The War Terror by Arthur B. Reeve
Chapter XXXV. The Psychanalysis
"H--M," mused Kennedy as we walked along after leaving the house. "There were several 'complexes,' as they are called, there--the most interesting and important being the erotic, as usual. Now, take the lion in the dream, with his mane. That, I suspect, was Dr. Maudsley. If you are acquainted with him, you will recall his heavy, almost tawny beard."
Kennedy seemed to be revolving something in his mind and I did not interrupt. I had known him too long to feel that even a dream might not have its value with him. Indeed, several times before he had given me glimpses into the fascinating possibilities of the new psychology.
"In spite of the work of thousands of years, little progress has been made in the scientific understanding of dreams," he remarked a few moments later. "Freud, of Vienna--you recall the name?--has done most, I think in that direction."
I recalled something of the theories of the Freudists, but said nothing.
"It is an unpleasant feature of his philosophy," he went on, "but Freud finds the conclusion irresistible that all humanity underneath the shell is sensuous and sensual in nature. Practically all dreams betray some delight of the senses and sexual dreams are a large proportion. There is, according to the theory, always a wish hidden or expressed in a dream. The dream is one of three things, the open, the disguised or the distorted fulfillment of a wish, sometimes recognized, sometimes repressed.
"Anxiety dreams are among the most interesting and important Anxiety may originate in psycho-sexual excitement, the repressed libido, as the Freudists call it. Neurotic fear has its origin in sexual life and corresponds to a libido which has been turned away from its object and has not succeeded in being applied. All so- called day dreams of women are erotic; of men they are either ambition or love.
"Often dreams, apparently harmless, turn out to be sinister if we take pains to interpret them. All have the mark of the beast. For example, there was that unknown woman who had fallen down and was surrounded by a crowd. If a woman dreams that, it is sexual. It can mean only a fallen woman. That is the symbolism. The crowd always denotes a secret.
"Take also the dream of death. If there is no sorrow felt, then there is another cause for it. But if there is sorrow, then the dreamer really desires death or absence. I expect to have you quarrel with that. But read Freud, and remember that in childhood death is synonymous with being away. Thus for example, if a girl dreams that her mother is dead, perhaps it means only that she wishes her away so that she can enjoy some pleasure that her strict parent, by her presence, denies.
"Then there was that dream about the baby in the water. That, I think, was a dream of birth. You see, I asked her practically to repeat the dreams because there were several gaps. At such points one usually finds first hesitation, then something that shows one of the main complexes. Perhaps the subject grows angry at the discovery.
"Now, from the tangle of the dream thought, I find that she fears that her husband is too intimate with another woman, and that perhaps unconsciously she has turned to Dr. Maudsley for sympathy. Dr. Maudsley, as I said, is not only bearded, but somewhat of a social lion. He had called on her the day before. Of such stuff are all dream lions when there is no fear. But she shows that she has been guilty of no wrongdoing--she escaped, and felt relieved."
"I'm glad of that," I put in. "I don't like these scandals. On the Star when I have to report them, I do it always under protest. I don't know what your psychanalysis is going to show in the end, but I for one have the greatest sympathy for that poor little woman in the big house alone, surrounded by and dependent on servants, while her husband is out collecting scandals."
"Which suggests our next step," he said, turning the subject. "I hope that Butler has found out the retreat of Veronica Haversham."
We discovered Miss Haversham at last at Dr. Klemm's sanitarium, up in the hills of Westchester County, a delightful place with a reputation for its rest cures. Dr. Klemm was an old friend of Kennedy's, having had some connection with the medical school at the University.
She had gone up there rather suddenly, it seemed, to recuperate. At least that was what was given out, though there seemed to be much mystery about her, and she was taking no treatment as far as was known.
"Who is her physician?" asked Kennedy of Dr. Klemm as we sat in his luxurious office.
"A Dr. Maudsley of the city."
Kennedy glanced quickly at me in time to check an exclamation.
"I wonder if I could see her?"
"Why, of course--if she is willing," replied Dr. Klemm.
