary heat, violent exertion, anger, 
a slight blow, &c; and on the other hand that it is liable 
to grow pale from cold and fear, and to be discoloured 
during pregnancy. The face is also particularly liable 
to be affected by cutaneous complaints, by small-pox, 
erysipelas, &c. This view is likewise supported by the 
fact that the men of certain races, who habitually go 
nearly naked, often blush over their arms and chests and 
even down to their waists. A lady, who is a great blusher, 
informs Dr. Crichton Browne, that when she feels 
ashamed or is agitated, she blushes over her face, neck, 
wrists, and hands, — that is, over all the exposed portions 
of her skin. Nevertheless it may be doubted whether 
the habitual exposure of the skin of the face and neck, 
and its consequent power of reaction under stimulants 
of all kinds, is by itself sufficient to account for the much 

8 See Lavater, edit, of 1820, vol. iv. p. 303. 
Burg-ess, ibid. pp. 114, 122. Moreau in Lavater, ibid. vol. 
iv. p. 293. 

Chap. XIII. BLUSHING. 315 

greater tendency in English women of these parts than 
of others to blush; for the hands are well supplied with 
nerves and small vessels, and have been as much ex- 
posed to the air as the face or neck, and yet the hands 
rarely blush. We shall presently see that the attention 
of the mind having been directed much more frequently 
and earnestly to the face than to any other part of the 
body, probably affords a sufficient explanation. 

Blushing in the various races of man. — The small 
vessels of the face become filled with blood, from the 
emotion of shame, in almost all the races of man, though 
in the verv dark races no distinct change of colour can 
be perceived. Blushing is evident in all the Aryan na- 
tions of Europe, and to a certain extent with those of 
India. But Mr. Erskine has never noticed that the necks 
of the Hindoos are decidedly affected. "With the Lep- 
chas of Sikhim, "Mr. Scott has often observed a faint 
blush on the cheeks, base of the ears, and sides of the 
neck, accompanied by sunken eyes and lowered head. 
This has occurred when he has detected them in a false- 
hood, or has accused them of ingratitude. The pale, 
sallow complexions of these men render a blush much 
more conspicuous than in most of the other natives of 
India. With the latter, shame, or it may be in part fear, 
is expressed, according to Mr. Scott, much more plainly 
by the head being averted or bent down, with the eyes 
wavering or turned askant, than by any change of colour 
in the skin. 

The Semitic races blush freely, as might have been 
expected, from their general similitude to the Aryans. 
Thus with the Jews, it is said in the Book of Jeremiah 
(chap. vi. 15), " Nay, they were not at all ashamed, 
neither could they blush." Mrs. Asa Gray saw an Arab 
managing his boat clumsily on the Xile, and when 

316 BLUSHING. Chap. XIII. 

laughed at by his companions, " he blushed quite to the 
back of his neck." Lady Duff Gordon remarks that a 
young Arab blushed on coming into her presence. 10 

Mr. Swinhoe has seen the Chinese blushing, but he 
thinks it is rare; yet they have the expression " to red- 
den with shame." Mr. Geach informs me that the Chi- 
nese settled in Malacca and the native Malays of the in- 
terior both blush. Some of these people go nearly naked, 
and he particularly attended to the downward extension 
of the blush. Omitting the cases in which the face alone 
was seen to blush, Mr. Geach observed that the face, 
arms, and breast of a Chinaman, aged 24 years, reddened 
from shame; and with another Chinese, when asked why 
he had not done his work in better style, the whole body 
was similarly affected. In two Malays X1 he saw the face, 
neck, breast, and arms blushing; and in a third Malay 
(a Bugis) the blush extended down to the waist. 

The Polynesians blush freely. The Rev. Mr. Stack 
has seen hundreds of instances with the New Zealanders. 
The following case is worth giving, as it relates to an 
old man who was unusually dark-coloured and partly 
tattooed. After having let his land to an Englishman 
for a small yearly rental, a strong passion seized him to 
buy a gig, which had lately become the fashion with the 
Maoris. He consequently wished to draw all the rent 
for four years from his tenant, and consulted Mr. Stack 
whether he could do so. The man was old, clumsy, poor, 
and ragged, and the idea of his driving himself about in 
his carriage for display amused Mr. Stack so much that 
he could not help bursting out into a laugh; and then 
"the old man blushed up to the roots of his hair." 

10 ' Letters from Egypt,' 1865, p. 66. Lady Gordon is mis- 
taken when she says Malays and Mulattoes never blush. 

11 Capt. Osborn (' Que'dah,' p. 199), in speaking- of a 
Malay, whom he reproached for cruelty, says he was glad 
to see that the man blushed. 

Chap. XIII. BLUSHING. 317 

Forster says that " you ma}' easily distinguish a spread- 
ing blush " on the cheeks of the fairest women in Ta- 
hiti. 12 The natives also of several of the other archi- 
pelagoes in the Pacific have been seen to blush. 

Mr. Washington Matthews has often seen a blush on 
the faces of the young squaws belonging to various wild 
Indian tribes of Xorth America. At the opposite ex- 
tremity of the continent in Tierra del Fuego, the natives, 
according to Mr. Bridges, " blush much, but chiefly in 
regard to women; but they certainly blush also at their 
own personal appearance." This latter statement agrees 
with what I remember of the Fuegian, Jemmy Button, 
who blushed when he was quizzed about the care which 
he took in polishing his shoes, and in otherwise adorn- 
ing himself. With respect to the Aymara Indians on 
the lofty plateaus of Bolivia, Mr. Forbes says, 13 that 
from the colour of their skins it is impossible that their 
blushes should be as clearly visible as in the white races; 
still under such circumstances as would raise a blush 
in us, " there can always be seen the same expression of 
modesty or confusion; and even in the dark, a rise of 
temperature of the skin of the face can be felt, exactly 
as occurs in the European." With the Indians who in- 

12 J. R. Forster, ' Observations during- a Voyage round 
the World,' 4to, 1778, p. 229. Waitz gives (* Introduction to 
Anthropology,' Eng. translat. 1863, vol. i. p. 135) references 
for other islands in the Pacific. See, also, Dampier ' On the 
Blushing of the Tunquinese ' (vol. ii. p. 40); but I have not 
consulted this work. Waitz quotes Bergmann, that the 
Kalmucks do not blush, but this may be doubted after 
what we have seen with respect to the Chinese. He also 
quotes Roth, who denies that the Abyssinians are capable 
of blushing. Unfortunately, Capt. Speedy, who lived so 
long with the Abyssinians, has not answered my inquiry 
on this head. Lastly, I must add that the Rajah Brooke 
has never observed the least sign of a blush with the Dyaks 
of Borneo; on the contrary under circumstances which 
would excite a blush in us, they assert " that they feel the 
blood drawn from their faces." 

13 Transact, of the Ethnological Soc. 1S70, vol. ii. p. 16. 

318 BLUSHING. Chap. XIII. 

habit the hot, equable, and damp parts of South America, 
the skin apparently does not answer to mental excite- 
ment so readily as with the natives of the northern and 
southern parts of the continent, who have long been 
exposed to great vicissitudes of climate; for Humboldt 
quotes without a protest the sneer of the Spaniard, 
" How can those be trusted, who know not how to 
blush?" 14 Yon Spix and Martius, in speaking of the 
aborigines of Brazil, assert that they cannot properly be 
said to blush; " it was only after long intercourse with 
the whites, and after receiving some education, that we 
perceived in the Indians a change of colour expressive 
of the emotions of their minds." 15 It is, however, in- 
credible that the power of blushing could have thus 
originated; but the habit of self -attention, consequent 
on their education and new course of life, would have 
much increased any innate tendency to blush. 

Several trustworthy observers have assured me that 
they have seen on the faces of negroes an appearance 
resembling a blush, under circumstances which would 
have excited one in us, though their skins were of an 
ebony-black tint. Some describe it as blushing brown, 
but most say that the blackness becomes more intense. 
An increased supply of blood in the skin seems in some 
manner to increase its blackness; thus certain exan- 
thematous diseases cause the affected places in the negro 
to appear blacker, instead of, as with us, redder. 16 The 
skin, perhaps, from being rendered more tense by the 

14 Humboldt, ' Personal Narrative,' Eng. translat. vol. 
iii.' p. 229. 

15 Quoted by Prichard, Phys. Hist, of Mankind, 4th edit. 
1851, vol. i. p. 271. 

16 See, on this head, Burg-ess, ibid. p. 32. Also Waitz, 
' Introduction to Anthropology,' Eng. edit. vol. i. p. 135. 
Moreau gives a detailed account (' Lavater,' 1820, torn. iv. 
p. 302) of the blushing of a Madagascar negress-slave when 
forced by her brutal master to exhibit her naked bosom. 

Chap. XIII. BLUSHING. 319 

filling of the capillaries, would reflect a somewhat dif- 
ferent tint to what it did before. That the capillaries of 
the face in the negro become filled with blood, under 
the emotion of shame, we may feel confident; because 
a perfectly characterized albino negress, described by 
Buff on, 17 showed a faint tinge of crimson on her cheeks 
when she exhibited herself naked. Cicatrices of the skin 
remain for a long time white in the negro, and Dr. 
Burgess, who had frequent opportunities of observing 
a scar of this kind on the face of a negress, distinctly saw 
that it " invariably became red whenever she was abrupt- 
ly spoken to, or charged with any trivial offence." 18 
The blush could be seen proceeding from the circum- 
ference of the scar towards the middle, but it did not 
reach the centre. Mulattoes are often great blushers, 
blush succeeding blush over their faces. From these 
facts there can be no doubt that negroes blush, although 
no redness is visible on the skin. 

I am assured by Gaika and by Mrs. Barber that the 
Kafirs of South Africa never blush; but this may only 
mean that no change of colour is distinguishable. Gaika 
adds that under the circumstances which would make a 
European blush, his countrymen " look ashamed to keep 
their heads up." 

It is asserted by four of my informants that the 
Australians, who are almost as black as negroes, never 
blush. A fifth answers doubtfully, remarking that only 
a very strong blush could be seen, on account of the dirty 
state of their skins. Three' observers state that they do 
blush; 19 Mr. S. Wilson adding that this is noticeable 

17 Quoted by Prichard, Phys. Hist, of Mankind, 4th edit. 
1851, vol. i. p. 225. 

18 Burg-ess, ibid. p. 31. On mulattoes blushing, see p. 33. 
I have received similar accounts with respect to mulattoes. 

19 Barring-ton also says that the Australians of New 
South Wales blush, as quoted by Waitz, ibid. p. 135. 

320 BLUSHING. Chap. XIII. 

only under a strong emotion, and when the skin is not 
too dark from long exposure and want of cleanliness. 
Mr. Lang answers, " I have noticed that shame almost 
always excites a blush, which frequently extends as low 
as the neck." Shame is also shown, as he adds, " by the 
eyes being turned from side to side." As Mr. Lang was 
a teacher in a native school, it is probable that he chiefly 
observed children; and we know that they blush more 
than adults. Mr. G. Taplin has seen half-castes blush- 
ing, and he says that the aborigines have a word expres- 
sive of shame. Mr. Hagenauer, who is one of those who 
has never observed the Australians to blush, says that 
he has " seen them looking down to the ground on ac- 
count of shame; " and the missionary, Mr. Buhner, re- 
marks that though " I have not been able to detect 
anything like shame in the adult aborigines, I have 
noticed that the eyes of the children, when ashamed, 
present a restless, watery appearance, as if they did not 
know where to look." 

The facts now given are sufficient to show that blush- 
ing, whether or not there is any change of colour, is 
common to most, probably to all, of the races of man. 

Movements and gestures wJiich accompany Blushing. 
— Under a keen sense of shame there is a strong desire 
for concealment. 20 We turn away the whole body, more 
especially the face, which we endeavour in some manner 
to hide. An ashamed person can hardly endure to meet 

20 Mr. Wedgwood says (Diet, of English Etymology, vol. 
iii. 1865, p. 155) that the word shame " may well originate 
in the idea of shade or concealment, and may be illustrated 
by the Low German scheme, shade or shadow." Gratiolet 
(De la Phys. pp. 357—362) has a good discussion on the 
gestures accompanying shame; but some of his remarks 
seem to me rather fanciful. See, also, Burgess (ibid. pp. 
69, 134) on the same subject. 

Ciiap. XIII. BLUSniNG. 321 

the gaze of those present, so that he almost invariably 
casts down his eyes or looks askant. As there generally 
exists at the same time a strong wish to avoid the ap- 
pearance of shame, a vain attempt is made to look di- 
rect at the person who causes this feeling; and the an- 
tagonism between these opposite tendencies leads to vari- 
ous restless movements in the eves. I have noticed two 
ladies who, whilst blushing, to which they are very liable, 
have thus acquired, as it appears, the oddest trick of in- 
cessantly blinking their eyelids with extraordinary 
rapidity. An intense blush is sometimes accompanied 
by a slight effusion of tears; 21 and this, I presume, is due 
to the lacrymal glands partaking of the increased supply 
of blood, which we know rushes into the capillaries of 
the adjoining parts, including the retina. 

