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The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, 4-5

-CHAPTER 4: Childhood and Concealing Memories
-CHAPTER 5: Mistakes in Speech




CHAPTER 4: Childhood and Concealing Memories


In a second essay, [1] I was able to demonstrate the purposive nature of our memories in an unexpected field. I started with the remarkable fact that the earliest recollections of a person often seemed to preserve the unimportant and accidental, whereas (frequently though not universally !) not a trace is found in the adult memory of the weighty and affective impressions of this period. As it is known that the memory exercises a certain selection among the impressions at its disposal, it would seem logical to suppose that this selection follows entirely different principles in childhood than at the time of intellectual maturity. However, close investigation points to the fact that such an assumption is superfluous. The indifferent childhood memories owe their existence to a process of displacement. It be shown by psychoanalysis that in the reproduction they represent the substitute for [p. 27] other really significant impressions, whose reproduction is hindered by some resistance they do not owe their existence to their contents, but to an associative relation of contents to another repressed thought, deserve the title of "concealing memories" which I have designated them.

In the aforementioned essay I only touched upon, but in no way exhausted, the varieties in the relations and meanings of concealed memories. In the given example fully analysed I particularly emphasized a peculiarity in temporal relation between the concealing and the contents of the memory concealed by it. The content of the concealing memory in that example belonged to one of the first of childhood, while the thoughts represents it which remained practically unconscious, belonged to a later period of the individual question. I called this form of displacement a retroactive or regressive one. Perhaps more often one finds the reversed relation -- that is, an indifferent impression of the most remote period becomes a concealing memory in consciousness, which simply owes its existence to an association with an earlier experience, against whose direct reproduction there are resistances. We would call these encroaching or interposing concealing memories. What most concerns memory lies here chronologically beyond [p. 59] concealing memory. Finally, there may be a third possible case, namely, the concealing memory may be connected with the impression it conceals, not only through its contents, just through contiguity of time; this is the contemporaneous, or contiguous concealing memory.

How large a portion of the sum total of our memory belongs to the category of concealing memories, and what part it plays in various neurotic hidden processes, these are problems into the value of which I have neither inquired nor shall I enter here. I am concerned only with emphasizing the sameness between the forgetting of proper names with faulty recollection and the formation of concealing memories.

At first sight it would seem that the diversities of both phenomena are far more striking than their exact analogies. There we deal with proper names, here with complete impressions experienced either in reality or in thought; there we deal with a manifest failure of the memory function, here with a memory act which appears strange to us. Again, there we are concerned with a momentary disturbance -- for the name just forgotten could have been reproduced correctly a hundred times before, and will be so again from tomorrow on; here we deal with lasting possesion without a failure, for the indifferent child- [p. 60] hood memories seem to be able to accompany us through a great part of life. In both these cases the riddle seems to be solved in an entirely different way. There it is the forgetting, while here it is the remembering which excites our scientific curiosity.

After deeper reflection one realizes that though there is a diversity in the psychic material and in the duration of time of the two phenomena, yet these are by far outweighed by the conformities between the two. In both cases we deal with the failure of remember what should be correctly reproduced by memory fails to appear, and instead something else comes as a substitute. In the case of getting a name there is no lack of memory function in the form of name substitution. The formation of a concealing memory depends on the forgetting of other important impressions. In both cases we are reminded by an intellectual feeling of the intervention of a disturbance, which in each case takes a different form. In the case of forgetting of names we are aware that the substitutive names are incorrect, in concealing memories we are surprised that we have them at all. Hence, if psychological analysis demonstrates that the substitutive formation in each case is brought about in the same manner -- that is, through displacement of a superficial association -- we are justified in saying [p. 61] that the diversities in material, in duration of time, and in the centring of both phenomena serve to enhance our expectation, that we have discovered something that is important and of general value. This generality purports that the stopping and straying of the reproducing function indicates more often than we suppose that there is an intervention of a tendency which favours one memory and at the same time works against another. The subject of childhood memories appears to me so important and interesting that I would like to devote to it a few additional remarks which go beyond the views expressed so far.

How far back into childhood do our memories reach? I am familiar with some investigations on this question by V. and C. Henri [2] and Potwin. [3] They assert that such examinations show wide individual variations, inasmuch as some trace their first reminiscences to the sixth month of life, while others can recall nothing of their lives before the end of the sixth or even the eighth year. But what connection is there between these variations in the behaviour of childhood reminiscences, and what signification may be ascribed to them? It seems that it is not enough to procure the material for this [p. 62] question by simple inquiry, but it must be subjected to a study in which the person furnishing the information must participate.

I believe we accept too indifferently the fact of infantile amnesia -- that is, the failure of memory for the first years of our lives -- and fail to find in it a strange riddle. We forget of what great intellectual accomplishments and of what complicated emotions a child of four years is capable. We really ought to wonder why the memory of later years has, as a rule, retained so little of these psychic processes, especially as we have every reason for assume that these same forgotten childhood activities have not glided off without leaving a trace in the development of the person, but that they have left a definite influence for all future time. Yet in spite of this unparalleled effectiveness were forgotten! This would suggest that there are particularly formed conditions of memory (in the sense of conscious reproduction) have thus far eluded our knowledge. It is possible that the forgetting of childhood give us the key to the understanding of amnesias which, according to our newer studies, lie at the basis of the formation of all neurotic symptoms.

Of these retained childhood reminisces, some appear to us readily comprehensible, while others seem strange or unintelligible. It is not [p. 63] difficult to correct certain errors in regard to both kinds. If the retained reminiscences of a person are subjected to an analytic test, it can be readily ascertained that a guarantee for their correctness does not exist. Some of the memory pictures are surely falsified and incomplete, or displaced in point of time and place. The assertions of persons examined that their first memories reach back perhaps to their second year are evidently unreliable. Motives can soon be discovered which explain the disfigurement and the displacement of these experiences, but they also demonstrate that these memory lapses are not the result of a mere unreliable memory. Powerful forces from a later period have moulded the memory capacity of our infantile experiences, and it is probably due to these same forces that the understanding of our childhood is generally so very strange to us.

The recollection of adults, as is known, proceeds through different psychic material. Some recall by means of visual pictures -- their memories are of a visual character; other individuals can scarcely reproduce in memory the most paltry sketch of an experience we call such persons "auditifs" and "moteurs" in contrast to the to "visuels," terms proposed by Charcot. These differences vanish in dreams; all our dreams are preponderatingly visual. But this development is also found in the childhood memories; [p. 64] the latter are plastic and visual, even in those people whose later memory lacks the visual element. The visual memory, therefore preserves the type of the infantile recollections. Only my earliest childhood memories are visual character; they represent plastic depicted scenes, comparable only to stage settings.

