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Charles Darwin (1809-1882)



Surprise, astonishment--Elevation of the eyebrows--Opening the mouth--

Protrusion of the lips--Gestures accompanying surprise--

Admiration--Fear--Terror--Erection of the hair--Contraction of

the platysma muscle--Dilatation of the pupils--Horror--Conclusion.

ATTENTION, if sudden and close, graduates into surprise;

and this into astonishment; and this into stupefied amazement.

The latter frame of mind is closely akin to terror.

Attention is shown by the eyebrows being slightly raised;

and as this state increases into surprise, they are raised

to a much greater extent, with the eyes and mouth widely open.

The raising of the eyebrows is necessary in order that

the eyes should be opened quickly and widely; and this

movement produces transverse wrinkles across the forehead.

The degree to which the eyes and mouth are opened corresponds

with the degree of surprise felt; but these movements must

be coordinated; for a widely opened mouth with eyebrows only

slightly raised results in a meaningless grimace, as Dr. Duchenne

has shown in one of his photographs.[1] On the other hand,

a person may often be seen to pretend surprise by merely

raising his eyebrows.

Dr. Duchenne has given a photograph of an old man with his

eyebrows well elevated and arched by the galvanization of

the frontal muscle; and with his mouth voluntarily opened.

This figure expresses surprise with much truth.

I showed it to twenty-four persons without a word of explanation,

and one alone did not at all understand what was intended.

A second person answered terror, which is not far wrong; some of

the others, however, added to the words surprise or astonishment,

the epithets horrified, woful, painful, or disgusted.

[1] `Mecanisme de la Physionomie,' Album, 1862, p.  42.

The eyes and mouth being widely open is an expression universally

recognized as one of surprise or astonishment.  Thus Shakespeare says,

"I saw a smith stand with open mouth swallowing a tailor's news."

(`King John,' act iv.  scene ii.) And again, "They seemed almost,

with staring on one another, to tear the cases of their eyes;

there was speech in the dumbness, language in their very gesture;

they looked as they had heard of a world destroyed."

(`Winter's Tale,' act v.  scene ii.)

My informants answer with remarkable uniformity to the same effect,

with respect to the various races of man; the above movements of

the features being often accompanied by certain gestures and sounds,

presently to be described.  Twelve observers in different

parts of Australia agree on this head.  Mr. Winwood Reade has

observed this expression with the negroes on the Guinea coast.

The chief Gaika and others answer _yes_ to my query with respect

to the Kafirs of South Africa; and so do others emphatically

with reference to the Abyssinians, Ceylonese, Chinese, Fuegians,

various tribes of North America, and New Zealanders.  With the latter,

Mr. Stack states that the expression is more plainly shown by

certain individuals than by others, though all endeavour as much

as possible to conceal their feelings.  The Dyaks of Borneo are said

by the Rajah Brooke to open their eyes widely, when astonished,

often swinging their heads to and fro, and beating their breasts.

Mr. Scott informs me that the workmen in the Botanic Gardens

at Calcutta are strictly ordered not to smoke; but they often

disobey this order, and when suddenly surprised in the act,

they first open their eyes and mouths widely.  They then often

slightly shrug their shoulders, as they perceive that discovery

is inevitable, or frown and stamp on the ground from vexation.

Soon they recover from their surprise, and abject fear is exhibited

by the relaxation of all their muscles; their heads seem to sink

between their shoulders; their fallen eyes wander to and fro;

and they supplicate forgiveness.

The well-known Australian explorer, Mr. Stuart, has given[2]

a striking account of stupefied amazement together with terror

in a native who had never before seen a man on horseback.

Mr. Stuart approached unseen and called to him from a little distance.

"He turned round and saw me.  What he imagined I was I do not know;

but a finer picture of fear and astonishment I never saw.

He stood incapable of moving a limb, riveted to the spot,

mouth open and eyes staring. . . . He remained motionless until

our black got within a few yards of him, when suddenly throwing down

his waddies, he jumped into a mulga bush as high as he could get."

He could not speak, and answered not a word to the inquiries made

by the black, but, trembling from head to foot, "waved with his

hand for us to be off."

That the eyebrows are raised by an innate or instinctive impulse

may be inferred from the fact that Laura Bridgman invariably

acts thus when astonished, as I have been assured by the lady

who has lately had charge of her.  As surprise is excited

by something unexpected or unknown, we naturally desire,

when startled, to perceive the cause as quickly as possible;

and we consequently open our eyes fully, so that the field of vision

may be increased, and the eyeballs moved easily in any direction.

But this hardly accounts for the eyebrows being so greatly raised

as is the case, and for the wild staring of the open eyes.

The explanation lies, I believe, in the impossibility of opening

the eyes with great rapidity by merely raising the upper lids.

To effect this the eyebrows must be lifted energetically.

Any one who will try to open his eyes as quickly as possible

before a mirror will find that he acts thus; and the energetic

lifting up of the eyebrows opens the eyes so widely that they stare,

the white being exposed all round the iris.  Moreover, the elevation

of the eyebrows is an advantage in looking upwards; for as long

as they are lowered they impede our vision in this direction.

Sir C. Bell gives[3] a curious little proof of the part

which the eyebrows play in opening the eyelids.  In a stupidly

drunken man all the muscles are relaxed, and the eyelids

consequently droop, in the same manner as when we are falling asleep.

To counteract this tendency the drunkard raises his eyebrows;

and this gives to him a puzzled, foolish look, as is well

represented in one of Hogarth's drawings.  The habit of raising

the eyebrows having once been gained in order to see as quickly

as possible all around us, the movement would follow from the force

of association whenever astonishment was felt from any cause,

even from a sudden sound or an idea.

