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Lady Isabel's Casket

Answer :

The last puzzle was undoubtedly a hard nut, but perhaps difficulty does not make a good puzzle any the less interesting when we are shown the solution. 
The accompanying diagram indicates exactly how the top of Lady Isabel de Fitzarnulph's casket was inlaid with square pieces of rare wood (no two squares alike) and the strip of gold 10 inches by a quarter of an inch. 
This is the only possible solution, and it is a singular fact (though I cannot here show the subtle method of working) that the number, sizes, and order of those squares are determined by the given dimensions of the strip of gold, and the casket can have no other dimensions than 20 inches square. 
The number in a square indicates the length in inches of the side of that square, so the accuracy of the answer can be checked almost at a glance.

Sir Hugh de Fortibus made some general concluding remarks on the occasion that are not altogether uninteresting to-day.

"Friends and retainers," he said, "if the strange offspring of my poor wit about which we have held pleasant counsel to-night hath mayhap had some small interest for ye, let these matters serve to call to mind the lesson that our fleeting life is rounded and beset with enigmas. 
Whence we came and whither we go be riddles, and albeit such as these we may never bring within our understanding, yet there be many others with which we and they that do come after us will ever strive for the answer. 
Whether success do attend or do not attend our labour, it is well that we make the attempt; for 'tis truly good and honourable to train the mind, and the wit, and the fancy of man, for out of such doth issue all manner of good in ways unforeseen for them that do come after us."




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