Harper's New Monthly Magazine,  10 (1885), 359–73.

The Sirdar's Chess-Board

Mrs E W Latimer


Short Fiction, Travelogue

Relevant illustrations:

eng. [2]


Mathematics, Gender, Amusement, Mesmerism

    The female narrator, Sophy Effingham, follows her military husband to central Afghanistan, and whilst there she amazes the Sirdar and his attendants by her ability to cut a chess-board of sixty-four squares 'with three snips of my scissors, in place of eight times eight squares' so that it 'lay before the Sirdar five times thirteen, sixty-five squares in all' [accompanying diagrams show how the geometric feat might be achieved] (369). Later, when the Sirdar laughs, she reflects that 'a mesmeric perception of his thought flashed into me like a stroke of electricity' (370).

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