From W. W. Reade 5 November 1872
13 Alfred Place | Bedford Square
Nov. 5. 72
My dear Sir
I am very much obliged to you for sending me a copy of the new book & of mentioning my name in it, which I scarcely deserved.1 I have read hastily through it as I must postpone my study of it till I have got out of Africa which I hope will be by Christmas.2 I venture to offer a remark or two, merely observing on the book as a whole that it has quite taken me by surprise. I had no idea that so much could have been done with the subject even by you.
I do not know whether you have noticed that cats often raise the forepaw like a pointer—3 As a singular exception to a rule I knew a young cat that used to like to paddle its feet in water—4 I have known a woman gnash her teeth when excited (sexually).5 Query— are not the expressions produced by intense physical pleasure much like those produced by pain?— Human beings sometimes close their eyes from pleasure: so do cats when caressed.— Puppies (p. 44) are fond of eating dung—6 You ought I think to mention that kissing is unknown throughout West Africa. It is probably the largest non-kissing region on the globe.7 I have seen negroes shrug their shoulders—8 item in a little girl the open mouth as a sign of fright & horror—9 However I do not think any one will deny your theory respecting the unity of expression in the dift. races.
I had the Post sent to you as it properly mentioned my work as resulting from yours.10 I wish it had been more worthy of its parent—& more like. It has not done me any harm in a market sense for I have disposed of my African travels11 on excellent terms to Smith & Elder without showing a specimen. It will go to press in January. I told them there wd. be nothing theological in it, but some matter pro-Darwinian, and received the reply Oh we are all for Darwin here. The Daily News & Telegraph review your book this morning as I presume you will have heard.12 I think I mentioned that Huxley is to do it for the Pall Mall Gazette.13 I shall mention in my travels the general impression made upon my mind that facial expression is the same among the negroes as with us.14 If it had not been so I shd. have noticed it—
I remember by the way a negro paddling & giving a grin at every stroke so that his teeth showed at a considerable distance in a very curious way.
Please do not trouble to answer this. | I remain | Yours very truly | Winwood Reade
Observations on expression: women gnash teeth when sexually excited. W. Africans do not kiss.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8600,” accessed on 25 April 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-8600