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Darwin Correspondence Project

To P. B. Mason   24 March [1871]

Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.

March 24th

Dear Sir

I am greatly obliged for your valuable letter.1 A short time ago I was calling on an eminent physician, & he took off his neckcloth, bared his neck & showed me the platysma in splendid voluntary action.—2

I am much interested by what you say about the hair on the backs of weakly children. Would it be asking too great a favour to beg you to observe during next 6 or 9 or 12 months any case,—giving me particulars of age—sex—space covered with hair—length of longest hairs &c &c. I think a detailed case might be well worth giving.—

Pray believe me Dear Sir | with my best thanks | In Haste | Your’s very faithfully | Ch Darwin


Mason’s letter has not been found.
CD may refer to William Ogle, whom he saw during a recent visit to London (see first letter to John Tyndall, 1 March [1871] and n. 1). In Expression, pp. 300–1, CD cited Ogle for his observations on movement of the platysma myoides, the sheet of muscle extending from the collar bone to the base of the cheek.


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


Interested in occurrence of hair on backs of weakly children. Asks PBM if he would report particulars of any case he observes during next 6–12 months.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Philip Brookes Mason
Sent from
MR 24 71
Source of text
Cleveland Health Sciences Library (Robert M. Stecher collection)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7615,” accessed on 27 September 2021,

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