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Philo Gubb’s Greatest Case
by [?]

Philo Gubb, wrapped in his bathrobe, went to the door of the room that was the headquarters of his business of paper-hanging and decorating as well as the office of his detective business, and opened the door a crack. It was still early in the morning, but Mr. Gubb was a modest man, and, lest any one should see him in his scanty attire, he peered through the crack of the door before he stepped hastily into the hall and captured his copy of the “Riverbank Daily Eagle.” When he had secured the still damp newspaper, he returned to his cot bed and spread himself out to read comfortably.

It was a hot Iowa morning. Business was so slack that if Mr. Gubb had not taken out his set of eight varieties of false whiskers daily and brushed them carefully, the moths would have been able to devour them at leisure.

P. Gubb opened the “Eagle.” The first words that met his eye caused him to sit upright on his cot. At the top of the first column of the first page were the headlines.

MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF HENRY SMITZ

Body Found In Mississippi River By Boatman Early This A.M.

Foul Play Suspected

Mr. Gubb unfolded the paper and read the item under the headlines with the most intense interest. Foul play meant the possibility of an opportunity to put to use once more the precepts of the Course of Twelve Lessons, and with them fresh in his mind Detective Gubb was eager to undertake the solution of any mystery that Riverbank could furnish. This was the article:–

Just as we go to press we receive word through Policeman Michael O’Toole that the well-known mussel-dredger and boatman, Samuel Fliggis (Long Sam), while dredging for mussels last night just below the bridge, recovered the body of Henry Smitz, late of this place.

Mr. Smitz had been missing for three days and his wife had been greatly worried. Mr. Brownson, of the Brownson Packing Company, by whom he was employed, admitted that Mr. Smitz had been missing for several days.

The body was found sewed in a sack. Foul play is suspected.

“I should think foul play would be suspected,” exclaimed Philo Gubb, “if a man was sewed into a bag and deposited into the Mississippi River until dead.”

He propped the paper against the foot of the cot bed and was still reading when some one knocked on his door. He wrapped his bathrobe carefully about him and opened the door. A young woman with tear-dimmed eyes stood in the doorway.

“Mr. P. Gubb?” she asked. “I’m sorry to disturb you so early in the morning, Mr. Gubb, but I couldn’t sleep all night. I came on a matter of business, as you might say. There’s a couple of things I want you to do.”

“Paper-hanging or deteckating?” asked P. Gubb.

“Both,” said the young woman. “My name is Smitz–Emily Smitz. My husband–“

“I’m aware of the knowledge of your loss, ma’am,” said the paper-hanger detective gently.

“Lots of people know of it,” said Mrs. Smitz. “I guess everybody knows of it–I told the police to try to find Henry, so it is no secret. And I want you to come up as soon as you get dressed, and paper my bedroom.”

Mr. Gubb looked at the young woman as if he thought she had gone insane under the burden of her woe.

“And then I want you to find Henry,” she said, “because I’ve heard you can do so well in the detecting line.”

Mr. Gubb suddenly realized that the poor creature did not yet know the full extent of her loss. He gazed down upon her with pity in his bird-like eyes.

“I know you’ll think it strange,” the young woman went on, “that I should ask you to paper a bedroom first, when my husband is lost; but if he is gone it is because I was a mean, stubborn thing. We never quarreled in our lives, Mr. Gubb, until I picked out the wall-paper for our bedroom, and Henry said parrots and birds-of-paradise and tropical flowers that were as big as umbrellas would look awful on our bedroom wall. So I said he hadn’t anything but Low Dutch taste, and he got mad. ‘All right, have it your own way,’ he said, and I went and had Mr. Skaggs put the paper on the wall, and the next day Henry didn’t come home at all.