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PERCEPTION OF THE FIXED LA WS OF NA TUR.E. 71
tress that it is time to visit the kitchen and give directions for preparing dinner. It is not because he expects to be fed at that time, for he is never fed until the family have dined, two hours later. At nine o'clock he rises from his rug on the library floor, and insists upon a visit to the kitchen for a lunch. It is rare that he varies five minutes from the regular hours above noted, but is generally within a minute.
This power is exhibited in its perfection in hypnotic subjects and in ordinary sleep. It is that faculty which enables one to awake at an appointed hour in the night, when, before going to sleep, he has made a firm resolution to do so. M. Jouffroy, one of the most celebrated philosophers of France, in speaking of this subject says :
" I have this power in perfection, but I notice that I lose it if I depend on any one calling me. In this latter case my mind does not take the trouble of reasoning the time or of listening to the clock. But in the former it is necessary that it do so, otherwise the phenomenon is inexplicable. Every one has made or can make this experiment."
M. Jouffroy is doubtless mistaken in supposing that the mind is necessarily employed in watching the clock; for the experiment is just as successful in the absence of any timepiece. Besides, the fact that animals possess the faculty shows that it is an inherent attribute of the subjective mind. It is the lapse of time that is noted by men as well as by animals, and is wholly independent of artificial methods or instruments for marking the divisions of time. Every one possesses this faculty in a greater or less degree, and the subject need not, therefore, be enlarged upon.
As before intimated, hypnotic subjects possess in a very remarkable degree the faculty of noting the lapse of time. On this subject Professor Bernheiml says :
" If a somnambulist is made to promise during his sleep that he will come back on such and such a day, at such and such an
1 Suggestive Therapeutics, p. 37.