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Title: Frank Merriwell's Return to Yale
Author: Standish, Burt L., 1866-1945
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Frank Merriwell's Return to Yale" ***

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                  FRANK MERRIWELL'S RETURN TO YALE

                        BY BURT L. STANDISH

AUTHOR OF "Frank Merriwell's Schooldays," "Frank Merriwell's Trip West,"
"Frank Merriwell's Chums," "Frank Merriwell's Foes," "Frank Merriwell
Down South," etc.


    PHILADELPHIA.
    DAVID MCKAY, PUBLISHER,
    604-8 SOUTH WASHINGTON SQUARE.

    Copyright, 1897 and 1904
    By STREET & SMITH

    Frank Merriwell's Return to Yale



[Illustration: "The door opened and in walked Frank Merriwell."]



FRANK MERRIWELL'S RETURN TO YALE.



CHAPTER I.

GREETINGS ON THE CAMPUS.


"Ah, there, Merriwell!"

Frank Merriwell was crossing the campus at good old Yale, and this cry,
in a familiar voice, sounded from Durfee Hall.

He turned his eyes toward the favorite dormitory, and seated at an open
window on the ground floor he saw his classmate, Jones, he of the famous
nickname, "Dismal."

"Hello, Dismal," called Frank, "aren't you going to come out and shake
hands with a fellow?"

"I would if it wasn't for the shower," responded Jones, whose usually
solemn face was graver than ever.

"Shower?" repeated Frank, looking up in surprise at the perfectly clear
sky.

"I see that you've just arrived, so that you probably haven't noticed
it," said Dismal, coming out of his window to avoid going around through
the hall.

He came slowly across the grass plot that lay between him and Frank and
held out his hand, saying:

"How are you, Frank? I'm glad to see you."

Frank, who had just come from the railway station, had a gripsack in
each hand. He set them down upon the grass and shook Dismal's hand
warmly.

"There it goes!" exclaimed Dismal, with something like animation, "the
shower's begun again."

Frank's brows wrinkled in perplexity.

"I don't see any signs of a shower," he said.

"That's because you haven't been here all the morning," returned Jones,
solemnly. "I've been sitting there in my window for fully three hours
watching it; it's been a perfect rain of gripsacks on the campus. Every
fellow that comes along stops to shake hands with everybody he meets,
and every time he stops, down goes his gripsacks."

Frank laughed.

"You're the same old cheerful joker, Dismal," he said. "But you're
beginning early. If you keep up this sort of thing you'll actually get
caught laughing before the end of the junior year."

There was a faint shadow of a smile on Dismal's face as he responded:

"Well, anyhow, Frank, I'm glad to see all the fellows come trooping
back. Are you glad to get here yourself?"

"Why, of course I am."

"Had a good time during the vacation?"

"I always have a good time," said Frank. "Don't you?"

"Oh, yes, in my way. To tell the truth, I spent most of the summer
dreading the day when I should have to come back to the confounded old
books, and lectures and examinations; but I got here yesterday, and now
I'm dreading the time I shall have to go away again."

"Then I see that you're sure to enjoy yourself during the junior year,"
said Frank, stooping to pick up his gripsacks.

"When I've got my room in order I'll come around and go to luncheon with
you."

"Do!" replied Dismal. "I'll go back to my window seat and watch the
shower. Hello! there comes Browning, and he's loaded down with
gripsacks, too. My, but there'll be a perfect torrent!"

Big Bruce Browning came up with friendly words of greeting, and as
Dismal had predicted, he set down his gripsacks in order to get his
hands free.

"It's getting worse and worse!" remarked Dismal, as if worried about it,
"for here comes Rattleton and Diamond from one direction and Harold Page
from another."

The last named students were on their way, just as Frank had been, to
their respective rooms, and each carried more or less baggage, except
Diamond, who, being something of an aristocrat, had sent all his traps
to his room on a wagon.

Seeing Frank standing near Durfee, they all turned toward him, and in a
moment there was a lively exchange of greetings and small talk.

Four of these students, Merriwell himself, Jack Diamond, Bruce Browning
and Harry Rattleton, had not been long separated, to be sure, but after
a sporting trip which they had undertaken across the continent, it was
like meeting after a long absence to find themselves together again at
Yale.

It was the beginning of a new college year, and members of all classes
were trooping back to begin their work.

While these juniors were discussing all manner of things that interest
students, such as the prospects of the football eleven, the make-up of
next year's crew, and the coming elections into secret societies,
members of other classes were scattered about the campus chatting in
much the same way.

Among those who appeared upon the famous quadrangle were many who
belonged to the incoming freshman class. It was easy to recognize them,
for, as Rattleton observed:

"You can tell a freshman with the naked eye."

They were either proceeding in a fearful hurry, as if they thought they
were in danger of getting in late to an examination, or they were
standing in awkward idleness looking at the strange buildings and
evidently not knowing which way to turn and dreading to ask anybody a
question.

The juniors smiled indulgently as a group of three or four candidates
for the freshman class passed them.

The newcomers were discussing an examination from which they had just
come, telling each other how they had answered certain questions and
wondering if they would get marked high enough to pass.

"I can sympathize with them," remarked Diamond. "I know just the kind of
shivers they're suffering from."

"What jolly good subjects those fellows would be for a quiet hazing,"
remarked Page.

"You mustn't forget," said Frank, "that we're juniors now, and therefore
out of it so far as hazing is concerned."

"That's right," added Browning, "the freshies are nothing to us; they're
far beneath us."

"Except in one sense," said Frank. "The sophomores, you know, will get
even for the hazing we gave them, by taking it out of the freshies, and
so it becomes our duty, in a way, to take care of the freshmen and see
that they get fair treatment."

Speaking of this it may be well to explain that in all colleges the
juniors take this attitude toward the freshmen.

As a rule the freshman receives the attention of a junior with a great
deal of gratitude, but also as a rule he does not find that it amounts
to very much.

The junior is ever ready to give him a good deal of solid advice, and a
great deal more ready to get the freshman to do errands for him, and all
manner of odd jobs that the freshman is quite sure to do, until, as the
boys say, he tumbles to the fact that after all the junior is really
making game of him.

"Speaking of hazing, though," said Page, suddenly, "I've got a new
room."

"Have you? Where is it?" asked Rattleton.

"It's up High Street a way, in one of the oldest houses in New Haven."

"Good room?" asked Browning.

"Capital! I've got to do some grinding this year and the room will suit
me exactly for that, but there'll be hours when the books can be
forgotten, and then you fellows'll find that the room is a corker for
cards or any sort of jollification."

"I don't see what that's got to do with hazing," remarked Merriwell.
"You said that the hazing reminded you of it."

"Yes, I'll tell you why, or rather I'll show you. There's something
about that room that would be perfectly immense if we were sophomores
now. Come down and see it, will you?"

"Better wait a week," said Browning, picking up his bags, "I'm busy
now."

"How extraordinary!" remarked Dismal Jones. "If the faculty should hear
that Browning was busy they'd give him a warning!"

Browning frowned in mock anger and Frank, putting on an expression quite
as solemn as Dismal's own, and laying his hand on Dismal's shoulder,
said:

"The fact is, boys, Jones has become ambitious. He knows that the
election of class-day officers is only a little more than a year away,
and he's getting himself into training for one of the positions."

"Oh, go on, it isn't so!" exclaimed Dismal.

"That's just his modesty," continued Frank, "for of course he doesn't
want to push himself forward, but he's quietly waiting for his friends
to recognize his great ability, and as we're his friends we just want to
boom him from now on, and I take this occasion of nominating Dismal
Jones, Esquire, as class wit."

Rattleton burst into guffaws of laughter, while the others smiled.

"The idea is humorous enough to elect him!" said Diamond.

"Well, if he's going to be a candidate," added Browning, "we must put
the campaign through in proper fashion. We must organize a Dismal Jones
Club and have an emblem.

"I move that we all wear crape upon our left arm and mourning bands upon
our hats until the election."

"Great Scott!" howled Rattleton, "the time for mourning will be after
Jones is elected."

Jones listened to this joking with stolid good humor; never a smile
lingered on his face, but his solemn eyes showed no resentment.

"It's all right," he remarked when they gave him a chance to speak, "you
fellows think you've got me on a long string, but I'd like to bet that
if I should run for a class office, I wouldn't be last in the race!

"Of course," he added, hastily, "I haven't really any insane notion of
doing such a thing."

The students laughed again, picked up their gripsacks and prepared to
separate.

"Say!" called Page, eagerly, "what about coming down to see my room?"

"Oh, we've got a whole year ahead of us," growled Browning.

"I'll run down in the course of an hour or two," said Frank. "I don't
think there's anything to do at my room, and I'll be glad to learn the
way to yours. What's the number?"

Page told him, and Frank exclaimed:

"Why! some of the professors live there, don't they?"

"Pretty much the whole house," responded Page, "is let out to students
and instructors; I believe Prof. Babbitt has his room there----"

"Babbitt!" interrupted Rattleton; "he's the most unpardonable crank in
the whole faculty."

"Well, I shall let him alone, and I've no doubt that he will let me
alone," returned Page. "He's a good deal of a hermit, I'm told, and I
don't think that his being in the same house will make a particle of
difference to me. Anyhow, there's the room and I want you fellows to see
it."

"I'll be down in a little while," said Frank, and the others also
promised to come in the course of a day or two.



CHAPTER II.

IMPRISONED IN A CHIMNEY.


Frank found that there was nothing whatever in his room to demand his
attention, and so, after he had unpacked his grips and put away their
contents, he went down High Street to call on Page.

The house in which Page had taken a room was made of stone. Its walls
were very thick, the ceilings low, and everything about it made it seem
like a relic of the last century.

This is indeed what it was. In former days it had been the residence of
one of the wealthiest men in New Haven, but that was long ago; for years
it had been used wholly as a lodging house.

Page's room was on the second floor. It was very large and cheerful.
Three windows looked out on the street and in each of them was a broad
seat provided with heavy cushions.

On the opposite side of the room there were two old-fashioned benches
built against the wall. Between the ends of these benches and right in
the middle of that side of the room was one of the ancient chimneys of
the house.

It came out three or four feet into the room and gave the place an
antique and interesting appearance. Page had hung a lot of ornaments in
the way of fencing foils, boxing gloves, baseball bats, and other
materials used by students, upon this chimney.

After Frank had taken a general look around the room he said:

"It's a nice old den, Page, and I think the chimney there is the best
part of it. What a pity that there isn't a fireplace. There ought to be,
and it strikes me that there was at one time."

Saying this, he knelt down before the chimney and examined the stones of
which it was made. These had been painted white. Frank thought he could
see a line that indicated what had once been an opening. Page watched
him in silence.

"There certainly was a fireplace here at one time," said Frank, rising,
"and if I were in your place I'd have the stones cut away so that you
can use it again. An open wood fire there would look immense in winter."

"That's a good scheme, Frank," responded Page, "and it was that chimney
that led me to speak of the room. I didn't know it when I hired the
place, but since I've got in I've discovered that--well, I'll show you."

With this he stooped over by the chimney, put his hand upon what
appeared to be a little projection from one of the stones, turned it,
and opened a door.

Within the door there was revealed an old-fashioned fireplace, deep and
high. All it needed was andirons and poker to make it complete.

"Well, that's funny!" exclaimed Frank.

"Isn't it?" returned Page. "I got on to the thing wholly by accident.
When I was hanging up some of the things there I stumbled and caught
hold of that little projection for support.

"The thing turned in my hand, and the first thing I knew the door was
open. It opened a little hard, showing that the thing hadn't been used
for a long time."

"Didn't the owner of the house speak of it?"

"I don't think he knows anything about it."

"Have you told him?"

"Not much!"

"Why not?"

"Well, because it just struck me that such a place as this was a kind of
a secret worth keeping. You can see for yourself that it was the evident
intention of the person who set up this door that it should be a secret.
The hinges are perfectly concealed, and it has been fitted in and the
edges painted in such a way that only the closest inspection would give
a fellow a suspicion that there was any opening there."

At this moment there was a knock, and Browning came in.

"I thought you were coming next week?" exclaimed Page.

"Well, I found I'd nothing better to do than run down here. What's that
you're looking at?"

The boys explained the matter to him, and in his slow way he admitted
that if they were sophomores it would be quite possible to utilize this
secret door in the course of hazing freshmen.

"As we're not in the hazing business now," he said, "I can't see any use
for the place, Page, except for you to hide in when your creditors
call."

"Huh!" retorted Page, "it's my habit to keep my bills paid."

"It'll make you unpopular if the fellows know that."

"I was telling Page," said Merriwell, "that if I had the room I'd take
down that door entirely, get some andirons and burn a log of wood on a
winter evening."

"That's a good scheme," returned Browning, "but if I should do anything
of that kind I should never get a stroke of work done here; this room
was never meant to study in, but it's an ideal loafing place."

With this he threw himself upon one of the window seats and looked out.
The others took places on the other windows and for a few minutes their
conversation turned upon college topics.

Then Browning, who was a little restless, as most students are
immediately after a vacation, said he would have to be going. Page urged
him to wait, but he shook his head.

"By the way," he said, with his hand upon the door, "I've got some
news."

"Well?" said both the others together.

"I regret to say it isn't pleasant news, but it may be important to you
two; it certainly is to me."

"Spring it!" exclaimed Page.

"Cut the preface!" said Merriwell.

"Babbitt has announced an examination for juniors in mathematics."

"What!"

Merriwell and Page were so surprised that they sat down suddenly.
Browning remained standing by the door.

"It's a fact," he said.

"But what can that mean?" asked Merriwell. "We had our regular
examination last spring."

"I know we did, but Babbitt's going to have another just the same."

"Where did you learn it?"

"On the bulletin board, of course. The notice was put up not more than
an hour ago."

"When is it to be?"

"Three days from now."

Page looked blankly at Merriwell.

"I never was any good at mathematics," he said, "and after a summer
without a thought of it I don't believe I could do an ordinary sum in
multiplication."

"Well," responded Frank, doubtfully, "it can't be that the examination
will have any serious consequences for us fellows if we passed last
spring."

"There's no telling how serious Babbitt may make it," said Browning.
"The notice on the bulletin board, of course, doesn't give any
explanation, but I met Frost, the fellow who graduated a couple of years
ago, you know, with high honors in mathematics, and who was made
instructor in one of the lower departments of that course.

"I knew Frost quite well when he was a student, so I asked him if he
knew anything about this."

"What did he say?"

"He smiled a little queerly and answered that Professor Babbitt had his
own ideas."

"In other words, Frost wouldn't tell?"

"Oh, no, that's not it; Frost is a member of the faculty now, you see,
and of course he has to speak very respectfully of the older men.

"I got a very distinct idea that Frost regarded Babbitt's examination as
all nonsense, but he did explain to me what Babbitt's idea about it is."

"That's what we want to know."

"It's just this way," said Browning, sitting down. "It seems our class
is enlarged by the addition of quite a number of men who have graduated
from or studied at other colleges.

"They have applied for admission into the junior class, and there's got
to be an examination for them, of course; in fact, the examination for
such candidates is going on now."

"That's quite a usual thing," remarked Merriwell.

"Yes, certainly, but Babbitt has declared that the examination of last
spring was very unsatisfactory. He says men can't go ahead in
mathematics unless what they have done before is thoroughly learned, and
he proposes to find out just what sort of talent there is in our class
before he begins a year's work."

"He'll find out what I can't do!" groaned Page.

"Probably he knows that already," said Merriwell.

"That's the substance of it, anyway," added Browning. "Babbitt's idea is
to strike an average as to what the class can do and proceed from that."

"Then I shouldn't think," said Merriwell, "that the examination should
have any terrors for us."

"You'd think," exclaimed Page, "that Merriwell looked at an examination
as he would a plunge in the surf, just a little dip for the fun of it,
and it's all over. It won't be so with me."

"Don't worry," responded Frank, "you've got three days in which to
cram."

"And that's just what I'll do, I'm thinking."

Page dropped his chin upon his hands and looked gloomily at the floor.

"I'm sorry to give you unpleasant news," said Browning, rising, "but I
told you I thought it was important. So long."

With this he went out.

"Oh, well," said Page, after a moment, "I'm not going to be knocked out
by that! I'll just go into the examination and do as well as I can and
take chances; that's what the rest of us have got to do."

"That's the best way to look at it," Frank answered, "and I don't think
I shall bother my head with cramming for it.

"If I were you, Page, I'd go down to some of those second-hand stores on
the street and see if you can't pick up a pair of old-fashioned
andirons. You don't want to get new ones, you know, for a place like
this, they wouldn't seem appropriate."

"That's so," Page answered, with a queer smile, "I believe I'll adopt
your suggestion at once. How would you place them?"

"Why, just as they are placed in every other fireplace," Frank answered,
"one on each side; that is, if the old chimney will draw."

"Perhaps it won't," said Page.

"I hadn't thought of that," continued Frank. "It may be that the place
was closed up because the chimney was defective. Let's see if we can
find out."

So saying, he knelt and entered the fireplace. Once inside it was easy
to stand upright, for the chimney was broad, and as he looked up he
could see that it ran with a slight incline clear to the roof.

"There's nothing to prevent a fire from being built here," he said, with
his eyes turned upward. "Such a chimney as this would draw like a
furnace."

Page made no response.

"I declare," Merriwell added, "it makes me wish that winter had come so
that I could see a roaring old blaze of logs here. Doesn't that strike
you about right?"

As Page made no response, he turned to look at his classmate, and then
discovered that the secret door to the fireplace had been closed.

With his eyes turned upward and seeing the little patch of light at the
top of the chimney he had not noticed that the light from the room had
been shut off.

"Hello, there!" he called, feeling along the wall to find the door. "I'm
no freshman."

There was no sound from Page's room. Frank found a match in his pocket
and struck it. From inside it was easy enough to distinguish the
outlines of the secret door that concealed the fireplace.

It was not possible, however, to discover any way by which it might be
opened. The latch was the kind used on doors, but strong, and with no
knob on the inside.

Frank pushed against the door with some force. It did not yield in the
least degree.

"Seems to me," he thought, "that Page has a queer idea of fun to lock me
in like this. I've a good mind to kick the door down."

He thought a moment before deciding to do this, and reflected that it
would hardly be a good-natured way of treating the joke.

If Page meant to have some fun with him by making him a prisoner, the
joke would be all the more successful if Merriwell should get mad about
it and break open the secret door.

"I think," thought Frank, "that I'll get even with Page for this in a
way that will surprise him."

His match went out just then and he began to feel in the darkness of the
stones that made the chimney. They were untrimmed stones, so that the
interior surface was very irregular.

Just above his hand, but within reach, was an iron bar crossing the
chimney; it was put there to bind the walls.

Frank drew himself upon this and then, being in the narrow part of the
chimney, was able to work his way upward by clinging with hands and feet
to the rough edges of the stones.

It was slow progress, but not difficult, and sure. The only question
would be whether the opening at the top of the chimney would be large
enough to permit of his crawling through.

He had got about halfway up when he halted in his journey. He had heard
voices, and he recognized both of them.

He knew that he was on the level of the room above Page's, and he
realized that the sounds of talking came to him distinctly because there
was a fireplace there that connected with this same chimney.

The voices he heard were those of Prof. Babbitt and Instructor Frost.

"The fact is, Frost," Babbitt was saying, "I'm aiming this examination
at certain men in the class, and I've no hesitation in saying so.
There's that fellow, Merriwell, for example; I'd like to force him to do
more studying."



CHAPTER III.

TURNING THE TABLES.


"This is growing very interesting," thought Frank, bracing his knees
against the stones of the chimney so that he could hold his position
easily.

"Why, I thought that Merriwell ranked high, professor?" said Frost.

"He's no fool," growled Babbitt, "and if he would study hard I presume
he might lead the class in scholarship, but as it is, he spends most of
his time in athletics and skylarking."

"Oh, not quite so bad as that!"

"Yes, it is. He's naturally bright, and by a very little attention to
his lessons he's able to get marks that enable him to pass along with
fair standing, while most of his time is given to anything but work. It
isn't right that anybody should get through Yale so easily; it's bad for
the rest of the students."

"I have an idea," said Frost, quietly, "that Merriwell's example isn't
regarded as a bad one by other members of the faculty."

"Ah, you're just as bad as the students themselves in your fondness for
that scamp!" exclaimed Babbitt. "He seems to fascinate everybody he
meets except me."

"Yes, I think you're an exception."

"I believe you are trying to be sarcastic, Frost, but it doesn't make
any difference; my mind is set on making an example of Merriwell so that
the other fellows in his class who follow his lead will be frightened
into studying harder."

"Do you then mean that this examination is aimed directly at Merriwell?"

"Not quite so strong as that. There are others, of course, but he's a
natural leader, and I don't at all fancy the easy way he takes things,
and then bobs up at examinations with enough knowledge to work out his
papers."

"I should think," suggested Frost, "that that was all the professors
could require of a student."

"That's because you're young!" snapped Babbitt. "You ought to forget
that you've been a student----"

"Excuse me, professor, but I think just the contrary. It seems to me
that the more an instructor remembers of his student days the better he
will be able to get along with his classes."

"All right, then, you stick to your theory, and I'll stick to mine.
Meantime, look at this paper; that's what I asked you to call for."

"Is this the examination paper that you're going to set before
Merriwell's class?"

"Yes."

There was then a silence of some minutes during which probably Mr. Frost
was studying the examination paper. At last he remarked:

"Well, I've looked it through."

"What do you think of it?" asked Babbitt.

"Do you want my honest opinion?"

"Of course I do! Why else should I get you up here?"

After a slight pause Mr. Frost said: "It seems to me that the
examination is very one-sided."

"Eh?"

"Why, it is all aimed at a certain line of work, and doesn't cover
anything like all the work done in the course of the year."

"Well, I have my reason for that!"

"I supposed so."

"I know that fellow Merriwell's weakness; I know just where he's likely
to be faulty, and if he can pass that paper he'll do better than I think
he can."

"Why, Prof. Babbitt," exclaimed Frost in an indignant tone, "it looks as
if you were purposely trying to trip Merriwell so as to get him
disciplined, or dropped!"

"The faculty can do with him what it likes," remarked Babbitt, crossly,
"when I've handed in the marks on this paper."

"I must say it doesn't seem to me to be fair," said Frost.

"I don't care for any opinion of that kind," retorted Babbitt.

"Then I don't see why you asked me for any at all."

"Well, well," and Babbitt seemed to be struggling with his temper, "you
and I won't dispute about it. You've got your work and I've got mine. I
asked you about this paper because I thought you'd sympathize with me in
my design."

"I can't sympathize with you in it, Prof. Babbitt, and I wish if you're
going to give an examination that you would give one of the usual kind,
including in the questions, problems that cover the entire year's work,
and so get an idea----"

"The idea I want to get will come from the answers to these questions,
Frost."

"Then I suppose I couldn't persuade you to make up another paper?"

"No, sir; I'm going to take this to the printer at once, and by
to-morrow morning the copies will all be here in my room, where I shall
keep them until the hour for the examination."

"I'm sorry you told me about it," said Frost.

"Why?"

"Because I think well of Merriwell and the others----"

"I suppose you'd like to warn them of what's coming."

"Prof. Babbitt!"

Frost spoke in a loud tone; he was evidently very angry.

"Oh, well," exclaimed Babbitt, "don't fly in a rage at that suggestion;
of course I know that you won't betray any secrets of the faculty. I
simply said that I supposed you'd like to warn that rascal, Merriwell."

"You've no right to think even as much as that!" returned Frost, "but
you may be very sure that whatever I wish to do I shall not expose the
questions on that paper. Good-day, sir."

"Good-day," said Babbitt, and immediately afterward there was a slamming
of a door.

Then Frank heard the professor grumbling to himself, but what he said
could not be made out. A little later there was the sound of a door
opening and closing again. Prof. Babbitt had doubtless started to the
printer's with the examination paper.

Frank then resumed his trip up the chimney. He had heard no sound from
Page's room, and he was just as determined as before to turn the joke
upon his classmate.

As he passed the level of Prof. Babbitt's room he saw that the fireplace
of the chimney had been closed in the same way as in Page's room, but in
this case the door was not a secret one, and at the moment it stood
partly open. This was what enabled him to hear so plainly the
conversation between the instructors.

When he came to the chimney top he squeezed through without much
difficulty, and dropped out upon the roof.

The next question was as to getting down to the street, but to an
athlete like Frank, there was little difficulty in that problem.

New Haven is often called the City of Elms. There were a number of these
and other trees growing about, and one of them extended its branches
toward the roof of this house in such a way that Frank could grasp it.

He took hold of it with the idea of climbing along to the trunk of the
tree, and then shinning down, but the branch bent under his weight until
his feet were not more than ten feet from the ground.

Accordingly Frank let go and came down with nothing more than a bit of a
jar. He had landed in the yard beside the house, from which he saw that
an alley led between buildings to an adjoining street.

His hands and clothes were grimy with soot.

"If I should go through High Street this way," he thought, "and should
meet Page, he'd have the laugh on me in earnest. I'll just skip out the
other way, get into my room and clean up and then give him a surprise
party."

Accordingly Frank hastened through the alley and so to his room. He met
nobody on the way with whom he was acquainted, and as soon as he was in
his room he washed his hands and face thoroughly and changed his
clothes.

"So, then," he thought in the midst of this operation, "Prof. Babbitt
wants to make an example of me, does he, and he knows my weak points,
eh?"

"Luckily, I know my own weak points, too, so far as mathematics is
concerned, and in the next three days it strikes me that I can do a bit
of grinding that will enable me to give the professor a surprise party.
If my guess is right as to the kind of examples that will be put on that
paper, I shouldn't wonder if I could give the other fellows a lift,
too."

Meantime, Harold Page, having made his friend a prisoner in the
fireplace, had gone from his room for the purpose of finding some other
fellow whom he might bring back to share in the fun of Frank's
discomfort.

As his room was at some little distance from the campus, he did not
expect to find anybody on the street near it, so he started on a run in
the direction of the college, for it was not his intention to keep Frank
a prisoner more than a few minutes.

He had not gone very far before he met a classmate, whose name was
Mortimer Ford. Ford was not a very popular fellow, although it could not
be said that anybody had anything special against him.

He was acquainted with Frank and the particular crowd that chummed with
him, and sometimes took part in their doings, but on the whole he was
rather outside the circle in which Frank had been a leader from the
start.

If Page had had his wish, he would have met Rattleton, or Browning, or
Diamond, or some of the others more closely associated with Merriwell,
for he knew that they would enjoy the trick with better humor than
anybody else.

When he saw Ford his first impulse was to go and look up somebody else,
but Ford called out to him:

"Hello, Page, how long have you been back?"

"Oh, I came back a week ago," Page answered, "and engaged a room, got it
in order, and then went away again. I came back for good this morning."

"Glad to see you," and Ford shook hands. "What are you hurrying for?"

"Oh, nothing much," responded Page, awkwardly.

"I didn't know but you were trying to run away from that examination
that old Babbitt has got up," said Ford. "Say! that is a nasty blow,
isn't it?"

"It will bother a good many of us, I reckon."

They were standing on the sidewalk, and while they were talking Page was
keeping his eyes out for some other friend.

There were no other students in sight, and he began to feel a little
ashamed of the small trick he had played on Frank.

"I guess I'll go and let him out," he thought, "Ford will do as well as
anybody else to see the fun."

So he said aloud:

"Come down to my room a minute, Ford; I've got something to show you."

"I wish it was a case of beer," remarked Ford, falling in with him and
walking along, "or perhaps it's something better than that?"

"It's nothing to drink, but it's something better than that, just the
same."

"Tell you what I wish it was."

"What?"

"Babbitt's examination paper."

"Great Scott! why don't you wish you owned the earth?"

"I do."

"You might as well wish that as to think of getting hold of Babbitt's
paper. There isn't a secret society in Yale, you know, that is closer
than an examination paper. There's hardly a case on record where one has
been got in advance."

"Oh, I know it," said Ford, in a mournful tone; "of course it's hopeless
to think of getting hold of the paper, and I hadn't any idea of trying
to, but that's the only thing that's worrying me just now, and so I
spoke of it."

"Merriwell doesn't seem to think the thing's going to be very serious,"
said Page.

"He wouldn't think anything was serious," answered Ford.

Just as they were entering the house where Page had his room, Prof.
Babbitt came out. They had seen Instructor Frost go out and turn in
another direction a moment before.

The students touched their hats to the professor, wished him
good-morning, and passed in.

Prof. Babbitt grumbled a surly reply, and turned away toward the
college.

Page wondered as he went upstairs whether Frank had kicked down the
secret door to the chimney.

"It would be just like him," he thought. "Confound him! I wouldn't much
blame him if he did!"

The minute he came into the room he glanced at the chimney.

"It's all right," he said to himself, and he felt a little triumphant.
"It isn't often a fellow can catch Merriwell, and although it's a small
kind of a trick, it will be something to speak of hereafter."

"Well, this is a snug sort of place," remarked Ford, looking around the
room. "The ceiling is a little low, but the window seats are broad and
you've got soft cushions. I don't see anything the matter with this;
where's your bedroom?"

"Over there," responded Page, pointing to a door. "What do you think of
this?" and he pointed to the chimney.

"It takes up some room," was Ford's comment; "but you've got plenty of
that to spare."

"You know what it is, don't you?" asked Page.

"A chimney, I suppose?"

"Exactly, and it follows that it's hollow."

"I suppose so, unless it's been filled up."

"It hasn't been filled up," said Page. "When they put modern heating
into the house they closed up the fireplace that was here, and I had
some notion of opening it again, but I've decided not to."

He spoke now in a loud tone of voice, hoping that Merriwell would hear
him.

"Why not open the fireplace?" asked Ford.

"Because I've got a pet that I want to keep there."

"A pet?"

"Yes. It's just the place for it----"

"What is it, a big dog?"

"No, though it's big enough."

"Queer place to keep a pet," remarked Ford. "How can you get him in
there?"

"Why, he's in there already."

"What! Now?"

"Certainly."

"I don't hear anything."

Page was on the broad grin, and Ford crossed the room out of curiosity.
He struck his hand smartly on the chimney, whereat Page exclaimed:

"I wouldn't do that, you might frighten him."

"But what in the mischief have you got there?"

"I'll show you in a minute. Now, then, old boy, want to see the light?
Does you want to come out for a little time?"

Page spoke soothingly as if he were addressing a small cat.

"Shall I let him come out?" he went on, mockingly; "shall I let him have
a little taste of fresh air and sunlight, poor thing?"

He listened as he spoke for some sign of Merriwell and it bothered him a
little that he got no reply.

Ford looked on in wonder.

"Don't be so long about it!" he exclaimed. "Open up the thing if there's
any way to do it, and let's see what you've got."

"All right, then; don't be frightened if he should run out suddenly,"
answered Page.

He put his hand on the knob of the secret door, and threw it open; then
he stepped back, smiling broadly.

"There isn't anything there!" exclaimed Ford.

"What!" and Page got down on his knees and thrust his head into the
fireplace.

Of course he realized in an instant what had happened. He knew that
Merriwell must have climbed out at the top.

"Great Scott!" he thought, "if Frank should know that I brought a fellow
up here to see the foolishness, how he would turn the laugh on me."

"Has the thing, whatever it is, vanished?" asked Ford.

"Gone completely!" answered Page in a tone of disappointment. "He must
have flown out of the top of the chimney."

Ford got down, too, and looked up.

"Why, yes," he said, "if it was a bird, of course it would get out that
way. You ought to have known better than to put a bird in such a place.
What was it, a parrot?"

"No, not exactly," said Page. "I guess I won't say what it was until
I've made some search for it."

At this moment there was a knock at the door. Page, still on his hands
and knees, answered "Come in."

The door opened and in walked Frank Merriwell.



CHAPTER IV.

READY FOR THE TEST.


Page got up looking very sheepish.

He expected that Frank would begin to turn the laugh on him. Nothing of
that kind happened, for the first moment Ford and Frank were speaking
together.

They had not met since the close of the last term, and they shook hands
in a friendly way, and made polite inquiries about each other's
vacations.

"What have you got here?" asked Frank, then, stepping toward the
fireplace with a queer look at Page.

The latter had not the nerve to answer.

"I suppose it used to be a fireplace," said Ford. "It looked when I came
into the room just as if there was no opening into the chimney at all,
but this door fits very closely."

"Were you trying to use the chimney as a telescope when I came in?"
asked Frank. "I saw you were both on your knees, looking up."

"No," replied Ford, "Page had something in there, he won't say what it
was, some kind of a pet, I believe, and it has flown out."

"No wonder," remarked Frank, dryly; "it would be a pretty poor kind of a
pet that wouldn't fly out of a place like that."

"If it was an unusual kind of a bird," suggested Ford, "why don't you
give notice of it to the police? It sometimes happens that they recover
missing pets."

"Oh, I guess I won't say anything about it," responded Page, blushing
furiously.

Frank could not control his laughter, so he threw himself into a window
seat, and looked out, having his back to the other two.

"What are you laughing at, anyway?" asked Ford.

"Oh, at my thoughts!" chuckled Frank. "I think Page ought to offer a
thousand dollars or so reward for his missing pet."

"You hold your tongue, Merriwell," said Page, "and some time or other
I'll make it right with you."

"Are you two fellows putting up some kind of a job on me?" exclaimed
Ford, suspiciously.

"Oh, no, on my honor!" exclaimed Frank, quickly. "I was just thinking of
a little joke that you don't know anything about."

"Aren't you going to spring the joke?"

"No, I'm going to keep it to myself."

Page looked immensely relieved, while Ford, after a doubtful glance at
both of them, turned his attention again to the chimney. He pushed the
secret door back into place and then opened it again.

"Mighty funny idea, isn't it?" he said, half to himself. "Certainly,
nobody would ever believe that that fireplace could be opened without a
pickax."

"I supposed it was solid," responded Page, "and got at the secret
entirely by accident."

"Opens easy, doesn't it?"

Ford kept opening and shutting the door.

"If this was in the olden times," he said, "when men had to hide from
enemies, what a racket it would be to shut one's self in here and then
climb out through the chimney."

Frank turned his back again to conceal his chuckle, while Page answered
that he thought it would be a good scheme. Then he added:

"I think I'll take the door down and make a fireplace of it."

"And not get your bird back?"

"No. Hang the bird!"

"Well, of course, that's for you to say. As for myself, I'm going to get
over to my room and look up mathematics for a while."

"I shouldn't think you'd need to," said Frank.

"Oh, a man grows rusty after three months away from the books, you
know," answered Ford, "and an examination always makes me nervous,
anyway. So long."

With this he left the room.

"Say, Merriwell," said Page, the moment the door was closed, "I don't
know whether to feel obliged to you, or be as mad as a hornet."

