To J. P. M. Weale 27 August 1
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
My dear Sir
I thank you cordially for all your kindness.2 The case of the Muraltia, which you describe & figure so clearly is very curious; & I quite agree with you, the case is especially curious in the resemblance of the movement of the stamens to those in papilionaceous plants. I doubt whether the movement, at least in the latter, is due to irritability, nor is it a case of simple elasticity. The resemblance of your Muraltia to a heath, of which I believe there are other cases at the Cape is curious.3 I have formerly examined, but with no great care, our English Polygola4 & convinced myself that its fertilization depended on insects.
You have been extremely kind in taking such great trouble about expression, which is a subject that interests me to an unreasonable degree. That I shd receive answers written by the brother of a Kaffir chief is a truly wonderful fact in the progress of civilization.5
Thank you for telling me about the children pouting,—a gesture which I hear from N. America is common to Indian children.6 I shall be most grateful for any further trustworthy information. I believe the French are quite wrong in speaking of a “grief muscle”; the movement apparently results from a combined action of the upper orbicular & that part of the frontal muscle which is seated above the inner angle of the eyebrows.7 I enclose a poor photograph of a young woman who cd voluntarily make this movement;8 but the eyebrows are hardly oblique enough; the transverse wrinkles on the forehead which extend only a short distance on each side of the centre are eminently characteristic; as is a slight swelling close above the inner end of the eyebrow. I shd be very glad to hear whether this expression can be seen in any savage race. The only chance wd be visiting a person in anxiety or grief.
When I recd the locust-dung I cd not imagine what it was, & I might have gone on guessing till doomsday. I will try the experiment carefully, but shall be as much surprized as interested if it shd prove to contain any seeds.9
With very sincere thanks | I remain my dear Sir | yours very faithfully | Charles Darwin
CD finds the case of Muraltia with irritable stamens curious.
Thanks JPMW for his help with expression queries and would be grateful for any more information. Believes the action of the so-called "grief muscles" is a result of combined action of two muscles.
- Letter no.
- Darwin, C. R.
- Weale, J. P. M.
- Sent from
- Source of text
- University of Virginia Library, Special Collections, Darwin Evolution Collection (3314)
- Physical description
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5617,” accessed on 19 January 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-5617