The Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals
by Charles Darwin
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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 believe it to be true, that the larger dogs, which are probably descended from wolves, do not so often roll in 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 mouse.

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

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 useless 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 movement 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 eagerness.

Cats cover up their excrements of both kinds with earth; and my grandfather[17]{sic} 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 eyesight. It is well known that cats dislike wetting their feet, owing, it is probable, to their having aboriginally inhabited 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 forefeet 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 (believed 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 movement 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.

[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.

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 manner 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 artificial 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 Muller'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 (Rhinochetus jubatus) when anxious to be fed, beat the ground with their feet in the same odd manner. So again Kingfishers, 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 generations to some voluntary movement, then a tendency to the performance of a similar movement will almost certainly be excited, whenever the same, or any analogous 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 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 involuntary. 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, consider 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.

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

[20] 'Philosophical Translations,' 1823, p. 182.



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.

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 be 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 eyes have a fixed stare: (see figs. 5 and 7). 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 upright, 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 drawing 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. Not 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 caressing his master and wagging his tail, as the essence of

the expression lies in the continuous flexuous movements.

We will now turn to the cat. When this animal is threatened by 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 may be observed when two cats are fighting together; and I have seen it well exhibited 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 fight, 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 explained), from the cat's manner and intention of attacking 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 still and perpendicularly upwards; her ears 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 bearing 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 assumed, when these animals feel savage and are prepared 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 species, and in all the individuals of the same race, both young and old.

I will here give one other instance of antithesis in expression. 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 instantaneous 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 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 falling 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, laughable, as the cause was so slight. Every detail in his attitude was in complete opposition to his former joyful 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 system 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 same 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 certain that gestures and expressions are to a certain extent mutually intelligible. Man not only uses inarticulate cries, gestures, and expressions, but has invented articulate language; if, indeed, the word INVENTED can be applied to a process, completed by innumerable 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 Rengger asserts,[1] those of man. An animal when going to attack another, or when afraid of another, often makes itself appear terrible, by erecting 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 improbability in the supposition, that gestures manifestly of an opposite nature to those by which certain feelings are already expressed, should at first have been voluntarily 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 immediately see, whether any 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 partially 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 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 language.

[1] 'Naturgeschichte 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.

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

Many signs, moreover, which plainly stand in opposition to each other, appear to have had on both sides a significant origin. This seems to hold good with the signs used by the deal and dumb for light and darkness, for strength and weakness, &c. In a future chapter 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 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 voluntarily, 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 movement is accompanied, as will be shown in a future chapter, by 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 degree 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 "Never mind, it is all fun." Although dogs do thus express, and may wish to express, to other dogs and to man, that they are in a friendly state of mind, it is incredible 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 they 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 progenitor 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-house 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 understand 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, distinct from the will and consciousness, must have intervened. This principle appears to be that every movement which we have voluntarily performed throughout our lives has required the action of certain muscles; and when we have performed a directly opposite movement, 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 any 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 indeed they are serviceable to man or to any other animal, in aid of inarticulate cries or language, they will likewise 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 opposite 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.



The principle of 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.

WE now come to our third Principle, namely, that certain actions which we recognize as expressive of certain states of the mind, are the direct result of the constitution 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 habitually 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 importance, 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 authentic 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 degrees. 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 anger 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 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.

A sensitive nerve when irritated transmits some influence 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 maybe affected.[5] This involuntary transmission of nerve-force may or may not be accompanied 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 arrived at by all the greatest physiologists, such as Muller, Virchow, Bernard, &c.[6] As Mr. Herbert Spencer remarks, 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 muscles, which are the most used, will be apt to be first brought into action; then those of the upper extremities, next those of the lower, and finally those of the whole body.[8]

[4] Mr. Bartlett, "Notes on the Birth of a Hippopotamus," Proc. Zoolog. Soc. 1871, p. 255.

[5] See, on this subject, Claude Bernard, 'Tissus Vivants,' 1866, pp. 316, 337, 358. Virchow expresses himself to almost exactly the same effect in his essay "Ueber das Ruckenmark" (Sammlung wissenschaft. Vortrage, 1871, s. 28).

An emotion may be very strong, but it will have little tendency to induce movements of any kind, if it 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 generations, 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 experienced. As the muscles of the chest and vocal organs 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 manner; for the young of most animals, when in distress or danger, call loudly to their parents for aid, as do the members of the same community for mutual aid.

