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ing to note, that the effect was invariably to raise the one in the other's estimation, as if ihey mutually prized most the qualitiesof the
other. Young N had spent two days in
London—the greater portion of them, I need hardly say, at my house—about a week before; and he and his fair friend had disputed rather keenly on the topic of general discussion—the predicted event of the 10th of July. If she did not repose implicit faith in the prophecy, her belief had, somehow or another, acquired a most disturbing strength. He labored hard to disabuse her of her awful apprehensions ; and she as hard to overcome his obstinate incredulity. Each was a little too eager about the matter: and for the first time since they had known each other, they parted with a little coldness: yes, although he was to set off the next morning for Oxford! In short, scarcely any thing was talked of by Agnes but the'coming 10th of July !' and if she did not anticipate the actual destruction of the globe, and the final judgment of mankind, she at lgastylooked forward to some event, mysterious and tremendous. The eloquent, enthusiastic creature almost brought over my placid wife to her way of thinking.
To return from this long digression—which, however, vjill be presently found to have been not unnecessary—after staying a few minutes in the parlor, I retired to my library, for the purpose, among other things, of making those entries in my Diary, from which these "Passages" are taken: but the pen lay useless in my hand. With my chin resting on the palm of my left hand, I sat at my desk, lost in a reverie; my eyes fixed on the tree which grew in the yard and overshawdowed my windows. How still, how motionless was every leaf! What sultry, oppressive, unnatural repose! How it would have cheered me to hear the faintest " sough" of wind—to see the breeze sweep freshening through the leaves, rustling and stirring them into life! I opened my wmdow, untied my neckerchief, and loosened my shirt collar—for I felt suffocated with the heat. I heard at length a faint pattering sound among the leaves of the tree—and presently there fell on the windowframe three or four large ominous drops of rain. After gazing upwards for a moment or two in the gloomy aspect of the sky, I once more settled down to writing; and was dipping my pen into the ink-stand, when there blazed about me a flash of lightning, with such a ghastly blinding splendor, as defies all description. It continued, I think, six or seven seconds. It was followed at scarce an instant's interval with a crash of thunder, as if the world had been smitten out of its sphere and was rending asunder! I hope these expressions will not be considered hy
perbolical. No one, lam sure, who recolj lects the occurrence I am describing, will require the appeal! May I never see or l hear of the like again. The sudden shock i almost drove me out of my senses. I leaped from my chair with consternation; and 1 could thmk of nothing, at the moment, but closing my eyes, and shutting out from my j ears the stunning sound of the thunder. For a moment I stood literally stupified. On ] recovering myself, my first impulse was to 'spring to the door, and rush down stairs in search of my wife and children. I heard, on my way, the sound of shrieking proceed from the parlor in which I had left them. In a j moment I had my wife folded in my arms, and my children clinging with screams round ; my knees. My wife had fainted. While I i was endeavoring to restore her, there came a second flash of lightning, equally terrible with the first; and a second explosion of thunder, loud as one could imagine the discharge of a thousand parks of artillery dii rectly over head. The windows, in fact the whole housp, quivered with the shock. The j noise helped to recover my wife from her swoon.
"Kneel down, love! husband!" she gasped, endeavoring to drop upon her knees, "Kneel down—pray for us! We are undone!" j After shouting till I was hoarse, and pulling the bell repeatedly and violently, one of the servants made her appearance, but in a state not far removed from that of her mistress. Both of them, however, recovered themselves in a few minutes, roused by the cries of the children. "Wait a moment, love," said I, "and I will fetch you a few reviving drops." I stepped into the back room, where I generally kept some vials of drugs, and poured out a few drops of sal-volatile. The thought then for the first time struck me, that Miss
P was not in the parlor I had just quitted.
Where was she? What would she say to all this? Bless me, where is she? I thought with increasing trepidation.
"Edward—Edward," I exclaimed to a servant who happened to pass the door of the room where I was standing, "where is Miss p i"
"Miifs P , sir! Why—I don't—Oh,
yes," he replied, suddenly recollecting himself, "about five minutes ago I saw her run very swift up stairs, and havn't seen her since, sir." "What!" I exclaimed, with increased trepidation, "Was it about the time that the first flash of lightning came?" "Yes it was, sir."—"Take this into your fnistress, and say I'll be with her immediately," said I, giving him what I had mixed. I rushed up stairs, calling out as I went,— "Agnes, Agnes, where are you?" I received no answer. At length 1 reached the floor where her bed-room lay. The door was closed but not shut.
