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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Henry Reeks   5 March [1873]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

March 5th

My dear Sir

I have received a multitude of letters about my Expression book, but I do not think one has contained so many valuable remarks as yours, & I thank you accordingly.— I have had copied out many of your pencil observations, & I return by this post your copy.2 I have written your name, as you desired, & as you seemed to wish to have my autograph, I have added a few words; but no sooner had I done so than I became aware that I had by implication told a falsehood, as if I had presented the copy.—

I do not know what to think about your two cases of children “pounding” whilst sucking their tongues, for I have never seen & cannot hear of infants whilst really sucking the breast thus acting. I have been particularly glad to hear about the Blushing—about the pigs’ ears (I wish I knew whether Boars with well developed tusks thus move their ears when savage)3 & about the Bull & black cows; also about the rabbits. You must be a most acute & careful observer, thus to have observed without your attention having been specially directed to the points in question.4

There are several points, which I shd like to discuss with you; but I am in truth overwhelmed with letters. With my best thanks, pray believe me yours very faithfully & obliged | Ch. Darwin

It is most gratifying to me that my Book has interested you.—

P.S. The youth who trembled so that he cd not reload his gun after killing his first snipe was myself, when a school-boy.5


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Henry Reeks, 3 March 1873.
See enclosure to letter from Henry Reeks, 3 March 1873 and n. 1.
In Expression, pp. 111–14, CD suggested that only animals that fought with their teeth laid back their ears when angry, but admitted receiving ambiguous reports about wild boar.


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


Thanks for HR’s valuable remarks about Expression, and returns HRs copy, signed.

Discusses some of HR’s anecdotes about children sucking their tongues.

Admits that the youth who trembled so that he could not reload his gun after killing his first snipe was himself, when a school-boy.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8796F,” accessed on 24 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21