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Title: A Tangled Tale
Author: Carroll, Lewis, 1832-1898
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Tangled Tale" ***

Music transcribed by Linda Cantoni.

Transcriber's note

Minor punctuation errors have been changed without notice. Printer
errors have been changed and are listed at the end. All other
inconsistencies are as in the original.

In this version the square root symbol is indicated by [** sqrt], the
superscript by ^, and the therefore symbol by [** therefore].











   Hoc meum tale quale est accipe.



   [_All Rights Reserved_]


   _And Bungay, Suffolk_.

To My Pupil.

   Beloved pupil! Tamed by thee,
     Addish-, Subtrac-, Multiplica-tion,
   Division, Fractions, Rule of Three,
     Attest thy deft manipulation!

   Then onward! Let the voice of Fame
     From Age to Age repeat thy story,
   Till thou hast won thyself a name
     Exceeding even Euclid's glory!


This Tale originally appeared as a serial in _The Monthly Packet_,
beginning in April, 1880. The writer's intention was to embody in each
Knot (like the medicine so dexterously, but ineffectually, concealed in
the jam of our early childhood) one or more mathematical questions--in
Arithmetic, Algebra, or Geometry, as the case might be--for the
amusement, and possible edification, of the fair readers of that

                                                           L. C.

   _October, 1885._


   KNOT                                  PAGE

      I. EXCELSIOR                          1

     II. ELIGIBLE APARTMENTS                4

    III. MAD MATHESIS                      13

     IV. THE DEAD RECKONING                19

      V. OUGHTS AND CROSSES                27

     VI. HER RADIANCY                      34

    VII. PETTY CASH                        43

   VIII. DE OMNIBUS REBUS                  52

     IX. A SERPENT WITH CORNERS            58

      X. CHELSEA BUNS                      66

   ANSWERS TO KNOT    I.                   77

      "        "     II.                   84

      "        "    III.                   90

      "        "     IV.                   96

      "        "      V.                  102

      "        "     VI.                  106

      "        "    VII.                  112

      "        "   VIII.                  132

      "        "     IX.                  135

      "        "      X.                  142




"Goblin, lead them up and down."

The ruddy glow of sunset was already fading into the sombre shadows of
night, when two travellers might have been observed swiftly--at a pace
of six miles in the hour--descending the rugged side of a mountain; the
younger bounding from crag to crag with the agility of a fawn, while his
companion, whose aged limbs seemed ill at ease in the heavy chain armour
habitually worn by tourists in that district, toiled on painfully at his

As is always the case under such circumstances, the younger knight was
the first to break the silence.

"A goodly pace, I trow!" he exclaimed. "We sped not thus in the ascent!"

"Goodly, indeed!" the other echoed with a groan. "We clomb it but at
three miles in the hour."

"And on the dead level our pace is----?" the younger suggested; for he
was weak in statistics, and left all such details to his aged companion.

"Four miles in the hour," the other wearily replied. "Not an ounce
more," he added, with that love of metaphor so common in old age, "and
not a farthing less!"

"'Twas three hours past high noon when we left our hostelry," the young
man said, musingly. "We shall scarce be back by supper-time. Perchance
mine host will roundly deny us all food!"

"He will chide our tardy return," was the grave reply, "and such a
rebuke will be meet."

"A brave conceit!" cried the other, with a merry laugh. "And should we
bid him bring us yet another course, I trow his answer will be tart!"

"We shall but get our deserts," sighed the elder knight, who had never
seen a joke in his life, and was somewhat displeased at his companion's
untimely levity. "'Twill be nine of the clock," he added in an
undertone, "by the time we regain our hostelry. Full many a mile shall
we have plodded this day!"

"How many? How many?" cried the eager youth, ever athirst for knowledge.

The old man was silent.

"Tell me," he answered, after a moment's thought, "what time it was when
we stood together on yonder peak. Not exact to the minute!" he added
hastily, reading a protest in the young man's face. "An' thy guess be
within one poor half-hour of the mark, 'tis all I ask of thy mother's
son! Then will I tell thee, true to the last inch, how far we shall have
trudged betwixt three and nine of the clock."

A groan was the young man's only reply; while his convulsed features and
the deep wrinkles that chased each other across his manly brow, revealed
the abyss of arithmetical agony into which one chance question had
plunged him.



   "Straight down the crooked lane,
   And all round the square."

"Let's ask Balbus about it," said Hugh.

"All right," said Lambert.

"_He_ can guess it," said Hugh.

"Rather," said Lambert.

No more words were needed: the two brothers understood each other


Balbus was waiting for them at the hotel: the journey down had tired
him, he said: so his two pupils had been the round of the place, in
search of lodgings, without the old tutor who had been their inseparable
companion from their childhood. They had named him after the hero of
their Latin exercise-book, which overflowed with anecdotes of that
versatile genius--anecdotes whose vagueness in detail was more than
compensated by their sensational brilliance. "Balbus has overcome all
his enemies" had been marked by their tutor, in the margin of the book,
"Successful Bravery." In this way he had tried to extract a moral from
every anecdote about Balbus--sometimes one of warning, as in "Balbus had
borrowed a healthy dragon," against which he had written "Rashness in
Speculation"--sometimes of encouragement, as in the words "Influence of
Sympathy in United Action," which stood opposite to the anecdote "Balbus
was assisting his mother-in-law to convince the dragon"--and sometimes
it dwindled down to a single word, such as "Prudence," which was all he
could extract from the touching record that "Balbus, having scorched the
tail of the dragon, went away." His pupils liked the short morals best,
as it left them more room for marginal illustrations, and in this
instance they required all the space they could get to exhibit the
rapidity of the hero's departure.

Their report of the state of things was discouraging. That most
fashionable of watering-places, Little Mendip, was "chockfull" (as the
boys expressed it) from end to end. But in one Square they had seen no
less than four cards, in different houses, all announcing in flaming
capitals "ELIGIBLE APARTMENTS." "So there's plenty of choice, after all,
you see," said spokesman Hugh in conclusion.

"That doesn't follow from the data," said Balbus, as he rose from the
easy chair, where he had been dozing over _The Little Mendip Gazette_.
"They may be all single rooms. However, we may as well see them. I shall
be glad to stretch my legs a bit."

An unprejudiced bystander might have objected that the operation was
needless, and that this long, lank creature would have been all the
better with even shorter legs: but no such thought occurred to his
loving pupils. One on each side, they did their best to keep up with his
gigantic strides, while Hugh repeated the sentence in their father's
letter, just received from abroad, over which he and Lambert had been
puzzling. "He says a friend of his, the Governor of----_what_ was that
name again, Lambert?" ("Kgovjni," said Lambert.) "Well, yes. The
Governor of----what-you-may-call-it----wants to give a _very_ small
dinner-party, and he means to ask his father's brother-in-law, his
brother's father-in-law, his father-in-law's brother, and his
brother-in-law's father: and we're to guess how many guests there will

There was an anxious pause. "_How_ large did he say the pudding was to
be?" Balbus said at last. "Take its cubical contents, divide by the
cubical contents of what each man can eat, and the quotient----"

"He didn't say anything about pudding," said Hugh, "--and here's the
Square," as they turned a corner and came into sight of the "eligible

"It _is_ a Square!" was Balbus' first cry of delight, as he gazed around
him. "Beautiful! Beau-ti-ful! Equilateral! _And_ rectangular!"

The boys looked round with less enthusiasm. "Number nine is the first
with a card," said prosaic Lambert; but Balbus would not so soon awake
from his dream of beauty.

"See, boys!" he cried. "Twenty doors on a side! What symmetry! Each side
divided into twenty-one equal parts! It's delicious!"

"Shall I knock, or ring?" said Hugh, looking in some perplexity at a
square brass plate which bore the simple inscription "RING ALSO."

"Both," said Balbus. "That's an Ellipsis, my boy. Did you never see an
Ellipsis before?"

"I couldn't hardly read it," said Hugh, evasively. "It's no good having
an Ellipsis, if they don't keep it clean."

"Which there is _one_ room, gentlemen," said the smiling landlady. "And
a sweet room too! As snug a little back-room----"

"We will see it," said Balbus gloomily, as they followed her in. "I knew
how it would be! One room in each house! No view, I suppose?"

"Which indeed there _is_, gentlemen!" the landlady indignantly
protested, as she drew up the blind, and indicated the back garden.

"Cabbages, I perceive," said Balbus. "Well, they're green, at any rate."

"Which the greens at the shops," their hostess explained, "are by no
means dependable upon. Here you has them on the premises, _and_ of the

"Does the window open?" was always Balbus' first question in testing a
lodging: and "Does the chimney smoke?" his second. Satisfied on all
points, he secured the refusal of the room, and they moved on to Number

This landlady was grave and stern. "I've nobbut one room left," she
told them: "and it gives on the back-gyardin."

"But there are cabbages?" Balbus suggested.

The landlady visibly relented. "There is, sir," she said: "and good
ones, though I say it as shouldn't. We can't rely on the shops for
greens. So we grows them ourselves."

"A singular advantage," said Balbus: and, after the usual questions,
they went on to Fifty-two.

"And I'd gladly accommodate you all, if I could," was the greeting that
met them. "We are but mortal," ("Irrelevant!" muttered Balbus) "and I've
let all my rooms but one."

"Which one is a back-room, I perceive," said Balbus: "and looking out
on--on cabbages, I presume?"

"Yes, indeed, sir!" said their hostess. "Whatever _other_ folks may do,
_we_ grows our own. For the shops----"

"An excellent arrangement!" Balbus interrupted. "Then one can really
depend on their being good. Does the window open?"

The usual questions were answered satisfactorily: but this time Hugh
added one of his own invention--"Does the cat scratch?"

The landlady looked round suspiciously, as if to make sure the cat was
not listening, "I will not deceive you, gentlemen," she said. "It _do_
scratch, but not without you pulls its whiskers! It'll never do it," she
repeated slowly, with a visible effort to recall the exact words of some
written agreement between herself and the cat, "without you pulls its

"Much may be excused in a cat so treated," said Balbus, as they left the
house and crossed to Number Seventy-three, leaving the landlady
curtseying on the doorstep, and still murmuring to herself her parting
words, as if they were a form of blessing, "---- not without you pulls
its whiskers!"

At Number Seventy-three they found only a small shy girl to show the
house, who said "yes'm" in answer to all questions.

"The usual room," said Balbus, as they marched in: "the usual
back-garden, the usual cabbages. I suppose you can't get them good at
the shops?"

"Yes'm," said the girl.

"Well, you may tell your mistress we will take the room, and that her
plan of growing her own cabbages is simply _admirable_!"

"Yes'm," said the girl, as she showed them out.

"One day-room and three bed-rooms," said Balbus, as they returned to the
hotel. "We will take as our day-room the one that gives us the least
walking to do to get to it."

"Must we walk from door to door, and count the steps?" said Lambert.

"No, no! Figure it out, my boys, figure it out!" Balbus gaily exclaimed,
as he put pens, ink, and paper before his hapless pupils, and left the

"I say! It'll be a job!" said Hugh.

"Rather!" said Lambert.



   "I waited for the train."

"Well, they call me so because I _am_ a little mad, I suppose," she
said, good-humouredly, in answer to Clara's cautiously-worded question
as to how she came by so strange a nick-name. "You see, I never do what
sane people are expected to do now-a-days. I never wear long trains,
(talking of trains, that's the Charing Cross Metropolitan Station--I've
something to tell you about _that_), and I never play lawn-tennis. I
can't cook an omelette. I can't even set a broken limb! _There's_ an
ignoramus for you!"

Clara was her niece, and full twenty years her junior; in fact, she was
still attending a High School--an institution of which Mad Mathesis
spoke with undisguised aversion. "Let a woman be meek and lowly!" she
would say. "None of your High Schools for me!" But it was vacation-time
just now, and Clara was her guest, and Mad Mathesis was showing her the
sights of that Eighth Wonder of the world--London.

"The Charing Cross Metropolitan Station!" she resumed, waving her hand
towards the entrance as if she were introducing her niece to a friend.
"The Bayswater and Birmingham Extension is just completed, and the
trains now run round and round continuously--skirting the border of
Wales, just touching at York, and so round by the east coast back to
London. The way the trains run is _most_ peculiar. The westerly ones go
round in two hours; the easterly ones take three; but they always manage
to start two trains from here, opposite ways, punctually every

"They part to meet again," said Clara, her eyes filling with tears at
the romantic thought.

"No need to cry about it!" her aunt grimly remarked. "They don't meet on
the same line of rails, you know. Talking of meeting, an idea strikes
me!" she added, changing the subject with her usual abruptness. "Let's
go opposite ways round, and see which can meet most trains. No need for
a chaperon--ladies' saloon, you know. You shall go whichever way you
like, and we'll have a bet about it!"

"I never make bets," Clara said very gravely. "Our excellent preceptress
has often warned us----"

"You'd be none the worse if you did!" Mad Mathesis interrupted. "In
fact, you'd be the better, I'm certain!"

"Neither does our excellent preceptress approve of puns," said Clara.
"But we'll have a match, if you like. Let me choose my train," she added
after a brief mental calculation, "and I'll engage to meet exactly half
as many again as you do."

"Not if you count fair," Mad Mathesis bluntly interrupted. "Remember, we
only count the trains we meet _on the way_. You mustn't count the one
that starts as you start, nor the one that arrives as you arrive."

"That will only make the difference of _one_ train," said Clara, as they
turned and entered the station. "But I never travelled alone before.
There'll be no one to help me to alight. However, I don't mind. Let's
have a match."

A ragged little boy overheard her remark, and came running after her.
"Buy a box of cigar-lights, Miss!" he pleaded, pulling her shawl to
attract her attention. Clara stopped to explain.

"I never smoke cigars," she said in a meekly apologetic tone. "Our
excellent preceptress----," but Mad Mathesis impatiently hurried her on,
and the little boy was left gazing after her with round eyes of

The two ladies bought their tickets and moved slowly down the central
platform, Mad Mathesis prattling on as usual--Clara silent, anxiously
reconsidering the calculation on which she rested her hopes of winning
the match.

"Mind where you go, dear!" cried her aunt, checking her just in time.
"One step more, and you'd have been in that pail of cold water!"

"I know, I know," Clara said, dreamily. "The pale, the cold, and the

"Take your places on the spring-boards!" shouted a porter.

"What are _they_ for!" Clara asked in a terrified whisper.

"Merely to help us into the trains." The elder lady spoke with the
nonchalance of one quite used to the process. "Very few people can get
into a carriage without help in less than three seconds, and the trains
only stop for one second." At this moment the whistle was heard, and two
trains rushed into the station. A moment's pause, and they were gone
again; but in that brief interval several hundred passengers had been
shot into them, each flying straight to his place with the accuracy of a
Minie bullet--while an equal number were showered out upon the

Three hours had passed away, and the two friends met again on the
Charing Cross platform, and eagerly compared notes. Then Clara turned
away with a sigh. To young impulsive hearts, like hers, disappointment
is always a bitter pill. Mad Mathesis followed her, full of kindly

"Try again, my love!" she said, cheerily. "Let us vary the experiment.
We will start as we did before, but not to begin counting till our
trains meet. When we see each other, we will say 'One!' and so count on
till we come here again."

Clara brightened up. "I shall win _that_," she exclaimed eagerly, "if I
may choose my train!"

Another shriek of engine whistles, another upheaving of spring-boards,
another living avalanche plunging into two trains as they flashed by:
and the travellers were off again.

Each gazed eagerly from her carriage window, holding up her handkerchief
as a signal to her friend. A rush and a roar. Two trains shot past each
other in a tunnel, and two travellers leaned back in their corners with
a sigh--or rather with _two_ sighs--of relief. "One!" Clara murmured to
herself. "Won! It's a word of good omen. _This_ time, at any rate, the
victory will be mine!"

But _was_ it?



   "I did dream of money-bags to-night."

Noonday on the open sea within a few degrees of the Equator is apt to be
oppressively warm; and our two travellers were now airily clad in suits
of dazzling white linen, having laid aside the chain-armour which they
had found not only endurable in the cold mountain air they had lately
been breathing, but a necessary precaution against the daggers of the
banditti who infested the heights. Their holiday-trip was over, and they
were now on their way home, in the monthly packet which plied between
the two great ports of the island they had been exploring.

Along with their armour, the tourists had laid aside the antiquated
speech it had pleased them to affect while in knightly disguise, and
had returned to the ordinary style of two country gentlemen of the
Twentieth Century.

Stretched on a pile of cushions, under the shade of a huge umbrella,
they were lazily watching some native fishermen, who had come on board
at the last landing-place, each carrying over his shoulder a small but
heavy sack. A large weighing-machine, that had been used for cargo at
the last port, stood on the deck; and round this the fishermen had
gathered, and, with much unintelligible jabber, seemed to be weighing
their sacks.

"More like sparrows in a tree than human talk, isn't it?" the elder
tourist remarked to his son, who smiled feebly, but would not exert
himself so far as to speak. The old man tried another listener.

"What have they got in those sacks, Captain?" he inquired, as that great
being passed them in his never ending parade to and fro on the deck.

The Captain paused in his march, and towered over the travellers--tall,
grave, and serenely self-satisfied.

"Fishermen," he explained, "are often passengers in My ship. These five
are from Mhruxi--the place we last touched at--and that's the way they
carry their money. The money of this island is heavy, gentlemen, but it
costs little, as you may guess. We buy it from them by weight--about
five shillings a pound. I fancy a ten pound-note would buy all those

By this time the old man had closed his eyes--in order, no doubt, to
concentrate his thoughts on these interesting facts; but the Captain
failed to realise his motive, and with a grunt resumed his monotonous

Meanwhile the fishermen were getting so noisy over the weighing-machine
that one of the sailors took the precaution of carrying off all the
weights, leaving them to amuse themselves with such substitutes in the
form of winch-handles, belaying-pins, &c., as they could find. This
brought their excitement to a speedy end: they carefully hid their sacks
in the folds of the jib that lay on the deck near the tourists, and
strolled away.

