RECORD: Ex. 1873. [Review of Expression]. Blushing. Chase County Leader (Kansas), (17 January): 4. 

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 10.2022. RN1

[page] 4


Darwin, in his new work, on "The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals," has an interesting chapter on blushing. This act, he tells us, is the most peculiar and most human of all expressions. Animals never blush, although monkeys redden from passion. We cannot produce blushing by any physical means; it is the mind which must be affected; and blushing is not only involuntary, but the wish to restrain it increases the tendency. While the young blush more freely than the old, infants do not blush; women blush more than men; the blind and the deaf do not escape. It is usually the face, ears, and neck only, that redden; the blush does not extend over the whole body; but certain races who go habitually nearly naked blush over their arms and chests, and even down to their waists.

The limitation of blushing to exposed parts is explained by the fact that these portions of the surface have been habitually exposed to the air, light, and alterations of temperature, by which the small arteries acquire the habit of readily dilating or contracting.

Hindoos blush but little; the Chinese rarely blush; the Polynesians blush freely; young squaws of our American tribes have been seen to blush; the negro has often an appearance resembling a blush; the Kaffres of South Africa never blush, neither do the Australians.— Ex.


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

File last updated 10 November, 2022