"Agnes! Where are you?" I inquired very agitatedly, at the same time knocking at the door. I received no answer.
"Agnes! Agnes! For God's sake, speak! Speak, or I shall come into your room!" No reply was made; and I thrust open the door. Heavens! Can I describe what I saw?
Within less than a yard of me stood the most fearful figure my eyes have ever beheld. It was Agnes! She was in the attitude of stepping to the door, with both arms extended, as if in a menacing mood. Her hair was partially dishevelled. Her face seemed whiter than the white dress she wore. Her lips were of a livid hue. Her eyes, full of awful expression—of supernatural lustre—were fixed with a petrifying stare at me. O! language fails me utterly! Those eyes have never since been absent from me when alone! I felt as though they were blighting the life within me. I could not breathe, much less stir. I strove to speak, but could not utter a sound. My lips seemed rigid as those I looked at. The horrors of night-mare were upon me. My eyes at length closed; my head seemed turning round; and for a moment or two I lost all my consciousness. 1 revived. There was the frightful thing still before me; nay, close to me! Though I looked at her, I never once thought of Agnes P . It was the tremendous appearance; the ineffable terror gleaming from her eyes, that thus overcame me. I protest I cannot conceive any thing more dreadful! Miss P continued standing perfectly motionless, and while I was gazing at her in the manner I have been describing, a peal of thunder roused me to my self-possession. I stepped towards her, took hold of her hand, exclaiming "Agnes— Agnes!" and carried her to the bed, where I laid her down. It required some little force to press down her arms; and 1 drew the eyelids over her staring eyes mechanically. While in the act of doing so, a flash of lightning flickered luridly over her; but her eye neither quivered nor blinked. She seemed to have been suddenly deprived of all sense and motion: in fact, nothing but her pulse— if pulse it should be called—and faint breathing, showed that she lived. My eye wandered over her whole figure, dreading to meet some scorching trace of lightning; but there was nothing of the kind. What had happened to her? Was she frightened—to death? I spoke to her; I called her by her name, loudly; I shook her, rather violently: I might have acted it all to a statue. I rang the chamber bell with almost frantic violence:
and presently my wife and a female servant made their appearance in the room; but I was far more embarrassed than assisted by their presence. "Is she killed ?" murmured the former, as she staggered towards the bed, and then clung convulsively to me—" Has the lightning struck her?"
I was compelled to disengage myself from her grasp, and hurry her into the adjoining room, whither I called a servant to attend her; and then returned to my hapless patient. But what was I to dol Medical man as I was, I never had seen a patient in such circumstances, and felt as ignorant on the subject, as agitated. It was not epilepsy; it was not apoplexy, a swoon, nor any known species of hysteria. The most remarkable feature of her case, and what enabled me to ascertain the nature of her disease, was this, that if I happened accidentally to alter the position of her limbs, they retained, for a short time, their new position. If, for instance, I moved. her arm, tt remained for a while in the situation in which I placed it, and gradually resumed its former one. If I raised her into an upright posture, she continued sitting so without the support of pillows, or other assistance, as exactly as if she had heard me express a wish to that effect, and assented to it; but the horrid vacancy of her aspect! If I elevated one eyelid for a moment, to examine the state of the eye, it was some time in closing, unless I drew it over myself. All these circumstances, which terrified the servant who stood shaking at my elbow, and muttering, "She's possessed! she's possessed! Satan has her!" convinced me that the unfortunate young lady was seized with CatAlepsy; that rare, mysterious affection, so fearfully blending the conditions of life and death; presenting (fo to speak) life in the aspect of death, and death in that of life! I felt no doubt that extreme terror, operating suddenly on a nervous system most highly excited, and a vivid, active fancy, had produced tho effects I saw. Doubtless the first terrible out-break of the thunder-storm, especially the fierce splendor of that flash of lightning which so alarmed myself, apparently corrotorating and realizing all her awful apprehensions of the predicted event, overpowered her at once, and flung her into the fearful situation in which I found her: that of one Arrested in her terror-struck flight towards the door of her chamber. But again—the thought struck me, had she received any direct injury from the lightning? Had it blinded her? It might be so, fori could make no impression on the pupils of the eyes. Nothing could startle them into action. They seemed a little more dilated than usual, but fixed.
