"The thing is a fake," declared Bertram. He slumped heavily into a chair, and scowled at
Average Jones' well-littered desk, whereon he had just tossed a sheet of paper. His
usually impeccable hair was tousled. His trousers evinced a distinct tendency to bag at
the knees, and his coat was undeniably wrinkled. That the elegant and flawless
dilettante of the Cosmic Club should have come forth, at eleven o'clock of a morning, in
such a state of comparative disreputability, argued an upheaval of mind little short of
"A fake," he reiterated. "I've spent a night of pseudo-intellectual riot and ruin over it.
You've almost destroyed a young and innocent mind with your infernal palimpsest,
"You would have it," returned Average Jones with a smile. "And I seem to recall a lofty
intimation on your part that there never was a cipher so tough but what you could rope,
throw, bind, and tie a pink ribbon on its tail in record time."
"Cipher, yes," returned the other bitterly. "That thing isn't a cipher. It's an alphabetical
riot. Maybe," he added hopefully, "there was some mistake in my copy?"
"Look for yourself," said Average Jones, handing him the original.
It was a singular document, this problem in letters which had come to light up the gloom
of a November day for Average Jones; a stiffish sheet of paper, ornamented on one
side with color prints of alluring "spinners," and on the other inscribed with an appeal, in
print. Its original vehicle was an envelope, bearing a one-cent stamp, and addressed in
Mr. William H. Robinson, The Caronia, Broadway and Evenside Ave., New York City.
The advertisement on the reverse of the sheet ran as follows:
ANGLERS--When you are looking for
"Baits That Catch Fish," do you see
these spinners in the store where you
buy tackle? You will find here twelve
baits, every one of which has a record
and has literally caught tons of fish.
We call them "The 12 Surety Baits."
We want you to try them for casting and
trolling these next two months, because
all varieties of bass are particularly
savage in striking these baits late in