The Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals
by Charles Darwin
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[6] J. Lister in 'Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science,' 1853, vol. 1. p. 266.

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

During laughter the mouth is opened more or less widely, with the corners drawn much backwards, as well as a little upwards; and the upper lip is somewhat raised. The drawing back of the corners is best seen in moderate laughter, and especially in a broad smile— the latter epithet showing how the mouth is widened. In the accompanying figs. 1-3, Plate III., different degrees of moderate laughter and smiling have been photographed. The figure of the little girl, with the hat is by Dr. Wallich, and the expression was a genuine one; the other two are by Mr. Rejlander. Dr. Duchenne repeatedly insists[9] that, under the emotion of joy, the mouth is acted on exclusively by the great zygomatic muscles, which serve to draw the corners backwards and upwards; but judging from the manner in which the upper teeth are always exposed during laughter and broad smiling, as well as from my own sensations, I cannot doubt that some of the muscles running to the upper lip are likewise brought into moderate action. The upper and lower orbicular muscles of the eyes are at the same time more or less contracted; and there is an intimate connection, as explained in the chapter on weeping, between the orbiculars, especially the lower ones and some of the muscles running to the upper lip. Henle remarks[10] on this head, that when a man closely shuts one eye he cannot avoid retracting the upper lip on the same side; conversely, if any one will place his finger on his lower eyelid, and then uncover his upper incisors as much as possible, he will feel, as his upper lip is drawn strongly upwards, that the muscles of the lower eyelid contract. In Henle's drawing, given in woodcut, fig. 2, the musculus malaris (H) which runs to the upper lip may be seen to form an almost integral part of the lower orbicular muscle.

[7] 'De la Physionomie,' p. 186.

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

[9] 'Mecanisme de la Physionomie Humaine,' Album, Legende vi.

Dr. Duchenne has given a large photograph of an old man (reduced on Plate III. fig 4), in his usual passive condition, and another of the same man (fig. 5), naturally smiling. The latter was instantly recognized by every one to whom it was shown as true to nature. He has also given, as an example of an unnatural or false smile, another photograph (fig. 6) of the same old man, with the corners of his mouth strongly retracted by the galvanization of the great zygomatic muscles. That the expression is not natural is clear, for I showed this photograph to twenty-four persons, of whom three could not in the least tell what was meant, whilst the others, though they perceived that the expression was of the nature of a smile, answered in such words as "a wicked joke," "trying to laugh," "grinning laughter ... .. half-amazed laughter," &c. Dr. Duchenne attributes the falseness of the expression altogether to the orbicular muscles of the lower eyelids not being sufficiently contracted; for he justly lays great stress on their contraction in the expression of joy. No doubt there is much truth in this view, but not, as it appears to me, the whole truth. The contraction of the lower orbiculars is always accompanied, as we have seen, by the drawing up of the upper lip. Had the upper lip, in fig. 6, been thus acted on to a slight extent, its curvature would have been less rigid, the naso-labial farrow would have been slightly different, and the whole expression would, as I believe, have been more natural, independently of the more conspicuous effect from the stronger contraction of the lower eyelids. The corruptor muscle, moreover, in fig. 6, is too much contracted, causing a frown; and this muscle never acts under the influence of joy except during strongly pronounced or violent laughter.

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

By the drawing backwards and upwards of the corners of the mouth, through the contraction of the great zygomatic muscles, and by the raising of the upper lip, the cheeks are drawn upwards. Wrinkles are thus formed under the eyes, and, with old people, at their outer ends; and these are highly characteristic of laughter or smiling. As a gentle smile increases into a strong one, or into a laugh, every one may feel and see, if he will attend to his own sensations and look at himself in a mirror, that as the upper lip is drawn up and the lower orbiculars contract, the wrinkles in the lower eyelids and those beneath the eyes are much strengthened or increased. At the same time, as I have repeatedly observed, the eyebrows are slightly lowered, which shows that the upper as well as the lower orbiculars contract at least to some degree, though this passes unperecived, as far as our sensations are concerned. If the original photograph of the old man, with his countenance in its usual placid state (fig. 4), be compared with that (fig. 5) in which he is naturally smiling, it may be seen that the eyebrows in the latter are a little lowered. I presume that this is owing to the upper orbiculars being impelled, through the force of long-associated habit, to act to a certain extent in concert with the lower orbiculars, which themselves contract in connection with the drawing up of the upper lip.

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

As in laughing and broadly smiling the cheeks and upper lip are much raised, the nose appears to be shortened, and the skin on the bridge becomes finely wrinkled in transverse lines, with other oblique longitudinal lines on the sides. The upper front teeth are commonly exposed. A well-marked naso-labial fold is formed, which runs from the wing of each nostril to the corner of the mouth; and this fold is often double in old persons.

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

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

[12] C. Vogt, 'Memoire sur les Microcephales,' 1867, p. 21.

[13] Sir C. Bell, 'Anatomy of Expression,' p. 133.

[14] 'Mimik und Physiognomik,' 1867, s. 63-67.

