“Cupid’s Arithmetic”

A conundrum from Henry Ernest Dudeney, Modern Puzzles, 1926:

Dora Crackham one morning produced a slip of paper bearing the jumble of figures shown in our illustration. She said that a young mathematician had this poser presented to him by his betrothed when she was in a playful mood.

cupid's arithmetic

“What am I to do with it?” asked George.

“Just interpret its meaning,” she replied. “If it is properly regarded it should not be difficult to decipher.”

What did she mean?

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