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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Henry Jackson   [1873?]1

p. 123. I should have thought that the tucking in of the tail in dogs was exactly analogous to the adpression of feathers in birds, i.e. that it was not caused by a special desire to withdraw the hind quarters.

In fact I should have thought that a dog tucked in his tail on the same principle on which I pack myself up “on court” during an “off wall bully” at fives.2 I find that in that case I cower down and drop both hands in front of me between my legs, so that I make myself as small as possible without disabling myself for future action—

p. 240. Homer, as was to be expected, notices the effect of rage upon the nostrils—3

p. 242. Glisten with fire.

Is glisten right?

I have forgotten my Homer, so I cannot speak positively: but I cannot remember that Homer makes the eyes glisten with rage, and indeed I do not think that the phrase would be right in fact—

In H. I. 104, Homer says “his eyes were like a blazing fire”—4

p. 276. The complex nod described by Mr. Scott is exactly the action of some people when they nod to an acquaintance in the street—5

p. 285, 286. I fancied that the whew of surprise was produced by an inspiration, the ‘prolonged whistle’ being a conscious imitation of it, which becomes with some people a trick. At the first start of surprise we draw in the breath and say whew: if we are only a little surprised, but wish to make our feeling known, we whistle. Hence when I coached with Shilleto,6 he always whistled if I made a blunder. If he had felt strong, sudden, genuine surprise, not mere conventional surprise, he would, I think, have been more likely to say whew.

missing page or pages

could not be an exaggeration of the slight shiver which we were discussing the other day?—)7

I should imagine that in such a case as this, nerve force is disengaged for which there is no employment— On subsequent occasions we know better what is wanted, and do not develop superfluous energy. This would explain why when we are ‘nervous’ about anything, some sudden further demand upon our attention relieves us from the uncomfortable feeling and restores our self possession.

CD annotations

1.2 i.e.... quarters. 1.3] scored blue crayon
7.1 In … fire”—] scored blue crayon; ‘use p 242’ added blue crayon


The year is conjectured from the reference to Expression, which was published in November 1872 (Freeman 1977).
Fives is a ball game (American handball); Jackson probably played it at Cheltenham College, where he had been a pupil, and at Cambridge University (ODNB). The off wall is the back of the court (EB); a bully is a rally (Encyclopaedia of sport 2: 230–7). Jackson’s description was added to Expression 2d ed., p. 129 n. 7.
Jackson is credited for this information in Expression 2d ed., p. 250, n. 5.
In Expression, p. 242, CD had written that in rage the eyes were always bright, or glistened with fire ‘as Homer expresses it’. Jackson cites Homer’s Iliad, 1: 104.
In Expression, p. 276, CD gave John Scott’s report of the nod of affirmation among Indians: ‘the head is first thrown backwards either to the left or right, and then jerked obliquely forwards only once.’
Richard Shilleto.
There is no record of Jackson’s visiting Down. Jackson was a friend of George Howard Darwin’s.


Notes referring to passages in Expression [annotated in places by Francis Darwin, presumably when preparing 2d ed.].

Letter details

Letter no.
Henry Jackson
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 53.2: 91–5
Physical description
Amem 5pp inc?

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13819,” accessed on 18 June 2018,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21