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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Cicely Mary Hawkshaw to Emma Darwin   9 February [1868]1

Hollycombe. | Liphook. | Hants.

Dear Aunt Emma

I am afraid it is too late to notice about the baby’s tears with any accuracy for I have repeatedly seen her eyes full of tears already but can give no nearer date than that I must have seen them so before she was 3 weeks old; about the tears overflowing onto her cheeks I can observe as I have never seen it happen yet, indeed it hardly happens in what one may call babydom does it?2

We are having such a nice holiday here and as all the tiresome shooting is over I have Clarke to myself and we ride and walk about and don’t feel such strangers to the place as we did and the idle thoughtless life is doing Clarke good I am thankful to say.3

Believe me dear Aunt Emma | Your affecte niece | Cicely M Hawkshaw

9th Feb.


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from C. M. Hawkshaw, 12 April 1868.
CD was collecting information on the secretion of tears for his research on the expression of emotions (see Correspondence vol. 15, letter from L. F. Kempson to Emma Darwin, 20 June 1867, and letter to A. R. Wallace, 12 and 13 October [1867]). In Expression, pp. 153–4, CD claimed that in most cases, tears were only slightly secreted in very young infants, and began to roll over their eyelids and down their cheeks when they reached about four months of age. He mentioned one case, however, in which an infant’s eyes became ‘slightly suffused at the age of only 20 days’. Hawkshaw’s baby, Katherine, was born at the end of December 1867 (see letter from C. M. Hawkshaw, 12 April 1868).
Hawkshaw refers to her husband, Clarke Hawkshaw. Hollycombe was the country residence of her father-in-law, John Hawkshaw.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 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.


Too late to observe baby’s tears.

Letter details

Letter no.
Cicely Mary Wedgwood/Cicely Mary Hawkshaw
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 166: 121
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5855,” accessed on 20 May 2024,

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