Auf meine Leser war wieder einmal Verlass. Drei Wochen nachdem ich über eine verschlüsselte Anzeigenserie berichtet habe, kann ich heute die Lösung präsentieren.
Eine kurze Liebesaffäre steckte jedenfalls nicht dahinter. Das war klar, als ich am 15. November in Klausis Krypto Kolumne eine Serie von zumeist verschlüsselten Zeitungsannoncen vorstellte, die zwischen 1862 und 1866 in der Times erschienen waren. Insgesamt 23 Anzeigen – jeweils mit dem Kennwort FIDES – umfasste die Serie, die ich dem Buch The Agony Column Codes & Ciphers von Jean Palmer (bürgerlich: Tony Gaffney) entnommen hatte. Die Lösung der Verschlüsselung war mir nicht bekannt.
Wie so oft, kam nach der Veröffentlichung schnell einiges ins Rollen. Zunächst äußerte der Leser definition den Verdacht, es könne sich um eine Buch-Chiffre handeln (der Ausruck “220.10” stünde demnach für “Seite 220, Wort 10” in einem Buch). Dann wies der Leser Jan darauf hin, dass auf der Seite Ancient Cryptography ein Hinweis auf die Lösung gegeben wird. Demnach handelt es sich tatsächlich um eine Buch-Chiffre, wobei Johnson’s Pocket Dictionary of the English Language (1862) das verwendete Buch gewesen sein soll. Tony Gaffney bestätigte, dass diese Angaben korrekt waren.
Der Leser Jan machte sich nun dankenswerterweise an die Arbeit und entschlüsselte die gesamte Anzeigenserie. Tony Gaffney stellte dazu – ebenfalls dankenswerterweise – das besagte Johnson’s Pocket Diary zur Verfügung, das sonst nirgends aufzutreiben war. Dank Jans Entschlüsselung kann ich heute den gesamten Klartext der Anzeigenseite präsentieren. Vielen Dank für diese tolle Arbeit!
Entgegen meinen Erwartungen steckte doch eine Liebesgeschichte hinter der Anzeigenserie. Anscheinend hat ein Mann sie veröffentlicht. Die Adressatin ist eine (vermutlich verheiratete) Frau. Warum die Serie nach vier Jahren endete, ist nicht bekannt. Auch die Namen der beiden unglücklich Verliebten ist nicht überliefert.
FIDES (Thought). — No myth, but a neighbouring town, where I shall be detained a little time. I shall be in for a few hours on Monday, and must take my chance of meeting you between 2 and 3 o’clock. Perhaps I may hear from you meantime. Direct to P.O.
FIDES (Invisible). — All to hand, I suppose, indicating initial missing. Thanks. The sleeping partnership affair was known to me some time ago, and I hinted it to your senior, though I could not speak of it. I am glad, though surprised, that you accept it with equanimity. Your liability being limited, however, I hope you will not suffer much and it cannot be undone now. If you send on Saturday, let it be to same address. I shall be at No. 3 on Monday. Carl has been confined again, but is better; he has received urgent calls from abroad, but he seems as stupidly obstinate as ever he was in his life, and I have little hope of improvement in him. Southampton matters look lively.
FIDES. – DOCUMENTS will AWAIT your ARRIVAL at No. 3. on and after Tuesday next. Both of your letters to hand. darling precious weary oaf thou better than life. James gone to Egypt instead.
FIDES. – Yours to hand. Unfortunately you mistook my last. He goes down on Monday to number two. If you can MEET there on Tuesday, he will doubtless be able to explain. sweet wife write if possible strand invisible morrow or Sunday comma but if unable thus to write comma write to number You by Monday morning post. James has gone via Ancona to avoid delay.
FIDES. – going abroad Holland morrow Friday after receipt off thy letter . I return next week but write not again darling until You see advertisement.
FIDES. – sweet here again arrive this morning verily tire . s party going (No. 8) withe I this day not town again (40.12) next week please write and lunacy next Monday to strand . use thick envelope and disguise writing off address . You always mine thought and mine heartdear mine own darling little wife.