In these scenes of childhood, whether they prove true or false, one usually sees his childish person both in contour and dress. This circumstance must excite our wonder, for adults do not see their own persons in their reflections of later experiences. [4] It is, moreover, against our experiences to assume that the child's attention during his experiences is centred on himself rather than exclusively on outside impressions. Various sources force us to assume the so-called earliest childhood recollections are not true memory traces but later elaborate of the same, elaborations which might have been subjected to the influences of many later psychic forces. Thus the, "childhood reminiscences" of individuals altogether advance to the signification of "concealing memories," and thereby form a noteworthy analogy to the childhood remberences as laid down in the legends and of nations. [p. 65]

Whoever has examined mentally a number of persons by the method of psychoanalysis must have gathered in this work numerous examples of concealing memories of every description. However, owing to the previously discussed nature of the relations of the childhood reminiscences to later life, it becomes extraordinarily difficult to report such examples. For, in order to attach the value of the concealing memory to an infantile reminiscence, it would be often necessary to present the entire life-history of the person concerned. Only seldom is it possible, as in the following good example, to take out from its context and report a single childhood memory.

A twenty-four-year-old man preserved the following picture from the fifth year of his life: In the garden of a summer-house he sat on a stool next to his aunt, who was engaged in teaching him the alphabet. He found difficulty in distinguishing the letter m from n, and he begged his aunt to tell him how to tell one from the other. His aunt called his attention to the fact that the letter m had one whole portion (a stroke) more than the letter n. There was no reason to dispute the reliability of this childhood recollection; its meaning, however, was discovered only later, when it showed itself to be the symbolic representation of another boyish inquisitiveness. For just as he wanted to know [p. 66] the difference between m and n at that time so he concerned himself later about the difference between boy and girl, and he would have willing that just this aunt should be his teacher. He also discovered that the difference similar one; that the boy again had one portion more than the girl, and at the time of this recognition his memory awoke to the responding childish inquisitiveness.

I would like to show by one more example the sense that may be gained by a childhood reminiscence through analytic work, although it may seem to contain no sense before. In my forty-third year, when I began to interest myself in what remained in my memory of my own childhood, a scene struck me which for a long time, as I afterwards believed, had repeatedly come to consciousness, and which through reliable identification could be traced to a period before the completion of my third year. I saw myself in front of a chest, the door of which was held open by my half-brother, twenty years my senior. I stood there demanding something and screaming; my mother, pretty and slender then suddenly entered the room, as if returning from the street.

In these words I formulated this scene so vividly seen, which, however, furnished no other clue. Whether my brother wished to open or lock the chest (in the first explanation it was [p. 67] a "cupboard"), why I cried, and what bearing,the arrival of my mother had, all these questions were dim to me; I was tempted to explain to myself that it dealt with the memory of a hoax by my older brother, which was interrupted by my mother. Such misunderstandings of childhood scenes retained in memory are not uncommon; we recall a situation, but it is not centralized; we do not know on which of the elements to place the psychic accent. Analytic effort led me to an entirely unexpected solution of the picture. I missed my mother and began to suspect that she was locked in this cupboard or chest, and therefore demanded that my brother should unlock it. As he obliged me, and I became convinced that she was not in the chest, I began to cry; this is the moment firmly retained in the memory, which was directly followed by the appearance of my mother, who appeased my worry and anxiety.

But how did the child get the idea of looking for the absent mother in the chest? Dreams which occurred at the same time pointed dimly to a nurse, concerning whom other reminiscences were retained; as, for example, that she conscientiously urged me to deliver to her the small coins which I received as gifts, a detail which in itself may lay claim to the value of a concealing memory for later things. I then concluded to facilitate for myself this time the [p. 68] task of interpretation, and asked my now mother about that nurse. I found out all of things, among others the fact that this shrewd but dishonest person had committed extensive robberies during the confinement of my mother and that my half-brother was instrumental bringing her to justice. This information gave me the key to the from childhood, as through a sort of inspiration. The sudden disappearance of the nurse was a matter of indifference to me; I had just asked this brother where she was, probably because I had noticed that he had played a part in disappearance, and he, evasive and witty as he is to this day, answered that she was "boxed in." I understood this answer in the childish way, but asked no more, as there was nothing else to be discovered. When my mother left shortly thereafter I suspected that the naughty brother had treated her in the same way as he did the nurse, and therefore pressed him the chest.

I also understand now why in the translation of the visual childhood scene my mothers slenderness was accentuated; she must struck me as being newly restored. I am and a half years older than the sister born that time, and when I was three years of I was separated from my half-brother.
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Footnotes


[1] Published in the Monatschrift f. Psychiatrie u. Neurologie. 1899.

[2] "Enquête sur les premiers souvenirs de l'enfance." L'Annêe psychologique, iii., 1897.

[3] "Study of Early Memories,"' Psychological Review, 1901.

[4] I assert this as a result of certain investigations made by myself.







CHAPTER 5: Mistakes in Speech

Although the ordinary material of speech of our mother-tongue seems to be guarded against forgetting, its application, however, more often succumbs to another disturbance which is familiar to us as "slips of the tongue." What we observe in normal persons as slips of the tongue gives the gives same impression as the first step of the so-called "paraphasias" which manifest themselves under pathologic conditions.

I am in the exceptional position of being about to refer to a previous work on the subject. In the year 1895 Meringer and C. Mayer published a study on Mistakes in Speech and Reading, with whose view-points I do not agree. One of the authors, who is the spokesman in the text, is a philologist actuated by a linguistic interest to examine the rules governing those slips. He hoped to deduce from these rules the existence "of a definite psychic mechanism," "whereby the Sounds of a word, of a sentence, and even the words themselves, would be associated and con- [p. 72] nected with one another in a quite peculiar manner" (p. 10).

The authors grouped the examples of speech mistakes collected by them first "accord purely descriptive view-points, such as interchangings (e.g., the Milo of Venus instead of the Venus of Milo), as anticipations (e.g., the shoes made her sorft . . . the shoes made her feet sore), echoes and post positions, as contaminations (e.g., "I will soon him home," instead of I will soon go home and I will see him"), and substitutions (e.g., " he entrusted his money to a "savings crank," instead of "a savings bank.") [1] Besides these principal categories there are so others of lesser importance (or of lesser significance for our purpose). In this grouping makes no difference whether the transposition disfigurement, fusion, etc., affects single sounds of the word or syllables, or whole words of the concerned sentence.

Here I cannot help voicing a contradiction. Whether or not the initial sound of the name belongs to the most important elements of the word, it is surely not true that in the case of the forgetting of the word it first returns to consciousness; the above rule is therefore of no use. When we observe ourselves during the search for a forgotten name we are comparatively often forced to express the opinion that it begins with a certain letter. This conviction proves to be as often unfounded as founded. Indeed, I would even go so far as to assert that in the majority of cases one reproduces a false initial sound. Also in our example Signorelli the substitutive name lacked the initial sound, and the principal syl- [p. 74]lables were lost; on the other hand, the important pair of syllables elli returned to consciousness in the substitutive name Botticelli.

How little substitutive names respect the sound of the lost names may be learned from following case. One day I found it impossible to recall the name of the small country whose capital is Monte Carlo. The substitutive names follows: Piedmont, Albania, Montevideo, Colico. In place of Albania Montenegro soon appeared and then it struck me that the syllable Mont (pronounced Mon) occurred in all but the last of the substitutive names. It thus became easy for me to find from the name of Prince Albert the forgotten name Monaco. Colico practically imitates the syllabic sequence and rhythm of the forgotten name.