"I don't see any reason for either feeling."

"Well, I am obliged to you for not turning the laugh on me when you had
the chance to, and I ought to be mad for your getting out in the way you
did."

"What should you have shut me in there for," asked Frank, "if you did
not expect me to use my wits?"

"I just did it on impulse," Page answered, "and had no intention,
anyway, of keeping you there more than a few minutes."

"It's all right, Page, I didn't mind it a little bit. I went straight
out."

"I see you did."

"Now, see here, Page," said Frank, seriously, "I want to ask a favor of
you."

"Granted."

"Keep that door closed during the next few days."

"What, the door to the fireplace?"

"H'm! h'm!"

"Why, yes, I'll do that, but why? I shouldn't have it open more than a
minute or two at a time to show the fellows."

"Don't do that."

"Not show it to the fellows?"

"Not to anybody."

"I said I'd grant your favor and so I will, but what in the world is on
your mind?"

"I'll tell you," said Frank, with a little pause, "after the
examination."

"Babbitt's examination?"

"Yes."

"All right I suppose you've got some first-class trick you want to tell,
and you haven't got time to get it in shape until the examination is
over, is that it?"

"That's asking too much, Page. I'll tell you all about it later;
meantime, it is a fact that men like you and me have got to put in some
pretty hard licks if we want to pass that examination."

"Oh, thunder and Mars!" groaned Page, "I've made up my mind not to think
of it. It's impossible for me to cram up on a whole year's work in three
days."

"It might not be necessary to."

"How else can a fellow stand a chance of passing?"

"Well, suppose we should study just one part of the subject, and let the
rest of it go?"

"And then there might not be a single question on that subject, Frank."

"Yes, and again they might all be on that subject."

"It isn't likely."

"But it might be so, Page."

"Do you mean to say, Frank, that you'd recommend a fellow to take a kind
of gambling chance like that on an examination paper?"

"Well, not as a general thing, but seriously I do think it would be a
good scheme this time. You see, Babbitt is springing this examination
unexpectedly, and everybody knows that he's got queer ideas. Now I think
it would be quite like him to center the whole examination on one
topic."

"Why should he do that?"

"Well," answered Frank, slowly, "with the idea, perhaps, of catching the
fellows by surprise."

"He don't need to take all that pains for me," said Page, dismally; "he
could floor me if his examination Was made on the simplest things. If I
was like Ford, now----"

"Oh, Ford doesn't need to worry, of course. He led the class in
mathematics last year, didn't he?"

"Yes, and the year before, too. The idea of his being worried about the
examination is all nonsense."

"I know it is," said Frank, "except that he's got his ambition up to
keep at the lead; that's a natural ambition and decent, and I suppose
he'll do a lot of grinding to get ready for the exam."

"I'd grind, too, if I thought there'd be any use in it."

"I believe there will, Page, and if you don't mind following my lead,
I'll tell you what subject to grind on."

"Do you mean to say that you're going to cram up on just one part of
it?"

"Exactly, and what's more, if you'll agree to it, I'll come over here
with my books and we'll grind together. We'll get Browning, Rattleton
and Diamond, and one or two others in our crowd, and do the job
together."

"It's a bully idea!" exclaimed Page, "if it would only work. Gee! but
wouldn't it be just great if we should happen to hit on the topic that
old Babbitt has chosen and every one of us write a perfect paper?"

"I can't think of anything that would suit me better," Frank answered.

"Then let's try for it. It's just a chance, but I'm with you,
Merriwell."

"All right, then, and you'll remember you're to say nothing about that
fireplace, and you're not to open it until after the examination!"

"I'll remember, but you won't forget to tell me what it all means?"

"I'll let you into the whole business after Babbitt has examined the
papers."

It was not a very difficult matter for Frank to persuade his closest
friends to join him in preparing for the examination by studying hard on
one particular topic.

They were so in the habit of following his lead that although they all
regarded the effort in the same way that Page did, that is, a gamble,
they were willing to take the chances if Merriwell was.

Frank was almost perfectly certain that it was not a gambling chance,
because he remembered well enough how he had been faulty in that topic
at the spring examination, and if Babbitt was going to try to trip him,
that was the subject surely that he would select for his purpose.

Three days was none too long for the boys to refresh their memories on
the subject and prepare themselves well on this one topic.

They started in in the middle of the afternoon and worked together under
Frank's direction until dinner time.

He proved to be as hard a task master as Babbitt himself could have
been. The boys were not exactly surprised at that, for it was natural
for Frank to do with all his might whatever he undertook, but they joked
him a good deal while at dinner about turning professor.

"That's all right," Frank answered, "you can have your joke. If we come
out on this as I expect to, you'll be glad enough that you adopted my
plan."

"I must say I rather enjoy it," said Diamond, frankly. "Studying by
one's self is dull work, but when there are half a dozen or so grinding
away, somehow the time passes more quickly."

In the same way they worked until late that night, and began again early
the next morning.

Diamond offered the use of his room as a meeting place, and Puss Parker,
who had been let into the scheme, suggested that they come to his room,
too. Frank said no.

"We began in Page's room," was the way he put it, "and we might as well
work it out there."

"His room is so far out of the way!" grumbled Browning.

"A little walk won't hurt you any," responded Frank. "I'd much rather
keep at it there, for I'm used to the room."

So it was agreed that the grinding should continue at Page's, and it did
until the day of the examination.

They had other duties to perform, of course, during these days, but the
regular work of the college had not entirely begun, so that most of
their time could be put in to preparing for their examination.

They allowed none of the other students to interrupt them, and for that
matter, most members of the junior class were grinding in much the same
fashion.

They had only one caller during the entire period. This was Ford, but he
did not find them at work. They were just returning to the room from
dinner on the evening before the examination, when they met Ford leaving
the house.

"Ah, Page, I was just up to see you."

"Sorry I wasn't in," Page responded. "What was it, something special?"

"Oh, no," answered Ford, a little doubtfully, with a glance at the
others in the party; "let it go until some other time."

"If it isn't important, then," said Page, "I wish you would, for we
fellows are----"

"Sporting your oak, are you?"

"That's it exactly. We're trying to get up on mathematics and so we
don't admit any callers."

"All right, then," said Ford, "I'm doing much the same at my own room.
Good luck to you."

Frank did not keep the boys at work late that evening. They had pretty
well covered all the ground that he had chosen, and he believed that
they would be better able for the test the next morning, so at ten
o'clock he ordered them to their rooms, and they obeyed as readily as if
they were a crew training under their captain for a race.

At nine o'clock the next morning all the junior class assembled in one
of the big rooms of Osborn Hall. Prof. Babbitt was there ahead of them
with a number of assistants to look out for keeping the students in
order and to prevent any possible attempt at cheating.

The students found their places by means of slips of paper on the top of
each desk. Merriwell was a little amused to notice that he was placed
far from the friends with whom he usually associated.

"I wonder if Babbitt thinks I would cheat?" he thought.

There was a bundle neatly done up in brown paper on the professor's desk
at the head of the room. He stood near it until all the students were in
their places, each with a pad of blank paper before him, and a number of
sharpened pencils.

Then the professor broke the string with which the bundle was tied, and
calling up his assistants, handed them several papers each to
distribute.

They were the papers from the printer containing the fatal questions.



CHAPTER V.

ONE OF THE MISSING PAPERS.


Three or four minutes passed while the assistants were distributing some
papers. Then one of them approached the professor and said:

"I need two more for my section, sir."

"Well," said the professor, looking around the room, "if you're short
two, somebody must have two to spare."

Nobody said anything.

"Which of you," asked the professor of his assistants, "has two more
papers than necessary."

No one answered. Prof. Babbitt looked very savage.

"I counted that bundle of papers just as soon as it came from the
printers," he said, sharply, "and there was just the number called for.
The printers never make a mistake, and I'm sure they haven't this time."

Still there was silence in the room.

"Gentlemen," said the professor, this time addressing the students, "see
if any of you have an extra paper accidentally stuck to the one on your
desk; there must be two spare papers here somewhere in the room."

Every student took up his paper, felt of it, shook it, but without
result; the room was certainly two papers short, and two students sat,
therefore, with nothing to do.

The professor frowned.

"I'm certain," he exclaimed, "that I made no miscount. Mr. Jackson,"
turning to one of the assistants, "count the students here."

Mr. Jackson counted and found that there were one hundred and forty-six.

"That's it," said Prof. Babbitt, "and I had one hundred and forty-six
papers. This is very extraordinary."

He glared savagely about the room, his glance resting longest upon the
desk where Merriwell sat. Frank was already busily engaged in working
out the first problem.

Most of the other students had already gone to work, but some of them
were idly watching to see what the professor was going to do, and hoping
that he would postpone the whole examination.

This may have been in his mind; but if so, he thought better of it.

"We shall have to go on," he said, presently. "I will write out two
papers for those who are short."

He did so, and in the course of a few minutes all the students were at
work.

Frank could not help but smile when, after a rapid glance at the
problems on the paper, he saw that he had hit exactly the subject chosen
by the professor to floor him. The questions were all confined to the
one topic which he and his friends had been studying on.

"Now, unless they lose their heads," he thought, "they'll all write a
perfect paper."

He had previously warned them not to be in a hurry during the
examination.

According to the custom at Yale a written examination of this kind lasts
for three hours, that is, three hours is the longest time during which
any student is allowed to work at the problems.

If he has not finished in that time, he has to stop. If, however, he
should get through the paper in less time, he has the right to withdraw
from the room.

"Now boys," Frank had said, "if you find that you can work all the
problems take them slowly, so that you make sure that you get them
right, and then, if you get through before the time is up, hang around a
while.

"It might cause the professor to think queer things if he should see us
get up after an hour and a half or so and walk out; he would wonder how
we did it, and of course we don't want to let him suspect that we
crammed on one topic."

The boys understood the wisdom of this advice, and Frank's only anxiety
now was lest Rattleton or Page should get excited at the ease of the
paper and write too hurriedly.

The others he knew would be cool.

Believing that the professor would watch him more narrowly than anybody
else, he made a good deal of pretense at being puzzled over his
problems, and worked each one out separately on a piece of paper before
transferring the problem on the paper which was to be passed in as his
examination.

There was nothing very unusual in this method, for most of the other
students did much the same thing. The only point about it is that it was
unnecessary in this case for Frank to do it at all, because the problems
were so familiar that he could have worked each one out at the first
trial.

Early in the examination Ford, who had a seat in the back part of the
room, raised his hand.

Prof. Babbitt saw him and nodded.

The raising of the hand implied that Ford wanted to ask a question. He
was a favorite with Prof. Babbitt naturally, and so the professor gave
him leave to go up to the desk and make his inquiry.

Ford walked down the aisle with an examination paper in his hand, and as
he passed Frank's desk his hand struck a little pile of blank papers
that happened to be lying on the very edge, and knocked it to the floor.

He stooped quickly, saying: "Excuse me," in a low voice, and replaced
the papers.

Prof. Babbitt, of course, was looking that way at the moment.

"You would do your work just as well, Merriwell," he exclaimed, sharply,
"if you didn't spread it all over your desk. Your examples won't work
out any easier for taking up the whole room with them."

Frank colored; it was unusual and extremely unpleasant to be rebuked in
this way before the entire class. He had not realized that he had left
his blank papers so carelessly but even at that, he knew that the rebuke
was not deserved.

"The professor has just as good reason," he reflected angrily, "to scold
Ford for being careless."

There was nothing to say about it, but it made Frank bitter, and all the
more determined to make his paper so correct that the professor could
not help giving it a perfect mark.

He pushed his loose papers together in a pile squarely in the middle of
the desk and resumed his work.

No one heard what Ford asked the professor; it was some question
concerning the paper, and when the professor answered it, it was in a
tone of surprise.

"I should hardly think that the question was necessary," he said,
"though of course I don't blame you for wanting to be careful about it."

Ford muttered that he wanted to be sure that the problem was correctly
printed on the paper, and when the professor told him that it was, he
bowed and returned to his desk.

Few of the students paid any attention to this matter, and those who did
promptly concluded that Ford was so anxious to lead the class that he
got nervous and had therefore asked some question that any child could
have understood.

The incident was soon forgotten, and for an hour or two the students
worked away at their papers in silence.

The only thing that troubled Frank was that he could have completed the
entire paper within an hour if he had tried.

As it was, he had worked out every problem except the last on his loose
sheets of paper, and transferred most of them to his regular examination
paper by the end of two hours.

He was greatly relieved to notice that none of his best friends had left
the room. A few students had gone out, probably because they were
utterly unable to answer the questions.

For the sake of killing time, Frank had already written out the last
problem on loose paper twice, and he was now at the bottom of his pile
with one sheet of blank paper left.

He glanced at the clock; almost an hour to spare. He finished his
regular paper up to the last problem, and then, drawing the one
remaining blank sheet toward him, began again to work that out.

Again and again he had seen Prof. Babbitt looking sharply at him, and
more than once the professor had walked by his desk in the course of his
strolling around the room.

Twenty minutes passed, and Frank believed that it could be of no use to
waste time longer, so he crumpled up the loose sheet on which he had
been working in his left hand, and started to work out the problem on
his regular examination paper.

Just then Prof. Babbitt turned up from around the corner of another
desk, brought his hand down upon Frank's left hand, and held it there.

"Now, then, Merriwell," he exclaimed in a thundering voice, "I've got
you. This will mean your expulsion from Yale, sir, and nothing short of
it."

Frank had looked up with a start of surprise at first; now he drew back
and looked the professor in the eye, defiantly.

"Don't you say anything to me, sir," exclaimed the professor, sharply.

"I hadn't thought of saying anything," responded Frank, in a dignified
way.

"Keep quiet, sir! what have you got in your hand?"

"My pencils."

"You're impudent, sir; I mean, of course, your other hand."

Frank's face turned first pale, and then red, and then pale again; all
the students and assistants in the room were looking at him. He knew
that the professor suspected him of some low trick, and it cut him deep
to think that he should be accused in this public way.

"I've got a piece of blank paper there," he said, slowly, "on which I
have been working out the last problem."

"Oh, indeed," returned the professor, sarcastically. "A piece of blank
paper, eh? You're quite sure it was a piece of blank paper?"

"It was until I began to figure on it."

"Oh, you're quite sure of that?"

"I am, sir."

"And I can tell you, and I'll make an example of you to the whole class
in so doing, that when you thought to conceal that paper by crumpling it
up in your hand, I caught sight of the under side of it."

Frank made no response. He had not the slightest idea what the professor
was driving at.

"I tell you, I saw what it was in an instant," added the professor.

"Very well, sir," said Frank, rather sharply, "I've nothing to say."

"Oh, you haven't! Very well, then, what's that?"

The professor pointed to the printed examination paper which lay on the
desk in plain sight.

"I don't intend to be treated like a schoolboy, sir," exclaimed Frank,
starting to rise, and making an effort to draw his hand away from the
professor's. "If you have any accusation to make against me, you can lay
it before the faculty, but I will not sit here to be browbeaten and
insulted in this fashion."

He drew his hand away, but in so doing made no effort to keep his grip
on the paper that he had used for figuring.

The professor snatched the paper as it was falling, smoothed it out, and
held it up before the entire class.

"You see, young gentlemen," he cried, "Merriwell has been doing his
examples on the back of one of the stolen examination papers."

Frank fairly gasped when he saw that this was the fact.

When the professor had announced that the two papers were missing, he
had looked with the utmost care all through his desk to see whether one
of the missing papers had somehow got laid down there, and was certain
that only one had been given to him; yet here was one of the papers, and
he had been unconsciously working out an example on the back of it.

"We shall lay this matter before the faculty at once," said Prof.
Babbitt, sternly; "and meantime, Merriwell, you may leave the room."



CHAPTER VI.

THE PROFESSOR'S CASE.


Frank held his head high as he walked out of the room. There was a flush
upon his face, but nothing there or in his manner to indicate his real
feelings.

They were in truth very much confused. He was simply bewildered at the
discovery of one of the examination papers on his desk.

How it got there he could not imagine. His heart burned with rage at the
way in which Prof. Babbitt accused him in the presence of all the class,
and he felt, too, how hopeless it would be to clear himself in the face
of this damaging evidence.

Expulsion would follow, unless there could be some explanation of the
matter.

Frank knew that he could explain nothing, and the thought of the
disgrace that awaited him was very hard to bear. With it all, however,
there was a consciousness of absolute innocence that gave him strength
to leave the room much as if nothing had happened.

"My best friends will know that I am not guilty of any such conduct," he
reflected, "and the rest of them may think as they like."

At the outside door of the hall, he paused, in doubt as to what he
should do next. Knowing that Babbitt, already disliking him, would
insist on his expulsion, Frank was inclined to go straight to his room
and pack up his belongings.

The event had made everything about the college extremely distasteful to
him, but it was only for a moment, and then he realized how sad he would
feel at having to go away from good old Yale forever.

"It won't do," he said to himself, emphatically. "I must make some kind
of effort to clear myself; there's no hope of persuading Babbitt that
I'm innocent, but there must be members of the faculty who would believe
me, and it would not be right to go away without trying to show them
that I've been straight in this. If I should leave without making the
hardest kind of a defense, everybody would be justified in believing me
guilty."

With this thought in mind, Frank debated for a moment whether it would
not be well to go straight to the office of the dean and tell him all he
could about it.

"That won't do," he concluded, "because Prof. Babbitt will report the
matter to the dean at once, and if I should go there first, it would
look as if I were trying to get an advantage by assuming frankness. No,
the only thing to do is to go over to the room and wait there until I'm
summoned; that will come soon enough, but I wish the summons were here
now."

Frank's wish was gratified. He had just come to a decision as to what he
should do, and was going down the steps of the hall when one of the
instructors who had acted as an assistant at the examination came
hurrying after him.

"Merriwell, wait a moment," he said.

Frank turned and touched his hat.

The instructor looked worried, and his voice trembled a little as,
laying his hand on Frank's shoulder, he said:

"Merriwell, Prof. Babbitt has sent me to tell you to report at the
dean's office as soon as the examination is over."

"Very well," Frank responded, "I'll be there."

"I hope," added the instructor, hesitatingly, as he looked earnestly
into Frank's eyes "that there's an explanation of this thing,
Merriwell."

"So do I," Frank responded, "but what it is, is more than I can tell
now."

The instructor sighed and returned to the examining room.

Frank saw several students approaching whom he knew and, not caring to
have any conversation with them, he started away at a rapid pace. There
was a full half hour to pass before the examination would come to an
end.

He put it in by walking about the city at such a distance from the
college buildings that he was not likely to meet any acquaintances.

It was a dreary walk, for all the time he suffered the thought of
disgrace as well as the maddening perplexity that accompanied the
discovery of the examination paper on his desk.

"One might almost think," he reflected, "that Babbitt had put up this
job on me for the sake of squeezing me out of college, but I don't think
Babbitt is mean enough for that. The paper probably got there by some
confounded accident. I certainly cannot account for it on any other
theory."

Just as the city clocks were striking noon, Frank entered the campus and
proceeded to the dean's office. The dean gave him an inquiring glance as
he entered.

"Prof. Babbitt told me to report here at this hour," said Frank,
quietly.

"Ah!" returned the dean, "Prof. Babbitt is conducting an examination, I
believe, which should be over at this time; doubtless he will be here in
a moment. Sit down, Merriwell."

Frank took a chair in a corner of the room, and Waited, while the dean
kept at work at his usual affairs.

Fully a quarter of an hour passed before Prof. Babbitt came in. When he
did so, he had his arms full of examination papers, and he was
accompanied by a man whose face was vaguely familiar to Frank, but whom
he did not know by name.

It was a resident of New Haven whom he had seen on the street from time
to time during his college career.

Babbitt gave Frank a scowling glance and remarked:

"Ah! I see that with your customary nerve you're here. We will settle
this matter, therefore, without delay."

The dean laid down his pen and looked up in surprise.

"What is the matter, Prof. Babbitt?" he asked.

"I am compelled, dean," returned the professor, "to accuse Merriwell of
cheating in an examination. I hardly need say that I should not make the
charge unless I had ample proof to sustain it."

The dean looked over his glasses at Frank in a way that showed that he
was not only shocked, but vastly surprised; then he gave an inquiring
glance at the man who had come in with Prof. Babbitt.

"Excuse me, dean," said the professor, "this is Mr. James Harding. I
thought that you were acquainted with him."

"I have not met Mr. Harding before," responded the dean, "although his
face is familiar."

"I'm glad to make your acquaintance, sir," said Harding.

The dean rose and both shook hands. Then the dean hesitated a moment and
said:

"Won't it be as well, Prof. Babbitt, to postpone the inquiry as to
Merriwell until----"

"No, excuse me," interrupted the professor, "I've brought Mr. Harding
here for a purpose. He can tell you something that has a bearing upon
Merriwell's case."

"Oh, very well. Step this way, Merriwell."

The dean sat down, and Frank advanced to a place in front of his desk.
Babbitt's mouth was open to talk, but the dean ignoring him, turned to
Frank.

"This is a very grave charge to be laid against a student, Merriwell,"
he said, "and I can't tell you how it grieves me that you should be
suspected.

"We have all had a high opinion of your honor. I will add frankly that I
hope you can clear yourself."

"Thank you," responded Frank, huskily. "I'll try to, for I'm absolutely
innocent, but I'm afraid there's nothing else that I can say in my
defense."

"That can hardly be possible," responded the dean. "What are the
circumstances, professor?"

"Why, the case is as plain as day!" exclaimed Babbitt, quickly. "This
examination was set as a test for the class, a special test, I may say,
and on the strength of it I expected to require certain students, like
Merriwell and his particular friends, to go over a portion of last
year's work.

"I knew from the examination of last spring just where they were weak,
and I drew up this paper in such a way that the students themselves
would be readily convinced of their weakness and so be the more willing
to study."

The dean nodded to show that he understood.

"Now, then," continued the professor, "I had the papers printed by the
college printer in the usual way, with just enough copies to go around.

"I counted the papers when they were delivered at my room by the
printer, and found them to be one hundred and forty-six in all. I tied
the papers up in a parcel and left them in my room until this morning,
when I took the parcel to Osborn Hall. There I opened the bundle and
when the papers were distributed, it proved that two were missing."

Prof. Babbitt paused, as if expecting the dean to make some comment. He
did not do so, but looked straight ahead, and so the professor went on.

"I must say that I instantly had my suspicions of Merriwell, for during
the past three days he has been frequently at the house where I have my
room.

"I kept my eyes on him during the entire examination, and I could easily
see that he was not conducting himself as usual. He used up a great deal
of paper and was evidently nervous.

"At length I took a position back of his desk, where I could watch what
he was doing without being observed. Presently I saw him work out the
last problem on the examination paper, and work it out correctly, too.

"Then, as he crumpled up the paper on which he had been figuring, I
caught a glimpse of the other side of it. I pounced upon his hand and
discovered that he had been figuring upon the back of one of the missing
question sheets."

The professor's voice had a triumphant ring when he came to the end of
his little speech. There was evidently no doubt in his mind that what he
had discovered would be sufficient proof to the dean of Frank's
crookedness.

The dean pursed up his lips and looked absently up at the ceiling for a
moment, and then turned to Frank.

"If I understand the professor correctly," he said, slowly, "you had two
of the question papers on your desk instead of one?"

"Yes, sir," Frank responded.

"How did the second one get there, Merriwell?"

"I don't know, sir."

Prof. Babbitt snorted contemptuously.

Frank flushed and glanced at him angrily, but held his tongue.

"Didn't the professor make any inquiries when he discovered that two
papers were missing?" asked the dean.

"Yes, I did----"

"Let Merriwell answer, please."

"He did," said Frank, "and I examined my desk, as I thought, thoroughly,
to see if an extra paper had been placed there by mistake. I found none
and went to work without any further thought on the matter. I worked out
the problem on the back of the question paper without knowing what it
was until the professor pounced on me."

"And is that all you can say about it?"

"Everything, sir."

The dean turned to Prof. Babbitt and said:

"I can't deny that the discovery of a paper under such circumstances is
very suggestive, but I take it for granted that you have some
explanation of your own to offer as to how Merriwell got possession of
it?"

"Indeed I have, and that is just why I brought Mr. Harding here,"
replied Babbitt. "Tell the dean what you saw, Mr. Harding."

"I suppose," said Harding, "that it was simply some harmless prank of
students at first, for we who live in New Haven are quite accustomed to
such things, don't you know."

"I don't think I do," replied the dean, sharply, "for I haven't the
slightest idea what you're talking about."

"Come right to the point, Mr. Harding!" added Babbitt.

"Well, sir, I live in the house next to the one occupied by Prof.
Babbitt and some of the students.

"One day I was astonished, as I happened to be looking out of my window,
to see a young man climb out of the big chimney at the top of Prof.
Babbitt's house.

"He went around on the roof for a moment, looking for some way to get
down, and at last caught the limb of a tree which bent under his weight
until he could drop safely to the ground.

"Then he hurried away through an alley that led to another street. There
was no doubt that he was trying to escape observation."

"Had you ever seen this student before?" asked the dean.

"Many times, though I never knew his name until now----"

"I was the student," interrupted Frank, quietly.

"The impudence of that confession," exclaimed Prof. Babbitt, hotly, "is
enough to drive a man crazy! The great chimney in that house, dean,
hasn't been used for many years, and the fireplaces have been boarded
up, but an athlete like Merriwell could go up and down easily and you
can see how he could effect an entrance by going into the fireplace of
the room under mine, which is occupied by one of his friends, and so
climbing up through the chimney to my room----"

"May I ask a question?" interposed Frank.

"Certainly," responded the dean.

"Mr. Harding," said Frank, "what day was it when you saw me climb out of
the chimney on the roof?"

Harding was silent a moment, and then said:

"I hadn't given the matter any thought until a few moments ago, when
Prof. Babbitt met me and remarked that he was in great trouble because a
student had somehow entered his room and stolen a paper.

"I then told him what I had seen and he asked me to come here and tell
the same thing to you. I think that this thing occurred on Tuesday."

"Are you quite sure?" asked Frank.

Mr. Harding took some envelopes from his pocket and looked them over.

"Yes," he said, "I had an important letter come a few minutes after
that, and I see by the postmark here that it was delivered on Tuesday. I
am certain that it was Tuesday."

"I only wish to say," said Frank, turning to the dean, "that it was on
Tuesday that Prof. Babbitt took his question paper to the printer. The
printed examination papers could not have been delivered before
Wednesday at the earliest."



CHAPTER VII.

A FORCED CONFESSION.


There was a sarcastic smile on the dean's face as he turned to Prof.
Babbitt and asked:

"That doesn't seem to justify your charge, does it?"

"Why--why----" stammered the professor. "At first blush perhaps it
doesn't, but, don't you see, it shows that he had found the way to my
room, and the fact that he was idling away his time in Page's room
beneath ever since, is proof enough that he was waiting his chance to go
up again.

"I'm sure he got the paper, for I have taken a glance at the answers
given by him and his particular crew of friends, and I find that every
one of them passed perfect papers, and, without cheating, not more than
one of them could have answered more than one problem."

"You see, Merriwell," said the dean, "the circumstances point very
unhappily----"

"I know they do, sir," said Frank, "and I feel miserable about it, but
there's an explanation of how I and my friends have passed perfect
papers, that I'm perfectly willing to state."

"Do so, then."

Frank thereupon related Page's joke just as it happened. He told all
about the conversation he had overheard between Babbitt and Instructor
Frost, and then described how he had got his friends together and led
them in studying up the subject.

"It may be that you call that cheating," he concluded, "but you must
understand that none of us knew what problems the professor was to put
upon the paper.

"We only knew the general subject which he had chosen for the
examination, and we set to work to make ourselves solid on that subject,
and it seems that we did so."

"Why, yes," responded the dean, with a queer smile. "I must say that if
your story is correct, the professor has nothing to complain of. He
wanted to compel you to work up on points that you were weak on, and it
seems you did so.

"Of course it was a very unusual thing for you to get the warning as to
what the subject of the examination was to be, but if the professor
himself gave the warning----"

"Who would have dreamed," exclaimed Babbitt, "that a rascally student
was listening in the chimney!"

"Tut! tut!" exclaimed the dean, "don't use harsh language, professor. I
don't think the situation justifies it. According to Merriwell's story,
he was in the chimney without any idea of listening to you, and I think
any of us who can remember our student days will admit that if we had
been in the same position we would have done substantially what he did."

Prof. Babbitt bit his lip. It was not at all pleasant for him to find
that Frank had a friend in the dean, who, next to the president, is the
highest official in the college.

"All this," he muttered, "doesn't explain the fact that two examination
papers were missing!"

"True," answered the dean, "and we shall have to think that over.
Merriwell, will you step into the next room for a short time, please?"

Frank obeyed, and he felt certain that he read in the dean's eyes
perfect belief in his story.

"It'll come out right somehow," he thought, as he closed the door upon
the dean, Babbitt and Mr. Harding.

He could hear their voices in earnest conversation for fully a quarter
of an hour. They were doubtless discussing the discovery of the extra
paper upon Merriwell's desk, and Frank wondered what conclusion they
would come to about it.

Meantime, another event was taking place that led to a solution of the
mystery.

One by one the students finished their work on the examination papers
and left the hall; few of them went away from the door; the most
gathered there talking excitedly about the accusation against Merriwell.

There were some who professed to believe that Merriwell had been up to a
sharp trick, and had actually stolen the question paper, but the great
majority indignantly denied it.

There are many students who would have no scruples against cheating at
an examination, but few would think of descending so low as to commit
theft for the purpose.

Frank's friends were in the majority, and very loud in their assertions
as to his honorable conduct.

Among the first to leave the room after Frank's exit was Dismal Jones;
he stood around with his hands in his pockets saying nothing, but
looking from one to the other with a very worried expression upon his
solemn face.

Among the last to leave was Mortimer Ford. He walked through the group
with a jaunty air, as if confident that he had come out of the
examination in good order, and started for his room.

Jones tried to speak to him, but Ford simply said:

"Ah, there, Dismal, I hope you didn't get plucked," and continued on.

Dismal scowled savagely and stood for a moment looking at Ford's
retreating form, and then he turned about, and catching Diamond by the
sleeve, said:

"See here, Jack! I want to speak to you for a minute."

"What's the matter?" returned Diamond, feeling a little impatient and
provoked, for his mind was full of Frank's trouble, and he could not
think of talking of anything else.

"It's about Merriwell," whispered Jones, "and I want you and Rattleton
and Browning and Page to come here."

He withdrew to one side, and Diamond, with a mystified expression,
touched Rattleton on the shoulder and beckoned him to follow.

"What's up, Dismal?" said Rattleton.

"Get the other fellows," replied Jones.

The others were soon drawn from the group of excited students, and then
Dismal said:

"I've got the key to this whole thing, and if you fellows will help turn
it, we'll get Merriwell out of this scrape in less than no time."

The boys were too astonished to reply, and Dismal went on:

"Yesterday," he said, "a fellow came to me and after a lot of hemming
and hawing and beating about the bush, told me that he could put me onto
a way to pass Babbitt's examination perfectly; he also said that I could
give the same tip to my friends.

"I'm not letting any tips on examinations go by, you can bet on that,
and so I made him tell me what the racket was. He said he had got hold
of two copies of Babbitt's paper."

"Who was it?" exclaimed the boys, eagerly.

"Wait a minute," said Jones. "He said the printer accidentally struck
off more than was necessary, and he got the copies in that way."

"What way?"

"Oh, I don't know, I didn't ask particularly, because"--Dismal hesitated
a moment--"because, well, I'm not putting up a front for being a
preacher, or a goody-goody boy, but I didn't quite fancy taking part in
a cheat like that, and I told him so.

"Besides that, I couldn't see any reasons why he should give this favor
to me: he and I have never been chummy, and I don't believe that he got
them from the printer, either."

"Well, well, who was it?" demanded Rattleton, excitedly.

"Ford."

"Ford, of all men!"

"Yes, he was the fellow."

"It's just as Merriwell says," said Page. "Ford is crazy to lead the
class, and he will take any means for getting a paper."

"How is it going to help Merriwell?" asked Rattleton.

"You fellows must get after Ford," responded Jones, "and make him own
up. Do you remember how he passed down the aisle and asked Babbitt a
question?"

"Yes."

"And don't you remember Merriwell's papers were knocked off his desk?"

"I saw that something had happened," responded Diamond, "but I sat too
far away----"

"Well, the papers were on the floor," responded Jones, "and I'd like to
bet a dollar to a button that Ford tucked in that extra examination
paper when he picked the papers up."

The boys looked seriously at one another a moment, and then two or three
said together:

"Let's call on Ford!"

Away they went at once, and in a few minutes were at Ford's door.

"Come in," he said, when they knocked.

One of them tried the door, but found that it was locked.

"Wait a minute," called Ford, and they heard him crossing the room.

Rattleton heard the scratching of a match at the same moment. Something
seemed to go wrong with the key, for Ford fumbled at the lock for a
moment before he opened the door.

"Hello!" he said in a tone of surprise. "Come right in."

Rattleton dashed past the others, and ran to the fireplace. There was no
excuse for a fire in September, but a tiny blaze was there,
nevertheless.

Rattleton put his hand upon it instantly, to beat the flame out, and
stood up with a partially burned and charred fragment of paper in his
hand.

"What are you trying to do?" demanded Ford, indignantly.

"Dock the loor--I mean lock the door," cried Rattleton, excitedly, to
Browning.

The latter immediately closed the door, turned the key, and stood with
his back to it.

"We'll settle this thing in a hurry," continued Rattleton, shaking the
charred paper aloft; "this is a part of Babbitt's examination paper."

"Well, what of it?" asked Ford, angrily; "why shouldn't a man burn up a
piece of paper that he's got no further use for?"

"Because you left the paper you've been at work on with your answers in
the examination room!" retorted Rattleton, "and this is an extra sheet.
It shows what became of the two sheets that Babbitt missed."

Ford looked from one to another of the students and broke into a laugh.

"Well," he said, "I don't feel called upon to make any explanation to
you fellows, but as I understand it, your particular friend, Merriwell,
will have a good deal to explain."

"By all that's good," exclaimed Diamond; wrathfully, "you'll do the
explaining for him."

"Me?"

"Yes, you, you skulking hound! You had those two papers; here's Dismal
Jones, to whom you confessed to having got hold of them. You wanted
Dismal to take one, hoping that he would give it away to Frank and the
rest of us, so that if any exposure came we'd be mixed up in it. I know
your sly trick!"

Ford had turned very pale. He sank into a chair, shut his teeth
together, and muttered:

"You're doing a good deal of guesswork; but if you're trying to pick a
row go right along; I'm not afraid of you."

"We're not here to pick a row, Ford," said Page; "I'm beginning to see
through the whole thing.

