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 It is impossible to understand completely any human being or any single act of his behavior, just as it is impossible to understand completely why a particular wild rose bloomed under a particular hedge at a particular moment. A complete understanding in either case would imply an understanding of all cosmic processes, of their interrelations and sequences. But it is not harder to comprehend the behavior of the “unadjusted” or “delinquent” person, say the vagabond or the prostitute, than that of the normally adjusted person, say the business man or the housewife. In either case we realize that certain influences have been at work throughout life and that these are partly inborn, representing the original nature of man, the so-called instincts, and partly the claims, appeals, rewards, and punishments of society,—the influences of his social environment. But if we attempt to determine why the call of the wild prevails in the one case and the call of home, regular work, and “duty” in the other, we do not have different problems but aspects of 2the same general problem. It is only as we understand behavior as a whole that we can appreciate the failure of certain individuals to conform to the usual standards. And similarly, the unrest and maladjustment of the girl can be treated only as specifications of the general unrest and maladjustment.
In this connection students of psychology and education have been particularly interested in determining what the inborn tendencies really are. There was however no scientifically controlled work on the point until Watson undertook his experiments on newborn babies. At the time his work was interrupted he had found only three “instincts” present in the child at birth:
We are inclined now to believe that the fundamental emotional reactions can be grouped under three general divisions: those connected with fear; those connected with rage; those connected with what, for lack of a better term, we may call joy or love.
These at least deserve the name of major emotions. Whether or not other types of emotional reactions are present we cannot yet determine.... The principal situations which call out fear responses are as follows: (1) To suddenly remove from the infant all means of support, as when one drops it from the hand to be caught by an assistant.... (2) By loud sounds. (3) Occasionally when an infant is just falling asleep the sudden pulling of the blanket upon which it is lying will produce the fear response. (4) Finally, again, when the child has just fallen asleep or is just ready to awake a sudden push or a slight shake is an adequate stimulus. The responses are a sudden catching of the breath, clutching randomly with the hands (the grasping reflex invariably appearing when the child is dropped), blinking of the eyelids, puckering of the lips, then crying; in older children, flight and hiding.
3Observations seem to show that the hampering of the infant’s movements is the factor which apart from all training brings out the movements characterized as rage. If the face or head is held, crying results, quickly followed by screaming. The body stiffens and fairly well co?rdinated slashing or striking movements of the hands and arms result; the feet and legs are drawn up and down; the breath is held until the child’s face is flushed. In older children the slashing movements of the arms and legs are better co?rdinated and appear as kicking, slapping, biting, pushing, etc. These reactions continue until the irritating situation is removed, and sometimes do not cease then. Almost any child from birth can be thrown into a rage if its arms are held tightly to its sides.... Even the best-natured child shows rage if its nose is held for a few seconds....
The original stimuli for bringing out the earliest manifestations of joy or love seem to be as follows: gentle stroking and soft tickling of the infant’s body, patting, gentle rocking, turning upon the stomach across the attendant’s knee, etc. The response varies: if the infant is crying, crying ceases and a smile may appear; finally a laugh, and extension of the arms. In older children and in adults this emotion, due both to instinctive and habit factors, has an extremely wide range of expression.[1]
We understand of course that these expressions of emotion mean a preparation for action which will be useful in preserving life (anger), avoiding death (fear), and in reproducing the species (love), but even if our knowledge of the nervous system of man were complete we could not read out of it all the concrete varieties of human experience. The variety of expressions of behavior is as great as the variety of situations arising in 4the external world, while the nervous system represents only a general mechanism for action. We can however approach the problem of behavior through the study of the forces which impel to action, namely, the wishes, and we shall see that these correspond in general with the nervous mechanism.
The human wishes have a great variety of concrete forms but are capable of the following general classification:
The desire for new experience.
The desire for security.
The desire for response.
The desire for recognition.
