From Julius von Haast 4 December 1867
Decb 4. 1867
My dear Mr. Darwin
One of the Gentlemen to whom I submitted your Queries about expression,1 the Revd J Stack, Maori Missionary Kaipoi has sent me his answers, but they were written on such thick foolscap & so wide apart, that it would have made quite a thick letter.2 I therefore took the liberty to have them copied & beg to enclose them, trusting that they will be of interest to you. I have no doubt that the other Gentlemen in the North Island have forwarded their answers directly to you.3
I heard with great pleasure from our mutual friend Dr Hooker,4 that you enjoy now much better health & trust that this will continue, both to your comfort and in the interest of Science. Some few months ago, I had the pleasure to forward to you one of my reports on the headwaters of the Rakaia, which will make you acquainted with some of our glacier period phenomena.—5 I have been busy lately with articulating 6 skeletons of Dinornis for our Museum & they form a really curious group & as I believe unique.6 I enclose you a small photograph of them.7 I have numbered the different species for your guidance.
No 1. Dinornis giganteus—9’ 10’
" 2 " Robustus 8’ 5’
" 3 " Elephantopus 5’ 3’
" 4 " Crassus — 4’ 4’
" 5 " casuarinus 5’ 2’
" 6 " didiformis 4’ 3’
I have introduced the skeletons of a Kiwi (Apterix Owenii) & a human figure for comparison.—8
Wishing you further restoration to health believe me my dear Mr Darwin | Yours most faithfully | Julius Haast
Chs. Darwin Esqre FRS.
Down, Bromley | Kent—
Dr. Darwins Queries about expression.
1. “Is astonishment expressed by the eyes and mouth being opened wide and by the eyebrows being raised?”
It is, but the action is more observable in some individuals than in others. The habitual endeavour of the maori is to conceal the workings of internal feeling and it is only when an individual is off his guard or the force of passion breaks through the habitual restraint put upon the feelings that any outward manifestations are noticeable either in the expression of the face or the attitude of the person.9
2. “Does shame excite a blush when the color of the skin allows it to be visible?”
It does. Hundreds of instances have come under my observation An amusing one occurred only a few days ago. An old man partly tatooed and rather darker than the average of his people, let a section of land (his all) to an Englishman for a term of years for a small rental just sufficient to keep him in clothes.—For some time there has been quite a mania among the Kaiapoi maoris for the possession of gigs and dog carts, and this seized my old friend who came to me to know whether he could not draw the rent for four years in one lump sum, to enable him to buy a gig that he had set his heart upon. The idea of this poor old clumsey ragged fellow driving in his private carriage was so absurd, that I burst out laughing; the old man blushed to the roots of his hair.10
3. “When a man is indignant or defiant, does he frown hold his body and head erect, square his shoulders, and clench his fists?”
He does. But immediately he begins to speak he loses the stiff set and tries to express his rage by the violent action of every part of his body.
I watched a man and woman quarrelling a few days ago and set down in my note-book the following particulars.—11
—Eyes dilated.— body swayed violently backwards and forwards. Head inclined forward toward the antagonist— fists clenched, now thrown behind the body, now brought forward and directed toward eachothers faces.
6. “When in good spirits do the eyes sparkle with the skin round and under them a little wrinkled and with the mouth a little drawn back?”
I took the following notes whilst watching a group of maoris who were much amused by something that was being told them.
—Eyes sparkling, half closed. Teeth exposed. Flesh drawn into a round lump on the cheeks.— Corners of the eyes all gathered up.12
14. “Do children when sulky pout, or greatly protrude the lips?”
Yes. I have seen them constantly do so.— Man sometimes and woman very frequently.13
I could have answered more of Dr. Darwin’s questions but as he so particularly requests that memory may not be trusted to in doing so, I forbear till I can do so from actual observation of persons not likely to have copied their mode of expressing their feelings from Europeans.14
signed | James Stack
JvH forwards J. Stack’s replies to CD’s queries about expression [see Expression, p. 20].
Sends photos of skeletons of six species of Dinornis he is assembling for the Museum.
- expression, emotion
- queries / requests
- social behaviour
- specimens / samples
- structural characters
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5705,” accessed on 26 October 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-5705