"You're about the only one, except Merriwell, who knew how the chimney
in my room communicated with Babbitt's, and I remember you were coming
away from my room at one time when we were coming from dinner. You had
been up there then to steal the papers. You managed to work one of them
off on Merriwell's desk to-day. Rattleton there has got a part of the
other."

"Well, see here," said Ford. "What does it all mean? Ever since there
were colleges, students have done their best to get ahead of the
faculty, and if I've succeeded, what's the harm? It isn't hurting you
fellows, and no student ever tells on another."

He said this with a haughty air, as if to imply that they would be
beneath contempt if they should report his doings to the faculty.

"We're not going to do any tell-taleing--I mean tale-telling," blustered
Rattleton. "We're here to make you do that."

"What do you mean?"

"I tell you," said Browning, slowly, and there was a dangerous glitter
in his eyes, "I'm not above telling tales in a case like this, and if
you don't go straight to the dean and tell him the truth, I'll go and
lay the matter before him, and what's more, Master Ford, I'll give you
such a thumping that you'll carry the marks as long as you live."

Browning spoke quietly, but there was a businesslike ring in his tone
that Ford could not misunderstand.

The others were very quiet, and they looked at Ford, awaiting his
answer.

"You take a mighty high attitude," he muttered.

"Shut up," muttered Browning, savagely. "I for one won't hear any
argument about it; you've got to do what we say, or take the
consequences. And to make certain of those consequences, I'm going to
give you a licking now!"

Browning pulled off his coat, threw it upon the floor, and advanced upon
Ford. The others stood aside, their eyes glistening, and their fists
fairly itching to take a share in Ford's punishment.

As to the latter, he retreated to a corner, and placed a chair between
himself and Browning.

"Hold on," he said, huskily. "You've got the best of me because there
are so many of you----"

"I propose to lick you alone!" interrupted Browning.

"All the same," suggested Dismal Jones, slowly, "when Browning gets
through with him, I think the rest of us will take a turn one at a
time."

Ford was thoroughly frightened.

"I give it up," he stammered. "You force me to it I'll do what you say,
and I guess my standing in the class is good enough, as I never have
done anything before this----"

"Never been caught at it," interrupted Diamond, sarcastically.

"Don't waste any talk," said Browning; "he's going with us to the dean's
office now; Merriwell is probably there at this minute trying to make
Babbitt believe in a student's honor."

Saying this, Browning put on his coat and unlocked the door; then he
turned to Ford.

"Come along," he said.

Trembling like a leaf, Ford crossed the room, picked up his hat from the
table, and went out into the hall.

The other students followed closely after.

As he came to the stairway Ford made a leap. In his excitement he
probably hoped that he might be able to run away from these angry
fellows, and possibly escape making the confession that they wished him
to make.

With an angry laugh they all leaped after him and caught him as he was
two steps down the stairs.

The result was that the whole pack of them went tumbling down the flight
and landed with many a bruise in a heap at the bottom.

When they got up Browning had his strong hand clinched in Ford's collar
until the miserable rascal was almost choking.

In this way he was fairly pushed across the campus, to the great
astonishment of all the students who happened to be there at the time.

He was marched straight up to the dean's office, where the students
entered without knocking.

The dean was still talking with Babbitt and Mr. Harding.

Frank, in the adjoining room, wondered what all the commotion was about.
The dean wondered, too, and said sharply:

"Gentlemen, gentlemen, what does this mean?"

"It means, sir," said Browning, respectfully, "that an infamous outrage
has been attempted, by which an honorable student is made to suffer.
Ford will explain."

Ford did explain with many cringing appeals for mercy, and with many
protests against the violence with which the students had treated him.

The dean listened with growing indignation, while even Babbitt was
stirred to anger against his favorite student.

The upshot of the matter was that Babbitt withdrew his charges against
Frank, and even went so far as to make a sort of apology for having
suspected him.

Ford's case went before the whole faculty at its meeting that evening,
with the result that he was suspended for one year.

"I never was so relieved in my life, Merriwell," said the dean, as he
shook Frank's hand, "for if it had been proven that you had done this
thing, I am afraid I should have lost all faith in students, but----"

And there was a sly twinkle in his eye.

"I think we shall have to recommend that Prof. Babbitt stuff his chimney
with bricks and mortar, or else move to a new room."

"He needn't fear that I shall invade the chimney again," responded
Frank; "I'm only too glad that the matter has turned out so that there
is no doubt about me.

"Well," said the dean, thoughtfully, "you ought to learn some kind of a
lesson out of the experience, I suppose. Let's take it for granted,
Merriwell, that you'll give your mathematics a little more attention
this year."

Frank, smiling, assured the dean that he would do so, and there the
matter ended.

At a later time Page asked Frank why it was that he had insisted on the
fireplace being kept secret until after the examination.

"Because," said Frank, "I had got a tip there that was too valuable to
lose. If you had shown the opening to everybody, it struck me that
perhaps Babbitt would hear you. With his suspicious nature, he might
conclude at once that we had good papers because, somehow, we got into
his room and found the questions.

"As it happened, you see, the showing of the fireplace resulted in even
worse than I feared. It gave Ford his opportunity, and one of the
reasons why I insisted on studying in your room was to prevent any such
thing by having your room occupied all the time.

"That scheme failed, because Ford watched his chance and got in while we
were at dinner."

"I'll have my door fitted with a combination time-lock!" exclaimed Page;
"he could have unlocked it as it is now with a button hook."

"You'd certainly better put on a better lock if you think of keeping
pets in the chim----"

"Oh, come off, Frank! I thought I'd heard the last of that."

Frank laughed pleasantly, but from that time on he never mentioned the
subject.

"It's just as well," he said. "I think we are lucky to get out of the
affair so easily."

"Right you are," answered Browning. And then, after a pause, he
continued: "Got a letter this morning. Important news."

"Of what?" asked several.

"About the intercollegiate games to come off in New York. Friend of mine
at Princeton says they are bound to beat us."

"Not on your life!" came in a chorus; and on the moment the affair of
the examination papers was forgotten and all of the boys were talking
about the contests to come off and wondering who of the Yale students
would take part.



CHAPTER VIII.

PICKING OUT A TEAM.


"One, two, drop!"

At the word there was a sudden thud as four bodies fell to the ground.
Immediately afterward there was a creaking and a sound of straining as
the four prostrate men pulled with all their might at a rope.

Then there were long breaths and grunts, and presently one of the four
exclaimed:

"I say, Merriwell, I didn't suppose you were going to say 'drop' until
you had counted three!"

"You had no business to suppose any such thing," responded Frank,
seriously, and yet with a smile; "the man who gives the word in a tug of
war sometimes doesn't count at all, and you've got to get used to
falling at one word only."

"It will be a pistol shot in New York, won't it?"

"That isn't decided on. You didn't get the rope under your knee when you
fell, Taylor."

"I know," responded the one addressed, "and that was because the word
'drop' came before I was ready for it."

"Look out for it next time, then. That will do for the present."

At this word the four young men stood up and looked at Merriwell to
await his next command.

They were in the gymnasium at Yale. A corner of the main exercise hall
had been set apart for them and screened so that their work could not be
seen or interrupted by other students.

Four short pieces of wood had been nailed to the floor at intervals of
about five feet. At each of these blocks or cleats a student stood with
his hand upon a rope that was tied to a post a few feet distant from the
nearest cleat.

These four were stripped to the thinnest of athletic costumes, but
Frank, who stood by directing their work, was in his usual street
clothes.

He was training the four to represent the college in a tug of war that
was to be one feature of some intercollegiate games to take place early
in the following month.

The contests were to consist of all kinds of indoor exercises, as the
season for outdoor sports had come to an end.

There was to be leaping, wrestling, trapeze and horizontal bar work,
maneuvers on the giant swings, fencing and so on.

The entries for these events were not limited to any one class; freshmen
could contest as well as seniors, and as a matter of fact many ambitious
fellows in the freshman class were in training for the big event.

Every day the wrestlers got together in the gymnasium and varied their
work at the machines by wrestling with each other.

The leapers, too, made daily efforts to jump a little higher or a little
farther than they had the day before, while those who made specialties
of tricks upon the bar and trapeze spent hours every day in perfecting
themselves in their feats.

The students talked of little else when they met on the campus, or in
one another's rooms of an evening.

Four colleges were to be represented in the meet, namely: Yale, Harvard,
Cornell and Princeton. The contests were to take place on neutral
ground, and for this purpose the big Seventh Regiment Armory in New York
City had been engaged.

The college year had hardly begun before arrangements for this athletic
meeting were under way.

As is usual in such matters, where the whole college is concerned, the
management was given to a committee of upper classmen.

There were three on this committee, Jack Rowland, and Bed Hill from the
senior class, and Frank from the junior.

It was not Frank's intention to take any active part in the contests,
although he was well known throughout the college as a first-class,
all-round athlete.

It seemed to him better that the contests against the other colleges
should be made by those who were specialists in one line or another. He
talked this matter over with his particular friends shortly after the
term began.

"It won't seem quite right to see you out of it," protested Rattleton,
"for when we had our sporting trip across the continent you were always
coming in at the last minute to pull victory out of defeat, no matter
whether we were jumping, running, playing ball or horse racing."

"That's another story," Frank replied. "When we were sporting it across
the continent there were only nine of us, and we were not all Yale
students at that. Here there are several hundred healthy men to choose
from.

"I don't think there's much doubt that out of all the students now in
college there is some one who could beat me at any one thing I might
undertake to do, from wrestling to trapeze work."

"But," said Diamond, "if you should go into training for any one event,
I think you'd come out on top."

"And that's what I don't care to do!" retorted Merriwell. "I'd rather be
an all-round man than be able to do just one thing; I shouldn't know
which to choose if I were to start in training."

"But we may lose a cup in some branch of sport if you don't go in."

"Oh, no, I think not. Besides that, there's going to be one event in
which I can take a kind of share, and where perhaps I can be as useful
to Yale as if I were contesting."

"What's that?"

"The tug of war."

"Is there going to be a tug of war?"

"Yes, siree!"

"Who's going to be on the team?"

"Will it be on cleats or on the level floor?"

"Will it be on the ground?"

These and many other questions of a similar kind were asked so rapidly
that Frank had no chance for a reply. At length he explained that the
team had not been chosen, and that anybody might be a candidate.

"The managing committee," he said, "has asked me to take charge of the
training, and we're going to have trials in a corner of the gymnasium
every afternoon. As soon as the team is made up, we shall get down to
daily practice."

It was perfectly natural that the tug of war should arouse more interest
throughout the college than any of the other events.

Of course it was important that one or another student should be in
training to meet the best wrestler or jumper from the other colleges,
but the tug of war was an event in which the whole college was
represented.

There is never anything like a team event to arouse the enthusiasm of
students.

A tug of war team consists of but four men, to be sure, but at that they
are supposed to be, and generally are, the strongest men in the college,
and so students of all classes looked to them for holding up the glory
of the college.

There was another thing that made the tug of war team especially
interesting at this time. For two or three years Princeton had been very
successful in the tug of war, whether pulling against other colleges of
against outside athletic organizations.

It had happened that three very strong men in a certain class had gone
onto the team in their freshman year and had stayed there ever since.

That was greatly to the advantage of the Princeton team, for with three
men on it who were perfectly used to each other, and who had had a great
deal of experience, the team was not only powerful, but it made every
other team afraid of it.

There is a great deal more in this than those who are not athletes
imagine. A team that has the reputation of always winning is apt to
strike terror to the hearts of its opponents and rattle them so that
they cannot do their best.

Princeton naturally was very proud of its tug of war team and perfectly
confident of carrying off the prize for that event. This was understood
not only at Yale, but at Harvard and Cornell, and at each of these three
colleges there was a determination to "down" Princeton if possible.

So it happened that when the managing committee at Yale announced that
they would examine candidates for the tug of war team, there was so much
interest in it that a perfect mob of students gathered at the gymnasium
eager for a place upon the rope.

Rowland and Hill, the senior members of the committee, were inclined to
dismiss the whole crowd and then quietly pick out four men according to
their own judgment, but Merriwell opposed this policy.

"There may be perfect giants concealed in that crowd," he said, "and if
there's only one, we want to discover him. Give them all a trial."

"But it would take weeks," exclaimed Hill, "to arrange those men in
teams and make them pull against each other until we could sift out the
best four!"

"I don't think we need to have them pull against each other to find out
what they're worth," Frank responded.

"What other way is there?" asked Rowland.

"I have an idea that I can sift that crowd in a week."

"Well, then, you'd better try it."

So it was agreed that Frank should undertake to examine the candidates
for the team, and to superintend its training.

His plan for examining the applicants caused a good deal of amusement at
first, but it proved to be remarkably effective as well as a great time
saver.

In a tug of war, as in many other sports, it is not only brute strength
that tells, but quickness and skill. Frank believed a good deal more in
the head work of tugging than he did in solid muscle.

"If a man can't drop right every time," he declared, "he isn't fit for
the team. If he can drop right, he's got the making of a tugger."

To test this he had a rope fastened securely to a post, and the
candidates in squads of four took hold of this rope and dropped half a
dozen times at Frank's command. He gave brief explanations of what was
necessary for them to do, to each squad before giving the word; then he
watched the men go down, showing them where they had been in error and
had them try again.

It took no more than half a dozen minutes for as many trials and then
another squad was brought on.

In this way he easily tested from thirty to forty men an hour, and so in
the course of three days had given every candidate for the team a
chance.

After that it was an easy matter for him to strike off the list fully
three-quarters of the candidates; that left from twenty to thirty who
might still be useful.

These men he tried in groups of four also, but continually shifted the
men from one group to another so as to find out which of them worked
together to the best advantage.

At length, after ten days of patient examination in this way, he had
Rowland and Hill come behind the screen and watch the efforts of six men
who had been selected as the best team workers in the whole college.

The matter was discussed very frankly, not only by the members of the
committee, but by the candidates themselves, for everybody was anxious
that the best possible team should be selected and nobody would have
been offended if he had been left off.

It was decided at last that Bruce Browning should be the anchor of the
team. He had been Frank's choice almost from the start, for he was heavy
and cool, and from past experience Frank knew that Bruce could be quick
if it was necessary.

It is the anchor in a tug-of-war who does the head work for the team.

"I'd rather have a good anchor and three weak men," said Frank,
emphatically, "than three giants on the rope directed by an anchor who
is either excitable or slow."

Everybody agreed that Bruce was just the man for the Yale anchor, and
after a good many trials Taylor, of the senior class, and Jackson, of
the sophomore, were assigned places on the rope; that left one vacancy.

Merriwell recommended that the other three men who had stood the test so
far be trained equally, so that two at least could rank as substitutes
in case of sickness or other difficulty.

The committee and the members of the team suggested that Frank himself
should take the vacant place on the rope.

"Everybody knows you've got the muscle and the head, and with you and
Bruce on the rope, we'll have as perfect a team as possible."

Frank hesitated a little before accepting this suggestion, but he
finally yielded, for without conceit he felt that he could be more
useful than the others, and he had a natural eagerness to take an active
part in the contest.

Nevertheless, he continued to direct the training of the team, using
Rattleton as a substitute on the rope while he stood by and gave orders.

In this way he got the men so that they could fall at the word and fall
right, and when this had been gained he took Rattleton's place and gave
over the direction of the movements of the team to the anchor.

After that there was a good deal of practice in pulling at voluntary
teams from among the students.

It proved that there were no four students in the college who could stay
on the cleats half a minute against the team that Frank had selected and
trained; so practice teams were made up of five, six, and sometimes
eight men.

The dead weight of eight men proved to be a little too much for the
regular team, although the latter was never pulled off the cleats.

All in all the Yale students were greatly satisfied with their tug of
war team, and as the time for the intercollegiate contests approached
their confidence grew.

They believed that they would be able to get away with Princeton, and it
did not seem to strike them at all that the other colleges were in it.



CHAPTER IX.

HUNTING FOR A FRESHMAN.


The contests were to take place on a Wednesday evening. On the Monday
previous all the Yale athletes went to New York.

Special permission from the faculty had to be obtained for this absence
from the college, but there was no difficulty in getting that, as there
is hardly a professor at Yale who does not have a strong interest in
athletic events.

As New Haven is but two hours' ride from New York, it might have been
possible for the students to attend to all their duties on the
Wednesday, and still get to New York in time for the events, but that
would never do for the contestants.

Nobody knows better than men who train how easy it is for an athlete to
get thrown out of order by a change in diet and air. The finer the
training the greater care there has to be.

Therefore, the managing committee for Yale felt that it was absolutely
necessary to give the contestants at least two whole days in New York
City, in order to get used to the slight change that would result in
their leaving familiar quarters in New Haven.

Students who were not contestants in the intercollegiate sports were not
allowed to leave New Haven so early, and so it was a comparatively small
party that went with Frank and the other members of the committee to
rooms that had been engaged for them in the Murray Hill Hotel.

It would probably have amused an outsider if he could have known the
great care taken to prevent those students from being harmed by illness
or anything else.

They were grown men and able to take care of themselves ordinarily, but
from the time they went into training they were like so many children in
charge of a nurse.

They were informed as to just what they could eat and what they must let
alone. Not one of them was permitted to smoke, and every one of them was
required to do just so many hours of exercise of some kind every day.

While they remained in New Haven it was no very difficult matter to see
to it that every one of the contestants obeyed the regulations of the
managing committee.

In New York it was not quite so easy, for the members of the committee
were a good deal occupied in discussing arrangements with the committees
from other colleges who were quartered at different hotels.

When it happened that all the committee had to be away from the Murray
Hill at the same time, the oversight of the Yale crew was left to
Browning, who was the most experienced athlete among them.

There was not much for him to do, for each one of the contestants had a
programme of exercise laid out for him.

There was to be just so much walking, and at certain hours, and the rest
of the time, except for meals, was to be put in in resting.

It was understood that as often as possible the entire crowd should walk
together, and this they did on the first evening after their arrival.

They went up Fifth Avenue to Central Park, and walked rapidly for fully
an hour among its winding paths; then they returned to their hotel, had
baths, and went early to bed.

During the next day, Tuesday, the contestants were left pretty much to
themselves, as the members of the committee were away most of the time.

After one of the meetings with the committees from other colleges, the
Yale managers, finding that a number of things had to be done, divided
up the work and separated.

Three or four hours later Rowland and Frank met on the way to the hotel
where their companions were staying. They reported to each other what
they had done, and then fell as usual into discussing the prospects for
victory.

"I saw the Cornell tug of war team out for a run," said Rowland.

"Ah! What do they look like?" Frank responded, without much show of
interest.

"Beef!" said Rowland.

"Not dangerous, then, eh?"

"Why, no, I presume not. They look as if they could carry you fellows
around on one hand, but it seemed to me they were clumsy in their
running."

"I don't fear them," said Frank; "I'd heard from some other fellows that
Cornell was counting on weight more than anything else, and as you know,
I take more stock in head work."

"There's this to think of, though," remarked Rowland, "if a beefy team
gets the fall on you by the fraction of a second, you simply can't stand
it. That's the time when dead weight will tell."

"The Cornell beefeaters won't get the drop on Yale," returned Frank,
quietly.

"No, I guess not, and for that matter, so far as I can hear, there seems
to be no doubt in anybody's mind that the real contest will be between
Yale and Princeton."

"Have you seen the Harvard men?" asked Frank.

"No, but we know all about them, don't we?"

"I think so. They're a game lot, but I don't think they can stand
against us. The fact is, Rowland, I'm thinking more of the other events
than of the tug of war just now."

"So? I would have supposed you would be capable of thinking of nothing
else."

Frank shook his head.

"The tug of war doesn't worry me a little bit," he said, "but as one of
the managers I should feel pretty badly if we fell down on everything
else."

"Oh, we're not going to fall down; there are two or three events, you
know, in which we are almost certain to win. The high leap, for
example----"

"That's just what I've been thinking of," interrupted Frank.

"Why, are you afraid of Higgins?"

Higgins was a member of the freshman class who had shown most unusual
power in jumping, and had easily beaten all the other Yale students who
had tried for that event.

"I hear that Cornell has a man named Stover," said Frank, "who thinks he
can beat everybody at the high jump."

"Yes, I've heard of him, too," Rowland responded, "but what of it?
Higgins has broken the record in private practice----"

"That doesn't make it certain that he will do as well at the armory."

"No; but he's in good condition, isn't he?"

"First rate."

"Then I wouldn't worry about him."

"I'm not worrying exactly, and in any case, if our fellows do their best
and we get beaten, there's nothing to complain of."

At this point in their conversation the two arrived at the Murray Hill
Hotel. They went at once to the suite of rooms that had been engaged for
the athletes, and found most of the contestants reading or dozing.

A few were out for a walk. All the students asked eager questions as to
the final arrangements and so on. After several questions had been asked
and answered, Rowland remarked:

"There'll be hard times in Princeton this winter if the orange doesn't
get most of the cups."

"Are the Princeton men offering odds?" asked Browning.

"Not quite so strong as that, but they're putting up loads of money."

"Is the betting any heavier than usual?" asked Frank.

"Perhaps not," Rowland answered, "but if not I must have come across the
betting crowd. It seemed as if they had begged and borrowed every dollar
they could lay hold of and had brought it here to put up on the
different events."

"How is the betting going?" asked Browning.

"I didn't pay very much attention to it, but it seemed to be about even
as between Princeton and Yale on the tug of war, and on some of the
other events the Princeton men were asking for odds rather than giving
them.

"What impressed me most was that it looked as if it was the Princeton
crowd that had the most money."

"Why," asked Frank, in a surprised tone, "it wasn't the Princeton
contestants who were doing the betting, was it?"

"No, but some of the students."

"That's queer."

"Why?"

"Here it is Tuesday afternoon and the Princeton fellows who are going to
see the contests are not due before to-morrow afternoon. It doesn't seem
to me probable that the Princeton faculty would let the general run of
students come up here at this time any more than the Yale faculty would
allow our men to come."

"Can't help that," said Rowland, "there's a raft of Princeton men in
town going around with orange ribbons in their buttonholes and hunting
for chances to bet money against Yale, Harvard and Cornell."

Frank made no response, but remained for a moment in thought, while the
others continued to talk about the betting. Presently Frank asked where
Higgins and Mellor were.

Mellor was another freshman athlete. He was a giant in stature, and one
of the best wrestlers that had ever been seen at Yale.

There was a good deal of confidence that he would win the cup for
wrestling, for from all that could be learned of the wrestlers
representing the other colleges, there was no one who could compare with
him in strength, and his skill seemed to be all that would be needed.

"They're taking in the town," answered Browning.

"What!" exclaimed Frank, aghast.

"Oh, not in any improper sense," said Browning. "They're just out for a
walk, and I didn't see any objection to their taking it in such a way
that they could see some of the principal streets."

"No, that's all right," responded Frank, in a tone of relief; "when are
they due back?"

"In about half an hour."

More than half an hour passed, and neither Higgins nor Mellor had shown
up at that time. Rowland and Hill were away on some other business
concerned with the management.

Frank was getting anxious. He could not have said exactly why, for so
far as Mellor and Higgins were concerned, he had a good deal of respect
for them, but he was fearful of accidents, as if they were little
children unable to care for themselves.

He did not betray his anxiety to Browning or the others, but remarked
after a time that he had another errand to do, and went away, leaving
instructions that no contestant should leave the hotel until his return.

Then he went down to Madison Square and stood for a moment looking
doubtfully at the several hotels in that vicinity. He knew that the
Princeton athletes had had rooms engaged at the Fifth Avenue, but this
thought was not in his mind at the moment.

"The Hoffman House," he was thinking, "is one of the most celebrated
hotels in New York, and a place to which all strangers like to go."

As it was the time of year when days are short, it was already dark as
night, although it was yet some time before the usual evening dinner
hour.

Frank strolled across to the Hoffman House, and went in at the main
entrance. A number of men were in the lobby, but apparently there were
no students among them.

He went slowly past group after group, and turned at length to the
barroom.

This place was famous at that time for its remarkable collection of
valuable paintings and statuary; it was often referred to jocosely as
the "art gallery." Every stranger in New York regarded it as one of the
most interesting sights of the town.

It was pretty well filled with customers when Frank entered, but
everything was quiet and orderly.

At the farther side of the room, and partly concealed by the bar, which
took up the very middle, was a group of young men just on the point of
leaving by the door that opens upon Twenty-fifth Street.

"Too bad you've got to hurry," one of them remarked in a pleasant voice.

"I'm overdue at the hotel already," said another, "and must get back
before they become anxious about me."

Frank could not see the speaker, but he recognized the voice as that of
Higgins.

"He has no business in here, confound him!" thought Frank, angrily. "No
one but a freshman would go into a barroom even out of curiosity, at
such a time as this."

He crossed the room, intending to speak to Higgins and walk back to the
hotel with him, and give him some earnest advice on the way.

Higgins was a little in advance of the group as they went out, and so
Frank did not catch up with him before they were all out upon the
sidewalk.

He noticed that all the men who had been speaking with Higgins wore
orange ribbons in their buttonholes, but it struck him, too, that
somehow they did not look like students.

He had no time to reflect upon this doubt, for just as he stepped out
upon the dark street he saw one of the crowd pretend to stumble and fall
rather heavily against Higgins.

"I beg pardon," this man said, quickly.

"It's all right," Higgins responded, as he staggered to the curb under
the force of the shove.

At that instant Frank saw another in the crowd making a movement which
showed that he was going to trip Higgins and cause him to fall.

The attempt was not made, for acting instantly upon his impulse, Frank
leaped from the doorway and caught the fellow a terrible blow upon the
side of the face.

It sent him reeling halfway across the street before he finally lost his
balance and fell full length.

The attack was so unexpected and sudden that most of the others in the
group did not stir for a second.

There was one exception to this.

It was a man who had edged forward in order to make sure of tripping
Higgins if the first man should fail, and he was so intent upon
accomplishing this that he did not stop when Frank's form shot past him
to attack the other.

Therefore when Frank wheeled about to defend himself in case the others
should fall upon him, he saw this man just in the act of giving Higgins
a violent kick upon the shins.

It was all happening so quickly that at this instant Higgins had just
made his reply to the apology of the man who had shoved him, and was
only beginning to regain his balance.

The kick in the shins did the business for him. He fell upon his hands
and knees, and just then Frank struck out again.

He was never so thoroughly aroused in his life, and his blows fell like
rain upon the Princeton man's face and chest. The latter would have
suffered a square knockdown if he had not been standing so that he fell
against his comrades.

The others, recovering a little from their first astonishment, made a
feeble effort to close in on Frank, but it would have taken more than
them to stop him then.

He beat them off vigorously, striking without mercy at any one who came
within reach.

"Cheese it, there's a cop!" exclaimed one of the party suddenly, and
they all took to their heels.

Higgins by this time had got up and was supporting himself against a
lamp-post.

"Can you walk?" asked Frank, quickly.

"I guess so," responded Higgins, so surprised that he could hardly
speak.

Frank took him by the arm and marched him back to the barroom, through
which they went to the lobby, and then out by the ladies' entrance upon
Twenty-sixth Street.

The scrimmage had taken place so quickly and quietly that it had
attracted no attention within the barroom, and as Frank and Higgins were
not followed, it seemed probable that the cry of alarm about a policeman
coming was false.



CHAPTER X.

THE FINDING OF MELLOR.


"Now, Higgins," said Frank, rather sharply, as they were well out on
Twenty-sixth Street, "what have you been up to?"

"Why," answered Higgins, hesitatingly, for he had not yet half recovered
from the surprise of the event, "nothing but swapping boasts with those
Princeton fellows and refusing to drink with them."

"It's small business for a Yale student to boast of what he can do,"
exclaimed Frank, in disgust.

Higgins bit his lip and said nothing; although he was a freshman of but
few months' standing, he had already learned that in athletic matters
the word of a manager is law, and that a student in training would no
sooner dispute his manager or trainer than a soldier would dispute an
officer.

"And did you refuse their drinks?" demanded Frank in the same sharp
tone.

"On my honor, Merriwell, I did. Do you suppose I would take such risks
just previous to----"

"Don't talk to me about risks," Frank interrupted; "here it is only the
day before the contests, and you're not back at the hotel at the time
you're ordered to be."

"I know that," Higgins responded humbly, "and I'm sorry for it, but I
didn't realize how the time was going by after I got in with those
fellows. They're very pleasant chaps, and I must say that I can't
understand for the life of me why it was you sailed into them so."

Frank was too irritated to explain for a moment. It was very seldom that
he spoke as sharply as this to a comrade, and he would not have done so
on this occasion if he had not been so anxious for the success of Yale
in every possible event.

As they walked along he noticed that Higgins was perfectly steady, and
although there was a slight flush on his face, there was no sign that he
had been drinking. The flush undoubtedly was due to mortification and
excitement.

"See here, Higgins," said Frank, at length, in a quieter tone, "don't
you know that those Princeton students, as you call them, were trying to
disable you?"

"I never dreamed of such a thing."

"It's a fact."

"How do you know, Merriwell?"

"I saw the attempt made, and for that matter you got kicked in the shins
and tumbled over, didn't you?"

"Yes, but I supposed that was an accident of the scrimmage."

"It was nothing of the kind; it was a put-up job, and if I hadn't sailed
in it might have lamed you so that you couldn't jump. That was what they
were after."

"Whew!" exclaimed Higgins. "I think I'm a good Yale man, if I am a
freshman, and I hate Princeton and all the rest of them, but, on my
honor, Merriwell, I didn't think that a student of any college would
resort to such a low-down trick."

"I don't believe it, either," said Frank.

"Well, that----"

"What made you think those fellows were students?"

"Why, they said they were; they gave the year of their class, which made
them out to be seniors. They had big wads of money that they wanted to
bet, and they got into conversation with me by asking what odds would
put up on myself in the high jump."

Frank grunted to express his disgust, and asked:

"Did they talk like students?"

"I thought so."

"I don't believe they were," said Frank, "for there was something in
their manner that didn't make them seem like students, and besides that,
I can't believe any more than you that Princeton men would try to win
out in these contests by deliberately disabling any of our fellows.

"Of course, I can understand how, in an exciting match like a game of
football, a man's temper might get the best of him, but to try to lame a
fellow in cold blood hours before the beginning of the event is a little
too much for me to think of when it comes to a student, whether he's
from Princeton, Harvard or anywhere else."

"Then, who were these fellows?" asked Higgins.

"They may be New York gamblers, for all I know," Frank answered, "but in
any case I think they are men not connected with Princeton in any way,
who are trying to make sure of their bets by disabling the leading
contestants in the other colleges."

"Then but for you I suppose I might have been seriously lamed?"

"I don't know, Higgins; I'm taking no credit for what I did, but I hope
you see that you made a grave mistake in not coming back to the Murray
Hill on time."

"I do, and will look out that such a thing doesn't happen again."

"Where's Mellor?" asked Frank, suddenly.

"I don't know."

"Didn't he start out with you?"

"Yes, but we didn't keep together long."

"Where did he go?"

"We separated at the corner of Thirty-second Street and Broadway. I was
for going down Broadway, but he said that he wanted to see something of
the Tenderloin district."

"The Tenderloin!" exclaimed Frank, with a groan.

Instinctively he hurried his steps.

"Hasn't Mellor turned up yet?" asked Higgins, hurrying along with him.

"No, and unless he's more careful than you were there's no telling what
mischief he may have got into."

Higgins looked as penitent as if he had been guilty of a serious crime.
The flush on his face had entirely gone now, and he was quite pale.

"See here," exclaimed Frank, cheerfully, "you've had your scolding, so
now brace up and forget it. If you feel the slightest soreness from that
kick, give yourself a good rubbing when you get to the hotel, and go to
bed."

"Aren't you coming?" asked Higgins, for Frank had stopped short.

"No."

"What shall I say to the fellows?"

"Nothing; or you might tell them that I met you and ordered you to the
hotel; if they ask for me, you don't know where I am, and that's all
there is to it."

Higgins nodded and went on obediently to the Murray Hill.

Frank, boiling with indignation and sore with anxiety, set off toward
the corner of Thirty-second Street and Broadway. He had no foolish idea
that he would find Mellor there, but as that was the last place where he
had been seen, it seemed to be the most sensible point from which to
begin a search for him.

When he arrived at the corner he looked about a moment and then entered
a hotel, and going to the telephone closet, rang up the Murray Hill and
asked for Browning.

"Bruce," he said, when he heard a familiar hello in the receiver at his
ear, "has Mellor returned?"

"No, but Higgins has."

"All right. Good-by."

"Hold on, Frank."

"Well?"

"Are you coming back soon?"

"I don't know."

"Rowland and Hill expect you to take a run with us up the avenue this
evening."

"I'll be there if I can."

"What are you up to, anyway?"

"That's my business, old fellow; say nothing about it, but if I don't
turn up, go ahead with your run without me."

With this Frank hung up the receiver without giving Bruce any further
chance to ask questions.

His object in not explaining what he was about was to prevent any of the
contestants from worrying. He was pretty sure that Higgins would not
speak of his own adventure, and he did not care to have even cool-headed
Browning suspect that there was anything so serious in the wind as a
deliberate plot to disable Yale athletes.

It seemed to Frank as if he had never been in so serious a situation.
There had been times in his travels when one adventure or another had
brought him in danger of his life, but at such times his mind was
usually easy; now he was oppressed by responsibility and anxiety for
others.

The credit of Yale depended upon the good showing at the intercollegiate
games; whether they won or lost was not so much of consequence as that
the Yale crowd should do their best.

As one of the managers, Frank felt responsible for the good condition of
every man in the party.

He set out down Sixth Avenue looking to right and left and glancing in
at the door of every saloon he passed.

Near the juncture of Sixth Avenue and Broadway are a number of places
where gamblers resort, and it was in one of these that Frank half
suspected and feared to find Mellor.

Business was lively in all these places at this hour. Men of all
conditions were at the bar discussing all manner of sporting events.

Once in a while, as Frank made his way through the crowded barrooms, he
overheard some remark about the coming college games, but it did not
seem as if the professional sports took very much interest in them, and
nothing occurred to give him any clew as to Mellor's whereabouts.

He continued on down the avenue, running through every place he came
across, until he got as far as Twenty-third Street. There he paused,
feeling rather discouraged.

It is worse than looking for a needle in a haystack to hunt for a man in
New York.

Farther down the avenue there were other saloons, but he had already
passed out of the district most frequented by gamblers.

He had no other theory on which to pursue his search, and it seemed to
him that it might be better to return to the hotel and let Mellor turn
up or not, as it might happen.

A public telephone sign caught his eye across the way, and he again went
over and rang up the Murray Hill. This time it was Rowland that he asked
for, and when Rowland was at the 'phone Frank told him briefly that he
was on the hunt for Mellor.

