Page images


Such a body would pass by the kidneys-of water about 50 ounces; of urea about 500 grains; of other solid matters about 500 grains, in 24 hours.


In the frog a nervous impulse travels at the rate of about 80 feet in a second.

In a man a nervous (sensory) impulse has been variously calculated to travel at 100, 200, or 300 feet in a second.


Red corpuscles of the blood are about in breadth; white corpuscles 50th. Striated muscular fibres are about breadth; plain


th of an inch

th of an inch in

Nerve-fibres vary between ooth and both of an inch in breadth.

Connective tissue fibrils are about th of an inch in breadth.

Epithelium scales (of the skin) are about th of an inch in breadth.

Capillary blood-vessels are from

6th to zoooth of an

inch in breadth.

Cilia (from the wind-pipe) are about goboth of an inch in length.

The cones in the "yellow spot" of the retina are about 10000th of an inch in breadth.


THE CASE OF MRS. A— (See p. 240.)

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(1) THE first illusion to which Mrs. A. was subject, was one which affected only the ear. On the 21st of December, 1830, about half-past four in the afternoon, she was standing near the fire in the hall, and on the point of going up to dress, when she heard, as she supposed, her husband's voice calling her by name : come here! come to me !" She imagined that he was calling at the door to have it opened; but upon going there and opening the door, she was surprised to find no person there. Upon returning to the fire she again heard the same voice calling out very distinctly and loudly, come, come here!" She then opened two other doors of the same room, and upon seeing no person, she returned to the fireplace. After a few moments she heard the same voice still calling," Come to me, come ! come away!" in a loud, plaintive, and somewhat impatient tone; she answered as loudly," Where are you? I don't know where you are," still imagining that he was somewhere in search of her; but receiving no answer, she shortly went upstairs. On Mr. A.'s return to the house, about half an hour afterwards, she inquired why he had called her so often, and where he was, and she was of course greatly surprised to learn that he had not been near the house at the time. A similar illusion, which excited no particular notice at the time, occurred to Mrs. A. when residing at Florence, about ten years before, and when she was in perfect health. When she was undressing after a ball, she heard a voice call her repeatedly by name, and she was at that time unable to account for it.

(2) The next illusion which occurred to Mrs. A. was of a more alarming character. On the 30th of December, about four o'clock in the afternoon, Mrs. A. came downstairs into the drawing-room, which she had quitted only a few minutes before, and, on entering the room, she saw her husband, as she supposed, standing with his back to the fire. As he had gone out to take a walk about half an hour before, she was surprised to see him there, and asked him why he had returned so soon. The figure looked fixedly at her with a serious and thoughtful expression of countenance, but did not speak. Supposing that his mind was absorbed in thought, she sat down in an arm-chair near the fire, and within two feet, at most, of the figure, which she still saw standing before her. As its eyes, however, still continued to be fixed upon her, she said, after the lapse of a few minutes, "Why don't you speak?" The figure immediately moved off towards the window at the further end of the room, with its eyes still gazing on her, and it passed so very close to her in doing so, that she was struck with the circumstance of hearing no step or sound, nor feeling her clothes brushed against, nor even any agitation in the air.

Although she was now convinced that the figure was not her husband, yet she never for a moment supposed that it was anything supernatural, and was soon convinced that it was a spectral illusion. As soon as this conviction had established itself in her mind, she recollected the experiment which I had suggested of trying to double the object; but before she was able distinctly to do this, the figure had retreated to the window, where it disappeared. Mrs. A. immediately followed it, shook the curtains, and examined the window, the impression having been so distinct and forcible, that she was unwilling to believe that it was not a reality. Finding, however, that the figure had no natural means of escape, she was convinced that she had seen a spectral apparition like that recorded in Dr. Hibbert's work, and she consequently felt no alarm or agitation. The appearance was seen in bright daylight, and lasted four or five minutes. When the figure stood close to her, it concealed the real objects behind it, and the apparition was fully as vivid as the reality.