Many writers, ancient and modern, have noticed the 
foregoing movements; and it has already been shown 
that the aborigines in various parts of the world often 
exhibit their shame by looking downwards or askant, 
or by restless movements of their eyes. Ezra cries out 
(ch. ix. 6), " 0, my God! I am ashamed, and blush to 
lift up my head to thee, my God." In Isaiah (ch. 1. 6) 
we meet with the words, "I hid not my face from 
shame." Seneca remarks (Epist. xi. 5) " that the "Eoman 
players hang down their heads, fix their eyes on the 
ground and keep them lowered, but are unable to blush 
in acting shame." According to Macrobius, who lived 
in the fifth century ( f Saturnalia,' b. vii. c. 11), " Nat- 
ural philosophers assert that nature being moved by 
shame spreads the blood before herself as a veil, as we 

21 Burg-ess, ibid. pp. 181, 182. Boerhaave also noticed 
(as quoted by Gratiolet, ibid. p. 361) the tendency to the 
secretion of tears during- intense blushing-. Mr. Bulmer, 
as we have seen, speaks of the " watery eyes " of the chil- 
dren of the Australian aborigines when ashamed. 

322 BLUSHING. Chap. XIII. 

see any one blushing often puts his hands before his 
face." Shakspeare makes Marcus (' Titus Andronicus,' 
act ii, sc. 5) say to his niece, "Ah! now thou turn'st 
away thy face for shame." A lady informs me that she 
found in the Lock Hospital a girl whom she had for- 
merly known, and who had become a wretched cast- 
away, and the poor creature, when approached, hid her 
face under the bed-clothes, and could not be persuaded 
to uncover it. We often see little children, when shy or 
ashamed, turn away, and still standing up, bury their 
faces in their mother's gown; or they throw themselves 
face downwards on her lap. 

Confusion of mind. — Most persons, whilst blushing 
intensely, have their mental powers confused. This is 
recognized in such common expressions as " she was 
covered with confusion." Persons in this condition lose 
their presence of mind, and utter singularly inappro- 
priate remarks. They are often much distressed, stam- 
mer, and make awkward movements or strange grimaces. 
In certain cases involuntary twitchings of some of the 
facial muscles may be observed. I have been informed 
by a young lady, who blushes excessively, that at such 
times she does not even know what she is saying. When 
it was suggested to her that this might be due to her 
distress from the consciousness that her blushing was 
noticed, she answered that this could not be the case, 
" as she had sometimes felt quite as stupid when blush- 
ing at a thought in her own room." 

I will give an instance of the extreme disturbance 
of mind to which some sensitive men are liable. A gen- 
tleman, on whom I can rely, assured me that he had 
been an eve-witness of the following scene: — A small 
dinner-party was given in honour of an extremely shy 
man, who, when he rose to return thanks, rehearsed the 

Chap. XIII. BLUSHING. 323 

speech, which he had evidently learnt by heart, in abso- 
lute silence, and did not utter a single word; but he acted 
as if he were speaking with much emphasis. His friends, 
perceiving how the case stood, loudly applauded the 
imaginary bursts of eloquence, whenever his gestures 
indicated a pause, and the man never discovered that 
he had remained the whole time completely silent. On 
the contrary, he afterwards remarked to my friend, with 
much satisfaction, that he thought he had succeeded 
uncommonly well. 

When a person is much ashamed or very shy, and 
blushes intensely, his heart beats rapidly and his breath- 
ing is disturbed. This can hardly fail to affect the circu- 
lation of the blood within the brain, and perhaps the 
mental powers. It seems however doubtful, judging 
from the still more powerful influence of anger and fear 
on the circulation, whether we can thus satisfactorily 
account for the confused state of mind in persons whilst 
blushing intensely. 

The true explanation apparently lies in the intimate 
sympathy which exists between the capillary circulation 
of the surface of the head and face, and that of the brain. 
On applying to Dr. J. Crichton Browne for information, 
he has given me various facts bearing on this subject. 
When the sympathetic nerve is divided on one side of 
the head, the capillaries on this side are relaxed and 
become filled with blood, causing the skin to redden and 
to grow hot, and at the same time the temperature within 
the cranium on the same side rises. Inflammation of the 
membranes of the brain leads to the endorsement of the 
face, ears, and eyes with blood. The first stage of an 
epileptic fit appears to be the contraction of the vessels 
of the brain, and the first outward manifestation is an ex- 
treme pallor of countenance. Erysipelas of the head 
commonly induces delirium. Even the relief given to 

324 BLUSHING. Chap. XIII. 

a severe headache by burning the skin with strong lotion, 
depends, I presume, on the same principle. 

Dr. Browne has often administered to his patients 
the vapour of the nitrite of amyl, 22 which has the singu- 
lar property of causing vivid redness of the face in from 
thirty to sixty seconds. This flushing resembles blush- 
ing in almost every detail: it begins at several distinct 
points on the face, and spreads till it involves the whole 
surface of the head, neck, and front of the chest; but 
has been observed to extend only in one case to the ab- 
domen. The arteries in the retina become enlarged; 
the eyes glisten, and in one instance there was a slight 
effusion of tears. The patients are at first pleasantly 
stimulated, but, as the flushing increases, they become 
confused and bewildered. One woman to whom the 
vapour had often been administered asserted that, as 
soon as she grew hot, she grew muddled. With persons 
just commencing to blush it appears, judging from their 
bright eyes and lively behaviour, that their mental pow- 
ers are somewhat stimulated. It is only when the blush- 
ing is excessive that the mind grows confused. Therefore 
it would seem that the capillaries of the face are affected, 
both during the inhalation of the nitrite of amyl and 
during blushing, before that part of the brain is affected 
on which the mental powers depend. 

Conversely when the brain is primarily affected, the 
circulation of the skin is so in a secondary manner. Dr. 
Browne has frequently observed, as he informs me, scat- 
tered red blotches and mottlings on the chests of epileptic 
patients. In these cases, when the skin on the thorax or 
abdomen is gently rubbed with a pencil or other object, 
or, in strongly-marked cases, is merely touched by the 

22 See also Dr. J. Crichton Browne's Memoir on this sub- 
ject in the 'West Riding- Lunatic Asylum Medical Report,' 
1871, pp. 95-98. 

Chap. XIII. BLUSHING. 325 

finger, the surface becomes suffused in less than half a 
minute with bright red marks, which spread to some 
distance on each side of the touched point, and persist 
for several minutes. These are the cerebral macules oi 
Trousseau; and the)- indicate, as Dr. Browne remarks, 
a highly modified condition of the cutaneous vascular 
system. If, then, there exists, as cannot be doubted, an 
intimate sympathy between the capillary circulation in 
that part of the brain on which our mental powers de- 
pend, and in the skin of the face, it is not surprising that 
the moral causes which induce intense blushing should 
likewise induce, independently of their own disturbing 
influence, much confusion of mind. 

The Nature of the Mental States which induce Blush- 
ing. — These consist of shyness, shame, and modesty; 
the essential element in all being self-attention. .Many 
reasons can be assigned for believing that originally 
self-attention directed to personal appearance, in relation 
to the opinion of others, was the exciting cause; the 
same effect being subsequently produced, through the 
force of association, by self -attention in relation to moral 
conduct. It is not the simple act of reflecting on our 
own appearance, but the thinking what others think of 
us, which excites a blush. In absolute solitude the most 
sensitive person would be quite indifferent about his ap- 
pearance. We feel blame or disapprobation more acutely 
than approbation; and consequently depreciatory re- 
marks or ridicule, whether of our appearance or conduct, 
causes us to blush much more readily than does praise. 
But undoubtedly praise and admiration are highly effi- 
cient: a pretty girl blushes when. a man gazes intently 
at her, though she may know perfectly well that he is 
not depreciating her. Many children, as well as old and 
sensitive persons blush, when they are much praised. 

326 BLUSHING. Chap. XIII. 

Hereafter the question will be discussed, how it has 
arisen that the consciousness that others are attending 
to our personal appearance should have led to the capil- 
laries, especially those of the face, instantly becoming 
filled with blood. 

My reasons for believing that attention directed to 
personal appearance, and not to moral conduct, has been 
the fundamental element in the acquirement of the habit 
of blushing, will now be given. They are separately 
light, but combined possess, as it appears to me, con- 
siderable weight. It is notorious that nothing makes 
a shy person blush so much as any remark, however 
slight, on his personal appearance. One cannot notice 
even the dress of a woman much given to blushing, 
wihout causing her face to crimson. It is sufficient 
to stare hard at some persons to make them, as Col- 
eridge remarks, blush, — " account for that he who 
can." 23 

With the two albinos observed by Dr. Burgess, 24 
" the slightest attempt to examine their peculiarities 
invariably " caused them to blush deeply. Women are 
much more sensitive about their personal appearance 
than men are, especially elderly women in comparison 
with elderly men, and they blush much more freely. 
The young of both sexes are much more sensitive on 
this same head than the old, and they also blush much 
more freely than the old. Children at a very early age 
do not blush; nor do they show those other signs of self- 
consciousness which generally accompany blushing; and 
it is one of their chief charms that they think nothing 
about what others think of them. At this early age 
they will stare at a stranger with a fixed gaze and un- 

23 In a discussion on so-called animal magnetism in 
' Table Talk,' vol. i. 

24 Ibid. p. 40. 

Chap. XIII. BLUSHING. 327 

blinking eyes, as on an inanimate object, in a manner 
which we elders cannot imitate. 

It is plain to every one that young men and women 
are highly sensitive to the opinion of each other with 
reference to their personal appearance; and they blush 
incomparably more in the presence of the opposite sex 
than in that of their own. 25 A young man, not very 
liable to blush, will blush intensely at any slight ridicule 
of his appearance from a girl whose judgment on any 
important subject he would disregard. Xo happy pair 
of young lovers, valuing each other's admiration and 
love more than anything else in the world, probably ever 
courted each other without many a blush. Even the 
barbarians of Tierra del Fuego, according to Mr. Bridges, 
blush " chiefly in regard to women, but certainly also at 
their own personal appearance." 

Of all parts of the body, the face is most considered 
and regarded, as is natural from its being the chief seat 
of expression and the source of the voice. It is also the 
chief seat of beauty and of ugliness, and throughout 
the world is the most ornamented. 26 The face, there- 
fore, will have been subjected during many generations 
to much closer and more earnest self-attention than any 
other part of the body; and in accordance with the prin- 
ciple here advanced we can understand why it should 
be the most liable to blush. Although exposure to alter- 
nations of temperature, &c, has probably much in- 
creased the power of dilatation and contraction in the 
capillaries of the face and adjoining parts, yet this by 

25 Mr. Bain (' The Emotions and the Will,' 1865, p. 65) 
remarks on " the shyness of manners which is induced be- 
tween the sexes .... from the influence of mutual re- 
gard, by the apprehension on either side of not standing 
well with the other." 

26 See, for evidence on this subject, ' The Descent of 
Man,' &c, vol. ii. pp. 71, 341. 

328 BLUSHING. Chap. XIII. 

itself will hardly account for these parts blushing much 
more than the rest of the body; for it does not explain 
the fact of the hands rarely blushing. With Europeans 
the whole body tingles slightly when the face blushes 
intensely; and with the races of men who habitually 
go nearly naked, the blushes extend over a much larger 
surface than with us. These facts are, to a certain ex- 
tent, intelligible, as the self-attention of primeval man, 
as well as of the existing races which still go naked, will 
not have been so exclusively confined to their faces, as 
is the case with the people who now go clothed. 

We have seen that in all parts of the world persons 
who feel shame for some moral delinquency, are apt to 
avert, bend down, or hide their faces, independently of 
any thought about their personal appearance. The ob- 
ject can hardly be to conceal their blushes, for the face 
is thus averted or hidden under circumstances which 
exclude any desire to conceal shame, as when guilt is 
fully confessed and repented of. It is, however, probable 
that primeval man before he had acquired much moral 
sensitiveness would have been highly sensitive about his 
personal appearance, at least in reference to the other 
sex, and he would consequently have felt distress at any 
depreciatory remarks about his appearance; and this 
is one form of shame. And as the face is the part of the 
body which is most regarded, it is intelligible that any 
one ashamed of his personal appearance would desire 
to conceal this part of his body. The habit having been 
thus acquired, would naturally be carried on when shame 
from strictly moral causes was felt; and it is not easy 
otherwise to see why under these circumstances there 
should be a desire to hide the face more than any other 
part of the body. 

The habit, so general with every one who feels 
ashamed, of turning away, or lowering his eyes, or rest- 

Chap. XIII. BLUSHING. 329 

lessly moving them from side to side, probably follows 
from each glance directed towards those present, bring- 
ing home the conviction that he is intently regarded; 
and he endeavours, by not looking at those present, and 
especially not at their eyes, momentarily to escape from 
this painful conviction. 

Shyness. — This odd state of mind, often called 
shamefacedness, or false shame, or mauvaise honte, ap- 
pears to be one of the most efficient of all the causes of 
blushing. Shyness is, indeed, chiefly recognized by the 
face reddening, by the eyes being averted or cast down, 
and by awkward, nervous movements of the body. Many 
a woman blushes from this cause, a hundred, perhaps 
a thousand times, to once that she blushes from having 
done anything deserving blame, and of which she is truly 
ashamed. Shyness seems to depend on sensitiveness to 
the opinion, whether good or bad, of others, more espe- 
cially with respect to external appearance. Strangers 
neither know nor care anything about our conduct or 
character, but they may, and often do, criticize our ap- 
pearance: hence shy persons are particularly apt to be 
shy and to blush in the presence of strangers. The con- 
sciousness of anything peculiar, or even new, in the 
dress, or any slight blemish on the person, and more 
especially on the face — points which are likely to at- 
tract the attention of strangers — makes the shy intoler- 
ably shy. On the other hand, in those cases in which 
conduct and not personal appearance is concerned, we 
are much more apt to be shy in the presence of acquaint- 
ances, whose judgment we in some degree value, than 
in that of strangers. A physician told me that a young 
man, a wealthy duke, with whom he had travelled as 
medical attendant, blushed like a girl, when he paid him 
his fee; yet this young man probably would not have 

330 BLUSHING. Chap. XIII. 

blushed and been shy, had he been paying a bill to a 
tradesman. Some persons, however, are so sensitive, 
that the mere act of speaking to almost any one is suf- 
ficient to rouse their self-consciousness, and a slight blush 
is the result. 