I confess that, besides the other agitating circumstances of the moment, this extraordinary, this unprecedented case too much distracted my self-possession, to enable me promptly to deal with it. I had heard and read of, but never before seen such a case. No time, however, was to be lost. I determined to resort at once to strong anti-spasmodic treatment. I bled her from the arm freely, applied blisters behind the ear, immersed her feet, which, together with her hands, were cold as marble, in hot water, and endeavored to force into her mouth a little opium and ether. Whilst the servants were busied about her, undressing her, and carrying my directions into effect, I stepped for a moment into the adjoining room, where I found my wife just recovering from a violent fit of hysterics. Her loud laughter, though so near me, I had not once heard, so absorbed was I with the mournful case of
Miss P . After continuing with her till
she recovered sufficiently to accompany me down stairs, I returned to Miss P 's bedroom. She continued exactly in the condition in which I had left her. Though the water was hot enough to parboil her tender feet, it produced no sensible effect on the circulation or the state of the skin; and finding a strong determination of blood towards the region of the head and neck, I determined to have her cupped between the shoulders. I went down stairs to drop a line to the apothecary, requesting him to come immediately with his cupping instruments. As I was delivering the note into the hands of a servant, a man rushed up to the open door, where I was standing, and, breathless with haste, begged my instant attendance on a patient close by, who had just met with a severe accident. Relying on the immediate arrival
of Mr. , the apothecary, I put on my hat
and great-coat, took my umbrella, and followed the man who had summoned me out. It rained in torrents, for the storm, after about twenty minutes' intermission, burst forth again with unabated violence. The thunder and lightning were really awful!
[The new patient proved to be a noted and very profane boxer, who had in returning home dislocated his ancle. His pain and blasphemies were horrible, and during one of his imprecations a flash of lightning struck him Dead !"]
I hurried home, full of agitation at the scene I had just quitted, and melancholy apprehensions concerning the one to which I was returning. On reaching my lovely patient's room, I found, alas! no sensible effects produced by the very active means which had been adopted. She lay in bed, the aspect
of ber features apparently the same'as when I last saw her. Her eyes were closed: her cheeks very pale, and mouth rather open, as if she were on the point of speaking. The hair hung in a little disorder on each side of her face, having escaped from beneath her cap. My wife sat beside her, grasping her light hand—weeping, and almost stupified; and the servant that was in the room when I entered, seemed so bewildered as to be worse than useless. As it was now nearly nine o'clock, and getting dark, I ordered candles. I took one of them in my hand, opened her eye-lids, and passed and repassed the candle several times before her eyes, but it produced no apparent effect. Neither the eye-lids blinked, nor the pupils contracted, f then took out my penknife, and made a thrust with the open blade, as though I intended to plunge it into her eye; it seemed as if I might have buried the blade in the socket, for the shock or resistance called forth by the attempt. I took her hand in mine, and found it damp and cold ^ but when I suddenly left it suspended, it cortiniteiKso for a few moments, and only gradually resumed its former situation. I pressed the back of the blade of my penknife upon the flesh at the root of the nail, (one of the tenderest parts perhaps of the whole body,) but she evinced not the slightest sensation of pain. 1 shouted suddenly and loudly in her ears; but with similar ill success. I felt at an extremity. Completely baffled at all points; discouraged and agitated
beyond expression, I left Miss P in the
care of a nurse, whom I had sentfor toattend upon her, at the instance of my wife, and hastened to my study to see if my books could throw any light upon the nature of this, to me, new and inscrutable disorder. After hunting about for some time, and finding but little to the purpose, I prepared for bed, determining on the next morning to send off
for Miss P \s mother, and Mr. N
from Oxford, and also to call upon my eminent friend, Dr. D , and hear what his
superior skill and experience might be able
to suggest. In passing Miss P 's room,
I stepped in to take my farewell for\he evening. "Beautiful, unfortunate creature!" thought I, as I stood gazing mournfully on her, with my candle in my hand, leaning against the bed-post. "What mystery is upon thee? What awful change has come over thee ?—the gloom of the grave and the light of life—both lying upon thee at once. Is thy mind palsied as thy body? How long is this strange state to last? How long art thou doomed to linger thus on the confines of both worlds, so that those, in either, who love thee may not claim thee! Heaven guide our thoughts to discover a remedy for thy fearful disorder!" I could not bear to look upon her any longer; and after kissing her lips, hurried up to bed, charging the nurse to summon me the moment that any change whatever
\vas perceptible in Miss P . I dare say
I shall be easily believed when I apprize the reader of the troubled night that followed such a troubled day. The thunder-storm itself, coupled with the predictions of the day, and apart from its attendant incidents that have been mentioned, was calculated to leave an awful and permanent impression in one's mind. "If'I were to live a century hence, I could not forget it," says a distinguished writer. "The thunder and lightning were more appalling than I ever witnessed even in the West Indies, that region of storms and hurricanes. The air had been long surcharged with electricity; and I predicted, several days before hand, that we should have a storm of very unusual violence. But when with this we couple the strange prophecy that gained credit with a prodigious number of those one would have suspected to be above eucb>things—neither more rtbr less than that the world was to come to an end on that very day, and the judgment of mankind to follow: I say, the conincidence of the events was not a little singular, and calculated to inspire common folks with wonder and fear. I dare say, if one could find them out, that there were instances of people being frightened out of their wits on the' occasion. 1 own to you candidly that I, for one, felt a little squeamish, and had not a little difficulty in bolstering up my courage."