[2] `The Polyglot News Letter,' Melbourne, Dec. 1858, p.  2.

With adult persons, when the eyebrows are raised,

the whole forehead becomes much wrinkled in transverse lines;

but with children this occurs only to a slight degree.

The wrinkles run in lines concentric with each eyebrow,

and are partially confluent in the middle.  They are highly

characteristic of the expression of surprise or astonishment.

Each eyebrow, when raised, becomes also, as Duchenne remarks,[4]

more arched than it was before.

[3] `The Anatomy of Expression,' p.  106.

The cause of the mouth being opened when astonishment is felt,

is a much more complex affair; and several causes apparently concur

in leading to this movement.  It has often been supposed[5] that

the sense of hearing is thus rendered more acute; but I have watched

persons listening intently to a slight noise, the nature and source

of which they knew perfectly, and they did not open their mouths.

Therefore I at one time imagined that the open mouth might aid

in distinguishing the direction whence a sound proceeded,

by giving another channel for its entrance into the ear through

the eustachian tube, But Dr. W. Ogle[6] has been so kind as to search

the best recent authorities on the functions of the eustachian tube,

and he informs me that it is almost conclusively proved that it remains

closed except during the act of deglutition; and that in persons

in whom the tube remains abnormally open, the sense of hearing,

as far as external sounds are concerned, is by no means improved;

on the contrary, it is impaired by the respiratory sounds being

rendered more distinct.  If a watch be placed within the mouth,

but not allowed to touch the sides, the ticking is heard much less

plainly than when held outside.  In persons in whom from disease

or a cold the eustachian tube is permanently or temporarily closed,

the sense of hearing is injured; but this may be accounted for by mucus

accumulating within the tube, and the consequent exclusion of air.

We may therefore infer that the mouth is not kept open under the sense

of astonishment for the sake of hearing sounds more distinctly;

notwithstanding that most deaf people keep their mouths open.

[4] Mecanisme de la Physionomie,' Album, p.  6.

[5] See, for instance, Dr. Piderit (`Mimik und Physiognomik,' s.

88), who has a good discussion on the expression of surprise.

[6] Dr. Murie has also given me information leading to the same conclusion,

derived in part from comparative anatomy.

Every sudden emotion, including astonishment, quickens the action

of the heart, and with it the respiration.  Now we can breathe,

as Gratiolet remarks[7] and as appears to me to be the case,

much more quietly through the open mouth than through the nostrils.

Therefore, when we wish to listen intently to any sound, we either

stop breathing, or breathe as quietly as possible, by opening

our mouths, at the same time keeping our bodies motionless.

One of my sons was awakened in the night by a noise under

circumstances which naturally led to great care, and after

a few minutes he perceived that his mouth was widely open.

He then became conscious that he had opened it for the sake

of breathing as quietly as possible.  This view receives

support from the reversed case which occurs with dogs.

A dog when panting after exercise, or on a hot day, breathes loudly;

but if his attention be suddenly aroused, he instantly pricks

his ears to listen, shuts his mouth, and breathes quietly,

as he is enabled to do, through his nostrils.

When the attention is concentrated for a length of time with fixed

earnestness on any object or subject, all the organs of the body

are forgotten and neglected;[8] and as the nervous energy

of each individual is limited in amount, little is transmitted

to any part of the system, excepting that which is at the time

brought into energetic action.  Therefore many of the muscles

tend to become relaxed, and the jaw drops from its own weight.

This will account for the dropping of the jaw and open mouth of a man

stupefied with amazement, and perhaps when less strongly affected.

I have noticed this appearance, as I find recorded in my notes,

in very young children when they were only moderately surprised.

[7] `De la Physionomie,' 1865, p.  234.

[8] See, on this subject, Gratiolet, ibid.  p.  254.

There is still another and highly effective cause, leading to the mouth

being opened, when we are astonished, and more especially when we

are suddenly startled.  We can draw a full and deep inspiration much

more easily through the widely open mouth than through the nostrils.

Now when we start at any sudden sound or sight, almost all the muscles

of the body are involuntarily and momentarily thrown into strong action,

for the sake of guarding ourselves against or jumping away from

the danger, which we habitually associate with anything unexpected.

But we always unconsciously prepare ourselves for any great exertion,

as formerly explained, by first taking a deep and full inspiration,

and we consequently open our mouths.  If no exertion follows, and we

still remain astonished, we cease for a time to breathe, or breathe as

quietly as possible, in order that every sound may be distinctly heard.

Or again, if our attention continues long and earnestly absorbed, all our

muscles become relaxed, and the jaw, which was at first suddenly opened,

remains dropped.  Thus several causes concur towards this same movement,

whenever surprise, astonishment, or amazement is felt.

Although when thus affected, our mouths are generally opened,

yet the lips are often a little protruded.  This fact reminds

us of the same movement, though in a much more strongly

marked degree, in the chimpanzee and orang when astonished.

As a strong expiration naturally follows the deep inspiration

which accompanies the first sense of startled surprise,

and as the lips are often protruded, the various sounds which

are then commonly uttered can apparently be accounted for.

But sometimes a strong expiration alone is heard; thus Laura Bridgman,

when amazed, rounds and protrudes her lips, opens them,

and breathes strongly.[9] One of the commonest sounds is a deep _Oh_;

and this would naturally follow, as explained by Helmholtz,

from the mouth being moderately opened and the lips protruded.