When next the Captain's heavy footfall passed, the younger man roused
himself to speak.

"_What_ did you call the place those fellows came from, Captain?" he

"Mhruxi, sir."

"And the one we are bound for?"

The Captain took a long breath, plunged into the word, and came out of
it nobly. "They call it Kgovjni, sir."

"K--I give it up!" the young man faintly said.

He stretched out his hand for a glass of iced water which the
compassionate steward had brought him a minute ago, and had set down,
unluckily, just outside the shadow of the umbrella. It was scalding hot,
and he decided not to drink it. The effort of making this resolution,
coming close on the fatiguing conversation he had just gone through, was
too much for him: he sank back among the cushions in silence.

His father courteously tried to make amends for his _nonchalance_.

"Whereabouts are we now, Captain?" said he, "Have you any idea?"

The Captain cast a pitying look on the ignorant landsman. "I could tell
you _that_, sir," he said, in a tone of lofty condescension, "to an

"You don't say so!" the old man remarked, in a tone of languid surprise.

"And mean so," persisted the Captain. "Why, what do you suppose would
become of My ship, if I were to lose My Longitude and My Latitude?
Could _you_ make anything of My Dead Reckoning?"

"Nobody could, I'm sure!" the other heartily rejoined.

But he had overdone it.

"It's _perfectly_ intelligible," the Captain said, in an offended tone,
"to any one that understands such things." With these words he moved
away, and began giving orders to the men, who were preparing to hoist
the jib.

Our tourists watched the operation with such interest that neither of
them remembered the five money-bags, which in another moment, as the
wind filled out the jib, were whirled overboard and fell heavily into
the sea.

But the poor fishermen had not so easily forgotten their property. In a
moment they had rushed to the spot, and stood uttering cries of fury,
and pointing, now to the sea, and now to the sailors who had caused the

The old man explained it to the Captain.

"Let us make it up among us," he added in conclusion. "Ten pounds will
do it, I think you said?"


But the Captain put aside the suggestion with a wave of the hand.

"No, sir!" he said, in his grandest manner. "You will excuse Me, I am
sure; but these are My passengers. The accident has happened on board My
ship, and under My orders. It is for Me to make compensation." He
turned to the angry fishermen. "Come here, my men!" he said, in the
Mhruxian dialect. "Tell me the weight of each sack. I saw you weighing
them just now."

Then ensued a perfect Babel of noise, as the five natives explained, all
screaming together, how the sailors had carried off the weights, and
they had done what they could with whatever came handy.

Two iron belaying-pins, three blocks, six holystones, four
winch-handles, and a large hammer, were now carefully weighed, the
Captain superintending and noting the results. But the matter did not
seem to be settled, even then: an angry discussion followed, in which
the sailors and the five natives all joined: and at last the Captain
approached our tourists with a disconcerted look, which he tried to
conceal under a laugh.

"It's an absurd difficulty," he said. "Perhaps one of you gentlemen can
suggest something. It seems they weighed the sacks two at a time!"

"If they didn't have five separate weighings, of course you can't value
them separately," the youth hastily decided.

"Let's hear all about it," was the old man's more cautious remark.

"They _did_ have five separate weighings," the Captain said, "but--Well,
it beats _me_ entirely!" he added, in a sudden burst of candour. "Here's
the result. First and second sack weighed twelve pounds; second and
third, thirteen and a half; third and fourth, eleven and a half; fourth
and fifth, eight: and then they say they had only the large hammer left,
and it took _three_ sacks to weigh it down--that's the first, third and
fifth--and _they_ weighed sixteen pounds. There, gentlemen! Did you ever
hear anything like _that_?"

The old man muttered under his breath "If only my sister were here!" and
looked helplessly at his son. His son looked at the five natives. The
five natives looked at the Captain. The Captain looked at nobody: his
eyes were cast down, and he seemed to be saying softly to himself
"Contemplate one another, gentlemen, if such be your good pleasure. _I_
contemplate _Myself_!"



   "Look here, upon this picture, and on this."

"And what made you choose the first train, Goosey?" said Mad Mathesis,
as they got into the cab. "Couldn't you count better than _that_?"

"I took an extreme case," was the tearful reply. "Our excellent
preceptress always says 'When in doubt, my dears, take an extreme case.'
And I _was_ in doubt."

"Does it always succeed?" her aunt enquired.

Clara sighed. "Not _always_," she reluctantly admitted. "And I can't
make out why. One day she was telling the little girls--they make such a
noise at tea, you know--'The more noise you make, the less jam you will
have, and _vice versâ_.' And I thought they wouldn't know what '_vice
versâ_' meant: so I explained it to them. I said 'If you make an
infinite noise, you'll get no jam: and if you make no noise, you'll get
an infinite lot of jam.' But our excellent preceptress said that wasn't
a good instance. _Why_ wasn't it?" she added plaintively.

Her aunt evaded the question. "One sees certain objections to it," she
said. "But how did you work it with the Metropolitan trains? None of
them go infinitely fast, I believe."

"I called them hares and tortoises," Clara said--a little timidly, for
she dreaded being laughed at. "And I thought there couldn't be so many
hares as tortoises on the Line: so I took an extreme case--one hare and
an infinite number of tortoises."

"An extreme case, indeed," her aunt remarked with admirable gravity:
"and a most dangerous state of things!"

"And I thought, if I went with a tortoise, there would be only _one_
hare to meet: but if I went with the hare--you know there were _crowds_
of tortoises!"

"It wasn't a bad idea," said the elder lady, as they left the cab, at
the entrance of Burlington House. "You shall have another chance to-day.
We'll have a match in marking pictures."

Clara brightened up. "I should like to try again, very much," she said.
"I'll take more care this time. How are we to play?"

To this question Mad Mathesis made no reply: she was busy drawing lines
down the margins of the catalogue. "See," she said after a minute, "I've
drawn three columns against the names of the pictures in the long room,
and I want you to fill them with oughts and crosses--crosses for good
marks and oughts for bad. The first column is for choice of subject, the
second for arrangement, the third for colouring. And these are the
conditions of the match. You must give three crosses to two or three
pictures. You must give two crosses to four or five----"

"Do you mean _only_ two crosses?" said Clara. "Or may I count the
three-cross pictures among the two-cross pictures?"

"Of course you may," said her aunt. "Any one, that has _three_ eyes, may
be said to have _two_ eyes, I suppose?"

Clara followed her aunt's dreamy gaze across the crowded gallery,
half-dreading to find that there was a three-eyed person in sight.

"And you must give one cross to nine or ten."

"And which wins the match?" Clara asked, as she carefully entered these
conditions on a blank leaf in her catalogue.

"Whichever marks fewest pictures."

"But suppose we marked the same number?"

"Then whichever uses most marks."

Clara considered. "I don't think it's much of a match," she said. "I
shall mark nine pictures, and give three crosses to three of them, two
crosses to two more, and one cross each to all the rest."

"Will you, indeed?" said her aunt. "Wait till you've heard all the
conditions, my impetuous child. You must give three oughts to one or two
pictures, two oughts to three or four, and one ought to eight or nine. I
don't want you to be _too_ hard on the R.A.'s."

Clara quite gasped as she wrote down all these fresh conditions. "It's a
great deal worse than Circulating Decimals!" she said. "But I'm
determined to win, all the same!"

Her aunt smiled grimly. "We can begin _here_," she said, as they paused
before a gigantic picture, which the catalogue informed them was the
"Portrait of Lieutenant Brown, mounted on his favorite elephant."

"He looks awfully conceited!" said Clara. "I don't think he was the
elephant's favorite Lieutenant. What a hideous picture it is! And it
takes up room enough for twenty!"

"Mind what you say, my dear!" her aunt interposed. "It's by an R.A.!"

But Clara was quite reckless. "I don't care who it's by!" she cried.
"And I shall give it three bad marks!"

Aunt and niece soon drifted away from each other in the crowd, and for
the next half-hour Clara was hard at work, putting in marks and rubbing
them out again, and hunting up and down for suitable pictures. This she
found the hardest part of all. "I _can't_ find the one I want!" she
exclaimed at last, almost crying with vexation.

"What is it you want to find, my dear?" The voice was strange to Clara,
but so sweet and gentle that she felt attracted to the owner of it, even
before she had seen her; and when she turned, and met the smiling looks
of two little old ladies, whose round dimpled faces, exactly alike,
seemed never to have known a care, it was as much as she could do--as
she confessed to Aunt Mattie afterwards--to keep herself from hugging
them both.

"I was looking for a picture," she said, "that has a good subject--and
that's well arranged--but badly coloured."

The little old ladies glanced at each other in some alarm. "Calm
yourself, my dear," said the one who had spoken first, "and try to
remember which it was. What _was_ the subject?"

"Was it an elephant, for instance?" the other sister suggested. They
were still in sight of Lieutenant Brown.

"I don't know, indeed!" Clara impetuously replied. "You know it doesn't
matter a bit what the subject _is_, so long as it's a good one!"

Once more the sisters exchanged looks of alarm, and one of them
whispered something to the other, of which Clara caught only the one
word "mad."

"They mean Aunt Mattie, of course," she said to herself--fancying, in
her innocence, that London was like her native town, where everybody
knew everybody else. "If you mean my aunt," she added aloud, "she's
_there_--just three pictures beyond Lieutenant Brown."

"Ah, well! Then you'd better go to her, my dear!" her new friend said,
soothingly. "_She'll_ find you the picture you want. Good-bye, dear!"

"Good-bye, dear!" echoed the other sister, "Mind you don't lose sight of
your aunt!" And the pair trotted off into another room, leaving Clara
rather perplexed at their manner.

"They're real darlings!" she soliloquised. "I wonder why they pity me
so!" And she wandered on, murmuring to herself "It must have two good
marks, and----"



   "One piecee thing that my have got,
     Maskee[A] that thing my no can do.
   You talkee you no sabey what?

They landed, and were at once conducted to the Palace. About half way
they were met by the Governor, who welcomed them in English--a great
relief to our travellers, whose guide could speak nothing but Kgovjnian.

"I don't half like the way they grin at us as we go by!" the old man
whispered to his son. "And why do they say 'Bamboo!' so often?"

"It alludes to a local custom," replied the Governor, who had overheard
the question. "Such persons as happen in any way to displease Her
Radiancy are usually beaten with rods."

[Illustration: "WHY DO THEY SAY 'BAMBOO!' SO OFTEN?"]

The old man shuddered. "A most objectional local custom!" he remarked
with strong emphasis. "I wish we had never landed! Did you notice that
black fellow, Norman, opening his great mouth at us? I verily believe he
would like to eat us!"

Norman appealed to the Governor, who was walking at his other side. "Do
they often eat distinguished strangers here?" he said, in as indifferent
a tone as he could assume.

"Not often--not ever!" was the welcome reply. "They are not good for it.
Pigs we eat, for they are fat. This old man is thin."

"And thankful to be so!" muttered the elder traveller. "Beaten we shall
be without a doubt. It's a comfort to know it won't be Beaten without
the B! My dear boy, just look at the peacocks!"

They were now walking between two unbroken lines of those gorgeous
birds, each held in check, by means of a golden collar and chain, by a
black slave, who stood well behind, so as not to interrupt the view of
the glittering tail, with its network of rustling feathers and its
hundred eyes.

The Governor smiled proudly. "In your honour," he said, "Her Radiancy
has ordered up ten thousand additional peacocks. She will, no doubt,
decorate you, before you go, with the usual Star and Feathers."

"It'll be Star without the S!" faltered one of his hearers.

"Come, come! Don't lose heart!" said the other. "All this is full of
charm for me."

"You are young, Norman," sighed his father; "young and light-hearted.
For me, it is Charm without the C."

"The old one is sad," the Governor remarked with some anxiety. "He has,
without doubt, effected some fearful crime?"

"But I haven't!" the poor old gentleman hastily exclaimed. "Tell him I
haven't, Norman!"

"He has not, as yet," Norman gently explained. And the Governor
repeated, in a satisfied tone, "Not as yet."

"Yours is a wondrous country!" the Governor resumed, after a pause. "Now
here is a letter from a friend of mine, a merchant, in London. He and
his brother went there a year ago, with a thousand pounds apiece; and on
New-Year's-day they had sixty thousand pounds between them!"

"How did they do it?" Norman eagerly exclaimed. Even the elder traveller
looked excited.

The Governor handed him the open letter. "Anybody can do it, when once
they know how," so ran this oracular document. "We borrowed nought: we
stole nought. We began the year with only a thousand pounds apiece: and
last New-Year's-day we had sixty thousand pounds between us--sixty
thousand golden sovereigns!"

Norman looked grave and thoughtful as he handed back the letter. His
father hazarded one guess. "Was it by gambling?"

"A Kgovjnian never gambles," said the Governor gravely, as he ushered
them through the palace gates. They followed him in silence down a long
passage, and soon found themselves in a lofty hall, lined entirely with
peacocks' feathers. In the centre was a pile of crimson cushions, which
almost concealed the figure of Her Radiancy--a plump little damsel, in a
robe of green satin dotted with silver stars, whose pale round face lit
up for a moment with a half-smile as the travellers bowed before her,
and then relapsed into the exact expression of a wax doll, while she
languidly murmured a word or two in the Kgovjnian dialect.

The Governor interpreted. "Her Radiancy welcomes you. She notes the
Impenetrable Placidity of the old one, and the Imperceptible Acuteness
of the youth."

Here the little potentate clapped her hands, and a troop of slaves
instantly appeared, carrying trays of coffee and sweetmeats, which they
offered to the guests, who had, at a signal from the Governor, seated
themselves on the carpet.

"Sugar-plums!" muttered the old man. "One might as well be at a
confectioner's! Ask for a penny bun, Norman!"

"Not so loud!" his son whispered. "Say something complimentary!" For the
Governor was evidently expecting a speech.

"We thank Her Exalted Potency," the old man timidly began. "We bask in
the light of her smile, which----"

"The words of old men are weak!" the Governor interrupted angrily. "Let
the youth speak!"

"Tell her," cried Norman, in a wild burst of eloquence, "that, like two
grasshoppers in a volcano, we are shrivelled up in the presence of Her
Spangled Vehemence!"

"It is well," said the Governor, and translated this into Kgovjnian. "I
am now to tell you," he proceeded, "what Her Radiancy requires of you
before you go. The yearly competition for the post of Imperial
Scarf-maker is just ended; you are the judges. You will take account of
the rate of work, the lightness of the scarves, and their warmth.
Usually the competitors differ in one point only. Thus, last year, Fifi
and Gogo made the same number of scarves in the trial-week, and they
were equally light; but Fifi's were twice as warm as Gogo's and she was
pronounced twice as good. But this year, woe is me, who can judge it?
Three competitors are here, and they differ in all points! While you
settle their claims, you shall be lodged, Her Radiancy bids me say, free
of expense--in the best dungeon, and abundantly fed on the best bread
and water."

The old man groaned. "All is lost!" he wildly exclaimed. But Norman
heeded him not: he had taken out his note-book, and was calmly jotting
down the particulars.

"Three they be," the Governor proceeded, "Lolo, Mimi, and Zuzu. Lolo
makes 5 scarves while Mimi makes 2; but Zuzu makes 4 while Lolo makes 3!
Again, so fairylike is Zuzu's handiwork, 5 of her scarves weigh no more
than one of Lolo's; yet Mimi's is lighter still--5 of hers will but
balance 3 of Zuzu's! And for warmth one of Mimi's is equal to 4 of
Zuzu's; yet one of Lolo's is as warm as 3 of Mimi's!"

Here the little lady once more clapped her hands.

"It is our signal of dismissal!" the Governor hastily said. "Pay Her
Radiancy your farewell compliments--and walk out backwards."

The walking part was all the elder tourist could manage. Norman simply
said "Tell Her Radiancy we are transfixed by the spectacle of Her Serene
Brilliance, and bid an agonized farewell to her Condensed Milkiness!"

"Her Radiancy is pleased," the Governor reported, after duly translating
this. "She casts on you a glance from Her Imperial Eyes, and is
confident that you will catch it!"

"That I warrant we shall!" the elder traveller moaned to himself

Once more they bowed low, and then followed the Governor down a winding
staircase to the Imperial Dungeon, which they found to be lined with
coloured marble, lighted from the roof, and splendidly though not
luxuriously furnished with a bench of polished malachite. "I trust you
will not delay the calculation," the Governor said, ushering them in
with much ceremony. "I have known great inconvenience--great and serious
inconvenience--result to those unhappy ones who have delayed to execute
the commands of Her Radiancy! And on this occasion she is resolute: she
says the thing must and shall be done: and she has ordered up ten
thousand additional bamboos!" With these words he left them, and they
heard him lock and bar the door on the outside.

"I told you how it would end!" moaned the elder traveller, wringing his
hands, and quite forgetting in his anguish that he had himself proposed
the expedition, and had never predicted anything of the sort. "Oh that
we were well out of this miserable business!"

"Courage!" cried the younger cheerily. "_Hæc olim meminisse juvabit!_
The end of all this will be glory!"

"Glory without the L!" was all the poor old man could say, as he rocked
himself to and fro on the malachite bench. "Glory without the L!"


[Footnote A: "_Maskee_," in Pigeon-English, means "_without_."]



   "Base is the slave that pays."

"Aunt Mattie!"

"My child?"

"_Would_ you mind writing it down at once? I shall be quite _certain_ to
forget it if you don't!"

