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"Since then he has only had one paroxysm, which indeed happened closely after his arrival, and was so violent as to require the whirlingchair. So far as we can judge, he appears to be now in a steady way of recovery.
“We make a practice never to allude to the hallucinations of any patient. The allusions they make to it themselves are allowed to pass apparently altogether unremarked ; while, by affording them other pursuits, of an active and engrossing nature, we endeavour to lead them altogether from employing their thoughts on the topic. I considered it as well to mention this, in order that, as you will be constantly in his society, you may follow a course in consonance with our system.
“You will find he does clerk's business in the asylum ; takes reports, keeps the journal, looks after the dieting, and affects to have a sharp eye over the keepers. Of course you will require to do all these duties yourself, though you will find him of amazing value to you in a variety of ways. You must take care that no historical work of any kind, no atlas, globes, nor any newspapers or periodicals, come where they can possibly be seen by him. The time he is not occupied with his fancied duties you will find him devote to the perusal of books from my uncle's library, all regarding or bearing upon his own malady, such as Abercromby, Pinel, Reports of Commission on Lunatic Asylums, Quetelet, Dr. Hibbert's book, and a host of others; or to the study of botany, which he prosecutes with very great ardour. He is allowed to go out about the fields as often as he chooses, but Jackson the keeper always accompanies him, on the pretext of carrying his plant-case, which we have purposely had made very clumsy and inconvenient, as if to require such attendance.
"I should state to you that you must never betray the slightest evidence of timorousness when alone with him ; for if you attend to the above instructions he is altogether harmless, and, moreover, a most agreeable companion ; whilst the least appearance of such a feeling gives him great uneasiness; for madmen, however strong may be their own notions, have always a suspicion about what people think of them, and any indication of the kind on your part will make him very despondent, and probably for a considerable time divert him from the salutary pursuits he is at present so much engrossed with. You may be as obstinate as you like with him in any discussion, you will always find his manner marked by "good-humour and courtesy, whilst at the clear and masterly nature of his views on a multitude of subjects, you will be struck with surprise.
"One of his prime accomplishments, I had almost forgot to say, is drawing. Some of his productions in this way are admirable. They appear so to me, though I must confess I have no particular taste in the art, but I have heard them praised even more highly by others whose opinion is not so questionable." Such was the account I received of this young man,
my experience shortly convinced me of its correctness.
* This machine, frequently used in the violent fits of maniacs, consists of a chair fixed upon a pivot, and so constructed that with the unfortunate creature in it it can be made to revolve with great rapidity. Its calming effect upon patients is complete at the time, but whether permanently useful must be questionable.
His appearance was somewhat remarkable. He was what is called a fine-looking man, and had about him that indescribable cast of features and gestures by which it is almost always possible to know a foreigner. His eyes especially, large, prominent, and of a blueish gray colour, "darted rapidly from one direction to another, and their glance had that peculiar expression whereby some think that they can detect, at the first look, an insane person, or one subject to epilepsy. His voice was very sweet in its sound, and the slight foreign accent lent it a degree of interest that rendered him a most pleasing companion to discourse with. In talent and information I found him to be indeed all that my friend had promised, and very soon got much attached to him; whilst the reflection that this fine intellect was unsound, and profitless to himself or his fellow-creatures, added a feeling of melancholy to the regard I felt for him.
He dressed plainly, but had a taste for jewellery and for fine linen. He was fond of smoking, too, a habit he had acquired long before his illness, and of which those under whose treatment he was, had thought it advisable to permit bis continuance. He used Turkish tobacco, in a long pipe of straight stick, with the bark on, which had a red clay bowl at one end, and a gilded amber mouth-piece at the other. I have since seen these in common use in the eastern part of the Mediterranean, but it was quite novel to me at the time, and added to the strange and outlandish appearance of all the man.
After I had been some days at the asylum, he used to come every evening to my apartment, generally with a book or portfolio under his arm, and we would smoke and drink coffee by ourselves for an hour or so, and talk over the contents of the volume. His very large collection, too, of sketches and water-colour drawings, was a fruitful source of pleasurable amusement to me on such occasions. They were certainly most masterly productions. A number were anatomical-chiefly copies of dissections of the nervous system; and these were executed with a cleanness and sharpness of outline, and a correctness of form and colouring, that was indeed remarkable.