[6] Muller ('Elements of Physiology,' Eng. translat. vol. ii. p. 932) in speaking 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 Reflexions,' 1839, p. 328) of that curious state of body called the fidgets, remarks that it seems due to "an accumulation of some cause of irritation which requires muscular action for its relief."

Another principle, namely, the internal consciousness 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 observed, 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 affected—the long-continued habit of attempting by struggling to escape from the cause of suffering— and the consciousness that voluntary muscular exertion relieves pain, have all probably concurred in giving a tendency to the most violent, almost convulsive, movements under extreme 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 perspiration 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 hippopotamus, before alluded to, was covered with red-coloured 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 vasomotor 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 disturbed. 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 stimulated 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. Unless 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 various organs, in nearly the same manner as does great bodily suffering.

[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 characters from that of the same woman in her ordinary state.

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 habitually used channels,—through the nerves of voluntary or involuntary movement, and through those of sensation. Thus even a moderate amount of exertion will tend to act on the heart; and on the principle of association, 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 muscles of the face which are least obedient to the will, will sometimes alone betray a slight and passing emotion. 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 he cannot check the secretion of saliva.

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. We 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 overflow, 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

[10] 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,' 1865) 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. Vomiting 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 awaking 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 courtship. 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 animals. 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 secretions 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 quickly, 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 detection. But headlong flight soon follows, with no husbanding 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 improbable 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 may, I think, conclude from considering firstly, some other strong emotions which do not ordinarily require for their relief or gratification any voluntary movement; and secondly the contrast in nature between the so-called exciting and depressing states of the mind. No 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 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 habitually 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 infant.

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. Painters can hardly portray suspicion, jealousy, 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 looking 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 hearing this remark, I have occasionally recognized its full truth.

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, sometimes she is frantic with grief, and must be considered 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 antithesis, betraying an inward sense of helplessness and that nothing can be done. The other wild and violent 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 describing the behaviour of a girl at the sudden death of her father, says she "went about the house wringing 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; respiration 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 by the horrid tortures inflicted in foreign lands on exhausted 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 degree.

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 by 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 which 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 writhings of extreme pain; and, perhaps, in the increased action 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 play.

Finally, so many expressive movements can be explained, 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 inexplicable. CHAPTER IV.


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 expressive movements, under different states of the mind, of some few well-known animals. But before considering them in due succession, it will save much useless repetition to discuss certain means of expression common to most of them.

The emission of Sounds.—With many kinds of animals, 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 distance 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 muscles of the chest and glottis, excited in the above manner, may have first given rise to the emission of vocal sounds. But the voice is now largely used by many animals 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 association, 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 sensations or emotions are excited, under quite different conditions, 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 anticipation of the strongest pleasure which animals are capable of feeling. Animals which live in society often call to each other when separated, and evidently feel much joy at meeting; as we see with a horse, on the return 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 animals 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 young 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 associated with suffering of any kind.

The cause of widely different sounds being uttered under different emotions and sensations is a very obscure 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 now that some animals, after being domesticated, have acquired the habit of uttering sounds which were not natural to them.[1] Thus domestic 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 Canis latrans of North America, which is said to bark. Some breeds, also, of the domestic pigeon have learnt to coo in a new and quite peculiar manner.

The character of the human voice, under the influence of various emotions, has been discussed by Mr. Herbert Spencer[2] in his interesting essay on Music. He clearly shows that the voice alters much under different conditions, in loudness and in quality, that is, in resonance and timbre, in pitch and intervals. No one can listen to an eloquent orator or preacher, or to a man calling angrily to another, or to one expressing astonishment, without being struck with the truth of Mr. Spencer's remarks. It is curious how early in life the modulation 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 modulation 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 physiological grounds—namely, on "the general law that a feeling is a stimulus to muscular action." It may be 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.

[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.

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, rivalry and triumph. That animals utter musical notes is familiar to every one, as we may daily hear in the singing 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 halftones; 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 assume, through the principle 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 themselves take pleasure in their own vocal utterances; but why particular sounds are uttered, and why these give pleasure cannot at present be explained.

[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 monkeys, 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.

