Waffles and Mustard
by Ellis Parker Butler
Though you may think Waffles and Mustard is a story involving food, it’s really about detective Philo Gubb’s search for a missing dog and a man in order to resolve the last will and testament for the family of the late jokester, Uncle Hubbard. Butler wrote dozens of humorous stories featuring the hapless “deteckative” — whom he was unable to “kill-off” much to the delight of his pulp detective story fans.
It would not be true to say that Mr. Gubb had become suspicious of Mr. Medderbrook’s honesty. The fact that the cashier of the Riverbank National Bank told him the Utterly Hopeless Gold-Mine stock was not worth the paper it was printed on did pain him, however.
It pained Mr. Gubb to think his father-in-law-to-be might be guilty of even unconscious duplicity, and when Mr. Master paid him the six thousand and seventy-five dollars Mr. Gubb decided that only three thousand dollars of it should pass immediately into Mr. Medderbrook’s hands. Mr. Gubb put two thousand dollars in the bank and invested the balance in furniture for his office and in articles and instruments that were needed for his detective career. The three thousand dollars he took to Mr. Medderbrook and paid it to him, leaving only eight thousand nine hundred dollars unpaid.
Mr. Medderbrook was greatly pleased with this and told Mr. Gubb so.
“This is a bully payment on account,” he said, “and if you keep on this way you’ll soon be all paid up, but you don’t want to let that worry you, for I’m having a brand-new lot of stock in a brand-new mine printed, and I’ll sell you a whole lot of it as soon as we are square. I’m going to call it the Little Syrilla Gold-Mine–”
“I don’t think I’ll buy any more gold-mine stock after the present lot is paid up completely full,” said Mr. Gubb.
“That’s all right,” said Mr. Medderbrook. “I haven’t given the printer final orders yet and if you prefer something else I’ll make it Oil-Well stock. It is all the same to me. The property will produce just as much oil as it will gold. Every bit!”
“Have you heard from Miss Syrilla recently of late?” asked Mr. Gubb.
“Yes, I have,” said Mr. Medderbrook. “I have heard two dollars and a half’s worth.”
The telegram, which Mr. Medderbrook permitted Mr. Gubb to read after he had paid the cash in hand, said:–
Heaven smiles on us. Have given up all vegetable diet. Have given up potatoes, beets, artichokes, fried parsnips, Swiss chard, turnips, squash, kohl-rabi, boiled radishes, sugar beets, corn on the cob, cow pumpkin, mushrooms, string beans, asparagus, spinach, and canned and fresh tomatoes. Have lost ten pounds more. Weight now only nine hundred and fifteen pounds. Dorgan worried. I dream of Gubby and love.
Mr. Gubb sighed happily. “I suppose,” he said blissfully, “that by the present moment of time Miss Syrilla has only got left a remainder of six double chins out of seven, dear little one!” And he went back to his office feeling that it would not be long now before the apple of his eye was released from her side-show contract.
The next day Mr. Gubb had begun his labors on a new and interesting case when the door opened.
“Gubb, come across the hall here!”
Gubb looked up from the labor in which he was engaged and blinked at Lawyer Higgins.
“At the present time I am momently engaged upon a case,” said Mr. Gubb. “As soon as I am disengaged away from what I am at, I expect to be engaged at the next thing I have to do. I shouldn’t wish to assume to be rude, Mr. Higgins, but when a deteckative is working up a case, and has a sign on his door ‘Out–Back at Midnight,’ he generally means he ain’t receiving callers on no account.”
“That’s all right,” said Higgins briskly, “but this is business. I’ve got a real job for you.”
“I am engaged upon a real job now,” said Philo Gubb.
“This is a detective job,” said Mr. Higgins. “We want you to find a man, and if you find him, there’s two hundred dollars in it for you. What sort of a job is it you have on hand?”
“I am searching out the whereabouts of a lost party,” said Gubb earnestly. “I’m investigating clues at the present time and moment.”
