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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/548

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

hard-drinking man in the same body, and, after being in his company for a few hours, would walk and talk like him. He would talk foolishly, and stagger, and act identically like him; but if called away, he soon recovered and was as before, yet in his company he used no spirits, and only occasionally soda. This imitation intoxication grew on him, and he seemed to fall into this state in any drinking party where several were intoxicated. He was not aware of his hilarity or stupidity in drinking company, and only remembered that he could not use spirits. He was reported to be intoxicated in the papers, and could with great difficulty make any defense. He is still in office, but has learned to keep away from all drinking men and state dinners where wine and intoxicated and hilarious drinkers are present. A hereditary taint of both insanity and inebriety was present in his case, I have made another group of these cases, that brings out some facts seen in other circles of life. They are cases of reformed men who show signs of intoxication from the contagion of others who are intoxicants. The following is an example:

A prominent military man, who had drunk moderately during the war, and had abstained from that time on, while attending a dinner with his old comrades, where most of them were intoxicated, suddenly became hilarious, made a foolish speech, and settled back in his chair in a drunken state, and was finally taken home quite stupid. He had not drunk any spirits, and had only used coffee and water, and yet he had all the symptoms of the others, only his was intoxication from contagion—the favoring soil had been prepared long ago in the army. Another case was that of a man who had been an inebriate years ago, but had reformed. He was recently elected to office and gave a dinner to some friends. Among them was a physician, who has been greatly interested in these studies. He sent me a long report, the substance of which was this: On the occasion referred to, many of the company became partially intoxicated, and the host, who drank nothing but water, became hilarious, and finally stupid with them. He was put to bed, with every sign of intoxication, but recovered, and next morning had only a confused notion of these events. The third case occurred four years ago. A reformed man, of twelve years' sobriety, went on a military excursion with a drinking company, and, although he drank nothing but lemonade, became as much intoxicated as the others. This event was the subject of much comment and loss to him, socially and otherwise, although he protested, and others confirmed his statements, that he did not take any spirits at this time.

In these cases, as in the others mentioned, two conditions were present: one, in which some special unknown nerve state was inherited, which readily reflected alcoholic states from contagions;