Page:Freud - The interpretation of dreams.djvu/110

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I had never had occasion to inspect Irma's aural cavity. The incident in the dream reminds me of an examination, made some time before, of a governess who at first gave an impression of youthful beauty, but who upon opening her mouth took certain measures for concealing her teeth. Other memories of medical examinations and of little secrets which are discovered by them, unpleasantly for both examiner and examined, connect themselves with this case. "She does not need them anyway," is at first perhaps a compliment for Irma; but I suspect a different meaning. In careful analysis one feels whether or not the "background thoughts" which are to be expected have been exhausted. The way in which Irma stands at the window suddenly reminds me of another experience. Irma possesses an intimate woman friend, of whom I think very highly. One evening on paying her a visit I found her in the position at the window reproduced in the dream, and her physician, the same Dr. M., declared that she had a diphtheritic membrane. The person of Dr. M. and the membrane return in the course of the dream. Now it occurs to me that during the last few months, I have been given every reason to suppose that this lady is also hysterical. Yes, Irma herself has betrayed this to me. But what do I know about her condition? Only the one thing, that like Irma she suffers from hysterical choking in dreams. Thus in the dream I have replaced my patient by her friend. Now I remember that I have often trifled with the expectation that this lady might likewise engage me to relieve her of her symptoms. But even at the time I thought it improbable, for she is of a very shy nature. She resists, as the dream shows. Another explanation might be that she does not need it; in fact, until now she has shown herself strong enough to master her condition without outside help. Now only a few features remain, which I can assign neither to Irma nor to her friend: Pale, bloated, false teeth. The false teeth lead me to the governess; I now feel inclined to be satisfied with bad teeth. Then another person, to whom these features may allude, occurs to me. She is not my patient, and I do not wish her to be my patient, for I have noticed that she is not at her ease with me, and I do not consider her a docile patient. She is generally pale, and once, when she had a particularly