On a quiet night some rockets were fired from the `Beagle,' in a

little creek at Tahiti, to amuse the natives; and as each rocket,

was let off there was absolute silence, but this was invariably

followed by a deep groaning _Oh_, resounding all round the bay.

Mr. Washington Matthews says that the North American Indians

express astonishment by a groan; and the negroes on the West Coast

of Africa, according to Mr. Winwood Reade, protrude their lips,

and make a sound like _heigh, heigh_.  If the mouth is not

much opened, whilst the lips are considerably protruded,

a blowing, hissing, or whistling noise is produced.

Mr. R. Brough Smith informs me that an Australian from the interior

was taken to the theatre to see an acrobat rapidly turning head

over heels:  "he was greatly astonished, and protruded his lips,

making a noise with his mouth as if blowing out a match."

According to Mr. Bulmer the Australians, when surprised,

utter the exclamation _korki_, "and to do this the mouth is

drawn out as if going to whistle."  We Europeans often whistle

as a sign of surprise; thus, in a recent novel[10] it is said,

"here the man expressed his astonishment and disapprobation

by a prolonged whistle."  A Kafir girl, as Mr. J. Mansel Weale

informs me, "on hearing of the high price of an article,

raised her eyebrows and whistled just as a European would."

Mr. Wedgwood remarks that such sounds are written down as _whew_,

and they serve as interjections for surprise.

[9] Lieber, `On the Vocal Sounds of Laura Bridgman,'

Smithsonian Contributions, 1851, vol.  ii.  p.  7.

[10] `Wenderholme,' vol.  ii.  p.  91.

According to three other observers, the Australians often evince

astonishment by a clucking noise.  Europeans also sometimes express

gentle surprise by a little clicking noise of nearly the same kind.

We have seen that when we are startled, the mouth is suddenly opened;

and if the tongue happens to be then pressed closely against the palate,

its sudden withdrawal will produce a sound of this kind, which might

thus come to express surprise.

Turning to gestures of the body.  A surprised person often raises

his opened hands high above his head, or by bending his arms

only to the level of his face.  The flat palms are directed

towards the person who causes this feeling, and the straightened

fingers are separated.  This gesture is represented by

Mr. Rejlander in Plate VII.  fig.  1.  In the `Last Supper,'

by Leonardo da Vinci, two of the Apostles have their hands

half uplifted, clearly expressive of their astonishment.

A trustworthy observer told me that he had lately met his wife

under most unexpected circumstances:  "She started, opened her mouth

and eyes very widely, and threw up both her arms above her head."

Several years ago I was surprised by seeing several of my young

children earnestly doing something together on the ground;

but the distance was too great for me to ask what they were about.

Therefore I threw up my open hands with extended fingers above my head;

and as soon as I had done this, I became conscious of the action.

I then waited, without saying a word, to see if my children

had understood this gesture; and as they came running to me

they cried out, "We saw that you were astonished at us."

I do not know whether this gesture is common to the various

races of man, as I neglected to make inquiries on this head.

That it is innate or natural may be inferred from the fact

that Laura Bridgman, when amazed, "spreads her arms and turns

her hands with extended fingers upwards;"[11] nor is it likely,

considering that the feeling of surprise is generally a brief one,

that she should have learnt this gesture through her keen

sense of touch.

Huschke describes[12] a somewhat different yet allied gesture, which he 

is exhibited by persons when astonished.  They hold themselves erect,

with the features as before described, but with the straightened arms

extended backwards--the stretched fingers being separated from each other.

I have never myself seen this gesture; but Huschke is probably correct;

for a friend asked another man how he would express great astonishment,

and he at once threw himself into this attitude.

These gestures are, I believe, explicable on the principle of antithesis.

We have seen that an indignant man holds his head erect, squares his

shoulders, turns out his elbows, often clenches his fist, frowns, and 

his mouth; whilst the attitude of a helpless man is in every one of

these details the reverse.  Now, a man in an ordinary frame of mind,

doing nothing and thinking of nothing in particular, usually keeps his

two arms suspended laxly by his sides, with his hands somewhat flexed,

and the fingers near together.  Therefore, to raise the arms suddenly,

either the whole arms or the fore-arms, to open the palms flat,

and to separate the fingers,--or, again, to straighten the arms,

extending them backwards with separated fingers,--are movements in complete

antithesis to those preserved under an indifferent frame of mind,

and they are, in consequence, unconsciously assumed by an astonished man.

There is, also, often a desire to display surprise in a conspicuous

manner, and the above attitudes are well fitted for this purpose.

It may be asked why should surprise, and only a few other states

of the mind, be exhibited by movements in antithesis to others.

But this principle will not be brought into play in the case

of those emotions, such as terror, great joy, suffering, or rage,

which naturally lead to certain lines of action and produce certain

effects on the body, for the whole system is thus preoccupied;

and these emotions are already thus expressed with the greatest plainness.

[11] Lieber, `On the Vocal Sounds,' &c., ibid.  p.  7.

[12] Huschke, `Mimices et Physiognomices,' 1821, p.  18.  Gratiolet (De

la Phys.  p.  255) gives a figure of a man in this attitude, which,

however, seems to me expressive of fear combined with astonishment.

Le Brun also refers (Lavater, vol.  ix.  p.  299) to the hands of an

astonished man being opened.

There is another little gesture, expressive of astonishment

of which I can offer no explanation; namely, the hand being placed

over the mouth or on some part of the head.  This has been observed

with so many races of man, that it must have some natural origin.