"Don't mention it to anybody," Frank added, quickly.

"Have you any idea what's become of him?" asked Rowland.

"Mighty little," answered Frank. "But if he hasn't returned to the hotel
yet I'll make another short trip before I give it up."

Mellor had not returned, and the conversation with Rowland was not
continued.

Frank retraced his steps up the avenue, but this time he did not make so
careful a search as he had before; he simply glanced in at various doors
and passed on.

At length he turned in at Thirtieth Street, intending to call at a
drinking resort on Broadway, which was known to be popular with
gamblers.

He had taken but a few steps when a sound of laughter attracted him and
he paused suddenly. It came from his right hand.

He noticed that he was standing near the side door of a saloon which he
thought he had thoroughly investigated on his downward trip.

He remembered then that he had not looked in at any of the so-called
private rooms at the back.

This laughter evidently came from such a room, and he was quite certain
that he distinguished Mellor's voice. He waited a moment until the
laughter ceased and then he heard this in thick accents:

"Shet 'em up 'gain! I c'n rasshle any man 'n Nighted Shtatesh, drunk er
shober."

It was Mellor's voice, and Frank's heart sank like lead. For one
miserable instant he was in doubt as to what he had better do.

His disgust and anger were so great that he felt like leaving Mellor to
his fate, for it would serve the freshman right to let him continue
filling himself up and so lose all chance of making a decent appearance
in the contests of the following evening.

Then it occurred to Frank that after all there might be some little hope
that Mellor could pull himself together sufficiently to make a good
effort.

In any event he was a Yale student, and as such Frank felt bound to look
after him; so after the slightest hesitation he entered the side door of
the saloon and opened a door leading into the small room from which had
come the laughter and the sound of Mellor's voice.

He saw the big freshman with a silly smile on his face seated at a
table, holding an empty glass unsteadily in his hand, and trying to talk
with three companions, each of whom wore a rosette of orange-colored
ribbon upon the lapel of his coat.

None of the three had been in the crowd with Higgins, so far as Frank
could remember their faces.

They did not look up when Frank entered, for they supposed, as Mellor
himself did, that the bartender was coming in to get an order.

"Fill 'em up!" said Mellor, stupidly, rapping his glass upon the table.
"Letsh have 'nother round."

His eyes were bleary, and although he glanced at Frank he failed to
recognize him. The latter stood still for a second or two to control his
indignation; before he spoke the bartender entered with a bottle of
champagne, the cork of which was already drawn.

"I suppose it's the same, gents?" he said, in a businesslike tone.

"Shame old Shampaggeny water," returned Mellor, holding his glass upside
down.

One of the men at the table reached over and righted Mellor's glass,
which the waiter promptly proceeded to fill.

"Here'sh ter good ol' Yale!" stammered Mellor, bringing the glass to his
lips with the aid of the man who had helped him to hold it steady.

Frank could remain quiet no longer. He reached over the table, and with
a sweep of his arm knocked the glass from Mellor's hand and sent it
flying against the wall, where it broke in a hundred pieces.



CHAPTER XI.

A REPORTER'S INFLUENCE.


The wine spattered in the face of the man who was helping Mellor. The
latter looked up in stupid wrath, and then it dawned on him suddenly
that the interruption came from his manager.

He gasped, hiccoughed, sat back in his chair and tried to rise.
Meanwhile the other two fellows with the orange rosettes had sprung to
their feet, and were trying to push Frank from the room.

In this the waiter joined them, and, for a moment, therefore, Merriwell
had his hands full. They were lively hands, though, and in much less
time than it takes to narrate it he had struck out right and left and
landed stinging blows upon the faces of two of his antagonists.

The bartender, who was a heavy fellow, who had probably had plenty of
experience in dealing with tough customers, set down the bottle of wine
and attacked Frank with great fury.

He made the mistake of supposing that he could hustle the intruder out
by mere force, and in so doing he put up both hands to catch Frank by
the shoulders.

This gave the athletic student a better opportunity than he could have
asked for. In quick succession the bartender got two blows, one full
upon the mouth, and the other on his neck.

He went down on the floor with a thump, and catching at the table for
support, overturned it. The bottle of wine fell upon him and drenched
him.

The others, who had staggered back under the force of Frank's first
blows, now tried to push their way out. The room was a very small one,
and there was but one door.

It was evident that they were not there for fighting, and had no wish to
defend their drunken companion, no matter what Frank's object in making
the attack had been.

As Frank's only anxiety was in getting Mellor away, he did not attempt
to stop the others from going out.

The rumpus attracted the attention of everybody in the main room of the
saloon, and by the time the bartender had been sent to the floor a dozen
or so others, most of them customers of the place, came crowding up to
see what was the matter.

"Letsh not fight, Mer'well," said Mellor, with a tremendous attempt at
dignity. "Letsh not get mixed up in a row."

He, too, tried to walk out, but the way was now barred with other
bartenders who had come to the relief of their comrade.

They might have fallen upon Frank and beaten him badly, for they far
outnumbered him, if it hadn't been that at that moment a policeman took
a hand in the affair.

He had been passing the side door of the saloon at the very moment when
Frank struck the glass from Mellor's hand.

He had entered at the first sound of a ruction, and had been in time to
get a glimpse of Frank as he struck the bartender to the floor.

There was a lot of excitement and confusion for a moment, during which
Frank stood with his fists still clinched and his jaws shut hard
together, waiting for the next turn.

Everybody connected with the saloon denounced him as an intruder, and
the one who had made all the trouble.

Frank thought hastily of explaining the real situation, but he refrained
from doing so, as that would surely make the whole thing public, and he
did not want any such disgrace to be attached to Yale's part in the
intercollegiate games.

So when the policeman roughly put him under arrest he submitted quietly
and went to the station house. A couple of bartenders followed, dragging
the almost helpless Mellor with them.

Yale's champion wrestler at that moment was too far gone to realize
fully what was taking place. He staggered along between the bartenders,
protesting that there had been a "mishundershtanding," that he was a
gentleman, and that as soon as the matter had been explained he would
return to the saloon and "set 'em up" for everybody.

Frank walked in silence, feeling extreme humiliation, not for his
arrest, but for the disgrace that a Yale athlete was bringing upon his
college.

When they stood before the sergeant in the station, the policeman told
briefly how he had heard a row in progress in the saloon and had got
there in time to see Frank doing all the fighting.

The sergeant looked at the bartenders, and one of them said:

"This man," pointing to Mellor, "was entertaining a party of friends in
the back room when the other chap came in, and without saying a word
tried to clean the place out. Everything was peaceable and quiet until
he came in."

The sergeant took up a pen, and looking at Frank, asked:

"What is your name?"

"Frank Merriwell," was the quiet response.

"Huh!" grunted the sergeant, as he wrote the name, "I thought from your
looks you would say Jones of nowhere. What is your residence?"

"New Haven."

"Have you got anything to say for yourself?"

"Not at present."

The sergeant looked surprised, and hesitated a moment before he asked a
number of other questions.

They were such questions as are always put to prisoners concerning their
age, their reasons for being in the city, and their own account of what
had happened.

Frank gave his age, but to the other questions refused to reply.
Accordingly the sergeant ordered both him and Mellor to be searched, and
after a vain attempt to get any information out of Mellor, both were
locked up.

A considerable crowd had collected in the main room of the station house
during this, and Frank remained quietly in his cell until he felt
certain that all the curiosity seekers had gone out.

Then he called to a doorman and asked if he might speak to the sergeant
or the captain. It took a little persuasion to get permission to do
this, but Frank got it finally, and was taken upstairs again.

The main room of the station was then deserted by all except the doorman
and the sergeant. The latter looked at the young prisoner inquiringly.

"I'd like to send for somebody," he said, "and will pay liberally for a
messenger. You've got my money, and therefore know that I can pay any
decent charge."

"Yes," said the sergeant, "you're well heeled. Who do you want to see?"

Frank thereupon gave the name of a Supreme Court judge. The sergeant's
eyes opened wide.

"What do you want of him?" he asked.

"He'll come down here in a hurry," Frank answered, "if he knows that I'm
locked up."

The sergeant sat back in his chair and thought a moment. It was
perfectly plain to him that Frank was not intoxicated, and his whole
manner was that of a gentleman.

The sergeant was probably wondering whether the name Merriwell might not
be a false one, and whether this prisoner might not be the son of the
judge mentioned.

While he was wondering what he had better do about it, a young man
entered the station with a businesslike air, and stepping up to the big
desk, said:

"Good-evening, sergeant, anything going on?"

Then he caught sight of Merriwell, and exclaimed:

"Great Scott, Merriwell, what are you doing here?"

"I'm a prisoner, Mr. Matthews," Frank responded.

The young man stared at Frank for just an instant, and then turning to
the sergeant, said:

"Anybody in the captain's room?"

"No," was the reply.

"Come in here," said Matthews, taking Frank by the arm and walking him
across the room.

When they were in the captain's room, Matthews shut the door, motioned
to a chair, and sat down opposite Frank.

"Now, then," he said, "what's got into Yale?"

"Mr. Matthews," Frank responded, "I hate to say that I'm sorry to see
you, but a newspaper man is the last man in this whole world that I
would care to tell this story to."

"Well, but see here, Merriwell," responded Matthews, earnestly, "a
newspaper man isn't a born fiend, you know; I'm not likely to forget
that I'm a graduate of Yale, and I certainly am not going to hurry off
with an item to my paper that will bring you into any disgrace.

"Yale graduates are getting to think a good deal of you, Merriwell, and
I brought you in here to see if there might not be some way to help you,
not to get a sensational item."

"I beg your pardon, Mr. Matthews," said Frank, "but I had an idea that
when a man became a reporter he could think of nothing but news and
things to write about."

"That's business," said Matthews, "sure enough, but I'm an old Yale man,
at least I'm older than you, but I graduated only a couple of years ago,
you know, so sing your song and let's see if there isn't something I can
do."

Thereupon Frank told the reporter all about his difficulty. He explained
how Mellor was hopelessly drunk in a cell, and how he had got arrested
while making an attempt to get Mellor away from his companions.

"By Jove!" said Matthews, under his breath at last, "I don't blame you
for doing what you did, Merriwell, but perhaps it would have been better
if you had avoided a row and simply induced Mellor to go out with you."

"I don't think I lose my head very often," Frank responded, "but I must
confess I did then. It was just maddening to see him soaking there with
three scoundrels who had undoubtedly set out to get him filled up.
Anyhow, there's no use regretting what I did, for here I am, and next to
having Yale win in the contest to-morrow night, I'd rather keep this
thing from becoming public."

"I can fix that easily enough," said Matthews, confidently. "The
sergeant doesn't know that you're a Yale man, and even if he should,
I'll prime all the other reporters who cover this district at night, and
get them to say nothing about it. You needn't worry on that score,
Merriwell, the only thing to do is to get you and Mellor away from the
station house."

Frank then told how he had wanted to send for the judge referred to.

"He's known me since I was born," he explained, "and was an intimate
friend of my father. There's no doubt that he would believe me, and I
suppose his word would go with the police."

"Yes, it would, but it's a long way to his house, and he may not be at
home. The captain will be in in two or three minutes, and we'll see if I
haven't got influence with him."

In less time than Matthews had supposed, the captain came in. To Frank's
great astonishment, the reporter easily persuaded the captain to release
the two students.

It is not very often that a police captain has an opportunity to do a
favor to a newspaper man, and when a chance does occur, he's quick to
take it, for the reporters of New York newspapers can make or unmake a
policeman's reputation.

The only thing in the way of letting the students go was the fact that
the bartenders in the saloon where the fight occurred had made a charge
against Frank.

That was quickly fixed by the captain, who went himself to the saloon
and suggested that the charge be withdrawn.

Of course the suggestion of the captain was enough. The bartenders were
glad to withdraw the charge if he advised it.

Therefore Frank had not been a prisoner half an hour before he and
Mellor, accompanied by Matthews, were rolling across the city in a
closed cab on their way to the Murray Hill.

When they arrived there they used a good deal of caution about going in,
for Mellor was quite as stupid as he had been at first, and both
Matthews and Merriwell were anxious to prevent anybody from becoming
aware of his condition.

They got him into the Turkish bath there without observation, and gave
an attendant a liberal fee to look after him for the night.



CHAPTER XII.

ON THEIR GUARD.


The other Yale men were out for their evening run when Frank was at last
ready to join them.

He did not try to follow them, for he had been so disturbed by the
excitement of his adventure with the police, that he thought it best to
rest; so when the students returned they found Frank in bed, and no one
disturbed him.

Next morning early he got Rowland and Hill together and explained the
whole affair to them. They were indignant, mad and disgusted all
together.

"We'll send Mellor back to New Haven on the first train!" exclaimed
Hill.

"It would serve him right," added Rowland, "if the faculty should hear
of this and expel him."

"The faculty mustn't hear of it," said Frank, decisively. "The thing
I've worked for most in all of this is to prevent any sort of disgrace,
and if Mellor can be put into condition for making a wrestle, it'll be
better for all of us that he should go into the contest."

"He'll never be able to last a single round," groaned Hill.

"If he should go down at the first catch," said Rowland, "everybody
would suspect that he was out of condition, and then what would come of
it?"

"Well, perhaps he isn't so badly off as you think," suggested Frank. "He
may be able to put up a good front. Let's go down and see how he is."

The suggestion was adopted at once, and the three went down to the
Turkish baths. The assistants who had been feed to look after Mellor
said that the student was asleep on a couch.

Frank and the others went to the sleeping room and stood by the couch
looking at Mellor in silence for a full minute.

As he had been very carefully rubbed and thoroughly steamed the night
before, and as he had been sleeping for many hours, he looked now quite
as well as usual.

The three managers looked at each other and nodded. They understood each
other; it was better that Mellor should be allowed to appear in the
wrestling match that night, even though he was almost surely doomed to
defeat.

They were about to withdraw when the wrestler opened his eyes.

"Hello, boys," he said, suddenly, and he sat up.

"How are you feeling?" asked Merriwell.

"Bully!" replied Mellor, with emphasis. Then his face flushed and he
looked down at the floor.

"I guess you remember what has happened," remarked Hill, contemptuously.

"Yes, I do," responded Mellor.

"What do you think of yourself?" asked Rowland.

"You're a fine man to carry Yale's banner to victory, aren't you!"
demanded Hill, savagely.

"Hold on, fellows," interrupted Frank; "there's no use in rubbing it in.
How did it happen, Mellor?"

"Oh, it's just my confounded foolishness," Mellor replied, with a groan;
"I wanted to see a little bit of city life, but I had no idea of
drinking. I had heard of a place where all sorts of toughs resorted, and
I went in there simply to look on."

"Better have stayed in the hotel," muttered Hill.

"Go on," said Merriwell.

"Well, there was quite a crowd there, and among them were two or three
Princeton students."

"How do you know?"

"Why, I saw the orange colors that they wore, and I heard them offering
bets on Princeton to other men who were standing around."

"Did you speak to them?"

"Not until they spoke to me."

"How did that happen?"

"Why, one of them caught my eye, looked at me sharply, and then asked
politely if my name wasn't Mellor, and if I didn't belong to Yale. I
felt kind of flattered at being recognized----"

"It made you think you were a great man, didn't it?" exclaimed Hill

"Oh, keep still!" said Frank. "Let him tell his story; this is important
to all of us."

Mellor ground his teeth and exclaimed:

"You can't make me feel any worse about this than I feel already."

"We don't want you to make any confession, Mellor," said Frank, gently;
"that isn't what we're after, for, unfortunately, I know only too well
what you'd have to confess to.

"The point we want to get at is, what these Princeton men said, for I'm
inclined to think that there's something of a conspiracy on foot to down
Yale and the other colleges by unfair means."

Mellor looked a little puzzled, but answered:

"After I had admitted who I was, the fellow who spoke to me asked how I
felt about the wrestling match. I told him I was all ready to meet
Princeton's best man, and then he asked if I was betting any money on
it. I shook my head, and he said 'that's right.'"

"What followed?"

"Oh, there were a number of polite remarks, and the crowd got around;
the Princeton men suggested that it would be pleasanter if we were by
ourselves, and I felt that they were right.

"They were so decent about it that I had no hesitation in going into a
back room with them. There they asked if I was taking anything."

"Did you say you were taking everything that came your way?" asked Hill.

"No, I didn't. I told them I was in training, and could take nothing but
Bass' ale."

"Huh!" grunted Hill.

"Did they set up a bottle?" asked Rowland.

"Yes. It was about the dinner hour, at which time I was allowed to take
ale, and I thought that it would do no harm; of course it was wrong--I
admit it now, but at the time I thought a single glass of ale wouldn't
hurt me, and it would be more polite to these chaps to go through the
form of drinking with them. So they had a bottle of champagne, and I
drank ale."

Mellor hesitated.

"You seem to have had your head about you," remarked Frank. "How did you
happen to get to drinking champagne?"

"I don't know," he answered, gloomily; "the ale seemed to make me half
drowsy, whereas usually I don't feel any effect from it at all, and I
guess I thought that a drop of wine would brace me up."

"I see it all!" exclaimed Frank.

The others looked at him inquiringly.

"Knockout drops!" he said.

"By Jove! I bet you're right!" exclaimed Rowland.

"It was anything to get the Yale champion fuddled and they knew well
enough that he wouldn't take more than one glass of ale, so unless I'm
greatly mistaken they drugged his ale and got him completely
unbalanced."

"It's a monstrous outrage!" cried Rowland.

Hill looked contemptuous and said nothing.

Merriwell turned to Mellor with the remark:

"Lie still a while longer and get breakfast when you want it. I'll see
you in your room later, and if you think you're going to be fit, we'll
have you in the contest to-night just the same."

"Great Scott!" cried Mellor, "you wouldn't bar me out of that, would
you?"

"We were thinking of it," said Hill.

"You'll have to pull yourself together, Mellor," said Frank, seriously,
"for unless you can make a good showing we don't any of us want you to
appear."

Mellor bowed his head upon his hands, and the others left him. As soon
as they were out of hearing Hill said:

"Perhaps it's nothing better than could be expected of a freshman, but
anyhow, we've got to bring this matter to the attention of the Princeton
managers at once."

The others agreed, and they went to the Fifth Avenue Hotel, where they
found the Princeton managers at breakfast.

The case was not explained to the Princeton men in full, but enough was
said to make them certain that Yale had reason to suspect a trick on the
part of men wearing Princeton colors.

The indignation of the Princeton managers was too great for expression;
one of them was so hot-headed that he wanted a row at once with
Merriwell for seeming to suggest that Princeton men could be capable of
such treacherous conduct.

Frank hastened to assure him that no Yale man thought such a thing
possible.

"We think some rascals are playing off under Princeton's colors," he
said.

The Princeton managers were sure that this must be the case, for no
students had accompanied them to the city excepting those who were to
take part in the contests.

They declared their intention of keeping their eyes open for men wearing
the Princeton rosettes, and promised to do everything possible to have
such men arrested, if any charge could be brought against them.

So there the matter had to rest. There was no doubt that the Princeton
men were in earnest, and that they would do what they could, but that
did not seem to promise very much.

The scoundrels who were anxious to make money by betting on Princeton
could not be arrested for simply wearing an orange rosette, and there
was no way of preventing further trouble, therefore, except for Yale men
to hang together and take the greatest care not to put themselves in the
way of strangers.

It was agreed by Frank and his companions that nothing should be said to
the contestants about the matter, for fear that they might get nervous,
and so be unfitted for doing their best in the evening's games.

The day passed, therefore, very quietly for the Yale athletes. They went
in a body to a gymnasium and had two or three hours' practice, and in
the afternoon they had a walk through Central Park.

Mellor appeared to be quite himself, except that he was silent, and that
he looked solemn. The other students supposed that this was due to his
anxiety about the wrestling match, and no questions were asked, although
there were a few good-natured jokes about his nervousness.

He took all the jokes quietly, and made no retort.

Nothing happened during the day to give the Yale managers any new
anxiety. They kept their eyes open all the time for a sight of the bogus
Princeton men, but failed to see them.

When at last evening came, and they went up to the Seventh Regiment
Armory for the great contest, they felt that with the possible exception
of Mellor, everything was in as good condition as could be hoped for
Yale victories.



CHAPTER XIII.

THE WRESTLER.


There was an immense crowd in the Seventh Regiment Armory that evening.
Nearly everybody present was a friend of one or another of the colleges
represented in the contests, and excitement ran high.

The seating had been arranged so that Yale students and their friends
occupied a solid tier of seats upon the side of the hall near the
center.

Directly across the hall, in a similar tier, were the students and
friends of Harvard.

On the same side with Yale was the Cornell crowd, and directly opposite
them the Princeton crowd.

The rest of the spectators sat as near their favorite college as they
could, with the result that long before any of the games began, the
building fairly roared with college cries mingled together, each crowd
trying to outdo the others.

It seemed as if there would be no lungs or voices left to cheer the
athletes, but if any one had such a fear it must have been because he
was not acquainted with students' voices.

An excited Yale or Harvard man can give the college cry somehow when he
would be unable to conduct a conversation above a whisper.

The very middle of the hall was left vacant. All the contests were to
take place there, and, therefore, in full view of all the spectators.

The athletes had their dressing-rooms at the ends and sides of the
building, and there were so many of them that each college had a number
of rooms for itself.

The Yale managers took their men up to the armory about half an hour
before the call for the first event.

Dressing-rooms had been picked out in advance, and the men belonging to
the tug-of-war were put into one room by themselves.

The Yale crowd in the audience cheered frantically when they recognized
their companions marching across the floor to their dressing-rooms.

Shortly after that the Princeton men came in, and then there was a wild
howling from the other side of the room.

So it went on, and so it continued all through the evening, for there
was hardly a moment when there was not something going on to arouse the
enthusiasm of one college or another, and if by any accident there was a
hitch in the proceedings, there was plenty of excited students in each
faction to stand in front of the tiers of seats and lead their comrades
in cheering on general principles.

As there were many events, and many entries in each one, the programme
was put through rapidly, and as often as possible, two or more events
were being contested at the same time.

The object sought for by each college was to gain as many victories, or
in other words, first places, as possible, but in some events, like
wrestling and fencing, where only two men could contest at a time, it
was necessary to have two or three and sometimes four bouts in the same
event.

This was not the case in such a sport as leaping, for there all the men
could compete at the same time, and one set of trials decided the
matter.

In wrestling it was necessary to draw lots to decide which colleges
should compete first.

Then lots were to be cast to decide which college the winner of the
first bout should wrestle with, and so on.

Each wrestling bout consisted of three rounds, with a short rest between
each two.

As three rounds at wrestling is likely to tire any but the very
strongest man, the next bout was set down a full half hour later on the
programme in order to give the winner time to rest.

It was the same with the tugs of war. One tug was put upon the programme
early in order that the winners of it might have time to recover their
breath and be in condition to meet the next comers.

It would be an impossible task to describe all the many events that
succeeded each other rapidly that evening. Every one had its interest
and importance, although in the audience at large, as it had been at
Yale, the tug of war was watched for with the greatest anxiety and
excitement.

There may be space, however, to indicate the outcome of one or two minor
events in which Frank and his companions were especially interested.

The first thing on the programme consisted of the contests in high
jumping and the first bout in wrestling. The jumpers went through their
work at one end of the floor, while the wrestlers struggled at the
other.

The drawing of lots resulted in putting Mellor of Yale against Grant of
Cornell for the first try.

The Yale managers almost groaned aloud at this piece of ill luck. If
there was anybody among the wrestlers representing the other colleges
that they feared, it was this same Grant.

He was fully as large and muscular as Mellor, and had easily downed
everybody who had met him in his own college.

With Mellor in good condition the Yale men would have believed that the
chances were at least even for his victory; as it was, those who
understood the case were certain that the Yale freshman would be turned
down quickly.

Of course the managers said nothing openly after the lots were drawn,
but they exchanged views in private just before Mellor went out to begin
his work.

"Tough luck," remarked Frank, between set teeth.

"I wish we had sent him back to New Haven," grumbled Hill.

"It's a confounded shame," exclaimed Rowland, "that Mellor couldn't have
had a chance to meet Sherman of Harvard first. He could probably throw
Sherman even if he were still half full, and that would give him some
kind of a standing, but now he'll go out there and get turned down so
dead easy that everybody will laugh at Yale, and the rest of our fellows
will get rattled."

"I don't think the rest of us will get rattled," said Frank, "and
perhaps Mellor won't be such an easy victim as you think."

"Let us hope that he gets at least one fall," muttered Hill.

There was no time for further talk about the matter, and they went out
to the main hall to see the event.

At the upper end of the floor Higgins was taking his first leap, but the
managers paid little attention to him. They hoped he would win, but they
were confident that whatever happened he would make a good showing, and
they could not take their eyes from their champion wrestler.

Mellor was still looking as solemn as if he were at a funeral. His face
was rather pale, and he sat in a chair at one side perfectly motionless
until the call came to enter the ring.

Grant of Cornell, on the other hand, was laughing and chatting with his
managers, and his face was pink with health.

At the call he bounded from the chair and pranced into the ring nimbly,
and as the Yale managers looked him over they felt worse than ever.

Mellor got up slowly and walked, as if he dreaded the ordeal, out to
meet his adversary.

"That's right, Mellor," whispered Frank, as the wrestler passed, "take
it easy and don't get excited."

Mellor gave Frank a grateful look. It was the only encouraging word he
had received from his managers since his foolish scrape.

He shook hands with Grant, and then stepped quickly back to his
position. It was a catch-as-catch-can match, and for an instant the two
big fellows stood warily watching each other before they advanced.

Meantime Yale and Cornell were setting up a chorus of howls to encourage
their respective champions.

The two got together with a sudden jump that surprised everybody.

It was expected that Grant would take the offensive, but it seemed that
Mellor decided upon the same policy, for the floor fairly shook when
they met and began a mighty struggle.

Frank's eyes glowed, and his heart seemed to rise to his throat as he
watched the muscles stand out on Mellor's arms and back.

"There's big stuff in that fellow," he said, half aloud.

"If he only had staying power," retorted Hill, in disgust, "but he's
wasted all that in his jag."

The words were hardly out of Hill's mouth before there was a heavy thud,
as the two wrestlers went down; then such a roar went up as the building
had not yet heard, for Yale's man was on top. Mellor rose quickly and
ran to his dressing-room, followed by his managers, who overwhelmed him
with compliments.

He said nothing, but stood up to be rubbed and taken care of.

"You took him completely by surprise that time, Mellor," said Frank.
"Now the next time he'll be on his guard for that, and you'll have to
pursue different tactics."

Mellor nodded.

He did not appear to be suffering from loss of breath or any sort of
exhaustion, so the managers left him with his trainer to see how the
jumping was getting on.

They arrived upon the floor just as another terrific chorus of Yale
cries went up.

Higgins had cleared the bar after every other contestant had failed.

It was a grand start for Yale. One first place had been gained, and with
Mellor's success it looked as if another was certain.

The floor was quickly cleared of the posts that had been set up for the
jumpers, and the Harvard and Cornell tug of war teams came on for the
first pull.

In this, as in the wrestling, the order of the trials had been decided
by lot.

Leaving the tug of war for the moment, we will glance at Mellor's
further work as a wrestler.

While Harvard and Cornell were getting into position for their tug, he
went out again to the floor for his second set-to with Grant.

As Frank had predicted, Grant was wary this time; he waited for Mellor
to take the offensive, and the latter was slow in doing so. They got
together at last, and for a few seconds each struggled vainly to
overcome the other.

Then they stood still, and those who were giving their especial
attention to them felt the greatest excitement because the men were
evidently tremendously in earnest, and very evenly matched.

After a good deal of dancing about the ring, and many a vain attempt to
bring on a fall, Grant got in a sudden trip that brought Mellor to his
knees.

Then, exerting all his weight and force, Grant crowded the Yale man down
until his side was on the floor.

No fall could be counted until Mellor's shoulders were both squarely on
the floor, and, therefore, Grant was crowding with all his might to
prevent his antagonist from turning on his face.

When a wrestler lies over on his stomach with his arms outstretched, it
is almost impossible to turn him.

It looked as if Mellor were trying to get into this position, for then
Grant would be compelled to stand off and give him a chance to spring
up.

Grant, of course, was trying to do just the reverse, for having Mellor
so nearly down, he did not care to give him a chance to get on his feet
again.

Just how it was done it was hard to see, but suddenly Mellor seemed to
rise as if he were on a trap that rose by the force of a concealed
spring.

With a wonderfully quick movement he broke his hold and got a new one,
and before anybody realized what his attempt meant, he had turned his
antagonist over and brought Grant's shoulders squarely down upon the
floor.

Then the building shook with howls. Yale had won the first bout in
wrestling, and at the same instant Harvard had beaten the Cornell tug of
war team.

The Yale managers were happy. It seemed now as if Mellor were certain of
carrying off the cup for wrestling.

According to the fall of lots he was to tackle Sherman of Harvard next.

Sherman was a comparatively slender, but very wiry fellow. He was
considerably under Mellor's weight, and as the latter had shown unusual
skill it was thought that the Harvard man would prove an easy victim.

So he did in the first round. Mellor downed him almost as easily as he
had turned down Grant, but as it proved that was the end of the Yale
freshman's staying power.

He had put all his force into the two set-tos with Grant and the first
with Sherman; when it came to the second set-to with the latter there
was a long, exciting struggle, which ended in Mellor's going under.

He showed his exhaustion plainly after that, and his limbs quivered when
he went out for the third set-to.

He struggled well, and really made a good showing, but the Harvard man
downed him at last, and with that defeat Yale's chances for coming out
ahead in the general tournament were badly damaged.

Nevertheless Frank and the other managers felt that Mellor had made so
good a showing that nobody would suspect that he had disobeyed
regulations and unfitted himself for making the contest.



CHAPTER XIV.

A TRICK.


As might be expected, there was a big chorus of shouting when the Yale
and Harvard teams came out for their trial in the tug of war.

Matters had been running rather evenly between the four colleges; each
had gained at least one first place, and there was no reason for the
friends of any college to be discouraged about the general result.

The Harvard men seemed to be as fresh after their victory over Cornell
as if they had not exerted themselves.

They appeared to have about the same weight as the Yale crew, and were
made up in much the same way; a particularly heavy man as anchor, and
three lighter but evidently very muscular fellows upon the rope.

It had been decided that the fall should be at a pistol shot.

As there are several ways of conducting a tug of war, it will be well to
explain that in intercollegiate games, when held indoors, the
contestants always brace themselves upon cleats.

The rope which they hold lies loose upon the floor between the two
teams. At a point midway between the two sets of cleats there is a chalk
mark on the floor.

A ribbon is tied around the rope at the point where it crosses this
mark.

When the men have fallen it is their object to pull the rope away from
their opponents, and so bring that ribbon further and further toward
their cleats.

In a closely contested match it sometimes happens that the position of
the ribbon will not vary more than two or three inches during the entire
tug.

The time is taken, and at the end of four minutes the victory is awarded
to whichever team has the ribbon upon its side of the chalk mark.

In this pull with Harvard, Frank's training proved to be of the greatest
value. He had laid the greatest stress upon the fall.

When the pistol shot came the Yale team dropped like one man to the
general eye.

It seemed as if the Harvard team dropped at exactly the same instant,
but when the excited spectators looked at the ribbon on the rope, they
saw that it was fully six inches upon the Yale side of the chalk mark.

After the fall there was a silent moment of hard tugging upon each part,
but the ribbon did not budge.

Meantime Bruce was manipulating the rope that ran around his belt, and
keeping his eyes fixed upon the Harvard anchor opposite.

"How is it, Bruce?" whispered Frank.

"We've got 'em," muttered Bruce, in reply.

Frank said nothing, for in the course of training he and Bruce had
discussed this matter so many times that Frank knew well what policy the
anchor would pursue.

It is often said that a miss is as good as a mile, and in the case of a
tug of war an inch is certainly as good as a yard.

It might have been possible for the Yale team by constant tugging and by
occasional surprises to get the ribbon much farther over to their side,
but that was not the policy that had been decided on.

If the team should win, there was Princeton still to be pulled, and
every ounce of strength would be needed then; so, having the advantage
of Harvard, the boys simply held to the rope, using only enough strength
to keep what they had gained.

It cost them a good deal of effort to keep it.

About a minute had passed since the fall, when the Harvard anchor
suddenly gave his men the word, and leaned far back upon the floor.

It was a mighty tug. Slowly but apparently surely the ribbon moved
toward the Harvard cleats.

Bruce caught the end of the rope in a knot, and muttered:

"Hold hard!"

The boys did hold hard, but in spite of that the rope gradually slipped
through their hands.

"It can't last long," whispered Bruce, "keep cool."

A few seconds of such mighty tugging was indeed all that any team could
stand, and presently the Harvard men rested, having gained three or four
inches.

To many of the spectators it seemed now as if the ribbon was even with
the chalk mark, and the Harvard crew were setting tip wild cries of
triumph.

The Yale team, however, had been lying low. Bruce and his men had simply
resisted the Harvard tug like so much dead weight, and the instant that
the Yale anchor saw that the Harvard team had come to rest lie
exclaimed:

"Pull!"

Then the Yale team gripped the rope and strained at it in earnest.

Their effort came like a yank, and in less than three seconds all the
space that had been lost in Harvard's long tug was recovered.

So the contest went on to the end. Harvard frequently made desperate
efforts to get the ribbon on its side of the line, and each time the
Yale team had to lose a little ground, but each time they made a
complete recovery, and at the end of four minutes the victory was with
the blue.

The Harvard team got out of sight as quickly as possible, while the Yale
men went to their dressing-room, followed by the wild cheering of their
friends.

For the next few minutes the Yale spectators paid little attention to
what was going on on the floor. They busied themselves in cheering each
member of their team.

Puss Parker led the cheering. He stood in front of the Yale tier and
shouted:

"What's the matter with Browning?"

An immense chorus responded:

"He's all right."

"Nine cheers for Browning," demanded Parker, and then the rah-rahs came
rattling forth like volleys from a battery.

Then Parker asked what was the matter with Merriwell, and so on until
the others in the team had been complimented in the same way.

Frank was well pleased, but the complete victory was not yet won, and
besides that, as manager, he had a keenness in all the other contests.
So as soon as he could do so he returned to the main room and watched
what was going on.

The other members of the team, with the exception of Bruce, also
returned.

The anchor, with his usual indolence, preferred to remain in his
dressing-room and rest, although, to tell the truth, he did not feel the
slightest fatigue.

Frank found nothing to be dissatisfied with, although victories for Yale
were not piling up as well as he could have wished.

