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which his arguments center is that the soul is ab- The other asserts that body and mind are insolutely distinct from the body, and that the latter separable, and can no more exist without each but clogs and cripples its marvelous activity. In other than a fire can without fuel, that mind is a dreams the soul has full play, being as free from peculiar organization and development of matter, the trammels of the body as if it had left it for an affair of blood and nerve, a conglomeration a while, and was disporting itself in utter forget- of nucleated corpuscles which for all the world fulness of its fleshly charge. If this be true, resemble infinitesimal tadpoles, bundles of fibers what must be the freedom and energy of the in which that mysterious phosphorus holds its disembodied state; and what may not a soul sway in company with untold electric batteries. develop and achieve when the millstone of the The development of thought is therefore the debody, with its pains, its ailments, and its imperfec- velopment of matter; ideas become embodied in tions, does not require its watchful care! Then ganglia and cerebral hemispheres, and as these indeed may souls, now apparently sluggish and increase in number and weight the intellect inwitless, be lively and intelligent, “ the grave creases in “wisdom and stature.” Whether abound in pleasantries, the dull in repartees and thought be identical with brain-substance and points of wit.” This is a characteristic of dreams part and parcel of its structure, or whether it which is supported by considerable evidence, and exist independently of matter, and use matter Dr. Abercrombie relates some singular instances only as its vehicle for communicating with a in confirmation of Addison's remark. Emotions, material world, we will not stay to inquire, besuch as joy and sorrow, are intensified in dreams, yond hazarding the opinion that the truth as and can not fail to have a great effect on the life. usual lies between the two, that the connection And so Addison asks these two questions, which, between them is as intimate as it is mysterious, with him, we leave to the solution of the reader. and that if one suffer both suffer. It is, howFirst : “Supposing a man always happy in his ever, an established fact that intellect, as a gendreams, and miserable in his waking thoughts, eral rule, is proportionate to weight of brain, and and that his life were equally divided between that, the more convoluted a brain is, the more them, whether would he be more happy or mis- intelligent is the being which possesses it. The erable?” Second: “Were a man a king in his average weight of the human brain, we are told, dreams and a beggar awake, and dreamed as is about forty-eight ounces; but there are great consequentially, and in as continued unbroken occasional variations, as we might expect from schemes, as he thinks when awake, whether he the great varieties of men. Lord. Campbell's would be in reality a king or a beggar, or rather brain, for instance, weighed seventy-nine ounces, whether he would not be both?” Although Cuvier's sixty-four, Dr. Abercrombie's sixty-three, there can be no doubt of the independent action a Bushwoman's brain, mentioned by Mr. Marof the soul in dreams, and its increased powers, shall Hall, thirty-one and a half ounces, and that he thinks it a pernicious practice to lay stress and of an idiot woman, whose age was forty-two, regulate the future conduct on the mere evidence only ten ounces. The last-mentioned could of transient dreams, which may have no meaning scarcely walk, was just able to nurse a doll and beyond the present hour.
to say a few words. In the matter of convoluLeaving history, let us ask ourselves, “What tion some qualification is necessary. Cuvier's is it to dream ? and what evidence have we of brain was rich in convolutions, but men of known the state of the mind and body in dreaming?” mental superiority have not been so distinguished Well, then, to dream, is to think during sleep. in this respect as some of their intellectual ·inIdeas and trains of thought follow one another feriors. A dog's brain, moreover, is less convoin quick succession, and in a manner over which luted than that of a sheep, ugh none would we have no control. And what is thought? deny that a dog is far more intelligent than a This is the question which has distracted the sheep. minds of philosophers from the most ancient It therefore appears that, if the bodily mechantimes down to the present day. Broadly speak- ism goes wrong, the mind will be more or less ing, there are two important theories which have affected ; and the phenomena of dreams are to a been put forth with equal vigor by opposing rea- great extent referable to this principle. To seek soners. The first maintains that thought is in- out the physical disarrangement or discomfort tuitive, an affair of the mind, is totally indepen- is the first and most natural interpretation of dent of the body, and can exist and will exist dreams. But this physical explanation is often hereafter without it, that the body is a tempo- insufficient to account for the far-reaching powrary habitation for the soul, a casket containing a ers of the mind in sleep, though it may account precious jewel which must be yielded up at death, for the irritation which has started the dream. and that in dreaming the mind is “ fancy free" Then, again, it has been said that we are not and uncontrolled while its sluggish jailer is asleep. wholly asleep when we dream, and that in really
