"One diagnostic preliminary sign of abnormal cerebral action is Kephalalgia, or true cerebral headache; I mean persistent headache not accompanied by a furred tongue, or other indicia significant of abdominal or renal disorder as its origin."
Jane sighed. "He has sad headaches."
"The succeeding symptom is a morbid affection of sleep. Either the patient suffers from Insomnia, or else from Hypersomnia, which we subdivide into sopor, carus, and lethargus; or thirdly from Kakosomnia, or a propensity to mere dozing, and to all the morbid phenomena of dreams."
"Papa," said Jane, "poor Alfred sleeps very badly: I hear him walking at all hours of the night."
"I thought as much," said Dr. Wycherley; "Insomnia is the commonest feature. To resume; the insidious advance of morbid thought is next marked by high spirits, or else by low spirits; generally the latter. The patient begins by moping, then shows great lassitude and ennui, then becomes abstracted, moody, and occupied with a solitary idea."
Jane clasped her hands and the tears stood in her eyes; so well did this description tally with poor Alfred's case.
"And at this period," continued Dr. Wycherley, "my experience leads me to believe that some latent delusion is generally germinating in the mind, though often concealed with consummate craft by the patient: the open development of this delusion is the next stage, and, with this last morbid phenomenon, Incubation ceases and Insanity begins. Sometimes, however, the illusion is physical rather than psychical, of the sense rather than of the intelligence. It commences at night: the incubator begins by seeing nocturnal visions, often of a photopsic* character, or hearing nocturnal sounds, neither of which have any material existence, being conveyed to his optic or auricular nerves not from without, but from within, by the agency of a disordered brain. These the reason, hitherto unimpaired, combats at first, especially when they are nocturnal only; but being reproduced, and becoming diurnal, the judgment succumbs under the morbid impression produced so repeatedly. These are the ordinary antecedent symptoms characteristic of the incubation of insanity; to which are frequently added somatic exaltation, or, in popular language, physical excitability--a disposition to knit the brows--great activity of the mental faculties--or else a well-marked decline of the powers of the understanding--an exaggeration of the normal conditions of thought--or a reversal of the mental habits and sentiments, such as a sudden aversion to some person hitherto beloved, or some study long relished and pursued."
Jane asked leave to note these all down in her note-book.