All the Yale athletes had made a good showing, and there was no blame to
be cast upon anybody for losing, with the possible exception of the
unhappy Mellor, but there proved to be good men in the other colleges,
and one by one events were decided with a first place now to Cornell,
now to Harvard, now to Princeton, and so also to Yale.

The longer the evening grew the closer the contest seemed, and at
half-past ten, when nearly all the events had been decided, it was still
a matter of doubt as to which college would carry away the trophy.

The tug of war between Princeton and Yale was set last on the programme,
not because it was thought that it would settle everything, but because
it was the event that created the most general interest.

A good many unfinished bouts in other sports were being rapidly worked
off.

As it drew near to eleven o'clock Harvard and Cornell gradually lost
their grip upon their chance for first place, and at last, when it was
time for the great tug, it proved that Princeton and Yale scored exactly
the same number of points.

Therefore the result of the tug would decide whether Yale or Princeton
should carry away the tournament trophy.

The thing could not have gone better for the spectators at large, but it
made the students representing the two leading colleges excited and
nervous.

The moment the last unfinished bout was decided, Frank hurried to the
dressing-room, followed by the other members of the team and the
managers.

He halted at the door with a great start of fear. Bruce lay across the
threshold, his right wrist in his left hand, and glaring across the room
savagely, while his jaws were shut hard together.

"For Heaven's sake, Bruce! what's the matter?" asked Frank.

"I've sprained my wrist," he muttered, "and by the feeling I guess I've
sprained my ankle, too!"

"How did it happen?"

"A dirty trick, Frank, and the scoundrel who did it is somewhere in the
room. I managed to get here at the door so as to grab him if he should
run out, and also to prevent you from taking the same fall I did."

The other members of the team and the managers were now at the spot.

"Be careful when you go in," said Bruce. "The floor has been soaped or
greased just in front of those lockers there, and it won't do for any
one else to get such a fall as I've had."



CHAPTER XV.

OFF THE CLEATS.


"Did you say the fellow was still in the room?" asked Frank, in a low
voice.

"Yes, I was sitting near the door with my head down when I heard a
rustling noise back of me. I supposed I was all alone, and turned about
to see who had come in. I caught sight of a fellow dodging behind that
middle row of lockers."

"Who was he?"

"I don't know. Never saw him before. I thought he was a thief who was
going through our clothes for watches and pocketbooks, so I made a jump
and went for him. Right at the corner of the lockers my foot slipped and
I went down full length. I could have helped myself from being hurt even
at that if it hadn't been that the floor was so thoroughly greased that
my hand slipped, and my whole weight came down on my right wrist. The
pain was fearful for a moment, and it don't feel very good yet. I saw
that it was a trick."

"Didn't the fellow get out?"

"No. I was bound that he should be caught somehow, and as there was too
much howling outside to make myself heard, I couldn't call for help. I
dragged myself to the door here, and if he had made any attempt to get
by I'd have held him if it killed me."

"He may have got out of a window."

"I think not, or I should have heard him."

"We'll find out about this," said Rowland, emphatically, "but meanwhile
the call is on for the tug of war with Princeton. Can you----"

The question was not completed, for Browning, with a wry face, held up
his right arm.

His wrist was swollen to almost twice its usual size.

"I couldn't pull a baby," he said, regretfully.

The fellows looked blue, and Hill groaned dismally.

"Rowland," said Frank, in a quick, decisive tone, "go back into the hall
and tell the committee of arrangements that our anchor is disabled, and
that we shall have to have five minutes to get our substitute in order."

"Who in thunder can you substitute?" asked Hill

"Rattleton."

"But he never trained as anchor."

"I'll put him on the rope."

"Who will be anchor, then?"

"I will."

"You!"

"Why not?"

"You're too light, Merriwell."

Frank shrugged his shoulders

"If you can think of anybody else in the college," he said, "who is
better qualified than I am to meet this emergency, bring him along."

"No, no!" exclaimed the others in chorus, "you're the man, Frank. This
is your event, and the team may win out with you after all."

"It isn't a question of winning out now," he responded, "but of taking
our part in the tournament. Go on, Rowland, and when you've spoken to
the committee, call for Rattleton, and have him come here in a hurry."

Rowland went away, and then Frank stepped over and lifted Browning into
a chair.

"One of you fellows," he said, "find somebody to get a physician. There
must be a hundred of them in the audience."

There were several other students not connected with the team about the
door at this time, and two or three of them started away at once.

"Now, then, Hill," said Frank, quietly, "let's see what we can do about
this rascal that has tried to disable us."

Hill nodded and stepped into the room.

"The rest of you fellows," said Frank, "stay at the door and don't let
anybody out."

"Look out for the greased spot," said Bruce, warningly.

Hill and Frank went into the middle of the room, where there was a
double line of lockers extending nearly its whole length. There were two
windows at the end, one of which was down slightly at the top, the other
was closed.

They looked up at it, and then at each other.

"He hasn't gone out," said Frank, confidently, in a low tone. "Try all
the lockers."

They started down, one on each side, opening first the doors of closets
in which they and their companions had placed their clothes.

Nothing had been disturbed there.

As they went they found nothing but empty lockers, but presently Frank
came to one the door of which he could not open.

The handle was simply a knob, and the door was held fast by a Yale lock.
He looked at it a moment, then, drawing back, gave the door a terrific
kick squarely upon the lock.

The thin wood broke at once, and another kick splintered it from top to
bottom.

At that instant a man dashed out, tried to push Frank aside and make for
the door. Frank recognized him at once as one of the men he had seen
with Higgins at the Hoffman House.

"No, you don't!" he exclaimed hotly, catching the fellow by the arm and
giving him a smashing blow on the side of the head.

Hearing the rumpus, Hill came running around the corner just in time to
meet the two as they were staggering along. He promptly gave the
scoundrel a rattling series of blows that dropped him to the floor half
stunned.

"Come in here," called Frank, and the other students came crowding into
the room.

"Let's kick him to death!" exclaimed one, excitedly.

The students were so angry that they might have put this suggestion into
execution if Frank had not called a halt.

"Find a cord," he said, "and bind this fellow hand and foot; then we'll
notify the committee of arrangements and go on with the tug of war."

A cord was quickly found, and the man was tied so thoroughly that there
was no possibility that he could escape. Then, while Frank and the
others were getting ready for the tug, Hill looked up the committee of
arrangements and explained the situation.

It may be said in passing that the matter aroused a great deal of
indignation on all sides, and that an investigation was made, which
resulted in showing that the man Frank had captured was a common
gambler, and that there were several others who had put up a great deal
of money on Princeton, and then taken every means they possibly could to
bring about Princeton's victory.

He could do this only by disabling Princeton's adversaries. It was found
that attempts had been made to injure both Harvard and Cornell men as
well as those from Yale.

Two or three of the gambler's confederates were found in the hall and
put under arrest, and the next morning they were taken to police court
on a charge of malicious mischief, for which they were severely
punished.

As it was perfectly certain that no Princeton man had any hand in the
matter, or any knowledge of it other than had been given to the managers
by the Yale team, nothing was said about it at the time, for everybody
was anxious that the tug of war between Yale and Princeton should be
pulled on its merits.

The master of ceremonies announced that an accident had happened to
Yale's anchor, and that Merriwell would take his place, with Rattleton
as substitute on the rope.

There was a good deal of dismay at this in the Yale ranks, for although
everybody had confidence in Frank, all knew that a change in the make-up
of a team at the last moment is likely to be disastrous.

Nevertheless, Merriwell was greeted with a big cheer when he went out to
the floor and wound the end of the rope around his belt.

He put Rattleton on the farther end of the line, and moved Taylor up to
his own old position. There was then a breathless moment, while both
sides waited for the pistol shot.

When it came, the eight men went down at the same instant. It was
evident that the Princeton team had observed the success of Yale men in
dropping, and had determined not to let them get an advantage in that
way.

The ribbon stood exactly at the chalk mark, and the first few seconds of
violent pulling failed to budge it more than a hair's breadth in either
direction.

The great audience stood up and cheered as they had not done since the
evening began. It was a delight to see two teams of strong young men so
evenly matched in strength and skill.

On the Yale side there was fear in spite of the enthusiastic cheering
that Merriwell's weight would be against them in the end, and not a few
called attention to the fact that the Yale team had already pulled once,
while Princeton was perfectly fresh.

These things were thought of, too, on the Princeton side, and that made
the wearers of the orange more confident.

As in the former pull, there was a short period of rest after the first
tug. The anchors eyed each other warily, and the men lay on the rope,
crossing their legs over it, and waiting for the signal to tug again.

Frank saw the Princeton anchor whispering to the man in front of him.

"If that's a command to pull," he thought, "it's given too openly, and
it's probably a dodge to throw us off our guard."

It seemed to be so, for the Princeton men gave one sudden yank at the
rope, and then lay still.

The yank did not stir the ribbon, and it did not call out any answering
pulls from the Yale men. Many of the spectators wondered at this, and
began to set up shouts to Merriwell to order a pull.

He remained perfectly quiet, paying no attention to the shouts around
him, apparently not hearing them. In fact, he was not more than half
conscious that there was anybody in the room except the three men
directly in front of him and the four adversaries on the opposite team.

A full minute passed, during which there was some pulling by each side,
and still the ribbon remained squarely over the chalk mark.

The spectators left their seats, so great was their excitement, and in
spite of the efforts of the policemen who were stationed in the hall,
crowded down upon the floor until they were within a few feet of the
opposing teams.

Old men in the crowd who had graduated from college before Frank and his
companions were born, were quite as excited as the younger men.

"Don't let it be a draw, Merriwell," shouted one white-whiskered man,
waving his hat frantically.

"Princeton! Princeton!" came in a big chorus from the other side of the
room, as the Princeton team lay closer to the floor and pulled at the
rope with might and main.

The muscles of their arms and shoulders stood out like whipcords and the
perspiration started from their brows. They were doing their best, to
say the least, to prevent a draw.

It was a splendid tug; the ribbon at last began to move. It took its
course slowly and by little starts and halts toward the Princeton side.

The palms of the Yale men fairly burned as the cord slipped by. It was
not much, but as before, an inch at the end of four minutes would be as
good as a yard.

Frank's face was set in an expression of intense determination, and the
perspiration stood out upon his brow, too, although he was exerting
little force.

Inch by inch he was paying out the rope from his belt, a thing that had
to be done in order to prevent his crew from being pulled to their feet.

Frank was waiting his opportunity; it came as he had foreseen, just at
the instant when the Princeton men had exerted all the force of which
they were capable.

He knew when this minute had arrived, not by any expression upon their
faces, but by the fact that the Princeton anchor hastily caught his end
of the rope in a knot in order to hold the advantage that had been
gained.

Then Frank said in a tone that could not have been heard by any of the
spectators:

"Now, boys!"

On that instant the three Yale men who had been lying almost on their
backs, sat up, made a quick grab at the rope a few inches in front of
where they had been holding it before, and then strained back suddenly,
and with all the force that they could muster.

The Princeton anchor, who had supposed that the Yale men were exhausted
also, was taken completely by surprise.

He had knotted his rope and could not pay it out as the opposing tug
came; the result was that while there was yet a full minute to spare,
the Princeton team stood up suddenly, pulled squarely off the cleats by
the victorious sons of Yale.

The shouting changed on the instant; there had been a wild, triumphant
howling on the Princeton side because the ribbon had gone fully fifteen
inches beyond the chalk mark.

Now it traveled so rapidly toward the Yale side that there was no
measuring the distance; that did not matter anyway, for when a team is
pulled squarely off the cleats, the tug is done.

Frank, therefore, had the double satisfaction of seeing his college win
the general trophy and of meeting successfully a serious emergency that
had occurred in the special sport which he had undertaken to manage.

It was a great evening for Yale, and one that all men who were students
in the college at that time will never forget.

"I tell you, I wouldn't have missed it for a good deal," said Rattleton,
when they were on their way to Yale, the day following.

"It's too bad Browning was hurt," answered Frank.

"It's not serious," said the big fellow. "It will soon be all right, so
the doctor says." And this proved to be true. Inside of ten days his
wrist was as well as ever.

"Another contest is on hand," said Rattleton, one morning to Frank. "Do
you know we are up for admission to the Pi Gamma Society?"

"Yes," answered Frank.

"We'll catch it hot soon--when they initiate us."

"Oh, I reckon we can stand it," came from Frank, with a quiet smile.

He did not dream of all that was in store for them.



CHAPTER XVI.

BLACK MARKS.


There were about twenty students in a room that would comfortably hold
six; four of them, looking very solemn, were arranged along one side of
the room with their backs to the wall; the others were seated on such
chairs as there were or upon the floor.

The study table in the middle of the room had been cleared of books, and
a covering of newspapers had been put on top of it.

The air was thick with smoke from pipes, cigars and cigarettes. The four
who stood with their backs against the wall were not adding anything to
the fumes; they were the only ones present who were not smoking.

Every window was down and the transom was closed. It is the theory among
students that the smoker can stand a thick atmosphere, but that if one
is not smoking it soon becomes very disagreeable to him.

One would have said that this theory was correct if he had taken but a
glance into the room, for the four solemn persons looked far from well,
while the others were evidently enjoying themselves to the utmost.

Each one of the others had something in his hand besides his pipe or
cigar; two or three had brooms, some horsewhips, some baseball bats,
some canes, others umbrellas, and so on. The one who was apparently the
leader had an iron poker.

"Who is the next neophyte who wishes to become acquainted with the
mysteries of Pi Gamma?" he asked.

"It's Merriwell's turn next," answered one of the others.

"Very well, then, fetch him in."

At the mention of Merriwell's name the four solemn students against the
wall glanced at each other.

"Hi, there! Hi, there!" called several voices. "No talking to each
other!"

All the other students turned furiously upon the solemn four and glared
fiercely. One of the four opened his lips as if to say something, then
thought better of it, and shut them again.

"If you want to make a link in the mystic chain of the Pi Gamma,"
exclaimed the leader, sternly, "you'd better keep your mouth shut!"

The student thus addressed looked as if he was aching to say that he had
not said anything, but his eyes simply wavered and otherwise he remained
perfectly still.

"I guess they'll behave themselves," declared the leader. "Go out and
bring in Merriwell."

Frank was about to take his first step in the long and trying initiation
into the secret society known as the Pi Gamma. These are the two Greek
letters standing for P and G, respectively.

What they mean is known only to the members of the order, but the
society is generally known by an abbreviation of its initials.

In this way, with the characteristic humor of college students, the
order of Pi Gamma is generally known as the "Pig." So, too, members of
the order are sometimes referred to as "Pigs."

No one is supposed to take any offense at this, for, on the contrary, it
is a mark of honor to be a member of the order, and if a man can say
after he has graduated that he belonged to the "Pig," he makes it known
that his social standing was very high.

No one can become a member of this society until he has reached the
junior year; then students are elected from the junior class by the
members of the senior class in blocks of five. The initiation of each
block of five covers a period of one week.

The juniors elected at the same time with Frank were Harry Rattleton,
Jack Diamond, Bartley Hodge, and John Henderson. It was these four who
formed the quartet of silent students with their backs to the wall.

They had received their notification of election on the evening before,
and with it certain instructions. From that moment until the end of the
initiation the neophyte was forbidden to laugh, or to speak aloud unless
addressed by a "Pig" in good standing or a member of the faculty.

If he was spoken to by one of his companions, not a member of the order,
the neophyte was not to answer.

He was to attend strictly to all his college duties, and whenever he set
foot upon the campus, he was to run at full speed and not stop running
until he had left the college grounds.

He was to do without question anything commanded of him by any member of
the Pi Gamma during the week.

In Frank's case this last rule had been put to the test at once by
commanding him to go to a well-known store in the city and buy one match
and one toothpick and bring the articles to the student who asked for
them. Frank had complied promptly.

He went into this thing, as he did into everything, in a good-natured
but businesslike way.

He knew that it was the custom for students to be put in embarrassing
situations during the initiation, and he made up his mind to stand his
share of it without grumbling.

Besides the rules already noted, each of the neophytes was told to write
an essay upon a given subject and have it ready for reading on the
following evening when the senior members of the society would meet the
neophytes in Baker's room.

Baker was the president of the "Pig," and it was he who held the poker
during the deliberations.

The neophytes had assembled promptly, and then had been conducted to the
room of a senior named Rowe, from which they were called one by one to
read their essays.

Frank's turn had come last, because there was so much respect for his
nerve that the students wanted to give him a particularly hard test, and
they believed it would be more effective if they made him wait until
toward the end of the evening.

Accordingly, Rattleton and the others had been through with their essay
reading before Frank was summoned.

A couple of seniors went out after Baker gave the order, and presently
returned with Merriwell.

The latter looked as unconcerned as if he were attending an ordinary
recitation. He coughed a little as he entered the smoky room, and then
said, "Good-evening, gentlemen," in his pleasantest tone.

"Ah, ah! Put down one black mark," exclaimed Baker, severely.

Frank looked surprised. He had been told when notified of his election
that black marks would be entered against the name of every candidate
for every disobedience of the rules, and that if a neophyte got as many
as ten black marks he would not be permitted to become a member.

"The neophyte has evidently forgotten the rule about speaking aloud,"
remarked Baker.

Every one of the seniors present took out a little memorandum and made a
mark against Merriwell's name.

Frank had really forgotten the rule for the moment, and his lips parted
to say, "Beg pardon," or something of that kind, when it occurred to him
that that would bring him another black mark.

In fact, the instant his mouth opened, out came the memorandum books,
but he shut his lips hard together, and the books went back into the
students' pockets.

"We will begin with a little music," remarked Baker. "Neophyte
Rattleton, come forward."

Rattleton at once stepped up and stood in front of Frank. Their eyes
met, but each kept his face steady.

"Neophyte Merriwell," continued Baker, placing his hand upon Rattleton's
shoulder, "this is a bass viol. This is your bow," and he handed him an
umbrella. "We want you to play Mendelssohn's Wedding March."

Frank took the umbrella and looked from Rattleton to Baker in amazement.

"Play, neophyte," thundered Baker.

Frank was not certain whether he caught the idea or not, but after a
little further hesitation, he took Rattleton by the shoulder and moved
the umbrella back and forth across that young man's stomach two or three
times.

"We don't hear any music!" bawled the seniors in chorus.

"Give him a black mark, then!" commanded Baker.

Out came the memorandum books, and down went another black mark against
Frank's name.

"Whew!" he thought, "this won't do! I must be slow or stupid; if I don't
catch on pretty soon I'll get more black marks against me than I can
stand."

"Give us something that we can hear!" roared the seniors.

The three juniors who had been through it and who were still standing
with their backs against the wall, were having a particularly hard time
of it just now. Their lips were twitching with an almost uncontrollable
desire to laugh.

Frank caught Rattleton again by the shoulder and again sawed the
umbrella back and forth across his stomach, at the same time grunting in
a wheezy way to imitate the sounds of a bass fiddle.

"You're out of tune!" cried one of the seniors.

"Play louder!" shouted another.

"He's playing on the open strings all the time!" exclaimed a third.
"Make him move his fingers, won't you?"

Frank caught this idea at once, and, throwing his left arm around
Rattleton's shoulders, he moved his fingers up and down on Rattleton's
chest as if he were touching the strings of an instrument. Meantime he
kept up his grunting and humming as loud as he knew how.

The seniors roared with merriment. Rattleton was shaking with laughter,
and the three solemn juniors against the wall looked as if they would
explode.

Frank was perspiring in the effort to do the thing as ridiculously as he
knew how, and yet keep his face straight.

"Oh, but look here!" cried Baker, suddenly, "this won't do!"

He took out his memorandum book, and all the students followed suit.

Frank stopped fiddling.

"Keep on until I tell you to stop!" cried Baker. "That's a black mark,
anyway."

In despair of ever doing anything right, Frank began to saw away again
for dear life.

"I call your attention," shouted Baker, above the uproar, "to the fact
that this neophyte is making loud sounds with his voice."

"That must be a black mark, then!" declared the other seniors, taking
out their books.

Frank wanted to protest that he had been told to make a noise, and that
he could not very well obey one rule without breaking the other, but he
thought it best to keep quiet.

He learned later that the complaint against his making a loud noise was
made for the very purpose of causing him to protest, for that would have
brought another black mark against him.

As he kept his mouth firmly closed the seniors failed to catch him
there, but they put a black mark down nevertheless, so that within the
first five minutes of his initiation Frank had had four points scored
against him.



CHAPTER XVII.

THE TEST OF NERVE.


Frank felt really worried about it, although it did seem to him that the
marking was absurdly unfair.

"These fellows haven't any reason to complain of a professor's marking
of examination papers," he thought, "if this is the way they treat a
fellow student."

"It's nearly time for the test of nerve," remarked Baker, "and we'd
better have the essay read before this neophyte gets so many black marks
that his case will be hopeless. Get up on that table, Merriwell."

Frank started to climb up on the table, but as soon as his knee was upon
it a half dozen of the seniors yanked the table from under him and he
fell to the floor.

There was a great roar of laughter at this, but Merriwell kept his face
straight and did not so much as grunt.

"No black mark that time!" he thought.

"I told you to get on the table!" roared Baker.

Frank obeyed this time by making a sudden jump that brought him squarely
upon the center of the table before it could possibly be yanked from
under him.

There was a roar of applause at this, and the students gathered around
to listen to the essay.

Frank took his manuscript from his pocket.

"What was the subject you were told to write on?" asked Baker.

Frank looked at the paper and read:

"Why is a Hen?"

The four other juniors exchanged winks; each one of them had been told
to write upon the same topic.

Just then there was a knock at the door, and, after a moment, Bruce
Browning was admitted.

Browning was already a member of the order, although he was a classmate
of Frank's. He had become so by being dropped at the end of his freshman
year, as already related in this series of stories.

When that happens a popular student keeps up his society relations with
his former classmates, so that Bruce, although he was a junior in the
standing of scholarship, was a senior when it came to society matters.

The fact that he was still a classmate of Merriwell's had led him to
decide that he would take no part in the initiation. The students,
therefore, were surprised to see him enter.

"I thought you weren't to be here!" exclaimed Baker.

"I wasn't," Browning answered, "but I've got something important to say
to you."

He spoke in such a serious tone that Baker at once went over to him, and
after a few whispered words they shut themselves into Baker's bedroom,
which adjoined the study.

"You remember Miller?" asked Browning.

"You mean the tough customer that sells cigars?"

"Yes."

"I do remember him; what of him?"

"He's got a grudge against Merriwell. I think Frank at some time or
other interfered in some dirty work he was up to, and so he's laying for
Frank."

"Well, what of it?"

"He's heard that Frank has been elected to the 'Pig,' and he declares
that he'll take advantage of the initiation to raise hob with him."

"Huh!"

"I thought I ought to let you know about it."

"Well, yes, but I don't see what Miller can do."

"Nor I, either, but it'll be just as well to be on your guard, you
know."

"All right, and we'll try and look out for it."

"How's Merriwell getting on?" asked Browning.

Baker grinned.

"He's standing it like a man," was the reply, "just as we supposed he
would, but he'll get black marks enough to sink a ship before the
night's over."

Browning chuckled.

"I'll bet he takes those black marks seriously," he said.

"Well, why shouldn't he?" returned Baker. "It's the last time we'll get
the chance to roast a good fellow like Merriwell, and we're going to
make it hot for him, I tell you."

"Go ahead, he'll stand it," said Bruce.

Having delivered his message of warning, Bruce left the room. Then Baker
returned and ordered Frank to begin his essay.

"Speak up loud and clear," he said, "for when you're told to talk, we
expect you to talk."

Frank unfolded his manuscript and began to read:

"The problem of the hen is one of the most interesting subjects in
ornithology."

"Hi! hi! hi!" yelled the seniors, rapping the floor with their clubs,
umbrellas, brooms and so on.

"It seems to me very appropriate," continued Frank, reading from his
paper, "that this subject should be discussed by a 'Pig'----"

This word was a signal for the most terrific uproar that the room had
yet witnessed. All the seniors made a dash at Frank with their clubs,
brooms, umbrellas and so forth, raised in the air.

They brought them down in great whacks upon the table; he stood as still
as a statue. If he had attempted to dodge he would certainly have been
hit.

"The idea of a neophyte using that word!" they cried. "Give him a black
mark!"

Accordingly, the memorandum books came out and down went another black
mark.

It then flashed upon Frank that it must be a rule of this order that no
neophyte should refer to it as the "Pig," and unhappily in his essay he
had done so a dozen times or more.

He quickly decided to pretend to read, but really to speak offhand and
so avoid using the troublesome word, but there came another knock at the
door.

This time it was Prof. Adler, whose room was in the building, and who
called to protest against so much noise.

"You see what it is, professor," said Baker, throwing the door wide
open. "You were once a 'Pig' yourself, I believe."

"Yes, I was," the professor answered, trying hard to repress a smile as
he looked at Merriwell and the four solemn juniors, "but really it's
getting late, gentlemen, and I think you ought to take your initiation
elsewhere."

"Well, perhaps we have gone far enough at this stage," said Baker. "At
any rate, professor, we won't trouble you any more to-night."

"I hope you won't," said the good-humored professor, "for I should hate
to report you."

With that he went away, and the next stage in the initiation began
immediately.

Each of the five neophytes was blindfolded with a towel tied around his
head; his hands were then bound behind his back, and a long cord
attached to them; then they were sternly ordered to remember the rule of
obedience.

"If you obey you'll come to no harm," said Baker, earnestly, "but the
slightest act of disobedience may run you into serious trouble."

When the blindfolding and binding had been completed the neophytes were
taken out to the campus and so to the street; there three or four
seniors went with each neophyte in different directions about the city.

The seniors kept hold of the rope and walked several yards behind the
neophyte, telling him when to turn to the right or the left.

In this way Frank was made to pass close to moving wagons, and to go to
the very edge of embankments where if he had taken another step he would
have had an unpleasant fall.

For more than an hour he was kept moving about in this way, completely
baffling the efforts of the seniors to rattle him. He did everything
they told him promptly, and never a word escaped his lips.

He had made up his mind that come what would he would not get another
black mark. At last as he was crossing a street he was told to halt. He
did so, feeling under his feet at the moment the rail of a street car
track.

Then his "mentors," as his companions were called, gathered around him,
threw the loose end of the rope over his shoulders and told him to stay
where he was.

"Remember, neophyte," said one of them, slowly, "the command is to stand
still, no matter what happens."

Frank made no response, but it was evident that he understood them.

A moment later the mentors went away, where, or how far, Frank could
only guess.

It was late in the evening, and the street was very still, but somewhere
in the distance Frank could hear the rumbling of a car; it drew nearer
and nearer, and at length he could hear the buzzing of the trolley wire.
It seemed directly over his head.

"I see what this is," he thought; "they have put me between the double
tracks of the line so that I'll think that a car is going to run me
down.

"Of course, these fellows are not going to injure me, and so if I stand
perfectly still the car will pass close beside me. If I should move I
might get run over. I can imagine that some fellows might be completely
unnerved by this test."

The rumbling of the car became louder and louder; then there was a
single clang of a bell and it stopped a short distance away; some
passenger evidently was getting out. The bell rang again, and the car
started.

The motorman kept up a loud clanging of his footbell as he approached
Frank; the latter, remembering his instructions, stood perfectly still,
confident that the car would rush past him without touching him.

Suddenly, just as the car was upon him, Frank was pushed violently and
fell face forward in front of it!



CHAPTER XVIII.

FRANK WANTS MORE.


The car was going at full speed when Frank fell. On the instant the
motorman reversed the current and applied the brake hard, but although
the wheels immediately began to turn in the other direction, it was
impossible to check the advance of the car completely.

It slid for a few yards along the rails, sending up a shower of sparks,
and pushing Frank's body along ahead of it.

Frank's first impression was, when he felt the push, that it was a part
of the initiation. The mind acts with marvelous quickness under such
circumstances, and what he thought was that, instead of being placed
beside the car tracks, he was really directly upon them and thus in the
way of the car, and that this push had been given him at the very last
minute in order to knock him out of the way.

It was but the fraction of a second, of course, before he realized his
mistake, for he received a severe blow from the car platform.

Knowing then that this was either a mistake in the initiation, or
something not on the programme, and that at all events he was in serious
danger, he made the most desperate effort to help himself.

Naturally this was no easy matter, for his hands were tied behind his
back and his eyes were blindfolded.

The knots had not been tied with the greatest skill, but the line was a
stout one and in the short time he had to make the effort, Frank could
not release his hands.

He was more than half stunned by the collision, but he kept his wits
sufficiently to roll over and over in front of the moving car, trying
the best he could to kick himself out of its way. Meantime the car was
rapping him repeatedly.

It was all over in a second or two, but the time seemed terribly long to
the neophyte.

He was only half conscious of what happened, but he knew that the noise
of the wheels upon the rails had ceased, and that he was picked up in
strong arms and carried somewhere; then his brain whirled and everything
became a blank.

That was the way the event seemed to Frank. The way it appeared to his
mentors was this:

Following the usual custom of such initiations, they had stood Frank
close to the car tracks, but not so close that the passing car would
have so much as brushed him.

Such events were not so uncommon in New Haven as to make them dangerous
when conducted in the ordinary way. Motormen get used to the pranks of
students and accordingly send their cars past blindfolded figures at
full speed, oftentimes clanging the footbell furiously in order to help
out the joke by alarming the neophyte as much as possible.

Sometimes a motorman who is new to the business gets so disturbed at the
sight of the blindfolded figure near the rail that he stops the car just
short of him.

In any event no trouble had arisen before this from this feature of
"Pig" initiation.

Having left Frank beside the track, as we have stated, the mentors
withdrew and stood in the shadow of a big elm from where they could see
the result of the test without being observed by the motorman or anybody
else in the vicinity.

They were watching the affair with great interest, although pretty well
convinced that Merriwell's nerve was so strong that he would stand the
test without trouble.

They were disappointed when the car stopped to let off a passenger, but
were satisfied when it proceeded again and rapidly gained full speed.

Then they were amazed to see a figure dart rapidly out from the shadow
of another tree not far away and make straight toward the neophyte.

They wondered at it, but were not alarmed, for their first impression
was that it was some man who was unfamiliar with students' doings, and
who believed that the blindfolded figure was in real danger.

They rather expected, therefore, to see this stranger catch Merriwell up
and drag him aside. Their horror may be better imagined than described
when they saw the stranger push Merriwell in front of the car and then
leap across the tracks just missing the car himself, and disappear.

The alarmed and indignant seniors dashed from their hiding place and ran
with all possible speed to Merriwell's assistance. They came up to him
just as the car stopped sliding forward, and began to move back under
the force of the reversed current.

The excited motorman was jabbering curses upon the foolish conduct of
students generally, and altogether too busy with his apparatus and too
rattled to get down from the platform.

The conductor and the few passengers in the car, disturbed by the slight
collision, were moving toward the platform to see what was the matter.

Rowe, who was in charge of the party of seniors, immediately picked
Frank up and carried him toward the sidewalk.

"Get a move on, boys!" he exclaimed, under his breath. "We must get
Merriwell out of sight as quick as possible."

"Shan't I go for a doctor, Dick?" asked one of them.

"Yes," answered Rowe, hurriedly; "bring him to my room, but keep mum."

One of the seniors sped away down the street, another took hold of Frank
with Rowe to help carry him, while the last member of the party fell in
behind his companions, determined if they were followed to beat off
pursuers.

This action on the part of the seniors might seem rather peculiar to
those who are not wholly familiar with secret society matters.

They did not stop to discuss it, for each one of them knew in a flash
just what must be done.

Secret societies at Yale are very powerful organizations. In past years
there were some efforts to disband them and prevent the students from
organizing them.

All these efforts failed; the more the faculty tried to suppress the
Greek letter orders, the more firmly the students clung to them, until
at last the faculty had to let the societies alone.

The students knew, however, that there were plenty of men in the
government of the college who would be glad of any excuse to suppress
the societies and no better excuse could be found than the fact that a
student had been injured in the course of an initiation.

Therefore, when Frank was knocked in front of the car, Rowe and his
companions knew that it would not do at all to let the accident become a
matter of public knowledge. So, before the people on the car half
realized what had happened, they had carried Frank across the street,
got over a fence into the grounds surrounding a private house, and were
rushing along toward a thick clump of shrubbery.

When they were concealed in this they paused for an instant to get their
breath and make a hasty examination of the neophyte.

By that time Frank was wholly unconscious. There was a red spot upon his
forehead, his clothing was torn and his hands were bleeding a little
from scratches.

The wounds and bruises would not have disturbed the seniors
particularly, but Frank's unconsciousness gave them genuine alarm.

"We must keep moving!" exclaimed Rowe.

"Let me take my turn at carrying, then," said the one who had been
acting as rear guard.

This was done. They proceeded across the lawn, climbed another fence
into a garden and, having crossed this, came to another street.

They were now fairly safe from pursuit by the passengers on the trolley
car, who, as a matter of fact, gave the matter no further thought when
they were told by the motorman that the affair was a lot of students'
nonsense.

As it was now very late in the evening the streets were almost deserted
and by acting cautiously the seniors succeeded in getting Frank to
Rowe's room without interference.

There they laid him upon a bed and hastened to apply restoratives as
well as they knew how.

"It would be simply awful if it should prove that he was dead!"
exclaimed Rowe, with a groan.

"He isn't dead," said one of the others; "we'll fetch him around----"

At this moment the student who had gone for a doctor burst into the room
bringing the physician with him.

The doctor laid a case of instruments upon the table as he passed and
bent over the bed where Frank lay. At that moment Frank opened his eyes
and, seeing a strange face above him, said in a surprised tone:

"Hello, what do you want?"

"Humph!" muttered the doctor, "I thought I was going to have a fine
chance to set broken limbs or do some other clever job in surgery. I
guess you've cut me out of an operation, young man."

"Hey?" said Frank, trying to sit up.

His bones ached and he gave up the attempt.

"What's the matter, anyway?" he asked.

"How do you feel, Merriwell?" asked Rowe, anxiously.

"Kind of sore," returned the neophyte. "I should think I'd been in a
football scrimmage. Oh!"

His eyes brightened as he remembered what had happened to him.

"Something went wrong with the----" he began, intending to say "with the
initiation," when he caught sight of the doctor's face.

Seeing that a stranger was present and remembering his instructions to
keep the initiation a secret, Frank hesitated an instant and then said:

"Machinery."

"Yes," answered Rowe, understanding the point, "the machinery broke
down, but it wasn't our fault."

"I took that for granted," Frank remarked. "How did the car get along?"

The seniors laughed. This question showed them better than anything else
could that Frank was not dangerously injured.

"The car seemed to stand it pretty well," Rowe answered. "How is he,
doctor?"