A wild Australian was taken into a large room full of official papers,

which surprised him greatly, and he cried out, _cluck, cluck, cluck_,

putting the back of his hand towards his lips.  Mrs. Barber says

that the Kafirs and Fingoes express astonishment by a serious look

and by placing the right hand upon the mouth, Littering the word _mawo_,

which means `wonderful.' The Bushmen are said[13] to put their

right hands to their necks, bending their heads backwards.

Mr. Winwood Reade has observed that the negroes on the West Coast

of Africa, when surprised, clap their hands to their mouths,

saying at the same time, "My mouth cleaves to me," i.  e.  to my hands;

and he has heard that this is their usual gesture on such occasions.

Captain Speedy informs me that the Abyssinians place their right hand

to the forehead, with the palm outside.  Lastly, Mr. Washington Matthews

states that the conventional sign of astonishment with the wild

tribes of the western parts of the United States "is made by placing

the half-closed hand over the mouth; in doing this, the head is often

bent forwards, and words or low groans are sometimes uttered."

Catlin[14] makes the same remark about the hand being pressed over

the mouth by the Mandans and other Indian tribes.

[13] Huschke, ibid.  p.  18.

_Admiration_.--Little need be said on this head.  Admiration apparently

consists of surprise associated with some pleasure and a sense of approval.

When vividly felt, the eyes are opened and the eyebrows raised; the eyes

become bright, instead of remaining blank, as under simple astonishment;

and the mouth, instead of gaping open, expands into a smile.

_Fear, Terror_.--The word `fear' seems to be derived from what is

sudden and dangerous;[15] and that of terror from the trembling

of the vocal organs and body.  I use the word `terror' for

extreme fear; but some writers think it ought to be confined

to cases in which the imagination is more particularly concerned.

Fear is often preceded by astonishment, and is so far akin to it,

that both lead to the senses of sight and hearing being instantly aroused.

In both cases the eyes and mouth are widely opened, and the eyebrows 

The frightened man at first stands like a statue motionless and breathless,

or crouches down as if instinctively to escape observation.

[14] `North American Indians,' 3rd edit.  1842, vol.  i.  p.  105.

[15] H. Wedgwood, Dict.  of English Etymology, vol.  ii.  1862, p.

35.  See, also, Gratiolet (`De la Physionomie,' p.  135) on the sources

of such words as `terror, horror, rigidus, frigidus,' &c.

The heart beats quickly and violently, so that it palpitates

or knocks against the ribs; but it is very doubtful whether it

then works more efficiently than usual, so as to send a greater

supply of blood to all parts of the body; for the skin instantly

becomes pale, as during incipient faintness.  This paleness of

the surface, however, is probably in large part, or exclusively,

due to the vasomotor centre being affected in such a manner

as to cause the contraction of the small arteries of the skin.

That the skin is much affected under the sense of great fear,

we see in the marvellous and inexplicable manner in which

perspiration immediately exudes from it.  This exudation

is all the more remarkable, as the surface is then cold,

and hence the term a cold sweat; whereas, the sudorific glands

are properly excited into action when the surface is heated.

The hairs also on the skin stand erect; and the superficial

muscles shiver.  In connection with the disturbed action of the heart,

the breathing is hurried.  The salivary glands act imperfectly;

the mouth becomes dry,[16] and is often opened and shut.

I have also noticed that under slight fear there is a strong

tendency to yawn.  One of the best-marked symptoms is the trembling

of all the muscles of the body; and this is often first seen

in the lips.  From this cause, and from the dryness of the mouth,

the voice becomes husky or indistinct, or may altogether fail.

"Obstupui, steteruntque comae, et vox faucibus haesit."

[16] Mr. Bain (`The Emotions and the Will,' 1865, p.  54) explains in

the following manner the origin of the custom "of subjecting criminals

in India to the ordeal of the morsel of rice.  The accused is made

to take a mouthful of rice, and after a little time to throw it out.

If the morsel is quite dry, the party is believed to be guilty,--

his own evil conscience operating to paralyse the salivating organs."

Of vague fear there is a well-known and grand description in Job:--"In

thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men,

fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake.

Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up.

It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof:

an image was before my eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice,

saying, Shall mortal man be more just than God?  Shall a man be more

pure than his Maker?"  (Job iv.  13)

As fear increases into an agony of terror, we behold,

as under all violent emotions, diversified results.

The heart beats wildly, or may fail to act and faintness ensue;

there is a death-like pallor; the breathing is laboured;

the wings of the nostrils are wildly dilated; "there is a gasping

and convulsive motion of the lips, a tremor on the hollow cheek,

a gulping and catching of the throat;"[17] the uncovered

and protruding eyeballs are fixed on the object of terror;

or they may roll restlessly from side to side, _huc illuc

volvens oculos totumque pererrat_.[18] The pupils are said to be

enormously dilated.  All the muscles of the body may become rigid,

or may be thrown into convulsive movements.  The hands are

alternately clenched and opened, often with a twitching movement.

The arms may be protruded, as if to avert some dreadful danger,

or may be thrown wildly over the head.  The Rev. Mr. Hagenauer has

seen this latter action in a terrified Australian.  In other cases

there is a sudden and uncontrollable tendency to headlong flight;

and so strong is this, that the boldest soldiers may be seized

with a sudden panic.

[17] Sir C. Bell, Transactions of Royal Phil.  Soc.  1822, p.  308.

`Anatomy of Expression,' p.  88 and pp.  164-469.

[18] See Moreau on the rolling of the eyes, in the edit.  of 1820 of 

tome iv.  p.  263.  Also, Gratiolet, De la Phys.  p.  17.

