From W. W. Reade 1 February 1871
11 Saint Mary Abbot’s Terrace, | Kensington. W.
Feb. 1.– 71
My dear Sir
I saw Sir Andrew Smith to day, & asked him your question about the tears.1 He said he had certainly seen both Hottentots & Caffres laugh till they cried especially the women.. It seemed to be recalled vividly to his mind by the ludicrous appearance created from the tears running down the painted cheeks, and so forming streaks.2
I do not like to assert anything theoretical about the Africans—we really know so little of them—but I am quite persuaded in my own mind that the Caffres are identical with the West Africans erroneously called negroes.3 There is I believe no difference in their hair: and it is in the hair alone that the West Africans do not differ inter se. It is the one constant character—in contour & complexion there is great variety. When we consider how different are the climates of the healthy South Africa & those of West Africa & low lying Central Africa; & moreover that the Caffres live on milk & meat, & the others chiefly on vegetables it wd. be odd if there were no difference in physique.
Yours very truly | Winwood Reade
Sir Andrew Smith says Hottentots and Kaffirs laugh till they cry.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7473,” accessed on 3 December 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-7473