I was especially glad to hear about shrugging the shoulders. You say that an old negro woman, when expressing astonishment, wonderfully resembled a Cebus when astonished; but are you sure that the Cebus opened its mouth? I ask because the Chimpanzee does not open its mouth when astonished, or when listening. (463/1. Darwin in the "Expression of the Emotions," adheres to this statement as being true of monkeys in general.) Please have the kindness to remember that I am very anxious to know whether any monkey, when screaming violently, partially or wholly closes its eyes.
LETTER 464. TO W. BOWMAN.
(464/1. The late Sir W. Bowman, the well-known surgeon, supplied a good deal of information of value to Darwin in regard to the expression of the emotions. The gorging of the eyes with blood during screaming is an important factor in the physiology of weeping, and indirectly in the obliquity of the eyebrows--a characteristic expression of suffering. See "Expression of the Emotions," pages 160 and 192.)
Down, March 30th .
I called at your house about three weeks since, and heard that you were away for the whole month, which I much regretted, as I wished to have had the pleasure of seeing you, of asking you a question, and of thanking you for your kindness to my son George. You did not quite understand the last note which I wrote to you--viz., about Bell's precise statement that the conjunctiva of an infant or young child becomes gorged with blood when the eyes are forcibly opened during a screaming fit. (464/2. Sir C. Bell's statement in his "Anatomy of Expression" (1844, page 106) is quoted in the "Expression of the Emotions," page 158.) I have carefully kept your previous note, in which you spoke doubtfully about Bell's statement. I intended in my former note only to express a wish that if, during your professional work, you were led to open the eyelids of a screaming child, you would specially observe this point about the eye showing signs of becoming gorged with blood, which interests me extremely. Could you ask any one to observe this for me in an eye-dispensary or hospital? But I now have to beg you kindly to consider one other question at any time when you have half an hour's leisure.
When a man coughs violently from choking or retches violently, even when he yawns, and when he laughs violently, tears come into the eyes. Now, in all these cases I observe that the orbicularis muscle is more or less spasmodically contracted, as also in the crying of a child. So, again, when the muscles of the abdomen contract violently in a propelling manner, and the breath is, I think, always held, as during the evacuation of a very costive man, and as (I hear) with a woman during severe labour-pains, the orbicularis contracts, and tears come into the eyes. Sir J.E. Tennant states that tears roll down the cheeks of elephants when screaming and trumpeting at first being captured; accordingly I went to the Zoological Gardens, and the keeper made two elephants trumpet, and when they did this violently the orbicularis was invariably plainly contracted. Hence I am led to conclude that there must be some relation between the contraction of this muscle and the secretion of tears. Can you tell me what this relation is? Does the orbicularis press against, and so directly stimulate, the lachrymal gland? As a slight blow on the eye causes, by reflex action, a copious effusion of tears, can the slight spasmodic contraction of the orbicularis act like a blow? This seems hardly possible. Does the same nerve which runs to the orbicularis send off fibrils to the lachrymal glands; and if so, when the order goes for the muscle to contract, is nervous force sent sympathetically at the same time to the glands? (464/3. See "Expression of the Emotions," page 169.)
I should be extremely much obliged if you [would] have the kindness to give me your opinion on this point.
LETTER 465. TO F.C. DONDERS.
(465/1. Mr. Darwin was indebted to Sir W. Bowman for an