I did not so much sleep as dose interruptedly for the first three or four hours after getting into bed. I, as well as my alarmed! Emily, would start up occasionally, and sit listening, under the apprehension that we heard a shriek, or some other such sound,
proceed from Miss P 's room. The
image of the blind boxer flitted in fearful forms about me, and my ears seemed to ring with his curses. It must have been, I should think, between two and three o'clock, when I dreamed [hat I leaped out of bed, under an impulse'sudden as irresistible—slipped on my dressing grown, and hurried down stairs to the back drawing-room. On opening the door, I found the room lit up with funeral tapers, and the apparel of a dead room spread about. At the further end lay a coffin on tressele, covered with a long sheet, with the figure of an old woman sittmg beside it with long streaming white hair, and her eyes, bright as lightning, directed towards me with! a fiendish stare of exultation. Suddenly sheI rose up—pulled off the sheet that coveredI the coffin—pushed aside the lid—plucked out the body of Miss P , dashed it on the1
floor, and trampled upon it with apparent triumph! This horrid dream awoke me and haunted my waking thoughts. May I never pass such a dismal night again.
I rose from bed in the morning, feverish and unrefreshed; and in a few minutes' time
hurried to Miss P 'sroom. The mustard
applications to the soles of the feet, together with the blisters behind the ears, had produced the usual local effects without affecting the complaint. Both her pulse and breathing continued calm. The only change perceptible in the color of her countenance was a slight pallor about the upper part of the cheeks; and I fancied there was an expression about the mouth approaching to a smile. She had, I found, continued, throughout the night, motionless and silent as a corpse. With a profound sigh I took my seat beside her, and examined the eyes narrowly, but perceived no change in them. What was to be done 1 How was she to be roused from this fearful,—if not fatal lethargy?
While I was gazing intently on her features, I fancied that I perceived a slight muscular twitching about the nostrils. I stepped hastily down stairs, (just as a drowning man, they say, catches at a straw,) and returned with a phial of the strongest solution of ammonia, which I applied freely with a feather to the interior of the nostrils. This attempt, also, was unsuccessful as the former ones. I cannot describe the feelings with which I witnessed these repeated failures to stimulate her torpid sensibilities into action, and not knowing what to say or do, I returned to dress with feelings of unutterable despondency. While dressing, it struck me that a blister might be applied with success along the w hole course of the spine. The more I thought of this expedient the more feasible it appeared:—it would be such a direct and powerful appeal to the nervous system—in all probability the very seat and source of the disorder!—I ordered one to be sent for instantly, and myself applied it, before I went down to breakfast. As soon as I had despatched the few morning patients that called, I wrote imperatively to Mr. N , at Oxford, and to Miss P 's mother, entreating
them by all the love they bore Agnes, to come to her instantly. I then set out for
Dr. D 's, whom I found just starting on
his daily visits. I communicated the whole case to him. He listened with interest to my statement, and told me he had once a similar case in hiR own practice, which, alas! terminated fatally in spite of the most anxious and combined efforts of the elite of the faculty of London. He approved of the course I had adopted—most especially the blister on [the spine; and earnestly recommended me to resort to galvanism—if Miss P should
not be relieved from the fit before the evening—when he promised to call and assist in carrying into effect what he recommended.
