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RATHER more than two years ago we considered* in these pages the theory originally propounded by Sir Henry Holland, but then recently advocated by Dr. Brown-Sequard, of New York, that we have two brains, each perfectly sufficient for the full performance of mental functions. We did not for our own part either advocate or oppose that theory, but simply considered the facts which had been urged in support of it, or which then occurred to us as bearing upon it, whether for or against. We showed, however, that some classes of phenomena which had been quoted in support of the theory seemed in reality opposed to it when all the circumstances were considered. For example, Brown-Sequard had referred to some of those well-known cases in which during severe illness a language forgotten in the patient's ordinary condition had been recalled, the recollection of the language enduring only while the illness lasted. We pointed to a case in which there had not been two mental conditions only, as indicated by the language of the patient, but three; the person in question having in the beginning of his illness spoken English only, in the middle of his illness French only, and on the day of his death Italian only (the language of his childhood). The interpretation of that case, and of others of a similar kind, must, we remarked, be very different from that which Brown-Sequard assigned, perhaps correctly, "to cases of twofold mental life." A case of the last-named kind has recently been discussed in scientific circles, which appears to us to bear very forcibly on the question whether Holland's theory of a dual brain is correct. We propose briefly to describe and examine this case, and some others belonging to the same class, two of which were touched upon in our former essay, but slightly only, as forming but a small part of the evidence dealt with by Brown-Sequard, whose arguments we were then considering. We wish now to deal, not with the question of the duality of the brain, but with the more general question of dual or intermittent consciousness.
Among the cases dealt with by Brown-Sequard was that of a boy at Notting Hill, who had two mental lives. Neither life presented anything specially remarkable in itself. The boy was a well-mannered lad in his abnormal as well as in his normal condition, or one might almost say (as will appear more clearly after other cases have been considered) that the two boys were quiet and well-behaved. But the two mental lives were entirely distinct. In his normal condition the boy remembered
*See the Cornhill Magazine for September, 1874.
nothing which had happened in his abnormal condition; and vice versa, in his abnormal condition he remembered nothing which had happened in his normal condition. He changed from either condition to the other in the same manner. "The head was seen to fall suddenly, and his eyes closed, but he remained erect if standing at the time, or if sitting he remained in that position (if talking, he stopped for a while, and if moving, he stopped moving); and after a minute or two his head rose, he started up, opened his eyes, and was wide awake again." While the head was drooped, he appeared as if either sleeping or falling asleep. He remained in the abnormal state for a period which varied between one hour and three hours; it appears that every day, or nearly every day, he fell once into his abnormal condition.
This case need not detain us long; but there are some points in it' which deserve more attention than they seem to have received from Dr. Brown-Sequard. It is clear that if the normal and abnormal mental lives of this boy had been entirely distinct, then in the abnormal condition he would have been ignorant and—in those points in which manners depend on training-ill-mannered. He would have known only, in this condition, what he had learned in this condition; and as only about a tenth part of his life was passed in the abnormal condition, and presumably that portion of his life not usually selected as a suitable time for teaching him, the abnormal boy would of necessity be much more backward in all things which the young are taught than the normal boy. As nothing of this kind was noted, it would appear probable that the boy's earlier years were common to both lives, and that his unconsciousness of his ordinary life during the abnormal condition extended only to those parts of his ordinary life which had passed since these seizures had begun. Unfortunately Brown-Sequard's account does not mention when this had happened.