If we admit the conjecture that a mechanism similar to that pointed out in the forgetting names may also play a part in the phenomena speech-blunders, we are then led to a better founded judgment of cases of speech-blunders. The speech disturbance which manifests a speech-blunder may in the first place be caused by the influence of another component of same speech that is, through a fore-sound or echo, or through another meaning within the sentence or context which differs from that the speaker wishes to utter. In the second place, however, the disturbance could be brought about [p. 75] analogously to the process in the case Signorelli, through influences outside this word, sentence or context, from elements which we did not intend to express, and of whose incitement we became conscious only through the disturbance. In both modes of origin of the mistake in speech the common element lies in the simultaneity of the stimulus, while the differentiating elements lie in the arrangement within or without the same sentence or context.

The difference does not at first appear as wide as when it is taken into consideration in certain conclusions drawn from the symptomatology of speech-mistakes. It is clear, however, that only in the first case is there a prospect of drawing conclusions from the manifestations of speech-blunders concerning a mechanism which connects together sounds and words for the reciprocal influence of their articulation; that is, conclusions such as the philologist hopes to gain from the study of speech-blunders. In the case of disturbance through influence outside of the same sentence or context, it would before all be a question of becoming acquainted with the disturbing elements, and then the question would arise whether the mechanism of this disturbance cannot also suggest the probable laws of the formation of speech.

We cannot maintain that Meringer and Mayer have overlooked the possibility of speech dis- [p. 76] turbance through "complicated psychic influences," that is, through elements outside of the same word or sentence or the same sequence of words. Indeed, they must have observed that the theory of the psychic variation of sounds applies, strictly speaking, only to the explanation of disturbances as well as to fore-sounds and sounds. Where the word disturbances cannot reduced to sound disturbances, as, for example, the substitutions and contaminations of words they, too, have without hesitation sought the cause of the mistake in speech outside of intended context, and proved this state of affairs by means of fitting examples. [2] According to the author's own understanding it is some similarity between a certain word in the intended sentence and some other not intended, which allows the latter to assert itself in consciousness by causing a disfigurement, a composition, or a compromise formation (contamination).

Now, in my work on the Interpretation of Dreams I have shown the part played by process of condensation in the origin of the called manifest contents of the dream from latent thoughts of the dream. Any similarity of objects or of word-presentations between elements of the unconscious material is taken as a cause for the formation of a third, which is a com- [p. 77] posite or compromise formation. This element represents both components in the dream content, and in view of this origin it is frequently endowed with numerous contradictory individual determinants. The formation of solutions and contaminations in speech-mistakes is, therefore, the beginning of that work of condensation which we find taking a most active part in the construction of the dream.

In a small essay destined for the general reader, [3] Meringer advanced a theory of very practical significance for certain cases of interchanging of words, especially for such cases where one word is substituted by another of opposite meaning. He says: "We may still recall the manner in which the President of the Austrian House of Deputies opened the session some time ago: ' Honoured Sirs! I announce the presence of so and so many gentlemen, and therefore declare the session as "closed" ' ! " The general merriment first attracted his attention and he corrected his mistake. In the present case the probable explanation is that the President wished himself in a position to close this session, from which he had little good to expect, and the thought broke through at least partially -- a frequent manifestation -- resulting in his use of "closed" in place of 'opened," that is, the opposite of the statement [p. 78] intended. Numerous observations have taught me, however, that we frequently interchange contrasting words; they are already associated in our speech consciousness; they lie very close together and are easily incorrectly evoked.

Still, not in all cases of contrast substitution it so simple as in the example of the President as to appear plausible that the speech-mistake occurs merely as a contradiction which arises in the inner thought of the speaker opposing the sentence uttered. We have found the analogous mechanism in the analysis of the example aliquis; the inner contradiction asserts itself in the form of forgetting a word instead of a substitution through its opposite. But in order to adjust the difference we may remark that the little word aliquis is incapable of a contrast similar to "closing" and "opening," and that the word "opening" cannot be subject to forgetting on account of its being a common component of speech.

Having been shown by the last examples of Merinzer and May that speech disturbance may be caused through the influence of fore-sounds, after-sounds, words from the same sentence that were intended for expression, as well as through the effect of words outside the sentence intended, the stimulus of which would otherwise not have been suspected, we shall next wish to discover whether we can definitely separate the two classes of mistakes in speech, and how we can distinguish [p. 79] the example of the one from a case of the other class.

But at this stage of the discussion we must also think of the assertions of Wundt, who deals with the manifestations of speech-mistakes in his recent work on the development of language. [4] Psychic influences, according to Wundt, never lack in these as well as in other phenomena related to them. The uninhibited stream of sound and word associations stimulated by spoken sounds belongs here in the first place as a positive determinant. This is supported as a negative factor by the relaxation or suppression of the influences of the will which inhibit this stream, and by the active attention which is here a function of volition. Whether that play of association manifests itself in the fact that a coming sound is anticipated or a preceding sound reproduced, or whether a familiar practised sound becomes intercalated between others, or finally, whether it manifests itself in the fact that altogether different sounds associatively related to the spoken sounds act upon these -- all these questions designate only differences in the direction, and at most in the play of the occurring associations but not in the general nature of the same. In some cases it may be also doubtful to which form a certain disturbance may be attributed, or whether it would not be more correct to refer [p. 80] such disturbance to a concurrence of motives, following the principle of the complication of causes [5] (cf . pp. 380 - 81)."

I consider these observations of Wundt as absolutely justified and very instructive. Perhaps we could emphasize with even greater firmness than Wundt that the positive factor favouring mistakes in speech (the uninhibited stream of associations, and its negative, the relaxation of the inhibiting attention) regularly attain synchronous action, so that both factors only different determinants of the same process. With the relaxation, or, more unequivocal pressed, through this relaxation, of the uninhibited attention the uninhibited stream of associations becomes active.

Among the examples of the mistakes in collected by me I can scarcely find one in I would be obliged to attribute the speech disturbance simply and solely to what Wundt calls "contact effect of sound." Almost invariably I discover besides this a disturbing influence something outside of the intended speech. The disturbing element is either a single unconscious thought, which comes to light through the special blunder, and can only be brought to consciousness through a searching analysis, or it is a general psychic motive, which directs against the entire speech. [p. 81]

(Example a) Seeing my daughter make an unpleasant face while biting into an apple, I wished to quote the following couplet: --

"The ape he is a funny sight,
When in the apple he takes a bite."

But I began: " The apel . . ." This seems to be a contamination of "ape" and "apple" (compromise formation), or it may be also conceived as an anticipation of the prepared "apple." The true state of affairs, however, was this: I began the quotation once before, and made no mistake the first time. I made the mistake only during the repetition, which was necessary because my daughter, having been distracted from another side, did not listen to me. This repetition with the added impatience to disburden myself of the sentence I must include in the motivation of the speech-blunder, which represented itself as a function of condensation.

(b) My daughter said, "I wrote to Mrs. Schresinger." The woman's name was Schlesinger. This speech-blunder may depend on the tendency to facilitate articulation. I must state, however, that this mistake was made by my daughter a few moments after I had said apel, instead of ape. Mistakes in speech are in a great measure contagious; a similar peculiarity was noticed by Meringer and Mayer in the forgetting [p. 82] of names. I know of no reason for this contagiousness.

