The general use which may be made of the table is obvious - but, in this particular cipher, we shall only very partially require its aid.
Let us refer, for example, to the last instance but one, in which the combination ;48 occurs - not far from the end of the cipher.
Looking now, narrowly, through the cipher for combinations of known characters, we find, not very far from the beginning, this arrangement, 83(88, or egree, which, plainly, is the conclusion of the word 'degree,' and gives us another letter, d, represented by †.
I have said enough to convince you that ciphers of this nature are readily soluble, and to give you some insight into the rationale of their development.
You doubt whether I, or any of those fellows behind me, could read, write, and cipher
correctly if you tried us.
But what is the use of a cipher message without the cipher?
Your native shrewdness, my dear Watson, that innate cunning which is the delight of your friends, would surely prevent you from inclosing cipher and message in the same envelope.
Please burn the cipher message, which can now be of no use to you.
I had picked up the original cipher message and was bending my brows over it.
The cipher message begins with a large 534, does it not?
Because there are many ciphers which I would read as easily as I do the apocrypha of the agony column: such crude devices amuse the intelligence without fatiguing it.
One was called "The Book of Liveries," in which he described seven hundred and three liveries, with their colours, mottoes, and ciphers
, from which gentlemen of the court might pick and choose any they fancied for festivals and revels, without having to go a-begging for them from anyone, or puzzling their brains, as the saying is, to have them appropriate to their objects and purposes; "for," said he, "I give the jealous, the rejected, the forgotten, the absent, what will suit them, and fit them without fail.
Suppose the ball stopped twice at a dozen outer figures; it would then pass to a dozen of the first ones, and then, again, to a dozen of the middle ciphers
, and fall upon them three or four times, and then revert to a dozen outers; whence, after another couple of rounds, the ball would again pass to the first figures, strike upon them once, and then return thrice to the middle series--continuing thus for an hour and a half, or two hours.
But he, that plots to be the only figure amongst ciphers
, is the decay of a whole age.
Above all things he despised obvious Christians and ciphers
with the chrysanthemums of aristocracy in their button-holes.