It does not appear that the dual brain theory is required so far as this case is concerned. The phenomena seem rather to suggest a peculiarity in the circulation of the brain corresponding in some degree to the condition probably prevailing during somnambulism or hypnotism, though with characteristic differences. It may at least be said that no more valid reason exists for regarding this boy's case as illustrating the distinctive duality of the brain than for so regarding some of the more remarkable cases of somnambulism; for though these differ in certain respects from the boy's case, they resemble it in the circumstances on which Brown-Sequard's argument is founded. Speaking generally of hypnotism, that is, of somnambulism artificially produced,-Dr. Carpenter says, "In hypnotism, as in ordinary somnambulism, no remembrance whatever is preserved, in the waking state, of anything that may have occurred during its continuance; although the previous train of thought may be taken up and continued uninterruptedly on the next occasion when hypnotism is induced." In these respects, the phenomena of hypnotism precisely resemble those of dual consciousness as observed in
the boy's case. In what follows we observe features of divergence. Thus "when the mind is not excited to activity by the stimulus of external impressions, the hypnotized subject appears to be profoundly asleep; a state of complete torpor, in fact, being usually the first result of the process just described, and any subsequent manifestation of activity being procurable only by the prompting of the operator. The hypnotized subject, too, rarely opens his eyes; his bodily movements are usually slow; his mental operations require a considerable time for their performance; and there is altogether an appearance of heaviness about him, which contrasts strongly with the comparatively wide-awake air of him who has not passed beyond the ordinary biological state."
It would not be easy to find an exact parallel to the case of the twolived boy in any recorded instance of somnambulism. In fact, it is to be remembered that recorded instances of mental phenomena are all selected for the very reason that they are exceptional, so that it would be unreasonable to expect them closely to resemble each other. One case, however, may be cited, which in certain points resembles the case of Dr. BrownSequard's patient. It occurred within Dr. Carpenter's own experience. A young lady of highly nervous temperament suffered from a long and severe illness, characterized by all the most marked forms of hysterical disorder. In the course of this illness came a time when she had a succession of somnambulistic seizures. "The state of somnambulism usually supervened in this case in the waking state, instead of arising, as it more commonly does, out of the conditions of ordinary sleep. In this condition, her ideas were at first entirely fixed upon one subject—the death of her only brother, which had occurred some years previously. To this brother she had been very strongly attached; she had nursed him in his last illness; and it was perhaps the return of the anniversary of his death, about the time when the somnambulism first occurred, that gave to her thoughts that particular direction. She talked constantly of him, retraced all the circumstances of his illness, and was unconscious of any. thing that was said to her which had not reference to this subject. Although her eyes were open, she recognised no one in this state,—not even her own sister, who, it should be mentioned, had not been at home at the time of her brother's last illness." (It will presently appear, however, that she was able to recognise those who were about her during these attacks, since she retained ill-feeling against one of them; moreover, the sentences which immediately follow suggest that the sense of sight was not dormant.) "It happened on one occasion, that when she passed into this condition, her sister, who was present, was wearing a locket containing some of their deceased brother's hair. As soon as she perceived this locket, she made a violent snatch at it, and would not be satisfied until she had got it into her possession, when she began to talk to it in the most endearing and even extravagant terms. Her feelings were so strongly excited on this subject that it was deemed prudent to check them; and as she was inaccessible to all entreaties for the
relinquishment of the locket, force was employed to obtain it from her. She was so determined, however, not to give it up, and was so angry at the gentle violence used, that it was found necessary to abandon the attempt, and having become calmer after a time she passed off into ordinary sleep. Before going to sleep, however, she placed the locket under her pillow, remarking, 'Now I have hid it safely, and they shall not take it from me.' On awaking in the morning, she had not the slightest consciousness of what had passed; but the impression of the excited feelings still remained; for she remarked to her sister: 'I cannot tell what it is that makes me feel so, but every time that S. comes near me, I have a kind of shuddering sensation;' the individual named being a servant, whose constant attention to her had given rise to a feeling of strong attachment on the side of the invalid, but who had been the chief actor in the scene of the previous evening. This feeling wore off in the course of a day or two. A few days afterwards, the somnambulism again returned; and the patient being upon her bed at the time, immediately began to search for the locket under her pillow." As it had been removed in the interval, "she was unable to find it; at which she expressed great disappointment, and continued searching for it, with the remark, ‘It must be there; I put it there myself a few minutes ago, and no one can have taken it away.' In this state the presence of S. renewed her previous feelings of anger; and it was only by sending S. out of the room that she could be calmed and induced to sleep. The patient was the subject of many subsequent attacks, in every one of which the anger against S. revived, until the current of thought changed, no longer running exclusively upon what related to her brother, but becoming capable of direction by suggestions of various kinds presented to her mind, either in conversation, or, more directly, through the several organs of sense."
