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Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. H. Huxley   21 February [1868]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Feb 21st | Thursday

My dear Huxley

I received the Jermyn St. programme,2 but have hardly yet considered it, for I was all day on sofa on Tuesday & Wednesday. Bad though I was, I thought with constant pleasure of your very great kindness in offering to read the proofs of my essay on man.3 I do not know whether I said anything which might have appeared like a hint, but I assure you that such a thought had never even momentarily passed through my mind.—

Your offer has just made all the difference, that I can now write, whether or no my essay is ever printed, with a feeling of satisfaction instead of vague dread.—

Yours gratefully | Ch. Darwin

Beg my colleague Mrs. Huxley not to forget the corrugator supercilii: it will not be easy to catch the exact moment when the child is only on the point of crying & is struggling against the wrinkling up its little eyes, for then I shd. expect the corrugator, from being little under the command of the will, would come into play in checking or stopping of the wrinkling. An explosion of tears would tell nothing.—4


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to T. H. Huxley, 30 January [1868].
Huxley’s letter and the programme have not been found. CD probably refers to a prospectus for the Royal School of Mines at Jermyn Street, London; he had previously written to Huxley about the possibility of sending his son Horace there (see Correspondence vol. 15, letter to T. H. Huxley, 12 June [1867]).
CD refers to Descent.
CD refers to Henrietta Anne Huxley (see letter to T. H. Huxley, 30 January [1868] and n. 5). CD described the corrugator supercilii, or muscles of the brow, as the first to contract during weeping in Expression, pp. 148–9, 152.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Expression: The expression of the emotions in man and animals. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.


THH’s offer to read proof of essay on man encourages CD to write with satisfaction instead of a vague dread.

Begs Mrs Huxley not to forget corrugator supercilii in a crying child.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Henry Huxley
Sent from
Source of text
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine Archives (Dawson 108)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5408,” accessed on 22 February 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16