"My dear, we really must wait till the cab stops. How can I possibly
write anything in the midst of all this jolting?"

"But _really_ I shall be forgetting it!"

Clara's voice took the plaintive tone that her aunt never knew how to
resist, and with a sigh the old lady drew forth her ivory tablets and
prepared to record the amount that Clara had just spent at the
confectioner's shop. Her expenditure was always made out of her aunt's
purse, but the poor girl knew, by bitter experience, that sooner or
later "Mad Mathesis" would expect an exact account of every penny that
had gone, and she waited, with ill-concealed impatience, while the old
lady turned the tablets over and over, till she had found the one headed

"Here's the place," she said at last, "and here we have yesterday's
luncheon duly entered. _One glass lemonade_ (Why can't you drink water,
like me?) _three sandwiches_ (They never put in half mustard enough. I
told the young woman so, to her face; and she tossed her head--like her
impudence!) _and seven biscuits_. _Total one-and-two-pence._ Well, now
for to-day's?"

"One glass of lemonade----" Clara was beginning to say, when suddenly
the cab drew up, and a courteous railway-porter was handing out the
bewildered girl before she had had time to finish her sentence.

Her aunt pocketed the tablets instantly. "Business first," she said:
"petty cash--which is a form of pleasure, whatever _you_ may
think--afterwards." And she proceeded to pay the driver, and to give
voluminous orders about the luggage, quite deaf to the entreaties of her
unhappy niece that she would enter the rest of the luncheon account.

"My dear, you really must cultivate a more capacious mind!" was all the
consolation she vouchsafed to the poor girl. "Are not the tablets of
your memory wide enough to contain the record of one single luncheon?"

"Not wide enough! Not half wide enough!" was the passionate reply.

The words came in aptly enough, but the voice was not that of Clara, and
both ladies turned in some surprise to see who it was that had so
suddenly struck into their conversation. A fat little old lady was
standing at the door of a cab, helping the driver to extricate what
seemed an exact duplicate of herself: it would have been no easy task to
decide which was the fatter, or which looked the more good-humoured of
the two sisters.

"I tell you the cab-door isn't half wide enough!" she repeated, as her
sister finally emerged, somewhat after the fashion of a pellet from a
pop-gun, and she turned to appeal to Clara. "Is it, dear?" she said,
trying hard to bring a frown into a face that dimpled all over with

"Some folks is too wide for 'em," growled the cab-driver.


"Don't provoke me, man!" cried the little old lady, in what she meant
for a tempest of fury. "Say another word and I'll put you into the
County Court, and sue you for a _Habeas Corpus_!" The cabman touched his
hat, and marched off, grinning.

"Nothing like a little Law to cow the ruffians, my dear!" she remarked
confidentially to Clara. "You saw how he quailed when I mentioned the
_Habeas Corpus_? Not that I've any idea what it means, but it sounds
very grand, doesn't it?"

"It's very provoking," Clara replied, a little vaguely.

"Very!" the little old lady eagerly repeated. "And we're very much
provoked indeed. Aren't we, sister?"

"I never was so provoked in all my life!" the fatter sister assented,

By this time Clara had recognised her picture-gallery acquaintances,
and, drawing her aunt aside, she hastily whispered her reminiscences. "I
met them first in the Royal Academy--and they were very kind to me--and
they were lunching at the next table to us, just now, you know--and they
tried to help me to find the picture I wanted--and I'm sure they're dear
old things!"

"Friends of yours, are they?" said Mad Mathesis. "Well, I like their
looks. You can be civil to them, while I get the tickets. But do try and
arrange your ideas a little more chronologically!"

And so it came to pass that the four ladies found themselves seated side
by side on the same bench waiting for the train, and chatting as if they
had known one another for years.

"Now this I call quite a remarkable coincidence!" exclaimed the smaller
and more talkative of the two sisters--the one whose legal knowledge had
annihilated the cab-driver. "Not only that we should be waiting for the
same train, and at the same station--_that_ would be curious enough--but
actually on the same day, and the same hour of the day! That's what
strikes _me_ so forcibly!" She glanced at the fatter and more silent
sister, whose chief function in life seemed to be to support the family
opinion, and who meekly responded--

"And me too, sister!"

"Those are not _independent_ coincidences----" Mad Mathesis was just
beginning, when Clara ventured to interpose.

"There's no jolting here," she pleaded meekly. "_Would_ you mind writing
it down now?"

Out came the ivory tablets once more. "What was it, then?" said her

"One glass of lemonade, one sandwich, one biscuit--Oh dear me!" cried
poor Clara, the historical tone suddenly changing to a wail of agony.

"Toothache?" said her aunt calmly, as she wrote down the items. The two
sisters instantly opened their reticules and produced two different
remedies for neuralgia, each marked "unequalled."

"It isn't that!" said poor Clara. "Thank you very much. It's only that I
_can't_ remember how much I paid!"

"Well, try and make it out, then," said her aunt. "You've got
yesterday's luncheon to help you, you know. And here's the luncheon we
had the day before--the first day we went to that shop--_one
glass lemonade_, _four sandwiches_, _ten biscuits_. _Total,
one-and-fivepence._" She handed the tablets to Clara, who gazed at them
with eyes so dim with tears that she did not at first notice that she
was holding them upside down.

The two sisters had been listening to all this with the deepest
interest, and at this juncture the smaller one softly laid her hand on
Clara's arm.

"Do you know, my dear," she said coaxingly, "my sister and I are in the
very same predicament! Quite identically the very same predicament!
Aren't we, sister?"

"Quite identically and absolutely the very----" began the fatter sister,
but she was constructing her sentence on too large a scale, and the
little one would not wait for her to finish it.

"Yes, my dear," she resumed; "we were lunching at the very same shop as
you were--and we had two glasses of lemonade and three sandwiches and
five biscuits--and neither of us has the least idea what we paid. Have
we, sister?"

"Quite identically and absolutely----" murmured the other, who evidently
considered that she was now a whole sentence in arrears, and that she
ought to discharge one obligation before contracting any fresh
liabilities; but the little lady broke in again, and she retired from
the conversation a bankrupt.

"_Would_ you make it out for us, my dear?" pleaded the little old lady.

"You can do Arithmetic, I trust?" her aunt said, a little anxiously, as
Clara turned from one tablet to another, vainly trying to collect her
thoughts. Her mind was a blank, and all human expression was rapidly
fading out of her face.

A gloomy silence ensued.



   "This little pig went to market:
   This little pig staid at home."

"By Her Radiancy's express command," said the Governor, as he conducted
the travellers, for the last time, from the Imperial presence, "I shall
now have the ecstasy of escorting you as far as the outer gate of the
Military Quarter, where the agony of parting--if indeed Nature can
survive the shock--must be endured! From that gate grurmstipths start
every quarter of an hour, both ways----"

"Would you mind repeating that word?" said Norman. "Grurm----?"

"Grurmstipths," the Governor repeated. "You call them omnibuses in
England. They run both ways, and you can travel by one of them all the
way down to the harbour."

The old man breathed a sigh of relief; four hours of courtly ceremony
had wearied him, and he had been in constant terror lest something
should call into use the ten thousand additional bamboos.

In another minute they were crossing a large quadrangle, paved with
marble, and tastefully decorated with a pigsty in each corner. Soldiers,
carrying pigs, were marching in all directions: and in the middle stood
a gigantic officer giving orders in a voice of thunder, which made
itself heard above all the uproar of the pigs.

"It is the Commander-in-Chief!" the Governor hurriedly whispered to his
companions, who at once followed his example in prostrating themselves
before the great man. The Commander gravely bowed in return. He was
covered with gold lace from head to foot: his face wore an expression of
deep misery: and he had a little black pig under each arm. Still the
gallant fellow did his best, in the midst of the orders he was every
moment issuing to his men, to bid a courteous farewell to the departing

"Farewell, oh old one--carry these three to the South corner--and
farewell to thee, thou young one--put this fat one on the top of the
others in the Western sty--may your shadows never be less--woe is me, it
is wrongly done! Empty out all the sties, and begin again!" And the
soldier leant upon his sword, and wiped away a tear.

"He is in distress," the Governor explained as they left the court. "Her
Radiancy has commanded him to place twenty-four pigs in those four
sties, so that, as she goes round the court, she may always find the
number in each sty nearer to ten than the number in the last."

"Does she call ten nearer to ten than nine is?" said Norman.

"Surely," said the Governor. "Her Radiancy would admit that ten is
nearer to ten than nine is--and also nearer than eleven is."

"Then I think it can be done," said Norman.

The Governor shook his head. "The Commander has been transferring them
in vain for four months," he said. "What hope remains? And Her Radiancy
has ordered up ten thousand additional----"

"The pigs don't seem to enjoy being transferred," the old man hastily
interrupted. He did not like the subject of bamboos.

"They are only _provisionally_ transferred, you know," said the
Governor. "In most cases they are immediately carried back again: so
they need not mind it. And all is done with the greatest care, under the
personal superintendence of the Commander-in-Chief."

"Of course she would only go _once_ round?" said Norman.

"Alas, no!" sighed their conductor. "Round and round. Round and round.
These are Her Radiancy's own words. But oh, agony! Here is the outer
gate, and we must part!" He sobbed as he shook hands with them, and the
next moment was briskly walking away.

"He _might_ have waited to see us off!" said the old man, piteously.

"And he needn't have begun whistling the very _moment_ he left us!" said
the young one, severely. "But look sharp--here are two what's-his-names
in the act of starting!"

Unluckily, the sea-bound omnibus was full. "Never mind!" said Norman,
cheerily. "We'll walk on till the next one overtakes us."

They trudged on in silence, both thinking over the military problem,
till they met an omnibus coming from the sea. The elder traveller took
out his watch. "Just twelve minutes and a half since we started," he
remarked in an absent manner. Suddenly the vacant face brightened; the
old man had an idea. "My boy!" he shouted, bringing his hand down upon
Norman's shoulder so suddenly as for a moment to transfer his centre of
gravity beyond the base of support.

Thus taken off his guard, the young man wildly staggered forwards, and
seemed about to plunge into space: but in another moment he had
gracefully recovered himself. "Problem in Precession and Nutation," he
remarked--in tones where filial respect only just managed to conceal a
shade of annoyance. "What is it?" he hastily added, fearing his father
might have been taken ill. "Will you have some brandy?"

"When will the next omnibus overtake us? When? When?" the old man cried,
growing more excited every moment.

Norman looked gloomy. "Give me time," he said. "I must think it over."
And once more the travellers passed on in silence--a silence only broken
by the distant squeals of the unfortunate little pigs, who were still
being provisionally transferred from sty to sty, under the personal
superintendence of the Commander-in-Chief.



   "Water, water, every where,
   Nor any drop to drink."

"It'll just take one more pebble."

"What ever _are_ you doing with those buckets?"

The speakers were Hugh and Lambert. Place, the beach of Little Mendip.
Time, 1.30, P.M. Hugh was floating a bucket in another a size larger,
and trying how many pebbles it would carry without sinking. Lambert was
lying on his back, doing nothing.

For the next minute or two Hugh was silent, evidently deep in thought.
Suddenly he started. "I say, look here, Lambert!" he cried.

"If it's alive, and slimy, and with legs, I don't care to," said

"Didn't Balbus say this morning that, if a body is immersed in liquid,
it displaces as much liquid as is equal to its own bulk?" said Hugh.

"He said things of that sort," Lambert vaguely replied.

"Well, just look here a minute. Here's the little bucket almost quite
immersed: so the water displaced ought to be just about the same bulk.
And now just look at it!" He took out the little bucket as he spoke, and
handed the big one to Lambert. "Why, there's hardly a teacupful! Do you
mean to say _that_ water is the same bulk as the little bucket?"

"Course it is," said Lambert.

"Well, look here again!" cried Hugh, triumphantly, as he poured the
water from the big bucket into the little one. "Why, it doesn't half
fill it!"

"That's _its_ business," said Lambert. "If Balbus says it's the same
bulk, why, it _is_ the same bulk, you know."

"Well, I don't believe it," said Hugh.

"You needn't," said Lambert. "Besides, it's dinner-time. Come along."

They found Balbus waiting dinner for them, and to him Hugh at once
propounded his difficulty.

"Let's get you helped first," said Balbus, briskly cutting away at the
joint. "You know the old proverb 'Mutton first, mechanics afterwards'?"

The boys did _not_ know the proverb, but they accepted it in perfect
good faith, as they did every piece of information, however startling,
that came from so infallible an authority as their tutor. They ate on
steadily in silence, and, when dinner was over, Hugh set out the usual
array of pens, ink, and paper, while Balbus repeated to them the problem
he had prepared for their afternoon's task.

"A friend of mine has a flower-garden--a very pretty one, though no
great size--"

"How big is it?" said Hugh.

"That's what _you_ have to find out!" Balbus gaily replied. "All _I_
tell you is that it is oblong in shape--just half a yard longer than its
width--and that a gravel-walk, one yard wide, begins at one corner and
runs all round it."

"Joining into itself?" said Hugh.

"_Not_ joining into itself, young man. Just before doing _that_, it
turns a corner, and runs round the garden again, alongside of the first
portion, and then inside that again, winding in and in, and each lap
touching the last one, till it has used up the whole of the area."

"Like a serpent with corners?" said Lambert.

"Exactly so. And if you walk the whole length of it, to the last inch,
keeping in the centre of the path, it's exactly two miles and half a
furlong. Now, while you find out the length and breadth of the garden,
I'll see if I can think out that sea-water puzzle."

"You said it was a flower-garden?" Hugh inquired, as Balbus was leaving
the room.

"I did," said Balbus.

"Where do the flowers grow?" said Hugh. But Balbus thought it best not
to hear the question. He left the boys to their problem, and, in the
silence of his own room, set himself to unravel Hugh's mechanical

"To fix our thoughts," he murmured to himself, as, with hands
deep-buried in his pockets, he paced up and down the room, "we will take
a cylindrical glass jar, with a scale of inches marked up the side, and
fill it with water up to the 10-inch mark: and we will assume that every
inch depth of jar contains a pint of water. We will now take a solid
cylinder, such that every inch of it is equal in bulk to _half_ a pint
of water, and plunge 4 inches of it into the water, so that the end of
the cylinder comes down to the 6-inch mark. Well, that displaces 2
pints of water. What becomes of them? Why, if there were no more
cylinder, they would lie comfortably on the top, and fill the jar up to
the 12-inch mark. But unfortunately there _is_ more cylinder, occupying
half the space between the 10-inch and the 12-inch marks, so that only
_one_ pint of water can be accommodated there. What becomes of the other
pint? Why, if there were no more cylinder, it would lie on the top, and
fill the jar up to the 13-inch mark. But unfortunately----Shade of
Newton!" he exclaimed, in sudden accents of terror. "When _does_ the
water stop rising?"

A bright idea struck him. "I'll write a little essay on it," he said.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Balbus's Essay._

"When a solid is immersed in a liquid, it is well known that it
displaces a portion of the liquid equal to itself in bulk, and that the
level of the liquid rises just so much as it would rise if a quantity of
liquid had been added to it, equal in bulk to the solid. Lardner says,
precisely the same process occurs when a solid is _partially_ immersed:
the quantity of liquid displaced, in this case, equalling the portion of
the solid which is immersed, and the rise of the level being in

"Suppose a solid held above the surface of a liquid and partially
immersed: a portion of the liquid is displaced, and the level of the
liquid rises. But, by this rise of level, a little bit more of the solid
is of course immersed, and so there is a new displacement of a second
portion of the liquid, and a consequent rise of level. Again, this
second rise of level causes a yet further immersion, and by consequence
another displacement of liquid and another rise. It is self-evident that
this process must continue till the entire solid is immersed, and that
the liquid will then begin to immerse whatever holds the solid, which,
being connected with it, must for the time be considered a part of it.
If you hold a stick, six feet long, with its end in a tumbler of water,
and wait long enough, you must eventually be immersed. The question as
to the source from which the water is supplied--which belongs to a high
branch of mathematics, and is therefore beyond our present scope--does
not apply to the sea. Let us therefore take the familiar instance of a
man standing at the edge of the sea, at ebb-tide, with a solid in his
hand, which he partially immerses: he remains steadfast and unmoved, and
we all know that he must be drowned. The multitudes who daily perish in
this manner to attest a philosophical truth, and whose bodies the
unreasoning wave casts sullenly upon our thankless shores, have a truer
claim to be called the martyrs of science than a Galileo or a Kepler. To
use Kossuth's eloquent phrase, they are the unnamed demigods of the
nineteenth century."[B]

       *       *       *       *       *

"There's a fallacy _somewhere_," he murmured drowsily, as he stretched
his long legs upon the sofa. "I must think it over again." He closed his
eyes, in order to concentrate his attention more perfectly, and for the
next hour or so his slow and regular breathing bore witness to the
careful deliberation with which he was investigating this new and
perplexing view of the subject.



[Footnote B: _Note by the writer._--For the above Essay I am indebted to
a dear friend, now deceased.]



   "Yea, buns, and buns, and buns!"

                          OLD SONG.

"How very, very sad!" exclaimed Clara; and the eyes of the gentle girl
filled with tears as she spoke.

"Sad--but very curious when you come to look at it arithmetically," was
her aunt's less romantic reply. "Some of them have lost an arm in their
country's service, some a leg, some an ear, some an eye----"

"And some, perhaps, _all_!" Clara murmured dreamily, as they passed the
long rows of weather-beaten heroes basking in the sun. "Did you notice
that very old one, with a red face, who was drawing a map in the dust
with his wooden leg, and all the others watching? I _think_ it was a
plan of a battle----"

"The battle of Trafalgar, no doubt," her aunt interrupted, briskly.