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

It is an equally obscure point why the corners of the mouth are retracted and the upper lip raised during ordinary laughter. The mouth must not be opened to its utmost extent, for when this occurs during a paroxysm of excessive laughter hardly any sound is emitted; or it changes its tone and seems to come from deep down in the throat. The respiratory muscles, and even those of the limbs, are at the same time thrown into rapid vibratory movements. The lower jaw often partakes of this movement, and this would tend to prevent the mouth from being widely opened. But as a full volume of sound has to be poured forth, the orifice of the mouth must be large; and it is perhaps to gain this end that the corners are retracted and the upper lip raised. Although we can hardly account for the shape of the mouth during laughter, which leads to wrinkles being formed beneath the eyes, nor for the peculiar reiterated sound of laughter, nor for the quivering of the jaws, nevertheless we may infer that all these effects are due to some common cause. For they are all characteristic and expressive of a pleased state of mind in various kinds of monkeys.

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

[15] Sir T. Reynolds remarks ('Discourses,' xii. p. 100), it is curious to observe, and it is certainly true, that the extremes of contrary passions are, with very little variation, expressed by the same action." He gives as an instance the frantic joy of a Bacchante and the grief of a Mary Magdalen.

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

In Southern Africa with two tribes of Kafirs, especially with the women, their eyes often fill with tears during laughter. Gaika, the brother of the chief Sandilli, answers my query on this bead, with the words, "Yes, that is their common practice." Sir Andrew Smith has seen the painted face of a Hottentot woman all furrowed with tears after a fit of laughter. In Northern Africa, with the Abyssinians, tears are secreted under the same circumstances. Lastly, in North America, the same fact has been observed in a remarkably savage and isolated tribe, but chiefly with the women; in another tribe it was observed only on a single occasion.

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

A smile, therefore, may be said to be the first stage in the development of a laugh. But a different and more probable view may be suggested; namely, that the habit of uttering load reiterated sounds from a sense of pleasure, first led to the retraction of the corners of the mouth and of the upper lip, and to the contraction of the orbicular muscles; and that now, through association and long-continued habit, the same muscles are brought into slight play whenever any cause excites in us a feeling which, if stronger, would have led to laughter; and the result is a smile.

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

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

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

High spirits, cheerfulness.—A man in high spirits, though he may not actually smile, commonly exhibits some tendency to the retraction of the corners of his mouth. From the excitement of pleasure, the circulation becomes more rapid; the eyes are bright, and the colour of the face rises. The brain, being stimulated by the increased flow of blood, reacts on the mental powers; lively ideas pass still more rapidly through the mind, and the affections are warmed. I heard a child, a little under four years old, when asked what was meant by being in good spirits, answer, "It is laughing, talking, and kissing." It would be difficult to give a truer and more practical definition. A man in this state holds his body erect, his head upright, and his eyes open. There is no drooping of the features, and no contraction of the eyebrows. On the contrary, the frontal muscle, as Moreau observes,[17] tends to contract slightly; and this smooths the brow, removes every trace of a frown, arches the eyebrows a little, and raises the eyelids. Hence the Latin phrase, exporrigere frontem— to unwrinkle the brow—means, to be cheerful or merry. The whole expression of a man in good spirits is exactly the opposite of that of one suffering from sorrow. According to Sir C. Bell, "In all the exhilarating emotions the eyebrows, eyelids, the nostrils, and the angles of the mouth are raised. In the depressing passions it is the reverse." Under the influence of the latter the brow is heavy, the eyelids, cheeks, mouth, and whole head droop; the eyes are dull; the countenance pallid, and the respiration slow. In joy the face expands, in grief it lengthens. Whether the principle of antithesis has here come into play in producing these opposite expressions, in aid of the direct causes which have been specified and which are sufficiently plain, I will not pretend to say.

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

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

Savages sometimes express their satisfaction not only by smiling, but by gestures derived from the pleasure of eating. Thus Mr. Wedgwood[18] quotes Petherick that the negroes on the Upper Nile began a general rubbing of their bellies when he displayed his beads; and Leichhardt says that the Australians smacked and clacked their mouths at the sight of his horses and bullocks, and more especially of his kangaroo dogs. The Greenlanders, "when they affirm anything with pleasure, suck down air with a certain sound;"[19] and this may be an imitation of the act of swallowing savoury food.

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

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

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

Love, tender feelings, &c.—Although the emotion of love, for instance that of a mother for her infant, is one of the strongest of which the mind is capable, it can hardly be said to have any proper or peculiar means of expression; and this is intelligible, as it has not habitually led to any special line of action. No doubt, as affection is a pleasurable sensation, it generally causes a gentle smile and some brightening of the eyes. A strong desire to touch the beloved person is commonly felt; and love is expressed by this means more plainly than by any other.[21] Hence we long to clasp in our arms those whom we tenderly love. We probably owe this desire to inherited habit, in association with the nursing and tending of our children, and with the mutual caresses of lovers.

[19] Crantz, quoted by Tylor, 'Primitive Culture,' 1871, Vol. i. P. 169.

[20] F. Lieber, 'Smithsonian Contributions,' 1851, vol. ii. p. 7.

