Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/834

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A very pitiful state this period of becoming insane, and yet not having become so. But even at this late date one can not recognize the invasion of mental disease. Misery and despondency there was, more than enough, but not madness, unless Job was mad. But Swift was rapidly tending toward madness, and he knew it, for strong forebodings of insanity, which are not common, existed in him in a remarkable degree. Sir Walter Scott says that "his first state was that of violent and furious lunacy"; but Sir William Wilde points out that all the biographers have had no other sources of information as to the outbreak and history of his insanity than two letters; one from Mrs. Whiteway, and one from his cousin, Mr. Deane Swift.

Mrs. Whiteway wrote November 22, 1742, as follows, omitting some expressions of feeling:

"I was the last person whom he knew, and when that part of his memory failed he was so outrageous at seeing anybody that I was forced to leave him, nor could he rest for a night or two after seeing any person. He walked ten hours a day, would not eat or drink if his servant staid in the room. His meal was served ready cut, and sometimes it would be an hour on the table before he would touch it, and then eat it walking. About six weeks ago, in one night's time his left eye swelled as large as an egg, and the lid, Mr. Nicholls [his surgeon] thought would mortify, and many large boils appeared on his arms and body. The torture he was in is not to be described. Five persons could scarce hold him, for a week, from tearing out his own eyes; and for near a month he did not sleep two hours in twenty-four. Yet a moderate appetite continued; and, what is more to be wondered at, the last day of his illness he knew me perfectly well, took me by the hand, called me by my name, and showed the same pleasure as usual in seeing me. I asked him if he would give me a dinner? He said, 'To be sure, my old friend.' Thus he continued that day, and knew the doctor and surgeon and all his family, so well that Mr. Nicholls thought it possible he might return to a share of understanding, so as to be able to call for what he wanted, and to bear some of his old friends to amuse him. But alas! this pleasure to me was but of short duration; for the next day or two it was all over, and proved to be only pain that had roused him. He is now free from torture, his eye almost well, very quiet, and begins to sleep, but can not without great difficulty be prevailed upon to walk a turn about his room; and yet in this way, the physicians think, he may hold out for some time."

The only other authentic account from personal knowledge is contained in the letter of Mr. Deane Swift to Lord Orrery, dated April 4, 1744. After stating that a thousand stories of the illness had been invented and imposed upon the world, he proceeds to state some facts witnessed by himself:

"On Sunday the 17th of March, as he sat in his chair, upon the