"Hardly that, I think," Clara ventured to say. "You see, in that case,
he couldn't well be alive----"

"Couldn't well be alive!" the old lady contemptuously repeated. "He's as
lively as you and me put together! Why, if drawing a map in the
dust--with one's wooden leg--doesn't prove one to be alive, perhaps
you'll kindly mention what _does_ prove it!"

Clara did not see her way out of it. Logic had never been her _forte_.

"To return to the arithmetic," Mad Mathesis resumed--the eccentric old
lady never let slip an opportunity of driving her niece into a
calculation--"what percentage do you suppose must have lost all four--a
leg, an arm, an eye, and an ear?"

"How _can_ I tell?" gasped the terrified girl. She knew well what was

"You can't, of course, without _data_," her aunt replied: "but I'm just
going to give you----"

"Give her a Chelsea bun, Miss! That's what most young ladies likes
best!" The voice was rich and musical, and the speaker dexterously
whipped back the snowy cloth that covered his basket, and disclosed a
tempting array of the familiar square buns, joined together in rows,
richly egged and browned, and glistening in the sun.

"No, sir! I shall give her nothing so indigestible! Be off!" The old
lady waved her parasol threateningly: but nothing seemed to disturb the
good-humour of the jolly old man, who marched on, chanting his melodious

[Music: Chel-sea buns! Chel-sea buns hot! Chel-sea buns!

Pi-ping hot! Chel-sea buns hot! Chel-sea buns!]

"Far too indigestible, my love!" said the old lady. "Percentages will
agree with you ever so much better!"

Clara sighed, and there was a hungry look in her eyes as she watched the
basket lessening in the distance: but she meekly listened to the
relentless old lady, who at once proceeded to count off the _data_ on
her fingers.

"Say that 70 per cent. have lost an eye--75 per cent. an ear--80 per
cent. an arm--85 per cent. a leg--that'll do it beautifully. Now, my
dear, what percentage, _at least_, must have lost all four?"

No more conversation occurred--unless a smothered exclamation of "Piping
hot!" which escaped from Clara's lips as the basket vanished round a
corner could be counted as such--until they reached the old Chelsea
mansion, where Clara's father was then staying, with his three sons and
their old tutor.

Balbus, Lambert, and Hugh had entered the house only a few minutes
before them. They had been out walking, and Hugh had been propounding a
difficulty which had reduced Lambert to the depths of gloom, and had
even puzzled Balbus.

"It changes from Wednesday to Thursday at midnight, doesn't it?" Hugh
had begun.

"Sometimes," said Balbus, cautiously.

"Always," said Lambert, decisively.

"_Sometimes_," Balbus gently insisted. "Six midnights out of seven, it
changes to some other name."

"I meant, of course," Hugh corrected himself, "when it _does_ change
from Wednesday to Thursday, it does it at midnight--and _only_ at

"Surely," said Balbus. Lambert was silent.

"Well, now, suppose it's midnight here in Chelsea. Then it's Wednesday
_west_ of Chelsea (say in Ireland or America) where midnight hasn't
arrived yet: and it's Thursday _east_ of Chelsea (say in Germany or
Russia) where midnight has just passed by?"

"Surely," Balbus said again. Even Lambert nodded this time.

"But it isn't midnight, anywhere else; so it can't be changing from one
day to another anywhere else. And yet, if Ireland and America and so on
call it Wednesday, and Germany and Russia and so on call it Thursday,
there _must_ be some place--not Chelsea--that has different days on the
two sides of it. And the worst of it is, the people _there_ get their
days in the wrong order: they've got Wednesday _east_ of them, and
Thursday _west_--just as if their day had changed from Thursday to

"I've heard that puzzle before!" cried Lambert. "And I'll tell you the
explanation. When a ship goes round the world from east to west, we
know that it loses a day in its reckoning: so that when it gets home,
and calls its day Wednesday, it finds people here calling it Thursday,
because we've had one more midnight than the ship has had. And when you
go the other way round you gain a day."

"I know all that," said Hugh, in reply to this not very lucid
explanation: "but it doesn't help me, because the ship hasn't proper
days. One way round, you get more than twenty-four hours to the day, and
the other way you get less: so of course the names get wrong: but people
that live on in one place always get twenty-four hours to the day."

"I suppose there _is_ such a place," Balbus said, meditatively, "though
I never heard of it. And the people must find it very queer, as Hugh
says, to have the old day _east_ of them, and the new one _west_:
because, when midnight comes round to them, with the new day in front of
it and the old one behind it, one doesn't see exactly what happens. I
must think it over."

So they had entered the house in the state I have described--Balbus
puzzled, and Lambert buried in gloomy thought.

"Yes, m'm, Master _is_ at home, m'm," said the stately old butler.
(N.B.--It is only a butler of experience who can manage a series of
three M's together, without any interjacent vowels.) "And the _ole_
party is a-waiting for you in the libery."

"I don't like his calling your father an _old_ party," Mad Mathesis
whispered to her niece, as they crossed the hall. And Clara had only
just time to whisper in reply "he meant the _whole_ party," before they
were ushered into the library, and the sight of the five solemn faces
there assembled chilled her into silence.

Her father sat at the head of the table, and mutely signed to the ladies
to take the two vacant chairs, one on each side of him. His three sons
and Balbus completed the party. Writing materials had been arranged
round the table, after the fashion of a ghostly banquet: the butler had
evidently bestowed much thought on the grim device. Sheets of quarto
paper, each flanked by a pen on one side and a pencil on the other,
represented the plates--penwipers did duty for rolls of bread--while
ink-bottles stood in the places usually occupied by wine-glasses. The
_pièce de resistance_ was a large green baize bag, which gave forth, as
the old man restlessly lifted it from side to side, a charming jingle,
as of innumerable golden guineas.

"Sister, daughter, sons--and Balbus--," the old man began, so nervously,
that Balbus put in a gentle "Hear, hear!" while Hugh drummed on the
table with his fists. This disconcerted the unpractised orator.
"Sister--" he began again, then paused a moment, moved the bag to the
other side, and went on with a rush, "I mean--this being--a critical
occasion--more or less--being the year when one of my sons comes of
age--" he paused again in some confusion, having evidently got into the
middle of his speech sooner than he intended: but it was too late to go
back. "Hear, hear!" cried Balbus. "Quite so," said the old gentleman,
recovering his self-possession a little: "when first I began this annual
custom--my friend Balbus will correct me if I am wrong--" (Hugh
whispered "with a strap!" but nobody heard him except Lambert, who only
frowned and shook his head at him) "--this annual custom of giving each
of my sons as many guineas as would represent his age--it was a critical
time--so Balbus informed me--as the ages of two of you were together
equal to that of the third--so on that occasion I made a speech----" He
paused so long that Balbus thought it well to come to the rescue with
the words "It was a most----" but the old man checked him with a warning
look: "yes, made a speech," he repeated. "A few years after that, Balbus
pointed out--I say pointed out--" ("Hear, hear"! cried Balbus. "Quite
so," said the grateful old man.) "--that it was _another_ critical
occasion. The ages of two of you were together _double_ that of the
third. So I made another speech--another speech. And now again it's a
critical occasion--so Balbus says--and I am making----" (Here Mad
Mathesis pointedly referred to her watch) "all the haste I can!" the old
man cried, with wonderful presence of mind. "Indeed, sister, I'm coming
to the point now! The number of years that have passed since that first
occasion is just two-thirds of the number of guineas I then gave you.
Now, my boys, calculate your ages from the _data_, and you shall have
the money!"

"But we _know_ our ages!" cried Hugh.

"Silence, sir!" thundered the old man, rising to his full height (he was
exactly five-foot five) in his indignation. "I say you must use the
_data_ only! You mustn't even assume _which_ it is that comes of age!"
He clutched the bag as he spoke, and with tottering steps (it was about
as much as he could do to carry it) he left the room.

"And _you_ shall have a similar _cadeau_," the old lady whispered to her
niece, "when you've calculated that percentage!" And she followed her

Nothing could exceed the solemnity with which the old couple had risen
from the table, and yet was it--was it a _grin_ with which the father
turned away from his unhappy sons? Could it be--could it be a _wink_
with which the aunt abandoned her despairing niece? And were those--were
those sounds of suppressed _chuckling_ which floated into the room, just
before Balbus (who had followed them out) closed the door? Surely not:
and yet the butler told the cook--but no, that was merely idle gossip,
and I will not repeat it.

The shades of evening granted their unuttered petition, and "closed not
o'er" them (for the butler brought in the lamp): the same obliging
shades left them a "lonely bark" (the wail of a dog, in the back-yard,
baying the moon) for "awhile": but neither "morn, alas," (nor any other
epoch) seemed likely to "restore" them--to that peace of mind which had
once been theirs ere ever these problems had swooped upon them, and
crushed them with a load of unfathomable mystery!

"It's hardly fair," muttered Hugh, "to give us such a jumble as this to
work out!"

"Fair?" Clara echoed, bitterly. "Well!"

And to all my readers I can but repeat the last words of gentle Clara--



     "A knot!" said Alice. "Oh, do let me help to undo it!"


_Problem._--"Two travellers spend from 3 o'clock till 9 in walking along
a level road, up a hill, and home again: their pace on the level being 4
miles an hour, up hill 3, and down hill 6. Find distance walked: also
(within half an hour) time of reaching top of hill."

_Answer._--"24 miles: half-past 6."

       *       *       *       *       *

_Solution._--A level mile takes 1/4 of an hour, up hill 1/3, down hill
1/6. Hence to go and return over the same mile, whether on the level or
on the hill-side, takes 1/2 an hour. Hence in 6 hours they went 12 miles
out and 12 back. If the 12 miles out had been nearly all level, they
would have taken a little over 3 hours; if nearly all up hill, a little
under 4. Hence 3-1/2 hours must be within 1/2 an hour of the time taken
in reaching the peak; thus, as they started at 3, they got there within
1/2 an hour of 1/2 past 6.

       *       *       *       *       *

Twenty-seven answers have come in. Of these, 9 are right, 16 partially
right, and 2 wrong. The 16 give the _distance_ correctly, but they have
failed to grasp the fact that the top of the hill might have been
reached at _any_ moment between 6 o'clock and 7.

The two wrong answers are from GERTY VERNON and A NIHILIST. The former
makes the distance "23 miles," while her revolutionary companion puts it
at "27." GERTY VERNON says "they had to go 4 miles along the plain, and
got to the foot of the hill at 4 o'clock." They _might_ have done so, I
grant; but you have no ground for saying they _did_ so. "It was 7-1/2
miles to the top of the hill, and they reached that at 1/4 before 7
o'clock." Here you go wrong in your arithmetic, and I must, however
reluctantly, bid you farewell. 7-1/2 miles, at 3 miles an hour, would
_not_ require 2-3/4 hours. A NIHILIST says "Let _x_ denote the whole
number of miles; _y_ the number of hours to hill-top; [** therefore] 3_y_ =
number of miles to hill-top, and _x_-3_y_ = number of miles on the other
side." You bewilder me. The other side of _what_? "Of the hill," you
say. But then, how did they get home again? However, to accommodate your
views we will build a new hostelry at the foot of the hill on the
opposite side, and also assume (what I grant you is _possible_, though
it is not _necessarily_ true) that there was no level road at all. Even
then you go wrong.

You say

   "_y_ = 6 - (_x_ - 3_y_)/6, ..... (i);

   _x_/4-1/2 = 6              ..... (ii)."

I grant you (i), but I deny (ii): it rests on the assumption that to go
_part_ of the time at 3 miles an hour, and the rest at 6 miles an hour,
comes to the same result as going the _whole_ time at 4-1/2 miles an
hour. But this would only be true if the "_part_" were an exact _half_,
i.e., if they went up hill for 3 hours, and down hill for the other 3:
which they certainly did _not_ do.

The sixteen, who are partially right, are AGNES BAILEY, F. K., FIFEE, G.
these, F. K., FIFEE, T. B. C, and VIS INERTIÆ do not attempt the second
part at all. F. K. and H. P. give no working. The rest make particular
assumptions, such as that there was no level road--that there were 6
miles of level road--and so on, all leading to _particular_ times being
fixed for reaching the hill-top. The most curious assumption is that of
AGNES BAILEY, who says "Let _x_ = number of hours occupied in ascent;
then _x_/2 = hours occupied in descent; and 4_x_/3 = hours occupied on
the level." I suppose you were thinking of the relative _rates_, up
hill and on the level; which we might express by saying that, if they
went x miles up hill in a certain time, they would go 4_x_/3 miles on
the level _in the same time_. You have, in fact, assumed that they took
_the same time_ on the level that they took in ascending the hill. FIFEE
assumes that, when the aged knight said they had gone "four miles in the
hour" on the level, he meant that four miles was the _distance_ gone,
not merely the rate. This would have been--if FIFEE will excuse the
slang expression--a "sell," ill-suited to the dignity of the hero.

And now "descend, ye classic Nine!" who have solved the whole problem,
and let me sing your praises. Your names are BLITHE, E. W., L. B., A
SUSAN, and MONEY SPINNER. (These last two I count as one, as they send a
joint answer.) ROSE and SIMPLE SUSAN and CO. do not actually state that
the hill-top was reached some time between 6 and 7, but, as they have
clearly grasped the fact that a mile, ascended and descended, took the
same time as two level miles, I mark them as "right." A MARLBOROUGH BOY
and PUTNEY WALKER deserve honourable mention for their algebraical
solutions being the only two who have perceived that the question leads
to _an indeterminate equation_. E. W. brings a charge of untruthfulness
against the aged knight--a serious charge, for he was the very pink of
chivalry! She says "According to the data given, the time at the summit
affords no clue to the total distance. It does not enable us to state
precisely to an inch how much level and how much hill there was on the
road." "Fair damsel," the aged knight replies, "--if, as I surmise, thy
initials denote Early Womanhood--bethink thee that the word 'enable' is
thine, not mine. I did but ask the time of reaching the hill-top as my
_condition_ for further parley. If _now_ thou wilt not grant that I am a
truth-loving man, then will I affirm that those same initials denote
Envenomed Wickedness!"





   E. W.
   L. B.
   O. V. L.

BLITHE has made so ingenious an addition to the problem, and SIMPLE
SUSAN and CO. have solved it in such tuneful verse, that I record both
their answers in full. I have altered a word or two in BLITHE'S--which I
trust she will excuse; it did not seem quite clear as it stood.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Yet stay," said the youth, as a gleam of inspiration lighted up the
relaxing muscles of his quiescent features. "Stay. Methinks it matters
little _when_ we reached that summit, the crown of our toil. For in the
space of time wherein we clambered up one mile and bounded down the same
on our return, we could have trudged the _twain_ on the level. We have
plodded, then, four-and-twenty miles in these six mortal hours; for
never a moment did we stop for catching of fleeting breath or for gazing
on the scene around!"

"Very good," said the old man. "Twelve miles out and twelve miles in.
And we reached the top some time between six and seven of the clock. Now
mark me! For every five minutes that had fled since six of the clock
when we stood on yonder peak, so many miles had we toiled upwards on the
dreary mountainside!"

The youth moaned and rushed into the hostel.


   The elder and the younger knight,
     They sallied forth at three;
   How far they went on level ground
     It matters not to me;
   What time they reached the foot of hill,
     When they began to mount,
   Are problems which I hold to be
     Of very small account.

   The moment that each waved his hat
     Upon the topmost peak--
   To trivial query such as this
     No answer will I seek.
   Yet can I tell the distance well
     They must have travelled o'er:
   On hill and plain, 'twixt three and nine,
     The miles were twenty-four.

   Four miles an hour their steady pace
     Along the level track,
   Three when they climbed--but six when they
     Came swiftly striding back
   Adown the hill; and little skill
     It needs, methinks, to show,
   Up hill and down together told,
     Four miles an hour they go.

   For whether long or short the time
     Upon the hill they spent,
   Two thirds were passed in going up,
     One third in the descent.
   Two thirds at three, one third at six,
     If rightly reckoned o'er,
   Will make one whole at four--the tale
     Is tangled now no more.

                                SIMPLE SUSAN.
                                MONEY SPINNER.



_Problem._--"The Governor of Kgovjni wants to give a very small dinner
party, and invites his father's brother-in-law, his brother's
father-in-law, his father-in-law's brother, and his brother-in-law's
father. Find the number of guests."


       *       *       *       *       *

In this genealogy, males are denoted by capitals, and females by small

The Governor is E and his guest is C.

            A = a
       |        |    |
   b = B    D = d    C = c
     |        |        |
     |   +---++--+   +-+-+
     |   |   |   |   |   |
     e = E   |   g = G   |
             F ========= f

Ten answers have been received. Of these, one is wrong, GALANTHUS
NIVALIS MAJOR, who insists on inviting _two_ guests, one being the
Governor's _wife's brother's father_. If she had taken his _sister's
husband's father_ instead, she would have found it possible to reduce
the guests to _one_.

Of the nine who send right answers, SEA-BREEZE is the very faintest
breath that ever bore the name! She simply states that the Governor's
uncle might fulfill all the conditions "by intermarriages"! "Wind of the
western sea," you have had a very narrow escape! Be thankful to appear
in the Class-list at all! BOG-OAK and BRADSHAW OF THE FUTURE use
genealogies which require 16 people instead of 14, by inviting the
Governor's _father's sister's husband_ instead of his _father's wife's
brother_. I cannot think this so good a solution as one that requires
only 14. CAIUS and VALENTINE deserve special mention as the only two who
have supplied genealogies.



   M. M.






_Problem._--"A Square has 20 doors on each side, which contains 21 equal
parts. They are numbered all round, beginning at one corner. From which
of the four, Nos. 9, 25, 52, 73, is the sum of the distances, to the
other three, least?"

_Answer._--"From No. 9."