1. The Desire for New Experience. Men crave excitement, and all experiences are exciting which have in them some resemblance to the pursuit, flight, capture, escape, death which characterized the earlier life of mankind. Behavior is an adaptation to environment, and the nervous system itself is a developmental adaptation. It represents, among other things, a hunting pattern of interest. “Adventure” is what the young boy wants, and stories of adventure. Hunting trips are enticing; they are the survival of natural life. All sports are of the hunting pattern; there is a contest of skill, daring, and cunning. It is impossible not to admire the nerve of a daring burglar or highwayman. A fight, even a dog fight, will draw a crowd. In gambling or dice throwing you have the thrill of success or the chagrin of defeat. The organism craves stimulation and seeks expansion and shock even through alcohol and drugs. “Sensations” occupy a large part of the space in newspapers. Courtship has in it an element of “pursuit.” Novels, theaters, motion pictures, 5etc., are partly an adaptation to this desire, and their popularity is a sign of its elemental force.
1. When 11 years old Walter McDermott was brought to court in company with three other boys, accused of breaking a padlock on a grocery store and attempting to enter the store at four o’clock A.M., March 3, 1909, and also of breaking a padlock on the door of a meat-market and stealing thirty-six cents from the cash till. Put on probation. August 19, 1910, brought to court for entering with two other boys a store and stealing a pocket-book containing $3.00. He admitted to the officers he and his company were going to pick pockets down town. He is the leader of the gang....
Sent to St. Charles. Ran away March 17, 1913. By breaking a window got into a drug store, with two other boys, and stole a quantity of cigars and $1.61. Having taken the money, he gave one boy ten cents and another five cents. He gave away the cigars—eight or nine boxes—to “a lot of men and some boys.” Spent the money “on candy and stuff.” Committed to John Worthy School ... October 27. His conduct has improved greatly; released on probation....
December 23, 1913, accused of having broken, with an adult boy (19), into a clothing store and filled a suit case they found in the store with clothing and jewelry. Caught in shop. The officer said, “He would like to imitate Webb. He would like to kill some boy.” According to his own confession, “It was six o’clock at night. I was going to confession. I met a boy and he said, ‘Come out with me.’ About nine o’clock we came to a clothing store, and we walked to the back, and seen a little hole. We pulled a couple of the laths off and as soon as we got in we got caught.” But the officer said that previous to this they had burglarized a butcher’s store and took from there a butcher’s steel, and bored a hole in the wall with it. Committed to John Worthy School. Released June 26th, 1914....
July 19, shot in a back alley twice at a little boy and once hit him. Broke with two other boys at night into Salvation 6Army office, broke everything he could and “used the office as a toilet room.” Next day broke into a saloon, broke the piano, took cigars. Before this, July 14th, broke a side window of a saloon, stole $4.00 and a revolver. At the hearing Walter said about shooting the boy: “That boy was passing and I asked him for a match, and I heard this boy holler. I took a revolver off (his companion) and fixed a shot and hit the boy.” His mother testified that he had spent only three nights at home since the time of his release from John Worthy School. He was arrested after the first offense, but escaped from the detention home. Committed to John Worthy School....
Released after March 26. Committed a burglary in a grocery store, April 7th. Shot a man with a revolver in the left arm April 4th. Held up, with three other boys, a man on April 11, and robbed him of $12.00. Caught later, while the other boys caught at once. Held to the grand jury, found “not guilty” and released June 16, 1915.[2]
Vagabondage secures a maximum of new experience by the avoidance of the routine of organized society and the irksomeness at labor to which I will refer presently. In the constitutional vagabond the desire for new experience predominates over the other wishes and is rather contemplative and sensory, while in the criminal it is motor. But the discouraged criminal is sometimes a vagabond.
