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Philo Gubb’s Greatest Case
by [?]

“If I’d thought Henry would take it that way, I’d rather had the wall bare, Mr. Gubb. I’ve cried and cried, and last night I made up my mind it was all my fault and that when Henry came home he’d find a decent paper on the wall. I don’t mind telling you, Mr. Gubb, that when the paper was on the wall it looked worse than it looked in the roll. It looked crazy.”

“Yes’m,” said Mr. Gubb, “it often does. But, however, there’s something you’d ought to know right away about Henry.”

The young woman stared wide-eyed at Mr. Gubb for a moment; she turned as white as her shirtwaist.

“Henry is dead!” she cried, and collapsed into Mr. Gubb’s long, thin arms.

Mr. Gubb, the inert form of the young woman in his arms, glanced around with a startled gaze. He stood miserably, not knowing what to do, when suddenly he saw Policeman O’Toole coming toward him down the hall. Policeman O’Toole was leading by the arm a man whose wrists bore clanking handcuffs.

“What’s this now?” asked the policeman none too gently, as he saw the bathrobed Mr. Gubb holding the fainting woman in his arms.

“I am exceedingly glad you have come,” said Mr. Gubb. “The only meaning into it, is that this is Mrs. H. Smitz, widow-lady, fainted onto me against my will and wishes.”

“I was only askin’,” said Policeman O’Toole politely enough.

“You shouldn’t ask such things until you’re asked to ask,” said Mr. Gubb.

After looking into Mr. Gubb’s room to see that there was no easy means of escape, O’Toole pushed his prisoner into the room and took the limp form of Mrs. Smitz from Mr. Gubb, who entered the room and closed the door.

“I may as well say what I want to say right now,” said the handcuffed man as soon as he was alone with Mr. Gubb. “I’ve heard of Detective Gubb, off and on, many a time, and as soon as I got into this trouble I said, ‘Gubb’s the man that can get me out if any one can.’ My name is Herman Wiggins.”

“Glad to meet you,” said Mr. Gubb, slipping his long legs into his trousers.

“And I give you my word for what it is worth,” continued Mr. Wiggins, “that I’m as innocent of this crime as the babe unborn.”

“What crime?” asked Mr. Gubb.

“Why, killing Hen Smitz–what crime did you think?” said Mr. Wiggins. “Do I look like a man that would go and murder a man just because–“

He hesitated and Mr. Gubb, who was slipping his suspenders over his bony shoulders, looked at Mr. Wiggins with keen eyes.

“Well, just because him and me had words in fun,” said Mr. Wiggins, “I leave it to you, can’t a man say words in fun once in a while?”

“Certainly sure,” said Mr. Gubb.

“I guess so,” said Mr. Wiggins. “Anybody’d know a man don’t mean all he says. When I went and told Hen Smitz I’d murder him as sure as green apples grow on a tree, I was just fooling. But this fool policeman–“

“Mr. O’Toole?”

“Yes. They gave him this Hen Smitz case to look into, and the first thing he did was to arrest me for murder. Nervy, I call it.”

Policeman O’Toole opened the door a crack and peeked in. Seeing Mr. Gubb well along in his dressing operations, he opened the door wider and assisted Mrs. Smitz to a chair. She was still limp, but she was a brave little woman and was trying to control her sobs.

“Through?” O’Toole asked Wiggins. “If you are, come along back to jail.”

“Now, don’t talk to me in that tone of voice,” said Mr. Wiggins angrily. “No, I’m not through. You don’t know how to treat a gentleman like a gentleman, and never did.”

He turned to Mr. Gubb.

“The long and short of it is this: I’m arrested for the murder of Hen Smitz, and I didn’t murder him and I want you to take my case and get me out of jail.”