“Oh, I know that.”
“Well, then, your name is Captain Nichol. This is Mr. Nichol, your father; this lady is your mother. Call them father and mother when you speak to them. Always speak kindly and pleasantly. They’ll take you to a pleasant home when I’m through with you, and you must mind them. They’ll be good to you everyway.”
Nichol grinned acquiescence and said: “All right, Doctor.”
“Now you show your good sense. We’ll have you sound and happy yet.” The doctor thought a moment and then asked: “Mr. Nichol, I suppose that after our visit to Mr. Kemble, you and your wife would prefer to take your son home with you?”
“Certainly,” was the prompt response.
“I would advise you to do so. After our next effort, however it results, we all will need rest and time for thought. Captain, remain here a few moments with your father and mother. Listen good-naturedly and answer pleasantly to whatever they may say to you. I will be back soon.”
Dr. Barnes descended the stairs to the parlor where Mr. Kemble impatiently awaited him. “Well?” said the banker, anxiously.
“I will explain while on the way to your house. The carriage is still ready, I suppose?” to Jackson.
“Yes,” was the eager reply; “how did he take the meeting of his parents?”
“In the main as I feared. He does not know them yet. Mr. Jackson, you and I are somewhat alike in one of our duties. I never talk about my patients. If I did, I ought to be drummed out of the town instead of ever being called upon again. Of course you feel that you should not talk about your guests. You can understand why the parties concerned in this matter would not wish to have it discussed in the village.”
“Certainly, Doctor, certainly,” replied Jackson, reddening, for he knew something of his reputation for gossip. “This is no ordinary case.”
“No, it is not. Captain Nichol and his friends would never forgive any one who did not do right by them now. In about fifteen minutes or so I will return. Have the carriage wait for me at Mr. Kemble’s till again wanted. You may go back to the captain and do your best to keep him wide-awake.”
Jackson accompanied them to the conveyance and said to the man on the box: “Obey all Dr. Barnes’s orders.”
As soon as the two men were seated, the physician began: “Our first test has failed utterly;” and he briefly narrated what had occurred, concluding, “I fear your daughter will have no better success. Still, it is perhaps wise to do all we can, on the theory that these sudden shocks may start up the machinery of memory. Nichol is excited; such powers as he possesses are stimulated to their highest activity, and he is evidently making a strong effort to recall the past, I therefore now deem it best to increase the pressure on his brain to the utmost. If the obstruction does not give way, I see no other course than to employ the skill of experts and trust to the healing processes of time.”