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A Lost Masterpiece
by [?]

I wish I knew more about Lord Melbourne. What sort of words did he think of? The thing couldn’t he “aeroplane” or “telephone” or “googly,” because these weren’t invented in his time. That gives us three words less. Nor, probably, would it be anything to eat; a Prime Minister would hardly discuss such subjects with his Sovereign. I have no doubt that after hours of immense labour you will triumphantly suggest “rateably.” I suggested that myself, but it is wrong. There is no such word in the dictionary. The same objection applies to “bat-early”–it ought to mean something, but it doesn’t.

So I hand the word over to you. Please do not send the solution to me, for by the time you read this I shall either have found it out or else I shall be in a nursing home. In either case it will be of no use to me. Send it to the Postmaster-General or one of the Geddeses or Mary Pickford. You will want to get it off your mind.

As for myself I shall write to my fr—-, to the person who first said “Teralbay” to me, and ask him to make something of “sabet” and “donureb.” When he has worked out the corrections–which, in case he gets the wrong ones, I may tell him here are “beast” and “bounder”–I shall search the dictionary for some long word like “intellectual.” I shall alter the order of the letters and throw in a couple of “g’s” and a “k”. And then I shall tell them to keep a spare bed for him in my nursing home.

Well, I have got “Teralbay” a little off my mind. I feel better able now to think of other things. Indeed, I might almost begin my famous essay on “The Improbability of the Infinite.” It would be a pity for the country to lose such a masterpiece–she has had quite enough trouble already what with one thing and another. For my view of the Infinite is this: that although beyond the Finite, or, as one might say, the Commensurate, there may or may not be a—-

Just a moment. I think I have it now. T–R–A—-No….