Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Page 391 (14.964-1002) "defective reunion... predeceasing the other,"

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defective reunion of the maxillary knobs along the medial line so that (as he said) one ear could hear what the other spoke, the benefits of anesthesia or twilight sleep, the prolongation of labour pains in advanced gravidancy by reason of pressure on the vein, the premature relentment of the amniotic fluid (as exemplified in the actual case) with consequent peril of sepsis to the matrix, artificial insemination by means of syringes, involution of the womb consequent upon the menopause, the problem of the perpetuation of the species in the case of females impregnated by delinquent rape, that distressing manner of delivery called by the Brandenburghers Sturzgeburt, the recorded instances of multiseminal, twikindled and monstrous births conceived during the catamenic period or of consanguineous parents— in a word all the cases of human nativity which Aristotle has classified in his masterpiece with chromolithographic illustrations.

The gravest problems of obstetrics and forensic medicine were examined with as much animation as the most popular beliefs on the state of pregnancy such as the forbidding to a gravid woman to step over a country stile lest, by her movement, the navelcord should strangle her creature and the injunction upon her in the event of a yearning, ardently and ineffectually entertained, to place her hand against that part of her person which long usage has consecrated as the seat of castigation.

The abnormalities of harelip, breastmole, supernumerary digits, negro's inkle, strawberry mark and portwine stain were alleged by one as a primafacie and natural hypothetical explanation of those swineheaded (the case of Madame Grissel Steevens was not forgotten) or doghaired infants occasionally born.

The hypothesis of a plasmic memory, advanced by the Caledonian envoy and worthy of the metaphysical traditions of the land he stood for, envisaged in such cases an arrest of embryonic development at some stage antecedent to the human.

An outlandish delegate sustained against both these views, with such heat as almost carried conviction, the theory of copulation between women and the males of brutes, his authority being his own avouchment in support of fables such as that of the Minotaur which the genius of the elegant Latin poet has handed down to us in the pages of his Metamorphoses.

The impression made by his words was immediate but shortlived.

It was effaced as easily as it had been evoked by an allocution from Mr Candidate Mulligan in that vein of pleasantry which none better than he knew know to affect, postulating as the supremest object of desire a nice clean old man.

Contemporaneously, a heated argument having arisen between Mr Delegate Madden and Mr Candidate Lynch regarding the juridical and theological dilemma in the event of one Siamese twin predeceasing the other,




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