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Darwin Correspondence Project

To William Main   29 November [1872]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Nov. 29th

Dear Sir

I am much obliged for your very courteous letter. If you ever have time & inclination to read my book,2 I think that you will see that all the cases, referred to, will not be easily explained through your principle of the lines. And even if they could be so explained, there would remain the solution why perpendicular & inclined lines should express what you believe they do.—

Dear Sir | Yours faithfully & obliged | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from William Main, 26 November 1872.


Thanks WM for his letter. CD does not think WM’s principle of [up-tending and down-tending] lines explains the cases of expression of emotions referred to, and, even if it did, the problem would remain as to why the lines should express what WM believes they do.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Main
Sent from
Source of text
Wellcome Collection (MS.7781/1–32 item 10)
Physical description
1p †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8654,” accessed on 19 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20