"On that head, sir, my informant, his heir-at-law, gave me no information: nor did I enter into that class of detail. You naturally look at morbid phenomena in a commercial spirit, but we regard them medically--and all this time most assiduously visiting the sick of his parish and preaching admirable serious.
The next instance he gave was of a stockbroker suffering under general paralysis and a rooted idea that all the _specie_ in the Bank of England was his, and ministers in league with foreign governments to keep him out of it. "Him," said the doctor, "I discovered to have been for years guilty of conduct entirely incompatible with the hypothesis of undisordered mental functions. He had accused his domestics of peculation, and had initiated legal proceedings with a view of prosecuting in a court of law one of his oldest friends."
"Whence you infer that, if my son has not for years been doing cranky acts, he is not likely to be deranged at present."
This adroit twist of the argument rather surprised Dr. Wycherley. However, he was at no loss for a reply. "it is not Insanity, but the Incubation of Insanity, which is suspected in your intelligent son's case: and the best course will be for me to enumerate in general terms the several symptoms of 'the Incubation of Insanity:'" he concluded with some severity. "After that, sir, I shall cease to intrude what I fear is an unwelcome conviction."
The parent, whose levity and cold reception of good tidings he had thus mildly, yet with due dignity, rebuked, was a man of the world, and liked to make friends, not enemies: so he took the hint, and made a very civil speech, assuring Dr. Wycherley that, if he ventured to differ from him, he was none the less obliged by the kind interest he took in a comparative stranger: and would be very glad to hear all about the "Incubation of Insanity."
Dr. Wycherley bowed slightly and complied:
"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."