       *       *       *       *       *


Let A be No. 9, B No. 25, C No. 52, and D No. 73.

   Then AB = [** sqrt](12^{2} + 5^{2}) = [** sqrt]169 = 13;
   AC = 21;
   AD = [** sqrt](9^{2} + 8^{2}) = [** sqrt]145 = 12 +
   (N.B. _i.e._ "between 12 and 13.")
   BC = [** sqrt](16^{2} + 12^{2}) = [** sqrt]400 = 20;
   BD = [** sqrt](3^{2} + 21^{2}) = [** sqrt]450 = 21+;
   CD = [** sqrt](9^{2} + 13^{2}) = [** sqrt]250 = 15+;

Hence sum of distances from A is between 46 and 47; from B, between 54
and 55; from C, between 56 and 57; from D, between 48 and 51. (Why not
"between 48 and 49"? Make this out for yourselves.) Hence the sum is
least for A.

       *       *       *       *       *

Twenty-five solutions have been received. Of these, 15 must be marked
"0," 5 are partly right, and 5 right. Of the 15, I may dismiss
MAJOR (I fear the cold spring has blighted our SNOWDROP), GUY, H.M.S.
PINAFORE, JANET, and VALENTINE with the simple remark that they insist
on the unfortunate lodgers _keeping to the pavement_. (I used the words
"crossed to Number Seventy-three" for the special purpose of showing
that _short cuts_ were possible.) SEA-BREEZE does the same, and adds
that "the result would be the same" even if they crossed the Square, but
gives no proof of this. M. M. draws a diagram, and says that No. 9 is
the house, "as the diagram shows." I cannot see _how_ it does so. OLD
CAT assumes that the house _must_ be No. 9 or No. 73. She does not
explain how she estimates the distances. Bee's Arithmetic is faulty: she
makes [** sqrt]169 + [** sqrt]442 + [** sqrt]130 = 741. (I suppose you
mean [** sqrt]741, which would be a little nearer the truth. But roots
cannot be added in this manner. Do you think [** sqrt]9 + [** sqrt]16 is
25, or even [** sqrt]25?) But AYR'S state is more perilous still: she
draws illogical conclusions with a frightful calmness. After pointing
out (rightly) that AC is less than BD she says, "therefore the nearest
house to the other three must be A or C." And again, after pointing out
(rightly) that B and D are both within the half-square containing A,
she says "therefore" AB + AD must be less than BC + CD. (There is no
logical force in either "therefore." For the first, try Nos. 1, 21, 60,
70: this will make your premiss true, and your conclusion false.
Similarly, for the second, try Nos. 1, 30, 51, 71.)

Of the five partly-right solutions, RAGS AND TATTERS and MAD HATTER (who
send one answer between them) make No. 25 6 units from the corner
instead of 5. CHEAM, E. R. D. L., and MEGGY POTTS leave openings at the
corners of the Square, which are not in the _data_: moreover CHEAM gives
values for the distances without any hint that they are only
_approximations_. CROPHI AND MOPHI make the bold and unfounded
assumption that there were really 21 houses on each side, instead of 20
as stated by Balbus. "We may assume," they add, "that the doors of Nos.
21, 42, 63, 84, are invisible from the centre of the Square"! What is
there, I wonder, that CROPHI AND MOPHI would _not_ assume?

Of the five who are wholly right, I think BRADSHAW OF THE FUTURE, CAIUS,
CLIFTON C., and MARTREB deserve special praise for their full
_analytical_ solutions. MATTHEW MATTICKS picks out No. 9, and proves it
to be the right house in two ways, very neatly and ingeniously, but
_why_ he picks it out does not appear. It is an excellent _synthetical_
proof, but lacks the analysis which the other four supply.







   E. R. D. L.

A remonstrance has reached me from SCRUTATOR on the subject of KNOT I.,
which he declares was "no problem at all." "Two questions," he says,
"are put. To solve one there is no data: the other answers itself." As
to the first point, SCRUTATOR is mistaken; there _are_ (not "is") data
sufficient to answer the question. As to the other, it is interesting to
know that the question "answers itself," and I am sure it does the
question great credit: still I fear I cannot enter it on the list of
winners, as this competition is only open to human beings.


_Problem._--(1) "Two travellers, starting at the same time, went
opposite ways round a circular railway. Trains start each way every 15
minutes, the easterly ones going round in 3 hours, the westerly in 2.
How many trains did each meet on the way, not counting trains met at the
terminus itself?" (2) "They went round, as before, each traveller
counting as 'one' the train containing the other traveller. How many did
each meet?"

_Answers._--(1) 19. (2) The easterly traveller met 12; the other 8.

       *       *       *       *       *

The trains one way took 180 minutes, the other way 120. Let us take the
L. C. M., 360, and divide the railway into 360 units. Then one set of
trains went at the rate of 2 units a minute and at intervals of 30
units; the other at the rate of 3 units a minute and at intervals of 45
units. An easterly train starting has 45 units between it and the first
train it will meet: it does 2-5ths of this while the other does 3-5ths,
and thus meets it at the end of 18 units, and so all the way round. A
westerly train starting has 30 units between it and the first train it
will meet: it does 3-5ths of this while the other does 2-5ths, and thus
meets it at the end of 18 units, and so all the way round. Hence if the
railway be divided, by 19 posts, into 20 parts, each containing 18
units, trains meet at every post, and, in (1), each traveller passes 19
posts in going round, and so meets 19 trains. But, in (2), the easterly
traveller only begins to count after traversing 2-5ths of the journey,
_i.e._, on reaching the 8th post, and so counts 12 posts: similarly the
other counts 8. They meet at the end of 2-5ths of 3 hours, or 3-5ths of
2 hours, _i.e._, 72 minutes.

       *       *       *       *       *

Forty-five answers have been received. Of these 12 are beyond the reach
of discussion, as they give no working. I can but enumerate their names.
and THE RED QUEEN are all wrong. BETA and ROWENA have got (1) right and
(2) wrong. CHEEKY BOB and NAIRAM give the right answers, but it may
perhaps make the one less cheeky, and induce the other to take a less
inverted view of things, to be informed that, if this had been a
competition for a prize, they would have got no marks. [N.B.--I have
not ventured to put E. A.'s name in full, as she only gave it
provisionally, in case her answer should prove right.]

Of the 33 answers for which the working is given, 10 are wrong; 11
half-wrong and half-right; 3 right, except that they cherish the
delusion that it was _Clara_ who travelled in the easterly train--a
point which the data do not enable us to settle; and 9 wholly right.

The 10 wrong answers are from BO-PEEP, FINANCIER, I. W. T., KATE B., M.
A. H., Q. Y. Z., SEA-GULL, THISTLEDOWN, TOM-QUAD, and an unsigned one.
BO-PEEP rightly says that the easterly traveller met all trains which
started during the 3 hours of her trip, as well as all which started
during the previous 2 hours, _i.e._, all which started at the
commencements of 20 periods of 15 minutes each; and she is right in
striking out the one she met at the moment of starting; but wrong in
striking out the _last_ train, for she did not meet this at the
terminus, but 15 minutes before she got there. She makes the same
mistake in (2). FINANCIER thinks that any train, met for the second
time, is not to be counted. I. W. T. finds, by a process which is not
stated, that the travellers met at the end of 71 minutes and 26-1/2
seconds. KATE B. thinks the trains which are met on starting and on
arriving are _never_ to be counted, even when met elsewhere. Q. Y. Z.
tries a rather complex algebraical solution, and succeeds in finding the
time of meeting correctly: all else is wrong. SEA-GULL seems to think
that, in (1), the easterly train _stood still_ for 3 hours; and says
that, in (2), the travellers met at the end of 71 minutes 40 seconds.
THISTLEDOWN nobly confesses to having tried no calculation, but merely
having drawn a picture of the railway and counted the trains; in (1),
she counts wrong; in (2) she makes them meet in 75 minutes. TOM-QUAD
omits (1): in (2) he makes Clara count the train she met on her arrival.
The unsigned one is also unintelligible; it states that the travellers
go "1-24th more than the total distance to be traversed"! The "Clara"
theory, already referred to, is adopted by 5 of these, viz., BO-PEEP,
FINANCIER, KATE B., TOM-QUAD, and the nameless writer.

The 11 half-right answers are from BOG-OAK, BRIDGET, CASTOR, CHESHIRE
CAT, G. E. B., GUY, MARY, M. A. H., OLD MAID, R. W., and VENDREDI. All
these adopt the "Clara" theory. CASTOR omits (1). VENDREDI gets (1)
right, but in (2) makes the same mistake as BO-PEEP. I notice in your
solution a marvellous proportion-sum:--"300 miles: 2 hours :: one mile:
24 seconds." May I venture to advise your acquiring, as soon as
possible, an utter disbelief in the possibility of a ratio existing
between _miles_ and _hours_? Do not be disheartened by your two friends'
sarcastic remarks on your "roundabout ways." Their short method, of
adding 12 and 8, has the slight disadvantage of bringing the answer
wrong: even a "roundabout" method is better than _that_! M. A. H., in
(2), makes the travellers count "one" _after_ they met, not _when_ they
met. CHESHIRE CAT and OLD MAID get "20" as answer for (1), by forgetting
to strike out the train met on arrival. The others all get "18" in
various ways. BOG-OAK, GUY, and R. W. divide the trains which the
westerly traveller has to meet into 2 sets, viz., those already on the
line, which they (rightly) make "11," and those which started during her
2 hours' journey (exclusive of train met on arrival), which they
(wrongly) make "7"; and they make a similar mistake with the easterly
train. BRIDGET (rightly) says that the westerly traveller met a train
every 6 minutes for 2 hours, but (wrongly) makes the number "20"; it
should be "21." G. E. B. adopts BO-PEEP'S method, but (wrongly) strikes
out (for the easterly traveller) the train which started at the
_commencement_ of the previous 2 hours. MARY thinks a train, met on
arrival, must not be counted, even when met on a _previous_ occasion.

The 3, who are wholly right but for the unfortunate "Clara" theory, are
F. LEE, G. S. C., and X. A. B.

And now "descend, ye classic Ten!" who have solved the whole problem.
Your names are AIX-LES-BAINS, ALGERNON BRAY (thanks for a friendly
remark, which comes with a heart-warmth that not even the Atlantic could
S. S. G., and WAITING FOR THE TRAIN. Several of these have put Clara,
provisionally, into the easterly train: but they seem to have understood
that the data do not decide that point.



   H. L. R.
   S. S. G.


   J. L. O.


   F. LEE.
   G. S. C.
   X. A. B.


_Problem._--"There are 5 sacks, of which Nos. 1, 2, weigh 12 lbs.; Nos.
2, 3, 13-1/2 lbs.; Nos. 3, 4, 11-1/2 lbs.; Nos. 4, 5, 8 lbs.; Nos. 1, 3,
5, 16 lbs. Required the weight of each sack."

_Answer._--"5-1/2, 6-1/2, 7, 4-1/2, 3-1/2."

       *       *       *       *       *

The sum of all the weighings, 61 lbs., includes sack No. 3 _thrice_ and
each other _twice_. Deducting twice the sum of the 1st and 4th
weighings, we get 21 lbs. for _thrice_ No. 3, _i.e._, 7 lbs. for No. 3.
Hence, the 2nd and 3rd weighings give 6-1/2 lbs., 4-1/2 lbs. for Nos. 2,
4; and hence again, the 1st and 4th weighings give 5-1/2 lbs., 3-1/2
lbs., for Nos. 1, 5.

       *       *       *       *       *

Ninety-seven answers have been received. Of these, 15 are beyond the
reach of discussion, as they give no working. I can but enumerate their
names, and I take this opportunity of saying that this is the last time
I shall put on record the names of competitors who give no sort of clue
to the process by which their answers were obtained. In guessing a
conundrum, or in catching a flea, we do not expect the breathless victor
to give us afterwards, in cold blood, a history of the mental or
muscular efforts by which he achieved success; but a mathematical
calculation is another thing. The names of this "mute inglorious" band
are COMMON SENSE, D. E. R., DOUGLAS, E. L., ELLEN, I. M. T., J. M. C.,

Of the eighty-two answers with which the working, or some approach to
it, is supplied, one is wrong: seventeen have given solutions which are
(from one cause or another) practically valueless: the remaining
sixty-four I shall try to arrange in a Class-list, according to the
varying degrees of shortness and neatness to which they seem to have

The solitary wrong answer is from NELL. To be thus "alone in the crowd"
is a distinction--a painful one, no doubt, but still a distinction. I am
sorry for you, my dear young lady, and I seem to hear your tearful
exclamation, when you read these lines, "Ah! This is the knell of all my
hopes!" Why, oh why, did you assume that the 4th and 5th bags weighed 4
lbs. each? And why did you not test your answers? However, please try
again: and please don't change your _nom-de-plume_: let us have NELL in
the First Class next time!

The seventeen whose solutions are practically valueless are ARDMORE, A
of "rule of false," assuming experimentally that Nos. 1, 2, weigh 6 lbs.
each, and having thus produced 17-1/2, instead of 16, as the weight of
1, 3, and 5, she removes "the superfluous pound and a half," but does
not explain how she knows from which to take it. THREE-FIFTHS ASLEEP
says that (when in that peculiar state) "it seemed perfectly clear" to
her that, "3 out of the 5 sacks being weighed twice over, 3/5 of 45 =
27, must be the total weight of the 5 sacks." As to which I can only
say, with the Captain, "it beats me entirely!" WINIFRED, on the plea
that "one must have a starting-point," assumes (what I fear is a mere
guess) that No. 1 weighed 5-1/2 lbs. The rest all do it, wholly or
partly, by guess-work.

The problem is of course (as any Algebraist sees at once) a case of
"simultaneous simple equations." It is, however, easily soluble by
Arithmetic only; and, when this is the case, I hold that it is bad
workmanship to use the more complex method. I have not, this time, given
more credit to arithmetical solutions; but in future problems I shall
(other things being equal) give the highest marks to those who use the
simplest machinery. I have put into Class I. those whose answers seemed
specially short and neat, and into Class III. those that seemed
specially long or clumsy. Of this last set, A. C. M., FURZE-BUSH, JAMES,
PARTRIDGE, R. W., and WAITING FOR THE TRAIN, have sent long wandering
solutions, the substitutions having no definite method, but seeming to
have been made to see what would come of it. CHILPOME and DUBLIN BOY
omit some of the working. ARVON MARLBOROUGH BOY only finds the weight of
_one_ sack.



   B. E. D.
   C. H.
   J. F. A.
   M. A. H.
   R. E. X.


   C. M. G.
   E. C. M.
   E. N. Lowry.
   F. H. W.
   G. E. B.
   J. A. B.
   J. B. B.
   L. D.
   S. S. G.
   Y. M. A. H.


   A. C. M.
   R. W.


_Problem._--To mark pictures, giving 3 x's to 2 or 3, 2 to 4 or 5, and 1
to 9 or 10; also giving 3 o's to 1 or 2, 2 to 3 or 4 and 1 to 8 or 9; so
as to mark the smallest possible number of pictures, and to give them
the largest possible number of marks.

_Answer._--10 pictures; 29 marks; arranged thus:--

   x  x  x  x  x  x  x  x  x  o
   x  x  x  x  x     o  o  o  o
   x  x  o  o  o  o  o  o  o  o

_Solution._--By giving all the x's possible, putting into brackets the
optional ones, we get 10 pictures marked thus:--

   x  x  x  x  x  x  x  x  x (x)
   x  x  x  x (x)
   x  x (x)

By then assigning o's in the same way, beginning at the other end, we
get 9 pictures marked thus:--

                        (o) o
                  (o) o  o  o
   (o) o  o  o  o  o  o  o  o

All we have now to do is to run these two wedges as close together as
they will go, so as to get the minimum number of pictures----erasing
optional marks where by so doing we can run them closer, but otherwise
letting them stand. There are 10 necessary marks in the 1st row, and in
the 3rd; but only 7 in the 2nd. Hence we erase all optional marks in the
1st and 3rd rows, but let them stand in the 2nd.

       *       *       *       *       *

Twenty-two answers have been received. Of these 11 give no working; so,
in accordance with what I announced in my last review of answers, I
leave them unnamed, merely mentioning that 5 are right and 6 wrong.

Of the eleven answers with which some working is supplied, 3 are wrong.
C. H. begins with the rash assertion that under the given conditions
"the sum is impossible. For," he or she adds (these initialed
correspondents are dismally vague beings to deal with: perhaps "it"
would be a better pronoun), "10 is the least possible number of
pictures" (granted): "therefore we must either give 2 x's to 6, or 2 o's
to 5." Why "must," oh alphabetical phantom? It is nowhere ordained that
every picture "must" have 3 marks! FIFEE sends a folio page of solution,
which deserved a better fate: she offers 3 answers, in each of which 10
pictures are marked, with 30 marks; in one she gives 2 x's to 6
pictures; in another to 7; in the 3rd she gives 2 o's to 5; thus in
every case ignoring the conditions. (I pause to remark that the
condition "2 x's to 4 or 5 pictures" can only mean "_either_ to 4 _or
else_ to 5": if, as one competitor holds, it might mean _any_ number not
less than 4, the words "_or_ 5" would be superfluous.) I. E. A. (I am
happy to say that none of these bloodless phantoms appear this time in
the class-list. Is it IDEA with the "D" left out?) gives 2 x's to 6
pictures. She then takes me to task for using the word "ought" instead
of "nought." No doubt, to one who thus rebels against the rules laid
down for her guidance, the word must be distasteful. But does not I. E.
A. remember the parallel case of "adder"? That creature was originally
"a nadder": then the two words took to bandying the poor "n" backwards
and forwards like a shuttlecock, the final state of the game being "an
adder." May not "a nought" have similarly become "an ought"? Anyhow,
"oughts and crosses" is a very old game. I don't think I ever heard it
called "noughts and crosses."