sound sleep dreams are unknown. The senses been long dead; we talk to them, and they talk drop off one by one, and not altogether, as is to us, and often there seems nothing strange in popularly supposed. With the closing of the the matter. Indeed, as a rule, the dead live eyelids the sense of sight disappears, then taste again for us in our dreams. and smell. Hearing follows, and last of all the Another fact which has been pretty clearly sense of touch. The two latter are certainly established is, that we have no measure of time more susceptible in sleep than the former, and it when asleep—a moment may seem a thousand has therefore been said that they sleep with less years, and the events of a thousand years be soundness. Another explanation would be that crowded into a moment. This suggests a very the sleeper is more likely to be disturbed by serious thought; for if this be indeed the propsounds and touches than by other sensations erty of the soul in the disembodied state, time from without. It is further asserted that certain will appear to us eternity. Those who have muscles begin to sleep before others, that sleep studied the matter most closely agree in acknowlcommences at the extremities, beginning with edging that our longest dreams do not last above the feet and legs, and creeping“ toward the cen- a few minutes, if indeed they last so many secter of the nervous action." We all know the onds. It has frequently happened that the cause necessity of keeping the feet warm before going of a dream and the dream itself have taken to sleep. It may be taken as an established fact place in the same moment. The student who that particular sensations are localized in particu- “burns the midnight oil” can recount many inlar portions of the brain ; and it frequently hap- stances of this sort which have occurred through pens that some of the mental faculties are sus- dropping a book, stirring the fire, or carrying pended while others are still active. These about a light. Dr. Abercrombie, in his “Intelfaculties, too, may be kept alive by an excess of lectual Powers,” relates a remarkable dream of nervous energy flowing to them, and a train of this kind. A gentleman dreamed that he enlisted thoughts kept up with surprising vigor. Associ- for a soldier; that after a time he joined the ation has full play, and there are no distracting regiment, and remained a soldier for a long influences from without. But this theory of period; that he deserted, and was taken, tried, dreaming, during partial sleep only, does not ex- and condemned to be shot, and at last led out to plain all circumstances, and it has, moreover, execution. The usual preliminaries were gone opposed to it the evidence of many of the deep- through, the gun was fired, and he awoke “inest thinkers. Sir William Hamilton says that stead of being shot.” A noise in the next room "whether we recollect our dreams or not, we had both caused his dream and awakened him. always dream," though he goes on to add that, Another gentleman, who had once slept in a “as a general rule, those faculties are most in damp bed, always felt a sensation of suffocation action which have been least exhausted during when in a lying posture, as if a skeleton were the day.” It is certainly a matter of observation grasping his throat and causing him the greatest that many dreams seem to have no direct con- agony. And yet his attendant assured him that nection with our present circumstances. Forget- the moment he began to sink into a lying posture fulness of dreams is common with some people, he was roused. If we dream, as has been asthough they may have been heard to talk in their serted, the whole of the time we are asleep, and sleep. Kant says: “To cease to dream would be remember or forget our dreams according as our to cease to live; the mind must necessarily be sleep is deep or light, what a multitude will occur active.” Dr. Cunningham, in an article which he in a single night, and how many must be entirely wrote some years ago, remarks that all thought is lost to us! The dreams which we most distinctly objective and pictorial. •We can not think," he remember are probably those which occur during urges, “ without thinking of something, and that imperfect sleep, or when the sleep begins to be something must be thought of as outside the broken by an approach toward waking. It often mind. It is not our thoughts, but the things we happens that a person dreams, and yet feels conthink of, that are present to our consciousness; scious that it is only a dream. This also, no and thus our thinking consists of a series of doubt, happens at the point of awaking—in fact, visions."
just when reason is beginning to be exercised. But whatever impressions arise in our minds Dreams, with respect to cause, may be arduring sleep, we believe that they have a real ranged under three heads : First, those which and present existence ; and our sensations are are caused by sensations of the muscular feelings, often so acute as to awake us in a manner any- the viscera, and the senses proper; secondly, thing but pleasant. Events that have happened those which seem only to be referable to the long ago come before us; we take our part in mind and the memory; thirdly, those to which, them, and are not surprised in the least at their in default of further evidence, we must assign a
We see friends who have perhaps supernatural interpretation.
