"Look here," he said, "I'm unpredjudiced and quite calm, but isn't the
`mother's maid' rather piling it on?"
"Hannah is mother's maid, and she brought in the milk and the tablets,
I should think," I said, growing sarcastic, "that so far it is clear to
the dullest mind."
"Go on," he said, leaning back and closing his eyes. "You named the
letter for your mother's maid--I mean for the malted milk. Although you
have not yet stated the name you chose; I never heard of any one named
Milk, and as to the other, while I have known some rather thoroughly
malted people--however, let that go."
"Valentine's tablets," I said. "Of Course, you understand," I said,
bending forward, "there was no such Person. I made him up. The Harold
was made up too--Harold Valentine."
"I see. Not clearly, perhaps, but I have a gleam of intellagence."
"But, after all, there was such a person. That's clear, isn't it? And
now he considers that we are engaged, and--and he insists on marrying
"That," he said, "is realy easy to understand. I don't blame him at all.
He is clearly a person of diszernment."
"Of course," I said bitterly, "you would be on HIS side. Every one is."
"But the point is this," he went on. "If you made him up out of the
whole cloth, as it were, and there was no such Person, how can there
be such a Person? I am merely asking to get it all clear in my head. It
sounds so reasonable when you say it, but there seems to be something
"I don't know how he can be, but he is," I said, hopelessly. "And he is
exactly like his picture."
"Well, that's not unusual, you know."
"It is in this case. Because I bought the picture in a shop, and just
pretended it was him. (He?) And it WAS."
He got up and paced the floor.
"It's a very strange case," he said. "Do you mind if I light a
cigarette? It helps to clear my brain. What was the name you gave him?"
"Harold Valentine. But he is here under another name, because of my
Familey. They think I am a mere child, you see, and so of course he took
a NOM DE PLUME."
"A NOM DE PLUME? Oh I see! What is it?"