Disapprobation or ridicule, from our sensitiveness on 
this head, causes shyness and blushing much more readily 
than does approbation; though the latter with some per- 
sons is highly efficient. The conceited are rarely shy; 
for they value themselves much too highly to expect 
depreciation. Why a proud man is often shy, as appears 
to be the case, is not so obvious, unless it be that, with 
all his self-reliance, he really thinks much about the 
opinion of others, although in a disdainful spirit. Per- 
sons who are exceedingly shy are rarely shy in the pres- 
ence of those with whom they are quite familiar, and 
of whose good opinion and sympathy they are perfectly 
assured; — for instance, a girl in the presence of her 
mother. I neglected to inquire in my printed paper 
whether shyness can be detected in the different races of 
man; but a Hindoo gentleman assured Mr. Erskine that 
it is recognizable in his countrymen. 

Shyness, as the derivation of the word indicates in 
several languages, 27 is closely related to fear; yet it is 
distinct from fear in the ordinary sense. A shy man no 
doubt dreads the notice of strangers, but can hardly be 
said to be afraid of them; he may be as bold as a hero 
in battle, and vet have no self-confidence about trifles 
in the presence of strangers. Almost every one is ex- 
tremely nervous when first addressing a public assem- 
bly, and most men remain so throughout their lives; 
but this appears to depend on the consciousness of a 

27 H. Wedgwood, Diet. English Etymology, vol. iii. 1865, 
p. 184. So with the Latin word verecundus. 

Chap. XIII. BLUSHING. 331 

great coming exertion, with its associated effects on the 
system, rather than on shyness; 28 although a timid or 
shy man no doubt suffers on such occasions infinitely 
more than another. With very young children it is dif- 
ficult to distinguish between fear and shyness; but this 
latter feeling with them has often seemed to me to par- 
take of the character of the wildness of an untamed 
animal. Shyness comes on at a very early age. In one 
of my own children, when two years and three months 
old, I saw a trace of what certainly appeared to be shy- 
ness, directed towards myself after an absence from 
home of only a week. This was shown not by a blush, 
but by the eyes being for a few minutes slightly averted 
from me. I have noticed on other occasions that shyness 
or shamefacedness and real shame are exhibited in the 
eyes of young children before they have acquired the 
power of blushing. 

As shyness apparently depends on self -attention, we 
can perceive how right are those who maintain that 
reprehending children for shyness, instead of doing 
them any good, does much harm, as it calls their atten- 
tion still more closely to themselves. It has been well 
urged that "nothing hurts young people more than to 
be watched continually about their feelings, to have 
their countenances scrutinized, and the degrees of their 
sensibility measured by the surveying eye of the unmerci- 
ful spectator. Under the constraint of such examina- 
tions they can think of nothing but that they are looked 
at, and feel nothing but shame or apprehension." 29 

28 Mr. Bain (' The Emotions and the Will,' p. 64) has dis- 
cussed the " abashed " feelings experienced on these occa- 
sions, as well as the stage-fright of actors unused to the 
stage. Mr. Bain apparently attributes these feelings to 
simple apprehension or dread. 

29 ' Essays on Practical Education,' by Maria and R. L. 
Edgeworth, new edit. vol. ii. 1822, p. 38. Dr. Burg-ess (ibid, 
p. 187) insists strongly to the same effect. 

332 BLUSHING. Chap. XIII. 

Moral causes : guilt. — With respect to blushing from 
strictly moral causes, we meet with the same fundamental 
principle as before, namely, regard for the opinion of 
others. It is not the conscience which raises a blush, 
for a man may sincerely regret some slight fault com- 
mitted in solitude, or he may suffer the deepest remorse 
for an undetected crime, but he will not blush. " I 
blush," says Dr. Burgess, 30 " in the presence of my ac- 
cusers." It is not the sense of guilt, but the thought 
that others think or know us to be guilty which crim- 
sons the face. A man may feel thoroughly ashamed at 
having told a small falsehood, without blushing; but if 
he even suspects that he is detected he will instantly 
blush, especially if detected by one whom he reveres. 

On the other hand, a man may be convinced that 
God witnesses all his actions, and he may feel deeply 
conscious of some fault and pray for forgiveness; but 
this will not, as a lady who is a great blusher believes, 
ever excite a blush. The explanation of this difference 
between the knowledge by God and man of our actions 
lies, I presume, in man's disapprobation of immoral 
conduct being somewhat akin in nature to his deprecia- 
tion of our personal appearance, so that through associa- 
tion both lead to similar results; whereas the disappro- 
bation of God brings up no such association. 

Many a person has blushed intensely when accused 
of some crime, though completely innocent of it. Even 
the thought, as the lady before referred to has observed 
to me, that others think that we have made an unkind or 
stupid remark, is amply sufficient to cause a blush, al- 
though we know all the time that we have been com- 
pletely misunderstood. i\.n action may be meritorious 
or of an indifferent nature, but a sensitive person, if he 

29 ' Essays on Practical Education,' by Maria and R. L. 
Edgeworth, new edit. vol. ii. 1822, p. 50. 

Chap. XIII. BLUSHING. 333 

suspects that others take a different view of it, will blush. 
For instance, a lady by herself may give money to a 
beggar without a trace of a blush, but if others are pres- 
ent, and she doubts whether they approve, or suspects 
that they think her influenced by display, she will blush. 
So it will be, if she offers to relieve the distress of a de- 
cayed gentlewoman, more particularly of one whom she 
had previously known under better circumstances, as 
she cannot then feel sure how her conduct will be viewed. 
But such cases as these blend into shyness. 

Breaches of etiquette. — The rules of etiquette always 
refer to conduct in the presence of, or towards others. 
They have no necessary connection with the moral sense, 
and are often meaningless. Nevertheless as they depend 
on the fixed custom of our equals and superiors, whose 
opinion we highly regard, they are considered almost 
as binding as are the laws of honour to a gentleman. 
Consequently the breach of the laws of etiquette, that 
is, any impoliteness or gaudier ie, any impropriety, or an 
inappropriate remark, though quite accidental, will 
cause the most intense blushing of which a man is capa- 
ble. Even the recollection of such an act, after an in- 
terval of many years, will make the whole body to tingle. 
So strong, also, is the power of sympathy that a sensitive 
person, as a lady has assured me, will sometimes blush 
at a flagrant breach of etiquette by a perfect stranger, 
though the act may in no way concern her. 

Modesty. — This is another powerful agent in exciting 
blushes; but the word modest}^ includes very different 
states of the mind. It implies humility, and we often 
judge of this by persons being greatly pleased and blush- 
ing at slight praise, or by being annoyed at praise which 
seems to them too high according to their own humble 
standard of themselves. Blushing here has the usual 

334 BLUSHING. Chap. XIII. 

signification of regard for the opinion of others. But 
modesty frequently relates to acts of indelicacy; and in- 
delicacy is an affair of etiquette, as Ave clearly see with 
the nations that go altogether or nearly naked. He who 
is modest, and blushes easily at acts of this nature, does 
so because they are breaches of a firmly and wisely estab- 
lished etiquette. This is indeed shown by the derivation 
of the word modest from modus, a measure or standard of 
behaviour. A blush due to this form of modesty is, more- 
over, apt to be intense, because it generally relates to 
the opposite sex; and we have seen how in all cases our 
liability to blush is thus increased. We apply the term 
' modest/ as it would appear, to those who have an 
humble opinion of themselves, and to those who are 
extremely sensitive about an indelicate word or deed, 
simply because in both cases blushes are readily excited, 
for these two frames of mind 'have nothing else in com- 
mon. Shyness also, from this same cause, is often mis- 
taken for modesty in the sense of humility. 

Some persons flush up, as I have observed and have 
been assured, at any sudden and disagreeable recollec- 
tion. The commonest cause seems to be the sudden 
remembrance of not having done something for another 
person which had been promised. In this case it may 
be that the thought passes half unconsciously through 
the mind, " What will he think of me ? " and then the 
flush would partake of the nature of a true blush. But 
whether such flushes are in most cases due to the capil- 
lary circulation being affected, is very doubtful; for we 
must remember that almost every strong emotion, such 
as anger or great joy, acts on the heart, and causes the 
face to redden. 

The fact that blushes may be excited in absolute 
solitude seems opposed to the view here taken, namely 

Chap. XIII. BLUSHING. 335 

that the habit originally arose from thinking about what 
others think of us. Several ladies, who are great blush- 
ers, are unanimous in regard to solitude; and some of 
them believe that they have blushed in the dark. From 
what Mr. Forbes has stated with respect to the Aymaras, 
and from my own sensations, I have no doubt that this 
latter statement is correct. Shakspeare, therefore, erred 
when he made Juliet, who was not even by herself, say 
to Borneo (act ii. sc. 2): — 

" Thou know'st the mask of night is on my face; 
Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek, 
For that which thou hast heard me speak to-night." 

But when a blush is excited in solitude, the cause almost 
alwavs relates to the thoughts of others about us — to 
acts done in their presence, or suspected by them; or 
again when we reflect what others would have thought 
of us had they known of the act. Nevertheless one or 
two of my informants believe that they have blushed 
from shame at acts in no way relating to others. If this 
be so, we must attribute the result to the force of in- 
veterate habit and association, under a state of mind 
closely analogous to that which ordinarily excites a 
blush; nor need we feel surprise at this, as even sym- 
pathy with another person who commits a flagrant breach 
of etiquette is believed, as we have just seen, sometimes 
to cause a blush. 

Finally, then, I conclude that blushing, — whether 
due to shyness — to shame for a real crime — to shame 
from a breach of the laws of etiquette — to modesty from 
humility — to modesty from an indelicacy — depends in 
all cases on the same principle; this principle being a 
sensitive regard for the opinion, more particularly for 
the depreciation of others, primarily in relation to our 
personal appearance, especially of our faces; and sec- 

336 BLUSHING. Chap. XIII. 

ondarily, through the force of association and habit, in 
relation to the opinion of others on our conduct. 

Theory of Blushing. — We have now to consider, why 
should the thought that others are thinking about us 
affect our capillary circulation? Sir C. Bell insists 31 
that blushing " is a provision for expression, as may be 
inferred from the colour extending only to the surface 
of the face, neck, and breast, the parts most exposed. 
It is not acquired; it is from the beginning." Dr. 
Burgess believes that it was designed by the Creator in 
" order that the soul might have sovereign power of dis- 
playing in the cheeks the various internal emotions of 
the moral feelings; " so as to serve as a check on our- 
selves, and as a sign to others, that we were violating 
rules which ought to be held sacred. Gratiolet merely 
remarks, — " Or, comme il est dans l'ordre de la nature 
que l'etre social le plus intelligent sort aussi le plus in- 
telligible, cette faculte de rougeur et de paleur qui dis- 
tingue Phomme, est un signe naturel de sa haute per- 

The belief that blushing was specially designed by 
the Creator is opposed to the general theory of evolu- 
tion, which is now so largely accepted; but it forms 
no part of my duty here to argue on the general ques- 
tion. Those who believe in design, will find it difficult 
to account for shyness being the most frequent and 
efficient of all the causes of blushing, as it makes the 
blusher to suffer and the beholder uncomfortable, with- 
out being of the least service to either of them. They 
will also find it difficult to account for negroes and other 
dark-coloured races blushing, in whom a change of 
colour in the skin is scarcely or not at all visible. 

31 Bell, ' Anatomy of Expression,' p. 95. Burg-ess, as 
quoted below, ibid. p. 49. Gratiolet, De la Phys. p. 94. 

Chap. XIII. BLUSHING. 337 

No doubt a slight blush adds to the beauty of a maid- 
en's face; and the Circassian women who are capable 
of blushing, invariably fetch a higher price in the serag- 
lio of the Sultan than less susceptible women. 32 But 
the firmest believer in the efficacy of sexual selection will 
hardly suppose that blushing was acquired as a sexual 
ornament. This view would also be opposed to what 
has just been said about the dark-coloured races blush- 
ing in an invisible manner. 

The hypothesis which appears to me the most prob- 
able, though it may at first seem rash, is that attention 
closely directed to any part of the body tends to inter- 
fere with the ordinary and tonic contraction of the small 
arteries of that part. These vessels, in consequence, be- 
come at such times more or less relaxed, and are in- 
stantly filled with arterial blood. This tendency will 
have been much strengthened, if frequent attention has 
been paid during many generations to the same part, 
owing to nerve-force readily flowing along accustomed 
channels, and by the power of inheritance. Whenever 
we believe that others are depreciating or even consid- 
ering our personal appearance, our attention is vividly 
directed to the outer and visible parts of our bodies; 
and of all such parts we are most sensitive about our 
faces, as no doubt has been the case during many past 
generations. Therefore, assuming for the moment that 
the capillary vessels can be acted on by close attention, 
those of the face will have become eminently susceptible. 
Through the force of association, the same effects will 
tend to follow whenever we think that others are con- 
sidering or censuring our actions or character. 

