A Walk in Amnesia by O. Henry

A Walk in Amnesia by O. Henry

The protagonist of the book worked as a lawyer. One day he said goodbye to his wife. Everything was as usual: they drank tea and the wife led her husband to the door and straightened his coat. She asked him to be careful. Lawyer’s friend, the doctor, advised the hero to work less diligently. He was always much overstrained and risked his health. He began to suffer from amnesia, because the brain is a very delicate organ and it is easy to damage it. The man was sure that he rested enough and there was nothing to fear. But soon the man woke up in the train. He felt as if he had slept for a very long time. He realized that he did not remember his name. There were no documents in the pockets. There was only a large amount of cash. The doctor was right and the lawyer had serious health problems.

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A Walk in Amnesia by O. Henry

That morning my wife and I said our usual goodbyes.

She left her second cup of tea, and she followed me to the front door. She did this every day. She took from my coat a hair which was not there, and she told me to be careful. She always did this. I closed the door, and she went back to her tea.

A Walk in Amnesia by O. Henry

I am a lawyer and I work very hard. My friend, Doctor Volney, told me not to work so hard. ‘You’ll be ill,’ he said. ‘A lot of people who work too hard get very tired, and suddenly they forget who they are. They can’t remember anything. It’s called amnesia. You need a change and a rest.’

‘But I do rest,’ I replied. ‘On Thursday nights my wife and I play a game of cards, and on Sundays she reads me her weekly letter from her mother.’

That morning, when I was walking to work, I thought about Doctor Volney’s words. I was feeling very well, and pleased with life.

When I woke up, I was on a train and feeling very uncomfortable after a long sleep. I sat back in my seat and I tried to think. After a long time, I said to myself, ‘I must have a name!’ I looked in my pockets. No letter. No papers. Nothing with my name on. But I found three thousand dollars. ‘I must be someone,’ I thought.

The train was crowded with men who were all very friendly. One of them came and sat next to me. ‘Hi! My name’s R.P. Bolder – Bolder and Son, from Missouri. You’re going to the meeting in New York, of course? What’s your name?’

I had to reply to him, so I said quickly, ‘Edward Pinkhammer from Cornopolis, Kansas.’

He was reading a newspaper, but every few minutes he looked up from it, to talk to me. I understood from his conversation that he was a druggist, and he thought that I was a druggist, too.

‘Are all these men druggists?’ I asked.

‘Yes, they are,’ he answered. ‘Like us, they’re all going to the yearly meeting in New York.’

After a time, he held out his newspaper to me. ‘Look at that,’ he said. ‘Here’s another of those men who run away and then say that they have forgotten who they are. A man gets tired of his business and his family, and he wants to have a good time. He goes away somewhere and when they find him, he says that he doesn’t know who he is, and that he can’t remember anything…

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