"Well," answered the physician, who had been making an examination, "I
don't see any evidence of broken bones, and what is more surprising
still, the young man's brain doesn't seem to have suffered under the
strain to which you have subjected him."

"I can stand more than that!" muttered Frank.

"There's nothing for me to do here," said the doctor. "I should advise
him to go to bed and lie still for the rest of the night. If he feels
badly in the morning you can send for me."

With this the doctor took himself off. Frank then slowly sat up.

"There are some aches about me," he said, with a wry grimace, "but I
suppose the more I talk of them the more black marks I'll get."

"Oh, hang the black marks!" exclaimed Rowe. "There's been initiation
enough for you, old fellow, and there isn't a doubt that when the matter
is explained to the rest of the 'Pigs,' that you'll be excused from any
further test."

"No, siree!" exclaimed Frank, emphatically.

"Eh, what's that?"

"If you think," responded Frank, "that I'm going to do the baby act and
crawl out of the rest of the circus you're mistaken."

"But----"

"There's no 'but' about it! I've been through worse things than this and
if you fellows don't put the initiation through just as if nothing had
happened, I'll be hanged if I'll join the society."



CHAPTER XIX.

THE LEAP INTO THE RIVER.


"That's the right kind of talk anyway!" said Rowe, "and it's just what
we might have expected from you, but really, Merriwell, this was the
last thing on the programme for to-night, and even if that scoundrel
hadn't pushed you in front of the car we should have made you go to bed
at this time."

"Well, I'm bound to obey you in any case," said Frank, "but speaking of
that, am I at liberty to talk?"

"Of course, for you're in the presence of members of the Pi Gamma in
good standing."

Rowe grinned when he said this, for he thought of the black-mark
nonsense and realized that Frank took it in earnest. He added:

"Out of consideration for this accident, Merriwell, I shall ask the
president to score off the black marks already entered against you and
let you begin with a clean record."

"Well, I can't object to that," said Frank, "for I must say it struck me
that some of those marks were chucked on rather harshly."

"You'd better not make any criticisms of the way this society is run,"
declared Rowe, sternly.

"That's so; I take that all back, but what I wanted to say was that it
seemed to me as if somebody had interfered with the game."

"That was it exactly, Merriwell, and it was something that we shall have
to take a hand in before long."

"How did it happen?"

The others told Frank what they had seen. He listened thoughtfully and
remarked:

"Some fellow evidently had a grudge against me."

"It looks that way," responded Rowe.

"Who do you suppose it could be?"

Before Frank could answer there was a knock at the door and Baker
hurried in.

"Ah!" he said, in a tone of relief, "I see you've got through all right.
There was something I meant to tell you, Rowe, and I forgot all about
it."

"What was it?" asked Rowe.

"Why," answered Baker, "Browning came in, you remember, just before we
started in on Merriwell's essay?"

"Yes. I wondered what he wanted."

"Well, he came in to say how he had heard that Miller, the cigar dealer,
had it in for Frank, and that we'd better look out lest Miller take
advantage of the initiation to put up some dirty job. Of course I meant
to tell you about it before you took the neophyte to the street, but
Prof. Adler's interruption drove it clean out of my mind. I didn't think
of it until I was half through with Rattleton, who was the neophyte in
my party.

"I see you've got through to-night all right, but it'll be just as well
to look out----"

Baker stopped, for there was something in the expression of the faces
before him that aroused his curiosity.

"What's the matter?" he asked, suddenly.

They told him and he listened with growing indignation.

"It must have been Miller!" he exclaimed, at last. "Didn't any of you
fellows recognize him?"

Now that Miller's name was mentioned the students thought that they did
recognize him, but they could not be sure of it.

"We must find out about it!" said Baker, earnestly. "This thing has not
only endangered a student's life, but it has put all secret societies at
Yale in danger of their existence.

"If Frank had been seriously hurt the faculty would surely hear of it
and nothing would convince them that we weren't to blame for it. Miller
must be prevented from doing anything of this kind again."

"Probably he won't try it again," Frank remarked, "for if he saw how
successful his trick was, he must be convinced at this minute that I was
maimed for life, if not killed."

"Merriwell insists on going on with the initiation," said Rowe, "and I
have told him that, under the circumstances, we would erase all the
black marks against him."

"That's right," responded Baker, solemnly. "I think we'd better go on
with the initiation just as usual, and meantime some of us will look up
Miller and see what we can do about him."

"I rather wish," suggested Frank, "that you could wait on that until the
initiation is over, so that I can take a hand in it."

"It won't do to lose any time," returned Baker. "You go to bed,
Merriwell, for you'll probably find that you need rest; the rest of us
will go and have an interview with Miller."

As Frank was bound to obey, he made no further objection to this plan,
and accordingly went to his room. Baker and Rowe and the others
proceeded to the little shop where Miller did a cigar business.

They found it closed. Usually it was open until after midnight. By
patient inquiry they learned where Miller lived and they went there.
Miller was not at home.

The students rather wished that they could report the matter to the
police, but that would have brought the Pi Gamma affairs into public
notice and so they decided not to do so.

It might be said right here that during the rest of the week of
initiation they made vain efforts to get track of Miller. He had
disappeared.

An assistant was in charge of the shop, who pretended to be very much
mystified at his employer's absence. Whether he was telling the truth or
not could not be proved.

The main fact was clear; Miller had played his trick so successfully on
Frank that he was afraid of the consequences and was keeping out of
sight.

Frank was a little lame on the following day, but not sufficiently so to
be kept from going about as usual. The initiation, therefore, proceeded
during the week according to regular custom.

During the daytime Frank attended lectures and recitations with
regularity, and as he afterward said, did rather more studying than at
any other week during his college career.

Every evening there was a meeting of the "Pigs" in the room of some
senior member, where exercises of a more or less ridiculous nature,
similar to those already described, were had. Usually, too, there was an
excursion upon the street, but in these instances the neophyte was not
blindfolded.

Frank had had to do numberless small errands, and one evening was
devoted almost wholly to sending him from house to house to ask for a
piece of cake or a slice of bread.

His mentors always stood near to see that he followed out the
instructions literally, and in every case he complied.

Rattleton and Diamond suffered more from the experiences of these
evenings than they had on the occasion when their nerves were tested by
being driven blindfolded through the streets.

Diamond lost his temper several times and flatly refused to go on with
the initiation, whereupon the seniors would give him a host of black
marks.

He took the black marks as seriously as Frank did, and always became
very penitent.

"I suppose I can do what other fellows have had to do," he grumbled,
"but I can't see any sense in such tomfoolery."

Then the seniors would discuss the matter gravely, and decide that as
Diamond was a well-meaning fellow, they would let the black marks go
this time, so that he could start over with a clean score.

Before the week was over Frank began to see through the black-mark
farce, and he realized that it was a part of the scheme to make a
neophyte get as many black marks against himself as possible, and then
as a special favor allow him to start over again; nevertheless, he
continued to obey instructions as carefully as possible.

The most trying experience he had in this line was when the seniors
arranged matters with several young ladies who were acquaintances of
Frank's, so that they should meet him one after another, speak to him,
and try to engage him in conversation.

On each of these occasions a senior member of the order happened to be
near, and Frank was compelled to put his hand to his lips and shake his
head at every pretty girl who spoke to him.

Some of the girls understood the situation, and others were mystified.
The result was, therefore, that as every one of them appeared to be
indignant and offended, Frank accumulated a lot of trouble which it took
him several calls later to overcome in the way of making apologies and
explanations.

He never complained, however, and at last the final night of the
initiation arrived.

Up to this time not one of the neophytes had been near the society's
rooms. These were known to be on the top floor of a high building not
far from the college. No student not a member was ever admitted to them,
and what there was there was one of the mysteries of the society.

On this evening Frank and the other neophytes were again blindfolded and
dressed in long gowns that had hoods attached to them.

The hood was pulled over the neophyte's face. His hands were then bound
behind his back, and half a dozen mentors accompanied him on his trip.

On this occasion each of the mentors had a long horsewhip. They walked
at some distance from him and guided him in the way he should go by
touching his face on either side with the end of the whip; when Frank
felt the lash brush his right cheek he turned to the right, and _vice
versa_.

The mentors, as before, left him alone sometimes for half an hour at a
stretch. On each of these occasions he had no idea where he was or what
was being done.

As a matter of fact, warned by their previous experience, the mentors
kept within sight, but no effort was made to do Frank an injury.

The object of the long waits was to try the neophyte's nerves as much as
possible, so that he should be in proper condition for the final test.
The most trying of these consisted of the jumping from the bridge.

After having been driven this way and that until his head was completely
turned, Frank knew that he was approaching the railroad tracks, for he
heard the sounds of passing engines.

Presently two of the members stepped beside him in order to prevent him
from stumbling, for he was now upon the sleepers themselves.

They walked beside him thus for some distance until at length the
neophyte knew that he was on a bridge; he remembered the place then, or
thought he did.

Several railroads that pass through New Haven enter the street by
crossing the Quinnepiac River on a drawbridge.

Frank was certain that he was on this bridge, and for that matter his
guess was a correct one.

The students conducted him to the middle of the bridge, and after
halting him, told him to move forward very cautiously by shuffling his
feet along on the boards.

He did so, and presently was aware that his toes were projecting over
the edge of the bridge; that meant that the draw was open.

Just below him he could hear the gurgling of the water as it flowed past
the piles.

He stood there in silence for a few minutes, and then another party
approached, bringing with them Rattleton, Diamond, Henderson and Hodge.
The five neophytes were then together.

A whispered consultation took place among the seniors. Apparently they
were trying to prevent the neophytes from hearing them, but as a matter
of fact the neophytes heard every word, which was exactly what the
seniors intended.

The discussion was as to whether the tide had risen far enough, whether
the ropes were all right and would hold, and whether any of the
neophytes were too nervous to risk the plunge.

Of course the waiting neophytes understood it all. They realized that
they would be ordered to jump into the water. It was not a pleasant
thought.

There was not one of the juniors who would not have relished a dive if
he had had his eyes open and had been dressed for the occasion, but it
is quite another thing to stand bound and blindfolded above a rushing
current and leap out into the darkness.

At last it was decided that Rattleton should go over first. The seniors
talked in low tones and acted generally as if they were greatly excited
by the seriousness of the occasion.

Even Frank, who was perfectly cool through it all, wondered if
everything was so arranged that no accident could occur, and he felt a
little sorry for Rattleton, who was so excitable that the sudden shock
of jumping and landing in the water might produce unpleasant results.

With it all the seniors were very slow in their procedure and every
minute of suspense made it harder for the waiting neophytes.

At last Baker, in a low tone, reminded Rattleton of his promise to obey
orders, and then told him to jump.

Frank, of course, could not see a thing, but he heard a little grating
sound as Rattleton's feet left the planks. An instant later there was a
loud splash in the water.

"Pull him in quick!" exclaimed the voice of Rowe, "we don't want him to
catch cold. Hurry it up!"

"There, he's coming to the surface!" said another voice.

This remark was followed instantly by a loud coughing and sniffing.

"Poor Harry's got his mouth full of water," thought Frank. "I'll look
out for that when I go over."

With a great bustling about and a lot of excited exclamations the
seniors pulled Rattleton up and started him off as fast as he could go
toward the college.



CHAPTER XX.

THE LAST STAGE.


It was Diamond's turn next, and he went off the edge as promptly as
Rattleton had. The same sort of action followed his jump, and Frank was
surprised that Diamond appeared to have swallowed as much water as Harry
had.

"I should have thought Diamond would keep his mouth closed," thought
Frank.

Hodge's turn came next, and he, too, left the bridge promptly.

Henderson weakened when the command came to him. Instead of jumping he
drew back with a little gasp.

"Jump, neophyte!" exclaimed Baker, in a low but stern voice. "It's too
late for you to hope for any special consideration now. What others have
done you must do, too!"

"Great Scott!" muttered Henderson.

Frank heard his steps wavering upon the planks, and then, with a little
quivering cry, the frightened neophyte jumped over. The splash that
followed his jump was very loud, and it was followed by a lot more of
splashing.

"Thunder and Mars!" cried Baker, "the rope's broken."

"Do you suppose he can swim?" inquired the voice of Rowe, anxiously.

"How can he with his hands tied?"

"Then he'll drown."

"We mustn't let him!"

"Did one of you bring along that boat hook that I told you to bring?"

"Yes, here it is."

"Catch it into his clothes before he floats too far."

"Whew! how fast the tide runs!"

"Have you got him?"

"Yes. No! the hook's got loose."

"Try again, then, quick!"

"Good Lord! suppose he's become unconscious from fear, there'd be no
saving him then."

Frank ached to have his bandage removed and his hands unbound so that he
could go to the help of his companion.

"When it comes my turn to conduct an initiation I'll bet I'll fix things
so that there won't be any such accident as this," he thought. "It's
outrageous to put an unoffending fellow like Henderson through this sort
of trial and then let a slip occur."

It was a great temptation to Frank then to forcibly release his hands
and jump into the water after Henderson, but he reflected that after all
there were plenty of seniors present who had courage and who knew the
water well.

He decided that it was best to leave the matter in their hands, but he
listened anxiously for some sound of Henderson's voice to assure him
that all was well.

He did not hear Henderson's voice, but he did hear a great many more
exclamations of anxiety and doubt as the seniors seemed at last to get
the big hook securely fastened in the neophyte's clothing.

Then there was a lot of tugging and hauling, and after a time the sound
of retreating footsteps.

"I guess Henderson will come out of it all right," thought Frank, "for
it seems that he can walk."

"It's nearly time to close the draw," said Baker, hastily. "Now,
Neophyte Merriwell, it's your turn. Remember your instructions, and when
I give the word, jump."

Frank shrugged his shoulders. It was a slight action, but the seniors
could see it, for a big electric lamp upon one of the bridge pillars
lighted the scene brilliantly. It was very evident that Merriwell's
nerve had not been shaken.

"Be ready to pull him out at once, boys, and don't let the rope slip
this time!" said Baker. "One--two----"

Baker spoke very slowly, and although he appeared to be perfectly
unmoved, Frank's heart nevertheless was beating fast He wondered how far
he would fall before he struck the water.

He dreaded the chill that would come upon him suddenly, but he had no
fear of the result, and he was fully determined that he would do his
share in this as promptly and boldly as any man who had ever been
initiated.

"Three!" said Baker. "Jump!"

Frank leaped at once, far out from the bridge. He had his lips tightly
closed, and he held his breath to avoid taking in a lot of water.

To his immense surprise he did not touch the water at all. He could not
have fallen two feet before he was caught in strong arms and lifted back
to the bridge.

Nevertheless he heard a loud splash and a voice saying:

"Pull him out at once."

"Oh, come off, Rowe!" exclaimed Baker, in a loud tone of voice, "have
you forgotten that there's nobody to follow Merriwell?"

"Yes, that's so," was the reply, "I'd clean forgotten that."

"Well, I'll be hanged!" exclaimed Frank, "if this isn't a worse shock
than jumping into the river itself. Was that the way you treated the
rest of them?"

"Give him a black mark for talking," said Baker, with a hearty laugh.

Frank said "Humph!" but nothing else as the students hurried him across
the bridge back to land.

He was immensely amused by the experience, and on the way to the society
rooms he thought it all out, and came to a conclusion on the matter that
was very nearly correct.

At high tide the water in the Quinnepiac River comes almost to a level
with the bridge.

The boys always arrange their initiations in such a way that the bridge
test shall take place at high tide, and they choose an hour when no
trains are due to pass.

Then a small fee persuades the bridge keeper to open the draw. A big,
flat-bottomed boat is procured and made fast to the bridge just in front
of the open edge.

Half a dozen of the students get into this boat; some of them receive
the leaping neophyte in their arms and clap their hands over his mouth
so that he shall not cry out.

At the same time other students topple a big log into the water so as to
make a splash.

The rest of the farce is carried on as described, with the result of
making the waiting neophytes believe that their companion has had a cold
plunge into the river.

Time was when the students made the neophytes really jump into the
water, but it was found that many a student whose nerve was supposed to
be perfectly good, suffered such a shock from sudden contact with the
water that he became seriously ill, so that test was modified in the
manner described.

The last stage of the initiation that can be described was one of the
most ridiculous.

Frank was still blindfolded and bound. He was led, he knew not where,
but at last halted within a doorway. There his hands were untied and he
was told to kneel.

He did so, and found that he was at the foot of a flight of stairs.

"You are now going to ascend," said Baker, solemnly, "to the mystic
regions of Pi Gamma. It is becoming that a neophyte should enter there
in a modest attitude, therefore you will go on your hands and knees
until commanded to rise. Proceed."

Frank immediately began to climb the steps upon his hands and knees. The
moment he began to move his ears were fairly deafened with a hideous
uproar.

It seemed as if a tribe of demons had been let loose around him. There
was an infernal clatter, made, as he afterward learned, by beating upon
tin pans and shaking large squares of sheet iron.

There was a chorus of savage yells and shrieking. The air was foul with
the odor of firecrackers that were exploded close to his ears. Every
kind of barbaric noise that student ingenuity can invent was brought
into play.

"By the bones of Cæsar!" thought Frank. "If I hadn't been pretty well
seasoned by adventures before this, I believe I should be scared."

As it was, far from being scared, he shook with laughter as he slowly
and patiently climbed up the stairs. It seemed as if they would never
end.

It was a winding stairway, and went from the ground clear to the top of
the high building.

Later he learned that this was a back stairway built expressly for the
students, whose society rooms were in the top of the building.

It seemed to him as if he had climbed higher than the top of the
Washington monument when at last he found no steps in front of him, and
the diabolical racket ceased as suddenly as it had begun.

He was told to rise, and he did so with a sigh of relief. He was then
led two or three paces and ordered to sit down.

He did so, and felt that he was in something like a swing. There were
chains at each side of him, holding the seat. He was told to grasp these
chains tightly, and hang on, lest he be dropped the entire distance to
the ground.

"That would be a pretty long fall," thought Frank, who at the moment
really believed that there was a well beneath him that extended clear to
the bottom of the building; so he gripped the chains and heard the voice
of Baker crying:

"All ready, send him up."

"I'd like to know how much farther up I can go," thought Frank.

He heard the creaking of a windlass and knew that he was rising. As he
went up his seat swung back and forth a little, making him feel all the
more how important it was that he should hang on securely.

This journey was as long, and in one sense as trying as the climb
upstairs had been. There was no noise in connection with it, except the
constant creaking of the windlass.

Blindfolded as he was, it really seemed as if he had been hauled up at
least a hundred feet when at last the creaking ceased and he was lifted
from his seat.

Then he was laid upon an inclined plane, feet downward. It seemed steep,
too, and when his fingers accidentally touched the little rail at the
side he noticed that it was well greased.

He did not need to be told then what was to happen, for he knew that he
would be sent whizzing down this plane to land--somewhere.

"Is the tank all ready?" asked somebody, who was holding Frank by the
shoulders and thus keeping him from sliding down.

"Yes," came a muffled voice that seemed far, far below. "Let him go!"

The hands on Frank's shoulders were released, and he promptly began to
rush down the plane.

In less than a second his feet had come in contact with a mattress, and
as the force of his fall brought him to an upright position, a glass of
water was flung into his face.

At the same instant the bandage was torn from his eyes, the hood raised,
and he found himself standing in a well-lighted room surrounded by a
group of laughing and interested seniors.

He turned with an expression of the utmost amazement to the plane down
which he had slid. He saw that the distance up which he had been slowly
raised by the windlass was less than ten feet.



CHAPTER XXI.

MAKING THINGS INTERESTING FOR MILLER.


"It's funny," remarked Frank, with a smile, "how far a man seems to be
going when his eyes are shut."

There was a chorus of laughter at this, in which Rattleton and the other
neophytes, who were present, joined.

Order was quickly restored by Baker, the president, who announced that
there was yet one more step in the initiation to be taken. What this
step was cannot be described here.

It must be remembered that the order of Pi Gamma is a secret society,
and every member of it is sworn to keep its secrets sacredly. Among the
things that they are not allowed to tell are the very tests which have
already been narrated, but such secrets are really common property in
New Haven.

So much of the initiations are conducted upon the public streets and in
a public manner that there has been no violation of the rules of the
order in telling of Frank Merriwell's experience.

What followed in the rooms of the society, however, must be omitted out
of respect to the serious character of the proceedings and the fact that
the members of the order regard them all as of considerable importance.

It is proper to say that no further tests were required of the
candidates; they had passed their week's ordeal successfully, and the
other proceedings were conducted with their eyes open.

The end of it all was conducted with vociferous cheering on the part of
the old members of Pi Gamma, and each of the new members came in for a
lot of hearty handshaking and congratulations. Then the whole affair
wound up with a supper in the society's largest room.

At this there were not only the seniors who had initiated the first
block of juniors, but also a number of graduates who had paid a visit to
New Haven for the sole purpose of taking some part in an initiation
ceremony.

Two or three college instructors, who had been members during their
student days, were present, and no one there appeared to enjoy the
occasion more than did Prof. Adler, the one who had warned the boys that
they must conduct their initiation more quietly as long as it took place
in a college room.

On such an occasion as that the students and professors are pretty much
on the same terms. The professors, to be sure, are addressed by their
titles, and spoken to respectfully, but there is none of the restraint
of the classroom, and no fear whatever that any of the professors
present will report unpleasant things to other members of the faculty.

The supper was a good one, and naturally enough it was thoroughly
enjoyed by the new members, the more so as a part of their trial during
the week of initiation was the fact that they had been compelled to
limit their eating to the plainest articles of food.

All pies and cakes had been forbidden, and in fact nothing that could be
called a luxury was allowed to pass their lips. Those who smoked had
been deprived of that habit also.

Now the seniors who had been the most severe in compelling an obedience
to these rules fairly overloaded their new associates with attention.

They made a point of heaping the junior's plates with more good things
than they could possibly eat, and a plentiful supply of cigars and
tobacco was placed before them.

After the eating was finished speeches were in order. Pres. Baker called
upon one after another of the older members, and eventually each one of
the new members had to make remarks.

Prof. Adler spoke briefly but with undoubted sincerity of the pleasure
it gave him to be associated with the students' society in this way,
declaring it as his belief that they were helpful to the college and
that it was a mistake to try to suppress them.

This from a member of the faculty was especially interesting to the
boys, and it brought out thunders of applause.

The younger members got through their speeches very well, being greeted
with loud cheers whether they said anything of consequence or not.

As was to be expected, Rattleton twisted his words hind side forward a
good many times, and at last sat down, blushing and feeling that he had
never made such a fool of himself.

The older members apparently thought differently, for they applauded
long and heartily until the abashed student had to rise and bow.

Frank spoke easily and quietly. He made no attempt at oratorical
effects, but declared that he felt it an honor to be a member of Pi
Gamma, and assured them that he should look forward to the time when he
could get even for the miseries he had endured for a week in inflicting
the same tortures upon another fellow.

This was the spirit that the members appreciated best, and of course
they cheered tremendously.

The most effective part of Frank's speech, however, and the one that
created the greatest interest, was not applauded at all.

"Perhaps you don't all know it," he said, "but some of you will remember
that there was an incident connected with my initiation that was not on
the programme."

The room became very quiet. All the seniors had been informed of
Miller's attempt to do Frank an injury, and the only ones there who did
not know it were the graduates and a few members of the faculty.

"I think my friends know me well enough," Frank continued, "to believe
me when I say that I haven't the slightest desire to be revenged upon
the man who put me in such danger of my life. It was a low-down,
dastardly trick and the work of a coward."

There was a low murmur of assent at this.

"A man who would do such a thing as that," Frank went on, "is really
unworthy the contempt of a Yale student and so from one standpoint it
might be well enough to let the matter drop.

"On the other hand, we are bound to consider the possibility of such a
thing happening again. If the man who did the trick escapes without any
sort of punishment, he may attempt it again, or he may boast of it to
some companion as cowardly and mean as himself, and the result may be
that at some future time a student may be treated in a similar way and
not have the luck to come out of it as well as I did."

Frank paused a moment, for the deathly silence with which his hearers
listened was a little embarrassing.

"I have said that I didn't care for revenge," he said, in a moment, "but
now that I am a full-fledged member of Pi Gamma, I feel that I have a
right to look at it as an offense against the society rather than
against me as an individual."

"Right!" exclaimed one of the seniors, in a low tone. Others nodded
approval.

"I think it would be dignified and proper," Frank continued, "for the
society to take some kind of action on the matter, and if it is
allowable I should like to make a suggestion."

"Go ahead," said Baker, promptly; "there is no member from whom a
suggestion on this matter would be more fitting. What do you think we
should do?"

"I'm not thinking," Frank answered, "of passing any vote to do one thing
or another, but it strikes me that in a perfectly harmless way we can
take the law into our own hands a bit and fix Miller, for there's no
doubt that he was the guilty one, so that he will never molest a student
again as long as he lives.

"You see," and he smiled good-humoredly, "I'm fresh from my experience
with the tortures of Pi Gamma."

All the listeners smiled broadly.

"It is one thing," he added, "to endure these tortures with a feeling
that you are in the hands of your friends, but quite another, I should
think, to go through such an ordeal with a feeling that the fiends and
demons surrounding you are hostile.

"I can tell you frankly that for my own part, during the worst parts of
the initiation, I felt always that you were friends of mine and that I
was perfectly safe to trust myself in your hands no matter what
extravagant things you seemed to be doing.

"I think that if Miller should be put through some such proceeding it
would--well, it would likely tear what little nerve he has into
tatters."

Frank hesitated a moment and then sat down. The room was perfectly still
while the members of the order looked at one another doubtfully.

"I don't quite see," remarked Baker, presently, "how the society of Pi
Gamma can put a man who is not a student through an initiation."

"Oh, I didn't mean to suggest that," responded Frank, hastily, but
without rising. "I was only thinking that the society has such means for
terrifying a man that it ought to be easy for us to devise a plan for
giving Miller a good scare."

"Yes, that's the scheme!" exclaimed Rowe, earnestly. "I wouldn't favor
putting him through anything like the farce with which we treat
neophytes, but it does seem to me that we might give him a dose in
earnest somehow."

Other members gave their assent to this suggestion and then somebody
asked:

"But what can you do about it if you can't find Miller?"

"That's a damper!" responded Rowe, gloomily. "I understand that he's
skipped."

"He's come back," said another senior.

"So?"

All eyes were turned upon the speaker.

"I saw him in his shop on my way to the rooms this evening," said the
senior.

"Then he's got over his scare. Probably he may have heard that Merriwell
wasn't seriously injured and so thinks the thing's blown over."

"We'll show him the contrary!" growled Baker.

"But how shall we do it?"

After a moment of thought Baker rose and said:

"I think as Merriwell has suggested that it is just as well that the
society should not pass any vote on this matter, but with your
permission I'll appoint a committee to take the matter in charge.

"They can meet after the ceremonies of this evening are over and decide
what to do about it. It is probably too late to undertake anything
to-night."

"Miller keeps open until after midnight," somebody suggested.

"Yes, but it's after midnight now and we don't want to act without being
thoroughly prepared. Unless there is some objection I will appoint the
five new members with Rowe and myself to act as a committee to consider
this matter and take such steps as we think best."

There was no objection to this and so the matter was considered settled,
but the interest of the students in it was so great that they had little
desire to talk of other matters, and before long the meeting adjourned
for the night and the members of the committee assembled in one of the
smaller rooms to lay plans for Miller's punishment.



CHAPTER XXII.

MILLER'S NERVES.


There is no need to give an account of the long discussion held by the
committee; what they did in the matter is of more importance.

A good many wild plans were suggested; hot-headed Rattleton was in favor
of severe measures that would have given Miller pain if they had not
produced serious injuries.

Jack Diamond, too, who had lost his temper more than once in the course
of his initiation, argued in favor of giving Miller a punishment
something like a flogging at the stake.

Frank resolutely sat down on all propositions of this kind.

"I don't care to have any hand in it," he said, "if it comes to taking
this man when he's only one against a good many and giving him a
drubbing. If that was the question I'd tackle him single-handed and give
him a chance to defend himself.

"What we want to do is to give him an experience that he won't forget as
soon as he might a licking."

It took some argument for Frank to bring his loyal friends around to his
view of the case, and they were not fully satisfied until he himself had
mapped out a plan that promised good sport and success.

In accordance with this plan Frank did not leave his room on the
following day. There were lectures and recitations to be attended to,
but he cut them and did not even show his face at the window.

Meantime the other fellows were busy in making preparations for the
serious work of the night.

Most of these preparations were done in one of the rooms of the society,
but a little took place elsewhere; for example Baker and Diamond
arranged to meet as if by accident in front of Miller's cigar store.

They chose an hour when Miller was certain to be behind the counter. He
was there, and after the two students had said good-morning, as if they
had just met for the first time during the day, Baker remarked, in a
loud voice:

"I got up so late this morning that I had to run to lectures after
breakfast without a smoke and I haven't had time for one since. I guess
I'll burn a cigar. Will you join me?"

"Thanks," responded Diamond, in the same tone, "I will."

Accordingly they entered the store and Baker called for cigars. Miller
set a couple of boxes on the counter while the students made their
selection.

"I never smoked this brand," remarked Baker, "but it looks pretty good."

"It'll do if it will burn," responded Diamond, biting off the end and
turning to the alcohol lamp for a light.

"How's Merriwell getting on?" asked Baker, as he handed out a bill for
Miller to change.

Diamond's back was toward the cigar dealer, but he was facing a mirror,
and in it could keep careful watch of Miller's face. Meantime, Baker was
studying Miller also.

The cigar dealer's face was very grave, and if any one not interested in
the matter that was weighing upon the students' minds had been present,
he would probably have noticed nothing.

Both students, however, were convinced that Miller was greatly
interested in the question and anxious for the answer.

Diamond drew a long breath.

"He's in a mighty bad way," he said.

"Why!" exclaimed Baker in surprise, "I thought the doctor reported that
he was doing very well?"

"You forget," said Diamond, "that the doctor always said that he was
doing very well under the circumstances."

"Oh! and I suppose that under the circumstances meant that the situation
was very serious, eh?"

"Serious! Why, man alive, you don't seem to realize that Merriwell
narrowly escaped death outright!"

"Huh! I hadn't thought it was as bad as that."

"Well it was!" continued Diamond, and it seemed to take him a long while
to get his cigar lighted, while Baker was slowly counting his change.

Miller was fussing with the cigar boxes with his head bent down.

"If Merriwell's muscles hadn't been as tough as steel," continued
Diamond, "he would have croaked before this."

"Oh, no! Oh, no!" returned Baker, as if incredulous. "I'm sure you're
exaggerating the matter, Diamond, on account of your interest in your
friend."

"Exaggerate nothing!" retorted Diamond, indignantly. "I guess I've spent
hours enough with Merriwell to know his condition."

"And you say he's worse this morning?"

"Decidedly! The critical stage in his trouble has come on and the doctor
has cleared the students out of his room. That was why I was out for a
walk instead of watching by his bedside. I'm going back there now, for I
can't bear the thought of being so far away."

"Well, it would be simply awful," remarked Baker, with long breath, "if
he should----"

"Why don't you say die and have it out!" blurted Diamond. "That's what
he's in danger of, poor chap."

"Well, if he should die," added Baker, "there ought to be a lot of
trouble for the chap who pushed him in front of the car."

"Ah! if we only knew who that was!" said Diamond.

"I suppose that will always be a mystery," said Baker, and with this
both left the shop.

"The miserable scoundrel!" exclaimed Diamond, under his breath, as soon
as they were well outside. "There isn't any doubt that he was the fellow
that did it."

"Of course there isn't," responded Baker, "but what makes you so
emphatic in saying so now?"

"Why this! If Miller had had a spark of manhood in him he would have
made some inquiry about Merriwell while we were talking about him. The
very fact that he kept his mouth shut showed that he was afraid to speak
for fear of giving himself away."

"Oh, he's the one, sure enough," Baker declared, "and I don't think
there's any doubt that we've given him a good bit of fright for a
starter. Now if he doesn't skip the town----"

"Rattleton and the others will look out for that," interrupted Diamond.

At that moment they saw Hodge idling in a doorway across the street and
they knew that Rattleton must be loafing in a similar way in some other
spot.

These two had been detailed to keep watch of Miller, dog his footsteps
wherever he went, and if he made any attempt to leave town, keep him
back by force if necessary.

Miller did not attempt to leave town. Probably he was too cautious to do
so, for that might have been the means of bringing suspicion upon him.

Baker and Diamond in his shop had declared that the attack on Merriwell
would probably remain a mystery; therefore it is likely that Miller
reasoned that it would be safer for him to stay where he was as if he
were entirely ignorant of the whole matter.

Although Rattleton and Hodge kept their watch on him faithfully
throughout the day, no other of the students interested in the case went
near him until early in the evening.

Then Rowe and Henderson dropped in. Rowe went in first and bought a box
of pipe tobacco. While he was waiting for his change Henderson came in
with a very gloomy face.

He nodded silently to Rowe, laid a coin on the counter and asked for a
cigar.

"Why! Henderson," exclaimed Rowe, jocosely, "what's gone wrong with you?
Has the faculty suspended you, or is it simply stomach ache?"

"Oh! don't joke about it!" responded Henderson, dismally.

"Joke about what?"

"Haven't you heard?" asked Henderson, in the same melancholy tone.

"Heard what?"

"About Merriwell."

"No. That is, nothing since morning. Has he----"

"Yes. He's gone!"

The two students looked at each other as if in great consternation. Rowe
drew a long breath and remarked:

"Great Scott! that's awful."

Henderson sighed too, and both went out together without another word.
Then they got around the nearest corner and burst into a perfect fit of
laughter.

"Say! but he looked as if he'd seen a ghost," chuckled Henderson.

"Gee whiz!" returned Rowe, "but he was blue. How will he look to-night,
eh?"

"I'm just burning up to have the fun begin," answered Henderson, "and we
shall have to wait until midnight."

"Yes, later than that if he shuts up at the usual late hour, but perhaps
he'll start home earlier."

"I shouldn't wonder," remarked Henderson, "if this should work on his
nerves through the evening and cause him to try to skip the town."

"We shan't lose him," returned Rowe, in a satisfied tone, "and the only
thing we've got to do now is to kill time until the hour comes for
business. Let's play billiards."

Accordingly they went to a billiard hall and knocked the balls around
until they were tired of walking about the tables. For the others
interested, as well as those, the time passed slowly.

A number of students, including Merriwell, who were to take part in this
affair, assembled at the society rooms about the middle of the evening,
thinking that possibly Miller might take fright and shut up his shop
earlier, but the hours passed and Miller still stuck to his counter.

Hodge and Rattleton, who, now that it was dark, stood nearer to the
cigar store, could see that Miller was growing nervous as the time
passed.