As the basis of this theory rests on mental attention 
having some power to influence the capillary circula- 


On the authority of Lady Mary Wortley Montague; 
see Burgess, ibid. p. 43. 

338 BLUSHING. Chap. XIII. 

tion, it will be necessary to give a considerable body 
of details, bearing more or less directly on this subject. 
Several observers, 33 who from their wide experience and 
knowledge are eminently capable of forming a sound 
judgment, are convinced that attention or consciousness 
(which latter term Sir H. Holland thinks the more ex- 
plicit) concentrated on almost any part of the body pro- 
duces some direct physical effect on it. This applies 
to the movements of the involuntary muscles, and of the 
voluntary muscles when acting involuntarily, — to the 
secretion of the glands, — to the activity of the senses and 
sensations, — and even to the nutrition of parts. 

It is known that the involuntarv movements of the 
heart are affected if close attention be paid to them. 
Gratiolet 34 gives the case of a man, who by continually 
watching and counting his own pulse, at last caused 
one beat out of every six to intermit. On the other 
hand, my father told me of a careful observer, who cer- 
tainly had heart-disease and died from it, and who posi- 
tively stated that his pulse was habitually irregular to 
an extreme degree; yet to his great disappointment it 

23 In England, Sir H. Holland was, I believe, the first to 
consider the influence of mental attention on various parts 
of the body, in his ' Medical Notes and Reflections,' 1839, 
p. 64. This essay, much enlarged, was reprinted by Sir H. 
Holland in his ' Chapters on Mental Physiology,' 1858, p. 
79, from which work I always quote. At nearly the same 
time, as well as subsequently, Prof. Laj'cock discussed the 
same subject: see ' Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Jour- 
nal,' 1839, July, pp. 17-22. Also his ' Treatise on the Nerv- 
ous Diseases of Women,' 1840, p. 110; and ' Mind and Brain,' 
vol. ii. 1860, p. 327. Dr. Carpenter's views on mesmerism 
have a nearly similar bearing. The great physiologist 
Miiller treated (' Elements of Physiology,' Eng. translat. 
vol. ii. pp. 937, 1085) of the influence of the attention on 
the senses. Sir J. Paget discusses the influence of the mind 
on the nutrition of parts, in his ' Lectures on Surgical Pa- 
thology,' 1853, vol. i. p. 39: I quote from the 3rd edit, re- 
vised by Prof. Turner, 1870, p. 28. See, also, Gratiolet, De 
la Phys. pp. 283-287. 

34 De la Phys. p. 283. 

Chap. XIII. BLUSHING. 339 

invariably became regular as soon as my father entered 
the room. Sir H. Holland remarks, 35 that " the effect 
upon the circulation of a part from the consciousness 
suddenly directed and fixed upon it, is often obvious and 
immediate." Professor Laycock, who has particularly 
attended to phenomena of this nature, 30 insists that 
" when the attention is directed to any portion of the 
body, innervation and circulation are excited locally, 
and the functional activity of that portion developed." 

It is generally believed that the peristaltic move- 
ments of the intestines are influenced by attention being 
paid to them at fixed recurrent periods; and these move- 
ments depend on the contraction of unstriped and in- 
voluntary muscles. The abnormal action of the vol- 
untary muscles in epilepsy, chorea, and hysteria is known 
to be influenced by the expectation of an attack, and by 
the sight of other patients similarly affected. 37 So it is 
with the involuntary acts of yawning and laughing. 

Certain glands are much influenced by thinking of 
them, or of the conditions under which they have been 
habitually excited. This is familiar to every one in 
the increased flow of saliva, when the thought, for in- 
stance, of intensely acid fruit is kept before the mind. 38 
It was shown in our sixth chapter, that an earnest and 
long-continued desire either to repress, or to increase, 
the action of the lacrymal glands is effectual. Some 
curious cases have been recorded in the case of women, 
of the power of the mind on the mammary glands; and 
still more remarkable ones in relation to the uterine 
functions. 39 

35 ' Chapters on Mental Physiology,' 1858, p. 111. 

36 ' Mind and Brain,' vol. i'i. I860,' p. 327. 

37 ' Chapters on Mental Physiology,' pp. 104-106. 

38 See Gratiolet on this subject, De la Phys. p. 287. 

39 Dr. J. Crichton Browne, from his observations on the 
insane, is convinced that attention directed for a prolonged 

340 BLUSHING. Chap. XIII. 

When we direct our whole attention to any one 
sense, its acuteness is increased; 40 and the continued 
habit of close attention, as with blind people to that 
of hearing, and with the blind and deaf to that of touch, 
appears to improve the sense in question permanently. 
There is, also, some reason to believe, judging from the 
capacities of different races of man, that the effects are 
inherited. Turning to ordinary sensations, it is well 
known that pain is increased by attending to it; and Sir 
B. Brodie goes so far as to believe that pain may be felt 
in any part of the body to which attention is closely 
drawn. 41 Sir H. Holland also remarks that we become 
not only conscious of the existence of a part subjected 
to concentrated attention, but we experience in it various 
odd sensations, as of weight, heat, cold, tingling, or itch- 
ing. 42 

Lastly, some physiologists maintain that the mind 

period on any part or organ may ultimately influence its 
capillary circulation and nutrition. He has given me some 
extraordinary cases; one of these, which cannot here be 
related in full, refers to a married woman fifty years of 
age, who laboured under the firm and long-continued de- 
lusion that she was pregnant. When the expected period 
arrived, she acted precisely as if she had been really deliv- 
ered of a child, and seemed to suffer extreme pain, so that 
the perspiration broke out on her forehead. The result 
was that a state of things returned, continuing for three 
days, which had ceased during the six previous years. Mr. 
Braid gives, in his ' Magic, Hypnotism,' &c, 1852, p. 95, and 
in his other works analogous cases, as well as other facts 
showing the great influence of the will on the mammary 
glands, even on one breast alone. 

40 Dr. Maudsley has given (' The Physiology and Pa- 
thology of Mind,' 2nd edit. 1868, p. 105), on good authority, 
some curious statements with respect to the improvement 
of the sense of touch by practice and attention. It is re- 
markable that when this sense has thus been rendered 
more acute at any point of the body, for instance, in a 
finger, it is likewise improved at the corresponding point 
on the opposite side of the body. 

41 ' The Lancet,' 1838, pp. 39-40, as quoted by Prof. Lay- 
cock, ' Nervous Diseases of Women,' 1840, p. 110. 

42 ' Chapters on Mental Physiology,' 1858, pp. 91-93. 

Chap. XIII. BLUSHING. 3-il 

can influence the nutrition of parts. Sir J. Paget has 
given a curious instance of the power, not indeed of the 
mind, but of the nervous system, on the hair. A lady 
" who is subject to attacks of what is called nervous head- 
ache, always finds in the morning after such an one, that 
some patches of her hair are white, as if powdered with 
starch. The change is effected in a night, and in a few 
days after, the hairs gradually regain their dark brownish 
colour." 43 

We thus see that close attention certainly affects 
various parts and organs, which are not properly under 
the control of the will. By what means attention — per- 
haps the most wonderful of all the wondrous powers of 
the mind — is effected, is an extremely obscure subject. 
According to Miiller, 44 the process by which the sensory 
cells of the brain are rendered, through the will, sus- 
ceptible of receiving more intense and distinct impres- 
sions, is closely analogous to that by which the motor 
cells are excited to send nerve-force to the voluntary 
muscles. There are many points of analogy in the action 
of the sensory and motor nerve-cells; for instance, the 
familiar fact that close attention to any one sense causes 
fatigue, like the prolonged exertion of any one muscle. 45 
When therefore we voluntarily concentrate our attention 
on any part of the body, the cells of the brain which re- 
ceive impressions or sensations from that part are, it is 
probable, in some unknown manner stimulated into 
activity. This may account, without any local change 
in the part to which our attention is earnestly directed, 
for pain or odd sensations being there felt or increased. 

43 ' Lectures on Surgical Pathology,' 3rd edit, revised by 
Prof. Turner, 1870, pp. 28, 31. 

44 ' Elements of Physiology,' Eng\ translat. vol. ii. p. 938. 

45 Prof. Laycock has discussed this point in a very in- 
teresting- manner. See his ' Nervous Diseases of Women,' 
1840, p. 110. 


If, however, the part is furnished with muscles, we 
cannot feel sure, as Mr. Michael Foster has remarked 
to me, that some slight impulse may not he unconsciously 
sent to such muscles; and this would probably cause an 
obscure sensation in the part. 

In a large number of cases, as with the salivary and 
lacrymal glands, intestinal canal, &c, the power of atten- 
tion seems to rest, either chiefly, or as some physiologists 
think, exclusively, on the vaso-motor system being af- 
fected in such a manner that more blood is allowed to 
flow into the capillaries of the part in question. This 
increased action of the capillaries may in some cases be 
combined with the simultaneously increased activity of 
the sensorium. 

The manner in which the mind affects the vaso- 
motor system may be conceived in the following man- 
ner. When we actually taste sour fruit, an impression 
is sent through the gustatory nerves to a certain part of 
the sensorium; this transmits nerve-force to the vaso- 
motor centre, which consequently allows the muscular 
coats of the small arteries that permeate the salivary 
glands to relax. Hence more blood flows into these 
glands, and they secrete a copious supply of saliva. Now 
it does not seem an improbable assumption, that, when 
we reflect intently on a sensation, the same part of the 
sensorium, or a closely connected part of it, is brought 
into a state of activity, in the same manner as when we 
actually perceive the sensation. If so, the same cells 
in the brain will be excited, though, perhaps, in a less 
degree, by vividly thinking about a sour taste, as by 
perceiving it; and they will transmit in the one case, as 
in the other, nerve-force to the vaso-motor centre with 
the same results. 

To give another, and, in some respects, more appro- 
priate illustration. If a man stands before a hot fire, 

Chap. XIII. BLUSHING. 343 

his face reddens. This appears to he due, as Mr. Michael 
Foster informs me, in part to the local action of the 
heat, and in part to a reflex action from the vaso-motor 
centres. 46 In this latter case, the heat affects the nerves 
of the face; these transmit an impression to the sensory 
cells of the brain, which act on the vaso-motor centre, 
and this reacts on the small arteries of the face, relax- 
ing them and allowing them to become filled with blood. 
Here, again, it seems not improbable that if we were re- 
peatedly to concentrate with great earnestness our atten- 
tion on the recollection of our heated faces, the same 
part of the sensorium which gives us the consciousness 
of actual heat would be in some slight degree stimulated, 
and would in consequence tend to transmit some nerve- 
force to the vaso-motor centres, so as to relax the capil- 
laries of the face. Now as men during endless genera- 
tions have had their attention often and earnestly di- 
rected to their personal appearance, and especially to 
their faces, any incipient tendency in the facial capil- 
laries to be thus affected will have become in the course 
of time greatly strengthened through the principles just 
referred to, namely, nerve-force passing readily along 
accustomed channels, and inherited habit. Thus, as it 
appears to me, a plausible explanation is afforded of the 
leading phenomena connected with the act of blushing. 

Recapitulation. — Men and women, and especially the 
young, have always valued, in a high degree, their per- 
sonal appearance; and have likewise regarded the appear- 
ance of others. The face has been the chief object of 
attention, though, when man aboriginally went naked, 

46 See, also, Mr. Michael Foster, on the action of the 
vaso-motor system, in his interesting- Lecture before the 
Eoval Institution, as translated in the ' Revue des Cours 
Scientifiques,' Sept. 25, 18G9, p. 683. 

344 BLUSHING. Chap. XIII. 

the whole surface of his body would have been attended 
to. Our self-attention is excited almost exclusively by 
the opinion of others, for no person living in absolute 
solitude would care about his appearance. Every one 
feels blame more acutely than praise. Now, whenever 
we know, or suppose, that others are depreciating our 
personal appearance, our attention is strongly drawn 
towards ourselves, more especially to our faces. The 
probable effect of this will be, as has just been explained, 
to excite into activity that part of the sensorium which 
receives the sensory nerves of the face; and this will 
react through the vaso-motor system on the facial capil- 
laries. By frequent reiteration during numberless gen- 
erations, the process will have become so habitual, in 
association with the belief that others are thinking of 
us, that even a suspicion of their depreciation suffices 
to relax the capillaries, without any conscious thought 
about our faces. With some sensitive persons it is enough 
even to notice their dress to produce the same effect. 
Through the force, also, of association and inheritance 
our capillaries are relaxed, whenever we know, or imag- 
ine, that any one is blaming, though in silence, our 
actions, thoughts, or character; and, again, when we 
are highly praised. 