"I will have to have some excuse," ruminated Kennedy. "Tell her I am a specialist in nervous troubles from the city, have been visiting one of the other patients, anything."
Dr. Klemm pulled down a switch on a large oblong oak box on his desk, asked for Miss Haversham, and waited a moment.
"What is that?" I asked.
"A vocaphone," replied Kennedy. "This sanitarium is quite up to date, Klemm."
The doctor nodded and smiled. "Yes, Kennedy," he replied. "Communicating with every suite of rooms we have the vocaphone. I find it very convenient to have these microphones, as I suppose you would call them, catching your words without talking into them directly as you have to do in the telephone and then at the other end emitting the words without the use of an earpiece, from the box itself, as if from a megaphone horn. Miss Haversham, this is Dr. Klemm. There is a Dr. Kennedy here visiting another patient, a specialist from New York. He'd like very much to see you if you can spare a few minutes."
"Tell him to come up." The voice seemed to come from the vocaphone as though she were in the room with us.
Veronica Haversham was indeed wonderful, one of the leading figures in the night life of New York, a statuesque brunette of striking beauty, though I had heard of often ungovernable temper. Yet there was something strange about her face here. It seemed perhaps a little yellow, and I am sure that her nose had a peculiar look as if she were suffering from an incipient rhinitis. The pupils of her eyes were as fine as pin heads, her eyebrows were slightly elevated. Indeed, I felt that she had made no mistake in taking a rest if she would preserve the beauty which had made her popularity so meteoric.
"Miss Haversham," began Kennedy, "they tell me that you are suffering from nervousness. Perhaps I can help you. At any rate it will do no harm to try. I know Dr. Maudsley well, and if he doesn't approve--well, you may throw the treatment into the waste basket."
"I'm sure I have no reason to refuse," she said. "What would you suggest?"
"Well, first of all, there is a very simple test I'd like to try. You won't find that it bothers you in the least--and if I can't help you, then no harm is done."
Again I watched Kennedy as he tactfully went through the preparations for another kind of psychanalysis, placing Miss Haversham at her ease on a davenport in such a way that nothing would distract her attention. As she reclined against the leather pillows in the shadow it was not difficult to understand the lure by which she held together the little coterie of her intimates. One beautiful white arm, bare to the elbow, hung carelessly over the edge of the davenport, displaying a plain gold bracelet.
"Now," began Kennedy, on whom I knew the charms of Miss Haversham produced a negative effect, although one would never have guessed it from his manner, "as I read off from this list of words, I wish that you would repeat the first thing, anything," he emphasized, "that comes into your head, no matter how trivial it may seem. Don't force yourself to think. Let your ideas flow naturally. It depends altogether on your paying attention to the words and answering as quickly as you can--remember, the first word that comes into your mind. It is easy to do. We'll call it a game," he reassured.
Kennedy handed a copy of the list to me to record the answers. There must have been some fifty words, apparently senseless, chosen at random, it seemed. They were:
head to dance salt white lie green sick new child to fear water pride to pray sad stork to sing ink money to marry false death angry foolish dear anxiety long needle despise to quarrel to kiss ship voyage finger old bride to pay to sin expensive family pure window bread to fall friend ridicule cold rich unjust luck to sleep
"The Jung association word test is part of the Freud psychanalysis, also," he whispered to me, "You remember we tried something based on the same idea once before?"
I nodded. I had heard of the thing in connection with blood- pressure tests, but not this way.
Kennedy called out the first word, "Head," while in his hand he held a stop watch which registered to one-fifth of a second.
Quickly she replied, "Ache," with an involuntary movement of her hand toward her beautiful forehead.
"Good," exclaimed Kennedy. "You seem to grasp the idea better than most of my patients."
I had recorded the answer, he the time, and we found out, I recall afterward, that the time averaged something like two and two- fifths seconds.
I thought her reply to the second word, "green," was curious. It came quickly, "Envy."
However, I shall not attempt to give all the replies, but merely some of the most significant. There did not seem to be any hesitation about most of the words, but whenever Kennedy tried to question her about a word that seemed to him interesting she made either evasive or hesitating answers, until it became evident that in the back of her head was some idea which she was repressing and concealing from us, something that she set off with a mental "No Thoroughfare."
