Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 8.djvu/366

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

they had ever witnessed any similar case. In reply, I have received three noteworthy instances, but none to be compared in their exact parallelism with that just given. The details of these three cases are painful, and it is not necessary to my general purpose that I should further allude to them.

There is another curious French case of insanity in twins, which was pointed out to me by Prof. Paget, described by Dr. Baume in the "Annales Médico-Psychologiques," 4me série, vol. i., 1863, p. 312, of which the following is an abstract. The original contains a few more details, but is too long to quote: François and Martin, fifty years of age, worked as railroad-contractors between Quimper and Châteaulin. Martin had twice had slight attacks of insanity. On January 15th a box in which the twins deposited their savings was robbed. On the night of January 23d-24th both François (who lodged at Quimper) and Martin (who lived with his wife and children at St.-Lorette, two leagues from Quimper) had the same dream at the same hour, 3 A. M., and both awoke with a violent start, calling out, "I have caught the thief! I have caught the thief! they are doing mischief to my brother!" They were both of them extremely agitated, and gave way to similar extravagances, dancing and leaving. Martin sprang on his grandchild, declaring that he was the thief, and would have strangled him if he had not been prevented; he then became steadily worse, complained of violent pains in his head, went out-of-doors on some excuse, and tried to drown himself in the river Steir, but was forcibly stopped by his son, who had watched and followed him. He was then taken to an asylum by gendarmes, where he died in three days. François, on his part, calmed down on the morning of the 24th, and employed the day in inquiring about the robbery. By a strange chance, he crossed his brother's path at the moment when the latter was struggling with the gendarmes; then he himself became maddened, giving way to extravagant gestures and making incoherent proposals (similar to those of his brother). He then asked to be bled, which was done, and afterward, declaring himself to be better, went out on the pretext of executing some commission, but really to drown himself in the river Steir, which he actually did, at the very spot where Martin had attempted to do the same thing a few hours previously!

The next point which I shall mention, in illustration of the extremely close resemblance between certain twins, is the similarity in the association of their ideas. No less than eleven out of the thirty-five cases testify to this. They make the same remarks on the same occasion, begin singing the same song at the same moment, and so on; or one would commence a sentence, and the other would finish it. An observant friend graphically described to me the effect produced on her by two such twins whom she had met casually. She said: "Their teeth grew alike, they spoke alike and together, and said the