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

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

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

The feelings which are called tender are difficult to analyse; they seem to be compounded of affection, joy, and especially of sympathy. These feelings are in themselves of a pleasurable nature, excepting when pity is too deep, or horror is aroused, as in hearing of a tortured man or animal. They are remarkable under our present point of view from so readily exciting the secretion of tears. Many a father and son have wept on meeting after a long separation, especially if the meeting has been unexpected. No doubt extreme joy by itself tends to act on the lacrymal glands; but on such occasions as the foregoing vague thoughts of the grief which would have been felt had the father and son never met, will probably have passed through their minds; and grief naturally leads to the secretion of tears. Thus on the return of Ulysses:—"Telemachus Rose, and clung weeping round his father's breast. There the pent grief rained o'er them, yearning thus. * * * * * * Thus piteously they wailed in sore unrest, And on their weepings had gone down the day, But that at last Telemachus found words to say." Worsley's Translation of the Odyssey, Book xvi. st. 27.

So again when Penelope at last recognized her husband:—

"Then from her eyelids the quick tears did start And she ran to him from her place, and threw Her arms about his neck, and a warm dew Of kisses poured upon him, and thus spake:" Book xxiii. st. 27.

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

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

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

Sympathy appears to constitute a separate or distinct emotion; and it is especially apt to excite the lacrymal glands. This holds good whether we give or receive sympathy. Every one must have noticed how readily children burst out crying if we pity them for some small hurt. With the melancholic insane, as Dr. Crichton Browne informs me, a kind word will often plunge them into unrestrained weeping. As soon as we express our pity for the grief of a friend, tears often come into our own eyes. The feeling of sympathy is commonly explained by assuming that, when we see or hear of suffering in another, the idea of suffering is called up so vividly in our own minds that we ourselves suffer. But this explanation is hardly sufficient, for it does not account for the intimate alliance between sympathy and affection. We undoubtedly sympathize far more deeply with a beloved than with an indifferent person; and the sympathy of the one gives us far more relief than that of the other. Yet assuredly we can sympathize with those for whom we feel no affection.

Why suffering, when actually experienced by ourselves, excites weeping, has been discussed in a former chapter. With respect to joy, its natural and universal expression is laughter; and with all the races of man loud laughter leads to the secretion of tears more freely than does any other cause excepting distress. The suffusion of the eyes with tears, which undoubtedly occurs under great joy, though there is no laughter, can, as it seems to me, be explained through habit and association on the same principles as the effusion of tears from grief, although there is no screaming. Nevertheless it is not a little remarkable that sympathy with the distresses of others should excite tears more freely than our own distress; and this certainly is the case. Many a man, from whose eyes no suffering of his own could wring a tear, has shed tears at the sufferings of a beloved friend. It is still more remarkable that sympathy with the happiness or good fortune of those whom we tenderly love should lead to the same result, whilst a similar happiness felt by ourselves would leave our eyes dry. We should, however, bear in mind that the long-continued habit of restraint which is so powerful in checking the free flow of tears from bodily pain, has not been brought into play in preventing a moderate effusion of tears in sympathy with the sufferings or happiness of others.

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

Devotion.—As devotion is, in some degree, related to affection, though mainly consisting of reverence, often combined with fear, the expression of this state of mind may here be briefly noticed. With some sects, both past and present, religion and love have been strangely combined; and it has even been maintained, lamentable as the fact may be, that the holy kiss of love differs but little from that which a man bestows on a woman, or a woman on a man.[25] Devotion is chiefly expressed by the face being directed towards the heavens, with the eyeballs upturned. Sir C. Bell remarks that, at the approach of sleep, or of a fainting-fit, or of death, the pupils are drawn upwards and inwards; and he believes that "when we are wrapt in devotional feelings, and outward impressions are unheeded, the eyes are raised by an action neither taught nor acquired." and that this is due to the same cause as in the above cases.[26] That the eyes are upturned during sleep is, as I hear from Professor Donders, certain. With babies, whilst sucking their mother's breast, this movement of the eyeballs often gives to them an absurd appearance of ecstatic delight; and here it may be clearly perceived that a struggle is going on against the position naturally assumed during sleep. But Sir C. Bell's explanation of the fact, which rests on the assumption that certain muscles are more under the control of the will than others is, as I hear from Professor Donders, incorrect. As the eyes are often turned up in prayer, without the mind being so much absorbed in thought as to approach to the unconsciousness of sleep, the movement is probably a conventional one— the result of the common belief that Heaven, the source of Divine power to which we pray, is seated above us.

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

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

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

[26] 'The Anatomy of Expression,' p. 103, and 'Philosophical Transactions,' 1823, p. 182.

[27] 'The Origin of Language,' 1866, p. 146. Mr. Tylor ('Early History of Mankind,' 2nd edit. 1870, p. 48) gives a more complex origin to the position of the hands during prayer. CHAPTER IX.


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

THE corrugators, by their contraction, lower the eyebrows and bring them together, producing vertical furrows on the forehead—that is, a frown. Sir C. Bell, who erroneously thought that the corrugator was peculiar to man, ranks it as "the most remarkable muscle of the human face. It knits the eyebrows with an energetic effort, which unaccountably, but irresistibly, conveys the idea of mind." Or, as he elsewhere says, "when the eyebrows are knit, energy of mind is apparent, and there is the mingling of thought and emotion with the savage and brutal rage of the mere animal."[1] There is much truth in these remarks, but hardly the whole truth. Dr. Duchenne has called the corrugator the muscle of reflection;[2] but this name, without some limitation, cannot be considered as quite correct.

