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The Progressive Murder
by [?]

When Philo Gubb paid Mr. Medderbrook the one hundred dollars he had received for retrieving the Dragon’s Eye, Mr. Medderbrook was not extremely gracious.

“I’ll take it on account,” he said grudgingly, “but it ought to be more. It only brings what you owe me for that Utterly Hopeless Gold-Mine stock down to eleven thousand nine hundred dollars and, at this rate, you’ll never get me paid up. I can’t tell when there’ll come along another dividend of ten cumulative per cents on that stock, that I will have to charge up against you. Unless you can do better I have half a mind not to let you see the telegram I got from my daughter Syrilla this morning.”

“Was the news into it good?” asked Mr. Gubb eagerly.

“As good as gold,” said Mr. Medderbrook. “As good as Utterly Hopeless Gold-Mine stock.”

“What did Miss Syrilla convey the remark of?” asked the lovelorn paper-hanger detective.

“Well, now,” said Mr. Medderbrook, “I went and paid two dollars and fifty cents for that telegram. For one dollar and twenty-five cents I’ll give you the telegram, and you can read it from start to finish.”

Mr. Gubb, his heart palpitating as only a lover’s heart can palpitate, paid Mr. Medderbrook the sum he asked and eagerly read the telegram from Syrilla. It said:–

Grand news! Have given up all fish diet. Have given up codfish, weak fish, sole, flounder, shark’s fins, bass, trout, herring (dried, kippered, smoked, and fresh), finnan haddie, perch, pike, pickerel, lobster, halibut, and stewed eels. Gross weight now only nine hundred and thirty pounds averdupois. Sweet thoughts to Gubby-lubby.

“You are touched,” said Mr. Medderbrook as Mr. Gubb put the dear missive to his lips, “but unless I am mistaken you will be still more deeply touched when you pay for–when you read Syrilla’s next telegram.”

“I so hope and trust,” said Mr. Gubb, and he returned to his office in the Opera House Block with a light heart.

* * * * *

With the increase of fame that came to him as a detective Mr. Gubb’s paper-hanging business had grown, and he had left Mrs. Murphy’s house and taken a room on the second floor of Opera House Block, near the offices of ex-Judge Gilroy, attorney-at-law, and C. M. Dillman, loans and real estate. The door now bore the sign

PHILO GUBB
DETECKATIVE
Also Paper-hanging

On this morning Detective Gubb had hardly reached his office when Uncle Gabriel Hostetter, a shrewd smile on his face, opened Mr. Gubb’s door.

Uncle Gabriel Hostetter was a round-shouldered old man with a long white beard that came to a thin point. He wore old-fashioned gold-rimmed spectacles, the rims forming irregular octagons, and on his head he wore one of the grandest old silk hats that ever saw the light of day in 1865. His principal garment was a frock coat, once black, but now grayish green. He was the wealthiest man in town, and it was said that when he once got his hands on a silver dollar he squeezed it so hard that the bird of freedom on it uttered a squawk.

He opened Philo Gubb’s door hesitatingly. He expected to see an array of mahogany desks and filing cabinets for which he would have to pay every time the detective turned around. When he peered into the room he saw a tall, thin man in white overalls with a bib, sitting on an up-ended bundle of wall-paper, stirring a pail of paste with one hand while he ate a ham sandwich by means of the other.

“I guess I got in the wrong place,” said Uncle Gabe. “Thought this was a detective office. All right! All right!”