With regard to dreams of sensation, it has bling of troops, etc. Just then he was roused by already been remarked that hearing and touch his wife, who had dreamed precisely the same seem to be the most acute in sleep, though sight dream, with this addition, that she saw the eneand taste have much to account for in producing my land, and a friend of her husband killed; unpleasant visions. Indigestion, it is well known, and she awoke in a fright. This occurred at is a fruitful cause of bad dreams; and to go to Edinburgh at the time when a French invasion bed on a heavy supper is simply to court the was feared, and it had been decided to fire a sigmost frightful apparitions. An empty stomach, nal-gun at the first approach of the foe. This on the contrary, seems to have a very favorable dream was caused, it appears, by the fall of a effect on the dreaming mind. Those who have pair of tongs in the room above; and the excited been kept without food generally imagine them- state of the public mind was quite sufficient to selves guests at a delightful feast, and it is re- account for both dreams turning on the same lated of Baron Trenck, when lodged in a dun- subject. An old lady, a friend of the writer, regeon, and almost dying of hunger, that he lates a similar dream which occurred to her just dreamed nearly every night of the table luxuries before the battle of Waterloo, when the fear of of Berlin. The dreams of such persons are, in- an invasion by Napoleon was at its height. She deed, so remarkably bright and agreeable that heard the march of troops in the streets, and the Byron and other authors of his school when in screams of the populace. They broke into her Italy sometimes fasted for several days in order own house, ransacked it, and pursued her with to produce brilliant effects on their imaginations. bayonets. She fell on the floor and pretended to Particular kinds of food and plants, too, have a be dead. After sundry thrusts, which seemed very powerful influence over the mind in sleep, to her “roving spirit” to be quite innocuous, and the frightful slumbers consequent on the the soldiers remarked that she was done for." habitual use of opium, Indian hemp, and other They departed, and she escaped to consciousnarcotics are well known. The visions of De ness. This dream was no doubt caused, in the Quincey“ in his cups ” make the blood run cold; first instance, by a noise in the house or street, and his “ Confessions of an Opium-Eater," if and the painless bayonet-thrusts by some slight sown broadcast in China, where the pernicious irritation, such as a hair-pin or other adjunct to poppy is so largely exported, should be enough dress. Whispering in a sleeper's ear will often to frighten even celestial” pates into abandon- produce a dream; and there are cases on record ing a practice which, like a canker-worm, is eat- in which people who sleep with their ears open ing away the very life of the nation. But Chinese have been led through dreadful agonies at the depravity and misery are, in this matter, India's will of their wakeful tormentors. The vivid degain.
scription * given of a young officer so treated by It has been often remarked how singularly his comrades is both interesting and suggestive. unproductive of dreams is the sense of smell; In changing our position, as we constantly do in nor have we been able to find any properly au- sleep, we touch the bedclothes, etc., perhaps the thenticated cases caused by this sense alone. nose gets tickled or the sole of the foot, and The organ of sight undergoes a curious change dreams painful or pleasant are the consequence. during sleep, as may be proved by slightly rais- These may seem trivial causes, but it must be ing the eyelid. The pupil is observed to be con- remembered that the mind is ready to fly into tracted, and will quiver with an irregular motion the realms of fancy at the slightest intimation. as if inclined to dilate, but it at length ceases to People have often dreamed of spending the semove, and will remain contracted till the person verest winters in Siberia, and of joining the exawakes. If a strong light be held before the peditions to the north pole, simply because the sleeper's eyes he is almost sure to awake; but, bedclothes have been thrown off during sleep. at the very moment, he may have a dream of It is said that a moderate heat applied to the some tremendous fire, perhaps that his house is soles of the feet will generate dreams of volcain flames. The ear of the dreamer is generally noes, burning coals, etc. Dr. Gregory dreamed on the alert, and proves a gong to the mysterious of walking up the crater of Mount Etna, and that spirit to make its airy rounds. To some sleepers he felt the earth warm under his feet. He had the sound of a flute fills the air with music, or placed a hot-water bottle at his feet on going to they dream of a delightful concert. A loud noise bed. The memory of a visit he had once paid to will produce terrific thunder and crashings unut- Mount Vesuvius supplied the mental picture. terable, and at the same time awake the sleeper. Persons suffering from toothache imagine that According to Dr. Abercrombie a gentleman who the operator is tugging at the faulty tooth, and had been a soldier dreamed that he heard a signal- somehow can not extract it; or, as in Dr. Greggun, saw the proceedings for displaying the signals, heard the bustle of the streets, the assem
* Abercrombie, “Intellectual Powers."