In the following Class-list, I hope the solitary occupant of III. will
sheathe her claws when she hears how narrow an escape she has had of not
being named at all. Her account of the process by which she got the
answer is so meagre that, like the nursery tale of "Jack-a-Minory" (I
trust I. E. A. will be merciful to the spelling), it is scarcely to be
distinguished from "zero."





   F. LEE.




_Problem 1._--_A_ and _B_ began the year with only 1,000_l._ a-piece.
They borrowed nought; they stole nought. On the next New-Year's Day they
had 60,000_l._ between them. How did they do it?

_Solution._--They went that day to the Bank of England. _A_ stood in
front of it, while _B_ went round and stood behind it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Two answers have been received, both worthy of much honour. ADDLEPATE
makes them borrow "0" and steal "0," and uses both cyphers by putting
them at the right-hand end of the 1,000_l._, thus producing 100,000_l._,
which is well over the mark. But (or to express it in Latin) AT SPES
INFRACTA has solved it even more ingeniously: with the first cypher she
turns the "1" of the 1,000_l._ into a "9," and adds the result to the
original sum, thus getting 10,000_l._: and in this, by means of the
other "0," she turns the "1" into a "6," thus hitting the exact






       *       *       *       *       *

_Problem 2._--_L_ makes 5 scarves, while _M_ makes 2: _Z_ makes 4 while
_L_ makes 3. Five scarves of _Z_'s weigh one of _L_'s; 5 of _M_'s weigh
3 of _Z_'s. One of _M_'s is as warm as 4 of _Z_'s: and one of _L_'s as
warm as 3 of _M_'s. Which is best, giving equal weight in the result to
rapidity of work, lightness, and warmth?

_Answer._--The order is _M_, _L_, _Z_.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Solution._--As to rapidity (other things being constant) _L_'s merit is
to _M_'s in the ratio of 5 to 2: _Z_'s to _L_'s in the ratio of 4 to 3.
In order to get one set of 3 numbers fulfilling these conditions, it is
perhaps simplest to take the one that occurs _twice_ as unity, and
reduce the others to fractions: this gives, for _L_, _M_, and _Z_, the
marks 1, 2/5, 4/3. In estimating for _lightness_, we observe that the
greater the weight, the less the merit, so that _Z_'s merit is to _L_'s
as 5 to 1. Thus the marks for _lightness_ are 1/5, 5/3, 1. And
similarly, the marks for warmth are 3, 1, 1/4. To get the total result,
we must _multiply_ _L_'s 3 marks together, and do the same for _M_ and
for _Z_. The final numbers are 1 × 1/5 × 3, 2/5 × 5/3 × 1, 4/3 × 1 ×
1/4; _i.e._ 3/5, 2/3, 1/3; _i.e._ multiplying throughout by 15 (which
will not alter the proportion), 9, 10, 5; showing the order of merit to
be _M_, _L_, _Z_.

       *       *       *       *       *

Twenty-nine answers have been received, of which five are right, and
twenty-four wrong. These hapless ones have all (with three exceptions)
fallen into the error of _adding_ the proportional numbers together, for
each candidate, instead of _multiplying_. _Why_ the latter is right,
rather than the former, is fully proved in text-books, so I will not
occupy space by stating it here: but it can be _illustrated_ very easily
by the case of length, breadth, and depth. Suppose _A_ and _B_ are rival
diggers of rectangular tanks: the amount of work done is evidently
measured by the number of _cubical feet_ dug out. Let _A_ dig a tank 10
feet long, 10 wide, 2 deep: let _B_ dig one 6 feet long, 5 wide, 10
deep. The cubical contents are 200, 300; _i.e._ _B_ is best digger in
the ratio of 3 to 2. Now try marking for length, width, and depth,
separately; giving a maximum mark of 10 to the best in each contest, and
then _adding_ the results!

Of the twenty-four malefactors, one gives no working, and so has no real
claim to be named; but I break the rule for once, in deference to its
success in Problem 1: he, she, or it, is ADDLEPATE. The other
twenty-three may be divided into five groups.

First and worst are, I take it, those who put the rightful winner
_last_; arranging them as "Lolo, Zuzu, Mimi." The names of these
desperate wrong-doers are AYR, BRADSHAW OF THE FUTURE, FURZE-BUSH and
POLLUX (who send a joint answer), GREYSTEAD, GUY, OLD HEN, and SIMPLE
SUSAN. The latter was _once_ best of all; the Old Hen has taken
advantage of her simplicity, and beguiled her with the chaff which was
the bane of her own chickenhood.

Secondly, I point the finger of scorn at those who have put the worst
candidate at the top; arranging them as "Zuzu, Mimi, Lolo." They are
GRAECIA, M. M., OLD CAT, and R. E. X. "'Tis Greece, but----."

The third set have avoided both these enormities, and have even
succeeded in putting the worst last, their answer being "Lolo, Mimi,
Zuzu." Their names are AYR (who also appears among the "quite too too"),
not fallen into the common error; she _multiplies_ together the
proportionate numbers she gets, but in getting them she goes wrong, by
reckoning warmth as a _de_-merit. Possibly she is "Freshly Burnt," or
comes "From Bombay." JANET and MRS. SAIREY GAMP have also avoided this
error: the method they have adopted is shrouded in mystery--I scarcely
feel competent to criticize it. MRS. GAMP says "if Zuzu makes 4 while
Lolo makes 3, Zuzu makes 6 while Lolo makes 5 (bad reasoning), while
Mimi makes 2." From this she concludes "therefore Zuzu excels in speed
by 1" (_i.e._ when compared with Lolo; but what about Mimi?). She then
compares the 3 kinds of excellence, measured on this mystic scale. JANET
takes the statement, that "Lolo makes 5 while Mimi makes 2," to prove
that "Lolo makes 3 while Mimi makes 1 and Zuzu 4" (worse reasoning than
MRS. GAMP'S), and thence concludes that "Zuzu excels in speed by 1/8"!
JANET should have been ADELINE, "mystery of mysteries!"

The fourth set actually put Mimi at the top, arranging them as "Mimi,
Zuzu, Lolo." They are MARQUIS AND CO., MARTREB, S. B. B. (first initial
scarcely legible: _may_ be meant for "J"), and STANZA.

The fifth set consist of AN ANCIENT FISH and CAMEL. These ill-assorted
comrades, by dint of foot and fin, have scrambled into the right answer,
but, as their method is wrong, of course it counts for nothing. Also AN
ANCIENT FISH has very ancient and fishlike ideas as to _how_ numbers
represent merit: she says "Lolo gains 2-1/2 on Mimi." Two and a half
_what_? Fish, fish, art thou in thy duty?

Of the five winners I put BALBUS and THE ELDER TRAVELLER slightly below
the other three--BALBUS for defective reasoning, the other for scanty
working. BALBUS gives two reasons for saying that _addition_ of marks is
_not_ the right method, and then adds "it follows that the decision must
be made by _multiplying_ the marks together." This is hardly more
logical than to say "This is not Spring: _therefore_ it must be Autumn."



   E. B. D. L.



       *       *       *       *       *

With regard to Knot V., I beg to express to VIS INERTIÆ and to any
others who, like her, understood the condition to be that _every_ marked
picture must have _three_ marks, my sincere regret that the unfortunate
phrase "_fill_ the columns with oughts and crosses" should have caused
them to waste so much time and trouble. I can only repeat that a
_literal_ interpretation of "fill" would seem to _me_ to require that
_every_ picture in the gallery should be marked. VIS INERTIÆ would have
been in the First Class if she had sent in the solution she now offers.


_Problem._--Given that one glass of lemonade, 3 sandwiches, and 7
biscuits, cost 1_s._ 2_d._; and that one glass of lemonade, 4
sandwiches, and 10 biscuits, cost 1_s._ 5_d._: find the cost of (1) a
glass of lemonade, a sandwich, and a biscuit; and (2) 2 glasses of
lemonade, 3 sandwiches, and 5 biscuits.

_Answer._--(1) 8_d._; (2) 1_s._ 7_d._

_Solution._--This is best treated algebraically. Let _x_ = the cost (in
pence) of a glass of lemonade, _y_ of a sandwich, and _z_ of a biscuit.
Then we have _x_ + 3_y_ + 7_z_ = 14, and _x_ + 4_y_ + 10_z_ = 17. And we
require the values of _x_ + _y_ + _z_, and of 2_x_ + 3_y_ + 5_z_. Now,
from _two_ equations only, we cannot find, _separately_, the values of
_three_ unknowns: certain _combinations_ of them may, however, be found.
Also we know that we can, by the help of the given equations, eliminate
2 of the 3 unknowns from the quantity whose value is required, which
will then contain one only. If, then, the required value is
ascertainable at all, it can only be by the 3rd unknown vanishing of
itself: otherwise the problem is impossible.

Let us then eliminate lemonade and sandwiches, and reduce everything to
biscuits--a state of things even more depressing than "if all the world
were apple-pie"--by subtracting the 1st equation from the 2nd, which
eliminates lemonade, and gives _y_ + 3_z_ = 3, or _y_ = 3-3_z_; and then
substituting this value of _y_ in the 1st, which gives _x_-2_z_ = 5,
_i.e._ _x_ = 5 + 2_z_. Now if we substitute these values of _x_, _y_, in
the quantities whose values are required, the first becomes (5 + 2_z_) +
(3-3_z_) + _z_, _i.e._ 8: and the second becomes 2(5 + 2_z_) + 3(3-3_z_)
+ 5_z_, _i.e._ 19. Hence the answers are (1) 8_d._, (2) 1_s._ 7_d._

       *       *       *       *       *

The above is a _universal_ method: that is, it is absolutely certain
either to produce the answer, or to prove that no answer is possible.
The question may also be solved by combining the quantities whose values
are given, so as to form those whose values are required. This is merely
a matter of ingenuity and good luck: and as it _may_ fail, even when the
thing is possible, and is of no use in proving it _im_possible, I cannot
rank this method as equal in value with the other. Even when it
succeeds, it may prove a very tedious process. Suppose the 26
competitors, who have sent in what I may call _accidental_ solutions,
had had a question to deal with where every number contained 8 or 10
digits! I suspect it would have been a case of "silvered is the raven
hair" (see "Patience") before any solution would have been hit on by
the most ingenious of them.

Forty-five answers have come in, of which 44 give, I am happy to say,
some sort of _working_, and therefore deserve to be mentioned by name,
and to have their virtues, or vices as the case may be, discussed.
Thirteen have made assumptions to which they have no right, and so
cannot figure in the Class-list, even though, in 10 of the 13 cases, the
answer is right. Of the remaining 28, no less than 26 have sent in
_accidental_ solutions, and therefore fall short of the highest honours.

I will now discuss individual cases, taking the worst first, as my
custom is.

FROGGY gives no working--at least this is all he gives: after stating
the given equations, he says "therefore the difference, 1 sandwich + 3
biscuits, = 3_d._": then follow the amounts of the unknown bills, with
no further hint as to how he got them. FROGGY has had a _very_ narrow
escape of not being named at all!

Of those who are wrong, VIS INERTIÆ has sent in a piece of incorrect
working. Peruse the horrid details, and shudder! She takes _x_ (call it
"_y_") as the cost of a sandwich, and concludes (rightly enough) that a
biscuit will cost (3-_y_)/3. She then subtracts the second equation from
the first, and deduces 3_y_ + 7 × (3-_y_)/3-4_y_ + 10 × (3-_y_)/3 = 3.
By making two mistakes in this line, she brings out _y_ = 3/2. Try it
again, oh VIS INERTIÆ! Away with INERTIÆ: infuse a little more VIS: and
you will bring out the correct (though uninteresting) result, 0 = 0!
This will show you that it is hopeless to try to coax any one of these 3
unknowns to reveal its _separate_ value. The other competitor, who is
wrong throughout, is either J. M. C. or T. M. C.: but, whether he be a
Juvenile Mis-Calculator or a True Mathematician Confused, he makes the
answers 7_d._ and 1_s._ 5_d._ He assumes, with Too Much Confidence, that
biscuits were 1/2_d._ each, and that Clara paid for 8, though she only
ate 7!

We will now consider the 13 whose working is wrong, though the answer is
right: and, not to measure their demerits too exactly, I will take them
in alphabetical order. ANITA finds (rightly) that "1 sandwich and 3
biscuits cost 3_d._," and proceeds "therefore 1 sandwich = 1-1/2_d._, 3
biscuits = 1-1/2_d._, 1 lemonade = 6_d._" DINAH MITE begins like ANITA:
and thence proves (rightly) that a biscuit costs less than a 1_d._:
whence she concludes (wrongly) that it _must_ cost 1/2_d._ F. C. W. is
so beautifully resigned to the certainty of a verdict of "guilty," that
I have hardly the heart to utter the word, without adding a "recommended
to mercy owing to extenuating circumstances." But really, you know,
where _are_ the extenuating circumstances? She begins by assuming that
lemonade is 4_d._ a glass, and sandwiches 3_d._ each, (making with the 2
given equations, _four_ conditions to be fulfilled by _three_ miserable
unknowns!). And, having (naturally) developed this into a contradiction,
she then tries 5_d._ and 2_d._ with a similar result. (N.B. _This_
process might have been carried on through the whole of the Tertiary
Period, without gratifying one single Megatherium.) She then, by a
"happy thought," tries half-penny biscuits, and so obtains a consistent
result. This may be a good solution, viewing the problem as a conundrum:
but it is _not_ scientific. JANET identifies sandwiches with biscuits!
"One sandwich + 3 biscuits" she makes equal to "4." Four _what_? MAYFAIR
makes the astounding assertion that the equation, _s_ + 3_b_ = 3, "is
evidently only satisfied by _s_ = 3/2, _b_ = 1/2"! OLD CAT believes that
the assumption that a sandwich costs 1-1/2_d._ is "the only way to avoid
unmanageable fractions." But _why_ avoid them? Is there not a certain
glow of triumph in taming such a fraction? "Ladies and gentlemen, the
fraction now before you is one that for years defied all efforts of a
refining nature: it was, in a word, hopelessly vulgar. Treating it as a
circulating decimal (the treadmill of fractions) only made matters
worse. As a last resource, I reduced it to its lowest terms, and
extracted its square root!" Joking apart, let me thank OLD CAT for some
very kind words of sympathy, in reference to a correspondent (whose name
I am happy to say I have now forgotten) who had found fault with me as a
discourteous critic. O. V. L. is beyond my comprehension. He takes the
given equations as (1) and (2): thence, by the process [(2)-(1)] deduces
(rightly) equation (3) viz. _s_ + 3_b_ = 3: and thence again, by the
process [x3] (a hopeless mystery), deduces 3_s_ + 4_b_ = 4. I have
nothing to say about it: I give it up. SEA-BREEZE says "it is immaterial
to the answer" (why?) "in what proportion 3_d._ is divided between the
sandwich and the 3 biscuits": so she assumes _s_ = l-1/2_d._, _b_ =
1/2_d._ STANZA is one of a very irregular metre. At first she (like
JANET) identifies sandwiches with biscuits. She then tries two
assumptions (_s_ = 1, _b_ = 2/3, and _s_ = 1/2 _b_ = 5/6), and
(naturally) ends in contradictions. Then she returns to the first
assumption, and finds the 3 unknowns separately: _quod est absurdum_.
STILETTO identifies sandwiches and biscuits, as "articles." Is the word
ever used by confectioners? I fancied "What is the next article, Ma'am?"
was limited to linendrapers. TWO SISTERS first assume that biscuits are
4 a penny, and then that they are 2 a penny, adding that "the answer
will of course be the same in both cases." It is a dreamy remark,
making one feel something like Macbeth grasping at the spectral dagger.
"Is this a statement that I see before me?" If you were to say "we both
walked the same way this morning," and _I_ were to say "_one_ of you
walked the same way, but the other didn't," which of the three would be
the most hopelessly confused? TURTLE PYATE (what _is_ a Turtle Pyate,
please?) and OLD CROW, who send a joint answer, and Y. Y., adopt the
same method. Y. Y. gets the equation _s_ + 3_b_ = 3: and then says "this
sum must be apportioned in one of the three following ways." It _may_
be, I grant you: but Y. Y. do you say "must"? I fear it is _possible_
for Y. Y. to be _two_ Y's. The other two conspirators are less positive:
they say it "can" be so divided: but they add "either of the three
prices being right"! This is bad grammar and bad arithmetic at once, oh
mysterious birds!

Of those who win honours, THE SHETLAND SNARK must have the 3rd class all
to himself. He has only answered half the question, viz. the amount of
Clara's luncheon: the two little old ladies he pitilessly leaves in the
midst of their "difficulty." I beg to assure him (with thanks for his
friendly remarks) that entrance-fees and subscriptions are things
unknown in that most economical of clubs, "The Knot-Untiers."

The authors of the 26 "accidental" solutions differ only in the number
of steps they have taken between the _data_ and the answers. In order
to do them full justice I have arranged the 2nd class in sections,
according to the number of steps. The two Kings are fearfully
deliberate! I suppose walking quick, or taking short cuts, is
inconsistent with kingly dignity: but really, in reading THESEUS'
solution, one almost fancied he was "marking time," and making no
advance at all! The other King will, I hope, pardon me for having
altered "Coal" into "Cole." King Coilus, or Coil, seems to have reigned
soon after Arthur's time. Henry of Huntingdon identifies him with the
King Coël who first built walls round Colchester, which was named after
him. In the Chronicle of Robert of Gloucester we read:--

   "Aftur Kyng Aruirag, of wam we habbeth y told,
   Marius ys sone was kyng, quoynte mon & bold.
   And ys sone was aftur hym, _Coil_ was ys name,
   Bothe it were quoynte men, & of noble fame."