Higgins stepped inside the door. He walked to where Philo Gubb sat at an elaborate mahogany desk, and looked at the apparatus Mr. Gubb was using.
“What the dickens?” he asked.
On the slide of the desk were grouped a number of small articles, and a large and powerful microscope. Through the lens of the microscope Mr. Gubb was inspecting something that looked like frayed yellow-brown wool yarn.
“You don’t expect to find your missing party in that wad of wool, do you, Gubb?” asked Mr. Higgins jestingly.
“Maybe I do, and maybe the operations of the deteckative mind are none of your particular affair when conducted in the private seclusion of my laboratory,” said Gubb.
“Now, don’t get mad,” said Higgins. “It just struck me as funny. Looks as if you were hunting for fleas in a wisp of dog hair.”
Philo Gubb looked up quickly. As a matter of fact, he had but a moment before found a flea in the wool he was examining, and the wool was indeed a wisp of dog hair. The party Mr. Gubb had been engaged to find was a dog, and Mr. Gubb was–by the inductive method of detecting–trying to reason out the location of the dog. By the aid of the microscope, Mr. Gubb was searching for the slight indications that mean so much to detectives. Unfortunately, however, Mr. Gubb had not yet found anything from which he could deduce anything whatever, unless the flea in the wool might lead to the conclusion that the dog now, or once, had fleas.
“Tell you what I want,” said Mr. Higgins: “I want you to find Mustard.”
Detective Gubb swung suddenly in his chair and faced Mr. Higgins.
“I don’t want nothing more to do with that will!” he said.
“I’m with you there!” said Higgins, laughing. “When O’Hara made his will so that my client couldn’t get her rights at once he did a mean trick, and I dare say Mrs. Doblin will think so when she gets my bill. But, just the same, Gubb, you’re in the detective business more or less, and it strikes me you ought to take a job when it’s offered to you. You signed the will as a witness, and this man Bilton, commonly known as Mustard on account of his yellow complexion and hair, was the other witness, wasn’t he? Now, if you can’t give us the information we want, and Mustard can, it looks to me as if it was your duty, as a fellow witness, to hunt him up. But we don’t ask that. We’re willing to pay you if you find him.”
“Are you prepared to contract to say you’ll pay me just for hunting for him?” asked Mr. Gubb.
“We’ll give you two hundred dollars if you can produce Mustard here in Riverbank,” said Higgins.
“The job I’ve took on to hunt up another missing party will occupy me for quite a while, I guess,” said Gubb, “but maybe I might put in what extra time I can spare looking for your party.”
“Do it!” said Higgins. “I don’t say you’re the best detective in the world, Gubb, but you do have luck. You must have a magic talisman.”
“The operation of the deteckative mind is always like magic to the common folks,” said Gubb gravely.
“All right, then,” said Higgins. “Two hundred if you find him. And now, will you just come across the hall for one minute?”
Gubb left his microscope reluctantly. He was sick and tired of the O’Hara will, but he followed Mr. Higgins.
The second floor of the Opera House Block was laid out in small offices arranged on two sides of a corridor. One of these offices had been for many years the office of Haddon O’Hara, who specialized in commercial law, collections, and jokes, and he had accumulated a snug little fortune. It was said he could draw a contract no one could break except himself.
On the streets and in his home and at his office–except when at work on some especially difficult case–his face always wore a quizzical smile. O’Hara seemed to enjoy himself every moment. Walking along the street he would suddenly stop some citizen, enunciate a dozen or twenty cryptic words, laugh, and proceed on his way, leaving the citizen to puzzle over the affair, lose interest in it and forget it. A week, a month, or a year later O’Hara would stop the same citizen and utter ten more words, the key to the cryptic joke. Then, chuckling, he would hurry away. He had a lot of fun. His keen brain felt equal to making fun of the whole town and not letting the town know it. Money came to him easily; he had no wife; his pleasure was in his books–and he was probably a happy man. But he died. He died and left a will.