ory's case, he draws out the wrong one, and and the marvelous composition of the fragment leaves the aching tooth in statu quo. A blister“ Kubla Khan” by Coleridge will occur to every applied to the head is highly suggestive of being reader. He says that he had fallen asleep in his scalped by Indians, especially if Mayne Reid's chair while reading in “ Purchas's Pilgrimage” ghastly details are at all fresh in the memory. of a palace built by Khan Kubla, and remained
Coming to dreams which seem only capable asleep about three hours, during which time he of being referred to the mind and the memory, “could not have composed less than two or some very curious theories have been put forth three hundred lines.” The images rose up before to explain them. The body is perfectly at rest, him as things, and with them the corresponding and there certainly appears in these cases to be expressions, "without any sensation or consciousbut a slender connection between the soul and ness of effort.” When he awoke he instantly sat its material dwelling-place. And hence has arisen down to commit his composition to paper, but the notion that the mind does actually leave the was called away by a person on business; and body and witness the events of which we dream. when he returned to resume the poem it had If so, vast distances are traversed in a moment, utterly vanished from his memory. Languages if indeed space can be spoken of in connection long forgotten, or apparently but imperfectly with the disembodied soul. In the middle ages known in waking life, have been known to recur many and ingenious were the attempts to account in dreams and delirium. Abercrombie relates for infinite spaces being passed over in infinitesi- several authenticated instances of this sort; and mal times. Some were daring enough to assert the writer knew an able clergyman who, when a that by a single effort of the will they were first boy, preached over in his sleep the sermon he at one place and then at another without having had last heard, seemingly word for word, and it passed through the intervening space. The was no uncommon occurrence for his friends to movements of angels on their missions to man- gather round his bedside to hear his discourse. kind offered ample scope for the play of fancy, But he was endowed with a marvelous memory which in those days often became as erratic as in his waking hours; and, on one occasion, it is the wildest dreams. And this is saying a great said, he learned three books of Euclid on his deal, for the majority of dreams are as incoherent way home from school. Missing documents and and improbable as they are numerous. Ideas forgotten places are sometimes recovered in chase and jostle each other like a mob of rioters. dreams. Sir Walter Scott, in his notes to “The Time, place, circumstances, are alike violated, Antiquary,” speaks of a gentleman sorely trouand we do not feel in the least astonished at the bled in his mind because he was pressed for the incongruity. We walk in the streets arm-in-arm payment of some tithe-money which he believed with people who never have met and who never was unjustly charged, and which he had a concan meet in this world. Bacon, Shakespeare, fused recollection of as having been bought out and other venerable characters will accompany by his deceased father many years ago. In his us down Regent Street and make no remarks on dreams he thought the shade of his father apthe march of progress. But every one will ad- peared to him and inquired the cause of his grief. mit that other dreams are just the reverse of Not at all startled at the apparition, he gravely these. Trains of thought sometimes follow each stated the facts of the case. The shade told him other with a regularity and a coherence which that he must seek out an old lawyer who had resimply astound the dreamer in his waking hours. tired from professional business and was now Condorcet, the French philosopher, whose frigid living at Inveresk. He gave the lawyer's name, manners but warm heart caused him to be likened and remarked that the papers relating to the to a volcano covered with snow, seemed able to purchase of the tithes were in his hands now, freeze the “airy sprite" even in sleep; and it is but that as the transaction had occurred many said that some of his most abstruse calculations years ago, and this was the only one in which were accomplished in dreams. We hear, too, of the lawyer was ever engaged on his account, it a certain lawyer seriously perplexed with a com- would be necessary to call it to his recollection plicated law case, whose troubled soul sought by this token, that " when I went to pay his acrefuge in sleep. In the night, his wife saw him count there was a difficulty in getting change for get up, walk to a writing-table, compose an elab- a Portugal piece of gold, and we were forced to orate “opinion,” place it carefully in a drawer, drink out the balance at a tavern." On reaching and return to bed. Next morning he remembered Inveresk, the gentleman called upon the lawyer, nothing of his dream, and could not believe it till who could not remember the transaction till the his wife gave him ocular demonstration of the incident of the Portugal coin was mentioned, fact by pointing out the drawer where the “opin- when it all recurred to his memory. The docuion ” lay complete. Students and poets are often ments were handed over to him and carried to indebted to dreams for their brightest ideas, Edinburgh to prove his case. Sir Walter Scott