I was particularly pleased with some drawings of the origin and distribution of the Trigeminus, or fifth pair.
The reader, who is in any degree acquainted with physiology, will know what a difficult subject this is, whether for demonstration or copying on paper; yet to such minuteness had the dissection apparently been carried, and with such accuracy and taste had it been depicted, that I was perfectly delighted, and emphatically expressed my admiration and preference of them to all the others.
Yes,” said he, “ they are the best—they were the last I ever did of that description. I was an enthusiast then for anatomy, especially physiological. I dissected eight hours out of the twenty-four for about two years, and when my other classes took up my time by day, I used to go at it by night. My grand subjects of investigation soon became the nervous system. I was incited and inspired by the discoveries of Bell, Marshall Hall, and others, and convinced I too could do something, gave so much of mind to the study, that I regularly became unwell, and sometimes think there has been a strange confusion in my mind ever since."
He said this with a look and tone so mournful, that I was much moved, and felt deeply for him. He paused awhile, then broke out suddenly, whilst his eyes flashed with strange lustre.
“But what do you think, D, my toils were at length rewarded, and gloriously. A discovery arose before me, in comparison with which all the boasted ones of the most distinguished names are but as dust. I actually found out and now know what is the nervous influence where it resides—how to detect it, separate it from the body, accumulate it, treasure it up apart, make it obedient to my commands. Then first did I know what mind is, and how it acts upon matter, and is again reacted on. Then did I first ascertain the immortality of the soul, and most interesting of discoveries !—find out the origin and transmi. gration of the spirit that animates my own frame.
What do you think I came here for, but to render my knowledge complete, by watching in its deranged and unsound state that mind which I had so long and much studied in its perfect working ?
In a year or two, when I have acquired a thorough intimacy with the subject in every possible point of view, and had time to digest and arrange the facts in my thoughts, I will bring out a work that will strike the world with wonder, as did the deeds of Columbus, and open up an entirely new field for the speculations of ingenious men. The benefit I shall have conferred upon mankind will be incalculable. Who then will dread death, when he knows that his spirit can never diethat this awful event is simple as the changing of a garment, and that by a method which I shall make public, when one body becomes no longer suited to him, he can choose another, in what rank or race best pleases him?
Oh, the wretched absurdity of hereditary honours ! Could men but know when they lick the dust before a creature to whom the chance of bodily birth has given power, what sort of spiritual origin it hath, they would hide themselves for very shame of their monstrous folly. Shakspeare talks of the base uses our clay may come to, and traces the dust of Cæsar till he finds it stopping a bung-hole. But look at yonder youthful duchess in her box at the opera, glittering with jewels -herself more dazzling in her beauty—the focus to which the beams from all eyes converge; the theme of all conversation—the idol of all worship. Whence came the soul, that at the command of the chief spirit, entered into her frame when it first took form? From the body of a hideous negro, which was corrupted to death by a loathsome leprosy, whilst itself was debased by ignorance, slavery, and unbridled passions, till it could scarcely be known from the disgusting matter of which it had been the life.
When this bright discovery first opened upon me, and the transports of the joy attendant had subsided into the proud but calm consciousness of a mighty triumph, you can form no idea of the feelings with which I looked back upon the gropings of men whom the unenlightened call and honour by the name philosophers. When I thought of their dreams about Matter and Mind, Consciousness, Cause and Effect, and other 'stumbling-blocks, I could only admire with how little talent a man may acquire the name. How would they regard my great revelation, when I choose to make it? Would they treat me as they did Harvey ? No, they could not-they would be overwhelmed with the vastness of the new intellectual world that would be displayed before them, and when they were, through its means, enabled to discern the nature of the mighty spirit animating the body of the discoverer, and to know the deeds it has originated in the different bodies it has sojourned in, they would fall down and worship, knowing it to be as far above them as the chief spirit again has marked the distance between it and himself.