[1] 'Anatomy of Expression,' pp. 137, 139. It is not surprising that the corrugators should have become much more developed in man than in the anthropoid apes; for they are brought into incessant action by him under various circumstances, and will have been strengthened and modified by the inherited effects of use. We have seen how important a part they play, together with the orbiculares, in protecting the eyes from being too much gorged with blood during violent expiratory movements. When the eyes are closed as quickly and as forcibly as possible, to save them from being injured by a blow, the corrugators contract. With savages or other men whose heads are uncovered, the eyebrows are continually lowered and contracted to serve as a shade against a too strong light; and this is effected partly by the corrugators. This movement would have been more especially serviceable to man, as soon as his early progenitors held their heads erect. Lastly, Prof. Donders believes ('Archives of Medicine,' ed. by L. Beale, 1870, vol. v. p. 34), that the corrugators are brought into action in causing the eyeball to advance in accommodation for proximity in vision.

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

[2] 'Mecanisme de la Physionomie Humaine,' Album, Legende iii.

[3] 'Mimik und Physiognomik,' s. 46.

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

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

[4] 'History of the Abipones,' Eng. translat. vol. ii. p. 59, as quoted by Lubbock, 'Origin of Civilisation,' 1870, p. 355.

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

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

Another and distinct cause has probably strengthened the habit of frowning, whenever the mind is intent on any subject and encounters some difficulty. Vision is the most important of all the senses, and during primeval times the closest attention must have been incessantly: directed towards distant objects for the sake of obtaining prey and avoiding danger. I remember being struck, whilst travelling in parts of South America, which were dangerous from the presence of Indians, how incessantly, yet as it appeared unconsciously, the half-wild Gauchos closely scanned the whole horizon. Now, when any one with no covering on his head (as must have been aboriginally the case with mankind), strives to the utmost to distinguish in broad daylight, and especially if the sky is bright, a distant object, he almost invariably contracts his brows to prevent the entrance of too much light; the lower eyelids, cheeks, and upper lip being at the same time raised, so as to lessen the orifice of the eyes. I have purposely asked several persons, young and old, to look, under the above circumstances, at distant objects, making them believe that I only wished to test the power of their vision; and they all behaved in the manner just described. Some of them, also, put their open, flat hands over their eyes to keep out the excess of light. Gratiolet, after making some remarks to nearly the same effect,[5] says, "Ce sont la des attitudes de vision difficile." He concludes that the muscles round the eyes contract partly for the sake of excluding too much light (which appears to me the more important end), and partly to prevent all rays striking the retina, except those which come direct from the object that is scrutinized. Mr. Bowman, whom I consulted on this point, thinks that the contraction of the surrounding muscles may, in addition, "partly sustain the consensual movements of the two eyes, by giving a firmer support while the globes are brought to binocular vision by their own proper muscles."

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

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

Abstraction. Meditation.—When a person is lost in thought with his mind absent, or, as it is sometimes said, "when he is in a brown study," he does not frown, but his eyes appear vacant. The lower eyelids are generally raised and wrinkled, in the same manner as when a short-sighted person tries to distinguish a distant object; and the upper orbicular muscles are at the same time slightly contracted. The wrinkling of the lower eyelids under these circumstances has been observed with some savages, as by Mr. Dyson Lacy with the Australians of Queensland, and several times by Mr. Geach with the Malays of the interior of Malacca. What the meaning or cause of this action may be, cannot at present be explained; but here we have another instance of movement round the eyes in relation to the state of the mind.

The vacant expression of the eyes is very peculiar, and at once shows when a man is completely lost in thought. Professor Donders has, with his usual kindness, investigated this subject for me. He has observed others in this condition, and has been himself observed by Professor Engelmann. The eyes are not then fixed on any object, and therefore not, as I had imagined, on some distant object. The lines of vision of the two eyes even often become slightly divergent; the divergence, if the head be held vertically, with the plane of vision horizontal, amounting to an angle of 2'0 as a maximum. This was ascertained by observing the crossed double image of a distant object. When the head droops forward, as often occurs with a man absorbed in thought, owing to the general relaxation of his muscles, if the plane of vision be still horizontal, the eyes are necessarily a little turned upwards, and then the divergence is as much as 3'0, or 3'0 5': if the eyes are turned still more upwards, it amounts to between 6'0 and 7'0. Professor Donders attributes this divergence to the almost complete relaxation of certain muscles of the eyes, which would be apt to follow from the mind being wholly absorbed.[6] The active condition of the muscles of the eyes is that of convergence; and Professor Donders remarks, as bearing on their divergence during a period of complete abstraction, that when one eye becomes blind, it almost always, after a short lapse of time, deviates outwards; for its muscles are no longer used in moving the eyeball inwards for the sake of binocular vision.

[6] Gratiolet remarks (De la Phys. p. 35), "Quand l'attention est fixee sur quelque image interieure, l'oeil regarde dqns le vide et s'associe automatiquement a la contemplation de l'esprit." But this view hardly deserves to be called an explanation.

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

Ill-temper.—We have seen that frowning is the natural expression of some difficulty encountered, or of something disagreeable experienced either in thought or action, and he whose mind is often and readily affected in this way, will be apt to be ill-tempered, or slightly angry, or peevish, and will commonly show it by frowning. But a cross expression, due to a frown, may be counteracted, if the mouth appears sweet, from being habitually drawn into a smile, and the eyes are bright and cheerful. So it will be if the eye is clear and steady, and there is the appearance of earnest reflection. Frowning, with some depression of the corners of the mouth, which is a sign of grief, gives an air of peevishness. If a child (see Plate IV., fig. 2)[8] frowns much whilst crying, but does not strongly contract in the usual manner the orbicular muscles, a well-marked expression of anger or even of rage, together with misery, is displayed.