2. I have known men on the road who were tramping purely and simply because they loved to tramp. They had no appetite for liquor or tobacco, so far as I could find, also were quite out of touch with criminals and their habits; but somehow or other they could not conquer that passion for roving. In a way this type of vagabond is the most pitiful that I have ever known; and yet is the truest type of the genuine voluntary vagrant.... The Wanderlust 7vagrant ... is free from the majority of passions common among vagrants and yet he is the most earnest vagrant of all. To reform him it is necessary to kill his personality, to take away his ambition—and this is a task almost superhuman. Even when he is reformed he is a most cast-down person.[3]
3. In view of the experience at home and abroad it is now proposed in France to place vagrants in solitary confinement. These vagrants are free-footed and irregular, devoted to the highway and an open-air life, and they are far less afraid of fatigue and hardship than of a steady and regular job. Advantage must be taken of their weak point by imposing solitary confinement; they must be subjected to what they most dread.[4]
4. Dear Brother Joe: I have decided to trop you a feiw lines and hope you are well and you family also. I have heart of your troubles but could not helpet. I have left Chi. and went tru Ky. Ind. N. Y. Pa. N. Jerrsey and bak. Mich. Ohio. Ill. Wisconsin Minnesota Iway. Mo. Kansas. Nebr. Colo. and I have not done any work since I left. I am hapy on the road and it is very fine, I feel like I never will work again onless I have seen all U. S. I am on my way to Californ but I take my time. I ant in horry, you have been traveling, but you have not seen anything yet and you have no experience about Ho Bo life a tall. gee it is fine to be on the Road. It is 10 weeks since I have no home but a Box Car. If you go on the Road again look for my Monogram in the Cars. I will not work very much this Sumer only to bull tru the Coast. It is blenty of work around here, but I dond feel like working yet. I wisht you vas not mareyt and could be with me. I bet you would engoeyet. I hav enofh to eet and a diferent place to sleep every night and feel healty.[5]
85. Girl states that she has been a tramp since she was 15 years old, going from one place to another, usually on freight trains, part of the time dressed as a boy.... She has a child, two years old, which she had illegitimately. The Court had compelled the father of it to marry her. This statement was verified at this office on its communication with the Probate Judge at Moundsville, W. Va.
She says that both her parents died when she was a little girl, that she lived with her grandmother, who worked out for her living, leaving her to run the streets. She says that from earliest childhood she has had the wanderlust. She spoke of being as far west as Denver, and mentioned several army camps she had visited, always riding freight trains. Says that she never works except long enough to get what she can’t beg. She says that she has no love for her child and that her grandmother takes care of it with money supplied by her husband. Her husband secured a divorce from her about three months after their marriage. The reason she asked to stay at the Detention Home over night was because she was going past the house in the alley and saw through the open door several young girls and thought it would be a nice place to stay all night.
Case was reported to office immediately after her admittance to the Detention Home. The next morning immediately after breakfast, while the Matron’s back was turned, the girl escaped. The case was immediately reported to the Military and local police. The girl was picked up near camp, having had intercourse with several soldiers. Her appearance was the least attractive of any girl handled by this office. The little bundle of clothes she carried, tied in a bandanna handkerchief, was the dirtiest ever seen, and was burned at the Detention Home. At police headquarters she gave her age as 20 years but later told that she was but 17, which was verified from Moundsville. She was given $10.00 and thirty days and costs in the county jail, and while being taken from the jail to the clinic, by a policeman and Miss Ball, she, with another girl, 9escaped. Every effort was made to catch her, but she was as fleet as a deer.[6]
There is also in the hunting pattern of interest an intellectual element. Watson does not note curiosity among the instincts because it does not manifest itself at birth, but it appears later as the watchful and exploratory attitude which determines the character of action,—whether, for example, it shall be attack or flight. The invention of the bow and arrow, the construction of a trap, the preparation of poison, indicated a scientific curiosity in early man. Activities of this kind were interesting because they implied life or death. The man who constructed the poisoned arrow visualized the scene in which it was to be used, saw the hunt in anticipation. The preparation for the chase was psychologically part of the chase. The modern scientific man uses the same mental mechanism but with a different application. He spends long months in his laboratory on an invention in anticipation of his final “achievement.” The so-called “instinct for workmanship” and the “creative impulse” are “sublimations” of the hunting psychosis. The making of a trap was a “problem”, and any problem is interesting, whether the construction of a wireless or the solving of a puzzle. Modern occupations or “pursuits” are interesting or irksome to the degree that they have or have not a problematical element:
The convict makes bricks, digs the earth, builds, and all his occupations have a meaning and an end. Sometimes, even the prisoner takes an interest in what he is doing. He then wishes to work more skillfully, more advantageously. But let him be constrained to pour water from one vessel into another, or to transport a quantity of earth from one 10place to another in order to perform the contrary operation immediately afterwards, then I am persuaded that at the end of a few days the prisoner would strangle himself or commit a thousand crimes, punishable with death, rather than live in such an abject condition and endure such torments.[7]
The following description of a scientific adventure of a creative man, which I transcribe from an earlier paper, illustrates perfectly the psychological identity of a scientific quest with the pursuit of game:
6. Pasteur’s first scientific success was in the study of crystallization, and in this connection he became particularly interested in racemic acid. But this substance, produced first by Kestner in 1820 as an accident in the manufacture of tartaric acid, had in 1852 ceased to appear, in spite of all efforts to obtain it. Pasteur and his friend Mitscherlich suspected that the failure to get it was due to the fact that the present manufacturers of tartaric acid were using a different tartar. The problem became then to inspect all the factories producing tartaric acid and finally to visit the sources from which the tartars came. This was the quest, and the impatience which Pasteur showed to begin it reminds us of a hound tugging at the leash. He asked Biot and Dumas to obtain for him a commission from the Ministry, or the Académie, but exasperated by the delay he was on the point of writing directly to the President of the Republic. “It is,” he said, “a question that France should make it a point of honor to solve through one of her children.” Biot counselled patience and pointed out that it was not necessary to “set the government in motion for this.” But Pasteur would not wait. “I shall go to the end of the world,” he said. “I must discover the source of racemic acid,” and started independently. I will excuse you from following this quest in detail, but in a sort of diary prepared for Mme. Pasteur he showed the greatest eagerness 11to have her share the joy of it. He went to Germany, to Vienna, to Prague, studied Hungarian tartars. “Finally,” he said, “I shall go to Trieste, where I shall find tartars of various countries, notably those of the Levant, and those of the neighborhood of Trieste itself.... If I had money enough I would go to Italy; ... I shall give ten years to it if necessary.” And after eight months he sent the following telegram: “I transform tartaric acid into racemic acid. Please inform MM. Dumas and Senarmont.” He had made his kill.[8]
The craftsman, the artist, the scientist, the professional man, and to some extent the business man make new experience the basis of organized activity, of work, and produce thereby social values. The division of labor which removes the problematical from the various operations of the work makes the task totally unstimulating. The repudiation of work leads to the vagabondage just illustrated and to the antisocial attitudes described below:
7. We have in New York at present, and have had for some years past, an immense army of young men, boys between fifteen and twenty-six, who are absolutely determined that under no conditions will they do any honest work. They sponge on women, swindle, pick pockets, commit burglary, act as highwaymen, and, if cornered, kill, in order to get money dishonestly. How do they dispose of the vast sums they have already stolen? Gambling and women. They are inveterate gamblers.[9]
And similarly, among women we have the thief, the prostitute, the blackmailer, the vamp, and the “charity girl.”
122. The Desire for Security. The desire for security is opposed to the desire for new experience. The desire for new experience is, as we have seen, emotionally related to anger, which tends to invite death, and expresses itself in courage, advance, attack, pursuit. The desire for new experience implies, therefore, motion, change, danger, instability, social irresponsibility. The individual dominated by it shows a tendency to disregard prevailing standards and group interests. He may be a social failure on account of his instability, or a social success if he converts his experiences into social values,—puts them into the form of a poem, makes of them a contribution to science. The desire for security, on the other hand, is based on fear, which tends to avoid death and expresses itself in timidity, avoidance, and flight. The individual dominated by it is cautious, conservative, and apprehensive, tending also to regular habits, systematic work, and the accumulation of property.