We have been particular in quoting the above account, because it appears to us to illustrate well, not only the relation between the phenomena of dual consciousness and somnambulism, but the dependence of either class of phenomena on the physical condition. If it should appear that dual consciousness is invariably associated with some disorder either of the nervous system or of the circulation, it would be impossible, or at least very difficult, to maintain Brown-Sequard's explanation of the boy's case. For one can hardly imagine it possible that a disorder of the sort should be localised so far as the brain is concerned, while in other respects affecting the body generally. It so chances that the remarkable case recently dealt with by French men of science forms a sort of connecting link between the boy's case and the case just cited. It closely resembles the former in certain characteristic features, while it resembles the latter in the evidence which it affords of the influence of the physical condition on the phenomena of double consciousness. The original narrative by M. Azam is exceedingly prolix; but it has been skilfully condensed by Mr. H. J. Slack, in the pages of a quarterly journal of science. We follow his version in the main.
The subject of the disorder, Felida X., was born in Bordeaux in 1843. Until the age of thirteen she differed in no respect from other girls. But about that time symptoms of hysterical disorder presented themselves, and although she was free from lung-disease, she was troubled with frequent spitting of blood. After this had continued about a year, she for the first time manifested the phenomena of double unconsciousness. Sharp pains attacked both temples, and in a few moments she became unconscious. This lasted ten minutes, after which she opened her eyes, and entered into what M. Azam calls her second state, in which she remained for an hour or two, after which the pains and unconsciousness came on again, and she returned to her ordinary condition. At intervals of about five or six days, such attacks were repeated; and her relations noticed that her character and conduct during her abnormal state were changed. Finding also that in her usual condition she remembered nothing which had passed when she was in the other state, they thought she was becoming idiotic; and presently called in M. Azam, who was connected with a lunatic asylum. Fortunately he was not so enthusiastic a student of mental aberration as to recognise a case for the lunatic asylum in every instance of phenomenal mental action. He found Felida intelligent, but melancholy, morose, and taciturn, very industrious, and with a strong will. She was very anxious about her bodily health. At this time the mental changes occurred more frequently than before. Nearly every day, as she sat with her work on her knees, a violent pain shot suddenly through her temples, her head dropped upon her breast, her arms fell by her side, and she passed into a sort of sleep, from which neither noises, pinches, nor pricks could awaken her. This condition lasted now only two or three minutes. "She woke up in quite another state, smiling gaily, speaking briskly, and trilling (fredonnant) over her work, which she recommenced at the point where she left it. She would get up, walk actively, and scarcely complained of any of the pains she had suffered so severely a few minutes before. She busied herself about the house, paid calls, and behaved like a healthy young girl of her age. In this state she remembered perfectly all that had happened in her two conditions." (In this respect her case is distinct from both the former, and is quite exceptional. In fact, the inclusion of the consciousness of both conditions during the continuance of one condition only, renders her case not, strictly speaking, one of double consciousness, the two conditions not being perfectly distinct from each other.) "In this second life, as in the other, her moral and intellectual faculties, though different, were incontestably sound. After a time (which in 1858 lasted three or four hours), her gaiety disappeared, the torpor suddenly ensued, and in two or three minutes she opened her eyes and re-entered her ordinary life, resuming any work she was engaged in just where she left off. In this state she bemoaned her condition, and was quite unconscious of what had passed in the previous state. If asked to continue a ballad she had been singing she knew nothing about it, and if she had received a visitor