(c) " I sut up like a pocket-knife," patient in the beginning of treatment, in "I shut up." This suggests a difficulty of articulation which may serve as an excuse for interchanging of sounds. When her attention was called to the speech-blunder, she promptly replied, "Yes, that happened because you said 'earnesht' instead of 'earnest.' " As a of fact I received her with the remark, "To-day we shall be in earnest" (because it was the last hour before her discharge from treatment), jokingly changed the word into earnesht. In the course of the hour she repeatedly made in mistakes speech, and I finally observed that it only because she imitated me but because she had a special reason in her unconscious to linger on the word earnest (Ernst) as a name. [6]

(d) A woman, speaking about a game invented by her children and called by them "the man in the box," said "the manx in the boc." I could [p. 83] readily understand her mistake. It was while analysing her dream, in which her husband is depicted as very generous in money matters -- just the reverse of reality -- that she made this speech-blunder. The day before she had asked for a new set of furs, which her husband denied her, claiming that he could not afford to spend so much money. She upbraided him for his stinginess, "for putting away so much into the strongbox," and mentioned a friend whose husband has not nearly his income, and yet he presented his wife with a mink coat for her birthday. The mistake is now comprehensible. The word manx (manks) reduces itself to the "minks" which she longs for, and the box refers to her husband's stinginess.

(e) A similar mechanism is shown in the mistake of another patient whose memory deserted her in the midst of a long-forgotten childish reminiscence. Her memory failed to inform her on what part of the body the prying and lustful hand of another had touched her. Soon thereafter she Visited one of her friends, with whom she discussed summer homes. Asked where her cottage in M. was located, she answered, "Near the mountain loin" instead of "mountain lane."

(f) Another patient, whom I asked at the end of her visit how her uncle was, answered: "I don't know, I only see him now in flagranti."

The following day she said, "I am really [p. 84] ashamed of myself for having given you yesterday such a stupid answer. Naturally you must have thought me a very uneducated person always mistakes the meaning of foreign words I wished to say en passant." We did not know at the time where she got the incorrectly used foreign words, but during the same session she reproduced a reminiscence as a continuation the theme from the previous day, in which being caught in flagranti played the principal part. The mistake of the previous day had therefore anticipated the recollection, which at that had not yet become conscious.

(g) In discussing her summer plans, a patient said, "I shall remain most of the summer in Elberlon." She noted her mistake, and asked me to analyse it. The associations to Elberton elicited: seashore on the Jersey coast -- summer resort -- vacation travelling. This recalled travelling in Europe with her cousin, a topic which we had discussed the day before during the analysis of a dream. The dream dealt with her dislike for this cousin, and she admitted that it was due to the fact that in the latter was the favourite of the man whom they met together while travelling abroad. During the dream analysis she not recall the name of the city in which they met this man, and I did not make any effort time to bring it to her consciousness, as we were then engrossed in a totally different problem. When [p. 85] asked to focus her attention again on Elberton and reproduce her associations, she said, "It brings to mind Elberlawn-lawn-field-and-Elberfield."Elberleld" was the lost name of the city in Germany. Here the mistake served to bring to consciousness in a concealed manner a memory which was connected with a painful feeling.

(h) A woman said to me, " If you wish to buy a carpet, go to Merchant (Kaufmann) in Matthew Street (Mathdusgasse)." I repeated, " Then at Matthew's -- I mean at Merchant's --" It would seem that my repeating of one name in place of the other was simply the result of distraction. The woman's remark really did distract me, as she turned my attention to something else much more vital to me than carpet. In Matthew Street stands the house in which my wife lived as a bride, The entrance to the house was in another street, and now I noticed that I had forgotten its name and could only recall it through a roundabout method. The name Matthew, which kept only attention, is thus a substitutive name for the forgotten name of the street. It is more suitable than the name Merchant, for Matthew is exclusively the name of a person, while Merchant is lot. The forgotten street, too, bears the name of a person: Radetzky.

(i) A patient consulted me for the first time, and from her history it became apparent that [p. 86] the cause of her nervousness was largely happy married life. Without any encouragement she went into details about her marital troubles. She had not lived with her husband for about six months, and she saw him last at the theatre when she saw the play Officer 606. I her attention to the mistake, and she immediately corrected herself, saying that she to say Officer 666 (the name of a recent popular play). I decided to find out the reason for the mistake, and as the patient came for analytic treatment, I discovered that immediate cause of the rupture between herself and husband was the disease which is treated by "606." [7]

k) Before calling on me a patient telephone for an appointment, and also wished to be informed about my consultation fee. He was told that the first consultation was ten dollars; after the examination was over he again as what he was to pay, and added: " I don't like to owe money to any one, especially to doctors; I prefer to pay right away." Instead of he said play. His last voluntary remarks and his mistake put me on my guard, but after a few more uncalled-for remarks he set me at ease by taking money from his pocket. He counted four paper dollars and was very [p. 87] chagrined and surprised because he had no more money with him, and promised to send me a cheque for the balance. I was sure that his mistake betrayed him, that he was only playing with me, but there was nothing to be done. At the end of a few weeks I sent him a bill for the balance, and the letter was returned to me by the post-office authorities marked "Not found."

(l) Miss X. spoke very warmly of Mr. Y., which was rather strange, as before this she had always expressed her indifference, not to say her contempt, for him. On being asked about this sudden change of heart she said: "I really never had anything against him; he was always nice to me, but I never gave him the chance to cultivate my acquaintance." She said "cuptivate." This neologism was a contamination of cultivate and captivate, and foretold the coming betrothal.

(m) An illustration of the mechanisms of contamination and condensation will be found in the following lapsus linguæ. Speaking of Miss Z., Miss W. depicted her as a very "straitlaced" person who was not given to levities, etc. Miss X. thereupon remarked: "Yes, that is a very characteristic description, she always appealed to me as very 'straicet-brazed.' " Here the mistake resolved itself into straitlaced and brazen-laced, which corresponded to Miss W.'s opinion of Miss Z. [p. 88]

(n) I shall quote a number of example a paper by my colleague, Dr. W. Stekel, which appeared in the Berlin Tageblaltt of January 1904, entitled "Unconscious Confessions".

"An unpleasant trick of my unpleasant thoughts was revealed by the following example: To begin with, I may state that in my capacity as a physician I never consider my remuneration: but always keep in view the patient's interest only: this goes without saying. I was visiting a patient who was convalescing from a serious illness. We had passed through hard days and nights. I was happy to find her improved, and I portrayed to her the pleasures of a sojourn in Abbazia, concluding with: 'If, as I hope, you will not soon leave your bed.' This obviously came from an unconscious selfish motive, to be able to continue treating wealthy patient, a wish which is entirely foreign to my waking consciousness, and which I would reject with indignation."