As fear rises to an extreme pitch, the dreadful scream of terror is heard.

Great beads of sweat stand on the skin.  All the muscles of the body

are relaxed.  Utter prostration soon follows, and the mental powers fail.

The intestines are affected.  The sphincter muscles cease to act,

and no longer retain the contents of the body.

Dr. J. Crichton Browne has given me so striking an account

of intense fear in an insane woman, aged thirty-five, that

the description though painful ought not to be omitted.

When a paroxysm seizes her, she screams out, "This is hell!"

"There is a black woman!"  "I can't get out!"--and other

such exclamations.  When thus screaming, her movements are

those of alternate tension and tremor.  For one instant she

clenches her hands, holds her arms out before her in a stiff

semi-flexed position; then suddenly bends her body forwards,

sways rapidly to and fro, draws her fingers through her hair,

clutches at her neck, and tries to tear off her clothes.

The sterno-cleido-mastoid muscles (which serve to bend the head

on the chest) stand out prominently, as if swollen, and the skin

in front of them is much wrinkled.  Her hair, which is cut

short at the back of her head, and is smooth when she is calm,

now stands on end; that in front being dishevelled by the movements

of her hands.  The countenance expresses great mental agony.

The skin is flushed over the face and neck, down to the clavicles,

and the veins of the forehead and neck stand out like

thick cords.  The lower lip drops, and is somewhat everted.

The mouth is kept half open, with the lower jaw projecting.

The cheeks are hollow and deeply furrowed in curved lines running

from the wings of the nostrils to the corners of the mouth.

The nostrils themselves are raised and extended.  The eyes

are widely opened, and beneath them the skin appears swollen;

the pupils are large.  The forehead is wrinkled transversely

in many folds, and at the inner extremities of the eyebrows it

is strongly furrowed in diverging lines, produced by the powerful

and persistent contraction of the corrugators.

Mr. Bell has also described[19] an agony of terror and of despair,

which he witnessed in a murderer, whilst carried to the place of execution

in Turin.  "On each side of the car the officiating priests were seated;

and in the centre sat the criminal himself.  It was impossible

to witness the condition of this unhappy wretch without terror;

and yet, as if impelled by some strange infatuation, it was equally

impossible not to gaze upon an object so wild, so full of horror.

He seemed about thirty-five years of age; of large and muscular form;

his countenance marked by strong and savage features; half naked,

pale as death, agonized with terror, every limb strained in anguish,

his hands clenched convulsively, the sweat breaking out on his bent

and contracted brow, he kissed incessantly the figure of our Saviour,

painted on the flag which was suspended before him; but with an agony

of wildness and despair, of which nothing ever exhibited on the stage

can give the slightest conception."

I will add only one other case, illustrative of a man utterly prostrated

by terror.  An atrocious murderer of two persons was brought into

a hospital, under the mistaken impression that he had poisoned himself;

and Dr. W. Ogle carefully watched him the next morning, while he was

being handcuffed and taken away by the police.  His pallor was extreme,

and his prostration so great that he was hardly able to dress himself.

His skin perspired; and his eyelids and head drooped so much that it was

impossible to catch even a glimpse of his eyes.  His lower jaw hung down.

There was no contraction of any facial muscle, and Dr. Ogle is almost

certain that the hair did not stand on end, for he observed it narrowly,

as it had been dyed for the sake of concealment.

[19] `Observations on Italy,' 1825, p.  48, as quoted in 'The Anatomy

of Expression,' p.  168.

With respect to fear, as exhibited by the various races of man, my 

agree that the signs are the same as with Europeans.  They are displayed

in an exaggerated degree with the Hindoos and natives of Ceylon.  Mr. Geach

has seen Malays when terrified turn pale and shake; and Mr. Brough Smyth

states that a native Australian "being on one occasion much frightened,

showed a complexion as nearly approaching to what we call paleness,

as can well be conceived in the case of a very black man."  Mr. Dyson Lacy

has seen extreme fear shown in an Australian, by a nervous twitching of

the hands, feet, and lips; and by the perspiration standing on the skin.

Many savages do not repress the signs of fear so much as Europeans;

and they often tremble greatly.  With the Kafir, Gaika says, in his

rather quaint English, the shaking "of the body is much experienced,

and the eyes are widely open."  With savages, the sphincter muscles

are often relaxed, just as may be observed in much frightened dogs,

and as I have seen with monkeys when terrified by being caught.

_The erection of the hair_.--Some of the signs of fear

deserve a little further consideration.  Poets continually

speak of the hair standing on end; Brutus says to the ghost

of Caesar, "that mak'st my blood cold, and my hair to stare."

And Cardinal Beaufort, after the murder of Gloucester exclaims,

"Comb down his hair; look, look, it stands upright."

As I did not feel sure whether writers of fiction might not have

applied to man what they had often observed in animals, I begged

for information from Dr. Crichton Browne with respect to the insane.

He states in answer that he has repeatedly seen their hair

erected under the influence of sudden and extreme terror.

For instance, it is occasionally necessary to inject morphia,

under the skin of an insane woman, who dreads the operation

extremely, though it causes very little pain; for she believes

that poison is being introduced into her system, and that her

bones will be softened, and her flesh turned into dust.

She becomes deadly pale; her limbs are stiffened by a sort

of tetanic spasm, and her hair is partially erected on the front

of the head.

Dr. Browne further remarks that the bristling of the hair which is

so common in the insane, is not always associated with terror.

It is perhaps most frequently seen in chronic maniacs, who rave

incoherently and have destructive impulses; but it is during

their paroxysms of violence that the bristling is most observable.

