Page:Freud - The history of the psychoanalytic movement.djvu/13

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7
HISTORY OF THE PSYCHOANALYTIC MOVEMENT

when in company, that she had been turned over to him for treatment as a nervous case. He ended with the remark—"those are always secrets of the alcove." Astonished, I asked his meaning and he explained the expression to me ("secrets of the conjugal bed"), without realizing how preposterous the matter appeared to me.

A few years later, at one of Charcot's evening receptions, I found myself near the venerated teacher who was just relating to Brouardel a very interesting history from the day's practice. I did not hear the beginning clearly but gradually the story obtained my attention. It was the case of a young married couple from the far East. The wife was a great sufferer and the husband was impotent, or exceedingly awkward. I heard Charcot repeat: "Tâchez done, je vous assure vous y arriverez." Brouardel, who spoke less distinctly, must have expressed his astonishment that symptoms as those of the young wife should have appeared as a result of such circumstances, for Charcot said suddenly and with great vivacity: "Mais, dans des cas pareils c'est toujours la chose génital, toujours—toujours—toujours." And while saying that he crossed his hands in his lap and jumped up and down several times, with the vivacity peculiar to him. I know that for a moment I was almost paralyzed with astonishment, and I said to myself: "Yes, but if he knows this why does he never say so?" But the impression was soon forgotten; brain-anatomy and the experimental production of hysterical paralysis absorbed all my interests.

A year later when I had begun my medical activities in Vienna as a private dozent in nervous diseases I was as innocent and ignorant in all that concerned the etiology of the neuroses as any promising academician could be expected to be. One day I received a friendly call from Chrobak, who asked me to take a patient to whom he could not give sufficient time in his new capacity as lecturer at the university. I reached the patient before he did and learned that she suffered from senseless attacks of anxiety, which could only be alleviated by the most exact information as to the whereabouts of her physician at any time in the day. When Chrobak