(o) Another example (Dr. W. Stekel): My wife engaged a French governess for the afternoons, and later, coming to a satisfactory agreement, wished to retain her testimonials. The governess begged to be allowed to keep them, saying, 'Je cherche encore pour les après-midis -- pardons, pour les avant-midis.' She appar intended to seek another place which would perhaps offer more profitable arrangements -- an intention which she carried out." [p. 89]

(p) I was to give a lecture to a woman. Her husband, upon whose request this was done, stood behind the door listening. At the end of my sermonizing, which had made a visible impression, I said: "Good-bye, sir !" To the experienced person I thus betrayed the fact that the words were directed towards the husband; that I had spoken to oblige him.

(q) Dr. Stekel reports about himself that he had under treatment at the same time two patients from Triest, each of whom he always addressed incorrectly. "Good morning, Mr. Peloni!" he would say to Askoli, and to Peloni, " Good morning, Mr. Askoli !" He was at first inclined to attribute no deeper motive to this mistake, but to explain it through a number of similarities in both persons. However, he easily convinced himself that here the interchange of names bespoke a sort of boast -- that is, he was acquainting each of his Italian patients with the fact that neither was the only resident of Triest who came to Vienna in search of his medical advice.

(r) Two women stopped in front of a drugstore, and one said to her companion, "If you will wait a few moments I'll soon be back," but she said movements instead. She was on her way to buy some castoria for her child.

(s) Mr. L., who is fonder of being called on than of calling, spoke to me through the [p. 90] telephone from a nearby summer resort. He wanted to know when I would pay him a visit. I reminded him that it was his turn to visit me, and called his attention to the fact that, as was the happy possessor of an automobile would be easier for him to call on me. (We were at different summer resorts, separated about one half-hour's railway trip.) He gladly promised to call, and asked: "How about Labour Day (September 1st), will it be convenient for you? "When I answered affirmatively, he said, "Very well, then, put me down for Election Day" (November). His mistake was quite plain. He likes to visit me, but it was inconvenient to travel so far. November we would both be in the city. My analysis proved correct.

(t) A friend described to me a nervous patient, and wished to know whether I could benefit him. I remarked: "I believe that in time I can remove all his symptoms by psychoanalysis because it is a durable case" wishing to say "curable"!

(u) I repeatedly addressed my patient as Mrs. Smith, her married daughter's name, when her real name is Mrs. James. My attention having been called to it, I soon discovered that I had another patient of the same name who refused to pay for the treatment. Mrs. Smith was also my patient and paid her bills promptly. [p. 91]

(v) A lapsus linguæ sometimes stands for a particular characteristic. A young woman, who is the domineering spirit in her home, said of her ailing husband that he had consulted the doctor about a wholesome diet for himself and then added: "The doctor said that diet has nothing to do with his ailments, and that he can eat and drink what I want."

(w) I cannot omit this excellent and instructive example, although, according to my authority, it is about twenty years old. A lady once expressed herself in society -- the very words show that they were uttered with fervour and under the pressure of a great many secret emotions: "Yes, a woman must be pretty if she is to please the men. A man is much better off. As long as he has five straight limbs, he needs no more !"

This example affords us a good insight into the intimate mechanisms of a mistake in speech by means of condensation and contamination (cf. p. 72). It is quite obvious that we have here a fusion of two similar modes of expression: --

"As long as he has his four straight limbs."

"As long as he has all his five senses."

Or the term "straight" may be the common element of the two intended expressions: --

"As long as he has his straight limbs."

"All five should be straight." [p. 92]

It may also be assumed that both modes of expression -- viz., those of the five senses and those of the straight five -- have co-operated to introduce into the sentence about the straight limbs first a number and then the mysterious five instead of the simple four. But this fusion surely would not have succeeded if it had not expressed good sense in the form resulting from the mistake; if it had not expressed a cynical truth which, naturally, could not be uttered unconcealed, coming as it did from a woman.

Finally, we shall not hesitate to call attention to the fact that the woman's saying, following wording, could just as well be an excellent witticism as a jocose speech-blunder. It is simply a question whether she uttered these words with conscious or unconscious intention. The behaviour of the speaker in this case certainly speaks against the conscious intention, and thus excludes wit.

(x) Owing to similarity of material, I add here another case of speech-blunder, the interpretation of which requires less skill. A professor of anatomy strove to explain the nostril, which, as is known, is a very difficult anatomical structure. To his question whether his audience grasped his ideas he received an affirmative reply. The professor, known self-esteem, thereupon remarked: "I can hardly believe this, for the number of people who [p. 93] understand the nostril, even in a city of millions like Vienna, can be counted on a finger -- pardon me, I meant to say on the fingers of a hand."

(y) I am indebted to Dr. Alf. Robitsek, of Vienna, for calling my attention to two speech-blunders from an old French author, which I shall reproduce in the original.

Brantôme (1527-1614), Vies des Dames galantries, Discours second: " Si ay-je cogneu une très belle et honneste dame de par le monde, qui, devisant avec un honneste gentilhomme de la cour des affaires de la guerre durant ces civiles, elle luy dit: 'J'ay ouy dire que le roy a faiet rompre tous les c -- de ce pays là.' Elle vouloit dire le ponts. Pensez que, venant de coucher d'avec son mary, ou songeant à son amant, elle avoit encor ce nom frais en la bouche; et le gentilhomme s'en eschauffer en amours d'elle pour ce mot.

"Une autre dame que j'ai cogneue, entretenant une autre grand dame plus qu'elle, et luy louant et exaltant ses beautez, elle luy dit après : 'Non, madame, ce que je vous en dis, ce n'est point pour vous adultérer; voulant dire adulater, comme elle le rhabilla ainsi : pensez qu'elle songeoit à adultérer."

In the psychotherapeutic procedure which I employ in the solution and removal of neurotic symptoms, I am often confronted with the task of discovering from the accidental utterances and [p. 94] fancies of the patient the thought contents, which, though striving for concealment, nevertheless intentionally betray themselves. In doing this the mistakes often perform the most valuable, service, as I can show through most convincing and still most singular examples.

For example, patients speak of an aunt and later, without noting the mistake, call her "my mother, or designate a husband as a "brother." In this way they attract my attention to the fact that they have "identified" these person with each other, that they have placed them same category, which for their emotional life signifies the recurrence of the same type. Or, a young man of twenty years presents himself during my office hours with these words: "I am the father of N. N., whom you have treated -- pardon me, I mean the brother; why, he is four years older than I." I understand though this mistake that he wishes to express that, like the brother, he, too, is ill through the fault the father; like his brother, he wishes to be cured, but that the father is the one most need of treatment. At other times an unusual arrangement of words, or a forced expression is sufficient to disclose in the speech of the patient the participation of a repressed thought having a different motive.

Hence, in coarse as well as in finer speech disturbances, which may, nevertheless, be [p. 95] sumed as " speech-blunders," I find that it is not the not the contact effects of the thoughts outside the intended speech, which determine the origin of the speech-blunder, and also suffice to explain the newly formed, mistakes in speech. I do not doubt the laws whereby the sounds produce changes upon one another; but they alone do not appear to me sufficiently forcible to mar the correct execution of speech. In those cases which I have studied and investigated more closely they merely represent the preformed mechanism, which is conveniently utilized by a more remote psychic motive. The latter does not, however, form a part of the sphere of influence of these sound relations. In a large number of substitutions caused by mistakes in talking there is an entire absence of such phonetic laws. In this respect I am in full accord with Wundt, who likewise assumes that the conditions underlying speech-blunders are complex and go far beyond the contact effect of the sounds.