The fact of the hair becoming erect under the influence both of rage

and fear agrees perfectly with what we have seen in the lower animals.

Dr. Browne adduces several cases in evidence.  Thus with a man

now in the Asylum, before the recurrence of each maniacal paroxysm,

"the hair rises up from his forehead like the mane of a Shetland pony."

He has sent me photographs of two women, taken in the intervals between

their paroxysms, and he adds with respect to one of these women,

"that the state of her hair is a sure and convenient criterion of

her mental condition."  I have had one of these photographs copied,

and the engraving gives, if viewed from a little distance,

a faithful representation of the original, with the exception

that the hair appears rather too coarse and too much curled.

The extraordinary condition of the hair in the insane is due,

not only to its erection, but to its dryness and harshness,

consequent on the subcutaneous glands failing to act.

Dr. Bucknill has said[20] that a lunatic "is a lunatic to his

finger's ends;" he might have added, and often to the extremity

of each particular hair.

Dr. Browne mentions as an empirical confirmation of the relation which 

in the insane between the state of their hair and minds, that the wife

of a medical man, who has charge of a lady suffering from acute 

with a strong fear of death, for herself, her husband and children,

reported verbally to him the day before receiving my letter as follows,

"I think Mrs. ---- will soon improve, for her hair is getting smooth;

and I always notice that our patients get better whenever their hair

ceases to be rough and unmanageable."

Dr. Browne attributes the persistently rough condition of the hair in many

insane patients, in part to their minds being always somewhat disturbed,

and in part to the effects of habit,--that is, to the hair being

frequently and strongly erected during their many recurrent paroxysms.

In patients in whom the bristling of the hair is extreme, the disease

is generally permanent and mortal; but in others, in whom the bristling

is moderate, as soon as they recover their health of mind the hair

recovers its smoothness.

[20] Quoted by Dr. Maudsley, `Body and Mind,' 1870, p.  41.

In a previous chapter we have seen that with animals the hairs are

erected by the contraction of minute, unstriped, and involuntary muscles,

which run to each separate follicle.  In addition to this action,

Mr. J. Wood has clearly ascertained by experiment, as he informs me,

that with man the hairs on the front of the head which slope forwards,

and those on the back which slope backwards, are raised in opposite

directions by the contraction of the occipito-frontalis or scalp muscle.

So that this muscle seems to aid in the erection of the hairs on the head

of man.  in the same manner as the homologous _panniculus carnosus_ aids,

or takes the greater part, in the erection of the spines on the backs

of some of the lower animals.

_Contraction of the platysma myoides muscle_.--This muscle is spread

over the sides of the neck, extending downwards to a little beneath

the collar-bones, and upwards to the lower part of the cheeks.

A portion, called the risorius, is represented in the woodcut

(M) fig.  2.  The contraction of this muscle draws the corners of

the mouth and the lower parts of the checks downwards and backwards.

It produces at the same time divergent, longitudinal, prominent ridges

on the sides of the neck in the young; and, in old thin persons,

fine transverse wrinkles.  This muscle is sometimes said not to be

under the control of the will; but almost every one, if told to draw

the corners of his mouth backwards and downwards with great force,

brings it into action.  I have, however, heard of a man who can

voluntarily act on it only on one side of his neck.

Sir C. Bell[21] and others have stated that this muscle is strongly

contracted under the influence of fear; and Duchenne insists so strongly

on its importance in the expression of this emotion, that he calls it

the _muscle of fright_.[22] He admits, however, that its contraction

is quite inexpressive unless associated with widely open eyes and mouth.

He has given a photograph (copied and reduced in the accompanying woodcut)

of the same old man as on former occasions, with his eyebrows strongly 

his mouth opened, and the platysma contracted, all by means of galvanism.

The original photograph was shown to twenty-four persons, and they were

separately asked, without any explanation being given, what expression

was intended:  twenty instantly answered, "intense fright" or "horror;"

three said pain, and one extreme discomfort.  Dr. Duchenne has given

another photograph of the same old man, with the platysma contracted,

the eyes and mouth opened, and the eyebrows rendered oblique,

by means of galvanism.  The expression thus induced is very striking

(see Plate VII.  fig.  2); the obliquity of the eyebrows adding the 

of great mental distress.  The original was shown to fifteen persons;

twelve answered terror or horror, and three agony or great suffering.

From these cases, and from an examination of the other photographs given

by Dr. Duchenne, together with his remarks thereon, I think there can

be little doubt that the contraction of the platysma does add greatly

to the expression of fear.  Nevertheless this muscle ought hardly to be

called that of fright, for its contraction is certainly not a necessary

concomitant of this state of mind.

[21] `Anatomy of Expression,' p.  168.

[22] Mecanisme de la Phys.  Humaine, Album, Legende xi.  A man may

exhibit extreme terror in the plainest manner by death-like pallor,

by drops of perspiration on his skin, and by utter prostration,

with all the muscles of his body, including the platysma,

completely relaxed.  Although Dr. Browne has often seen this

muscle quivering and contracting in the insane, he has not been

able to connect its action with any emotional condition in them,

though he carefully attended to patients suffering from great fear.

Mr. Nicol, on the other hand, has observed three cases in which

this muscle appeared to be more or less permanently contracted

under the influence of melancholia, associated with much dread;

but in one of these cases, various other muscles about the neck

and head were subject to spasmodic contractions.

Dr. W. Ogle observed for me in one of the London hospitals about

twenty patients, just before they were put under the influence of 

for operations.  They exhibited some trepidation, but no great terror.