He paced restlessly up and down back of his counter and occasionally
shifted the position of boxes and did other things to indicate that he
was suffering from extreme anxiety.

When customers came in he greeted them gruffly and had little to say,
whereas his usual custom was to talk freely.

After eleven o'clock, when the store happened to be free from customers
for a moment, the boys saw him empty his cash drawer into his pockets
and also take what money there was in his safe and stow that in his
clothes, too.

From that time on he put whatever money came in into his pockets instead
of into the drawer. They judged from this that he had made up his mind
that he must leave town, and that he was taking all the money that he
could lay his hands on with him.

Finally, a little before midnight, he seemed to feel that he could stand
the strain no longer, and prepared to shut up the shop.

He turned the lights down hastily, as if he feared that some customer
might enter and detain him longer. He went out, locked the door behind
him, and started rapidly toward his lodgings.

He lived at some distance from his shop, and had to pass through a long,
quiet street to get there. Even in the daytime few persons were usually
stirring upon this street, and at this hour it was entirely deserted.

Miller went along part of the time with his head down, and part of the
time turning his eyes in every direction.

He was just approaching an intersection with another street when two
figures in long, black robes with hoods drawn over their heads seemed to
rise from the ground in front of him.

As a matter of fact, they had simply stepped from behind a tree, but
Miller's mind was in no condition to take things as they were.

He gasped with fright the minute he saw them, stopped short and then
tried to run back. The figures leaped after him, and clutched him by the
arms, while one clapped a hand over his mouth. "It'll be safer for you,"
said one of them, sternly, "to make no resistance, for if you do you'll
be beaten to a pulp in less than no time."

Miller chattered with fear. In spite of this threat he might have tried
to break away, but he saw other figures apparently rising from the
ground.

He was quickly surrounded by not less than a dozen, all in black cloaks
and hoods. He could not see the faces of any of them clearly.



CHAPTER XXIII.

TRIED BY THE "PIGS."


If Miller had not been guilty of the assault upon Frank, he might
possibly have had faith that no Yale student would do him a serious
injury, though that is doubtful, for he had the idea which many ignorant
people hold that students are nothing short of young barbarians when
they get to playing pranks.

As it was, he was fully convinced that he was in for the most horrible
tortures, even if he were permitted to escape with his life.

He was in such an agony of fear that if he could have done so he would
have disregarded the threats of the leader and yelled at the top of his
lungs, but his very fear prevented this, to say nothing of the fact that
one of the students kept his hand ready to close over Miller's mouth.

The cigar dealer was so paralyzed with terror that he could only
chatter. A few disjointed words came out which seemed to be to the
effect that he hadn't done it purposely.

If the students had needed any further proof that he was the guilty
party, this would have settled it.

They were sufficiently satisfied, however, before they began their
operations, and this partial admission merely stimulated them to more
active work.

The dozen or so who had come out in hoods to capture the man, surrounded
him and walked him rapidly toward the building in which the Pi Gamma had
its rooms.

In so doing they passed more than one person on the streets, but no more
than a little curious attention was paid to them.

Whoever saw them supposed that some process in a secret society
initiation was going on, and if they caught sight of the unhooded figure
in the middle of the group, they undoubtedly supposed that it was a
neophyte.

Miller longed undoubtedly to cry for help whenever the party met
anybody, but with a student clinging to each arm and hands raised to
choke his voice, he dared not so much as whisper.

So at length he was brought without interruption to the back entrance of
the building, where he was hustled into the doorway and blindfolded.
There, strangely enough, he found his tongue for a moment.

"You fellers let me alone, or you'll all go to jail for it," he
muttered.

A chorus of hoarse, long-drawn "ahs!" was the answer to this.

The outer door was closed then, and Miller was told to kneel.

"I won't do it!" he protested. "I'm not going to have my head struck off
with an ax----"

"Kneel, you scoundrel!" cried the voice of Baker, who was the leader of
the party.

They did not wait for him to kneel, but pushed him to his knees. He
found himself as the neophytes did, at the bottom of a stairway; then
they told him to mount, and prodded him in the back and legs to make him
start on.

Miller started, for he could not help himself. His journey upward then
was like that described in the case of Frank during his initiation.

What he felt cannot be described, for Miller, so far as is known, never
told anybody about it.

He arrived at the top of the long, winding flight of stairs in a state
of almost complete collapse. The noise had been more deafening and
hideous than ever had been endured by any neophyte.

The whole force of the Pi Gamma were out to make the thing a success,
and every kind of racket that ingenuity could devise was added to the
usual programme.

When at last Miller found that there were no other steps ahead of him to
be climbed, he stumbled forward, face downward, and lay upon the floor
gasping and groaning.

The noise suddenly ceased, for Baker had held up his hand and the
students who understood the programme obeyed his silent command
immediately.

"The mystic gates have been passed," remarked Baker, in a solemn tone.
"It is understood that the person who has thus entered within the circle
of Pi Gamma is not a member and that he has been permitted to come here
simply that he may defend his own life.

"We will, therefore, proceed to try him at once. Set the prisoner on his
feet."

A couple of students lifted Miller up, and obeying another sign from
Baker, took the bandage from his eyes.

Miller looked around then with a stare of fright and surprise. The
hooded figures had disappeared and in their places were students dressed
just as he was accustomed to seeing them.

The room was a large one, but what it contained besides the students he
was too frightened to notice. His knees were shaking and his lips
quivered, although in the presence of these rather familiar faces he
tried to pull himself together and look cool.

"Miller," said Baker, sternly, standing squarely in front of him, "you
are in a very serious situation, and it is necessary for your safety
that you should have as good control of yourself as possible. We intend
to give you every chance for your life."

"I ain't done nothing!" muttered Miller.

"That will be found out later," was the stern reply; "meantime you're in
no condition to defend yourself. We'll give you a bracer so that you may
be able to understand what goes on and take part in it the best way you
know how."

With this Baker nodded to a senior, who immediately came forward with a
glass filled with some kind of liquor.

"Drink this," said Baker.

He held it out to Miller, who took it with a trembling hand.

"You're going to poison me," he stammered.

"In the presence of all these witnesses?" returned Baker, sharply.
"Hardly. The stuff will not harm you; if you don't drink it you'll be
worse off."

Miller still hesitated. He looked doubtfully at the liquor, smelled of
it and then stared helplessly at the faces around him.

Baker raised his hand. At the signal every student seized a club of some
kind and got in a circle around Miller, holding the clubs up.

"We don't want any nonsense about this," said Baker then. "You can
either drink that dose now or the clubs will fall."

The instant he had spoken every student brought his club down hard upon
the floor close to Miller's feet. The man fairly danced in an agony of
fear, and a part of the liquor fell from the glass.

"Drink!" thundered Baker.

The cigar dealer then put the glass to his lips and poured it down with
one gulp. Baker nodded in a satisfied way.

"Now put him in the prisoner's chair!" he said.

Two of the students then led Miller trembling and more than half
convinced that he had taken deadly poison, to the swing in which the
neophytes had been drawn up to the ceiling.

Miller was seated in the chains and told to grip the chain and then the
windlass was worked, and he was raised three or four feet from the
floor.

The students grouped themselves in front of him, seated on chairs; Baker
alone remained standing.

It seemed to Miller then as if everybody moved very slowly. He thought
he could count a hundred between every two words that were uttered.
Before many minutes had passed it seemed to him as if he had been a year
in this place.

This sensation on his part was due to the liquor he had drunk. It was a
harmless preparation of hasheesh, a well-known Indian drug that, taken
in sufficient quantities, is poisonous, but in small doses produces
simply a half dream-like effect upon the mind that causes the time to
seem intolerably long.

It is a dangerous drug to fool with, but the preparation of it in this
instance had been made by a senior who was the best student in college
in the department of chemistry.

He knew just how to put it together so that the effect on Miller's brain
would not endure for more than two hours and would leave him entirely
uninjured. As he expressed it:

"It won't do him half as much harm as an ordinary jag, and he'll
remember everything that occurs during the time that he's drugged, and
everything that's done will impress him most seriously."

Taking his fear and the influence of the drug together, therefore,
Miller was in very ripe condition for the trial that then took place.

It was really very brief, for knowing that the time was passing slowly
to the victim, the students hurried through the proceeding in order to
get more quickly to the climax.

"Miller," said Baker, sternly, "you are accused of pushing Frank
Merriwell in front of a moving car. What have you to say for yourself?"

"I--I--I----" stammered Miller, very slowly.

"If you're going to tell the truth," interrupted Baker, "you can take
less time about it. We know the facts, for you were seen by four of us
and recognized. We should have let the matter pass if it hadn't resulted
fatally."

"I didn't go for to do any real harm," answered Miller, the perspiration
breaking out upon his face.

"But you admit that you did do it?"

"I just thought I'd give him a scare."

"Very well, gentlemen," said Baker, calmly, "what's your verdict?"

"Guilty!" thundered the students in chorus.

Miller trembled so that the chains to which he was clinging rattled.

"See here," he said, feebly, "I don't see how it could be fatal, for I
heard that Frank Merriwell was seen around on the streets day before
yesterday."

"Then you doubt, do you, that your cowardly trick has proved fatal?"

"How could it," asked Miller, "if he was going around just as usual? I
think this is some infernal trick of you students----"

"You'd better speak respectfully."

"Well," stammered Miller, "I don't want to cause no offense, but you
told me I could defend myself, and I ain't going to believe that Frank
Merriwell was seriously hurt. I'm sorry for it if he was, and I won't do
it again."

"Take him down and let him see the body of his victim!" said Baker, in a
solemn tone.

Miller started so when he heard this that he almost fell out of the
chain loop. The windlass creaked, and he was set down on the floor.

Baker's command had set his fears going afresh, and he trembled so that
he could hardly stand upright. A couple of students caught him by the
arms and pushed rather than led him to one of the small rooms of the
order.

A door was opened and Miller was forced inside. He gave a loud gasp when
he entered, fell upon his knees, and beat his hands helplessly upon the
floor.



CHAPTER XXIV.

HUMPERDINK TO THE RESCUE.


What Miller saw was this:

A room lighted by one solitary candle and rendered more gloomy by heavy
curtains hanging before the windows; a cot bed was in the middle, and
upon it was a body all covered over with the exception of the face, and
the face above it was that of Frank Merriwell.

It need hardly be said here that Frank was as much alive at that moment
as he had ever been in his life, but his face had been covered with
chalk so as to resemble that of a dead man.

Miller was thoroughly convinced that Frank was dead, and he was not too
frightened to realize that he had admitted having been the cause of it.

"Oh! what shall I do? What shall I do?" he groaned. "I never meant that
it should be as bad as this!"

"It isn't a question of what you shall do," remarked Baker, sternly.

The other students had come into the room and now stood around, looking
on solemnly. Not one of them so much as winked at another for fear that
the spectacle would lose some of its force upon the mind of the
frightened victim.

"The point is," continued Baker, "that you are not in a position to do
anything; the question is, what shall we do?"

"He ought to have his head chopped off where he is!" muttered Bruce
Browning, gruffly.

Miller started and edged away from the spot where he was kneeling.

"No!" exclaimed Baker, sternly; "that would be too easy; I should rather
think that it would be better to boil him in a vat!"

"Or might burn him alive out on the marshes!" said another.

"I think a good straight forward hanging is the best thing for him!"
muttered Jack Diamond.

"Oh, for Heaven's sake, gentlemen!" groaned Miller, "don't let it be
to-night. Give me a chance to make up for this!"

"How can you make up for it?" retorted Baker. "Do you know any way of
restoring a dead person to life?"

"No, I don't, but I never would have gone to do it if I'd supposed that
it would be serious, so help me, I never would!"

"I don't think that that makes any difference."

At this moment there was a stir in the room back of the students. Baker
turned inquiringly.

One of the students who had really been present all the time now
pretended to be coming in from the outside in a hurry.

"Prof. Humperdink," said this student, "is on the way, and will be here
in a minute or two."

"Ah!" responded Baker, in a tone of relief, "perhaps then that may make
things better, for, of course, while we are bound to punish this man
Miller, we want Merriwell restored to life if such a thing can be done."

"Humperdink can do it if anybody can!" said Rowe.

"Do you mean to say, gentlemen," gasped Miller, "that there's a chance
that Merriwell may be restored?"

"We can't tell until Humperdink comes," responded Baker, solemnly.
"Haven't you ever heard of Humperdink?"

"I don't think he buys his cigars at my store," responded Miller.

"No, he probably doesn't," responded Baker, significantly. "Humperdink
doesn't indulge in ordinary tobacco; he smokes the root of snake plants
found in the wilds of Africa. One whiff of it for an ordinary man is
fatal."

Miller stared in a way that showed he believed every word. He was not in
a condition to doubt anything that was told to him.

That is one of the effects of hasheesh, but even without the drug it is
more than likely that he would have believed everything said to him on
this occasion.

"Humperdink," continued Baker, "knows all the mysteries of nature. He
has experimented with all poisons, and eats them as readily as the rest
of us do ordinary food. In the old days he would have been called a
magician. Really he's a very great scientist, and if there's any
possible hope for Merriwell he'll know it. Ah! here he is."

At the moment when Miller had been taken into the room where Merriwell
lay apparently dead, another student had slipped into the dressing-room
of the little theatre, which was a part of the society's quarters, and
had put on a long gown, white wig and beard, and concealed his eyes with
dark glasses.

He now came tottering feebly across the room toward the students.

"What have ye here?" he asked in a high, cracked voice.

"One of the students has died, professor," responded Baker, in a tone of
deep respect, "and the circumstances were so peculiar----"

"Dead, eh?" returned the "professor," stopping short in his walk, "then
I can't do anything for him."

He turned about as if he would go away.

"Oh! don't give it up!" screamed Miller, "come in and give him something
to bring him back to life; do it, I beg you, for my sake!"

"Your sake," sneered the "professor," "you are not worth the turn of a
thumb!"

"Oh, but you don't know how much depends on it!" cried Miller.

"I don't know!" fairly shouted the professor. "I know everything! I know
that you caused that young man's death; I know that you pushed him in
front of a moving car; I know that you didn't mean to kill him, but that
you would be glad to do so if you could do it safely; I know that you're
a cold-hearted wretch!"

Miller again beat his hands upon the floor helplessly.

"Yes! Yes!" he groaned, "I'm all that, but I don't want him to die! Do
save him if you can, professor."

"It's this way, professor," said Baker, quietly. "This man groveling on
the floor is not worth the turn of a thumb, but the rest of us are very
fond of Merriwell, and would like to have him restored to life if such a
thing can be done.

"Do it for our sakes, and the sake of science, professor."

"Well," grumbled the "professor," after hesitating a moment, "for the
sake of science I'll take a look at him. The rest of you clear out."

He turned slowly into the dark room, while the rest of the students
withdrew, taking Miller with them; then a long ten minutes passed.

Meantime, acting according to their former programme, the students in
the main room discussed various plans for the punishment of Miller.

The victim of their fearful proceeding squatted on the floor, rocking
his body back and forth, moaning and wringing his hands.

At last "Prof." Humperdink appeared in the doorway and started slowly
across the room. Miller jumped to his feet, ran to him, and caught him
by his robe.

"Tell me," he cried, frantically, "will he recover?"

"Bah! don't touch me!" returned the "professor," giving the cigar dealer
a vigorous kick.

Miller fell over on his side, while the "professor" went slowly out of
the room.

"Why don't you ask him," said Browning, anxiously turning to Baker, "has
he succeeded or failed?"

"He must have failed," responded Baker, sadly, "or he would have said
something about it. We'll take the prisoner in there again and decide
what to do with him."

By this time Miller was a complete wreck. He could not possibly stand
upon his feet, and students picked him up to carry him to the darkened
room.

Just then the door of that room opened again, and Frank appeared in the
doorway.

He had rubbed some of the chalk off his face so that he appeared more
natural than before, but he leaned against the doorpost as if weak.

"Well, fellows," he said, feebly, "what's the matter?"

The students set up a great shout, ran to Merriwell, grasping his hand
and congratulating him warmly. Frank appeared to be dazed by the
proceeding.

"What's the matter, anyway?" he asked. "What am I here for in this
condition?"

"You've been dead!" shouted the students, in chorus.

"Dead, is it?"

"Yes, and Prof. Humperdink has restored you to life."

Frank looked as if he did not believe it.

"This is some joke," he said.

"Joke? Why, we thought you were going to tell us what happened in the
other world."

"I'm not going to tell anything until I understand this!" he retorted.
"Hello, there's Miller."

During this Miller had been half lying in a chair where the students had
dropped him at sight of Frank. He was staring in speechless astonishment
at the figure in the doorway.

The probability is that he was still so frightened that he believed that
Frank had not really come back to life, but that it was his ghost that
was speaking.

"What's Miller doing in the Pi Gamma rooms!" exclaimed Frank, starting
toward him. "He's the fellow that pushed me under the car! Did you bring
him up here for me to give him a thrashing?"

This was said in such a perfectly natural tone, and Frank appeared to be
so much in earnest, that Miller was restored to a good deal of his
ordinary condition.

He jumped up from the chair, and tried to make for the door; of course,
he was caught before he could get out.

Then while he was held there, Baker pretended to explain to Frank that
death had taken place and that Humperdink had restored him by some
secret scientific process.

"We had Miller here," he concluded, "so that we might punish him for
causing your death."

Frank listened very gravely.

"Well," he said, "the main thing is that I'm alive again. As for you,
Miller, you deserve to be hanged just as much as if you had succeeded in
what you tried to do, but I'm so much alive again that I'm inclined to
beg the boys to let you off."

"Oh, don't let them hurt me, Mr. Merriwell!" groaned Miller. "On my life
I didn't mean to do you any harm, and I'll never do anything wrong again
as long as I live."

"I think it's safe enough to take his word for that," said Frank,
turning to the others.

They looked a little doubtful, but Baker answered for them.

"Well, Merriwell is the most interested party, and what he says ought to
go. You may get out, Miller, but remember if there is ever any sign of
you attempting dirty work with a student again, we'll be after you, and
next time we won't give you any chance for a trial, either."

"I'll behave myself for the future, I will, so help me!" stammered
Miller, as he made for the open door.

After he had been seen well out of the building the students indulged in
an uproarious laugh at the success of their plan, and all declared that
it was a much better way of getting even with the cigar dealer than any
of the plans suggested by the other students.

They had another supper on the spot to celebrate the event, and they
were not surprised a day or two later to learn that Miller had disposed
of his cigar business and left New Haven forever.



CHAPTER XXV.

FRANK HAS A VISITOR.


After the affair with Miller matters went along quietly for some time
with Frank.

He turned to his studies with a will, paying particular attention to
mathematics, so that no complaint might be made against him by Prof.
Babbitt.

One day he was deep in a problem in geometry when there came a loud rap
on the door.

"Come in."

The door opened, and in walked Ben Halliday. Frank looked up in
surprise.

"Hello! Hally," he called.

"Hello! Merriwell," said the other, a trifle stiffly.

"What's the matter, old man? You are not usually in the habit of
knocking in that manner. Usually you walk in without being invited."

"Perhaps I have been a little too free in that respect," said Ben,
significantly.

"Free! Not at all. You know any of my friends are welcome here at any
time. This is Liberty Hall."

"That sounds all right, Merriwell," said Ben, remaining standing; "but,
if you mean it, why should you say I am too fresh and take too many
liberties?"

"I say so? Why, I never said anything of the sort Has any fellow
reported me as saying that?"

"I heard it."

Frank came to his feet instantly.

"Heard me say so?" he cried. "Is that what you mean, Hally?"

"No; I mean that I have heard you did say so."

Merriwell advanced and placed his hands on the shoulders of his visitor,
looking straight into Ben's eyes.

"Halliday," he said, slowly, "have I ever been anything but a friend to
you?"

Ben moved uneasily, and then answered:

"I do not know that you have."

"Did you ever know me to say anything behind the back of either friend
or foe that I did not dare say to his face?"

"No."

"Did you ever know me to lie?"

"No."

"Then you will believe me, I think, when I tell you I did not say you
were too fresh and took too many liberties. Some chap has been trying to
make you my enemy. I have seen of late that you acted strangely but did
not know why. Now I understand it. But I am surprised that you could
believe such a thing of me."

Halliday was confused.

"Well," he falteringly said, "you see it's this way: I knew you hated to
throw up your grip on the football team and drop out entirely, and
somebody said you were jealous of me because I did such good work
against the Indians. You know my run in that game was compared with your
famous run in the Princeton game last season. And you have not been just
like yourself lately. Sometimes you have not looked at me when we met."

"Is that so?" asked Frank, in surprise. "I didn't know it. Must be my
mind is on my studies too much. And still I made a dead flunk the day
after the Carlisle game. There had been so many reports that the Indians
had a new trick that was sure to enable them to win, and, knowing as I
did what bulldogs they are to play, I was all nerved up with anxiety.
Couldn't seem to keep my mind on my studies for a week before the game,
and it grew worse and worse the nearer the time came. After it was over,
I found I might as well have taken part in the game."

"That's just it!" cried Halliday, quickly. "That's why I dropped around
to see you."

"Eh? What do you mean?"

"Why don't you get back on the team?"

"Get back? What are you driving at? You're doing good work.

"I don't want to crowd you out."

"You wouldn't. They need you as full-back."

"You played that position in the game with the Indians."

"But I am not to play it again. I am quarter-back now."

"Is that right?" cried Frank, in surprise. "Your position has been
changed? How did that happen?"

"Quigg is out of it for the season. You know he was hurt in the last
game. Doctor says he must not play any more this year. I have been
shoved into his place in a hurry."

"What's that for?"

"Forrest did it. A new man is going to be tried at full-back--Rob
Marline. Forrest is desperate. He says the team is broken all to pieces,
and stands a poor show with either Harvard or Princeton. This will be a
dismal season for Old Yale."

Frank turned pale and seemed to stagger a bit, as if he had been struck.
It was a shock for him to know that Yale was in danger. He had supposed
she was all right and everything was running well.

"We did not make the showing against the Indians that we should have
made, although we beat them," Halliday went on. "But for my lucky run,
we might have been beaten."

"I didn't know----" began Frank, falteringly.

Ben made a fierce gesture.

"What's the matter with you Merriwell?" he savagely cried. "Didn't know?
You should know! You are the fellow of us all who should know. You have
changed, and it has not been for the better. I tell you we stand a slim
show with Harvard and Princeton, and you are needed just as you were
needed at the tug of war. That being the case, you have no right to shut
yourself up here in your room and plug away, seeming to take no interest
in anything but your studies and recitations. You have been the most
popular man in college, but your popularity is on the wane. I'll tell
you why, if you want to know."

Frank was still whiter, if possible. Was this Halliday talking to him in
such a manner--Halliday, who had ever seemed to stand in awe of him? It
was plain enough that Ben was giving him a "call down," but what shook
Merry the most was the fact that he began to feel that it was merited.

"I should like to know," he said, slowly.

Ben could not tell what effect his words might have on Frank, but he was
reckless, and he did not care.

"You can punch my head, if you want to," he said, "but I am going to
talk plain. Don't seem to be anybody else who dares to talk to you. They
kick and growl and say things behind your back, but they don't come
right at you with what they want to say. They are saying that you are
afraid to play on the eleven this year."

Frank stiffened up.

"Afraid?" he said, hoarsely.

"Yes."

"How can they say that? Have I ever shown fear?"

"They do say it," came doggedly from Halliday. "They say you made a
lucky run in the Princeton game last year, and you know it was a case of
dead cold luck. It gave you a great rep., and you are afraid of taking a
fall down if you play this season. That's exactly what they are saying,
and," added Ben, for himself, "I'll be hanged if it doesn't look that
way from the road!"

Frank bit his lip and stood staring at Halliday. He showed no anger, but
it was plain that he was astonished. Up to that moment he had not
realized he stood in a position where he could not withdraw from
football, baseball, or anything else in that line of his own desire
without being regarded as cowardly. Now he saw it plainly enough.

Halliday had been doubtful as to the manner in which Frank would take
his plain talk, but he was determined to tell Merry what was being said,
and he would not have hesitated had he felt certain it would produce a
fight.

But Frank saw Ben was speaking the truth, and, instead of being angry,
he experienced a sensation of gratitude. Still he was determined to know
all about it.

"How long have they been making this kind of talk, old fellow?" he
asked.

"Ever since it was known for sure that you had decided not to try out
for the eleven this fall."

"And this is the first I have heard of it!"

"They didn't talk so much at first," explained Ben. "It wasn't known
then but your place could be filled easily."

"You were put in my place."

"Yes, but I should have been placed elsewhere if you had come on."

"And they think that would have strengthened the team?"

"Of course it would! I tell you the fellows have a reason to growl when
they see Yale putting out a weak eleven while the best man in college
refuses to get into gear and give a lift."

"What sort of man is this Marline?"

"A good runner and a pretty punter."

"Sand?"

"Guess so."

"Then what's his weak point?"

"Temper."

"Quick tempered?"

"Like a flash of powder. Loses his head. Forrest says he may lose any of
the big games for us by getting mad at a critical point, but still he is
the best man we have."

Frank walked over to his window and looked out, his back toward
Halliday. Ben stood watching him with no small anxiety.

Now it was over, and he had relieved his feelings by speaking out
plainly, Ben wondered at his own boldness. He had been flushed with
excitement, but he felt himself growing pale and cold.

"Lord, what a crust!" he thought.

Three minutes passed this way, and then Frank whirled around with
startling suddenness.

"Do you practice to-day?" he asked.

"Yes."

"I'll come out to the park."

"What for?"

"Don't know yet. I'll look on, anyway."

"Shall I tell Forrest?"

"No, you needn't say anything about it."

"All right."

Halliday was well pleased with the result, for he felt sure Merry was
aroused.

"How do I know I am wanted on the eleven?" Frank asked. "It's all made
up now, and----"

"Heard Forrest say he'd rather have you for full-back than Marline."

"Well, I'll come out and see you practice."

So Ben left. At one time he had been envious of Merriwell, but now, like
others, he realized that Merry was too good timber to be lost from the
eleven. Halliday overcame his selfishness, and, for the interest of Old
Yale, desired to see Merry back on the team.

Besides that, Ben was not pleased to be changed from full-back to
quarter-back and have a fellow like Marline given the position he had
played very well thus far that season. He felt that he had much rather
be put off the eleven entirely to give room for Frank.

After Ben left, Frank attempted to return to his studies, but he could
not fix his mind upon them. He went down to recitation in a dazed
condition, and made a flunk, much to the surprise of those who knew he
had turned into a "greasy grind" of late.

Frank's mind was uneasy, and it wandered constantly. The knowledge that
he had been regarded as cowardly in declining to go on the eleven was
gall and wormwood to him.

He was glad Halliday had come to him and let him know how matters stood,
and surely no one could have closer at heart the welfare of Yale in all
directions.

He began to understand that he had won a position in athletics from
which he could not voluntarily withdraw without being misunderstood and
maligned.

That afternoon Halliday came around for Frank, and found him with his
sweater and rough clothes on, ready to leave his room.

"I was afraid you would forget," said Ben, in a confused way.

"Little danger of that!" muttered Frank. "I haven't been able to
remember anything else but what you said to me this forenoon."

"Hope you didn't lay it up against me, Merry."

"Don't take me for a fool, old fellow!" came rather sharply from Frank.

They left the college grounds and took a trolley car out to the park.
Forrest and the team were there ahead of them. A hundred spectators were
watching the men catch punts.

Bob Cook was there. He was not coaching; he was standing at one side by
himself, watching the men, something like a disconsolate look on his
face. This was not like him; it was significant.

As they entered the gate, Halliday touched Merriwell's arm, quickly
saying:

"There he goes!"

"Who?" asked Frank.

"Marline. He's getting out to take some punts."

Frank knew Marline by sight, but he had never given the fellow much
attention. Now he deliberately sized him up. He saw a well-built,
healthy-looking lad, who carried himself gracefully, almost arrogantly.
There was more than a suggestion of conscious superiority in Marline's
manner.

Punk!--a strong leg sent a twisting ball sailing toward Marline. He ran
under it with an air of confidence, and caught it easily, gracefully.

"I take it he is one of the fellows who show up well in practice, at
least," said Frank.



CHAPTER XXVI.

SIGNIFICANT MOVEMENTS.


The appearance of Frank on the ground soon attracted attention. Of late
there had been much talk about Merriwell and there was not a college man
interested in football who had not expressed an opinion concerning his
ability or his withdrawal from the sport.

Early in the season Walter Gordan had made a try for the eleven, but had
soon been turned down. Sport Harris could not have been induced to play
football, but he took much interest in the team, as he wished to know
how to place his "dough" on the great games.

Harris and Gordon were watching the men at practice, but the latter saw
Merriwell as soon as he entered the park.

"Well, hang me!" he muttered, staring.

"What's the matter?" asked Sport.

"Look there--with Halliday!"

"Yes, I see--why, it's Merriwell!"

"Sure."

"What's he out here for?"

"Don't ask me!"

"Thought he was out of it. Hasn't seemed to take any interest in the
eleven this season."

"Perhaps he thinks he's stayed away till it is so late he'll not be
asked to come on the team. He couldn't keep away any longer."

"Well, he's needed on the eleven, and that is a fact. He has disgusted
his friends by pulling out of the game."

Gordan laughed.

"He seems to think he can retire on the laurels he has won."

"Well, he never made a bigger mistake in his life," said Harris. "Yale
doesn't have any use for shirks. If he thinks he can retire because he
made a great run in the Princeton game last fall, he is mistaken."

"He is retiring on his reputation as a globe-trotter," sneered Walter.
"You know he has been all over the world. I expect to hear any day that
he has discovered the North Pole during some of his extensive travels,
but has forgotten to say anything about it."

"You think he hasn't traveled as much as has been reported?"

"Oh, he may have been over the pond, but that's nothing. Willis Paulding
has been over several times, and so have a score of fellows I know. But
the yarns about shooting panthers in South America, gorillas in Africa,
and other fierce and terrible beasts in other countries are altogether
too steep to go down my throat."

"How about the trophies he has to show for it?"

"Bah! His uncle left him money to burn, and he has a way of squeezing
any amount of it out of his guardian, Prof. Scotch. If he calls for a
thousand dollars, he gets it right away. With money like that I could
buy a lot of old weapons, queer pottery, fake idols, brass lamps, skins
of wild animals, and so forth, and make a big bluff that I had gathered
them all over the world. I don't say much about him, but, between you
and I, that fellow makes me awfully weary."

Harris grinned a bit.

"Can't get over it, can you?" he said.

"Can't get over what?"

"The fact that he beat you out at both baseball and football last year.
He got onto the 'Varsity nine and the eleven. You tried for both, and
got onto neither."

"Oh, I don't care about those things," protested Gordan. "It was by
chance that he got onto the nine, and you know it. If Yale hadn't been
hard up for pitchers, he would not have been given a trial."

"That's all right, but you had the same opportunity and you got left."

"Oh, well, rub it in!" snapped Gordan. "Merriwell has beat you at a few
things, or the stories they tell are lies."

It was Harris' turn to get red in the face.

"Who has been telling anything? Has Merriwell been blowing around?"

"I don't know about that, but it is said that your Harvard friend,
Harlow, proved to be a card sharp--and you introduced him to a lot of
fellows here. Merriwell got into a game and caught him cheating. If the
stories are straight, Merriwell could have made it hot for you. He let
up on you."

"Lies!" snarled Harris, his face growing dark, while he pulled away at
his short mustache. "It must be Merriwell has been telling these things.
Oh, I'd like to punch his head!"

"Yes, but you don't dare try it any more than I do," grinned Gordan.
"You know he can lick you and not half try."

"Oh, he's a fighter, and I don't pretend to be that; but he may find me
dangerous. I have been keeping still for some time, but I'm simply
waiting, that's all."

"The fellows say he was dead easy with Hartwick, but that Evan would not
let up on Merriwell."

"Well, Hartwick was forced to leave college, anyway, and I'd like to
make Frank Merriwell do the same thing."

"Wish you might. It would give some of the rest of us a show."

"If he's played on the eleven this fall, I should have been forced to
put my money on Yale. Now we've got a weak team, and I have put up
something on Harvard as soon as this. I am getting all the bets I can
before it is generally known that Yale is weak."

"What if Merriwell should be taken on?"

"There is no danger of it, and he couldn't play the whole game, anyway.
As full-back, however, he would have strengthened Yale's weakest point.
It is remarkable, but we haven't a man besides Merriwell this season who
is fully qualified to play the position."

"What's the matter with the new man?"

"Marline?"

"Yes."

"He's a grand-stand player. All he cares about is to do something pretty
to win the admiration of the ladies. He will work for Marline, and not
for the team. Mark what I say. The team was weak enough when it went
against the Indians, but it is weaker still with Halliday at quarter and
Marline at full. Harvard is better than she was last season, when we
beat her by a fluke, and she will walk right over our team. Put your
money on Harvard, Gordan, and you will win everything."

"Hello!" exclaimed Walter, suddenly. "What's up now?"

"Cook is talking with Merriwell, that's all."

"That means something."

"Get out! Cook is coach, but he isn't running the team."

"I tell you it means something! See--Cook calls Forrest. Now the captain
of the eleven is coming over. See that! They are talking together. I
tell you that means something, Harris!"

Gordan was excited, and he seemed to impart his excitement to his
companion. With the greatest eagerness they watched the little group.

Perhaps the trio spent ten minutes talking, and then there was a move
that added to the excitement of Gordan and Harris.

"What's Merriwell going to do?" asked Sport, catching his breath.

"Do!" exclaimed Walter, in deep disgust. "Can't you see? He's going to
practice!"

"Practice? Great Scott! That means----"

"That means that he is sure to play on the eleven!"

Gordan and Harris were not the only ones interested in Merriwell's
movements.

Tom Thornton, who had once been an enemy to Frank, and was now very
friendly toward Rob Marline, the new man, who was expected to play
full-back, was watching Cook, Forrest and Merriwell.

In catching a ball, Marline ran past Thornton, who asked:

"What's up over there, Rob? Why are those fellows talking with their
heads together?"

"I don't know," was the answer. "Maybe Merriwell wants to get onto the
eleven."

"If he wants to, he'll do it."

"He can't. Positions all taken."

"Somebody'll be fired."

"'Twon't be me."

"Don't be so sure of that," thought Tom, but he did not speak the words
aloud.

After a little Merriwell was seen preparing to practice. Halliday was at
it already. Happening to be near Ben, Thornton heard him observe to a
player:

"I've done the job for Yale this time. Got Merriwell back. They will
have to thank me for that."

"Got him back?" said the other. "Why, how is that? Where will he play?"

"Full-back, of course."

"But Marline."

"Marline will be given a chance to rest."

Thornton nodded.

