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"You remember how you found
your spectacles," pursued Mflly mis
chlevousfy. The discovery of Doctor's Syntax's
lost spectacles had really been a tri
umph of detective-algebraical appli
cation. X was supposed to be the
place where they had been placed, Y
the spectacles, Z the unknown coeffi
cients, N the known ones. Prom an
examination of an equation com
pounded of the various symbols, the
spectacles were ultimately discovered
on the professor's nose.
"But this is serious, Milly," said Dr.
Syntax. "Some people in this town
have apparently been putting their
heads together and have come to the
conclusion that it is not right for a
single girl, even an adopted daughter,
to keep house for an old bachelor like
me. It is a preposterous idea, but the
force of public opinion is like the sym
bol X, always handed when it is not
wanted and never translatable into
precise terms until the final solution."
"Well, I have come to the same
conclusion myself," said Milly calmly.
"What!" exclaimed Dr. Syntax. He
had expected a scene, strife, war
and here was Milly calmly acquiesc
ing in his decision. "But what are
"you going to do, my dear?" he con
tinued. "I can't bear the thought of
"You needn't lose me," said Milly,
with preternatural gravity, studying
her pjate. But even then there was a
mischievous twinkle in her eyes.
"This is very strange, my dear,"
said Dr. Syntax. "You have accepted
the public opinion as to the advisabil
ity of your remaining here as my
housekeeper, and yet you say that I
need not lose you. Logically, that im
plies that you could propose to remain
here in some other capacity; and yet
I fail to see what that could be, or
- how it could affect public opinion "
"Which we have designated X,"
said Milly, raising her eyes to the pro
fessor's for one fleeting moment.
And in that moment the professor felt
strangely disconcerted, and yet
strangely glad. Unconsciously he,
threw back his shoulders. ''
"Well, my dear, suppose the vari
ants are Y and Z," he said. "Now we
have an indeterminate equation. X
equals Y or Z multiplies by the un
known factor, which shall be N."
"Why not make it U?" asked Milly.
"Make it U, Milly? The letter U is
never used in mathematics except
when the other letters of the alphabet
have been almost exhausted."
"I should really prefer you to make
it U," persisted Milly.
"Very well. U it shall be, then,"
said the professor.
"Oh, I'm afraid that would never
do," said Milly. But, seeing that .the
professor was only starirfg at 'her in
perplexity, she resigned herself. "Very
well! Go on, she said.
"It is obvious, then, that X equals
YU or ZU," said Doctor Syntax,
warming to his task.
"YU, I think," said Milly gravely.
"In that case," said the professor,
"X, the unknown factor, equals' Y di
vided by U. Now, algebra helps us
no more unless we can state U in posi
tive termB. Now let E be the possi
bility of your remaining here in the
capacity of secretary, let us say, and
F the possibility of becoming let us
say my stenographer. Then U
"YP," said Milly triumphantly.
"Eh?" asked Doctor Syntax. "No,
my dear, it couldn't equal YF, be
"Then I shall go," said Milly, rising
from her chair, and the professor was
amazed to hear a strangled sob.
"Now, Milly," he said gravely,
"really you women are very illogical.
YP is impossible. Stop! Listen to
me, Milly, before you go out of that
door. I er " "
Suddenly an amazing thought
came into the professor's head. It
was not an algebraical thought at all.
And Milly, seeing the reflection of it
upon the professor's face, halted, with
her hand on the doorknob.
Doctor Syntax sprang toward her