(3) On these two occasions Mrs. A. was alone, but when


the next phantom appeared, her husband was present. This took place on the 4th of January, 1830. About ten o'clock at night, when Mr. and Mrs. A. were sitting in the drawing-room, Mr. A. took up the poker to stir the fire, and when he was in the act of doing this, Mrs. A. exclaimed, “Why, there's the cat in the room!" Where?" exclaimed Mr. A. "There, close to you," she replied. "Where?” he repeated. "Why, on the rug, to be sure, between yourself and the coal-scuttle." Mr. A., who still had the poker in his hand, pushed it in the direction mentioned. Take care," cried Mrs. A., "take care! you are hitting her with the poker." Mr. A. again asked her to point out exactly where she saw the cat. She replied, "Why, sitting up there close to your feet on the rug; she is looking at me. It is Kitty-come here, Kitty!" There were two cats in the house, one of which went by this name, and they were rarely, if ever, in the drawing-room.

At this time Mrs. A. had no idea that the sight of the cat was an illusion. When she was asked to touch it, she got up for the purpose, and seemed as if she was pursuing something which moved away. She followed a few steps, and then said, "It has gone under the chair." Mr. A. assured her that it was an illusion, but she would not believe it. He then lifted up the chair, and Mrs. A. saw nothing more of it. The room was searched all over, and nothing found in it. There was a dog lying on the hearth, who would have betrayed great uneasiness if a cat had been in the room, but he lay perfectly quiet. In order to be quite certain, Mr. A. rang the bell, and sent for the cats, both of which were found in the housekeeper's


(4) About a month after this occurrence, Mrs. A., who had taken a somewhat fatiguing drive during the day, was preparing go to bed about eleven o'clock at night, and, sitting before the dressing-glass, was occupied in arranging her hair. She was in a listless and drowsy state of mind, but fully awake. When her fingers were in active motion among the papillotes, she was suddenly startled by seeing in the mirror the figure of a near relative, who was then in Scotland, and in perfect health. The apparition appeared over her left shoulder, and its eyes met hers in the glass. It was enveloped in grave-clothes,

closely pinned, as is usual with corpses, round the head and under the chin; and, though the eyes were open, the features were solemn and rigid. The dress was evidently a shroud, as Mrs. A. remarked even the punctured pattern usually worked in a peculiar manner round the edges of that garment. Mrs. A. described herself as, at the time, sensible of a feeling like what we conceive of fascination, compelling her, for the time, to gaze upon this melancholy apparition, which was as distinct and vivid as any reflected reality could be, the light of the candle upon the dressing-table appearing to shine fully upon its face. After a few minutes she turned round to look for the reality of the form over her shoulder, but it was not visible, and it had also disappeared from the glass when she looked again in that direction.







(7) On the 17th March, Mrs. A. was preparing for bed. She had dismissed her maid, and was sitting with her feet in hot water. Having an excellent memory, she had been thinking upon and repeating to herself a striking passage in the Edinburgh Review, when, on raising her eyes, she saw seated in a large easy-chair before her the figure of a deceased friend, the sister of Mr. A. The figure was dressed, as had been usual with her, with great neatness, but in a gown of a peculiar kind, such as Mrs. A. had never seen her wear, but exactly such as had been described to her by a common friend as having been worn by Mr. A.'s sister during her last visit to England. Mrs. A. paid particular attention to the dress, air, and appearance of the figure, which sat in an easy attitude in the chair, holding a handkerchief in one hand. Mrs. A. tried to speak to it, but experienced a difficulty in doing so, and in about three minutes the figure disappeared.

About a minute afterwards, Mr. A. came into the room, and found Mrs. A. slightly nervous, but fully aware of the delusive nature of the apparition. She described it as having all the vivid colouring and apparent reality of life; and for some hours preceding this and other visions, she experienced a peculiar sensation in her eyes, which seemed to be relieved when the vision had ceased.







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