FIDES. – I shall not leave town until Friday, so that if you write to-morrow or Thursday your letter will reach me before I go. I have written you to-day, but possibly you may chance to see
this before you receive my note, and I hope in time for to-morrows post. – London, Tuesday afternoon.
FIDES. – BOTH LETTERS to HAND. darling meet Friday morning as before (No.2) I send invisible this post and insert this lest note should not reach You. Send a line today (Wednesday) if possible.
FIDES. – Do not reply again until you hear from me. You shall have a note, as before, on Saturday morning. darling noble be cautious patient watch every word.
FIDES. – Yours received. – Be good enough to meet me as early as convenient, on Tuesday, that we may discuss matters. hotel name last letter own name darling then long kiss.
FIDES. – I have not any communication from you this morning. When, and to what address shall I send the document you ask for in your P.S. of Thursday? It is delayed a week, so there
is not the necessity for you to hasten your rejoinder, darling pet sweet wife I You love dearly if (P) ask say You see I when You come up. – Saturday, Oct. 15.
FIDES. – Yours to hand this morning. I was consulted yesterday upon the question, and gave it decided approval. grandmother sought mine private opinion You earn literary service
translation considerable understand (265.16). – Thursday, 3d Nov.
FIDES – All documents safely received. going Saturday god bless You own love and guard You always thus pray without cease your husband write note from (P) through
lot trouble again from wretch (C) as forewarn partner good night one after midnight (I) want wish You here sweet
FIDES. – darling (I) remain here nice so continue the address until further notice I wish avoidance travel fatigue much as practicable (No.ix) receipt safely sweet a nice dear long tile letter except naughty praise should You not hear contrary letter shall await call (No.3) on first March tell I your next letter whether You understand hope You receipt mine on Friday last pray be cautious . adieu dear wife I wish You longingly.
FIDES. – darling already I feel how utterly foolish I have bean simple truth nervous organism bean so shatter by anxiety and fatigue that morbid doubt temporary set aside force off mine reason I now miserable lest I should have make You anxious by mine last letter I pray not but I shall hear this night mine movement yet unsettled but You shall have letter waiting your call next Wednesday morning which shall tell You definiteness I so long clasp You mine bosom again and the time very near mine sweet wife.
FIDES. – nothing definite yet darling I much harass many thanks You good wish and token write not until You hear again partner coming Saturday
FIDES. – many thanks darling letter waiting your call Friday morning partner coming this night next Wednesday suit I delightful.
FIDES. – mine darling wife mine own sweet love bee good cheer and hope never despair while love rule our heart. If then you should see this in time write to me on Thursday with particulars, and in reply the documents shall await your call on Saturday morning next. I leave town on Friday evening.
FIDES. – darling. – I have returned to England, and if you should see this in time and will post the documents on Monday next, I shall be obliged, for no doubt a settlement would be facilitated thereby. I shall probably leave again on Tuesday.
FIDES. – darling. – My movements have been so uncertain that I could not earlier inform you of my engagements_ Meantime I have so arranged with the different parties that your wishes shall be met as completely as possible. I do not to think therefore that you need to come to London on Monday; it will suffice if you send on that day such if the documents as may be ready, and the remainder can follow by the next Thursday post. thine longingly
FIDES. – darling. I have not heard from you this morning in reply to mine, as I hoped to do. If this should be seen in time please send me necessary particulars, so as to reach me at latest on Friday morning, as I leave London on that day. sweet most apocryphal lest You ill or letter stray no rest till hear railroad people perfidious pity I.
FIDES. – darling dare not woodhole again until I hear from You I written You freely last Friday and hope letter last Tuesday morning more come I advertise last Wednesday seek explanation something wrong be extremely watchful which letter miss I intensely anxious please written Monday freely I You love sweet withal being.
FIDES. — Your note received with thanks. You are entreated to write again, and in confidence, to give an interview immediately. Address your next letter to A.V.R., care of Mann, Brothers, booksellers, Cornhill.