Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 26.djvu/199

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their eggs, because the figs are here so constituted that there is no proper place for them to lay on. In other words, the true fig is a cultivated wasp-proof caprifico. But, as the figs won't properly swell without fertilization, it becomes important to conciliate the attentions of the wasps; and for this reason the Italian peasants hang small branches of the caprifico on the boughs of the cultivated fig-trees, at the moment when the eye of the fig opens, and so shows that they are ready to be fertilized. The wasps, as they emerge from their own homes, enter the figs at once, and there set the little hard seeds, on whose impregnation the pulpy part of the fig begins to swell. The fruit of the caprifico itself never comes to anything, as it hardens and withers on the tree; but, since the true figs are dependent upon it for pollen, it follows that, if the caprificos were ever to become extinct, the supply of best Eleme in layers would forthwith cease entirely.—Cornhill Magazine.


I PROPOSE to describe in a general way a peculiar mental state following the toxic use of alcohol, which has only recently attracted attention, and which promises to be a very imporant factor in the medical jurisprudence of the future. Morbid states of the nervous system, in which the mind seems to act automatically, and without consciousness of the surroundings, and with no registration by the memory of these acts, are not new to students of mental and nervous diseases; but the fact that they are more or less common in inebriety from alcohol, and may follow any excess, is a recent discovery. In 1879 I published a short paper "On Trance and Loss of Consciousness following Inebriety," which, as far as I can ascertain, was the earliest study of these cases ever made. The following are among the first cases which attracted my attention to this subject. In 1877 a patient was admitted to the asylum at Binghamton, with this incident in his history: A year before, while apparently sober, he purchased a trotting-horse, paying a fabulous price. Two days after, he denied all knowledge of the transaction, and became involved in a lawsuit. On the trial it appeared that the purchase of the horse had been discussed for many hours, and that the buyer had exhibited great sagacity and judgment to avoid deception; also that, although drinking large quantities of spirits, he gave no evidence of other than good judgment, and perfect knowledge of his acts and their consequences. In the defense it was shown that the purchase of the horse was a most unusual act; that he never showed any interest in fast horses, or racing, nor had he been on the race-course, and was in fact afraid of driving fast horses; and,