RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 'We do not blush when we give an abject beggar' (1.1839) CUL-DAR195.1.1 Transcribed by Kees Rookmaaker. (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Kees Rookmaaker 4.2010, corrections by John van Wyhe 11.2010. RN1

NOTE: Editorial symbols used in the transcription:
[some text] 'some text' is an editorial insertion
[some text] 'some text' is the conjectured reading of an ambiguous word or passage
[some text] 'some text' is a description of a word or passage that cannot be transcribed
< > word(s) destroyed
<some text> 'some text' is a description of a destroyed word or passage
Text in small red font is a hyperlink or notes added by the editors.

Reproduced with permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library and William Huxley Darwin.


Jan 12th 1839

We do not blush when we give an abject beggar (a very modest man) relief if by ourselves; but do so if others are present: — we blush, however, when we give respectable person anything, for then we do think of his thoughts of ourself. —

Compare this note with a line in Expression, p. 334:

For instance, a lady by herself may give money to a beggar without a trace of a blush, but if others are present, and she doubts whether they approve, or suspects that they think her influenced by display, she will blush. So it will be, if she offers to relieve the distress of a decayed gentlewoman, more particularly of one whom she had previously known under better circumstances, as she cannot then feel sure how her conduct will be viewed.

This document has been accessed 2437 times

Return to homepage

Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

File last updated 2 July, 2012