He had finished going through the list, and Kennedy was now studying over the answers and comparing the time records.
"Now," he said at length, running his eye over the words again, "I want to repeat the performance. Try to remember and duplicate your first replies," he said.
Again we went through what at first had seemed to me to be a solemn farce, but which I began to see was quite important. Sometimes she would repeat the answer exactly as before. At other times a new word would occur to her. Kennedy was keen to note all the differences in the two lists.
One which I recall because the incident made an impression on me had to do with the trio, "Death--life--inevitable." "Why that?" he asked casually.
"Haven't you ever heard the saying, 'One should let nothing which one can have escape, even if a little wrong is done; no opportunity should be missed; life is so short, death inevitable'?"
There were several others which to Kennedy seemed more important, but long after we had finished I pondered this answer. Was that her philosophy of life? Undoubtedly she would never have remembered the phrase if it had not been so, at least in a measure.
She had begun to show signs of weariness, and Kennedy quickly brought the conversation around to subjects of apparently a general nature, but skillfully contrived so as to lead the way along lines her answers had indicated.
Kennedy had risen to go, still chatting. Almost unintentionally he picked up from a dressing table a bottle of white tablets, without a label, shaking it to emphasize an entirely, and I believe purposely, irrelevant remark.
"By the way," he said, breaking off naturally, "what is that?"
"Only something Dr. Maudsley had prescribed for me," she answered quickly.
As he replaced the bottle and went on with the thread of the conversation, I saw that in shaking the bottle he had abstracted a couple of the tablets before she realized it. "I can't tell you just what to do without thinking the case over," he concluded, rising to go. "Yours is a peculiar case, Miss Haversham, baffling. I'll have to study it over, perhaps ask Dr. Maudsley If I may see you again. Meanwhile, I am sure what he is doing is the correct thing."
Inasmuch as she had said nothing about what Dr. Maudsley was doing, I wondered whether there was not just a trace of suspicion in her glance at him from under her long dark lashes.
"I can't see that you have done anything," she remarked pointedly. "But then doctors are queer--queer."
That parting shot also had in it, for me, something to ponder over. In fact I began to wonder if she might not be a great deal more clever than even Kennedy gave her credit for being, whether she might not have submitted to his tests for pure love of pulling the wool over his eyes.
Downstairs again, Kennedy paused only long enough to speak a few words with his friend Dr. Klemm.
"I suppose you have no idea what Dr. Maudsley has prescribed for her?" he asked carelessly.
"Nothing, as far as I know, except rest and simple food."
He seemed to hesitate, then he said under his voice, "I suppose you know that she is a regular dope fiend, seasons her cigarettes with opium, and all that."
"I guessed as much," remarked Kennedy, "but how does she get it here?"
"I see," remarked Craig, apparently weighing now the man before him. At length he seemed to decide to risk something.
"Klemm," he said, "I wish you would do something for me. I see you have the vocaphone here. Now if--say Hazleton--should call--will you listen in on that vocaphone for me?" Dr. Klemm looked squarely at him.
"Kennedy," he said, "it's unprofessional, but---"
"So it is to let her be doped up under guise of a cure."
"What?" he asked, startled. "She's getting the stuff now?"
"No, I didn't say she was getting opium, or from anyone here. All the same, if you would just keep an ear open---"
"It's unprofessional, but--you'd not ask it without a good reason. I'll try."
It was very late when we got back to the city and we dined at an uptown restaurant which we had almost to ourselves.
Kennedy had placed the little whitish tablets in a small paper packet for safe keeping. As we waited for our order he drew one from his pocket, and after looking at it a moment crushed it to a powder in the paper.
"What is it?" I asked curiously. "Cocaine?"
"No," he said, shaking his head doubtfully.
He had tried to dissolve a little of the powder in some water from the glass before him, but it would not dissolve.
As he continued to look at it his eye fell on the cut-glass vinegar cruet before us. It was full of the white vinegar.
"Really acetic acid," he remarked, pouring out a little.