If I accept as certain "these more remote psychic influences," following Wundt's expression, there is still nothing to detain me from conceding also that in accelerated speech, with a certain amount of diverted attention, the causes of speech-blunder may be easily limited to the definite law of Meringer and Mayer. However, in a number of examples gathered by these [p. 96] authors a more complicated solution is apparent.

In some forms of speech-blunders we may assume that the disturbing factor is the of striking against obscene words and meanings. The purposive disfigurement and distortion of words and phrases, which is so popular with vulgar persons, aims at nothing else but the employing of a harmless motive as a reminder of the obscene, and this sport is so frequent that it would not be at all remarkable if appeared unintentionally and contrary to the will.

I trust that the readers will not depreciate the value of these interpretations, for which there no proof, and of these examples which I have myself collected and explained by means of analysis. But if secretly I still cherish the expectation that even the apparently simple of speech-blunder will be traced to a disturbance caused by a half-repressed idea cuts the intended context, I am tempted to it noteworthy observation of Meringer. This author asserts that it is remarkable that nobody wishes to admit having made a mistake in speaking. There are many intelligent and honest people who are offended if we tell them that they made a mistake in speaking. I would not risk making this assertion as general as Meringer, using the term "nobody." But the emotional trace which clings to the demonstration [p. 97] of the mistake, which manifestly belongs to the nature of shame, has its significance. It may be classed with the anger displayed- at the inability to recall a forgotten name, and with the surprise at the tenaciousness of an apparently indifferent memory, and it invariably points to the participation of a motive in the formation of the disturbance.

The distorting of names amounts to an insult when done intentionally, and could have the same significance in a whole series of cases where it appears as unintentional speech-blunders. The person who, according to Mayer's report, once said "Freuder" instead of "Freud," because shortly before he pronounced the name "Breuer (p. 38), and who at another time spoke of the Freuer-Breudian" method (p. 28), was certainly not particularly enthusiastic over this method. Later, under the mistakes in writing, I shall report a case of name disfigurement which certainly admits of no other explanation. [8]

As a disturbing element in these cases there is an intermingling of a criticism which be omitted, because at the time being it does not correspond to the intention of the speaker.

Or it may be just the reverse; the subsituted name, or the adoption of the strange name, signifies an appreciation of the same. The identification which is brought about by mistake is equivalent to a recognition which for the moment must remain in the background. An experience of this kind from his schooldays is related by Dr. Ferenczi: --

"While in my first year at college I obliged to recite a poem before the whole class. [p. 99] It was the first experience of the kind in my life, but I was well prepared. As soon as I began my recitation I was dismayed at being disturbed by an outburst of laughter. The professor later explained to me this strange reception. I started by giving the title 'From the Distance,' which was correct, but instead of giving the name of the real author, I mentioned -- my own. The name of the poet is Alexander Petöfi. The identity of the first name with my own favoured the interchange of names, but the real reason was surely the fact that I identified myself at that time with the celebrated poet-hero. Even consciously I entertained for him a love and respect which verged on adora- [p. 100] tion. The whole ambition-complex hides it under this faulty action."

A similar identification was reported to me concerning a young physician who timidly and reverently introduced himself to the celebrated Virchow with the following words: " I am Dr. Virchow." The surprised professor turned to him and asked, "Is your name also Virchow" I do not know how the ambitious young man justified his speech-blunder, whether he thought of the charming excuse that he imagined himself so insignificant next to this big man that his own name slipped from him, or whether I had the courage to admit that he hoped that he too would some day be as great a man Virchow, and that the professor should therefore, not treat him in too disparaging a manner. One or both of these thoughts may have put young man in an embarrassing position during the introduction.

Owing to very personal motives I must it undecided whether a similar interpretation may also apply in the case to be cited. At the International Congress in Amsterdam, in 1907 my theories of hysteria were the subject of a lively discussion. One of my most violent opponents, in his diatribe against me, repeatedly made mistakes in speech in such a manner that he put himself in my place and spoke name. He said, for example, "Breuer and I, [p. 101] as is well known, have demonstrated," etc., when he wished to say "Breuer and Freud." The name of this opponent does not show the slightest sound similarity to my own. From this example, as well as from other cases of interchanging names in speech-blunders, we are reminded of the fact that the speech-blunder can fully forego the facility afforded to it through similar sounds, and can achieve its purpose if only supported in content by concealed relations.

In other and more significant cases it is a self-criticism, an internal contradiction against one's own utterance, which causes the speech-blunder, and even forces a contrasting substitution for the one intended. We then observe with surprise how the wording of an assertion removes the purpose of the same, and how the error in speech lays bare the inner dishonesty. Here the lapsus linguæ becomes a mimicking form of expression, often, indeed, for the expression of what one does not wish to say. It is, thus a means of self-betrayal.

Brill, relates: "I had recently been consulted by a woman who showed many paranoid trends, and as she had no relatives who could co-operate with me, I urged her to enter a State hospital as a voluntary patient. She was quite willing to do so, but on the following day she told me that her friends with whom she leased an [p. 102] apartment objected to her going to a hospital as it would interfere with their plans, and so on. I lost patience and said: 'There is no use listening to your friends who know nothing about your mental condition; you are quite incompetent to take care of your own affairs.' I meant to say 'competent.' Here the lapus linguæ expressed my true opinion."

Favoured by chance the speech material often gives origin to examples of speech-blunders which serve to bring about an overwhelming revelation or a full comic effect, as shown by the following examples reported by Brill: --

"A wealthy but not very generous host invited his friends for an evening dance. Everything went well until about 11:30 P.M., when was an intermission, presumably for supper. To the great disappointment of most of the guests there was no supper; instead, they were regaled with thin sandwiches and lemonade. As it was close to Election day the conversation centered on the different candidates; and as the discussion grew warmer, one of the guests, an ardent admirer of the Progressive Party candidate, marked to the host: 'You may say what please about Teddy, but there is one thing can always be relied upon; he always gives you a square meal,' wishing to say square deal. The assembled guests burst into a roar of laughter to the great embarrassment of the speaker [p. 103] and the host, who fully understood each other."

"While writing a prescription for a woman who was especially weighed down by the financial burden of the treatment, I was interested to hear her say suddenly: 'Please do not give me big bills, because I cannot swallow them.' Of course she meant to say pills."

The following example illustrates a rather serious case of self-betrayal through a mistake in talking. Some accessory details justify, full reproduction as first printed by Dr. A. A. Brill. [9]

"While walking one night with Dr. Frink we accidentally met a colleague, Dr. P., whom I had not seen for years, and of whose private life I knew nothing. We were naturally very pleased to meet again, and on my invitation he accompanied us to a café, where we spent about two hours in pleasant conversation. To my question as to whether he was married he gave a negative answer, and added, 'Why should a man like me marry?'