For some years O’Hara lived with his niece, an orphan. She was eighteen, and there might have been some gossip, but O’Hara forestalled it by hiring old Mrs. Mullarky.
O’Hara bought his niece a pup and had a dog-house built and put in the yard. He christened the pup himself, naming it Waffles, because, he said, the minute he saw the pup it reminded him of Dolly. The pup was just the color of the waffles Dolly baked–“baked” is O’Hara’s word. So he bought Waffles and brought him home to Dolly, and the girl loved the dog from the first minute. Then, just as the dog had outgrown puppyhood, O’Hara died.
His will was found in the safe in his office. Old Judge Mackinnon, who shared the office with O’Hara, found the will the day after O’Hara died. It was in a white legal envelope endorsed, “My Will, Haddon O’Hara.” The Judge opened the envelope–it was not sealed–and took out the will. The will was not filled in on a printed form–it was a holograph will, written in O’Hara’s own hand. It began in the usual formal manner and there were two bequests. The first read: “To my niece, Dorothy O’Hara, since she is so extremely fond of her dog Waffles, I give and bequeath the dog-house now on my property at 342 Locust Street, Riverbank, Iowa.” The second read: “Secondly, to my cousin Ardelia Doblin I bequeath the entire remainder and residue of my estate,” etc.
Judge Mackinnon frowned as he read these two bequests. He knew Ardelia Doblin as a spiteful, scandal-mongering woman. To cut off Dolly O’Hara with a dog-house and give his entire estate to Ardelia Doblin might be O’Hara’s idea of a joke, but the Judge did not like it. He read the final clause, appointing him sole executor without bond. O’Hara’s signature was correctly appended. The will was dated July 1, 1913. It was witnessed by Philo Gubb and Max Bilton. The Judge knew both witnesses. Gubb was the eccentric paper-hanger who thought he was a detective because he had taken a correspondence course, and Bilton was a jaundiced loafer, commonly called Mustard. The good old man sighed and was about to put the will back in the envelope when he noticed three letters at the bottom of the sheet. They were “P.T.O.” Now “P.T.O.” is an English abbreviation that means “Please Turn Over.” The Judge turned the paper over.
Suddenly he smiled. Then he looked grave again. And then he grinned. After which he shook his head.
The reverse of the sheet contained a will exactly like that on the obverse. Word for word it was the same. Line for line, punctuation mark for punctuation mark, the two wills on the opposite sides of the sheet were identical except for two words. In the will the Judge was now reading, the name Sarah P. Kinsey was substituted for the name Ardelia Doblin. The date was the same. The witnesses were the same. There were two wills, one written on one side of the sheet and the other written on the other side of the sheet, of the same date, with the same signature, and with the same witnesses. O’Hara had joked to the last.
“This is a dickens of a joke!” exclaimed Judge Mackinnon. “O’Hara should not have done this!”
He saw the property of Haddon O’Hara being dissipated in lawsuits over this remarkable will. He knew Sarah P. Kinsey as well as he knew Ardelia Doblin, and she was just such another mean cantankerous individual.
“A joke’s a joke, but you shouldn’t have done this, O’Hara!” said the Judge.
There was nothing to do but notify the parties concerned. He went to see Dolly O’Hara first and told her, as gently as he could, about the will. She cried a little, softly, at first, and then she smiled bravely.
“You mustn’t worry about it, Judge Mackinnon,” she said. “I–of course I never thought what Uncle Haddon would do with his money. And–and we used to joke about the dog-house. He always said he would leave it to me in his will. Uncle Haddon loved to joke, Judge Mackinnon.”
“He was a joking jackanapes!” said Judge Mackinnon angrily.
Ardelia Doblin and Sarah P. Kinsey took the matter in quite a different spirit. Mrs. Doblin could hardly wait until Judge Mackinnon was out of the house before she hurried down to see Lawyer Higgins, and Mrs. Kinsey did not wait until the Judge was ready to go, but put on her hat in his presence, so eager was she to hurry down to see Lawyer Burch.