On this hypothesis we can understand how it is that 
the face blushes much more than any other part of the 
body, though the whole surface is somewhat affected, 
more especially with the races which still go nearly 
naked. It is not at all surprising that the dark-coloured 
races should blush, though no change of colour is visible 
in their skins. From the principle of inheritance it is 
not surprising that persons born blind should blush. 
We can understand why the young are much more af- 
fected than the old, and women more than men; and 
why the opposite sexes especially excite each other's 

Chap. XIII. BLUSHING. 345 

blushes. It becomes obvious why personal remarks 
should be particularly liable to cause blushing, and why 
the most powerful of all the causes is shyness; for shy- 
ness relates to the presence and opinion of others, and 
the shv are always more or less self-conscious. With 
respect to real shame from moral delinquencies, we can 
perceive why it is not guilt, but the thought that others 
think us guilty, which raises a blush. A man reflecting 
on a crime committed in solitude, and stung by his con- 
science, does not blush; vet he will blush under the 

y y %J 

vivid recollection of a detected fault, or of one com- 
mitted in the presence of others, the degree of blush- 
ing being closely related to the feeling of regard for those 
who have detected, witnessed, or suspected his fault. 
Breaches of conventional rules of conduct, if they are 
rigidly insisted on by our equals or superiors, often cause 
more intense blushes even than a detected crime; and 
an act which is really criminal, if not blamed by our 
equals, hardly raises a tinge of colour on our cheeks. 
Modesty from humility, or from an indelicacy, excites a 
vivid blush, as both relate to the judgment or fixed cus- 
toms of others. 

From the intimate sympathy which exists between 
the capillary circulation of the surface of the head and 
of the brain, whenever there is intense blushing, there 
will be some, and often great, confusion of mind. This 
is frequently accompanied by awkward movements, and 
sometimes by the involuntary twitching of certain 

As blushing, according to this hypothesis, is an in- 
direct result of attention, originally directed to our per- 
sonal appearance, that is to the surface of the body, and 
more especially to the face, we can understand the mean- 
ing of the gestures which accompany blushing through- 
out the world. These consist in hiding the face, or turn- 


ing it towards the ground, or to one side. The eyes are 
generally averted or are restless, for to look at the man 
who causes us to feel shame or shyness, immediately 
brings home in an intolerable manner the consciousness 
that his gaze is directed on us. Through the principle 
of associated habit, the same movements of the face and 
eyes are practised, and can, indeed, hardly be avoided, 
whenever we know or believe that others are blaming, 
or too strongly praising, our moral conduct. 


Concluding Bemarks and Summary. 

The three leading- principles which have determined the 
chief movements of expression — Their inheritance — On 
the part which the will and intention have played in 
the accpiirement of various expressions — The instinctive 
recognition of expression — The bearing - of our subject 
on the specific unity of the races of man — On the suc- 
cessive acquirement of various expressions by the pro- 
genitors of man — The imporiance of expression — Con- 

I hate now described, to the best of my ability, the 
chief expressive actions in man, and in some few of 
the lower animals. I have also attempted to explain 
the origin or development of these actions through the 
three principles given in the first chapter. The first 
of these principles is, that movements which are service- 
able in gratifying some desire, or in relieving some sensa- 
tion, if often repeated, become so habitual that they are 
performed, whether or not of any service, whenever the 
same desire or sensation is felt, even in a very weak de- 

Our second principle is that of antithesis. The habit 
of voluntarily performing opposite movements under 
opposite impulses has become firmly established in us 
by the practice of our whole lives. Hence, if certain 
actions have been regularly performed, in accordance 
with our first principle, under a certain frame of mind, 


there will be a strong and involuntary tendency to the 
performance of directly opposite actions, whether or not 
these are of any use, under the excitement of an opposite 
frame of mind. 

Our third principle is the direct action of the excited 
nervous system on the body, independently of the will, 
and independently, in large part, of habit. Experience 
shows that nerve-force is generated and set free when- 
ever the cerebro-spinal system is excited. The direction 
which this nerve-force follows is necessarily determined 
by the lines of connection between the nerve-cells, with 
each other and with various parts of the body. But the 
direction is likewise much influenced by habit; inas- 
much as nerve-force passes readily along accustomed 

The frantic and senseless actions of an enraged man 
may be attributed in part to the undirected flow of 
nerve-force, and in part to the effects of habit, for these 
actions often vaguely represent the act of striking. 
They thus pass into gestures included under our first 
principle; as when an indignant man unconsciously 
throws' himself into a fitting attitude for attacking his 
opponent, though without any intention of making an 
actual attack. We see also the influence of habit in all 
the emotions and sensations which are called exciting; 
for thev have assumed this character from having ha- 
bitually led to energetic action; and action affects, in an 
indirect manner, the respiratory and circulatory system; 
and the latter reacts on the brain. Whenever these emo- 
tions or sensations are even slightly felt by us, though 
they may not at the time lead to any exertion, our whole 
system is nevertheless disturbed through the force of 
habit and association. Other emotions and sensations 
are called depressing, because they have not habitually 
led to energetic action, excepting just at first, as in the 

Chap. XIV. AND SUMMARY. 349 

case of extreme pain, fear, and grief, and they have ulti- 
mately caused complete exhaustion; they are conse- 
quently expressed chiefly by negative signs and by pros- 
tration. Again, there are other emotions, such as that 
of affection, which do not commonly lead to action of any 
kind, and consequently are not exhibited by any strongly 
marked outward signs. Affection indeed, in as far as it 
is a pleasurable sensation, excites the ordinary signs of 

On the other hand, many of the effects due to the 
excitement of the nervous system seem to be quite in- 
dependent of the flow of nerve-force along the channels 
which have been rendered habitual by former exertions 
of the will. Such effects, which often reveal the state 
of mind of the person thus affected, cannot at present 
be explained; for instance, the change of colour in the 
hair from extreme terror or grief, — the cold sweat and 
the trembling of the muscles from fear, — the modified 
secretions of the intestinal canal, — and the failure of 
certain glands to act. 

Notwithstanding that much remains unintelligible 
in our present subject, so many expressive movements 
and actions can be explained to a certain extent through 
the above three principles, that we may hope hereafter 
to see all explained by these or by closely analogous 

Actions of all kinds, if regularly accompanying any 
state of the mind, are at once recognized as expressive. 
These may consist of movements of any part of the body, 
as the wagging of a dog's tail, the shrugging of a man's 
shoulders, the erection of the hair, the exudation of 
perspiration, the state of the capillary circulation, la- 
boured breathing, and the use of the vocal or other sound- 
producing instruments. Even insects express anger, 
terror, jealousy, and love by their stridulation. With 


man the respiratory organs are of especial importance 
in expression, not only in a direct, but in a still higher 
degree in an indirect manner. 

Few points are more interesting in our present sub- 
ject than the extraordinarily complex chain of events 
which lead to certain expressive movements. Take, for 
instance, the oblique eyebrows of a man suffering from 
grief or anxiety. When infants scream loudly from 
hunger or pain, the circulation is affected, and the eyes 
tend to become gorged with blood: consequently the 
muscles surrounding the eyes are strongly contracted 
as a protection: this action, in the course of many gen- 
erations, has become firmly fixed and inherited: but 
when, with advancing years and culture, the habit of 
screaming is partially repressed, the muscles round the 
eyes still tend to contract, whenever even slight distress 
is felt: of these muscles, the pyramidals of the nose are 
less under the control of the will than are the others, 
and their contraction can be checked only by that of the 
central fasciaa of the frontal muscle: these latter fasciae 
draw up the inner ends of the eyebrows, and wrinkle the 
forehead in a peculiar manner, which we instantly recog- 
nize as the expression of grief or anxiety. Slight move- 
ments, such as these just described, or the scarcely per- 
ceptible drawing down of the corners of the mouth, are 
the last remnants or rudiments of strongly marked and 
intelligible movements. They are as full of significance 
to us in regard to expression, as are ordinary rudiments 
to the naturalist in the classification and genealogy of 
organic beings. 

That the chief expressive actions, exhibited by man 
and by the lower animals, are now innate or inherited, 
— that is, have not been learnt by the individual, — is 
admitted by every one. So little has learning or imita- 
tion to do with several of them that they are from the 

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 born blind display them, as I hear from the Rev. 
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 same 

We are so familiar with the fact of voun£ and old 
animals displaying their feelings in the same manner, 
that we hardly perceive how remarkable it is that a 
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 


other gestures are inherited, we may infer from their 
being performed by very young children, by those born 
blind, and by the most widely distinct races of man. 
We should also bear in mind that new and highly pecul- 
iar tricks, in association with certain states of the mind, 
are known to have arisen in certain individuals, and to 
have been afterwards transmitted to their offspring, in 
some cases, for more than one generation. 

Certain other gestures, which seem to us so natural 
that we might easily imagine that they were innate, ap- 
parently have been learnt like the words of a language. 
This seems to be the case with the joining of the uplifted 
hands, and the turning up of the eyes, in prayer. So 
it is with kissing as a mark of affection; but this is in- 
nate, in so far as it depends on the pleasure derived from 
contact with a beloved person. The evidence with re- 
spect to the inheritance of nodding and shaking the 
head, as signs of affirmation and negation, is doubtful; 
for they are not universal, yet seem too general to have 
been independently acquired by all the individuals of 
so many races. 

We will now consider how far the will and conscious- 
ness have come into play in the development of the 
various movements of expression. As far as we can 
judge, only a few expressive movements, such as those 
just referred to, are learnt by each individual; that is, 
were consciously and voluntarily performed during the 
early years of life for some definite object, or in imita- 
tion of others, and then became habitual. The far greater 
number of the movements of expression, and all the more 
important ones, are, as we have seen, innate or inherited; 
and such cannot be said to depend on the will of the 
individual. Nevertheless, all those included under our 
first principle were at first voluntarily performed for a 

Chap. XIV. AND SUMMARY. 353 

definite object, — namely, to escape some danger, to re- 
lieve some distress, or to gratify some desire. For in- 
stance, there can hardly be a doubt that the animals 
which fight with their teeth, have acquired the habit 
of drawing back their ears closely to their heads, when 
feeling savage, from their progenitors having voluntarily 
acted in this manner in order to protect their ears from 
being torn by their antagonists; for those animals which 
do not fight with their teeth do not thus express a savage 
state of mind. We may infer as highly probable that 
we ourselves have acquired the habit of contracting the 
muscles round the eyes, whilst crying gently, that is, 
without the utterance of any loud sound, from our pro- 
genitors, especially during infancy, having experienced, 
during the act of screaming, an uncomfortable sensation 
in their eyeballs. Again, some highly expressive move- 
ments result from the endeavour to check or prevent 
other expressive movements; thus the obliquity of the 
eyebrows and the drawing down of the corners of the 
mouth follow from the endeavour to prevent a screaming- 
fit frOm coming on, or to check it after it has come on. 
Here it is obvious that the consciousness and will must 
at first have come into play; not that we are conscious 
in these or in other such cases what muscles are brought 
into action, any more than when we perforin the most 
ordinary voluntary movements. 

With respect to the expressive movements due to 
the principle of antithesis, it is clear that the will has 
intervened, though in a remote and indirect manner. 
So again with the movements coming under our third 
principle; these, in as far as they are influenced by 
nerve-force readily passing along habitual channels, have 
been determined by former and repeated exertions of the 
will. The effects indirectly due to this latter agency 
are often combined in a complex manner, through the 


force of habit and association, with those directly re- 
sulting from the excitement of the cerebro-spinal sys- 
tem. This seems to be the case with the increased action 
of the heart under the influence of any strong emotion. 
When an animal erects its hair, assumes a threatening 
attitude, and utters fierce sounds, in order to terrify an 
enemy, we see a curious combination of movements 
which were originally voluntary with those that are invol- 
untary. It is, however, possible that even strictly in- 
voluntary actions, such as the erection of the hair, may 
have been affected by the mysterious power of the will. 

Some expressive movements may have arisen spon- 
taneously, in association with certain states of the mind, 
like the tricks lately referred to, and afterwards been 
inherited. But I know of no evidence rendering this 
view probable. 

The power of communication between the members 
of the same tribe by means of language has been of para- 
mount importance in the development of man; and the 
force of language is much aided by the expressive move- 
ments of the face and body. We perceive this at once 
when we converse on an important subject with any per- 
son whose face is concealed. Nevertheless there are no 
grounds, as far as I can discover, for believing that any 
muscle has been developed or even modified exclusively 
for the sake of expression. The vocal and other sound- 
producing organs, by which various expressive noises 
are produced, seem to form a partial exception; but I 
have elsewhere attempted to show that these organs were 
first developed for sexual purposes, in order that one sex 
might call or charm the other. Nor can I discover 
grounds for believing that any inherited movement, 
which now serves as a means of expression, was at first 
voluntarily and consciously performed for this special 
purpose, — like some of the gestures and the finger-Ian- 

Chap. XIV. AND SUMMARY. 355 

guage used by the deaf and dumb. On the contrary, 
every true or inherited movement of expression seems 
to have had some natural and independent origin. But 
when once acquired, such movements may be voluntarily 
and consciously employed as a means of communication. 
Even infants, if carefully attended to, find out at a very 
early age that their screaming brings relief, and they 
soon voluntarily practise it. We may frequently see a 
person voluntarily raising his eyebrows to express sur- 
prise, or smiling to express pretended satisfaction and 
acquiescence. A man often wishes to make certain ges- 
tures conspicuous or demonstrative, and will raise his 
extended arms with widely opened fingers above his 
head, to show astonishment, or lift his shoulders to his 
ears, to show that he cannot or will not do something. 
The tendency to such movements will be strengthened 
or increased by their being thus voluntarily and repeat- 
edly performed; and the effects may be inherited. 