himself disclaims all idea of a supernatural agency but cured the mischievous propensity. Dr. Reid, in this dream, and thinks it quite explicable on too, after suffering much in the same way, adoptthe assumption that the son had heard the detailsed the same plan; and for forty years afterward of the transaction from his father long before, he was not even sensible of dreaming at all! Pasand that the missing links were recovered in his cal, “one of the sublimest spirits of the world," dream by a complicated train of association. had much faith in the influence of dreams, and
Dreams are sometimes said to be the reflex said, " If we dreamed every night the same thing, of our waking thoughts, and the exponents of it would doubtless affect us as powerfully as the the soul's character. Evil propensities will pro- objects which we perceive every day," and produce evil dreams. The sleeping culprit writhes ceeds to propound the problem of the king and as he listens to the reproaches and accusations artisan which Addison borrowed. We must look that disturb his slumber, and his mind is far more well into our hearts and lives if we would have distracted by night than by day. The midnight pleasant dreams; and not delude ourselves like cravings of love, blighted by a hapless fate, are the Irishman who took the mirror to bed to see portrayed by Pope in Eloisa's passionate appeal how he looked when he was asleep. to Abelard :
Leaving what may be called “sensational "
and “mental” dreams, there remains what, in " When at the close of each sad, sorrowing day, default of a better term, we have called superFancy restores what vengeance snatched away,
natural dreams. But here we tread on dangerous Then conscience sleeps, and, leaving nature free, All my loose soul unbounded springs to thee. ...
ground, and must be cautious; for skeptics have I hear thee, view thee, gaze o'er all thy charms,
eyes like the eagle, weapons of opposition keen And round thy phantom glue my clasping arms."
and sharp-edged, and are as jealous and solici
tous about the uniformity of nature's laws as a So powerful an influence do they exert on her lover of his mistress. It must be frankly admitconduct and daily life that the ceremonial pomp ted that powers and influences of a natural kind of the convent in which she is hopelessly im- may be at work in producing dreams of which mured fails to hold her wandering thoughts, and we are ignorant, but which may some day be disshe exclaims :
covered by the ever-brightening eye of Science.
But provisionally, at all events, we must claim for “I waste the matin lamp in sighs for thee;
some dreams a higher origin. By such dreams Thy image steals between my God and me;
as these, great and crushing evils have been avoidThy voice I seem in every hymn to hear ;
ed, the innocent spared, and the guilty detected. With every bead I drop too soft a tear. When from the censer clouds of fragrance roll,
Some years ago, it is related, a peddler was mur
dered in the north of Scotland, and the crime reAnd swelling organs lift the rising soul, One thought of thee puts all the pomp to flight, mained for a long time a mystery. At length a Priests, tapers, temples, swim before my sight.”
man came forward, and declared that he had had
a dream in which there was shown to him a house, Many little sins and secret inclinations which and a voice directed him to a spot near the house seem to escape us awake are disclosed to us in our where was buried the pack of the murdered man; dreams; and any particular tendency in a man's and, on search being made, the pack was actually character may be strengthened by the repeated found near the spot. At first it was thought that action of dreams. Sir Benjamin Brodie says that, the dreamer was himself the murderer, but the as they are an exercise of the imagination, “we man who had been accused confessed the crime, may well conceive them as tending to increase that and said that the dreamer knew nothing about it. faculty during our waking hours,” and possibly It turned out afterward that the murderer and also to serve a much higher purpose. It is there- the dreamer had been drinking together for serfore of some importance to study the art of pro- eral days a short time after the murder. It has curing pleasant dreams, and Dr. Franklin has been suggested, as a possible solution, that the some very pertinent remarks in his essay on this murderer allowed statements to escape him while subject. Unpleasant dreams, too, need to be under the influence of drink which had been rebanished; and the horrible propensity for preci- called to the other in his dream, though he had pices and yawning chasms which some dreamers not the slightest remembrance of them in his have is well known. Dr. Beattie found himself sober hours.* A gentleman dreamed his house once, in a dream, standing in an uncomfortable was on fire; and the dream made so vivid an situation on the parapet of a bridge. Recollect- impression that he immediately returned, saw it ing that he was never given to pranks of this on fire indeed, and was just in time to save one sort, he fancied it might be a dream, and so de- of his children from the flames. A lady dreamed termined to throw himself headlong, hoping that * Abercrombie, " Intellectual Powers." this would rouse him. It not only roused him,