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Darwin Correspondence Project

To William Ogle   7 March [1871]1

Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.

March 7th

My dear Dr Ogle

I wrote to Tyndall, but had no clear answer, & have now written to him again about odours.—2

I write now to ask you to be so kind (if there is no objection) to tell me the circumstances under which you saw a man arrested for murder.— I say in my notes made from your conversation—utmost horror—extreme pallor—mouth relaxed & open—general position—perspiration—no muscle of face contracted— Hair, observed on account of having been dyed, & apparently not erected.3

Secondly may I quote you that you have often(?) seen persons (young or old? man or woman?) who, evincing no great fear, were about to undergo severe operation under chloroform, showing resignation by (alternately?) folding one open hand over the other on the lower part of chest, (whilst recumbent?)— I know this expression, & think I ought to notice it— Could you look out for an additional instance?—4 I fear you will think me very troublesome, especially when I remind you (not that I am in a hurry) about the Eustachian tube.—5

Your’s very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the first letter to John Tyndall, 1 March [1871].
See letters to John Tyndall, 1 March [1871] (first letter) and 7 March [1871].
CD had met Ogle during his recent visit to London (see first letter to John Tyndall, 1 March [1871] and n. 1). In Expression, p. 294, CD included Ogle’s description of the murderer’s expression.
See Expression, p. 271, for CD’s reference to Ogle’s observations on patients expressing resignation.
In Expression, pp. 282–3, referring to the cause of the mouth being opened when astonishment is felt, CD cited Ogle as an authority on the function of the eustachian tube.


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


Will write again to Tyndall about odours.

Asks for the circumstances under which WO saw a man arrested for murder; quotes from notes he made from WO’s conversation [Expression, p. 294].

Also would like to quote WO on the expression of resignation by persons about to undergo serious operations [Expression, p. 271].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Ogle
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 261.5: 6 (EH 88205904)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7551,” accessed on 26 September 2021,

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