It is perhaps worth consideration whether move- 
ments at first used only by one or a few individuals to 
express a certain state of mind may not sometimes have 
spread to others, and ultimately have become universal, 
through the power of conscious and unconscious imita- 
tion. That there exists in man a strong tendency to 
imitation, independently of the conscious will, is certain. 
This is exhibited in the most extraordinary manner in 
certain brain diseases, especially at the commencement 
of inflammatory softening of the brain, and has been 
called the " echo sign." Patients thus affected imitate, 
without understanding, every absurd gesture which is 
made, and every word which is uttered near them, even 
in a foreign language. 1 In the case of animals, the jackal 

1 See the interesting facts given by Dr. Bateman on 
4 Aphasia,' 1S70, p. 110. 


and wolf have learnt under confinement to imitate the 
barking of the dog. How the barking of the dog, which 
serves to express various emotions and desires, and which 
is so remarkable from having been acquired since the 
animal was domesticated, and from being inherited in 
different degrees by different breeds, was first learnt, 
we do not know; but may we not suspect that imitation 
has had something to do with its acquisition, owing to 
dogs having long lived in strict association with so 
loquacious an animal as man? 

In the course of the foregoing remarks and through- 
out this volume, I have often felt much difficulty about 
the proper application of the terms, will, consciousness, 
and intention. Actions, which were at first voluntary, 
soon became habitual, and at last hereditary, and may 
then be performed even in opposition to the will. Al- 
though they often reveal the state of the mind, this re- 
sult was not at first either intended or expected. Even 
such words as that " certain movements serve as a means 
of expression" are apt to mislead, as they imply that 
this was their primary purpose or object. This, however, 
seems rarely or never to have been the case; the move- 
ments having been at first either of some direct use, or 
the indirect effect of the excited state of the sensorium. 
An infant may scream either intentionally or instinc- 
tively to show that it wants food; but it has no wish or 
intention to draw its features into the peculiar form 
which so plainly indicates misery; yet some of the most 
characteristic expressions exhibited by man are derived 
from the act of screaming, as has been explained. 

Although most of our expressive actions are innate 
or instinctive, as is admitted by everyone, it is a dif- 
ferent question whether we have any instinctive power 
of recognizing them. This has generally been assumed 
to be the case; but the assumption has been strongly 

Chap. XIV. AND SUMMARY. 357 

controverted by M. Lemoine. 2 Monkeys soon learn to 
distinguish, not only the tones of voice of their masters, 
but the expression of their faces, as is asserted by a care- 
ful observer. 3 Dogs well know the difference between 
caressing and threatening gestures or tones; and they 
seem to recognize a compassionate tone. But as far as 
I can make out, after repeated trials, they do not under- 
stand any movement confined to the features, excepting 
a smile or laugh; and this they appear, at least in some 
cases, to recognize. This limited amount of knowledge 
has probably been gained, both by monkeys and dogs, 
through their associating harsh or kind treatment with 
our actions; and the knowledge certainly is not in- 
stinctive. Children, no doubt, would soon learn the 
movements of expression in their elders in the same man- 
ner as animals learn those of man. Moreover, when a 
child cries or laughs, he knows in a general manner 
what he is doing and what he feels; so that a very small 
exertion of reason would tell him what crying or laugh- 
ing meant in others. But the question is, do our children 
acquire their knowledge of expression solely by experi- 
ence through the power of association and reason ? 

As most of the movements of expression must have 
been gradually acquired, afterwards becoming instinc- 
tive, there seems to be some degree of a priori probabil- 
ity that their recognition would likewise have become 
instinctive. There is, at least, no greater difficulty in 
believing this than in admitting that, when a female 
quadruped first bears young, she knows the cry of dis- 
tress of her offspring, or than*in admitting that many 
animals instinctively recognize and fear their enemies; 
and of both these statements there can be no reason- 

2 ' La Physionomie et la Parole,' 1865, pp. 103, 118. 

3 Ptonjre-er, ' Xaturg-eschichte der Suugethiere von Para- 
guay,' 1830, s. 55. 


able doubt. It is however extremely difficult to prove 
that our children instinctively recognize any expression. 
I attended to this point in my first-born infant, who 
could not have learnt anything by associating with other 
children, and I was convinced that he understood a smile 
and received pleasure from seeing one, answering it by 
another, at much too early an age to have learnt anything 
by experience. When this child was about four months 
old, I made in his presence many odd noises and strange 
grimaces, and tried to look savage; but the noises, if 
not too loud, as well as the grimaces, were all taken 
as good jokes; and I attributed this at the time to their 
being preceded or accompanied by smiles. When five 
months old, he seemed to understand a compassionate 
expression and tone of voice. When a few days over six 
months old, his nurse pretended to cry, and I saw that 
his face instantly assumed a melancholy expression, with 
the corners of the mouth strongly depressed; now this 
child could rarely have seen any other child crying, and 
never a grown-up person crying, and I should doubt 
whether at so early an age he could have reasoned on 
the subject. Therefore it seems to me that an innate 
feeling must have told him that the pretended crying 
of his nurse expressed grief; and this through the in- 
stinct of sympathy excited grief in him. 

M. Lemoine argues that, if man possessed an innate 
knowledge of expression, authors and artists would not 
have found it so difficult, as is notoriously the case, to 
describe and depict the characteristic signs of each par- 
ticular state of mind. But this does not seem to me a 
valid argument. We may actually behold the expression 
changing in an unmistakable manner in a man or ani- 
mal, and yet be quite unable, as I know from experience, 
to analyse the nature of the change. In the two photo- 
graphs given by Duchenne of the same old man (Plate 

Chap. XIV. AND SUMMARY. 359 

III. figs. 5 and 6), almost every one recognized that the 
one represented a true, and the other a false smile; but I 
have found it very difficult to decide in what the whole 
amount of difference consists. It has often struck me 
as a curious fact that so many shades of expression are 
instantly recognized without any conscious process of 
analysis on our part. Xo one, I believe, can clearly de- 
scribe a sullen or sly expression; yet many observers are 
unanimous that these expressions can be recognized in 
the various races of man. Almost everyone to whom 
I showed Duchenne's photograph of the young man with 
oblique eyebrows (Plate II. fig. 2) at once declared that 
it expressed grief or some such feeling; yet probably 
not one of these persons, or one out of a thousand per- 
sons, could beforehand have told anything precise about 
the obliquity of the eyebrows with their inner ends 
puckered, or about the rectangular furrows on the fore- 
head. So it is with many other expressions, of which I 
have had practical experience in the trouble requisite 
in instructing others what points to observe. If, then, 
great ignorance of details does not prevent our recog- 
nizing with certainty and promptitude various expres- 
sions, I do not see how this ignorance can be advanced 
as an argument that our knowledge, though vague and 
general, is not innate. 

I have endeavoured to show in considerable detail 
that all the chief expressions exhibited by man are the 
same throughout the world. This fact is interesting, 
as it affords a new argument in favour of the several 
races being descended from a single parent-stock, which 
must have been almost completely human in structure, 
and to a large extent in mind, before the period at which 
the races diverged from each other. No doubt similar 
structures, adapted for the same purpose, have often 
been independently acquired through variation and nat- 


ural selection by distinct species; but this view will not 
explain close similarity between distinct species in a 
multitude of unimportant details. Now if we bear in 
mind the numerous points of structure having no rela- 
tion to expression, in which all the races of man closely 
agree, and then add to them the numerous points, some 
of the highest importance and many of the most trilling 
value, on which the movements of expression directly 
or indirectly depend, it seems to me improbable in the 
highest degree that so much similarity, or rather identity 
of structure, could have been acquired by independent 
means. Yet this must have been the case if the races 
of man are descended from several aboriginally distinct 
species. It is far more probable that the many points 
of close similarity in the various races are due to inheri- 
tance from a single parent-form, which had already as- 
sumed a human character. 

It is a curious, though perhaps an idle speculation, 
how early in the long line of our progenitors the various 
expressive movements, now exhibited by man, were suc- 
cessively acquired. The following remarks will at least 
serve to recall some of the chief points discussed in this 
volume. We may confidently believe that laughter, as 
a sign of pleasure or enjoyment, was practised by our 
progenitors long before they deserved to be called 
human; for very many kinds of monkeys, when pleased, 
utter a reiterated sound, clearly analogous to our laugh- 
ter, often accompanied by vibratory movements of their 
jaws or lips, with the corners of the mouth drawn back- 
wards and upwards, by the wrinkling of the cheeks, and 
even by the brightening of the eyes. 

We may likewise infer that fear was expressed from 
an extremely remote period, in almost the same manner 
as it now is by man; namely, by trembling, the erec- 
tion of the hair, cold perspiration, pallor, widely opened 

Chap. XIV. AND SUMMARY. 3(31 

eyes, the relaxation of most of the muscles, and by the 
whole body cowering downwards or held motionless. 

Suffering, if great, will from the first have caused 
screams or groans to be uttered, the body to be con- 
torted, and the teeth to be ground together. But our 
progenitors will not have exhibited those highly expres- 
sive movements of the features which accompany scream- 
ing and crying until their circulatory and respiratory 
organs, and the muscles surrounding the eyes, had ac- 
quired their present structure. The shedding of tears 
appears to have originated through reflex action from 
the spasmodic contraction of the eyelids, together per- 
haps with the eyeballs becoming gorged with blood dur- 
ing the act of screaming. Therefore weeping probably 
came on rather late in the line of our descent; and this 
conclusion agrees with the fact that our nearest allies, 
the anthropomorphous apes, do not weep. But we must 
here exercise some caution, for as certain monkeys, which 
are not closely related to man, weep, this habit might 
have been developed long ago in a sub-branch of the 
group from which man is derived. Our early progeni- 
tors, when suffering from grief or anxiet} r , would not 
have made their eyebrows oblique, or have drawn down 
the corners of their mouth, until they had acquired the 
habit of endeavouring to restrain their screams. The 
expression, therefore, of grief and anxiety is eminently 

Rage will have been expressed at a very early period 
by threatening or frantic gestures, by the reddening of 
the skin, and by glaring eyes, but not by frowning. 
For the habit of frowning seems to have been acquired 
chiefly from the corrugators being the first muscles to 
contract round the eyes, whenever during infancy pain, 
anger, or distress is felt, and there consequently is a near 
approach to screaming; and partly from a frown serving 


as a shade in difficult and intent vision. It seems prob- 
able that this shading action would not have become 
habitual until man had assumed a completely upright 
position, for monkeys do not frown when exposed to a 
glaring light. Our early progenitors, when enraged, 
would probably have exposed their teeth more freely 
than does man, even when giving full vent to his rage, 
as with the insane. We may, also, feel almost certain 
that they would have protruded their lips, when sulky 
or disappointed, in a greater degree than is the case with 
our own children, or even with the children of existing 
savage races. 

Our early progenitors, when indignant or moderately 
angry, would not have held their heads erect, opened 
their chests, squared their shoulders, and clenched their 
fists, until they had acquired the ordinary carriage and 
upright attitude of man, and had learnt to fight with 
their fists or clubs. Until this period had arrived the 
antithetical gesture of shrugging the shoulders, as a 
sign of impotence or of patience, would not have been 
developed. From the same reason astonishment would 
not then have been expressed by raising the arms with 
open hands and extended fingers. Nor, judging from 
the actions of monkeys, would astonishment have been 
exhibited by a widely opened mouth; but the eyes would 
have been opened and the eyebrows arched. Disgust 
would have been shown at a very early period by move- 
ments round the mouth, like those of vomiting, — that is, 
if the view which I have suggested respecting the source 
of the expression is correct, namely, that our progenitors 
had the power, and used it, of voluntarily and quickly 
rejecting any food from their stomachs which they dis- 
liked. But the more refined manner of showing con- 
tempt or disdain, by lowering the eyelids, or turning 
away the eyes and face, as if the despised person were 

Chap. XIV. AND SUMMARY. 363 

not worth looking at, would not probably have been ac- 
quired until a much later period. 

Of all expressions, blushing seems to be the most 
strictly human; yet it is common to all or nearly all the 
races of man, whether or not any change of colour is 
visible in their skin. The relaxation of the small arteries 
of the surface, on which blushing depends, seems to 
have primarily resulted from earnest attention directed 
to the appearance of our own persons, especially of our 
faces, aided by habit, inheritance, and the ready flow 
of nerve-force along accustomed channels; and after- 
wards to have been extended by the power of associa- 
tion to self-attention directed to moral conduct. It can 
hardly be doubted that many animals are capable of 
appreciating beautiful colours and even forms, as is 
shown by the pains which the individuals of one sex take 
in displaying their beauty before those of the opposite 
sex. But it does not seem possible that any animal, until 
its mental powers had been developed to an equal or 
nearly equal degree with those of man, would have 
closely considered and been sensitive about its own per- 
sonal appearance. Therefore we may conclude that 
blushing originated at a very late period in the long line 
of our descent. 

From the various facts just alluded to, and given in 
the course of this volume, it follows that, if the structure 
of our organs of respiration and circulation had differed 
in only a slight degree from the state in which they now 
exist, most of our expressions would have been wonder- 
fully different. A very slight change in the course of 
the arteries and veins which run to the head, would prob- 
ably have prevented the blood from accumulating in 
our eyeballs during violent expiration; for this occurs 
in extremely few quadrupeds. In this case we should 
not have displayed some of our most characteristic ex- 


pressions. If man had breathed water by the aid of ex- 
ternal branchiae (though the idea is hardly conceivable), 
instead of air through his mouth and nostrils, his fea- 
tures would not have expressed his feelings much more 
efficiently than now do his hands or limbs. Eage and 
disgust, however, would still have been shown by move- 
ments about the lips and mouth, and the eyes would 
have become brighter or duller according to the state 
of the circulation. If our ears had remained movable, 
their movements would have been highly expressive, as 
is the case with all the animals which fight with their 
teeth; and we may infer that our early progenitors thus 
fought, as we still uncover the canine tooth on one side 
when we sneer at or defy any one, and we uncover all 
our teeth when furiously enraged. 