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 suffering, 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 plaintive;[4] but how difficult it is to know whether the sound is essentially plaintive, or only appears so in this particular case, from our having learnt by experience what it means! Rengger, states[5] that the monkeys (Cebus azaroe), which he kept in Paraguay, expressed astonishment by a half-piping, half-snarling noise; anger or impatience, by repeating the sound hu hu 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 maybe 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) O 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 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 essence of musical 'expression' involves a number of obscure 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 developed 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 exertion. 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 movement— 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 interpret muscular action generally. But this leaves unexplained the more subtle and more specific effect which we call the MUSICAL 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 speculation 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 ABSOLUTE 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 'scale;' the same sound producing absolutely different effects on the ear, according as it is heard in connection with one or another series of sounds.

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

[5] 'Naturgeschichte der Saugethiere von Paraguay,' 1830, s. 46.

[6] Quoted by Gratiolet, 'De la Physionomie,' 1865, p. 115.

"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 connected with the well-known arithmetical relations between 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 produced by various sequences of sounds."

But leaving aside these complex questions and confining 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 instance, 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 penetrate to a distance. For Helmholtz has 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 prolonged 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 anger and that of joy are sounds which by 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 young infants cry they open their mouths widely, and this, no doubt, is necessary 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 consequent drawing up of the upper lip. How far this square shape of the mouth modifies the wailing or crying 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 nature and pitch of the vowel sounds which are produced.

[7] 'Theorie Physiologique de la Musique,' Paris, 1868, P. 146. Helmholtz has also fully discussed in this profound work the relation of the form of the cavity of the mouth to the production of vowel-sounds.

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 intelligible cause, namely, to be ready for prolonged exertion, to open the mouth widely, so as to draw a deep and rapid inspiration. When the next full expiration follows, 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 exerted, produces, according to Helmholtz, the sound of the vowel O. Certainly a deep sound of a prolonged Oh! may be heard from a whole crowd of people immediately after witnessing any astonishing spectacle. If, together with surprise, pain be felt, there is a tendency 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 salivary glands failing to act. Why the laughter of man and 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 significance.

All the sounds hitherto noticed depend on the respiratory organs; but sounds produced by wholly different means are likewise expressive. Rabbits 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 animals, as well as some others, also stamp on the ground when made angry. Porcupines rattle their quills and vibrate their tails when angered; and one behaved in this manner when a live snake was placed in its compartment. The tail of 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 continuous sound. We can, I think, understand why porcupines have been provided, through the modification 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 they will charge backwards with their spines erected, yet still inclined backwards.

Many birds during their courtship produce diversified 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 specially 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 changes when they are angry; 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 expressive movement is so general as the involuntary erection of the hairs, feathers and other dermal appendages; for it is common throughout three of the great vertebrate 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 movements adapted for the same purpose, and by the utterance 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 special purpose.

[8] I have given some details on this subject in my 'Descent of Man,' vol. i. pp. 352, 384.

I will first give a considerable body of facts showing how general this action is with mammals, birds and reptiles; 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 attack the man, without any real intention of doing so, but with the hope, as the keeper remarked, of frightening 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 bristling along the back, from the neck to the loins, but not 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 Cereopithecus nictitans. Brehm states[10] that the Midas aedipus (belonging to the American division) when excited erects its mane, in order, as he adds, to make itself as frightful as possible.

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

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 utterance 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 conspicuous 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 particularly 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 a man to death in the United States, is described as first brandishing his antlers, squealing with rage and stamping 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 fingers."

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

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 feathers 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) likewise 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 feathers, 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 central 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 forwards, against any one who approaches the water's edge too closely. Tropic birds[13] when disturbed on their nests 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 rapidity."[14] So do other kinds of owls. Hawks, as I am

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

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

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

{illust. caption = FIG. 12—Hen driving away a dog from her chickens. Drawn from life by Mr. Wood. informed by Mr. Jenner Weir, likewise ruffle their feathers, and spread out their wings and tail under similar circumstances. Some kinds of parrots erect their feathers; 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 Strix flammea, Audubon, 'Ornithological Biography,' 1864, vol. ii. p. 407. I have observed other cases in the Zoological Gardens.Small birds, also, as I hear from Mr. Weir, such as various finches, buntings and warblers, when angry, {illust. caption = 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 concludes 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 irascible 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 out 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-parrakeet.[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 approached by a dog, feel at least some terror. Mr. Tegetmeier 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.

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