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A Ramble In Aphasia
by [?]

Before the man could reply a wailing cry came from the woman. She sprang past his detaining arm. “Elwyn!” she sobbed, and cast herself upon me, and clung tight. “Elwyn,” she cried again, “don’t break my heart. I am your wife–call my name once–just once. I could see you dead rather than this way.”

I unwound her arms respectfully, but firmly.

“Madam,” I said, severely, “pardon me if I suggest that you accept a resemblance too precipitately. It is a pity,” I went on, with an amused laugh, as the thought occurred to me, “that this Bellford and I could not be kept side by side upon the same shelf like tartrates of sodium and antimony for purposes of identification. In order to understand the allusion,” I concluded airily, “it may be necessary for you to keep an eye on the proceedings of the Druggists’ National Convention.”

The lady turned to her companion, and grasped his arm.

“What is it, Doctor Volney? Oh, what is it?” she moaned.

“Go to your room for a while,” I heard him say. “I will remain and talk with him. His mind? No, I think not–only a portion of the brain. Yes, I am sure he will recover. Go to your room and leave me with him.”

The lady disappeared. The man in dark clothes also went outside, still manicuring himself in a thoughtful way. I think he waited in the hall.

“I would like to talk with you a while, Mr. Pinkhammer, if I may,” said the gentleman who remained.

“Very well, if you care to,” I replied, “and will excuse me if I take it comfortably; I am rather tired.” I stretched myself upon a couch by a window and lit a cigar. He drew a chair nearby.

“Let us speak to the point,” he said, soothingly. “Your name is not Pinkhammer.”

“I know that as well as you do,” I said, coolly. “But a man must have a name of some sort. I can assure you that I do not extravagantly admire the name of Pinkhammer. But when one christens one’s self suddenly, the fine names do not seem to suggest themselves. But, suppose it had been Scheringhausen or Scroggins! I think I did very well with Pinkhammer.”

“Your name,” said the other man, seriously, “is Elwyn C. Bellford. You are one of the first lawyers in Denver. You are suffering from an attack of aphasia, which has caused you to forget your identity. The cause of it was over-application to your profession, and, perhaps, a life too bare of natural recreation and pleasures. The lady who has just left the room is your wife.”

“She is what I would call a fine-looking woman,” I said, after a judicial pause. “I particularly admire the shade of brown in her hair.”

“She is a wife to be proud of. Since your disappearance, nearly two weeks ago, she has scarcely closed her eyes. We learned that you were in New York through a telegram sent by Isidore Newman, a traveling man from Denver. He said that he had met you in a hotel here, and that you did not recognize him.”

“I think I remember the occasion,” I said. “The fellow called me ‘Bellford,’ if I am not mistaken. But don’t you think it about time, now, for you to introduce yourself?”

“I am Robert Volney–Doctor Volney. I have been your close friend for twenty years, and your physician for fifteen. I came with Mrs. Bellford to trace you as soon as we got the telegram. Try, Elwyn, old man–try to remember!”

“What’s the use to try?” I asked, with a little frown. “You say you are a physician. Is aphasia curable? When a man loses his memory does it return slowly, or suddenly?”

“Sometimes gradually and imperfectly; sometimes as suddenly as it went.”

“Will you undertake the treatment of my case, Doctor Volney?” I asked.

“Old friend,” said he, “I’ll do everything in my power, and wil have done everything that science can do to cure you.”

“Very well,” said I. “Then you will consider that I am your patient. Everything is in confidence now–professional confidence.”

“Of course,” said Doctor Volney.

I got up from the couch. Some one had set a vase of white roses on the centre table–a cluster of white roses, freshly sprinkled and fragrant. I threw them far out of the window, and then laid myself upon the couch again.

“It will be best, Bobby,” I said, “to have this cure happen suddenly. I’m rather tired of it all, anyway. You may go now and bring Marian in. But, oh, Doc,” I said, with a sigh, as I kicked him on the shin –“good old Doc–it was glorious!”