The white powder dissolved.
For several minutes he continued looking at the stuff.
"That, I think," he remarked finally, "is heroin."
"More 'happy dust'?" I replied with added interest now, thinking of our previous case. "Is the habit so extensive?"
"Yes," he replied, "the habit is comparatively new, although in Paris, I believe, they call the drug fiends, 'heroinomaniacs.' It is, as I told you before, a derivative of morphine. Its scientific name is diacetyl-morphin. It is New York's newest peril, one of the most dangerous drugs yet. Thousands are slaves to it, although its sale is supposedly restricted. It is rotting the heart out of the Tenderloin. Did you notice Veronica Haversham's yellowish whiteness, her down-drawn mouth, elevated eyebrows, and contracted eyes? She may have taken it up to escape other drugs. Some people have--and have just got a new habit. It can be taken hypodermically, or in a tablet, or by powdering the tablet to a white crystalline powder and snuffing up the nose. That's the way she takes it. It produces rhinitis of the nasal passages, which I see you observed, but did not understand. It has a more profound effect than morphine, and is ten times as powerful as codeine. And one of the worst features is that so many people start with it, thinking it is as harmless as it has been advertised. I wouldn't be surprised if she used from seventy-five to a hundred one- twelfth grain tablets a day. Some of them do, you know."
"And Dr. Maudsley," I asked quickly, "do you think it is through him or in spite of him?"
"That's what I'd like to know. About those words," he continued, "what did you make of the list and the answers?"
I had made nothing and said so, rather quickly.
"Those," he explained, "were words selected and arranged to strike almost all the common complexes in analyzing and diagnosing. You'd think any intelligent person could give a fluent answer to them, perhaps a misleading answer. But try it yourself, Walter. You'll find you can't. You may start all right, but not all the words will be reacted to in the same time or with the same smoothness and ease. Yet, like the expressions of a dream, they often seem senseless. But they have a meaning as soon as they are 'psychanalyzed.' All the mistakes in answering the second time, for example, have a reason, if we can only get at it. They are not arbitrary answers, but betray the inmost subconscious thoughts, those things marked, split off from consciousness and repressed into the unconscious. Associations, like dreams, never lie. You may try to conceal the emotions and unconscious actions, but you can't."
I listened, fascinated by Kennedy's explanation.
"Anyone can see that that woman has something on her mind besides the heroin habit. It may be that she is trying to shake the habit off in order to do it; it may be that she seeks relief from her thoughts by refuge in the habit; and it may be that some one has purposely caused her to contract this new habit in the guise of throwing off an old. The only way by which to find out is to study the case."
He paused. He had me keenly on edge, but I knew that he was not yet in a position to answer his queries positively.
"Now I found," he went on, "that the religious complexes were extremely few; as I expected the erotic were many. If you will look over the three lists you will find something queer about every such word as, 'child, 'to marry,' 'bride,' 'to lie,' 'stork,' and so on. We're on the right track. That woman does know something about that child."
"My eye catches the words 'to sin,' 'to fall,' 'pure,' and others," I remarked, glancing over the list.
"Yes, there's something there, too. I got the hint for the drug from her hesitation over 'needle' and 'white.' But the main complex has to do with words relating to that child and to love. In short, I think we are going to find it to be the reverse of the rule of the French, that it will be a case of 'cherchez l'homme.'"
Early the next day Kennedy, after a night of studying over the case, journeyed up to the sanitarium again. We found Dr. Klemm eager to meet us.
"What is it?" asked Kennedy, equally eager.
"I overheard some surprising things over the vocaphone," he hastened. "Hazleton called. Why, there must have been some wild orgies in that precious set of theirs, and, would you believe it, many of them seem to have been at what Dr. Maudsley calls his 'stable studio,' a den he has fixed up artistically over his garage on a side street."
"I couldn't get it all, but I did hear her repeating over and over to Hazleton, 'Aren't you all mine? Aren't you all mine?' There must be some vague jealousy lurking in the heart of that ardent woman. I can't figure it out."
"I'd like to see her again," remarked Kennedy. "Will you ask her if I may?"