"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

left out."

"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? Oh I see! What is it?"

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