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

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

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

[9] 'Mecanisme de la Physionomie Humaine,' Album, Legende iv. figs. 16-18.

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

With young children sulkiness is shown by pouting, or, as it is sometimes called, "making a snout."[10] When the corners of the mouth are much depressed, the lower lip is a little everted and protruded; and this is likewise called a pout. But the pouting here referred to, consists of the protrusion of both lips into a tubular form, sometimes to such an extent as to project as far as the end of the nose, if this be short. Pouting is generally accompanied by frowning, and sometimes by the utterance of a booing or whooing noise. This expression is remarkable, as almost the sole one, as far as I know, which is exhibited much more plainly during childhood, at least with Europeans, than during maturity. There is, however, some tendency to the protrusion of the lips with the adults of all races under the influence of great rage. Some children pout when they are shy, and they can then hardly be called sulky.

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

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

We thus see that the protrusion of the lips, especially with young children, is characteristic of sulkiness throughout the greater part of the world. This movement apparently results from the retention, chiefly during youth, of a primordial habit, or from an occasional reversion to it. Young orangs and chimpanzees protrude their lips to an extraordinary degree, as described in a former chapter, when they are discontented, somewhat angry, or sulky; also when they are surprised, a little frightened, and even when slightly pleased. Their mouths are protruded apparently for the sake of making the various noises proper to these several states of mind; and its shape, as I observed with the chimpanzee, differed slightly when the cry of pleasure and that of anger were uttered. As soon as these animals become enraged, the shape of the month wholly changes, and the teeth are exposed. The adult orang when wounded is said to emit "a singular cry, consisting at first of high notes, which at length deepen into a low roar. While giving out the high notes he thrusts out his lips into a funnel shape, but in uttering the low notes he holds his mouth wide open."[11] With the gorilla, the lower lip is said to be capable of great elongation. If then our semi-human progenitors protruded their lips when sulky or a little angered, in the same manner as do the existing anthropoid apes, it is not an anomalous, though a curious fact, that our children should exhibit, when similarly affected, a trace of the same expression, together with some tendency to utter a noise. For it is not at all unusual for animals to retain, more or less perfectly, during early youth, and subsequently to lose, characters which were aboriginally possessed by their adult progenitors, and which are still retained by distinct species, their near relations.

Nor is it an anomalous fact that the children of savages should exhibit a stronger tendency to protrude their lips, when sulky, than the children of civilized Europeans; for the essence of savagery seems to consist in the retention of a primordial condition, and this occasionally holds good even with bodily peculiarities.[12] It may be objected to this view of the origin of pouting, that the anthropoid apes likewise protrude their lips when astonished and even when a little pleased; whilst with us this expression is generally confined to a sulky frame of mind. But we shall see in a future chapter that with men of various races surprise does sometimes lead to a slight protrusion of the lips, though great surprise or astonishment is more commonly shown by the mouth being widely opened. As when we smile or laugh we draw back the corners of the mouth, we have lost any tendency to protrude the lips, when pleased, if indeed our early progenitors thus expressed pleasure.

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

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

Decision or determination.—The firm closure of the mouth tends to give an expression of determination or decision to the countenance. No determined man probably ever had an habitually gaping mouth. Hence, also, a small and weak lower jaw, which seems to indicate that the mouth is not habitually and firmly closed, is commonly thought to be characteristic of feebleness of character. A prolonged effort of any kind, whether of body or mind, implies previous determination; and if it can be shown that the mouth is generally closed with firmness before and during a great and continued exertion of the muscular system, then, through the principle of association, the mouth would almost certainly be closed as soon as any determined resolution was taken. Now several observers have noticed that a man, in commencing any violent muscular effort, invariably first distends his lungs with air, and then compresses it by the strong contraction of the muscles of the chest; and to effect this the mouth must be firmly closed. Moreover, as soon as the man is compelled to draw breath, he still keeps his chest as much distended as possible.

[11] I have given several instances in my 'Descent of Man,' vol. i. chap. iv.

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

Gratiolet admits[14] that when a man has to struggle with another to his utmost, or has to support a great weight, or to keep for a long time the same forced attitude, it is necessary for him first to make a deep inspiration, and then to cease breathing; but he thinks that Sir C. Bell's explanation is erroneous. He maintains that arrested respiration retards the circulation of the blood, of which I believe there is no doubt, and he adduces some curious evidence from the structure of the lower animals, showing, on the one hand, that a retarded circulation is necessary for prolonged muscular exertion, and, on the other hand, that a rapid circulation is necessary for rapid movements. According to this view, when we commence any great exertion, we close our mouths and stop breathing, in order to retard the circulation of the blood. Gratiolet sums up the subject by saying, "C'est la la vraie theorie de l'effort continu;" but how far this theory is admitted by other physiologists I do not know.

[13] 'Anatomy of Expression.' p. 190.

[14] 'De la Physionomie,' pp. 118-121.