"On leaving the cafe, he suddenly turned to me and said: 'I should like to know what you would do in a case like this: I know a nurse [p. 104] who was named as co-respondent in a divorce case. The wife sued the husband for divorce and named her as co-respondent, and he got the divorce.' I interrupted him, saying, 'You mean she got the divorce.' He immediately corrected himself, saying, 'Yes, she got the divorce,' and continued to tell how the excitement of the trial had affected this nurse to such an extent that she became nervous and took to drink. He wanted me to advise him how to treat her.

"As soon as I had corrected his mistake I asked him to explain it, but, as is usually the case he was surprised at my question. He wanted to know whether a person had no right, to make mistakes in talking. I explained to him that there is a reason for every mistake and that if he had not told me that he was unmarried, I would say that he was the hero of the divorce case in question, and that the mistake showed that he wished he had obtained the divorce instead of his wife, so as not to obliged to pay alimony and to be permitted marry again in New York State.

"He stoutly denied my interpretation, but his emotional agitation, followed by loud laughter only strengthened my suspicions. To my appeal that he should tell the truth 'for science' sake he said, 'Unless you wish me to lie you must believe that I was never married, and hence your [p. 105] psychoanalytic interpretation is all wrong.' He, however, added that it was dangerous to be with a person who paid attention to such little things. Then he suddenly remembered that he had another appointment and left us.

"Both Dr. Frink and I were convinced that my interpretation of his lapsus linguæ was correct, and I decided to corroborate or disprove it by further investigation. The next day I found a neighbour and old friend of Dr. P., who confirmed my interpretation in every particular. The divorce was granted to Dr. P.'s wife a few weeks before, and a nurse was named as co-respondent. A few weeks later I met Dr. P., and he told me that he was thoroughly convinced of the Freudian mechanisms."

The self-betrayal is just as plain in the following case reported by Otto Rank: --

A father who was devoid of all patriotic feeling and desirous of educating his children to be just as free from this superfluous sentiment, reproached his sons for participating in a patriotic demonstration, and rejected their reference to a similar behaviour of their uncle with these words: "You are not obliged to imitate him; why, he is an idiot." The astonished features of the children at their father's unusual tone aroused him to the fact that he had made a mistake, and he remarked apologetically, "Of course I wished to say patriot." [p. 106] When such a speech-blunder occurs in a serious squabble and reverses the intended meaning of one of the disputants, it at once puts him at a disadvantage with his adversary a disadvantage which the latter seldom fails to utilize.

This clearly shows that although people are unwilling to accept the theory of my conception and are not inclined to forego the convenience that is connected with the tolerance of a faulty action, they neverthelesss interpret speech-blunders and other faulty acts in a manner similar to the one presented in this book. The merriment and derision which are sure to be evoked at the decisive moment through such linguistic mistakes speak conclusively against the generally accepted convention that such a speech-blunder is a lapsus lingæ and, psychologically of no importance. It was no less a man than the German Chancellor, Prince B&uumul;low, who endeavoured to save the situation through such a protest when the wording of his defence of his Emperor (November 1907) turned into the opposite through speech-blunder.

"Concerning the present, the new epoch of Emperor Wilhelm II, I can only repeat what I said a year ago, that it would be unfair and unjust to speak of a coterie of responsible advisers around our Emperor (loud calls, 'Irresponsible !) -- to speak of irresponsible advisers. Pardon the lapsus linguæ" (hilarity).

A nice example of speech-blunder, which aims not so much at the betrayal of the speaker as at the enlightenment of the listener outside the scene, is found in Wallenstein (Piccolomini, Act I, Scene 5), and shows us that the poet who here uses this means is well versed in the mechanism and intent of speech-blunders. In the preceding scene Max Piccolomini was passionately in favour of the ducal party, and was enthusiastic over the blessings of the peace which became known to him in the course of a journey while accompanying Wallenstein's daughter to the encampment. He leaves his father and the Court ambassador, Questenberg, in great consternation. The scene proceeds as follows: --

QUESTENBERG. Woe unto us! Are matters thus? Friend, should we allow him to go there with this false opinion, and not recall him at once in order to open his eyes instantly.

OCTAVIO (rousing himself from profound meditation). He has already opened mine, and I see more than pleases me.

QUESTENBERG. What is it, friend ?

OCTAVIO. A curse on that journey!

QUESTENBERG. Why? What is it?

OCTAVIO. Come! I must immediately follow the unlucky trail, must see with my own eyes - come -- (Wishes to lead him away.)

QUESTENBERG. What is the matter? Where ?

OCTAVIO (urging). To her!

QUESTENBERG. To -- ?

OCTAVIO (corrects himself). To the duke! Let us go, etc, [p. 108]

The slight speech-blunder to her in place of to him is meant to betray to us the fact that the father has seen through his son's motive for espousing the other cause, while the courtier complains that "he speaks to him altogether in riddles."

Another example wherein a poet makes use of a speech-blunder was discovered by Otto Rank in Shakespeare. I quote Rank's report from the Zentralblatt für Psychoanalyse, I. 3." A poetic speech-blunder, very delicately motivated and technically remarkably utilized, which, like the one pointed out by Freud in Wallenstein (Zur Psychopathologie des Alltagslebens, 2nd Edition, p. 48), not only shows that poets knew the mechanism and sense of this error, but also presupposes an understanding of it on the part of the hearer, can be found in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice (Act Ill, Scene 2). By the will of her fathers Portia was bound to select a husband through a lottery. She escaped all her distasteful suitors by lucky chance. When she finally found in Bassanio the suitor after her own heart, she had cause to fear lest he, too, should draw the unlucky lottery.' In the scene she would to tell him that even if he chose the wrong casket, he might, nevertheless, be sure of love. But she is hampered by her vow. In this mental conflict the poet puts these words [p. 109] in her mouth, which were directed to the welcome suitor: --

"There is something tells me (but it is not love),
I would not lose you; and you know yourself
Hate counsels not in such a quality.
But lest you should not understand me well
(And yet a maiden hath no tongue but thought),
I would detain you here some month or two,
Before you venture for me. I could teach you
How to choose right, but then I am forsworn
So will I never be; so may you miss me;
But if you do, you'll make me wish a sin,
That I had been forsworn. Beshrew your eyes,
They have overlooked me, and divided me:

One half of me is yours, the other half yours --
Mine own, I would say; but if mine, then yours --
And so all yours."

"Just the very thing which she would like to hint to him gently, because really she should keep it from him, namely, that even before the choice she is wholly his -- that she loves him, the poet, with admirable psychologic sensitiveness, allows to come to the surface in the speech-blunder. It is through this artifice that he manages to allay the intolerable uncertainty of the lover as well as the like tension of the hearer concerning the outcome of the choice."

The interest merited by the confirmation of our conception of speech-blunders through the great poets justifies the citation of a third example which was reported by Dr. E. Jones [10]

"Our great novelist, George Meredith, in his masterpiece, The Egoist, shows an even finer understanding of the mechanism. The plot of the novel is, shortly, as follows: Sir Willoughby Patterne, an aristocrat greatly admired by his circle, becomes engaged to a Miss Constantia Durham. She discovers in him an intense egoism, which he skilfully conceals from the world, and to escape the marriage she elopes with a Captain Oxford. Some years later Patterne becomes engaged to a Miss Middleton, and most of the book is taken up with a detailed description of the conflict that arises in her mind on also discovering his egotism. External circumstances and her conception of honour hold her to her pledge, while he becomes more and more distasteful in her eyes. She partly confided in his cousin and secretary, Vernon Whitford, the man whom she ultimately marries, but from a mixture of motives stands aloof.

