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''                                34                         THE PRINCIPLE OF                  CHAP. I.

1 If

I*                             Another curious instance of an odd inherited move-

11:                             ment, associated with the wish to obtain an object, will

be given in the course of this volume.

*}                                   There are other actions which are commonly per-

v                             formed under certain circumstances^ independently of

habit, and which seem to be due to imitation or some

sort of sympathy.    Thus persons cutting anything with

is of peculiar interest, because it occurs only during sound
sleep, and therefore cannot be due to imitation, but must
be altogether natural. The particulars are perfectly trust-
worthy, for I have enquired fully into them, and speak
from abundant and independent evidence. A gentleman
of considerable position was found by his wife to have the
curious trick, when he lay fast asleep ou his back in bed,
of raising his right arm slowly in front of his face, up to
his forehead, and then dropping it with a jerk, so that
the wrist fell heavily on the bridge of his nose. The trick
did not occur every nigiit, but occasionally, and was in-

sr                                dependent "of any ascertained cause.    Sometimes  it was

' repeated incessantly for  an hour or more.    The  gentle-

;                                   man's nose was prominent, and its bridge often became

, ' '                               sore from the blows which it received.    At one time an

awkward sore was produced,  that was long in healing,

1   '                                on account of the recurrence, night after night,  of the

*                               blows which first caused it.    His wife had to remove the

button from the wrist of his night-gown as it made severe

,                                   scratches, and some means were attempted of tying his


" Many years after his death, his son married a Incly
who had never heard of the family incident. She, how-
ever, observed precisely the same peculiarity in her hus-
band; but his nose, from not being particularly promi-
nent, has never as yet suffered from the blows. The trick
does not occur when he is half-asleep, as, for example,

,'                                   when dozing in his arm-chair, but the moment he is fast

j                                   asleep it is apt to begin.    It is, as with his father, inter-

mittent; sometimes ceasing for many nights, and some-
times almost incessant during a part of every night. It
is performed, as it was by his father, with his right hand.

" One of his children, a girl, has inherited  the same

'                                   trick.   She performs it, likewise, with the right hand, but

l "                                 in a slightly modified form;   for, after raising the arm,

;i    >                                   she does not allow the wrist to drop upon the bridge of the

',,                                     nose, but the palm of the half-closed hand falls over and

I   '>                                  down the nose, striking- it rather rapidly.   It is also very in-

iv *                                 termittent with this child, not occurring for periods of some

 v                                  months, but sometimes occurring almost incessantly."