SEATED in the reading-room of a club to which he had newly procured admission, Everard Barfoot was glancing over the advertisement columns of a literary paper. His eye fell on an announcement that had a personal interest for him, and at once he went to the writing-table to pen a letter.
'I am back in England, and ought before this to have written to you. I see you have just published a book with an alarming title, "A Treatise on Trilinear Co-ordinates.'* My hearty congratulations on the completion of such a labour; were you not the most disinterested of mortals, I would add a hope that it may somehow benefit you financially. I presume there are people who purchase such works. But of course the main point with you is to have delivered your soul on Trilinear Co-ordinates. Shall I run down to Sheffield to see you, or is there any chance of the holidays bringing you this way? I have found a cheap flat, poorly furnished, in Bayswater; the man who let it me happens to be an engineer, and is absent on Italian railway work for a year or so. My stay in London won't, I think, be for longer than six months, but we must see each other and talk over old times,' &c.
This he addressed to a school at Sheffield. The answer, directed to the club, reached him in three days.
'My dear Barfoot,
'I also am in London; your letter had been forwarded from the school, which I quitted last Easter. Disinterested or not, I am happy to tell you that I have got a vastly better appointment. Let me know when and where to meet you; or, if you like, come to these lodgings of mine. I don't enter upon duties till end of October, and am at present revelling in mathematical freedom. There's a great deal to tell.
' Thomas Micklethwaite.'
Having no occupation for his morning, Barfoot went at once to the