Ten hours later the O’Hara will was the one matter talked about in Riverbank. Evidently there must be some clue leading to the solution of the mystery–some well-hidden, cleverly planned key such as Haddon O’Hara would undoubtedly have left in perpetrating such a joke. Common sense was sufficient to tell any one that O’Hara could not have written both wills simultaneously, that he had written one will on one side of the paper, after which he had turned the paper over and had written the other will on the other side of the paper. The difficulty was to tell which side he had written last.
Lawyer Higgins, Lawyer Burch, and Judge Mackinnon went over both sides of the paper with a microscope. The same ink had been used on both sides. O’Hara’s writing was the same on both sides. Often, in writing as many words as occupied both sides of the paper in question, a man’s hand grows involuntarily weary. There was nothing of this sort. There seemed to be absolutely nothing on which the greatest penmanship expert could base a plea that either side was, in fact, the _last_ will of Haddon O’Hara. Either might be the last.
Nothing was left untested by Higgins and Burch. The two sides of the paper on which the wills were written were subjected to the minutest scrutiny.
Each will was witnessed by the same pair of witnesses, and these were Philo Gubb and Max Bilton. It was no trouble to get Philo Gubb to tell about signing the will. Judge Mackinnon crossed the hall and brought Philo Gubb to the office.
“Yes, sir,” said Mr. Gubb. “I signed my signature onto that document two times as requested so to do by the late deceased. He come over to my official deteckative headquarters and asked me to step across and do him the pleasure of a small favor and I done so. Yes, sir, that’s my signed signature. And that’s my signed signature also likewise.”
“Did he say anything, Mr. Gubb?” asked the Judge.
“He says, ‘Gubb, this is my last will and testament, and I wish you to sign your signature onto it as a witness.’ So he put the paper in front of me. ‘Where’ll I sign it?’ I says. ‘Sign it right here under Mr. Bilton’s name,’ he says. So I signed my signature like he told me.”
“Yes,” said the Judge, “and Mr. O’Hara blotted it with a piece of blotting-paper, did he not?”
“He so done,” said Mr. Gubb.
“And then what?”
“Then he turned the paper over,” said Mr. Gubb, “and he says, ‘Now, please sign this one.’ So I signed it.”
“Under Mr. Bilton’s name again?” said the Judge.
“Why, no,” said the paper-hanger detective. “Not under it, because it wasn’t located nowhere to have an under to it. Mr. Bilton hadn’t signed on that side yet.”
There was an instant sensation.
“Bilton hadn’t signed that side?” said Mr. Higgins. “Which side hadn’t he signed?”
“The other side from the side he had signed,” said Mr. Gubb.
“Did you notice which side he had not signed?” insisted Mr. Higgins. “Was it this side that mentions Mrs. Doblin, or this side that mentions Mrs. Kinsey? Which was it?”
Mr. Gubb took the paper and examined it carefully. He turned it over and over.
“Couldn’t say,” he said briefly.
“In other words,” said Mr. Burch, “you signed one side before Mr. Bilton signed and one side after he signed, but you don’t know which?”
“Yes, sir, I don’t,” said Mr. Gubb.
“So,” said Judge Mackinnon, with a smile, “you can swear you signed both these wills as witness, but you have no idea which you signed last, Mr. Gubb.”
“E-zactly so!” said Mr. Gubb with emphasis.
“Now, just a minute,” said Mr. Burch. “One of these Bilton signatures is ‘M. Bilton’ and the other is ‘Max Bilton.’ You don’t recall which was on the paper when you signed, do you?”
“Mr. Burch,” said Mr. Gubb, “I wasn’t taking no extra time to find out if a no-account feller like Mustard Bilton signed his name M. or Max or Methuselah. No, sir.”
“Do you know where Mustard Bilton is now?” asked Judge Mackinnon.
“Don’t know,” said Mr. Gubb.
The three lawyers consulted for a minute or two. Then the Judge turned to Gubb again.