The social types known as “bohemian” and “philistine” are determined respectively by the domination of the desire for new experience and the desire for security. The miser represents a case where the means of security has become an end in itself.
8. Mamie Reilly’s mother viewed with increasing regret the effect of premature care and responsibility on her daughter. Mamie had been working five years since, as a child of thirteen, she first insisted on getting a job. “She’s a good girl, Mame is, but y’ never seen anything like her. Every pay night reg’lar she’ll come in an’ sit down at that table. ‘Now Ma,’ she’ll say like that, ‘what are you goin’ to do? How ever are y’ goin’ t’ make out in th’ rent?’ ‘Land sakes,’ I’ll say, ‘one w’d think this whole house was right there on your 13shoulders. I’ll get along somehow.’ But y’ can’t make her see into that. ‘Now, what’ll we do, how’ll you manage, Ma?’ she’ll keep askin’. She’s too worrisome—that’s what I tell her. An’ she don’t care to go out. Mebbe she’ll take a walk, but like’s not she’ll say, ‘What’s th’ use?’ Night after night she jest comes home, eats ’er supper, sits down, mebbe reads a bit, an’ then goes t’ bed.”[10]
Document 9 shows the desire for security in a person who is temperamentally inclined to new experience, but whose hardships call out the desire for security. The whole life, in fact, of this man shows a wavering between the two wishes. The desire for a “secure existence” which he expresses here finally prevails and he approaches the philistine type:
9. I had been ten weeks on the journey without finding any work, and I had no idea how long I should still be obliged to tramp about the world, and where was the end toward which I was going.... I should have been very glad of my visit to Stach had it not been for the thought of my wandering. If I had been going immediately to work from Mokrsko I should certainly have fallen in love with some girl, but the thought that I must tramp again about the world destroyed my wish for anything. Moreover I wanted to leave as soon as possible, for I could not look with dry eyes on how he wallowed in everything and had whatever he wanted. Everybody respected and appreciated him; everywhere doors were open for him, and he prized lightly everything he had, for he had never experienced any evil or misery. For if I had only one half of what he owned, how grateful I should be to God for his goodness. And tears flowed from my eyes when I compared his lot with mine. Fortune, how unjust you are! You drive one man about the world and you have no pity on him though he is whipped with wind and snow and cold stops his breath. People treat him worse 14than a dog and drive him away from their doors, without asking: “Have you eaten? have you a place to sleep?” And when he asks for anything they are ready to beat him, like that peasant who struck me with the whip. And what for? Perhaps this mayor would have acted likewise if he had met me somewhere on my journey, and today he sets tables for this same tramp.
What a difference between us! Why, we have the same parents, the same name! And perhaps he is better considered because he is better instructed than I? In my opinion, not even for that. Or perhaps because he is nobler and handsomer? No, not for that. He merits consideration only because he has a secure existence, because he has bread. Let him wander into an unknown country; would he be better considered than I? No, a thousand times No. So if I want to merit consideration and respect, I ought first to win this [secure] existence. And how shall I win it and where? Shall I find it in tramping about the world? No, I must work, put money together and establish my own bakery. Then I can say boldly that I have [a secure existence] and even a better one than a teacher.[11]
In case 10 the desire for security is very strong but is overwhelmed by the desire for new (sexual) experience of the type which I shall term presently the “desire for response.”
10. I am a young woman of twenty-five, married seven years. I have a good husband and two dear children; also a fine home. I was quite happy until an unexpected misfortune entered my life, destroying my happiness.
I consider it important to state that as a child I conducted myself decently; people regarded me as a blessing and my parents were very proud of me. As a young girl I strove to marry some good young man and live contentedly. 15I had no higher ambition. My dream was realized but unfortunately this did not last long.