The movements of expression in the face and body, 
whatever their origin may have been, are in themselves 
of much importance for our welfare. They serve as the 
first means of communication between the mother and 
her infant; she smiles approval, and thus encourages 
her child on the right path, or frowns disapproval. We 
readily perceive sympathy in others by their expression; 
our sufferings are thus mitigated and our pleasures in- 
creased; and mutual good feeling is thus strengthened. 
The movements of expression give vividness and energy 
to our spoken words. They reveal the thoughts and 
intentions of others more truly than do words, which 
may be falsified. Whatever amount of truth the so-called 
science of physiognomy may contain, appears to depend, 
as Haller long ago remarked, 4 on different persons bring- 
ing into frequent use different. facial muscles, according 

4 Quoted by Moreau, in his edition of Lavater, 1820, torn. 
iv. p. 211. 

Chap. XIV. AND SUMMARY. 365 

to their dispositions; the development of these muscles 
being perhaps thus increased, and the lines or furrows 
on the face, due to their habitual contraction, being thus 
rendered deeper and more conspicuous. The free expres- 
sion by outward signs of an emotion intensifies it. On 
the other hand, the repression, as far as this is possible, 
of all outward signs softens our emotions. 5 He who 
gives way to violent gestures will increase his rage; he 
who does not control the signs of fear will experience 
fear in a greater degree; and he who remains passive 
when overwhelmed with grief loses his best chance of 
recovering elasticity of mind. These results follow 
partly from the intimate relation which exists between 
almost all the emotions and their outward manifesta- 
tions; and partly from the direct influence of exertion 
on the heart, and consequently on the brain. Even the 
simulation of an emotion tends to arouse it in our minds. 
Shakespeare, who from his wonderful knowledge of the 
human mind ought to be an excellent judge, says: — 

" Is it not monstrous that this player here, 
But in a fiction, in a dream of passion, 
Could force his soul so to his own conceit, 
That, from her working, all his visage wann'd; 
Tears in his eyes, distraction in 's aspect, 
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting- 
With forms to his conceit? And all for nothing 1 ! " 

Hamlet, act ii. sc. 2. 

We have seen that the study of the theory of ex- 
pression confirms to a certain limited extent the con- 
clusion that man is derived from some lower animal 
form, and supports the belief of the specific or sub- 
specific unity of the several races; but as far as my 
judgment serves, such confirmation was hardly needed. 

5 Gratiolet (' De la Physionomie,' 1865, p. 66) insists on 
the truth of this conclusion. 


We have also seen that expression in itself, or the lan- 
guage of the emotions, as it has sometimes been called, 
is certainly of importance for the welfare of mankind. 
To understand, as far as possible, the source or origin 
of the various expressions which may be hourly seen 
on the faces of the men around us, not to mention our 
domesticated animals, ought to possess much interest 
for us. From these several causes, we may conclude that 
the philosophy of our subject has well deserved the at- 
tention which it has already received from several excel- 
lent observers, and that it deserves still further atten- 
tion, especially from any able physiologist. 



Abstraction, 226. 

Actions, reflex, 35 ; coughing, 
sneezing, &c, 35 ; muscular ac- 
tion of decapitated frog, 36 ; clos- 
ing the eyelids, 38 : starting, 38- 
41 ; contraction of the iris, 41. 

Admiration, 289. 

Affirmation, signs of, 272. 

Albinos, blushing in, 312, 326. 

Alison, Professor, 31. 

Ambition, 261. 

Anatomical drawings by Henle, 5. 

Anatomy and Philosophy of Ex- 
pression, 2. 

Anderson, Dr., 106, n. 26. 

Anger, as a stimulant, 79 ; expres- 
sion, 244 ; in monkeys, 136. See 
also Rage. 

Animals, special expressions of, 115. 
See also Expression. 

, habitual associated move- 
ments in the lower, 42-49 ; dogs, 
43 ; wolves and jackals, 44 ; 
horses, 45 ; cats, 46 ; chickens. 
47 ; sheldrakes, &c, 48. 

Annesley, Lieut., K. A., 124, n. 4. 

Antithesis, the principle of, 50 ; 
dogs, 50, 57 ; cats, 56 ; conven- 
tional signs, 61. 

Anxiety, 176. 

Ape, the Gibbon, produces musical 
sounds, 87. 

Arrectores pili, 101, 103. 

Association, the power of, 31 ; in- 
stances of, 31, 32. 

Astonishment, 278 : in monkeys, 
142. J 

Audubon, 98, n. 14. 

Avarice, 261. 

Azara, 126, n. 6, 128, n. 7. 


Baboon, the Anubis, 95, 133, 137. 
Bain, Mr., 8, 31, 198, n, 4, 213, n. 21, 
290, n. 16, 327, n. 25. 

Baker, Sir Samuel, 113. 

Barber, Mrs., 21, 107, n. 28, 268, 

Bartlett, Mr., 44, 48, 112, 122, 134, 

Behn, Dr., 310. 
Bell, Mr., 293. 
, Sir Charles, 1, 9, 22, 49, 115, 

120, 128, n. 8, 144, 157, 171, 210, 

n. 17, 218, 220, 304, 336. 
Bennett, G-., 138, n. 16. 
Bergeon, 168, n. 21. 
Bernard, Claude,. 37, 68, 70, n. 5. 
Billiard-player, gestures of the, 6. 
Birds ruffle their feathers when 

angry. 97; when frightened ad- 
press them, 99. 
Blair, the Eev. R. H., 311, 351. 
Blind, tendency of the, to blush, 

310. ' 

Blushing, 309 ; inheritance of, 311 ; 

in the various races of man, 315 ; 

movements and gestures which 

accompany, 320; confusion of 

mmd, 322; the nature of the 

mental states which induce, 325 ; 

shyness, 329 ; moral causes : 

guilt, 332 ; breaches of etiquette, 

333 ; modesty, 333 ; theory of, 

Blyth, Mr.. 97. 
Bowman, Mr., 159, n. 14, 160, n. 16, 

165, 169, 225. 
Brehm, 96, 128, 137, n. 14, 138, 

n. 15. 
Bridges, Mr., 22, 246, 260, 317. 
Bridgman, Laura, 196, 212, 266, 273, 

285, 310. 
Brinton, Dr., 158, n. 13. 
Brodie, Sir B.. 340. 
Brooke, the Rajah, 20, 207. 
Brown, Dr. R., 108, n. 29. 
Browne, Dr. J. Crichton, 13, 76, n. 

10, 154, 183, 197, 203, 242, 292, 

295, 313, 339, n. 89. 
Bucknill, Dr., 296. 
Buhner, Mr. J., 20, 207, 250, 285, 







Bunnett, Mr. Teinpleton, 20, 177, 

Burgess, Dr., 5, 309, 319, 336. 
Burton, Captain, 260. 
Button, Jemmy, the Fuegian, 214, 



Camper, Pierre, 1 and n. 3. 

Canine tooth, uncovering the, 247. 

Carpenter on the principles of 
Comparative Physiology, 47, n. 

Cat, the, 46, 125 ; preparing to fight, 
56 ; caressing her master, 56 ; 
drawing back the ears, 111 ; lash- 
ing the tail, 126 ; movements ot 
affection, 126 ; when terrified, 
127 ; erecting the tail, 127 ; pur- 
ring, &c, 128. 

Catlin, 289. 

Caton, the Hon. J., 97, n. 11. 

Cebus azarse, the, 132, 134. 

Chameleons, 105. 

Cheerfulness, 210. 

Chevreul, M., 6. 

Chimpanzee, the, 95, 131. 

Cistercian Monks, gesture-language 
of, 61. 

Cobra-de-capello, the, 105. 

Conceit, 261, 330. 

Contempt, 253 ; snapping the fin- 
gers, 256. 

Cooke, the actor, 249. 

Cooper, Dr., 105, n. 22. 

Cope, Professor, 10S, n. SI. 

Coughing, 163. 

Crantz, 212, 259. 


Darwin, Dr., 30, n. 3, 46, n. 16, 77, 
n. 11. 

Deaf and dumb, opposites used in 
teaching them, 61, 62, n. 3. 

Deceit, 261. 

Decision, or determination, 233 ; 
closing of the mouth, 233-236. 

Defiance, 247. 

Dejection, 176. 

Depression of mind, 79. 

Dermal appendages, erection of, 94 
in the chimpanzee and orang, 95 
lion, &c, 96 ; dog and cat, 96 , 
' horses and cattle, 96 ; elk, 96 ; hat, 
97 ; birds, 97 ; under the influ- 
ence of anger and fear, 99. 

Despair, 176. 

Devotion, the expression of, 217- 

Dickens, Charles, 241. 

Dilatation of the pupils, 303. 

Disdain, 253. 

Disgust, 256 ; spitting a sign of, 

Dog, the, sympathetic movements 
of, 7 ; turning round before lying 
down, 42 ; pointing, 43 ; scratch- 
ing, &c, 45 : antithesis in expres- 
sion, 57 ; various gestures of, 63 ; 
barking a means of expression, 
85 ; whining, 88 ; drawing back 
the ears, 111 ; various movements 
of, 115 ; gestures of affection, 118 ; 
grinning, 119; pain, 121; atten- 
tion, 121 ; terror, 121 ; playing, 

Donders, Professor, 159, 165, 227, 

Duchenne, Dr., 5, 11, 13, 132. 143, 
148, n. 3, 149, n. 4, 180, 188, 200. 


Ears, the, drawing back, &c, 110 ; 
in fighting, dogs, cats, tigers, &c, 
111 ; horses, 112 ; guanacoes, &c, 
112; moose-deer, 112; rabbits, 
113 ; wild boars, 113 ; monkeys, 
113 ; erection of the, 114. 

Edgeworth, Maria and K. L., 331. 

Elephants, 113 ; weeping, 165. 

Engelmann, Professor, 227. 

Envy, 261. 

Erection of the dermal appendages, 

Erskine, Mr. H., 21, 33, 185, 267, 

Etiquette, breaches of, 333. 

Expression, anatomy and philoso- 
phy of, 2; general principles of, 
27 ; principle of serviceable asso- 
ciated habits, 29 ; principle of an- 
tithesis, 50 ; principle of direct ac- 
tion of the nervous system, 66 ; 
means of, in animals, 83 ; emission 
of sounds, 83-94 ; erection of the 
dermal appendages, 94r-104; in- 
flation of the body, &c, 104-110 ; 
drawing back the ears, 110-114; 
erection of the ears, 114. 

Expressions, special, of animals, 
115; dogs, 115-125; cats, 125-128; 
horses, 128-129; ruminants, 129; 
monkeys, baboons, chimpanzees, 

, special, of man, 146 ; suffering, 

73, 146 ; crying in children, 147 ; 
contraction of "the muscles round 
the eyes during screaming, 148 ; 





secretion of tears, 153, 1G2 ; grief, 
176 ; obliquity of the eyebrows, 
178 ; grief-muscles, 15, 179-191 ; 
depression of the corners of the 
mouth, 191-195; joy, 198; high 
spirits, cheerfulness, 210; love, 
tender feelings, 212; devotion, 

Eyebrows, obliquity of the, 178. 

Eyes, the, contraction of the mus- 
cles during screaming, 158. 


Face, muscles of, 22. 

Fear, 81, 289 ; description of, by 
Job, 291. 

Feelings, tender, 212; excited by 
sympathy, 214. 

Fighting, mode of, in animals. 111 ; 
all cafnivora fight with their ca- 
nine teeth, 111; dogs, cats, 111; 
horses, guanacoes, &c, 112; 
moose-deer, 112; rabbits, 113; 
boars, 113; elephants, 113;rhinoc- 
eros, 113 ; monkeys, 113. 

Fingers, snapping, to express con- 
tempt, 256. 

Forbes, Mr. D., 230, 317, 335. 

Ford, Mr., 95. 

Forster, J. E., 317. 

Foster, Mr. Michael, 342, 343. 

Fox, the, 124. 

Frevcinet, 174. 

Frogs, 36, 104. 

Frowning, the act of, 3, 220 ; men ot 
all races frown, 222; in infants, 
223 ; to assist vision, 224 ; to ex- 
clude the bright light, 225. 

Fyffe, Dr., 303. 


Gaika, Christian, 22, 207, 254, 294, 

Galto'n, Mr. F., 33. n. 8. 

Garrod, Mr. A. H., 74, n. 9. 

Gaskell, Mrs., 150, n. 5. 

Geach, Mr. F., 20, 185, 250, 260, 267, 

Gesture-language, 61. 

Gestures, 32, 62 ; inheritance of ha- 
bitual, 33, n. 8; accompanying 
blushing, 320. 

Glenie, the Eev. S. O., 21, 166, n. 20, 

Goose-skin, 101, 103. 

Gordon, Lady Dutf, 316. 

Gorilla, the, 95, 142. 

Gould, 100. n. 15. 

Gratiolet, Pierre, 6, 32, 118, 156, 164, 

177, 200, 225, 227, n. «5, 234, 241, 
n. 9, 336. 

Grav, Professor, and Mrs. Asa. 22, 
267, 315. 

Green, Mrs., 20. 

Grief, 80 ; expression of, 176 ; obli- 
quity of the eyebrows, 178 ; de- 
pression of the corners of the 
mouth, 191-195 ; in monkeys, 134. 