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

Lastly, when a man has to perform some delicate and difficult operation, not requiring the exertion of any strength, he nevertheless generally closes his mouth and ceases for a time to breathe; but he acts thus in order that the movements of his chest may not disturb, those of his arms. A person, for instance, whilst threading a needle, may be seen to compress his lips and either to stop breathing, or to breathe as quietly as possible. So it was, as formerly stated, with a young and sick chimpanzee, whilst it amused itself by killing flies with its knuckles, as they buzzed about on the window-panes. To perform an action, however trifling, if difficult, implies some amount of previous determination.

[15] 'Mimik und Physiognomik,' s. 79.

There appears nothing improbable in all the above assigned causes having come into play in different degrees, either conjointly or separately, on various occasions. The result would be a well-established habit, now perhaps inherited, of firmly closing the mouth at the commencement of and during any violent and prolonged exertion, or any delicate operation. Through the principle of association there would also be a strong tendency towards this same habit, as soon as the mind had resolved on any particular action or line of conduct, even before there was any bodily exertion, or if none were requisite. The habitual and firm closure of the mouth would thus come to show decision of character; and decision readily passes into obstinacy. CHAPTER X.


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

IF we have suffered or expect to suffer some wilful injury from a man, or if he is in any way offensive to us, we dislike him; and dislike easily rises into hatred. Such feelings, if experienced in a moderate degree, are not clearly expressed by any movement of the body or features, excepting perhaps by a certain gravity of behaviour, or by some ill-temper. Few individuals, however, can long reflect about a hated person, without feeling and exhibiting signs of indignation or rage. But if the offending person be quite insignificant, we experience merely disdain or contempt. If, on the other hand, he is all-powerful, then hatred passes into terror, as when a slave thinks about a cruel master, or a savage about a bloodthirsty malignant deity.[1] Most of our emotions are so closely connected with their expression, that they hardly exist if the body remains passive—the nature of the expression depending in chief part on the nature of the actions which have been habitually performed under this particular state of the mind. A man, for instance, may know that his life is in the extremest peril, and may strongly desire to save if; yet, as Louis XVI. said, when surrounded by a fierce mob, "Am I afraid? feel my pulse." So a man may intensely hate another, but until his bodily frame is affected, he cannot be said to be enraged.

[1] See some remarks to this effect by Mr. Bain, 'The Emotions and the Will,' 2nd edit. 1865, p. 127.

Rage.—I have already had occasion to treat of this emotion in the third chapter, when discussing the direct influence of the excited sensorium on the body, in combination with the effects of habitually associated actions. Rage exhibits itself in the most diversified manner. The heart and circulation are always affected; the face reddens or becomes purple, with the veins on the forehead and neck distended. The reddening of the skin has been observed with the copper-coloured Indians of South America,[2] and even, as it is said, on the white cicatrices left by old wounds on negroes.[3] Monkeys also redden from passion. With one of my own infants, under four months old, I repeatedly observed that the first symptom of an approaching passion was the rushing of the blood into his bare scalp. On the other hand, the action of the heart is sometimes so much impeded by great rage, that the countenance becomes pallid or livid,[4] and not a few men with heart-disease have dropped down dead under this powerful emotion.

[2] Rengger, Naturgesch. der Saugethiere von Paraguay, 1830, s. 3.

[3] Sir C. Bell, 'Anatomy of Expression,' p. 96. On the other hand, Dr. Burgess ('Physiology of Blushing,' 1839, p. 31) speaks of the reddening of a cicatrix in a negress as of the nature of a blush.

[4] Moreau and Gratiolet have discussed the colour of the face under the influence of intense passion: see the edit. of 1820 of Lavater, vol. iv. pp. 282 and 300; and Gratiolet, 'De la Physionomie,' p. 345.

The respiration is likewise affected; the chest heaves, and the dilated nostrils quiver.[5] As Tennyson writes, "sharp breaths of anger puffed her fairy nostrils out." Hence we have such expressions as breathing out vengeance," and "fuming with anger."[6]

The excited brain gives strength to the muscles, and at the same time energy to the will. The body is commonly held erect ready for instant action, but sometimes it is bent forward towards the offending person, with the limbs more or less rigid. The mouth is generally closed with firmness, showing fixed determination, and the teeth are clenched or ground together. Such gestures as the raising of the arms, with the fists clenched, as if to strike the offender, are common. Few men in a great passion, and telling some one to begone, can resist acting as if they intended to strike or push the man violently away. The desire, indeed, to strike often becomes so intolerably strong, that inanimate objects are struck or dashed to the ground; but the gestures frequently become altogether purposeless or frantic. Young children, when in a violent rage roll on the ground on their backs or bellies, screaming, kicking, scratching, or biting everything within reach. So it is, as I hear from Mr. Scott, with Hindoo children; and, as we have seen, with the young of the anthropomorphous apes.

[6] Sir C. Bell 'Anatomy of Expression,' pp. 91, 107) has fully discussed this subject. Moreau remarks (in the edit. of 1820 of 'La Physionomie, par G. Lavater,' vol. iv. p. 237), and quotes Portal in confirmation, that asthmatic patients acquire permanently expanded nostrils, owing to the habitual contraction of the elevatory muscles of the wings of the nose. The explanation by Dr. Piderit ('Mimik und Physiognomik,' s. 82) of the distension of the nostrils, namely, to allow free breathing whilst the mouth is closed and the teeth clenched, does not appear to be nearly so correct as that by Sir C. Bell, who attributes it to the sympathy (i. e. habitual co-action) of all the respiratory muscles. The nostrils of an angry man may be seen to become dilated, although his mouth is open.