Three years ago, my husband’s cousin, a young man, came to us. He obtained employment in our town and lived with us. He stayed with us four months altogether. During the first three months he was not in my thoughts at all ... but during the last month my heart began to beat for him. It was a novel sensation for me and I did not know the meaning of this attraction; I said to myself: I love my husband and my children, why then this strange fascination for my husband’s cousin? He surely must have done something to me to arouse this feeling in me, I thought. Fortunately, the young man soon lost his position and left for some distant place. I felt very happy at his departure, though I longed for him very much.
Two years passed thus, during which I resumed my former contented life with my husband until one day my husband informed me that his cousin had returned and planned to live in our town. I had a presentiment of dark clouds that would soon gather over my head, so I requested my husband to find other quarters than our own for his relative, on the pretext that I was not well enough to care for another person in the family. But as my husband reproached me and charged me with lack of interest in his relatives, I had to yield and give my permission for the man to stay with us.
I had decided to be indifferent and act as a stranger toward the boarder that was thrust upon me, so as to avoid trouble. I did not wish to ignite the feeling in my heart toward him by too close contact. I almost never spoke to him, and never came near him. God only knows how much these efforts cost me, but with all my energy I fought against the diabolic feeling in my heart. Unfortunately, my husband misinterpreted my behavior as a lack of hospitality. His resentment compelled me to assume a more friendly attitude toward his relative, as I wished to avoid quarrelling. What followed may easily be inferred. From amiability I passed to love 16until he occupied my whole mind and everybody else was non-existent for me. Of course no one was aware of my predicament.
One day I decided to put an end to my sufferings by confessing all to my boarder and requesting him to go away or at least leave our house and avert a scandal. Unfortunately, my hope of a peaceful life was not fulfilled, following my confession to the cousin. He remained in our home and became more friendly than ever towards me. I began to love him so intensely that I hardly noticed his growing intimacy with me and as a result I gave birth to a baby whose father is my husband’s cousin....
I am unable to describe to you one hundredth part of the misery this has caused me. I always considered an unfaithful wife the worst creature on earth and now ... I am myself a degraded woman.... The mere thought of it drives me insane. My husband, of course, knows nothing about the incident. When the child was born he wanted to name it after one of his recently deceased relatives but ... I felt as if this would desecrate the grave of his late relative. After oceans of tears, I finally induced him to name the child after one of my own relatives.
But my troubles did not end here. Every day in the week is a day of utter anguish for me and every day I feel the tortures of hell.... I can not stand my husband’s tenderness toward the child that is mine but not his. When he gives the baby a kiss it burns me like a hot coal dropped in my bosom. Every time he calls it his baby I hear some one shouting into my ear the familiar epithet thrown at low creatures like me ... and every time he takes the child in his arms I am tempted to tell him the terrible truth.... And so I continue to suffer. When my husband is not at home I spend my time studying the face of my child, and when I think it appears to resemble its father at such a moment I become terrified at the possibility of the baby’s growing up into a real likeness to its father. What would my husband say and do when he noticed the similarity between 17my baby and his cousin? It is this thought that is killing me.... [If I should tell my husband I am sure he would drive me away.] I do not care for myself so much as for the child who would be branded with the name given all such children and this would remain a stain upon him for the rest of his life.... It is this fear that prevents me from revealing to my husband my crime against him. But how much longer shall I be able to bear the pain and wretchedness?[12]
3. The Desire for Response. Up to this point I have described the types of mental impressionability connected with the pursuit of food and the avoidance of death, which are closely connected with the emotions of anger and fear. The desire for response, on the other hand, is primarily related to the instinct of love, and shows itself in the tendency to seek and to give signs of appreciation in connection with other individuals.
There is first of all the devotion of the mother to the child and the response of the child, indicated in the passage from Watson above, and in the following passage from Thorndike.
All women possess originally, from early childhood to death, some interest in human babies, and a responsiveness to the instinctive looks, calls, gestures and cries of infancy and childhood, being satisfied by childish gurglings, smiles and affectionate gestures, and moved to instinctive comforting acts by childish signs of pain, grief and misery. Brutal habits may destroy, or competing habits overgrow, or the lack of exercise weaken, these tendencies, but they are none the less as original as any fact in human nature.[13]
18This relation is of course useful and necessary since the child is helpless throughout a period of years and would not live unless the mother were impelled to give it her devotion. This attitude is present in the father of the child also but is weaker, less demonstrative, and called out more gradually.