“And did Mr. O’Hara say anything more on the occasion when you signed the will?” asked the Judge.
“He said, ‘Thank you,'” said Mr. Gubb. “He said, ‘Thank you, Sherlock Holmes.'”
Higgins and Burch laughed, and even the Judge smiled, and they told Mr. Gubb he could go.
An hour or three quarters of an hour after he had been called to identify his signature to the wills, a gentle tap at Mr. Gubb’s door caused him to look up from the pamphlet–Lesson Four, Rising Sun Detective Agency’s Correspondence School of Detecting–he was reading.
“Come on right in,” he called, and in answer the door opened and a young woman entered. She was a sweet-faced, modest-appearing girl, and when she pushed back her veil, Mr. Gubb saw she had been weeping, for her eyes were red. Mr. Gubb hastily pulled out his desk chair.
“Take a seat and set down, ma’am,” he said politely. “Is there anything in my lines I can be doing for you to-day?”
“Are you Mr. Philo Gubb?” she asked, seating herself.
“Yes’m, paper-hanging and deteckating done,” he said.
“It’s about a dog, my dog,” said the young woman. “He’s lost, or stolen, and–”
Emotion choked her words.
“I know it sounds foolish to ask a detective to look for a dog,” she said with a poor attempt at a smile, “but–”
“In the deteckative line nothing sounds foolish,” said Mr. Gubb with politeness.
“But Uncle Haddon told me once that if ever I needed a–a detective I should come to you,” the young woman continued. “You knew Uncle Haddon, Mr. Gubb?”
“I had the pleasure of being known to and knowing of him,” said Mr. Gubb.
“My name is Dolly O’Hara! I am his niece.”
“Glad to make your acquaintance, ma’am,” said Philo Gubb, and he shook hands gravely.
“He gave me my dog,” said Miss O’Hara. “He gave him to me when the dog was just a puppy, and he called him Waffles. He used to joke about my loving the dog more than I loved him. He used to say–”
Miss O’Hara wiped her eyes. For a moment she could not speak.
“He used to say,” she continued in a moment, “that I’d never break my heart over a lost uncle, but that if I lost Waffles I’d die of grief. It wasn’t so, of course. But I’m heart-broken to have Waffles gone. He is all I’ll have to remember Uncle Haddon by. And then–to have him–go!”
“I should take it a pleasure to be employed upon a case to fetch him back,” said Mr. Gubb.
“Oh, would you?” cried Miss O’Hara. “I’m so glad! I was afraid a–a real detective might not want to bother with a dog. Of course I’ll pay–”
“The remuneration will be minimum on account of the smallness of the crime under the statutes made and provided,” said Mr. Gubb.
“But you must let me pay!” urged Miss O’Hara. “One of the things Uncle Haddon said was, ‘If you ever lose that dog, Dolly, hire Detective Gubb. Understand? He’s a wonderful detective. He’ll leave no stone unturned. He’ll find your dog. He’ll pry the roof off the dog-house to find a flea, and when he’s found the flea he’ll hunt up a blond dog to match it. Remember,’ he said, ‘if you lose the dog, get Gubb.'”
“I consider the compliment the highest form of flattery,” said Mr. Gubb.
“So I want you to try to find Waffles, please, if it isn’t beneath you to hunt a dog,” said Miss O’Hara. “How much will you charge to find Waffles, Mr. Gubb?”
“I’d ought to have five dollars–” Mr. Gubb began doubtfully.
“Of course!” exclaimed Miss O’Hara. “Why, I expected to pay far more.”
“Well and good,” said Mr. Gubb. “And now, how aged was the dog when he was purloined away from you?”
Philo Gubb secured a complete history of the dog. Miss O’Hara had brought, also, two photographs of Waffles in pleasing poses, and when she left, Mr. Gubb accompanied her to the late home of Waffles. It was there he gathered the clues over which he was poring with his microscope when Mr. Higgins came to ask him to step across the hall and to offer him two hundred dollars if he could produce Mustard Bilton. Mr. Gubb went across the hall.
