skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To William Ogle   28 [March 1871]

Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.


My dear Dr Ogle

Hearty thanks. I am very glad I did fib, for I was pleased when I saw word “platysma” in your letter.—1 I have been trying some people & the platysma seemed to act; but as they shuddered it is very difficult to see, & I was unwilling to put my hand on neck to feel as that would have directed attention to the neck.— I shall be very curious to hear about operation & shivering fits.—2 I am all the more glad I fibbed, as it led you to write so long an account.— I do not myself feel any tendency to shrug my shoulders, when acting horror but it certainly occurs sometimes with strong disgust & with fear; & these are allied to horror.— As far as I can make out all strong emotions are exhibited in very diversified ways; & acting is very little trustworthy, yet is almost only means in some cases & serves as some guide.—

How fortunate I have been in your very kind assistance.

By chance I heard after writing from one of my sons that Paget was very ill—3 I am sincerely grieved— He has always struck me as a charming man.—

Yours most sincerely | Ch. Darwin


Ogle’s reply to CD’s letter of 25 March [1871] has not been found. CD’s ‘fib’ was to ask Ogle for information ‘in relation to a new point for observation’. CD had not mentioned the platysma myoides to avoid prejudicing Ogle’s response.
CD refers to James Paget and probably to Francis Darwin, who was studying medicine at St George’s Hospital, London (ODNB). Paget was suffering from blood poisoning as the result of an infection received during a post mortem examination he carried out in February 1871. His condition had worsened so that by this time he was thought to be near death. (See S. Paget ed. 1901, pp. 244–6.)


ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.


Thanks WO for his reply to letter of 26 March. Has tried several people and platysma seemed to act, but it is difficult to observe when they shudder.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Ogle
Sent from
MR 29 71
Source of text
DAR 261.5: 10 (EH 88205908)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7631,” accessed on 25 January 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19