That what Dr. King calls " sexual hysteria " lies at the basis of many of these phenomena, seems to be an indisputable fact. Moll recites the case of a nurse in a hospital who, when she once had to assist a man in urinating, became so violently excited, sexually, that she was compelled to he down on a couch in the next room while a convulsive orgasm took place;1 and so many cases occur in which hysteria profoundly affects the sexual-centers that we are in a measure justified in accepting the theory of Sollier, that sufferers from that miserable malady are never awake, consciously, but live in a constant pathological sleep, which he happily calls vigilambulism.
Indeed, it was a very early belief, among the Greeks especially, that hysteria was of uterine origin; * and the Arabian physicians who carried the traditions of Greek medicine to the East seem to have perpetuated the theory. Gilíes de la Tourette points out the relation, not difficult to trace, between hysteria and the " sacred madness " of the sibylline priestesses of Babylon and Egypt, as well as of Greece and Rome; * and if, as Are tarns remarks, in accounting for the hysterical manifestations of women, the womb "has an aversion to fetid smells, being like an animal within an animal,"' the treatment by applying disagreeable odors to the nose, and fragrant ointments to the privates, frequently alluded to by Galen, was no doubt in strict accord with the therapy of the times.
The well-known susceptibility of hysteria to manifest itself in sexual desire and sexual hallucinations, giving rise to Laycock's acute proverb "saJacitas major, major ad hysteriam proclivitas"—is a subject so vast as to require a volume for itself; but, in dismissing this question of psychical sexuality, and with it the multitudinous host of manifestations comprised under the general head of artificial, or what might be called pathological, erotism, here only barely glanced at, we need not necessarily deny to the ancients any basis of physiological correctness in their antiquated notions.
• Aretapus, "On the Causes and Symptoms of Acute Diseases," n,2. Indeed, this peculiar view of the womb's connection with hysterical seizures, and the efficacy of fetid drugs, seems to be fairly borne out by the fact that there are few drugs more fetid than asafetida, and few more commonly used in such attacks.
If hysteria and chlorosis are twin sisters, the former is at least the cousin of sexuality; and whether the latter be a result of the former, or the former of the latter, both are psychic lesions, and both extremely apt to steal each other's symptoms.
Until the day of Breuer and Freud, hysteria was the great stigma of medicine. Those writers were the first to give a definite name, if not an entirely satisfactory aetiology, to a hitherto confused and misunderstood psychic malady; and Charcot, taking up the work where they left it, has at last succeeded in presenting the subject in a tolerably clear light, as a record of epiphenomena produced, just as is sexuality itself, by emotional processes occurring within the psychic organism, and involving mechanism of, for the most part, very well defined and fairly understood character and relations.