Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/649

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INSANITY.

proportion, will be found to be greatly in excess. For my own part, I would sooner trust my life with an insane man than with one whose brain has been inflamed by over-indulgence in the liquors sold in the saloons and grog-shops. Before a person becomes insane there are two symptoms that almost invariably manifest themselves, insomnia and constipation. All the testimony I have been able to collect upon the subject goes to show this; and I have made very extensive inquiries. There has never been a single case brought to my notice, where the patient's mind was much drawn to any one subject, that it did not, to a greater or less extent, prevent his sleeping, and always enough to excite the attention of those about him. For my own part, although I believed Guiteau to be a "cranky" individual, of very peculiar mental characteristics, I never thought him in a sufficiently abnormal condition to be called insane, and principally for this reason, that with all the intensity of his purpose to shoot President Garfield, and notwithstanding the "pressure" he alleged that he felt upon his mind, he was never known to lose a night's rest. He himself said that he always slept well. Now, an insane man, in the condition which Guiteau wished to make the world believe he was, would not have slept well. He would have been up and down in his room all night, and would have been a nuisance to any one trying to sleep in an adjoining apartment. Nor did Guiteau suffer from constipation. The absence of either of these symptoms would have been sufficient to occasion distrust as-to his insanity; but the lack of both, to my mind at least, furnished conclusive evidence that he was a responsible man.

Before concluding this article, I wish to say a few words in behalf of a certain class of insane patients that, perhaps more than any others, deserve the sympathies of the public.

When I was convalescent, in the asylum, I attended an evening card-party, given in one of the pleasantest wards, for the amusement of those patients that were well enough to appreciate and enjoy such an occasion. I met a lady, a patient, who had been in the asylum three years. Although I could see that she was somewhat flighty, yet in all other respects she was quite an intelligent person. She told me that she had left at Home her daughter, an only child, about fourteen years old, whom she had not seen in all that time. This lady's husband had virtually put her in prison, and had never taken the pains to call on her himself oftener than once a year, and had never allowed her daughter to visit her. Tears stood in the poor woman's eyes as she told me these things, and I had no reason to believe that she was deceiving either herself or me. And upon inquiry I found that her case was not an exceptional one. There are mothers confined in all our asylums, as there were in the institution where I was, who, while they are insane enough to warrant their being put under restraint, are yet sufficiently intelligent to be sensible of their condition, and, like the lady I have alluded to, be overwhelmed by the thought that they