"In the soliloquy Clara speaks as follows: 'If some noble gentleman could see me as I am and not disdain to aid me! Oh I to be caught out of this prison of thorns and brambles I cannot tear my own way out. I am a coward. A beckoning of a finger would change me, I believe. I could fly bleeding and through hootings to a comrade. . . . Constantia met a soldier. Perhaps she prayed and her prayer was [p. 111] answered. She did ill. But, oh, how I love her for it! His name was Harry Oxford. . . . She did not waver, she cut the links, she signed herself over. Oh, brave girl, what do you think of me? But I have no Harry Whitford; I am alone. . . .' The sudden consciousness that she had put another name for Oxford struck her a buffet, drowning her in crimson.

"The fact that both men's names end in 'ford' evidently renders the confounding of them more easy, and would by many be regarded as an adequate cause for this, but the real underlying motive for it is plainly indicated by the author. In another passage the same lapsus occurs, and is followed by the hesitation and change of subject that one is familiar with in psychoanalysis when a half-conscious complex is touched. Sir Willoughby patronizingly says of Whitford: 'False alarm. The resolution to do anything unaccustomed is quite beyond poor old Vernon.' Clara replies: 'But if Mr. Oxford -- Whitford . . . your swans, coming sailing up the lake; how beautiful they look when they are indignant! I was going to ask you, surely men witnessing a marked admiration for some one else will naturally be discouraged? ' Sir Willoughby stiffened with sudden enlightenment.

In still another passage Clara, by another lapsus, betrays her secret wish that she was on [p. 112] a more intimate footing with Vernon Whitford. Speaking to a boy friend, she says, 'Tell Mr. Vernon -- tell Mr. Whitford.' "

The conception of speech-blunders here defended can be readily verified in the smallest details. I have been able to demonstrate repeatedly that the most insignificant and most natural cases of speech-blunders have their good sense, and admit of the same interpretation as the more striking examples. A patient who, contrary to my wishes but with firm personal motives, decided upon a short trip to Budapest justified herself by saying that she was for only three days, but she blundered said for only three weeks. She, betrayed her secret feeling that, to spite me, she preferred spending three weeks to three days in that society which I considered unfit for her.

One evening, wishing to excuse myself for not having called for my wife at the theatre, I said: "I was at the theatre at ten minutes after ten." I was corrected: "You meant to say ten o'clock." Naturally I wanted to say before ten. After ten would certainly be no excuse. I had been told that the theatre programme read, "Finished before ten o'clock." We arrived at the theatre I found the foyer dark and the theatre empty. Evidently the performance was over earlier and my wife did not wait me. When I looked at the clock it still wanted [p. 113] five minutes to ten. I determined to make my case more favourable at home, and say that it was ten minutes to ten. Unfortunately, the speech-blunder spoiled the intent and laid bare my dishonesty, in which I acknowledged more than there really was to confess.

This leads us to those speech disturbances which can no longer be described as speech-blunders, for they do not injure the individual word., but affect the rhythm and execution of the entire speech, as, for example, the stammering and stuttering of embarrassment. But here, as in the former cases, it is the inner conflict that is betrayed to us through the disturbance in speech. I really do not believe that any one will make mistakes in talking in an audience with His Majesty, in a serious love declaration, or in defending one's name and honour before a jury; in short, people make no mistakes where they are all there as the saying goes. Even in criticizing an author's style we are allowed and accustomed to follow the principle of explanation, which we cannot miss in the origin of a single speech-blunder. A clear and unequivocal manner of writing shows us that here the author is in harmony with himself, but where we find a forced and involved expression aiming at more target, as appropriately expressed, we can thereby recognize the participation of an unfinished and complicated [p. 114] thought, or we can hear through it the stifle voice of the author's self-criticism. [11]
__________________
Footnotes


[1] Quote. (?)

[2] Those who are interested are referred to pp. 62-97 of the author's work.

[3] Neue Freie Presse, August 23, 1900: "Wie man sich versprechen kann."

[4] Völker psychologie, vol. I., pt. I., p. 371, ect., 1900

[5] Italics are mine.

[6] It turned out that she was under the influence conscious thoughts concerning pregnancy and prevention of conception. With the words "shut up like a knife," which she uttered consciously as a complaint, she meant to describe the position of the child in the womb. The word "earnest" in my remark recalled to her the name (S. Ernst) of the well-known Vienna business firm in Ka¨rthner Strasse, which used to advertise the sale of articles for the prevention of conception.

[7] Similar mistakes dealing with Officer 666 were reported to me by other psycho-analysts.

[8] It may be observed that aristocrats in particular very frequently distort the names of the physicians they consult, from which we may conclude that inwardly they slight them, in spite of the politeness with which they are wont to greet them. I shall cite here some excellent observations concerning the forgetting of names from the works of Professor E. Jones, of Toronto : Papers on Psycho-analysis, chap. iii. p. 49 : --

"Few people can avoid feeling a twinge of resentment when they find that their name has been forgotten, particularly if it is by some one with whom they had hoped or expected it would be remembered. They instinctively realize if they had made a greater impression on the person's mind he would certainly have remembered them again, for the name is an integral part of the personality. Similarly, few things are more flattering to most people than to find themselves addressed by name by a great person where they could hardly have anticipated it. Napoleon, like most leaders of men, was a master of this art. In the midst of the disastrous campaign of France in 1814, he gave a proof of his memory in this direction. When in a town near Craonne, he recollected that he had met the mayor, De Bussy, over twenty years ago in the La Fère Regiment. The delighted De Bussy at once threw himself into his service with extraordinary zeal. Conversely, there is no surer of affronting some one than by pretending to forget his name; the insinuation is thus conveyed that the person is so unimportant in our eyes that we cannot be bothered to remember his name. This device is often exploited in literature. In Turgentev's Smoke (p. 255) the following passage occurs: " 'So you still find Baden entertaining, M'sieur -- Litvinov.' Ratmirov always uttered Litvinov's surname with hesitation, every time, as though he had forgotten it, and could not at once recall it. In this way, as well as by the lofty flourish of his hat in saluting him, he meant to insult his pride." The same author, in his Fathers and Children (p. 107), writes : "The Governor invited Kirsanov and Bazarov to his ball, and within a few minutes invited them a second time, regarding them as brothers, and calling them Kisarov." Here the forgetting that he had spoken to them, the mistake in the names, and the inability to distinguish between the two young men, constitute a culmination of disparagement. Falsification of a name has the same signification as forgetting it; it is only a step towards complete amnesia."

[9] Zentralb. f. Psychoanalyse, ii., Jahrg. I. Cf. also Brill's Psychanalysis: Its Theories and Practical Application, p. 202. Saunders, Philadelphia and London.

[10] Jones, Papers on Psycho-analysis, p. 60.

[11] "Ce qu'on conçoit bien
Sénonce clairement,
Et les mots pour le dire
Arrivent aisément."
Boileau, Art Poétique.



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