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attributable chiefly to two facts: (1) that the second curve is more even throughout, neither maximum nor minimum being so strongly marked as in the first; and (2) that the main maximum occurs in the middle of the month instead of on the second lunar day, and the absence of the marked initial maximum alters the character of the first week or so of this curve. It is, however, scarcely fair to lay any great stress on the characters of curves obtained from such scanty data, and we will, therefore, pass to the continuous curve, the study of which will prove more valuable.[381]
Now, even a cursory examination of this continuous curve will yield the following results:--
1. The discharges occur most frequently on the second lunar day.
2. The days of the next most frequent discharges are the 22d; the 13th; the 7th, 20th, and 26th; the 11th and 16th; so that, if we regard only the first six of these, we find that the discharges occur most frequently on the 2d, 7th, 13th, 20th, 22d, and 26th lunar days--i.e., the discharges occur most frequently on days separated, on the average, by four-day intervals; but actually the period between the 20th and 22d days is that characterized by the most frequent discharges.
3. The days of minimum of discharge are the 1st, 5th, 15th, 18th, and 21st.
4. The curve is characterized by a continual see-sawing; so that every notable maximum is immediately followed by a notable minimum. Thus, the curve is of an entirely different character from that representing the monthly rhythm of the pulse,[382] and this is only what one might have expected; for, whereas the _mean_ pulsations vary only very slightly from day to day,--thus giving rise to a gradually rising or sinking curve,--a discharge from the sexual system relieves the tension by exhausting the stored-up secretion, and is necessarily followed by some days of rest and inactivity. In the very nature of the case, therefore, a curve of this kind could not possibly be otherwise than most irregular if the discharges tended to occur most frequently upon definite days of the month; and thus the very irregularity of the curve affords us proof that there is a regular male periodicity, such that on certain days of the month there is greater probability of a spontaneous discharge than on any other days.
5. Gratifying, however, though this irregularity of the curve may be, yet it entails a corresponding disadvantage, for we are precluded thereby from readily perceiving the characteristics of the monthly rhythm as a whole. I thought that perhaps this aspect of the rhythm might be rendered plainer if I calculated the data into two-day averages; and the result, as shown in Chart 10, is extremely satisfactory. Here we can at once perceive the wonderful and almost geometric symmetry of the monthly rhythm; indeed, if the third maximum were one unit higher, if the first minimum were one unit lower, and if the lines joining the second minimum and third maximum, and the fourth maximum and fourth minimum, were straight instead of being slightly broken, then the curve would, in its chief features, be geometrically symmetrical; and this symmetry appears to me to afford a convincing proof of the representative accuracy of the curve. We see that the month is divided into five periods; that the maxima occur on the following pairs of days: the 19th-20th, 13th-14th, 25th-26th, 1st-2d, 7th-8th; and that the minima occur at the beginning, end, and exact middle Page 5 from 6: Back 1 2 3 4 [5] 6 Forward |