“Gubb,” said Judge Mackinnon, when he had introduced the detective to Mrs. Kinsey and Mrs. Doblin, “was Mustard Bilton in this office when you signed your name to these wills?”
“No, sir, he was not present in person,” said Mr. Gubb. “He was elsewhere.”
“Well, ladies,” said the Judge, “it seems to me that until we can find Mustard we cannot proceed. Mr. O’Hara’s last will–whichever it is–must be probated. If I took this will to the courthouse, whichever side happened to be uppermost would be probated first and the other side would naturally appear on the record as the latest will. It is a responsibility I do not care to undertake. If you will not agree to compromise and divide the estate–”
“Never!” said both ladies.
“We must find Mustard!” said the Judge.
Mr. Gubb went into the hall, but Lawyer Burch followed him.
“Gubb,” he said, “just a word! Find Mustard for me. Now, don’t talk–find him. Bring Mustard to Judge Mackinnon’s office and I’ll put two hundred dollars in your hand! That’s all!”
Detective Gubb returned to his office and resumed his work on his lost dog clues. One by one he submitted the clues to inspection under the microscope. He tried the five processes of the Sherlock Holmes inductive method on them. By some strange quirk, quite out of keeping with the usual detective-story logic, he could make nothing of them. Even the flea in the bit of dog hair did not point direct to the location of the dog. They were blind clues. Mr. Gubb swept them into an empty envelope, sealed the envelope, put on his hat and went out.
On the stair he met Judge Mackinnon.
“Well, if O’Hara meant to have a little joke–and he did–he’s had it,” said the Judge with a chuckle. “You should have been in that room just now. Cat fights? Those two women all but jumped on each other with claws and teeth. I don’t know why O’Hara wanted to worry them, but he has paid them back well for whatever they ever did to him.”
“And the dog has disappeared away, too,” said Mr. Gubb. “I am proceeding on my way at the present time to help discover where the dog is.”
“Hope you find the poor child’s pet,” said the Judge as he turned off in the opposite direction.
Mr. Gubb proceeded to the late home of Haddon O’Hara. He followed the brick walk to the back of the house. He was already familiar with the premises.
The dog-house–the only recently painted structure in the neighborhood–stood opposite the kitchen door. It was perhaps three feet in height and four feet long, with a pointed roof. As a door it had an open arch, and at one side of this was a staple to which a chain could be attached. The grass in front of the dog-house was worn away, leaving the soil packed hard. The detective, arriving at the dog-house, walked around it, gazing at it closely.
The inductive method had failed–as it always failed for Mr. Gubb–and he meant now to try following a clue in person, if he could find a clue to follow. Mr. Gubb dropped to his hands and knees and crept around the dog-house, seeking a clue hidden in the grass. When he reached the front of the dog-house he paused.
“Ye look that like a dog I was thinkin’ ye’d howl for a bone,” said Mrs. Mullarky suddenly from the kitchen door.
Mr. Gubb turned and eyed her with disapproval.
“The operations of deteckating are strange to the lay mind,” he said haughtily. “Those not understanding them should be seen and not heard.”
“An’ hear the man!” cried Mrs. Mullarky. “Does a dog-house drive all of ye crazy? T’ see a human bein’ crawlin’ around on his four legs an’ callin’ it detectin’ where a dog is that ain’t there! Go awn, if ye wish! Crawl inside of ut!”
“I’m going to do so,” said Mr. Gubb, and he did.
Inside, or as far inside as he could get, Mr. Gubb struck a match and examined the floor of the house. There was straw on it, but nothing even remotely suggesting a clue. No dog thief had left a glove there. Mr. Gubb began to back out, and as he backed his head touched something softer than a pine board. He craned his long neck and looked upward. Tacked to the inside of the roof of the house was a long envelope. Mr. Gubb put up his hand and pulled it loose. Then he backed into the daylight. He sat on the bare spot before the dog-house and examined the envelope.