Would you know the manner in which this great discovery was made? It was terrible — (Here he shuddered) - as must always be any breaking through the laws of nature, for such is to be considered the first consciousness a man's material senses have of the presence of an immaterial being. For about six months I had been tormenting my mind, speculating upon what could be the precise nature of that Influence Fluid, or whatever else the ignorant call it, of which the brain is the reservoir, and the nerves the channels -whether it was a mere property of matter, or separately existentif the latter, whether it was perishable or eternal. Methought if I could establish their separate and independent being-then matter and spirit would be proved to be the only things that had existence; but matter, we already know, is indestructible—why should not spirit then be indestructible likewise. And then wherefore should the connexion of a portion of spirit with matter be only solitary and temporary? should it not rather be continual; and as the organised portion of matter ceases in time to be capable of the connexion, should not a new portion be provided, and should not the spirit, upon the breaking up of one connexion, immediately form another, and thus migrate from body to body, suffering to be lost none of its power of being useful?
Such is a specimen of the thoughts that filled my head, sleeping and waking, all the while I was endeavouring, by constant and most minute dissection, to gather facts whereon to build my hypotheses, and reading every book I could lay my hands upon, that bore in any degree upon the subject. I had a presentiment I should make some vast discovery, and grudged no labour nor expense which the most parsimonious living could enable me to afford. As the hospital dissectingroom was unsuitable for my pursuits, from the noise and continual interruption of young men, who appear to come to such places more as a lounge than for study, and also from the want of opportunity to dissect by night, I entered myself a pupil of Mr. P-'s private rooms.
This place was situated in Lane, Southwark, a dingy, disreputable hole, the unseemliness of which prevented the facilities for study which it afforded from being properly appreciated and taken advantage of. Only some of the very poorest students frequented it, though about a century ago, it was the best attended anatomical school in London.
The proprietor made no emolument from it, its sole use being to afford him the title of anatomist, which was of course of infinite advantage to him in practice. He was the descendant of two generations of eminent medical men who had lectured there, and whose valuable museums of morbid preparations he inherited. To find your way
to it, you turned from the lane up a dark covered passage for about fifty feet, then emerging into a kind of court, with blind walls all around, you saw before you a tall, dark building. The lower stories had been used formerly for a leather factory, but had long been deserted, and were now quite ruinous and empty. The upper stories formed the school, approachable by a staircase behind, to get at which you had to go through another arched passage, as dark, but shorter than the first. After mounting this, and entering within the wall of the building, you ascended two narrow staircases of wood, and traversed a long passage with two doors, the further of which opened into the dissecting-room, the nearer into the theatre or class-room. Immediately under these were two large rooms, the museum, which opened at the top of the first wooden staircase. Their walls were concealed by shelves, crowded with cylindrical crystal bottles, containing various portions and organs of the body of man, and of other animals, preserved in alcohol. Several of these were very ancient, and also most interesting, from the important phenomena of which they were the proofs or illustrations.
In various cabinets, with glass fronts, were displayed bones varnished, preparations of the arteries, veins, and nerves--in short, the place had all the ghastly features of an anatomical museum, with the peculiar stillness, coldness, and strange earthy smell.
The dissecting-room was an extensive hall, lighted by two large windows in the roof. From the ceiling, which was very high, depended a couple of skeletons, one of which had the thumb of its hand fixed up to the nose, in an attitude of derision, and the other had stuck between its teeth a short pipe, whilst one hand was made to hold a quizzing-glass to its empty socket. All round the dead walls were hung up drawings of various organs, plans of their action, preparations of legs, arms, &c., in the process of drying, and the leather and cloth gowns of the pupils ; whilsi, to complete the picture, fancy a couple of tables, each bearing the cast-off and decaying tenement of a spirit, opened up in its intricate machinery to the eye, like a watch denuded of its case.
Such was the scene in which I passed many a lonely night of hard and uninterrupted study, with no companion but my books, a small voltaic battery and coil, and some other instruments and apparatus of my own construction, of which no man but myself understands the nature.
The place was plentifully supplied with light, the two windows taking up nearly the whole of the ceiling. In one of them I had fixed the reflector of a small solar microscope, with which I prosecuted my physiological investigations.
But the first step towards my grand discovery, was the finding a substance which had power to harden the nervous matter to an infinitely greater degree than alcohol, alum, corrosive sublimate, or any other antiseptic previously known.
When my views began to open up more distinctly, I became apprehensive that my experiments and dissections might be watched ; and during the day I came only al those hours when I knew the other pupils were engaged elsewhere. The night was my chosen time for labour. To facilitate my proceedings in this way, the proprietor alJan.- VOL. LXX. NO. CCLXXVII.