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 difference 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 bow the least excitement of a sensitive nerve reacts on the heart; even when a nerve is touched so slightly that no pain can possibly 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 mutual action and reaction between these, the two most important organs of the body.

[2] Muller 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 extent of imperfect paralysis, or the excitement of trembling of the whole body."

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

The vaso-motor system, which regulates the diameter of the small arteries, is directly acted on by the sensorium, 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 movements.

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 Zoological Gardens, when she produced her young, suffered greatly; she incessantly walked about, or rolled on her sides, opening and closing her jaws, and clattering 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.

The Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals Page 29

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Charles Darwin

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