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"' She was born in that province, and had been nursed in a family where nothing but that language was spoken; so that in her first infancy she had known it, and no other; but when she returned to her parents, she had no opportunity of keeping up the use of it; and, as I have before said, she did not understand a word of Breton when awake, though she spoke it in her sleep.
"' I need not say that the Comtesse de Laval never said or imagined that she used any words of the Breton idiom, more than were necessary to express those ideas that are within the compass of a child's knowledge of objects.' "
A highly interesting case is given by Mr. Coleridge in his " Biographia Literaria." *
"It occurred," says Mr. Coleridge, "in a Roman Catholic town in Germany, a year or two before my arrival at Gbttingen, and had not then ceased to be a frequent subject of conversation. A young woman of four or five and twenty, who could neither read nor write, was seized with a nervous fever, during which, according to the asseverations of all the priests and monks of the neighborhood, she became possessed, and as it appeared, by a very learned devil. She continued incessantly talking Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, in very pompous tones, and with most distinct enunciation. This possession was rendered more probable by the known fact that she was, or had been, a heretic. Voltaire humorously advises the devil to decline all acquaintance with medical men; and it would have been more to his reputation if he had taken this advice in the present instance. The case had attracted the particular attention of a young physician, and by his statement many eminent physiologists and psychologists visited the town and cross-examined the case on the spot. Sheets full of her ravings were taken down from her own mouth, and were found to consist of sentences, coherent and intelligible each for itself, but with little or no connection with each other. Of the Hebrew, a small portion only could be traced to the Bible; the remainder seemed to be in the Rabbinical dialect. All trick or conspiracy was out of the question. Not only had the young woman ever been a harmless, simple creature, but she was evidently laboring under a nervous fever. In the town in which she had been resident for many years as a servant in different families, no solution
1 Vol. i. p. 117 (edit. 1847).