[7] Mr. Wedgwood, 'On the Origin of Language,' 1866, p. 76. He also observes that the sound of hard breathing "is represented by the syllables puff, huff, whiff, whence a huff is a fit of ill-temper."

But the muscular system is often affected in a wholly different way; for trembling is a frequent consequence of extreme rage. The paralysed lips then refuse to obey the will, "and the voice sticks in the throat;"[7] or it is rendered loud, harsh, and discordant. If there be much and rapid speaking, the mouth froths. The hair sometimes bristles; but I shall return to this subject in another chapter, when I treat of the mingled emotions of rage and terror. There is in most cases a strongly-marked frown on the forehead; for this follows from the sense of anything displeasing or difficult, together with concentration of mind. But sometimes the brow, instead of being much contracted and lowered, remains smooth, with the glaring eyes kept widely open. The eyes are always bright, or may, as Homer expresses it, glisten with fire. They are sometimes bloodshot, and are said to protrude from their sockets—the result, no doubt, of the head being gorged with blood, as shown by the veins being distended. According to Gratiolet," the pupils are always contracted in rage, and I hear from Dr. Crichton Browne that this is the case in the fierce delirium of meningitis; but the movements of the iris under the influence of the different emotions is a very obscure subject.

Shakspeare sums up the chief characteristics of rage as follows:—

"In peace there's nothing so becomes a man, As modest stillness and humility; But when the blast of war blows in our ears, Then imitate the action of the tiger: Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, Then lend the eye a terrible aspect; Now set the teeth, and stretch the nostril wide, Hold hard the breath, and bend up every spirit To his full height! On, on, you noblest English." Henry V., act iii. sc. 1.

[7] Sir C. Bell 'Anatomy of Expression,' p. 95) has some excellent remarks on the expression of rage.

[8] 'De la Physionomie,' 1865, p. 346.

The lips are sometimes protruded during rage in a manner, the meaning of which I do not understand, unless it depends on our descent from some ape-like animal. Instances have been observed, not only with Europeans, but with the Australians and Hindoos. The lips, however, are much more commonly retracted, the grinning or clenched teeth being thus exposed. This has been noticed by almost every one who has written on expression.[9] The appearance is as if the teeth were uncovered, ready for seizing or tearing an enemy, though there may be no intention of acting in this manner. Mr. Dyson Lacy has seen this grinning expression with the Australians, when quarrelling, and so has Gaika with the Kafirs of South America. Dickens,[10] in speaking of an atrocious murderer who had just been caught, and was surrounded by a furious mob, describes "the people as jumping up one behind another, snarling with their teeth, and making at him like wild beasts." Every one who has had much to do with young children must have seen how naturally they take to biting, when in a passion. It seems as instinctive in them as in young crocodiles, who snap their little jaws as soon as they emerge from the egg.

[9] Sir C. Bell, 'Anatomy of Expression,' p. 177. Gratiolet (De la Phys. p. 369) says, 'les dents se decouvrent, et imitent symboliquement l'action de dechirer et de mordre.'I If, instead of using the vague term symboliquement, Gratiolet had said that the action was a remnant of a habit acquired during primeval times when our semi-human progenitors fought together with their teeth, like gorillas and orangs at the present day, he would have been more intelligible. Dr. Piderit ('Mimik,' &c., s. 82) also speaks of the retraction of the upper lip during rage. In an engraving of one of Hogarth's wonderful pictures, passion is represented in the plainest manner by the open glaring eyes, frowning forehead, and exposed grinning teeth.

[10] 'Oliver Twist,' vol. iii. p. 245.

A grinning expression and the protrusion of the lips appear sometimes to go together. A close observer says that he has seen many instances of intense hatred (which can hardly be distinguished from rage, more or less suppressed) in Orientals, and once in an elderly English woman. In all these cases there "was a grin, not a scowl—the lips lengthening, the cheeks settling downwards, the eyes half-closed, whilst the brow remained perfectly calm."[11]

This retraction of the lips and uncovering of the teeth during paroxysms of rage, as if to bite the offender, is so remarkable, considering how seldom the teeth are used by men in fighting, that I inquired from Dr. J. Crichton Browne whether the habit was common in the insane whose passions are unbridled. He informs me that he has repeatedly observed it both with the insane and idiotic, and has given me the following illustrations:—

Shortly before receiving my letter, be witnessed an uncontrollable outbreak of anger and delusive jealousy in an insane lady. At first she vituperated her husband, and whilst doing so foamed at the mouth. Next she approached close to him with compressed lips, and a virulent set frown. Then she drew back her lips, especially the corners of the upper lip, and showed her teeth, at the same time aiming a vicious blow at him. A second case is that of an old soldier, who, when he is requested to conform to the rules of the establishment, gives way to discontent, terminating in fury. He commonly begins by asking Dr. Browne whether he is not ashamed to treat him in such a manner. He then swears and blasphemes, paces tip and down, tosses his arms wildly about, and menaces any one near him. At last, as his exasperation culminates, he rushes up towards Dr. Browne with a peculiar sidelong movement, shaking his doubled fist, and threatening destruction. Then his upper lip may be seen to be raised, especially at the corners, so that his huge canine teeth are exhibited. He hisses forth his curses through his set teeth, and his whole expression assumes the character of extreme ferocity. A similar description is applicable to another man, excepting that he generally foams at the mouth and spits, dancing and jumping about in a strange rapid manner, shrieking out his maledictions in a shrill falsetto voice.