Grief-muscles, 15, 179-191. 

Gueldenstadt, 124, n. 4- 

Guilt, 261 ; causes blushing, 332. 

Gunning, Dr., 161. 

Giinther, Dr., 100, 104, 108, n. 30. 


Habit, force of, 29. 

Hagenauer, the Eev., 19, 192, 262, 

Hair, change of colour in the, 67, 

341 ; erection of the, 101, 294. 
Haller, 88. 
' Handbuch der Anatomie des Men- 

schen,' 5, n. 7. 
Hares, 83. 
Harvey, 30, n. 3. 
Hatred, 237 ; anger, indignation, 244 ; 

sneering, defiance, uncovering the 

canine tooth, 247. 
Heart, the, sensitive to external 

emotions, 68 ; re-acts on the brain, 

69 ; affected by rage, 75. 
Helmholtz, 88, 91. 
Helplessness, 263. 
Henderson, Mr., 108, n. 31. 
Henle, 22, 148, n. 2, 3, 191, n. 6, 201. 
Herpestes, the, 96, 108, 110. 
High spirits, 210 ; definition of, by 

a child, 210. 
Hippocrates, 30, n. 3, 72. 
Holland, Sir Henry, 36, 37, 71, n. 8, 

338, n. 33, 339. 
Homer's description of laughter, 

196. • 
Horror, 304. 
Horse, the, 45; nibbling, pawing 

of, 45 ; scream in distress, 84 ; 

fighting, 111 ; expression of fear, 

pleasure, &c, 128. 
Humboldt, 134, 318. 
Humility, 261. 
Huschke, 287. 

Huxley, Professor, 31, n. 5, 35, n. 9. 
Hyaena, the, 122. 


Idiots, weeping, 155 : expression of 

joy in, 197 ; blushing, 310. 
Ill-temper, 228. 





Impotence, 263. 

Indignation, 244. 

Infants, expression in, 13; crying 
of, 147 ; weeping, 152. 

Inflation of the body, &c, 104; in 
toads and frogs, 104 ; chameleons, 
&c, 105 ; snakes, 105-110. 

Inheritance of habitual gestures, 
33, n. 8 ; blushing, 311. 

Innes, Dr., 266. 

Intercommunication, power of, with 
social animals, 60 ; deaf and 
dumb, 61 ; dogs and cats, 63. 

Jealousy, 79, 261. 

Jerdon, Dr., 108. 

Job, description of fear by, 291. 

Joy, expression of, 75, 196; in 
young children, 76 ; dogs, horses, 
76; monkeys, 132; high spirits, 
cheerfulness, 210; love, tender 
feelings, 212. 

Jukes, Mr. J. B., 274. 


Kangaroos, 113. 

Kindermann, Herr, 23, 147, n. 1. 
King, Major Ross, 112. 
Kissing, 214. 
Kolliker, 100. 

Lacy, Mr. Dvson, 19, 230, 241. 

Lane, Mr. H. B., 20. 

Lang, Mr. Archibald G., 20, 320. 

Langstaff, Dr., 147, 151, 313. 

Language, gesture, 61. 

Laughter, 91, 131, 163 ; in monkeys. 
131 ; joy expressed by, 196 ; in 
children, 196 ; in idiots, 197 ; in 
grown-up persons, 198; caused 
by tickling, 199 ; sparkling eye, 
204; tears caused by excessive, 
206; among Hindoos, Malays, 
&c, 207 ; to conceal feelings, 212 ; 
incipient, in a baby, 209. 

Lavater, G., 3, n. 6, 210, n. 17. 

Lawson, 107, n. 28. 

Laycock, Professor, 338. 

Le Brun, 1, 4, 245, n. 13. 

Leiehhardt, 260. 

Lemoine, M., 2, 357. 

Lessing's Laocoon, 14, n. 19. 

Leydig, 101, 103. 

Lieber, Mr. F., 197, n. 2, 273. 

Lister, Mr., 101, 199, n. 6. 

Litchfield, Mr., 89. 

Lizards, 105. 

Lockwood, the Rev. S., 87, n. 8. 

Lorain, M., 74, n. 9. 

Love, maternal, 78 ; of the opposite 

sexes, 78 ; expression, of, 212 ; 

kissing, a mark of, 214 ; excites 

tears, 214. 
Low spirits, 176. 
Lubbock, Sir John, 154, 214, n. 22. 


Man, special expressions of, 146. 
See also Expression. 

Mankind, Early History of, 256, 

Marshall, Mr., 155, n. 9, 197, n. 8. 

Martin, W. L., 131, 136, 140, n. 17. 

Martius, 318. 

Matthews, Mr. Washington, 22, 
228, 256, 268, 275, 289. 

Maudslev, Dr., 36, n. 10, 40, n. 14, 
244, 340, n. 40. 

Mauvaise honte, 329. 

May, Mr. A., 25. 

1 Mecanisme de la Physionomie Hu- 
maine,' 11, n. 16. 

Meditation, 226 ; often accompanied 
by certain gestures, 228. 

Meyer, Dr. Adolf, 274. 

Mind, confusion of, while blushing:, 

Modesty, 333. 

Monkeys, 60; power of intercom- 
munication and expression of, 60, 
88, 96 ; their special expressions, 
130 ; pleasure, joy, &c, 131, 213 ; 
painful emotions, 134 : anger, 136 ; 
redden with passion, 137 ; scream- 
ing, 138 ; sulkiness in, 138 ; frown- 
ing in, 141 ; astonishment, terror 
in, 142. 

Moose-deer, the, 112. 

Morea'u, M., 3, 210, 314. 

Mouth, depression of the corners, 
191-195 ; closure expresses deci- 
sion, 233-236. 

Movements, symbolic, 6 ; sympa- 
thetic, 7 ; accompanying blush- 
ing, 320. 

, associated habitual, in the 

lower animals, 42-49; dogs, 43; 
Avolves and jackals, 44 ; horses, 
45 ; cats, 46 ; chickens, 47 ; shel- 
drakes, &c, 48. 

Mowbrav on Poultry, 47, n. 18. 

Muller. Dr. Ferdinand, 20. 

, Fritz, 11, 29, n. 2, 68, n. 2, 71, 

n. 6, 268. 

Music, 217. 






Negation, signs of, 272. 

Nervous system, direct action of 
the, 66 ; change of colour in the 
hair, 67, 341 ; trembling of the 
muscles, 67 ; secretions affected, 
68 ; perspiration, 73 ; rage, 74 ; 
joy, 76 ; terror, 77 ; love, 78 ; jeal- 
ousy, 79 ; grief, 80. 

Nicol, Mr. Patrick, 14, 184, 300. 


Osrle, Dr. W., 255, n. 3, 270, 293. 
Ofiphant, Mrs., 80, n. 12, 270. 
Olmsted, 269. 

Owen, Professor, 10, n. 13, 87. n. 3, 
141, n. 18. 

Paget, Sir J., 68, 116, 312, 341. 

Pain, outward signs of, in animals, 
69 • in man, 69 ; in the hippopota- 
mus, 70 ; induces perspiration, 73 ; 
depression, 81 ; in monkeys, 134. 

Parsons, J., 1, n. 1. 

Perspiration caused by pain, 73. 

Physiology of laughter, 9. 

'Physionomie, de^a, et des Mouve- 
ments d'Expression,' 6. 

Piderit, Dr., 7, 23. 151, 204, 221, 235, 

Pigs employed to destroy rattle- 
snakes, 108. 

Platysma myoides muscle, contrac- 
tion of the, 297. 

Plautus, 228. 

Porcupines, 93. 

Pouchet, M. G., 67, n. 1. 

Pride, 263. 

Psychology, Principles of, 9. 

Puff-adder, the, 105. 

Pupils, dilatation of the, 303. 


Queries regarding expression, &<$.. 


Eabbits, 83, 93, 113. 

Page, 74, 238; trembling a conse- 
quence of, 240 ; Shakespeare's 
description of, 240 ; snarling with 
the teeth, 242. 

Eattlesnake, the, 106, 109. 

Eeade, Mr. Winwood, 21, 279, 288. 

Eeflection, 220 ; deep, generally ac- 
companied with a frown, 222. 

Eefiex actions, 35. 

Eejlander, Mr., 23, 147, n. 1, 181, 

200, 248. 
Eengger, 61, 88, 132, n. 11, 134. 
Eesignation, 270. 

Eetching or vomiting, 158, 163, 258. 
Eevenge, 261. 
Eeynolds, Sir J., 206, n. 15. 
Ehinoceros, 73, 113. 
Riviere, Mr., 25, 120. 
Kothrock, Dr., 22, 230, 250, 259. 
Euminants, their emotions, 129. 

Salvin, Mr. F., 44, n. 15. 

Sandwich islanders, 174. 

Savage and Wyman, Messrs., 142. 

Schmalz, 273. 

Scorn, 253. 

Scott, Sir W., 120. 

,;Mr. J., 21, 185, 246-248, 259, 


- , Dr. W. R., 62, n. 3. 

Scream, as a call for assistance, 90. 

Secretary-hawk, the, 109. 

Secretions, affected by strong emo- 
tions, 68. 

Senses, the, and the Intellect, 8, n. 
8. 31. 

Shaler, Professor, 106, 109. 

Shame, gestures of, 320 ; description 
of, in Isaiah, Ezra, &c, 321. 

Sheldrake, the, 48. 

Shoulder, cold, 233. 

Shrugging the shoulders, 63, 263. 

Shyness, 322, 329. 

Signs of affirmation and negation, 
•_'72; conventional, 61. 

Slvness, 262. 

Smiling, 202, 208 ; in infants, 209 ; 
in savages, 211. 

Smith, Sir Andrew, 207. 

Smvth, Mr. Brough, 19, 285, 294. 

Snakes, 105-110. 

Snapping the finerers, 256. 

Sneering or snarling, 247. 

Sobbing, peculiar to the human 
species, 156. 

Somerville, 119. 

Sounds, the emission of, efficient as 
a means of expression. 83 ; be- 
tween the sexes, 84; to animals 
when separated, 84; of rage, 85; 
the bark of a dog, 85 ; tamed 
jackals, 86 ; pigeons, 86 ; human 
voice, 86 ; as a means of court- 
ship, 87 ; music, 89 ; in young in- 
fants, 92; of surprise, contempt, 
and disgust, 92 ; rabbits, 93 ; por- 





cupines, 93 ; insects, 94 ; birds, 

Speedy, Captain, 22, 260, 267. 
Spencer, Mr. Herbert, 9, n. 11, 10, 

27, ». i, 29, n. 2, 71, 86, 198, 225, 

n. 5, 262. 
Sphinx-moth, the humming-bird, 

Spitting, a sign of disgust, 260. 
Spix, von, 318. 
St. John, Mr., 47, 126. 
Stack, the Rev. J. W., 20, 231, 246, 

Stuart, Mr., 280. 
Submission in dogs, 119._ 
Suflering of body and mind, 146. 
Sulkiness, 230 ; expression of, pre- 
vails throughout the world, i!31 ; 

in monkeys, 140, 232. 
Summary, 347. 
Surprise, 278. 
Suspicion, 261. 
Sutton, Mr., 95, 134, 136, 143, 162, 

Swinhoe, Mr., 21, 206, 246, 316. 
Sympathy, 215. 

Taplin, the Eev. George, 20, 185, 
245, 320. 

Taylor, the Eev. R., 155. 

Tears, cause of the secretion of, 162 ; 
laughing, coughing, 163 ; yawn- 
ing, 164 ; reflex action, 168. 

Tegetmeier, Mr., 100. 

Tendencies, inherited or instinctive, 

Tennent, Sir J. Emerson, 165. 

Terror, 77, 289; in dogs, 121; in 
monkeys, 142; in an insane 
woman, 292 ; in murderers, 293 ; 
dilatation of the pupils, 303. 

Thwaites, Mr., 166, n. 20. 

Tickling, 199. 

Toads, 104. 

Trembling, induced by fear, 67 ; by 

delight, 67 ; by fine music, 68 ; 

by rage, 68, 240 ; by terror, 77. 
Turner, Professor W., 101, n. 18. 
Tylor, Mr., 61, n. 2, 256, 261, n. 11. 

Vanity, 261. 

Variation of Animals and Plants 

under Domestication, 33, n. 8. 
Vaso-motor system, the, 69. 
Virchow, 35, n. 9, 70, n. 5. 
Voeux, Mr. des, 110, n. 82. 
Vogt, C, 204, n. 12, 273. 
Voice, in animals, 83 ; the human, 



Wallich, Dr., 23, 200. 

Weale, Mr. J. P. Mansel, 21, 228, 

231, 285. 
Wedgwood, Mr. Hensleisdi, 104, 163, 

n. 18, 219, 230, n. 10, 239, n. 6, 273, 

320, n. 20. 
Weeping, 146; the period of first 

shedding tears in infants quite 

uncertain, 152; in savages, 153; 

in the insane, 154 ; checking or 

increasing the habit of, 155 ; 

screaming and sobbing of infants, 

156. ISee also Tears. 
Weir, Mr. Jenner, 98. 
West, Mr., 21. 
Wild-boar, 113. 
Wilson, Mr., 19. 

, Mr. Samuel, 20, 319. 

' System der Mi- 

mik und Physiognomik," 7. 
Wolf, Mr., 26. 
Wood, Mr. J., 180, n. S, 297, 302. 

• , Mr. T. W., 23. 

Wrinkles, 202. 

Yawning, 136, 164.