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The Pet
by [?]

On the morning following his capture of the Hard-Boiled Egg, the “Riverbank Eagle” printed two full columns in praise of Detective Gubb and complimented Riverbank on having a superior to Sherlock Holmes in its midst.

“Mr. Philo Gubb,” said the “Eagle,” “has thus far received only eleven of the twelve lessons from the Rising Sun Detective Agency’s Correspondence School of Detecting, and we look for great things from him when he finally receives his diploma and badge. He informed us to-day that he hopes to begin work on the dynamite case soon. With the money he will receive for capturing the Hard-Boiled Egg, Mr. Gubb intends to purchase eighteen complete disguises from the Supply Department of the Rising Sun Detective Agency, Slocum, Ohio. Mr. Gubb wishes us to announce that until the disguises arrive he will continue to do paper-hanging, decorating, and interior painting at reasonable rates.”

Unfortunately there were no calls for Mr. Gubb’s detective services for some time after he received his disguises and diploma, but while waiting he devoted his spare time to the dynamite mystery, a remarkable case on which many detectives had been working for many weeks. This led only to his being beaten up twice by Joseph Henry, one of the men he shadowed.

The arrival in Riverbank of the World’s Monster Combined Shows the day after Mr. Gubb received his diploma seemed to offer an opportunity for his detective talents, as a circus is usually accompanied by crooks, and early in the morning Mr. Gubb donned disguise Number Sixteen, which was catalogued as “Negro Hack-Driver, Complete, $22.00”; but, while looking for crooks while watching the circus unload, his eyes alighted on Syrilla, known as “Half a Ton of Beauty,” the Fat Lady of the Side-Show.

As Syrilla descended from the car, aided by the Living Skeleton and the Strong Man, the fair creature wore a low-neck evening gown. Her arms and shoulders were snowy white (except for a peculiar mark on one arm). Not only had Mr. Gubb never seen such white arms and shoulders, but he had never seen so much arm and shoulder on one woman, and from that moment he was deeply and hopelessly in love. Like one hypnotized he followed her to the side-show tent, paid his admission, and stood all day before her platform. He was still there when the tent was taken down that night.

Mr. Gubb was not the only man in Riverbank to fall in love with Syrilla. When the ladies of the Riverbank Social Service League heard that the circus was coming to town they were distressed to think how narrow the intellectual life of the side-show freaks must be and they instructed their Field Secretary, Mr. Horace Winterberry, to go to the side-show and organize the freaks into an Ibsen Literary and Debating Society. This Mr. Winterberry did and the Tasmanian Wild Man was made President, but so deeply did Mr. Winterberry fall in love with Syrilla that he begged Mr. Dorgan, the manager of the side-show, to let him join the side-show, and this Mr. Dorgan did, putting him in a cage as Waw-Waw, the Mexican Hairless Dog-Man, as Mr. Winterberry was exceedingly bald.

At the very next stop made by the circus a strong, heavy-fisted woman entered the side-show and dragged Mr. Winterberry away. This was his wife. Of this the ladies of the Riverbank Social Service League knew nothing, however. They believed Mr. Winterberry had been stolen by the circus and that he was doubtless being forced to learn to swing on a trapeze or ride a bareback horse, and they decided to hire Detective Gubb to find and return him.

At the very moment when the ladies were deciding to retain Mr. Gubb’s services the paper-hanger detective was on his way to do a job of paper-hanging, thinking of the fair Syrilla he might never see again, when suddenly he put down the pail of paste he was carrying and grasped the handle of his paste-brush more firmly. He stared with amazement and fright at a remarkable creature that came toward him from a small thicket near the railway tracks. Mr. Gubb’s first and correct impression was that this was some remarkable creature escaped from the circus. The horrid thing loping toward him was, indeed, the Tasmanian Wild Man!