In addition, the desire for response between the two sexes in connection with mating is very powerful. An ardent courtship is full of assurances and appeals for reassurance. Marriage and a home involve response but with more settled habits, more routine work, less of new experience. Jealousy is an expression of fear that the response is directed elsewhere. The flirt is one who seeks new experience through the provocation of response from many quarters.
In some natures this wish, both to receive and to give response, is out of proportion to the other wishes, “over-determined”, so to speak, and interferes with a normal organization of life. And the fixation may be either on a child or a member of either sex. The general situation is the same in the two cases following.
11. I am the unhappy mother of a dear little son, eight years old. You ask the cause of my unhappiness? I ought to be happy with such a dear treasure? But the answer is, I love my child too much. My love to my son is so great, so immeasurably deep, that I myself am worthless. My own person has not a trace of worth for me. I am as it were dead to all and everything. My thoughts by day and by night are turned toward my child. I see nothing in the world except my beloved child. Nothing exists for me except him. Every one of my thoughts, every desire and wish that awakens in me, turns around the child of my heart. I am nothing. I do not live, I do not exist. I forget myself 19as I forget all and everything in the world. I go around the whole day without eating and feel no hunger. I forget that I must eat. I go around often a whole day in my nightclothes because I forget that I have to dress. With soul and body, with mind and spirit I am wrapt up in my child. I have no thought for myself at all.
If clothes come to my mind, I am thinking of a new suit for my boy. I am nothing. And if I think of shoes, I imagine a pair of little shoes on the feet of my dear little boy. I myself am the same as dead. If I go to the country in the summer, I come home on account of my child. I myself do not exist. Every enjoyment in life, every happiness to which I give a thought is connected in my mind with my little boy. I myself am as if I were never at all in the world. The child is everything—my soul and my spirit, my breath and my life. He is the air I breathe. I am nothing. I don’t consider myself, I don’t think of myself, just as if I had never been in the world.
And so it is when my child is not well, when he has perhaps scratched his finger.... Oh, how I suffer then. No pen in the world can describe the terrible despair I feel. I live then as it were in a cloud, I cannot at all understand how my soul then remains in my body. My pain is then indescribable, greater than any can understand.... When my child is well again and his round, rosy cheeks bloom like the flowers in May and he is joyous and full of life and leaps and dances, then I myself look as if I had just recovered from a fever sickness.
Tell me, I beg you, dear editor, what can such a mama do that her dear child shall not become a lonely orphan. For I feel that I cannot continue long as it is. My strength is not holding out and a time must come when no strength to live will remain in me.[14]
12. I beg you to advise me, dear editor, how to stop loving. It is perhaps a ridiculous question but for me it is a 20very sad one. It is almost a question of life and death. It is so: I love a person who is not in a position to return my love. It is certain that we can never be united.... My love is hopeless but I cannot give it up. I run after the person I love, I follow his steps, knowing that it will do me no good. I have simply attached myself to an innocent person and distress him. My conscience tells me that it is not right. I suffer needlessly and I make suffering for another, but I simply have no inclination to stop.
I cannot live without my lover. When I don’t see him at the expected moment I am wild, and I am ready to commit the greatest crime in order to accomplish my purpose. He runs away from me and I chase after him. When he goes away to another city I feel sure that I cannot live another twenty-four hours without him. I feel like throwing myself from a roof. I feel that I am capable of doing any evil deed on account of my love.
Do not think, dear editor, that I pride myself for having such a feeling. No, I do not compliment myself at all. I am provoked with myself, I am ashamed of myself and I hate myself. How can a person be such a rag? I argue with myself, how can I permit my mind to have no control over my heart? But my arguments with myself do me no good at all. It is work thrown away. I can love no one except him, the only one who has captured my heart and soul. I cannot even entert............
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