Ross, 1836, p. 19.
Fifthly, it seemed to me highly important to ascertain 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. Conventional expressions or gestures, acquired by the individual during early life, would probably have differed 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 observations, and not memory, might be trusted. These queries were written after a considerable interval of time, during 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 raised?
(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 becomes 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 addresses?
(8) Can a dogged or obstinate expression be recognized, which is chiefly shown by 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 sudden expiration, something like incipient vomiting, 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 prevent something being done, or cannot himself do something, does he shrug his shoulders, turn inwards his elbows, extend outwards his hands and open the palms; with the eyebrows raised?
(14) Do the children when sulky, pout or greatly protrude the lips?
(15.) Can guilty, or sly, or jealous expressions be recognized? though I know not how these can be defined.
(16.) Is the head nodded vertically in affirmation, and shaken laterally in negation?
Observations on natives who have had little communication with Europeans would be of course the most valuable, though those made on any natives would be of much interest to me. General remarks on expression are of comparatively little value; and memory is so deceptive that I earnestly beg it may not be trusted. A definite description 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.