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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/543

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NEW FACTS IN ALCOHOLIC HEREDITY.

horse. He was thrown out of the wagon and only slightly bruised, but could not walk after. His face was red, his voice jerking and husky, and his language silly, and he staggered with every appearance of a drunken man. He recovered, but was thought to have used spirits. Some months after, at the funeral of his child, all these and other marked symptoms of intoxication returned, to the great mortification of his friends and family. A year later another similar attack occurred from the burning of some outbuildings on his farm. A careful inquiry made it clear that he had not used any spirits, although he had all the signs except an alcoholic breath. His father was an excessive user of spirits, and his mother died of consumption, but could never tolerate the smell or taste of alcohol. He has been gradually becoming weaker for some years, and is now an imbecile.

Second Case.—The treasurer of a large manufactory, temperate but very nervous, and a hard-working man, of forty-eight, suddenly appeared intoxicated when accused by the president of falsifying the books. He was unable to talk rationally, and both appeared and walked like one who had drunk large quantities of spirits. The next day he recovered, and fully explained, to the satisfaction of all. He was ill for a week, with some general debility and indigestion, then went to his duties, became angry, and had a similar paroxysm. A short time after another attack came on at his house, and the physician called it congestion of the brain. In all these instances no evidence of having taken any spirits could be obtained. His father was a sailor and drank freely.

Third Case.—A merchant, of fifty-eight years, lost all his property in a series of unfortunate speculations. He was much depressed, and went to live with his brother-in-law, a physician. He had been a temperate man from principle, and was in good health up to his failure in business. One day, on the receipt of a letter with bad news concerning some business matters, he became to all appearance intoxicated. His brother-in-law, the physician, made a careful examination of all the facts and surroundings, and concluded that this was a case of what he called mind-intoxication, or drunkenness from causes other than alcohol or drugs. A few weeks later a similar occurrence followed an exciting interview with a creditor. During the two years which preceded his death, three distinct attacks were noted, each one lasting from two to six hours. He died suddenly from pneumonia. His ancestors were both moderate and excessive drinkers.

Fourth Case.—A recent one. A merchant, in good health and temperate, while at work in his counting-room, received a dispatch of the death of his daughter. He lay down on a sofa in his office, and very soon became wildly intoxicated. A physician