The envelope was sealed, but on the face of it was written:–
To be delivered to Judge Mackinnon, after Waffles has been returned to his house and home. Waffles will be found in the old cattle-shed on the Illinois side of the river, north from the turnpike at the far end of the bridge.
It was a clue! Without stopping to silence the scornful laughter of Mrs. Mullarky, Philo Gubb jumped to his feet and made for the Illinois side of the long bridge as rapidly as his long legs could carry him. He reached the old cattle-shed and there he found Mustard Bilton seated at the door, smoking a cob pipe in lazy comfort.
“Come for the dog?” asked Mustard carelessly. “Sort of thought you’d come for him about now. Been expectin’ you the last couple o’ days.”
“Expecting me?” said Philo Gubb. “I’ve been doing deteckative work on this case–”
“Yes, Had’ O’Hara reckoned you’d detect around awhile before you got track of me,” said Mustard without emotion. “He says, when I’d signed that there will for him, ‘Day or so after I kick the bucket, Mustard, you go up and steal Waffles,’ he says, ‘and fetch him over to the cattle-shed on the Illinoy side,’ he says, ‘and keep him there until Gubb comes for him. Take a day or so, maybe,’ he says, ‘for Dolly to remember I told her to get Gubb, and take Gubb a day or two to scrooge round before he hits on the clue I’ve fixed up to point him to you, but he’ll come. He’s a wonder, Gubb is,’ says O’Hara, ‘and no mistake. If a feller was to steal the sardines out of a can,’ he says, ‘bet you Gubb would want to see what was inside the empty can before he’d start out to find the feller. You just sit quiet an’ wait till Gubb snoops round enough,’ he says, ‘and he’ll come.'”
“You have possession of the Waffles dog at the present time?” asked Detective Gubb.
“In yonder,” said Mustard, pointing over his shoulder. “Say, what’s the joke O’Hara was cookin’ up, anyway?”
“You accompany yourself with me to the office of Judge Mackinnon,” said Mr. Gubb, “and you’ll discover it out for yourself and I’ll remunerate you to twenty dollars also. Fetch the dog.”
Mr. Gubb, quite properly, left Mustard and Waffles in his own office while he visited Mr. Higgins and Mr. Burch, collecting two hundred dollars from each. Then he turned Mr. Mustard Bilton over to them.
“You signed those wills of O’Hara’s,” said Mr. Burch when all had gathered in Judge Mackinnon’s office. “Do you know which you signed last?”
“Sure, I do,” said Mustard.
Mr. Burch handed him the double will.
“Which did you sign last?” asked Mr. Burch energetically.
Mustard took the document and looked at it. The Kinsey side was toward him.
“It wasn’t this one,” he said positively.
“Ah, ha!” cried Lawyer Higgins, turning the paper over. “Then it was this one you signed last!”
“No,” said Mustard, glancing at the Doblin side of the paper. “I signed this’n the same time as I signed the other side of it. I signed both these the first day of the month. The one I signed last I signed on the second of the month.”
“Ah, yes!” said Judge Mackinnon, looking at a document he had taken from the envelope Philo Gubb had handed him. “You mean this one:–
Last will and testament–and all else with which I may die possessed–to my niece Dorothy O’Hara–and hope she can take a joke–Haddon O’Hara.
You mean this one, Mr. Bilton?”
“Yep,” said Mustard, looking at the document that gave to Dolly O’Hara every jot and tittle of Haddon O’Hara’s property. “That’s the one. That’s the one I signed last. Me and old Sam Fliggis signed her–same day O’Hara hired me to steal the dog. Well, I guess I’ll be takin’ the dog back home. So ‘long, gents. Old Had’ was bound to have his joke, wasn’t he?”
“Mr. Gubb,” said Judge Mackinnon suddenly, “would you be betraying a professional secret if you told us how you found this document?”
“In the pursuit of following my deteckative profession,” said Detective Gubb, “according to Lesson Six, Page Thirty-two.”