BALBUS lays it down as a general principle that "in order to ascertain
the cost of any one luncheon, it must come to the same amount upon two
different assumptions." (_Query._ Should not "it" be "we"? Otherwise the
_luncheon_ is represented as wishing to ascertain its own cost!) He then
makes two assumptions--one, that sandwiches cost nothing; the other,
that biscuits cost nothing, (either arrangement would lead to the shop
being inconveniently crowded!)--and brings out the unknown luncheons as
8_d._ and 19_d._, on each assumption. He then concludes that this
agreement of results "shows that the answers are correct." Now I propose
to disprove his general law by simply giving _one_ instance of its
failing. One instance is quite enough. In logical language, in order to
disprove a "universal affirmative," it is enough to prove its
contradictory, which is a "particular negative." (I must pause for a
digression on Logic, and especially on Ladies' Logic. The universal
affirmative "everybody says he's a duck" is crushed instantly by proving
the particular negative "Peter says he's a goose," which is equivalent
to "Peter does _not_ say he's a duck." And the universal negative
"nobody calls on her" is well met by the particular affirmative "_I_
called yesterday." In short, either of two contradictories disproves the
other: and the moral is that, since a particular proposition is much
more easily proved than a universal one, it is the wisest course, in
arguing with a Lady, to limit one's _own_ assertions to "particulars,"
and leave _her_ to prove the "universal" contradictory, if she can. You
will thus generally secure a _logical_ victory: a _practical_ victory is
not to be hoped for, since she can always fall back upon the crushing
remark "_that_ has nothing to do with it!"--a move for which Man has not
yet discovered any satisfactory answer. Now let us return to BALBUS.)
Here is my "particular negative," on which to test his rule. Suppose the
two recorded luncheons to have been "2 buns, one queen-cake, 2
sausage-rolls, and a bottle of Zoëdone: total, one-and-ninepence," and
"one bun, 2 queen-cakes, a sausage-roll, and a bottle of Zoëdone: total,
one-and-fourpence." And suppose Clara's unknown luncheon to have been "3
buns, one queen-cake, one sausage-roll, and 2 bottles of Zoëdone:" while
the two little sisters had been indulging in "8 buns, 4 queen-cakes, 2
sausage-rolls, and 6 bottles of Zoëdone." (Poor souls, how thirsty they
must have been!) If BALBUS will kindly try this by his principle of "two
assumptions," first assuming that a bun is 1_d._ and a queen-cake 2_d._,
and then that a bun is 3_d._ and a queen-cake 3_d._, he will bring out
the other two luncheons, on each assumption, as "one-and-nine-pence" and
"four-and-ten-pence" respectively, which harmony of results, he will
say, "shows that the answers are correct." And yet, as a matter of fact,
the buns were 2_d._ each, the queen-cakes 3_d._, the sausage-rolls
6_d._, and the Zoëdone 2_d._ a bottle: so that Clara's third luncheon
had cost one-and-sevenpence, and her thirsty friends had spent

Another remark of BALBUS I will quote and discuss: for I think that it
also may yield a moral for some of my readers. He says "it is the same
thing in substance whether in solving this problem we use words and call
it Arithmetic, or use letters and signs and call it Algebra." Now this
does not appear to me a correct description of the two methods: the
Arithmetical method is that of "synthesis" only; it goes from one known
fact to another, till it reaches its goal: whereas the Algebraical
method is that of "analysis": it begins with the goal, symbolically
represented, and so goes backwards, dragging its veiled victim with it,
till it has reached the full daylight of known facts, in which it can
tear off the veil and say "I know you!"

Take an illustration. Your house has been broken into and robbed, and
you appeal to the policeman who was on duty that night. "Well, Mum, I
did see a chap getting out over your garden-wall: but I was a good bit
off, so I didn't chase him, like. I just cut down the short way to the
Chequers, and who should I meet but Bill Sykes, coming full split round
the corner. So I just ups and says 'My lad, you're wanted.' That's all I
says. And he says 'I'll go along quiet, Bobby,' he says, 'without the
darbies,' he says." There's your _Arithmetical_ policeman. Now try the
other method. "I seed somebody a running, but he was well gone or ever
_I_ got nigh the place. So I just took a look round in the garden. And I
noticed the foot-marks, where the chap had come right across your
flower-beds. They was good big foot-marks sure-ly. And I noticed as the
left foot went down at the heel, ever so much deeper than the other. And
I says to myself 'The chap's been a big hulking chap: and he goes lame
on his left foot.' And I rubs my hand on the wall where he got over, and
there was soot on it, and no mistake. So I says to myself 'Now where can
I light on a big man, in the chimbley-sweep line, what's lame of one
foot?' And I flashes up permiscuous: and I says 'It's Bill Sykes!' says
I." There is your _Algebraical_ policeman--a higher intellectual type,
to my thinking, than the other.

LITTLE JACK'S solution calls for a word of praise, as he has written out
what really is an algebraical proof _in words_, without representing any
of his facts as equations. If it is all his own, he will make a good
algebraist in the time to come. I beg to thank SIMPLE SUSAN for some
kind words of sympathy, to the same effect as those received from OLD

HECLA and MARTREB are the only two who have used a method _certain_
either to produce the answer, or else to prove it impossible: so they
must share between them the highest honours.





§ 1 (2 _steps_).

   CLIFTON C....
   E. K. C.

§ 2 (3 _steps_).

   A. A.

§ 3 (4 _steps_).

   S. S. G.

§ 4 (5 _steps_).


§ 5 (6 _steps_).


§ 6 (9 _steps_).


§ 7 (14 _steps_).



I have received several letters on the subjects of Knots II. and VI.,
which lead me to think some further explanation desirable.

In Knot II., I had intended the numbering of the houses to begin at one
corner of the Square, and this was assumed by most, if not all, of the
competitors. TROJANUS however says "assuming, in default of any
information, that the street enters the square in the middle of each
side, it may be supposed that the numbering begins at a street." But
surely the other is the more natural assumption?

In Knot VI., the first Problem was of course a mere _jeu de mots_, whose
presence I thought excusable in a series of Problems whose aim is to
entertain rather than to instruct: but it has not escaped the
contemptuous criticisms of two of my correspondents, who seem to think
that Apollo is in duty bound to keep his bow always on the stretch.
Neither of them has guessed it: and this is true human nature. Only the
other day--the 31st of September, to be quite exact--I met my old friend
Brown, and gave him a riddle I had just heard. With one great effort of
his colossal mind, Brown guessed it. "Right!" said I. "Ah," said he,
"it's very neat--very neat. And it isn't an answer that would occur to
everybody. Very neat indeed." A few yards further on, I fell in with
Smith and to him I propounded the same riddle. He frowned over it for a
minute, and then gave it up. Meekly I faltered out the answer. "A poor
thing, sir!" Smith growled, as he turned away. "A very poor thing! I
wonder you care to repeat such rubbish!" Yet Smith's mind is, if
possible, even more colossal than Brown's.

The second Problem of Knot VI. is an example in ordinary Double Rule of
Three, whose essential feature is that the result depends on the
variation of several elements, which are so related to it that, if all
but one be constant, it varies as that one: hence, if none be constant,
it varies as their product. Thus, for example, the cubical contents of a
rectangular tank vary as its length, if breadth and depth be constant,
and so on; hence, if none be constant, it varies as the product of the
length, breadth, and depth.

When the result is not thus connected with the varying elements, the
Problem ceases to be Double Rule of Three and often becomes one of great

To illustrate this, let us take two candidates for a prize, _A_ and _B_,
who are to compete in French, German, and Italian:

(_a_) Let it be laid down that the result is to depend on their
_relative_ knowledge of each subject, so that, whether their marks, for
French, be "1, 2" or "100, 200," the result will be the same: and let it
also be laid down that, if they get equal marks on 2 papers, the final
marks are to have the same ratio as those of the 3rd paper. This is a
case of ordinary Double Rule of Three. We multiply _A_'s 3 marks
together, and do the same for _B_. Note that, if _A_ gets a single "0,"
his final mark is "0," even if he gets full marks for 2 papers while _B_
gets only one mark for each paper. This of course would be very unfair
on _A_, though a correct solution under the given conditions.

(_b_) The result is to depend, as before, on _relative_ knowledge; but
French is to have twice as much weight as German or Italian. This is an
unusual form of question. I should be inclined to say "the resulting
ratio is to be nearer to the French ratio than if we multiplied as in
(_a_), and so much nearer that it would be necessary to use the other
multipliers _twice_ to produce the same result as in (_a_):" _e.g._ if
the French Ratio were 9/10, and the others 4/9, 1/9 so that the ultimate
ratio, by method (_a_), would be 2/45, I should multiply instead by 2/3,
1/3, giving the result, 1/3 which is nearer to 9/10 than if he had used
method (_a_).

(_c_) The result is to depend on _actual_ amount of knowledge of the 3
subjects collectively. Here we have to ask two questions. (1) What is
to be the "unit" (_i.e._ "standard to measure by") in each subject? (2)
Are these units to be of equal, or unequal value? The usual "unit" is
the knowledge shown by answering the whole paper correctly; calling this
"100," all lower amounts are represented by numbers between "0" and
"100." Then, if these units are to be of equal value, we simply add
_A_'s 3 marks together, and do the same for _B_.

(_d_) The conditions are the same as (_c_), but French is to have double
weight. Here we simply double the French marks, and add as before.

(_e_) French is to have such weight, that, if other marks be equal, the
ultimate ratio is to be that of the French paper, so that a "0" in this
would swamp the candidate: but the other two subjects are only to affect
the result collectively, by the amount of knowledge shown, the two being
reckoned of equal value. Here I should add _A_'s German and Italian
marks together, and multiply by his French mark.

But I need not go on: the problem may evidently be set with many varying
conditions, each requiring its own method of solution. The Problem in
Knot VI. was meant to belong to variety (_a_), and to make this clear, I
inserted the following passage:

"Usually the competitors differ in one point only. Thus, last year, Fifi
and Gogo made the same number of scarves in the trial week, and they
were equally light; but Fifi's were twice as warm as Gogo's, and she was
pronounced twice as good."

What I have said will suffice, I hope, as an answer to BALBUS, who holds
that (_a_) and (_c_) are the only possible varieties of the problem, and
that to say "We cannot use addition, therefore we must be intended to
use multiplication," is "no more illogical than, from knowledge that one
was not born in the night, to infer that he was born in the daytime";
and also to FIFEE, who says "I think a little more consideration will
show you that our 'error of _adding_ the proportional numbers together
for each candidate instead of _multiplying_' is no error at all." Why,
even if addition _had_ been the right method to use, not one of the
writers (I speak from memory) showed any consciousness of the necessity
of fixing a "unit" for each subject. "No error at all!" They were
positively steeped in error!

One correspondent (I do not name him, as the communication is not quite
friendly in tone) writes thus:--"I wish to add, very respectfully, that
I think it would be in better taste if you were to abstain from the very
trenchant expressions which you are accustomed to indulge in when
criticising the answer. That such a tone must not be" ("be not"?)
"agreeable to the persons concerned who have made mistakes may possibly
have no great weight with you, but I hope you will feel that it would be
as well not to employ it, _unless you are quite certain of being correct
yourself_." The only instances the writer gives of the "trenchant
expressions" are "hapless" and "malefactors." I beg to assure him (and
any others who may need the assurance: I trust there are none) that all
such words have been used in jest, and with no idea that they could
possibly annoy any one, and that I sincerely regret any annoyance I may
have thus inadvertently given. May I hope that in future they will
recognise the distinction between severe language used in sober earnest,
and the "words of unmeant bitterness," which Coleridge has alluded to in
that lovely passage beginning "A little child, a limber elf"? If the
writer will refer to that passage, or to the preface to "Fire, Famine,
and Slaughter," he will find the distinction, for which I plead, far
better drawn out than I could hope to do in any words of mine.

The writer's insinuation that I care not how much annoyance I give to my
readers I think it best to pass over in silence; but to his concluding
remark I must entirely demur. I hold that to use language likely to
annoy any of my correspondents would not be in the least justified by
the plea that I was "quite certain of being correct." I trust that the
knot-untiers and I are not on such terms as those!

I beg to thank _G. B._ for the offer of a puzzle--which, however, is too
like the old one "Make four 9's into 100."


§ 1. THE PIGS.

_Problem._--Place twenty-four pigs in four sties so that, as you go
round and round, you may always find the number in each sty nearer to
ten than the number in the last.

_Answer._--Place 8 pigs in the first sty, 10 in the second, nothing in
the third, and 6 in the fourth: 10 is nearer ten than 8; nothing is
nearer ten than 10; 6 is nearer ten than nothing; and 8 is nearer ten
than 6.

       *       *       *       *       *

This problem is noticed by only two correspondents. BALBUS says "it
certainly cannot be solved mathematically, nor do I see how to solve it
by any verbal quibble." NOLENS VOLENS makes Her Radiancy change the
direction of going round; and even then is obliged to add "the pigs must
be carried in front of her"!


_Problem._--Omnibuses start from a certain point, both ways, every 15
minutes. A traveller, starting on foot along with one of them, meets
one in 12-1/2 minutes: when will he be overtaken by one?

_Answer._--In 6-1/4 minutes.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Solution._--Let "_a_" be the distance an omnibus goes in 15 minutes,
and "_x_" the distance from the starting-point to where the traveller is
overtaken. Since the omnibus met is due at the starting-point in 2-1/2
minutes, it goes in that time as far as the traveller walks in 12-1/2;
_i.e._ it goes 5 times as fast. Now the overtaking omnibus is "_a_"
behind the traveller when he starts, and therefore goes "_a_ + _x_"
while he goes "_x_." Hence _a_ + _x_ = 5_x_; _i.e._ 4_x_ = _a_, and _x_
= _a_/4. This distance would be traversed by an omnibus in 15/4 minutes,
and therefore by the traveller in 5 × 15/4. Hence he is overtaken in
18-3/4 minutes after starting, _i.e._ in 6-1/4 minutes after meeting the

       *       *       *       *       *

Four answers have been received, of which two are wrong. DINAH MITE
rightly states that the overtaking omnibus reached the point where they
met the other omnibus 5 minutes after they left, but wrongly concludes
that, going 5 times as fast, it would overtake them in another minute.
The travellers are 5-minutes-walk ahead of the omnibus, and must walk
1-4th of this distance farther before the omnibus overtakes them, which
will be 1-5th of the distance traversed by the omnibus in the same time:
this will require 1-1/4 minutes more. NOLENS VOLENS tries it by a
process like "Achilles and the Tortoise." He rightly states that, when
the overtaking omnibus leaves the gate, the travellers are 1-5th of
"_a_" ahead, and that it will take the omnibus 3 minutes to traverse
this distance; "during which time" the travellers, he tells us, go
1-15th of "_a_" (this should be 1-25th). The travellers being now 1-15th
of "_a_" ahead, he concludes that the work remaining to be done is for
the travellers to go 1-60th of "_a_," while the omnibus goes l-12th. The
_principle_ is correct, and might have been applied earlier.






_Problem._--Lardner states that a solid, immersed in a fluid, displaces
an amount equal to itself in bulk. How can this be true of a small
bucket floating in a larger one?

_Solution._--Lardner means, by "displaces," "occupies a space which
might be filled with water without any change in the surroundings." If
the portion of the floating bucket, which is above the water, could be
annihilated, and the rest of it transformed into water, the surrounding
water would not change its position: which agrees with Lardner's

       *       *       *       *       *

Five answers have been received, none of which explains the difficulty
arising from the well-known fact that a floating body is the same weight
as the displaced fluid. HECLA says that "only that portion of the
smaller bucket which descends below the original level of the water can
be properly said to be immersed, and only an equal bulk of water is
displaced." Hence, according to HECLA, a solid, whose weight was equal
to that of an equal bulk of water, would not float till the whole of it
was below "the original level" of the water: but, as a matter of fact,
it would float as soon as it was all under water. MAGPIE says the
fallacy is "the assumption that one body can displace another from a
place where it isn't," and that Lardner's assertion is incorrect, except
when the containing vessel "was originally full to the brim." But the
question of floating depends on the present state of things, not on past
history. OLD KING COLE takes the same view as HECLA. TYMPANUM and VINDEX
assume that "displaced" means "raised above its original level," and
merely explain how it comes to pass that the water, so raised, is less
in bulk than the immersed portion of bucket, and thus land
themselves--or rather set themselves floating--in the same boat as

I regret that there is no Class-list to publish for this Problem.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Problem._--Balbus states that if a certain solid be immersed in a
certain vessel of water, the water will rise through a series of
distances, two inches, one inch, half an inch, &c., which series has no
end. He concludes that the water will rise without limit. Is this true?

_Solution._--No. This series can never reach 4 inches, since, however
many terms we take, we are always short of 4 inches by an amount equal
to the last term taken.

       *       *       *       *       *

Three answers have been received--but only two seem to me worthy of

TYMPANUM says that the statement about the stick "is merely a blind, to
which the old answer may well be applied, _solvitur ambulando_, or
rather _mergendo_." I trust TYMPANUM will not test this in his own
person, by taking the place of the man in Balbus' Essay! He would
infallibly be drowned.

OLD KING COLE rightly points out that the series, 2, 1, &c., is a
decreasing Geometrical Progression: while VINDEX rightly identifies the
fallacy as that of "Achilles and the Tortoise."




       *       *       *       *       *


_Problem._--An oblong garden, half a yard longer than wide, consists
entirely of a gravel-walk, spirally arranged, a yard wide and 3,630
yards long. Find the dimensions of the garden.

_Answer._--60, 60-1/2.

