Before the invasion of established general paralysis there is a prodromal stage, which ranges within wide limits as to its scope and duration. The clinical manifestations are many and various, and are symptomatic of either a rapid, or of a slow and insidious disintegration of the intellectual, moral, and affective life. Of all the prodromata, failure and decay of the moral sense are the most important, and are exemplified by acts of omission and commission against law, order, and propriety. The disease attacks all classes, and as the friends cannot nicely discriminate the changes in character, and are apt to look upon them as temporary aberrations, the disturbance to the social fabric caused by these sporadic displays of moral perversion is not inconsiderable. The nature and extent of the disharmony and distress occasioned by these moral lapses depend largely on the social standing, occupation, and opportunities of the diseased individual, and desolate homes, widespread ruin, and unenviable publicity often follow in the train of the predominant imaginative conceptions. The larger ambition may lead to wild speculation, the bolder schemes to fraud. Sobriety is turned into drunkenness, and sexual excitement may result in rape and acts of indecency. If thwarted or opposed, destructiveness or violence may ensue, but in this direction serious consequences are comparatively seldom associated with the expansive prodromata. The budding paralytic of this type is rarely vindictive; although easily roused to anger, he is easily calmed. Being, in his own estimation, so superior mentally and physically to his fellow-men, he can afford to pity and forgive.
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