"Is it that beautiful girl I saw in your pew last Sunday, at church?" he inquired suddenly.
"The same—the same!" I replied with a
continued silent for a moment
Dr. D or two.
"Poor creature!" he exclaimed, with an air of deep concern, "one so beautiful! Do you know I thought I now and then perceived a very remarkable expression in her eye, especially while that fine voluntary was playing. Is she an enthusiast about music V
"We'll try it!" he replied briskly, with a confident air—"We'll try it! First, let us disturb the nervous torpor with a slight shock of galvanism, and then try the effect of your organ." I listened to the suggestion with interest, but was not quite so sanguine in my expectations as my friend appeared to be.
In the whole range of disorders that affect the human frame, there is not one so extraordinary, so mysterious, so incapable of management, as that which afflicted the truly unfortunate young lady, whose case I am narrating. It has given rise to almost infinite speculation, and is admitted, I believe, on all hands to be—if I may so speak-^a nosological anomaly. The medical writers of antiquity have left evidence of the existence of! this disease in their day—but given the most obscure and unsatisfactor} description of it, confounding it, in many instances, with other disorders—apoplexy, epilepsy, and swooning. Celsus, according to Van Swieten, describes such patients as these in question, under the term " atloniti," which is a translation of the title I have prefixed to this paper; while in our own day, the celebrated Dr. Cullen classes it as a species of apoplexy, at the same time stating that he had never seen a genuine instance of catalepsy. He had also found, he says, those cases which were reported such, to be feigned ones. More modern science, however, distinctly recognizes the disease as one peculiar and independent; and is borne out by numerous and unquestionable cases of catalepsy, recorded by some of the most eminent members of the profession. Dr. J ebb, in particular, in the appendix to his "Select Cases of Paralysis of the Lower Extremities," relates a remarkable and afSj fecting instance of a cataleptic patient.
On returning home from my daily round— in which my dejected air was marked by all the patients I had visited—I found no alteration whatever in Miss P . The nurse
had failed in forcing even arrow-root down
her throat, and finding it was not swallowed, was compel led to desist for fear of choking her. She was, therefore, obliged to resort to other means of conveying support to her exhausted frame. The blister on the spine, and the renewed sinapisims to the feet, had failed to make any impression! Thus was every successive attempt an utter failure! The disorder continued absolutely inaccessible to the approaches of medicine. The baffled attendants could not but look at her, and lament. Could it be that Agnes was to continue in this dreadful condition till her energies sunk in death? What would become of her lover? of her mother? These considerations totally destroyed my peace of mind. I could neither think, read, eat, nor remain any where but in the chamber, where, alas! my presence was so unavailing!
Dr. D made his appearance soon after
dinner; and we proceeded at once to the room where our patient lay. Though a little paler than before, her features were placid as those of chiselled marble. Notwithstanding all she had suffered, and the fearful situation in %vhich she lay at that moment, she still looked very beautiful. Her cap was off, and her rich auburn hair lay negligently on each side of her, upon the pillow. Her forehead was white as alabaster. She lay with. her head turned a little on one side, and her two small white hands were clasped together over her bosom. This was the nurse's arrangement: for, " poor sweet young lady," she said, "I couldn't bear to see her laid straight along, with her arms close beside jher, like a corpse, so I tried to make her look as much asleep as possible." The impression of beauty, however, conveyed by her symmetrical and tranquil features, was disturbed as soon as, lifting up the eyelids, we saw the fixed stare of the eyes. They were not glassy or corpse-like, but bright as those of life, with a little of the dreadful expression of epilepsy. We raised her in bed, and she, as before, sate upright, but with a blank, absent aspect, that was lamentable and unnatural. Her arms, when lifted and suspended, did not fall, but sunk down gradually. We returned her gently to her recumbent posture, and determined at once to try the effect of galvanism upon her. My machine was soon brought into the room; and when we had duly arranged matters, we directed the nurse to quit the chamber for a short time, as the effect of galvanism is generally found too startling to be witnessed by a female spectator. I wish I had not myself seen
it in the case of Miss P !Her color
went and came—her eyelids and mouth started open—and she stared wildly about her with the aspect of one starting out of bed in a fright. 1 thought at one moment that the