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Page 105

No. VI
THE IDENTITY PROBLEM

THE Rev. Septimus Cunliffe took the chair at the forty-eighth meeting of the Problem Club. The problem which Leonard, the astute head-waiter, had set the members to solve during the preceding month was simply the discovery of his own identity ; and competitors were debarred from communicating with Leonard himself or from employing detectives in its solution.
Mr Cunliffe, with a pardonable enjoyment of his own excellent elocution, read out the terms of the problem in tones that almost made it a drama. And the few introductory remarks that usually fell from the chairman became in his case almost an address. True, the occasion furnished him with some excuse.
` Gentlemen,' he said, ` with this meeting

Page 106

THE IDENTITY PROBLEM

the Problem Club brings to a close the fourth year of its existence. The idea of the club, as I dare say most of you are aware, originated in the imaginative brain of Lord Herngill, and of the original members there are still three left us-Sir Charles Bunford, Major Byles, and Mr Matthews. The eccentric nobleman who was our founder did not himself long remain a member. Broken in health and, as I understand, suffering from private disappointments, he relinquished his clubs and retired altogether from society. He spent the remainder of his days on his Yorkshire estate, shut out from the world and even denying himself the companionship of old friends. It was only a few months ago that his death was announced in the newspapers. A somewhat gloomy subject, gentlemen, but it seemed to me fitting that on this occasion we should recall with gratitude the name of our founder.
` Now for the first two years of the club's existence the monthly problem was always

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