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Philo Gubb’s Greatest Case
by [?]

“Ah, stuff!” exclaimed O’Toole. “You murdered him and you know you did. What’s the use talkin’?”

Mrs. Smitz leaned forward in her chair.

“Murdered Henry?” she cried. “He never murdered Henry. I murdered him.”

“Now, ma’am,” said O’Toole politely, “I hate to contradict a lady, but you never murdered him at all. This man here murdered him, and I’ve got the proof on him.”

“I murdered him!” cried Mrs. Smitz again. “I drove him out of his right mind and made him kill himself.”

“Nothing of the sort,” declared O’Toole. “This man Wiggins murdered him.”

“I did not!” exclaimed Mr. Wiggins indignantly. “Some other man did it.”

It seemed a deadlock, for each was quite positive. Mr. Gubb looked from one to the other doubtfully.

“All right, take me back to jail,” said Mr. Wiggins. “You look up the case, Mr. Gubb; that’s all I came here for. Will you do it? Dig into it, hey?”

“I most certainly shall be glad to so do,” said Mr. Gubb, “at the regular terms.”

O’Toole led his prisoner away.

For a few minutes Mrs. Smitz sat silent, her hands clasped, staring at the floor. Then she looked up into Mr. Gubb’s eyes.

“You will work on this case, Mr. Gubb, won’t you?” she begged. “I have a little money–I’ll give it all to have you do your best. It is cruel–cruel to have that poor man suffer under the charge of murder when I know so well Henry killed himself because I was cross with him. You can prove he killed himself–that it was my fault. You will?”

“The way the deteckative profession operates onto a case,” said Mr. Gubb, “isn’t to go to work to prove anything particularly especial. It finds a clue or clues and follows them to where they lead to. That I shall be willing to do.”

“That is all I could ask,” said Mrs. Smitz gratefully.

Arising from her seat with difficulty, she walked tremblingly to the door. Mr. Gubb assisted her down the stairs, and it was not until she was gone that he remembered that she did not know the body of her husband had been found–sewed in a sack and at the bottom of the river. Young husbands have been known to quarrel with their wives over matters as trivial as bedroom wall-paper; they have even been known to leave home for several days at a time when angry; in extreme cases they have even been known to seek death at their own hands; but it is not at all usual for a young husband to leave home for several days and then in cold blood sew himself in a sack and jump into the river. In the first place there are easier ways of terminating one’s life; in the second place a man can jump into the river with perfect ease without going to the trouble of sewing himself in a sack; and in the third place it is exceedingly difficult for a man to sew himself into a sack. It is almost impossible.

To sew himself into a sack a man must have no little skill, and he must have a large, roomy sack. He takes, let us say, a sack-needle, threaded with a good length of twine; he steps into the sack and pulls it up over his head; he then reaches above his head, holding the mouth of the sack together with one hand while he sews with the other hand. In hot anger this would be quite impossible.

Philo Gubb thought of all this as he looked through his disguises, selecting one suitable for the work he had in hand. He had just decided that the most appropriate disguise would be “Number 13, Undertaker,” and had picked up the close black wig, and long, drooping mustache, when he had another thought. Given a bag sufficiently loose to permit free motion of the hands and arms, and a man, even in hot anger, might sew himself in. A man, intent on suicidally bagging himself, would sew the mouth of the bag shut and would then cut a slit in the front of the bag large enough to crawl into. He would then crawl into the bag and sew up the slit, which would be immediately in front of his hands. It could be done! Philo Gubb chose from his wardrobe a black frock coat and a silk hat with a wide band of crape. He carefully locked his door and went down to the street.