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No Questions Answered
by [?]

REWARD!!!

$25.00 For the Apprehension or Capture of Person or Persons Who Successfully Stole the Fashionable Bulldog Belonging to Mrs. M. Fryback on or About Friday of Last Week!

N. B.–Said dog occasionally answers to the name of Marmaduke, but mostly to Mike.

An Additional Reward of Three Dollars Cash will be paid for the return of said dog, with or without said Criminals. No Questions asked.

A. CROW, Marshal of Tinkletown.

The foregoing poster, fresh from the press of the Banner printing office, made itself conspicuous at no less than a dozen points in the village of Tinkletown on a blustery February morning. Early visitors to the post office in Lamson’s store were the first to discover it, tacked neatly on the bulletin board. Others saw it in front of the Town Hall, while others, who rarely took the trouble to look at a telephone pole before leaning against it, found themselves gazing with interest at the notice that covered the customary admonition:

“Post No Bills.”

Of course every one in Tinkletown knew, and had known for the matter of a week or more, that Mort Fryback’s bulldog was “lost, strayed or stolen,” but this was the first glaring intimation that Mort had also lost his mind. In the first place, Mike–as he was familiarly known to every inhabitant–wasn’t worth more than a dollar and a half when he was in his prime, and that, according to recollection, must have been at least twelve or fifteen years prior to his unexplained disappearance. In the second place, it was pretty generally understood that Mike–recently Marmaduke–had surreptitiously taken a dose of prussic acid in a shed back of Kepsal’s blacksmith shop and was now enjoying a state of perfect rejuvenation in the happy hunting ground.

Mr. Alf Reesling, the town drunkard, after having scanned four of the notices on his way to the post office, informed a group of citizens in front of Brubaker’s drugstore that Anderson Crow would do almost anything to get his name into print. Alf and the town marshal had had one of their periodical “fallings out,” and, for the moment at least, the former was inclined to bitterness.

“To begin with,” explained Alf, “there ain’t a dog in this town that’s worth stealin’, to say nothin’ of three dollars. You can’t tell me that Mort Fryback would give three dollars to get that dog back, not even if he was alive–which he ain’t, if you c’n believe Bill Kepsal. No, sir; it’s just because Anderson wants to see his name in print, that’s what it is. I bet if you was to ask Mort if he has agreed to pay–how much is it all told?–twenty-eight dollars–if he has agreed to pay all that money for nothin’, he’d order you out of his store.”

“Mrs. Fryback told my wife a couple of weeks ago that Marmaduke was a prize bull, and she wouldn’t take a hundred dollars for him,” said Newt Spratt. “Seems that she had somebody look up his pedigree, and he turns out to be a stepson or something like that of a dog that won first prize at a bench show–whatever that is–in New York City.”

“Ever since that actress woman was here last fall,–that friend of Harry Squires, I mean,–every derned dog in town has turned out to be related some way or other to a thoroughbred animal in some other city,” said Alf. “Why, even that mangy shepherd dog of Deacon Rank’s–accordin’ to Mrs. Rank–is a direct descendant of two of the finest Boston terriers that ever came out of Boston. She told me so herself, but, of course, I couldn’t ask how he happened to look so much like a shepherd dog and so little like his parents, ’cause there’s no use makin’ poor Mrs. Rank any more miserable than she already is–she certainly don’t get any fun out of life, livin’ with the deacon from one year’s end to the other. Yes, sir; just because that actress woman paraded around here for a month or so last fall with a French poodle, is no reason, far as I can see, why all the women in town should begin puttin’ leashes on their dogs and washin’ ’em and trimmin’ ’em and tying red ribbons around their necks–yes, and around some of their tails, too. I’ll never forget that stub-tail dog of Angie Nixon’s going around with a blue bow stickin’ straight up behind him, and lookin’ as though he’d lost something and got dizzy looking for it. And Mort’s dog, Mike–poor old Mike,–why, he got so he’d go down to Hawkins’ undertakin’ shop every time he could get a minute off and bark till Lem would let him in, and then he’d lay down in a corner and go to sleep, and Lem always swore the poor dog was as mad as a hornet when he woke up and found he was still alive.”