_Solution._--The number of yards and fractions of a yard traversed in
walking along a straight piece of walk, is evidently the same as the
number of square-yards and fractions of a square-yard, contained in that
piece of walk: and the distance, traversed in passing through a
square-yard at a corner, is evidently a yard. Hence the area of the
garden is 3,630 square-yards: _i.e._, if _x_ be the width, _x_ (_x_ +
1/2) = 3,630. Solving this Quadratic, we find _x_ = 60. Hence the
dimensions are 60, 60-1/2.

       *       *       *       *       *

Twelve answers have been received--seven right and five wrong.

C. G. L., NABOB, OLD CROW, and TYMPANUM assume that the number of yards
in the length of the path is equal to the number of square-yards in the
garden. This is true, but should have been proved. But each is guilty of
darker deeds. C. G. L.'s "working" consists of dividing 3,630 by 60.
Whence came this divisor, oh Segiel? Divination? Or was it a dream? I
fear this solution is worth nothing. OLD CROW'S is shorter, and so (if
possible) worth rather less. He says the answer "is at once seen to be
60 × 60-1/2"! NABOB'S calculation is short, but "as rich as a Nabob" in
error. He says that the square root of 3,630, multiplied by 2, equals
the length plus the breadth. That is 60.25 × 2 = 120-1/2. His first
assertion is only true of a _square_ garden. His second is irrelevant,
since 60.25 is _not_ the square-root of 3,630! Nay, Bob, this will _not_
do! TYMPANUM says that, by extracting the square-root of 3,630, we get
60 yards with a remainder of 30/60, or half-a-yard, which we add so as
to make the oblong 60 × 60-1/2. This is very terrible: but worse remains
behind. TYMPANUM proceeds thus:--"But why should there be the half-yard
at all? Because without it there would be no space at all for flowers.
By means of it, we find reserved in the very centre a small plot of
ground, two yards long by half-a-yard wide, the only space not occupied
by walk." But Balbus expressly said that the walk "used up the whole of
the area." Oh, TYMPANUM! My tympa is exhausted: my brain is num! I can
say no more.

HECLA indulges, again and again, in that most fatal of all habits in
computation--the making _two_ mistakes which cancel each other. She
takes _x_ as the width of the garden, in yards, and _x_ + 1/2 as its
length, and makes her first "coil" the sum of _x_-1/2, _x_-1/2, _x_-1,
_x_-1, _i.e._ 4_x_-3: but the fourth term should be _x_-1-1/2, so that
her first coil is 1/2 a yard too long. Her second coil is the sum of
_x_-2-1/2, _x_-2-1/2, _x_-3, _x_-3: here the first term should be _x_-2
and the last _x_-3-1/2: these two mistakes cancel, and this coil is
therefore right. And the same thing is true of every other coil but the
last, which needs an extra half-yard to reach the _end_ of the path: and
this exactly balances the mistake in the first coil. Thus the sum total
of the coils comes right though the working is all wrong.

Of the seven who are right, DINAH MITE, JANET, MAGPIE, and TAFFY make
the same assumption as C. G. L. and Co. They then solve by a Quadratic.
MAGPIE also tries it by Arithmetical Progression, but fails to notice
that the first and last "coils" have special values.

ALUMNUS ETONÆ attempts to prove what C. G. L. assumes by a particular
instance, taking a garden 6 by 5-1/2. He ought to have proved it
generally: what is true of one number is not always true of others. OLD
KING COLE solves it by an Arithmetical Progression. It is right, but too
lengthy to be worth as much as a Quadratic.

VINDEX proves it very neatly, by pointing out that a yard of walk
measured along the middle represents a square yard of garden, "whether
we consider the straight stretches of walk or the square yards at the
angles, in which the middle line goes half a yard in one direction and
then turns a right angle and goes half a yard in another direction."










_Problem._--If 70 per cent. have lost an eye, 75 per cent. an ear, 80
per cent. an arm, 85 per cent. a leg: what percentage, _at least_, must
have lost all four?


_Solution._--(I adopt that of POLAR STAR, as being better than my own).
Adding the wounds together, we get 70 + 75 + 80 + 85 = 310, among 100
men; which gives 3 to each, and 4 to 10 men. Therefore the least
percentage is 10.

       *       *       *       *       *

Nineteen answers have been received. One is "5," but, as no working is
given with it, it must, in accordance with the rule, remain "a deed
without a name." JANET makes it "35 and 7/10ths." I am sorry she has
misunderstood the question, and has supposed that those who had lost an
ear were 75 per cent. _of those who had lost an eye_; and so on. Of
course, on this supposition, the percentages must all be multiplied
together. This she has done correctly, but I can give her no honours,
as I do not think the question will fairly bear her interpretation,
THREE SCORE AND TEN makes it "19 and 3/8ths." Her solution has given
me--I will not say "many anxious days and sleepless nights," for I wish
to be strictly truthful, but--some trouble in making any sense at all of
it. She makes the number of "pensioners wounded once" to be 310 ("per
cent.," I suppose!): dividing by 4, she gets 77 and a half as "average
percentage:" again dividing by 4, she gets 19 and 3/8ths as "percentage
wounded four times." Does she suppose wounds of different kinds to
"absorb" each other, so to speak? Then, no doubt, the _data_ are
equivalent to 77 pensioners with one wound each, and a half-pensioner
with a half-wound. And does she then suppose these concentrated wounds
to be _transferable_, so that 3/4ths of these unfortunates can obtain
perfect health by handing over their wounds to the remaining 1/4th?
Granting these suppositions, her answer is right; or rather, _if_ the
question had been "A road is covered with one inch of gravel, along 77
and a half per cent. of it. How much of it could be covered 4 inches
deep with the same material?" her answer _would_ have been right. But
alas, that _wasn't_ the question! DELTA makes some most amazing
assumptions: "let every one who has not lost an eye have lost an ear,"
"let every one who has not lost both eyes and ears have lost an arm."
Her ideas of a battle-field are grim indeed. Fancy a warrior who would
continue fighting after losing both eyes, both ears, and both arms! This
is a case which she (or "it?") evidently considers _possible_.

Next come eight writers who have made the unwarrantable assumption that,
because 70 per cent. have lost an eye, _therefore_ 30 per cent. have
_not_ lost one, so that they have _both_ eyes. This is illogical. If you
give me a bag containing 100 sovereigns, and if in an hour I come to you
(my face _not_ beaming with gratitude nearly so much as when I received
the bag) to say "I am sorry to tell you that 70 of these sovereigns are
bad," do I thereby guarantee the other 30 to be good? Perhaps I have not
tested them yet. The sides of this illogical octagon are as follows, in
alphabetical order:--ALGERNON BRAY, DINAH MITE, G. S. C., JANE E., J. D.
W., MAGPIE (who makes the delightful remark "therefore 90 per cent. have
two of something," recalling to one's memory that fortunate monarch,
with whom Xerxes was so much pleased that "he gave him ten of
everything!"), S. S. G., and TOKIO.

BRADSHAW OF THE FUTURE and T. R. do the question in a piecemeal
fashion--on the principle that the 70 per cent. and the 75 per cent.,
though commenced at opposite ends of the 100, must overlap by _at least_
45 per cent.; and so on. This is quite correct working, but not, I
think, quite the best way of doing it.

The other five competitors will, I hope, feel themselves sufficiently
glorified by being placed in the first class, without my composing a
Triumphal Ode for each!





   T. R.


   G. S. C.
   JANE E.
   J. D. W.
   S. S. G.


I must postpone, _sine die_, the geographical problem--partly because I
have not yet received the statistics I am hoping for, and partly because
I am myself so entirely puzzled by it; and when an examiner is himself
dimly hovering between a second class and a third how is he to decide
the position of others?


_Problem._--"At first, two of the ages are together equal to the third.
A few years afterwards, two of them are together double of the third.
When the number of years since the first occasion is two-thirds of the
sum of the ages on that occasion, one age is 21. What are the other two?

_Answer._--"15 and 18."

       *       *       *       *       *

_Solution._--Let the ages at first be _x_, _y_, (_x_ + _y_). Now, if _a_
+ _b_ = 2_c_, then (_a_-_n_) + (_b_-_n_) = 2(_c_-_n_), whatever be the
value of _n_. Hence the second relationship, if _ever_ true, was
_always_ true. Hence it was true at first. But it cannot be true that
_x_ and _y_ are together double of (_x_ + _y_). Hence it must be true of
(_x_ + _y_), together with _x_ or _y_; and it does not matter which we
take. We assume, then, (_x_ + _y_) + _x_ = 2_y_; _i.e._ _y_ = 2_x_.
Hence the three ages were, at first, _x_, 2_x_, 3_x_; and the number of
years, since that time is two-thirds of 6_x_, _i.e._ is 4_x_. Hence the
present ages are 5_x_, 6_x_, 7_x_. The ages are clearly _integers_,
since this is only "the year when one of my sons comes of age." Hence
7_x_ = 21, _x_ = 3, and the other ages are 15, 18.

       *       *       *       *       *

Eighteen answers have been received. One of the writers merely asserts
that the first occasion was 12 years ago, that the ages were then 9, 6,
and 3; and that on the second occasion they were 14, 11, and 8! As a
Roman father, I _ought_ to withhold the name of the rash writer; but
respect for age makes me break the rule: it is THREE SCORE AND TEN. JANE
E. also asserts that the ages at first were 9, 6, 3: then she calculates
the present ages, leaving the _second_ occasion unnoticed. OLD HEN is
nearly as bad; she "tried various numbers till I found one that fitted
_all_ the conditions"; but merely scratching up the earth, and pecking
about, is _not_ the way to solve a problem, oh venerable bird! And close
after OLD HEN prowls, with hungry eyes, OLD CAT, who calmly assumes, to
begin with, that the son who comes of age is the _eldest_. Eat your
bird, Puss, for you will get nothing from me!

There are yet two zeroes to dispose of. MINERVA assumes that, on _every_
occasion, a son comes of age; and that it is only such a son who is
"tipped with gold." Is it wise thus to interpret "now, my boys,
calculate your ages, and you shall have the money"? BRADSHAW OF THE
FUTURE says "let" the ages at first be 9, 6, 3, then assumes that the
second occasion was 6 years afterwards, and on these baseless
assumptions brings out the right answers. Guide _future_ travellers, an
thou wilt: thou art no Bradshaw for _this_ Age!

Of those who win honours, the merely "honourable" are two. DINAH MITE
ascertains (rightly) the relationship between the three ages at first,
but then _assumes_ one of them to be "6," thus making the rest of her
solution tentative. M. F. C. does the algebra all right up to the
conclusion that the present ages are 5_z_, 6_z_, and 7_z_; it then
assumes, without giving any reason, that 7_z_ = 21.

Of the more honourable, DELTA attempts a novelty--to discover _which_
son comes of age by elimination: it assumes, successively, that it is
the middle one, and that it is the youngest; and in each case it
_apparently_ brings out an absurdity. Still, as the proof contains the
following bit of algebra, "63 = 7_x_ + 4_y_; [** therefore] 21 = _x_ + 4
sevenths of _y_," I trust it will admit that its proof is not _quite_
conclusive. The rest of its work is good. MAGPIE betrays the deplorable
tendency of her tribe--to appropriate any stray conclusion she comes
across, without having any _strict_ logical right to it. Assuming _A_,
_B_, _C_, as the ages at first, and _D_ as the number of the years that
have elapsed since then, she finds (rightly) the 3 equations, 2_A_ =
_B_, _C_ = _B_ + _A_, _D_ = 2_B_. She then says "supposing that _A_ = 1,
then _B_ = 2, _C_ = 3, and _D_ = 4. Therefore for _A_, _B_, _C_, _D_,
four numbers are wanted which shall be to each other as 1:2:3:4." It is
in the "therefore" that I detect the unconscientiousness of this bird.
The conclusion _is_ true, but this is only because the equations are
"homogeneous" (_i.e._ having one "unknown" in each term), a fact which I
strongly suspect had not been grasped--I beg pardon, clawed--by her.
Were I to lay this little pitfall, "_A_ + 1 = _B_, _B_ + 1 = _C_;
supposing _A_ = 1, then _B_ = 2 and _C_ = 3. _Therefore_ for _A_, _B_,
_C_, three numbers are wanted which shall be to one another as 1:2:3,"
would you not flutter down into it, oh MAGPIE, as amiably as a Dove?
SIMPLE SUSAN is anything but simple to _me_. After ascertaining that the
3 ages at first are as 3:2:1, she says "then, as two-thirds of their
sum, added to one of them, = 21, the sum cannot exceed 30, and
consequently the highest cannot exceed 15." I suppose her (mental)
argument is something like this:--"two-thirds of sum, + one age, = 21;
[** therefore] sum, + 3 halves of one age, = 31 and a half. But 3 halves of
one age cannot be less than 1 and-a-half (here I perceive that SIMPLE
SUSAN would on no account present a guinea to a new-born baby!) hence
the sum cannot exceed 30." This is ingenious, but her proof, after that,
is (as she candidly admits) "clumsy and roundabout." She finds that
there are 5 possible sets of ages, and eliminates four of them. Suppose
that, instead of 5, there had been 5 million possible sets? Would SIMPLE
SUSAN have courageously ordered in the necessary gallon of ink and ream
of paper?

The solution sent in by C. R. is, like that of SIMPLE SUSAN, partly
tentative, and so does not rise higher than being Clumsily Right.

Among those who have earned the highest honours, ALGERNON BRAY solves
the problem quite correctly, but adds that there is nothing to exclude
the supposition that all the ages were _fractional_. This would make the
number of answers infinite. Let me meekly protest that I _never_
intended my readers to devote the rest of their lives to writing out
answers! E. M. RIX points out that, if fractional ages be admissible,
any one of the three sons might be the one "come of age"; but she
rightly rejects this supposition on the ground that it would make the
problem indeterminate. WHITE SUGAR is the only one who has detected an
oversight of mine: I had forgotten the possibility (which of course
ought to be allowed for) that the son, who came of age that _year_, need
not have done so by that _day_, so that he _might_ be only 20. This
gives a second solution, viz., 20, 24, 28. Well said, pure Crystal!
Verily, thy "fair discourse hath been as sugar"!



   E. M. RIX.
   G. S. C.
   S. S. G.
   T. R.


   C. R.


   M. F. C.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have received more than one remonstrance on my assertion, in the
Chelsea Pensioners' problem, that it was illogical to assume, from the
_datum_ "70 p. c. have lost an eye," that 30 p. c. have _not_. ALGERNON
BRAY states, as a parallel case, "suppose Tommy's father gives him 4
apples, and he eats one of them, how many has he left?" and says "I
think we are justified in answering, 3." I think so too. There is no
"must" here, and the _data_ are evidently meant to fix the answer
_exactly_: but, if the question were set me "how many _must_ he have
left?", I should understand the _data_ to be that his father gave him 4
_at least_, but _may_ have given him more.

I take this opportunity of thanking those who have sent, along with
their answers to the Tenth Knot, regrets that there are no more Knots to
come, or petitions that I should recall my resolution to bring them to
an end. I am most grateful for their kind words; but I think it wisest
to end what, at best, was but a lame attempt. "The stretched metre of an
antique song" is beyond my compass; and my puppets were neither
distinctly _in_ my life (like those I now address), nor yet (like Alice
and the Mock Turtle) distinctly _out_ of it. Yet let me at least fancy,
as I lay down the pen, that I carry with me into my silent life, dear
reader, a farewell smile from your unseen face, and a kindly farewell
pressure from your unfelt hand! And so, good night! Parting is such
sweet sorrow, that I shall say "good night!" till it be morrow.






With Forty-two Illustrations by TENNIEL. Crown 8vo, cloth, gilt edges,
price 6_s._ Seventy-fifth Thousand.

TRANSLATIONS OF THE SAME--into French, by HENRI BUÉ--into German, by
TENNIEL'S Illustrations. Crown 8vo, cloth, gilt edges, price 6_s._ each.

Illustrations by TENNIEL. Crown 8vo, cloth, gilt edges, price 6_s._
Fifty-sixth Thousand.

RHYME? AND REASON? With Sixty-five Illustrations by ARTHUR B. FROST, and
Nine by HENRY HOLIDAY. (This book is a reprint, with a few additions, of
the comic portion of "Phantasmagoria and other Poems," and of "The
Hunting of the Snark." Mr. Frost's pictures are new.) Crown 8vo, cloth,
coloured edges, price 7_s._ Fifty Thousand.

A TANGLED TALE. Reprinted from _The Monthly Packet_. With Six
Illustrations by Arthur B. Frost. Crown 8vo, 4_s._ 6_d._

       *       *       *       *       *

N.B. In selling the above-mentioned books to the Trade, Messrs.
Macmillan and Co. will abate 2_d._ in the shilling (no odd copies), and
allow 5 per cent. discount for payment within six months, and 10 per
cent. for cash. In selling them to the Public (for cash only) they will
allow 10 per cent. discount.

       *       *       *       *       *

MR. LEWIS CARROLL, having been requested to allow "AN EASTER GREETING"
(a leaflet, addressed to children, and frequently given with his books)
to be sold separately, has arranged with Messrs. Harrison, of 59, Pall
Mall, who will supply a single copy for 1_d._, or 12 for 9_d._, or 100
for 5_s._



       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note

The following changes have been made to the text:

Page 88: "he corners of the" changed to "the corners of the".

Page 95: "Aix-le-Bains" changed to "Aix-les-Bains".

Page 108: "3/5, 2, 1/3" changed to "3/5, 2/3, 1/3".

Page 114:  "10 of the 12 cases" changed to "10 of the 13 cases".

Page 121: "four-and fourpence" changed to "four-and-fourpence".

Last page: "Fifth Thousand" changed to "Fifty Thousand".

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Tangled Tale" ***

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