To James Crichton-Browne 7 April 1
My dear Sir
Many thanks for your two last communications.2 The case of the pregnant woman is truly wonderful, and I am particularly glad to have read it, as it seems conclusive; but I doubt whether it will do to give it in any work not strictly medical. Perhaps I may manage to give it wrapped up, or anyhow allude to it.3 Dr. Baird the Hypnotist, gives somewhat analogous cases, but I did not dare to trust him.4 I have got some other references to Sir H. Holland and Dr. Laycock’s works, and I shall now read them in a more believing spirit.5 Very many thanks about the idiots and Blushing.6 I rather expected the answer would be as you give it. Dr. Burgess makes the same remark, but in so loose a manner that I am not at all sure that he ever really attended to the point,—only guessed how it would be.7 I find that Vogt’s microcephalous idiot was not utterly degraded, as his eyes brightened when pleased or amused: the blush was real, as it was caused by an examination of his naked body, and he tried to turn on one side.8 I have received the Photographs and am greatly obliged for all your never-ceasing kindness.9 They are not expressive enough for my purpose. I am, however, now rich in photographs, for I have found a photographer in London. Rejlander, who for years has had a passion for photographing all sorts of chance expressions exhibited on various occasions, especially by children, and taken instantaneously.10 One of the insane woman with bristling hair has been copied by photography on wood, and a most skilful man is now cutting it on wood and is convinced that he will succeed.11
Yours most truly | Ch. Darwin.
I hope your health is not worse.12
P.S. A long time ago I asked Prof. Donders of Utrecht (who most kindly aids me in all sorts of ways) about the iris, and a few days ago I received an answer, and a present of a huge book, published by the Sydenham Soc., from which I infer that the contraction and dilation of pupil is a very complex affair depending on many conditions—movements of the eyes, etc. I suspect it will be safest for me just to say what others have said, and then add a caution. Perhaps, however, I may hereafter hear something definite from you, and I shall be able to judge better when I have read parts of Donder’s work.13
Thanks for information about blushing of idiots.
Case of pregnant woman "truly wonderful".
Thanks for photographs.
Has found London photographer, O. G. Rejlander, with passion for photographing expression.
Received information about iris of eye from F. C. Donders; shows contraction and dilation of pupil is very complex.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7666,” accessed on 7 December 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-7666