In only four of the cases was the platysma visibly contracted;

and it did not begin to contract until the patients began to cry.

The muscle seemed to contract at the moment of each deep-drawn inspiration;

so that it is very doubtful whether the contraction depended

at all on the emotion of fear.  In a fifth case, the patient,

who was not chloroformed, was much terrified; and his platysma was

more forcibly and persistently contracted than in the other cases.

But even here there is room for doubt, for the muscle which appeared

to be unusually developed, was seen by Dr. Ogle to contract as the man

moved his head from the pillow, after the operation was over.

As I felt much perplexed why, in any case, a superficial

muscle on the neck should be especially affected by fear,

I applied to my many obliging correspondents for information

about the contraction of this muscle under other circumstances.

It would be superfluous to give all the answers which I have received.

They show that this muscle acts, often in a variable manner

and degree, under many different conditions.  It is violently

contracted in hydrophobia, and in a somewhat less degree in lockjaw;

sometimes in a marked manner during the insensibility from chloroform.

Dr. W. Ogle observed two male patients, suffering from such

difficulty in breathing, that the trachea had to be opened,

and in both the platysma was strongly contracted.  One of these men

overheard the conversation of the surgeons surrounding him, and when

he was able to speak, declared that he had not been frightened.

In some other cases of extreme difficulty of respiration, though not

requiring tracheotomy, observed by Drs.  Ogle and Langstaff,

the platysma was not contracted.

Mr. J. Wood, who has studied with such care the muscles of the human body,

as shown by his various publications, has often seen the platysma

contracted in vomiting, nausea, and disgust; also in children and

adults under the influence of rage,--for instance, in Irishwomen,

quarrelling and brawling together with angry gesticulations.

This may possibly have been due to their high and angry tones;

for I know a lady, an excellent musician, who, in singing certain

high notes, always contracts her platysma.  So does a young man,

as I have observed, in sounding certain notes on the flute.

Mr. J. Wood informs me that he has found the platysma best

developed in persons with thick necks and broad shoulders;

and that in families inheriting these peculiarities, its development

is usually associated with much voluntary power over the homologous

occipito-frontalis muscle, by which the scalp can be moved.

None of the foregoing cases appear to throw any light on

the contraction of the platysma from fear; but it is different,

I think, with the following cases.  The gentleman before referred to,

who can voluntarily act on this muscle only on one side of his neck,

is positive that it contracts on both sides whenever he is startled.

Evidence has already been given showing that this muscle

sometimes contracts, perhaps for the sake of opening the mouth widely,

when the breathing is rendered difficult by disease, and during

the deep inspirations of crying-fits before an operation.

Now, whenever a person starts at any sudden sight or sound,

he instantaneously draws a deep breath; and thus the contraction

of the platysma may possibly have become associated with the sense

of fear.  But there is, I believe, a more efficient relation.

The first sensation of fear, or the imagination of something dreadful,

commonly excites a shudder.  I have caught myself giving

a little involuntary shudder at a painful thought, and I

distinctly perceived that my platysma contracted; so it does if I

simulate a shudder.  I have asked others to act in this manner;

and in some the muscle contracted, but not in others.

One of my sons, whilst getting out of bed, shuddered from

the cold, and, as he happened to have his hand on his neck,

he plainly felt that this muscle strongly contracted.

He then voluntarily shuddered, as he had done on former occasions,

but the platysma was not then affected.  Mr. J. Wood has also

several times observed this muscle contracting in patients,

when stripped for examination, and who were not frightened,

but shivered slightly from the cold.  Unfortunately I have not

been able to ascertain whether, when the whole body shakes,

as in the cold stage of an ague fit, the platysma contracts.

But as it certainly often contracts during a shudder; and as a

shudder or shiver often accompanies the first sensation of fear,

we have, I think, a clue to its action in this latter case.[23]

Its contraction, however, is not an invariable concomitant

of fear; for it probably never acts under the influence

of extreme, prostrating terror.

[23] Ducheinne takes, in fact, this view (ibid. p.  45), as he

attributes the contraction of the platysma to the shivering of fear

(_frisson de la peur_); but he elsewhere compares the action with

that which causes the hair of frightened quadrupeds to stand erect;

and this can hardly be considered as quite correct.

_Dilatation of the Pupils_.--Gratiolet repeatedly insists[24]

that the pupils are enormously dilated whenever terror is felt.

I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of this statement,

but have failed to obtain confirmatory evidence, excepting in the one

instance before given of an insane woman suffering from great fear.

When writers of fiction speak of the eyes being widely dilated,

I presume that they refer to the eyelids.  Munro's statement,"

that with parrots the iris is affected by the passions,

independently of the amount of light, seems to bear on this question;

but Professor Donders informs me, that he has often seen movements

in the pupils of these birds which he thinks may be related to their

power of accommodation to distance, in nearly the same manner

as our own pupils contract when our eyes converge for near vision.

Gratiolet remarks that the dilated pupils appear as if they were

gazing into profound darkness.  No doubt the fears of man have often

been excited in the dark; but hardly so often or so exclusively,

as to account for a fixed and associated habit having thus arisen.

It seems more probable, assuming that Gratiolet's statement

is correct, that the brain is directly affected by the powerful

emotion of fear and reacts on the pupils; but Professor Donders

informs me that this is an extremely complicated subject.

I may add, as possibly throwing light on the subject, that Dr. Fyffe,

of Netley Hospital, has observed in two patients that the pupils

were distinctly dilated during the cold stage of an ague fit.

Professor Donders has also often seen dilatation of the pupils

in incipient faintness.

