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The Two-Cent Stamp
by [?]

The house in Tenth Street where Philo Gubb was doing a job of paper-hanging when he made the happy error of capturing the dynamiters while seeking the un-burglars was the home of Aunt Martha Turner, a member of the Ladies’ Temperance League of Riverbank.

The members of the Ladies’ Temperance League–and Aunt Martha Turner particularly–had recently begun a movement to have City Attorney Mullen impeached and thrown out of office, for they claimed that while he had been elected by the Prohibition-Republican Party, and had pledged himself to close every saloon, he had not closed one single saloon. Aunt Martha Turner and her associates believed this was because Attorney Mullen was himself a drinker of beer, and it was to get proof of this that the hot-headed ladies had engaged a youth named Slippery Williams to make a raid on his home.

Detective Gubb was, however, quite unconscious of all this when he proceeded to the home of Aunt Martha to complete his work there. He was in an unhappy frame of mind, for he had in his pocket nothing but one two-cent stamp and he had immediate need for one hundred dollars.

Mr. Gubb had, early that morning, visited the home of Mr. Medderbrook, from whom he hoped to have news of Syrilla, but the colored butler informed him that Mr. Medderbrook had been called to Chicago.

“He done lef word, howsomedever,” said the butler, “dat ef you come an’ was willin’ to pay thutty cents you could have dis telegraf whut come from Mis’ Syrilla. An’ he lef dis note fo’ you, whut you can have whever you pay or not.”

Mr. Gubb quite willingly gave the negro thirty cents, the very last money he possessed, and read the telegram. It said:–

Hope on, hope ever. Have given up wheat bread, corn bread, rye bread, home-made bread, bakers’ bread, biscuit and rolls. Have lost six pounds more. Love to Gubby.

This would have sent Mr. Gubb to his work in a happy frame of mind, had it not been for the note Mr. Medderbrook had left. This note said:–

Called to Chicago suddenly. I must have one hundred dollars payment on account of the gold stock immediately. Cannot let my daughter marry a man who puts off paying for gold stock forever. Unless I hear from you with money to-morrow, all is over between us.

Such a letter would have made any lover sad. Mr. Gubb had no idea where he could raise one hundred dollars during the day and he saw his promising romance cut short just when Syrilla was beginning to lose weight handsomely. The greeting he received when he reached Aunt Martha Turner’s was not of a sort to cheer him. Mrs. Turner met him with a sour face.

“No, you can’t go ahead with puttin’ the wall-paper on this kitchen ceilin’ to-day, Mr. Gubb,” she said.

“I’d like to, if I could,” said Philo Gubb wistfully. “My financial condition ain’t such as to allow me to waste a day. I’m very low in a monetary shape, right now.”

Aunt Martha Turner seemed worried.

“Well,” she said reluctantly, “I guess if that’s the case you might as well go ahead. I expect I’ll have to be out of the house ‘most all day. If you get done before I get back, lock the kitchen door and put the key behind a shutter.”

She departed, and Philo Gubb set up his trestle, unrolled and trimmed a strip of ceiling-paper, pasted it, and climbed his ladder. At the top he seated himself a moment and shook his head.

He sighed and picked up the paste-covered strip of ceiling-paper, but before he could get to his feet the kitchen door opened and “Snooks” Turner put his head in cautiously.

“Say, Gubb, where’s Aunt Martha?” he asked in a whisper.

“She’s gone out,” said Philo Gubb. “She won’t be back for quite some time, I guess, Snooksy.”