[11] 'The Spectator,' July 11, 1868, p. 810.

Dr. Browne also informs me of the case of an epileptic idiot, incapable of independent movements, and who spends the whole day in playing with some toys; but his temper is morose and easily roused into fierceness. When any one touches his toys, he slowly raises his head from its habitual downward position, and fixes his eyes on the offender, with a tardy yet angry scowl. If the annoyance be repeated, he draws back his thick lips and reveals a prominent row of hideous fangs (large canines being especially noticeable), and then makes a quick and cruel clutch with his open hand at the offending person. The rapidity of this clutch, as Dr. Browne remarks, is marvellous in a being ordinarily so torpid that he takes about fifteen seconds, when attracted by any noise, to turn his head from one side to the other. If, when thus incensed, a handkerchief, book, or other article, be placed into his hands, he drags it to his mouth and bites it. Mr. Nicol has likewise described to me two cases of insane patients, whose lips are retracted during paroxysms of rage.

Dr. Maudsley, after detailing various strange animal-like traits in idiots, asks whether these are not due to the reappearance of primitive instincts—"a faint echo from a far-distant past, testifying to a kinship which man has almost outgrown." He adds, that as every human brain passes, in the course of its development, through the same stages as those occurring in the lower vertebrate animals, and as the brain of an idiot is in an arrested condition, we may presume that it "will manifest its most primitive functions, and no higher functions." Dr. Maudsley thinks that the same view may be extended to the brain in its degenerated condition in some insane patients; and asks, whence come "the savage snarl, the destructive disposition, the obscene language, the wild howl, the offensive habits, displayed by some of the insane? Why should a human being, deprived of his reason, ever become so brutal in character, as some do, unless he has the brute nature within him?"[12] This question must, as it would appear, he answered in the affirmative.

Anger, Indignation.—These states of the mind differ from rage only in degree, and there is no marked distinction in their characteristic signs. Under moderate anger the action of the heart is a little increased, the colour heightened, and the eyes become bright. The respiration is likewise a little hurried; and as all the muscles serving for this function act in association, the wings of the nostrils are somewhat raised to allow of a free indraught of air; and this is a highly characteristic sign of indignation. The mouth is commonly compressed, and there is almost always a frown on the brow. Instead of the frantic gestures of extreme rage, an indignant man unconsciously throws himself into an attitude ready for attacking or striking his enemy, whom he will perhaps scan from head to foot in defiance. He carries his head erect, with his chest well expanded, and the feet planted firmly on the ground. He holds his arms in various positions, with one or both elbows squared, or with the arms rigidly suspended by his sides. With Europeans the fists are commonly clenched.[13] The figures 1 and 2 in Plate VI. are fairly good representations of men simulating indignation. Any one may see in a mirror, if he will vividly imagine that he has been insulted and demands an explanation in an angry tone of voice, that he suddenly and unconsciously throws himself into some such attitude.

[12] 'Body and Mind,' 1870, pp. 51-53.

Rage, anger, and indignation are exhibited in nearly the same manner throughout the world; and the following descriptions may be worth giving as evidence of this, and as illustrations of some of the foregoing remarks. There is, however, an exception with respect to clenching the fists, which seems confined chiefly to the men who fight with their fists. With the Australians only one of my informants has seen the fists clenched. All agree about the body being held erect; and all, with two exceptions, state that the brows are heavily contracted. Some of them allude to the firmly-compressed mouth, the distended nostrils, and flashing eyes. According to the Rev. Mr. Taplin, rage, with the Australians, is expressed by the lips being protruded, the eyes being widely open; and in the case of the women by their dancing about and casting dust into the air. Another observer speaks of the native men, when enraged, throwing their arms wildly about.

[13] Le Brun, in his well-known 'Conference sur l'Expression' ('La Physionomie, par Lavater,' edit. of 1820, vol. lx. p. 268), remarks that anger is expressed by the clenching of the fists. See, to the same effect, Huschke, 'Mimices et Physiognomices, Fragmentum Physiologicum,' 1824, p. 20. Also Sir C. Bell, 'Anatomy of Expression,' p. 219.

I have received similar accounts, except as to the clenching of the fists, in regard to the Malays of the Malacca peninsula, the Abyssinians, and the natives of South Africa. So it is with the Dakota Indians of North America; and, according to Mr. Matthews, they then hold their heads erect, frown, and often stalk away with long strides. Mr. Bridges states that the Fuegians, when enraged, frequently stamp on the ground, walk distractedly about, sometimes cry and grow pale. The Rev. Mr. Stack watched a New Zealand man and woman quarrelling, and made the following entry in his note-book: "Eyes dilated, body swayed violently backwards and forwards, head inclined forwards, fists clenched, now thrown behind the body, now directed towards each other's faces." Mr. Swinhoe says that my description agrees with what he has seen of the Chinese, excepting that an angry man generally inclines his body towards his antagonist, and pointing at him, pours forth a volley of abuse.

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