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Amusements in Mathematics

"Certainly. I thought I made that clear. Where was I? Well, my nephew shouted back to
"Phew! I'm sorry to interrupt you again, Wilson, but we can't get on like this. Is it true
that the machine would only carry two?"
"Of course. I said at the start that it only carried two."
"Then what in the name of aerostation do you mean by saying that there were three
persons on board?" shouted Mr. Stubbs.
"Who said there were three?"
"You have told us that Parker, your uncle, and your nephew went up on this blessed
"That's right."
"And the thing would only carry two!"
"Right again."
"Wilson, I have known you for some time as a truthful man and a temperate man," said
Mr. Stubbs, solemnly. "But I am afraid since you took up that new line of goods you have
overworked yourself."
"Half a minute, Stubbs," interposed Mr. Waterson. "I see clearly where we all slipped a
cog. Of course, Wilson, you meant us to understand that Parker is either your uncle or
your nephew. Now we shall be all right if you will just tell us whether Parker is your
uncle or nephew."
"He is no relation to me whatever."
The three men sighed and looked anxiously at one another. Mr. Stubbs got up from his
chair to reach the matches, Mr. Packhurst proceeded to wind up his watch, and Mr.
Waterson took up the poker to attend to the fire. It was an awkward moment, for at the
season of goodwill nobody wished to tell Mr. Wilson exactly what was in his mind.
"It's curious," said Mr. Wilson, very deliberately, "and it's rather sad, how thick-headed
some people are. You don't seem to grip the facts. It never seems to have occurred to
either of you that my uncle and my nephew are one and the same man."
"What!" exclaimed all three together.
"Yes; David George Linklater is my uncle, and he is also my nephew. Consequently, I
am both his uncle and nephew. Queer, isn't it? I'll explain how it comes about."