[24] `De la Physionomie,' pp.  51, 256, 346.

[25] As quoted in White's `Gradation in Man,' p.  57.

_Horror_.--The state of mind expressed by this term implies terror,

and is in some, cases almost synonymous with it.  Many a man

must have felt, before the blessed discovery of chloroform,

great horror at the thought of an impending surgical operation.

He who dreads, as well as hates a man, will feel, as Milton uses

the word, a horror of him.  We feel horror if we see any one,

for instance a child, exposed to some instant and crushing danger.

Almost every one would experience the same feeling in the highest

degree in witnessing a man being tortured or going to be tortured.

In these cases there is no danger to ourselves; but from the power

of the imagination and of sympathy we put ourselves in the position

of the sufferer, and feel something akin to fear.

Sir C. Bell remarks,[26] that "horror is full of energy;

the body is in the utmost tension, not unnerved by fear."

It is, therefore, probable that horror would generally be

accompanied by the strong contraction of the brows; but as fear

is one of the elements, the eyes and mouth would be opened,

and the eyebrows would be raised, as far as the antagonistic

action of the corrugators permitted this movement.  Duchenne has

given a photograph[27] (fig. 21) of the same old man as before,

with his eyes somewhat staring, the eyebrows partially raised,

and at the same time strongly contracted, the mouth opened,

and the platysma in action, all effected by the means of galvanism.

He considers that the expression thus produced shows extreme

terror with horrible pain or torture.  A tortured man, as long

as his sufferings allowed him to feel any dread for the future,

would probably exhibit horror in an extreme degree.

I have shown the original of this photograph to twenty-three

persons of both sexes and various ages; and thirteen

immediately answered horror, great pain, torture, or agony;

three answered extreme fright; so that sixteen answered nearly

in accordance with Duchenne's belief.  Six, however, said anger,

guided no doubt, by the strongly contracted brows,

and overlooking the peculiarly opened mouth.  One said disgust.

On the whole, the evidence indicates that we have here a fairly

good representation of horror and agony.  The photograph

before referred to (Pl. VII.  fig.  2) likewise exhibits horror;

but in this the oblique eyebrows indicate great mental distress

in place of energy.

[26] `Anatomy of Expression,' p.  169.

[27] `Mecanisme de la Physionomie,' Album, pl.  65, pp.  44, 45.

Horror is generally accompanied by various gestures,

which differ in different individuals.  Judging from pictures,

the whole body is often turned away or shrinks; or the arms are

violently protruded as if to push away some dreadful object.

The most frequent gesture, as far as can be inferred from

the action of persons who endeavour to express a vividly-imagined

scene of horror, is the raising of both shoulders,

with the bent arms pressed closely against the sides or chest.

These movements are nearly the same with those commonly made when we

feel very cold; and they are generally accompanied by a shudder,

as well as by a deep expiration or inspiration, according as

the chest happens at the time to be expanded or contracted.

The sounds thus made are expressed by words like _uh_ or _ugh_.[28]

It is not, however, obvious why, when we feel cold or express

a sense of horror, we press our bent arms against our bodies,

raise our shoulders, and shudder.

[28] See remarks to this effect by Mr. Wedgwood, in the Introduction to his

`Dictionary of English Etymology,' 2nd edit.  1872, p.  xxxvii.  He shows

by intermediate forms that the sounds here referred to have probably given

rise to many words, such as _ugly, huge_, &c. _Conclusion_.--I have now

endeavoured to describe the diversified expressions of fear, in its 

from mere attention to a start of surprise, into extreme terror and horror.

Some of the signs may be accounted for through the principles of habit,

association, and inheritance,--such as the wide opening of the mouth and 

with upraised eyebrows, so as to see as quickly as possible all around us,

and to hear distinctly whatever sound may reach our ears.  For we have

thus habitually prepared ourselves to discover and encounter any danger.

Some of the other signs of fear may likewise be accounted for, at least

in part, through these same principles.  Men, during numberless 

have endeavoured to escape from their enemies or danger by headlong flight,

or by violently struggling with them; and such great exertions will have

caused the heart to beat rapidly, the breathing to be hurried, the chest

to heave, and the nostrils to be dilated.  As these exertions have often

been prolonged to the last extremity, the final result will have been

utter prostration, pallor, perspiration, trembling of all the muscles,

or their complete relaxation.  And now, whenever the emotion of fear is

strongly felt, though it may not lead to any exertion, the same results

tend to reappear, through the force of inheritance and association.

Nevertheless, it is probable that many or most of the above

symptoms of terror, such as the beating of the heart,

the trembling of the muscles, cold perspiration, &c., are in large

part directly due to the disturbed or interrupted transmission

of nerve-force from the cerebro-spinal system to various parts

of the body, owing to the mind being so powerfully affected.

We may confidently look to this cause, independently of habit

and association, in such cases as the modified secretions of

the intestinal canal, and the failure of certain glands to act.

With respect to the involuntary bristling of the hair, we have

good reason to believe that in the case of animals this action,

however it may have originated, serves, together with certain

voluntary movements, to make them appear terrible to their enemies;

and as the same involuntary and voluntary actions are performed

by animals nearly related to man, we are led to believe that man has

retained through inheritance a relic of them, now become useless.

It is certainly a remarkable fact, that the minute unstriped muscles,

by which the hairs thinly scattered over man's almost naked body

are erected, should have been preserved to the present day;

and that they should still contract under the same emotions, namely,

terror and rage, which cause the hairs to stand on end in the lower

members of the Order to which man belongs.

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