"Knew it!" he muttered. "Rob is a good fellow, and this isn't a square
deal. He won't be given a show. Merriwell is all right as a player, but
he has no right to refuse to play and then come on after things are
fixed and knock some other chap out. I'll tell Rob."

So, at the first opportunity, Thornton told Marline what he had heard
Halliday say.

Marline was from South Carolina, and he was proud as Lucifer. In fact,
his manner of always speaking of South Carolina as the "one" State in
the Union was often little short of exasperating. He was haughty and
overbearing, proud of his birth, inclined to boast, and utterly blind to
his own shortcomings.

No one questioned Marline's courage. He came from a family noted for
courage and daring. His great-grandfather was a patriot officer of
Revolutionary times, and his father had won a commission in the
Confederate Army in the War of the Rebellion. The blood of fighters and
heroes ran in Marline's veins.

For all that, there was no one at Yale who could make himself more
offensive than the boy from South Carolina. He had a way of sneering at
everybody and everything outside his native State, and when he set out
to call anybody down, the most withering and biting sarcasm flowed from
his tongue.

Marline was smart intellectually, but whimsical and set in his notions
and beliefs. Once let him express an opinion and he would not confess
himself in the wrong even when absolute proof lay before him. Instead,
he was pretty sure to want to fight the fellow who offered the proof.

As an orator the youth from South Carolina had no superior in college.
He was strong in argument, and it was through him that Yale had
succeeded in wresting from Harvard the honors in the annual debate.

With the professors he stood unusually well, as he was regarded as a
brilliant scholar, and he had never been known to take part in any of
the students' carousals.

Marline's face grew dark as he listened to Halliday.

"They can't drop me without playing me at all," he said, harshly.

"Can't! Guess you don't know Walt Forrest. He wouldn't hesitate a second
if he thought he could improve the team. He doesn't allow his feelings
to interfere at all with the discharge of what he thinks is his duty."

"If they try to kick me out, there'll be a hot time, sah!" flashed the
boy from South Carolina. "I'll show somebody that I'm not to be used
like I am a dog!"

"Don't blame you," nodded Tom. "It is a dirty trick."

Marline was rattled. Three times he tried to catch a punted ball, and
three times he dropped it, something remarkable for him to do--something
that made the boys stare at him in surprise.

In the meantime, Merriwell was on the gridiron, and he was taking all
kinds of twisters with his old-time confidence and skill. Three balls
were in use, and, after a time, it happened that, in running under two
of them sent into the air at the same time, Marline and Merriwell
collided.

Frank struck Rob in such a manner that he was thrown to the ground, but
he flopped over, sat up, and took the ball that belonged to him,
laughing in a good-natured way.

Marline paid no attention to the ball he had started after, but stood
looking down at Frank, his face utterly bloodless and his eyes gleaming.

"Sah," he said, after a few seconds, as Frank was getting up--"sah, you
ran into me!"

"Believe I did, old man," laughed Merriwell. "No harm done, I hope.
Didn't upset you, and you did me. I'm all right."

"But you ran into me, sah!"

"Couldn't help it, you know," declared Frank, with unfailing good
nature. "Accidents will happen."

"Accidents, sah, may often be avoided."

"It is difficult to avoid them on the gridiron."

"You may apologize, sah."

Marline was standing there, his arms folded, his dark eyes looking
daggers at Merriwell. His pose was graceful, and he really looked
handsome, for all of his arrogant bearing.

Frank whistled his surprise.

"Apologize?" he said, slowly. "Do you really mean that?"

"I certainly do, sah."

When Rob Marline addressed anybody as "sah" in that manner it was a
warning. The word was one seldom used by him since coming to Yale. To a
great extent he had adopted the manners of the North, and had suppressed
any little peculiarities of speech that might indicate his Southern
blood. Now, however, he felt that he was a South Carolinian, and the
dignified and haughty "sah" of the South suited his mood.

Frank paused a moment, looking straight into the eyes of the hot-blooded
youth who had demanded an apology. He seemed in doubt, but quickly made
up his mind.

"I never heard of an apology on the football field," he said; "but, as
you seem to think me to blame for this little accident, I ask your
pardon. I trust that is satisfactory."

To this Marline made no answer, but with a contemptuous movement of his
body, turned about and stepped away.

A few of the players near at hand had seen and heard everything. All
were astonished. To them it seemed that Marline had cowed Merriwell, and
a feeling of disdain for the latter mingled with their astonishment.

"That beats the band!" said one to another. "Is this the same Merriwell
we have thought such a lion?"

"It's plain," said the other, "that the fellows who have been claiming
he really has less nerve than is generally supposed were right. He is
afraid of Marline--I can see that. Marline comes from a fighting family,
and he would challenge Merriwell to meet him in a genuine duel.
Merriwell can scrap, but he has no relish for swords or pistols. He has
been cowed by the fellow from South Carolina."



CHAPTER XXVII.

HALLIDAY IS PUZZLED.


Two teams were made up, and a short game was played, while the coachers
kept at the men like relentless slave drivers.

The appearance of Frank on the field had seemed to awaken Bob Cook. He
opened up on everybody, and the men seemed to find it inspiring to have
him scold them.

During the first half Merriwell played full-back on the eleven that was
pitted against the regular 'Varsity team. He went into the game as if it
was of the utmost importance. Once he went through the center of the
opposing team, and once he went around the left end. Had he been well
backed up, the regular eleven would have found difficulty in securing
two touchdowns, one of which was made by Marline.

On the last half, much to his disgust, Marline was taken off the regular
eleven and placed at full-back on the other team, while Merriwell was
given his place.

Then the 'Varsity eleven seemed to have new life, and the men played
like so many tigers. The "irregulars" could do nothing with them.
Merriwell kicked a goal from the field, besides making one of his
surprising and bewildering runs.

Marline played desperately, but he gave up in disgust before the end,
realizing he could not make a good showing under such conditions. In his
bosom his heart was heavy and bitter.

"If I am pulled off the team without having a show, somebody shall
suffer!" he vowed.

The practice game over, the men pulled on their coats and started for
the two trolley cars which were waiting at the entrance to the park.
Halliday got a seat beside Frank on one of the cars.

"You're right in it, old man!" said Ben, enthusiastically. "Why, you
worked as if you were in training!"

Frank smiled.

"I suppose I forgot the possibility of making myself lame. Til feel it
to-morrow."

"Never mind. You showed everybody that you are as good as ever. Marline
will get walking papers."

Merriwell's face suddenly became sober.

"I don't know as that will be using him square, Hally," he said, in a
low tone of voice. "I presume he has been told he should play half-back
on the eleven."

"Told nothing!" snorted Ben. "Forrest don't tell us fellows we can play
anywhere, and there's not a man but knows he's likely to be dropped any
time. He told Marline to come and practice, and I'll go my last dollar
that is all."

"Still Marline has every reason to suppose he'll be given a show in some
sort of a game."

"Huah! If he supposes too much, he'll get left."

"I don't like to crowd anybody. You know that, Hally."

"You are too careful about crowding somebody. You are forever preaching
that any fellow must fight his way through this world, but you never
fight unless forced to do so. By the way, how could you apologize to
that overbearing cur?"

"Well," said Frank, deliberately, "I permitted my good judgment to
govern my action."

"Good judgment be hanged! Why, he was insulting!"

"A trifle overbearing, perhaps, but it's natural with him. You know he
comes from South Carolina."

"What of that? Is he any better for that reason?"

"Not in the least, but it is probable that he has been brought up to
think so. And it is certain that he has sand. He can't be driven into
his boots, and I'll bet on it. South Carolina produces tigers, and
Marline is one of them, or I have taken his measure wrong."

Halliday looked at Frank in doubt and astonishment.

"Is it possible you are afraid of Robert Marline, Merriwell?" he asked.

"No," was the calm reply; "but I think you will remember that I had a
little trouble with one hot-blooded Southerner since entering college.
The Southern aristocrat seldom fights with his fists, but he is none the
less ready to fight. I am willing to confess that I do not care to
become involved in a duel with pistols or swords. Can't afford to take
the chances of being found out and expelled, even though honor should be
satisfied without the death of either concerned. I have been hot-headed
in my day, but I'm trying to hold myself down. I'd rather apologize for
the accident to Marline than to have him challenge me to a duel. That's
the whole of it, and----"

"What will the fellows think?"

"Let them think what they like!" exclaimed Frank, flushing. "A person
who is forever considering what some one will think if he does this,
that or the other is forever miserable and uneasy."

"But they'll say Marline cowed you."

"Let them."

"They'll say it is proof you have not the courage every one has
thought."

"Let them."

Ben looked hard at Frank, and then slowly observed:

"Thought I understood you, Merriwell, but I'm blowed if I do!"



CHAPTER XXVIII.

FRANK'S VISITORS.


Despite himself, Frank was somewhat disturbed by what had taken place
that afternoon. He knew Halliday was right in saying it would be
believed he had apologized to Marline through fear of the proud
Southerner.

Merriwell was no more than human; he did not fancy being thought a
coward.

Who does?

Had it been simply one or two persons who thought him afraid of the lad
from South Carolina he would not have minded, but for nearly every one
in college to think so--well, that was different.

And the peculiar combination of circumstances made the situation more
trying than otherwise it could have been.

Frank could not help feeling some sympathy for Marline, for all of the
fellow's natural arrogance and overbearing manner. It was easy for
Merriwell to imagine himself in Marline's position.

"It would cut me," he thought. "I might hold my temper, but it would cut
me to have any fellow step in and shove me out without letting me have a
show to see what I might do."

Sentiment demanded that Marline should be given an opportunity to play
full-back on the Yale team; but sentiment should not enter into college
sports, and no one knew that better than Frank Merriwell. The football
or baseball team that is run on sentiment can never be a winner.

Yet it seemed to Merry that, under any circumstances, he would be placed
in a false position before every one. He had refused to take an interest
in football, and had held aloof till the very day that it was known
Halliday had been changed from full-back to quarter-back and Marline had
been given Ben's former position. Then Merry had suddenly appeared on
the scene and seemed to oust the new man before the latter had a show to
prove his capability.

To Frank this seemed a cowardly thing to do, and nothing but the
knowledge that the eleven was weak and really needed him could have
induced him to go on the field.

He did not want to fight Marline, and he was determined not to fight
Marline if he could avoid it. Still he realized that his enemies would
say he feared the lad from South Carolina, and his friends might believe
it was true.

"Well," thought Frank, after meditating on the situation, "it will not
be the first time I have been thought a coward. I can stand it. If
Forrest says he needs me I shall play for the love of dear old Yale.
Rather than have Yale lose through my failure to do everything in my
power, I'd be branded a coward for life!"

This settled in his mind, he went to bed that night and slept
peacefully, quite unaware that at Morey's a gay party had gathered about
Rob Marline, who was "opening things" and vowing publicly that he would
drive Frank Merriwell off the gridiron forever.

In case Frank showed a determination to get into the game again, Marline
swore he would never give him a moment of peace till they met face to
face on the "field of honor."

"I come of fighting stock, gentlemen," said Rob, his face flushed, his
legs unsteady, his tongue unloosed, and a glass of "velvet" held aloft.
"My grandfather killed his man, and my father has been concerned in more
than one affair of honor. I am an expert with the sword, and I can shoot
as well as the mountaineers of my native State--the fairest spot on the
American continent Merriwell will not have a chance with me if we ever
do meet. With the blades, gentlemen, I'll run him through in less than
thirty seconds; with pistols I'll lodge a ball in his heart at the first
fire. But he'll never dare to meet me. The way he took water to-day
proved that. He will crawl like a whipped dog."

If Marline had not been drinking freely he would not have said so much.
The wine was in his head, and he was not responsible. But he meant every
word he spoke, and he did not require "Dutch courage" in order to back
up his talk.

In the morning Frank awoke refreshed by a good night's sleep, took a
cool dip, scrubbed down hastily, got into his clothes in a hurry, and
was away to chapel, looking as fresh and rosy as a healthy youth should.

Merriwell took such care of himself that he was in perfect condition. He
had not given up physical exercise, although he had thought of keeping
out of football that season. Every day he spent a certain amount of time
in the gym, and not a minute of that time was wasted.

Under no circumstances did Merriwell believe in radical dieting. At the
same time he believed in common sense, and he knew a fellow could do
himself no more harm than by overloading his stomach. The gourmand makes
himself heavy of body, and dull of brain.

Frank had quite forgotten the unpleasant occurrence of the previous
afternoon, and he dipped into his studies after the earnest manner that
had marked him of late.

On returning from recitation in the middle of the forenoon, he found
visitors in his room. They had been admitted by "Honest John," the
colored porter.

"Lor' bress yeh!" grinned the white-headed old darky, showing his teeth
in a broad grin--"Lor' bress yeh, Mistah Merriwell! Nebber see no
purtier gal in all mah bawn days!"

"Girl!" cried Frank, astonished.

"Lor' bress yeh, yes! Purty's a picter, Mistah Merriwell."

"Girl in my room?"

"Yes, sah."

"You let her in, John?"

"Yes, sah; but dar's a lady wif her, sah."

"Oh, ha!"

"Yes, sah--got a face dat'll stop a trolley car, sah. Looks like it war
cut out of wood, sah, an' mighty hard wood at dat. De gal smile, but de
ole woman nebber smile at all."

Frank looked puzzled, and Honest John began to look troubled.

"Hope Ah ain't done no harm, sah?" he faltered. "De ladies said dey
knowed yeh, sah, an' dey war yeh friends."

"But I do not know of any friends in New Haven who would come to my
room."

John showed alarm.

"Lor', sah! hope dis ain't no scrape, sah! Mebbe yeh don't want teh see
'em? I'll jes' go an' 'splain yeh ain' heah--I'll say yeh been called
away sudden by de deff ob yeh grandmam."

"Never mind, John. My grandmothers died years ago, and my visitors may
be aware of the fact. I'll see them myself, although I don't care to be
bothered by visitors at this time of the day."

"Hope it's all right, sah," said John. "Yo' boys hab to be careful, sah.
If yo' git too wild----"

But Frank was hurrying to his room, regardless of the darky's words.

Honest John followed. He listened outside the door after Frank entered.
He heard a girlish cry of delight, and an exclamation of pleasure from
Merriwell.

"Lor' sakes!" he chuckled, holding one crooked hand over his mouth, as
he stood crouching at the door. "Suah dat don' soun' lek trubble! Yo' am
all right, John. Jes' yo' watch fo' Mistah Merriwell when he come out,
an' yeh'll get a tip fer lettin' de ladies in. Hey--what am dat?"

He held his ear close to the door and listened again. Then the crooked
black hand was pressed still closer over his mouth, and his whole body
shook with emotion as he tiptoed away.

"Lordy! Lordy!" he exploded, when he considered himself at a safe
distance. "I know dat soun' any time Ah heah it. Smack! smack! Dat war
kissin'! Heuh! a-he-uh! a-he-uh! If Mistah Merriwell don' make dat tip a
whole dollah, dis coon ain't took his size an' suckumfrence!"



CHAPTER XXIX.

AN UNWILLING PROMISE.


When Frank stepped into his room he was astonished to find himself face
to face with his old-time sweetheart, Inza Burrage, and her aunt, Miss
Abigail Gale.

Inza hurried toward him, uttering a joyous cry, and an exclamation of
surprise and delight escaped his lips.

In a moment, regardless of the presence of her aunt, the girl flung her
arms about Frank's neck and kissed him.

Miss Gale's hard face did not soften, but she turned her back toward
them, and pretended to be greatly interested in a strange crooked
dagger, having a point smeared with some green substance, the dagger
being locked in a case with a heavy glass door. Upon the glass of the
case was pasted a slip of paper bearing these words:

"The Snake Knife of the Pampas."

"Inza!" exclaimed Frank, as if somewhat in doubt. "Inza--here?"

"Yes!" she cried. "Isn't it a surprise? I knew I would surprise you,
Frank."

"A surprise indeed! Why, you didn't let me know you were coming."

"No."

"How does it happen?"

"Aunt Abby knows some friends in New Haven, and she wished to visit them
while she was in the East, so she asked me to come with her. You may be
sure I was ready enough to come, and, as father is getting along very
well, we were able to leave him."

"Then your father--he is improved?"

"A great deal since getting back to America. He raced all over Europe
looking for health, but continued to get worse till he returned home.
Now he says he believes this the healthiest country on the face of the
earth."

"And he is right. If a person is not strong enough to endure the rigors
of our Northern climate, there is the perfect climate of California. But
I don't suppose you came here to talk climate."

Frank said this with a laugh, and they advanced, hand-in-hand, toward
Miss Gale, who had turned her attention from the queer knife to some
still queerer images and ornaments that adorned the mantel.

"Aunty says you'll be a museum manager if you keep on," laughed Inza.
"Says she never saw so many queer things."

"Goodness, no!" exclaimed Miss Gale, severely, turning to look at Frank
over the rims of her spectacles. "I hope you ain't a crank, Mr.
Merriwell."

"I trust not, Miss Gale," smiled Frank, with extended hand, which
Abigail rather awkwardly accepted, but shook with a heartiness that was
expressive of her esteem for Merry.

"What be some of these horrid-looking things?" asked the spinster. "What
be they good for?"

"Some of them are mementoes, and some of them are simply for the purpose
of decoration. Those little images, those odd vases, the pottery on that
shelf--I gathered those things as ornaments."

"Do tell! I want to know if that ain't just like some folks! Them things
are so hombly I'd want to hide 'em or put 'em all in the fire if I had
'em in my house. Some real pretty chromo pictures would look so much
better in place of them. If you want vases, why you can get pretty glass
ones almost anywhere from fifteen to thirty cents each, and land knows
they'd look better than them things! Then there's that great stuffed
tiger. Goodness! It scared me awful when I saw it standing there in the
corner of the room. I thought it was living, and was shooing at it when
Inza ran over and put her hand right on it. Whatever in the world can
induce you to have such a thing in your room?"

"At first I found it difficult to induce Aunt Abby to remain in this
room," laughed Inza. "She wanted to go outside and wait for you. I am
afraid she has obtained an unfavorable impression of you by coming
here."

"I sincerely trust not," said Frank, who had worked hard when he first
met Miss Gale in Santa Barbara to win her good esteem, a task at which
he had been most successful. "I should regret it very much if I thought
such was the case."

Miss Abigail's hard face did not soften, but she immediately said:

"I suppose we all must have some weak point, and it seems to be Mr.
Merriwell's weakness to gather such hideous truck. I'm sure he's a
gentleman, and I think just as much of him as I ever did."

Frank bowed gracefully and expressed his thanks.

"Can't help looking at the stuff," said the spinster, readjusting her
spectacles and turning her back squarely on Frank and Inza. "I like to
see what crazy notions they do get up."

She appeared to be very busy examining the collection of bric-a-brac and
curiosities.

Frank and Inza looked at each other a moment, and then their hands met.
He drew her to a seat on the sofa.

For some time they chatted of various matters that interested them
alone, Miss Gale being strangely taken up with the trinkets in the
meantime.

"Is this the way she usually chaperones you, Inza?" asked Frank, after a
while, smiling.

"Goodness, no!" replied the girl. "If you were any one but Frank
Merriwell she would be sitting stiff and straight on a chair, never
taking her eyes off us for a moment. But you--she thinks you are the
finest young man in the world. You have completely won her withered old
heart, Frank. You should hear her praise you to papa."

"I'm lucky to have such a champion. Has your father given over the hope
of marrying you off to some rich man?"

"I don't know about that. He hasn't mentioned it of late. I think his
ill luck has discouraged him."

"Two years after this will take me through college, and then----"

"And then----"

His hand found hers once more, and the look that he gave her she could
not misunderstand. Her eyes drooped, and the warm color surged into her
cheeks.

To Frank it seemed that Inza grew more handsome each time he saw her.
Certainly she was destined to become a strikingly attractive woman.

After a little their conversation drifted onto the subject of college
sports, and Inza suddenly said: "I am so glad you are not playing
football this season, Frank."

"Glad?" questioned Frank, surprised. "Why?"

"Oh, just because--because--I am."

This was unlike Inza. She had ever taken a great interest in manly
sports and games, and, in the old days at Fardale, her smiles and
encouraging words had fired him with enthusiasm to do his best in many a
contest.

"I don't think I understand you," he said, slowly. "You used to be glad
for quite the other reason."

"But--but it's different now."

"How?"

"Oh, I can't tell; but it is."

"Well, Inza, I have not played football this season, but I am thinking
of playing in the two principal games--the ones with Harvard and
Princeton."

Inza appeared startled.

"Don't do it, Frank--don't play football this year!" she exclaimed.
"Promise me that you will not."

"Oh, I can't do that, Inza. Yale is not as strong as she should be this
fall, and, if I can do anything to help her win, I feel that I must."

Inza secured both his hands, leaned toward him, and looked straight into
his eyes, as she deliberately asked:

"If I didn't want you to play, would you do so?"

Frank's position was rather unpleasant, and he showed confusion.

"If there was a reason why you did not want me to play----"

"There is."

"Tell it to me."

"Not now--sometime. But I want you to promise me that you will not go on
the field this season. Will you promise?"

In her dark eyes there was a command, as well as an entreaty. He felt
that he could not resist her if he looked into those eyes, and he turned
his head away.

Instantly Inza sprang up.

"I think we had better go, Aunt Abby," she exclaimed.

Frank was on his feet instantly.

"Now, Inza," he exclaimed, "I know you are angry. It seems to me that
you are unreasonable. If you would tell me why you don't want me to
play, I--I----"

"It is very plain that I have been mistaken in you," she said, severely.
"I thought of you when my father was trying to force me into marriage
with an Englishman with a title--and I ran away from the Englishman.
Perhaps, if I had known you would refuse me such a little thing as
this--perhaps I might have married that odious old Englishman out of
spite!"

Her eyes flashed, and she stamped her small foot.

She was right; he felt it. She had done much for him, and truly he might
please her in this matter. Marline could play full-back all right, and
it was no more than fair that Marline should have a chance. He had not
intended to play football, but Halliday had tried to drag him into it.

"Don't be angry, Inza," he said. "Let's talk it over. Perhaps I will
promise."

"I have talked enough," she said, without relenting. "If you care for me
as I fancied you did, you will promise without another word."

One more moment of hesitation, and then Frank said:

"That settles it--I promise."

"You will not play football this season?"

"No."

"You are a dear, good boy!"

Then she suddenly kissed him again.



CHAPTER XXX.

"FALSE TO HIS COLORS."


As the hour to start for the park that afternoon approached Halliday
came hurrying into Merriwell's room, and found Frank digging away at his
Greek again.

"Hey, there!" cried Ben. "Have you forgotten, old man?"

"Hello!" said Frank, looking up with an uncertain smile. "Forgotten
what?"

"Practice."

"No."

"But you're not ready."

"No."

"Forrest wants us there on the dot. Come, Frank, get into your old suit,
and we'll make a rush for the car."

Frank put down his book, saying:

"I'm not going, Ben."

"Hey?" cried Halliday, staggering. "Come again."

"I'm not going."

"Not? Come off! What are you giving us? Don't try any funny business
with me, Merry!"

"There is no funny business about this. I have decided not to go."

"You can't afford to miss an afternoon if you are going to get in shape
for the same with the Cambridge fellows."

"I am not going to try to get into shape."

That was another staggerer for Halliday. He gasped for breath and stared
at Merriwell.

"Not going to try?" he slowly repeated. "Why--why, it can't be that----"

"Yes it can, Hally; I'm out of it. I have decided to stick to my studies
and let football alone."

Ben groped for a chair, upon which he weakly dropped.

"Is this a dream?" he muttered; "or did my ears deceive me? It can't be
that I heard aright!"

"There is no joking about this," said Frank, getting up and standing
before his visitor. "I have decided at last, and my mind is made up."

Ben was silent, but he stared and stared and stared at Frank. He seemed
trying to comprehend it.

"I wouldn't have believed it," he muttered--"I won't believe it now! It
isn't Frank Merriwell! He wouldn't do a thing like that. He has a mind
of his own, and he does not change his mind with every change of the
wind."

Frank flushed painfully, but said:

"Only fools never change their minds, Hally. Men of reason and good
sense are forced to change their minds occasionally."

As soon as he seemed able to comprehend it fully, Ben got up and
approached Merriwell.

"Look here, Merry," he said, entreatingly, "don't be a fool! I'm going
to talk plain with you! By Jove! Somebody should talk plain to you! I
don't care if you kick me out of your room! If you whiffle around again
you'll be the butt of ridicule for everybody. You'll never again have
any standing in Yale. Man, you are throwing away your reputation! Can't
you see it?"

Frank paled somewhat, but a firm look settled about his mouth, and he
was unmoved.

"Surely, I have a mind of my own, and I have a right to do as I please
in this matter," he said, his voice cold and steady. "I am my own
master."

"Yes," confessed Ben, desperately, "but you must listen to reason. I
haven't an idea why you have whiffled around again, but I do know it
will ruin your reputation. Word has gone out that you will play
full-back in the Harvard game. Forrest has the same as stated that he
should put you in at the start, with Marline as substitute. Now
think--think what it will mean if you again withdraw! Cæsar's ghost!
Merry, you will be a dead duck in athletics and sports. You will be
regarded with contempt."

"Can't help it."

Holiday's desperation increased.

"Think of Marline."

"I have."

"They'll say he cowed you--say you backed down because you feared him."

"It will not be true."

"But it will go, all the same."

"Can't help it."

"You must have a reason for this new move."

"My studies."

"That's the old reason. There must be another."

"Perhaps."

"Will you tell me what it is?"

"No."

"And do you want me to go out to the park without you?"

"You will have to go without me, for I am not going."

"And I have been bragging about getting him back on the eleven!"
muttered Ben. "They'll jolly me to death, and I shall be so ashamed that
I'll want to crawl into some sort of a hole."

"I am sorry about that, Hally," said Frank. "Believe me, I care more
about it than about anything else."

"You do not mind the ruin of your own reputation?"

"I scarcely think my reputation will be damaged so badly."

"But it will--it will! If you were sure it would, wouldn't you go along
with me?"

"No!"

That was like the blow of a hammer, and it took the last bit of hope
from Halliday's heart.

"I think more of my word of honor than anything else," said Frank,
grimly. "If I always stand by that, I'll risk my reputation."

"They'll say he is a traitor to Yale," muttered Ben, as if Frank could
not hear. "They'll say he refused to do his duty--refused to fight for
the honor of old Eli. They'll say he is false to his colors."

Frank winced somewhat. He could not help it, for he was touched on a
tender spot.

"No fellow can have the interest of Old Eli more at heart than I," he
declared. "But I think the importance of playing me full-back on the
eleven is overestimated. There are several fellows who are able to play
the position. Marline did excellent work in practice yesterday, and I
believe he will show up finely in a game. I won't crowd him out--that's
all. It's no use to talk to me."

He sat down and picked up his book.

Halliday stood looking at Frank, his face showing wrath and disgust,
then turned and left the room. As he passed out Frank heard him mutter:

"False to his colors!"



CHAPTER XXXI.

FRANK IS MISERABLE.


Frank was expecting a call from Forrest. It came. The captain of the
eleven brought Yates and Parker with him. He did not beat about the
bush, but immediately asked Frank why he had not come out to practice.

With equal directness, Merriwell told him he had finally decided for
good and all that he could not play football that season.

Parker looked dismayed; Yates looked disgusted. Forrest did not give up.

"You can't refuse," he said. "We need you, and you must play."

But Frank was determined, and persuasion proved of no avail. He firmly
refused to think of playing.

"Come away!" exclaimed Yates, with a sneer. "It's no use to talk to him.
I did think he was all right, but this settled his case in my mind."

Frank bit his lip, and all the color left his face, while his eyes
gleamed dangerously.

"Mr. Yates," he said, "you are in my room, and I cannot lift a hand
here. Any time you see fit to insult me outside I'll do my best to
resent it."

"Bah!" cried Yates. "If you haven't the courage to face Marline, you'll
never stand up to me. I have discovered that you are a big stiff! You're
a case of bluff!"

Merriwell quivered, and his hands were clinched till his finger nails
cut into the palms of his hands. It was plain that he was making a
battle to restrain himself.

"Mr. Yates," he said, hoarsely, "you and I have had our troubles before,
and, if I remember correctly, you did not come off with flying colors.
It is plain you delight in this opportunity for retaliation, but I warn
you to take care. There is a limit, and you may overstep it. If you
do----"

"What then?"

"You'll find you have made a big mistake."

"Bah!"

Duncan Yates was withering in his scorn. With a contemptuous gesture he
turned toward the door.

It seemed that Merriwell was on the point of leaping after him, but
Frank still managed to hold himself in restraint.

Puss Parker seemed grieved.

"It's too bad!" he said, shaking his head. "I wouldn't have believed it.
You are done for here, Merriwell."

"That's right," nodded Forrest. "You can never recover after this. It's
the greatest mistake of your life, man."

"Come!" cried Yates from the door, which he was holding open. "You are
foolish to waste further breath on him."

Then all three went out, not one of them saying good-by.

When they were gone Frank felt like tearing up and down the room and
slamming things about, but he did nothing of the sort. He believed in
controlling his emotions, and so he stood quite still till the first
fierce anger had left him.

Then came regret and doubt. He was sorry he had shown himself on the
football field, and he regretted that he had given Inza his promise not
to play the game.

But it was too late for regret. He could not quell his doubts. He was
not certain he had done right, and that was enough to make him wretched.

That night Frank was the most miserable fellow in Yale. It did not seem
any fault of his that had brought him into such a wretched predicament,
and yet he was thoroughly disgusted with himself.

He could not study, he could do nothing but think. Sometimes he was
determined to go to Inza and ask her to release him from his promise,
and then he would think how his enemies would say he had been driven
into it.

Then came another thought. If he were to come out now and offer to fill
a place on the eleven, would he be accepted? He had fallen so in the
esteem of Forrest that it was quite likely the captain would refuse to
take him on the team.

He tried to devise some way of setting himself aright, but could think
of none.

Had any one told him two days before that he could be so utterly
miserable, he would have laughed at them.

Only a short time before this turn in events he had been the best known
and most popular student in the college. His fame had spread all over
New Haven and gone abroad to other college places. He was regarded with
awe as a great traveler and a wonderful athlete.

Now--well, it was different now!

Finding he could not rest, study or think of anything but his wretched
position, Frank went out for a walk. He tried to tire himself out
physically, so that weariness of body would force his mind to rest.
Miles he tramped, far out into the country. He drove along like one
walking on a wager, paying no attention to the frosty air which nipped
his nose and ears.

It was eleven o'clock when Frank was passing Morey's on his way to South
Middle. In front of the place he paused. He remembered the many jolly
times he had enjoyed in there. He remembered when he was the chief one
of any little circle that might gather in that famous resort. Now he
felt like an outcast--an outsider.

Three students came out. They did not see him, and they were chatting
and laughing merrily. He watched them as they strolled away, his heart
growing heavier and heavier.

"Anderson, Cobb and Nash," he muttered. "They're always jolly--never
seem to have any troubles. They drink and sport too much to stand high
in their classes, but they will get through college all right, and every
one will call them first-class fellows. Isn't that better than to be
valedictorian and a hermit? I was getting along all right, although I
was not showing up brilliantly in Greek. I'd have scrubbed through and
held my position on the football team if I had tried. It's plain I made
a big mistake."

It seemed plainer and plainer the more he thought about it, but he could
see no way of turning back now and taking the path he had abandoned. He
had burned his bridges, and he must go forward.

A great curiosity seized him. He knew well enough a party of students
would be gathered in Morey's little back room, and he longed to know how
he would be received among them.

"I'm going in there," he muttered. "Haven't been around for a long time.
Here I go!"

In he went. He was known the moment he appeared. Straight for the famous
back room he made his way, and he was immediately admitted, his face
being his passport.

He was right in thinking a party was gathered there. At least a dozen
fellows were sitting about drinking ale. They were not laughing or
talking loudly, but as Frank entered the room, he distinctly heard his
name spoken by one of them.



CHAPTER XXXII.

"THE MARBLE HEART."


"Hello, fellows!" called Merriwell, attempting to Be cheerful. "Thought
I'd drop in."

There was a sudden silence. All turned to look at him. Two of them sat
with their half-lifted glasses suspended.

Then somebody muttered:

"Speak of the devil----"

Frank was embarrassed. There had been a time when his appearance at
Morey's was greeted with a shout of welcome. The silence was freezing.

Marline was not there. Frank felt relieved when he discovered this, and
still, for the first time in his life it seemed that there was a
cowardly sensation in his heart.

He knew he was not a coward, but the position in which he stood at that
moment made him feel like one.

The silence was maddening. His soul revolted against such a reception.
For the first time in his life he fancied he understood what it was to
be regarded with universal contempt.

And the injustice of it was what cut him to the heart. A little more and
the limit would be reached. He would go forth ready to fight, and he
knew that his first blow would be aimed at Rob Marline.

Thoughts like these flashed through his head in a moment, then he
advanced into the room with old-time grace.

"A jolly party you have here," he said. "I'm glad to see you making
merry. Drink up--drink up, everybody, and have a round with me."

Charlie Creighton was there, and Frank was sure he had a stanch friend
in Charlie.

The fellows fell to speaking together in low tones, casting sidelong
glances toward Frank. None of them seemed eager or ready to accept his
invitation. They seemed to draw a barrier about him, as if they intended
to shut him out.

Frank felt it--saw it plainly. He was quick to understand the situation,
but he was not satisfied.

"They shall be put to the test," he mentally vowed. "I'll find out who
are my friends and who are my enemies."

Then, one by one, he asked them what they would have to drink. Some had
excuses, some flatly declined to take anything at all. Some showed their
partly emptied glasses, and some said they had quite enough.

Frank's face grew hard and cold as he progressed and met with nothing
but refusals. He was coming to Putnam, Stubbs and Creighton. Surely they
would not refuse to drink with him!

Putnam saw he was to be asked in a moment. He hastily dashed off half a
glass of ale and got up, remarking that he must be going.

"Hold on a moment, old man," said Frank. "I am going to have a
lemon-seltzer. Have a drink with me."

"Excuse me," mumbled "Old Put." "I don't care for anything more."

"But you will have one drink with me?" urged Frank.

"No," said Putnam, shortly, "I've had enough."

Then he sauntered toward the door.

Merriwell bit his lips and turned on Stubbs.

"You'll have something, Bink?" he said, huskily.

"No, thanks," said the little fellow. "I'm going, too."

He followed Putnam.

Creighton was Merriwell's last resort. As old readers know, he had been
a guest at Charlie's home in Philadelphia.

"Come, Creighton, you surely will not decline to take something with me,
old fellow?"

Charlie hesitated, flushed to the roots of his hair, looked at Frank and
at the others, then got up quickly, saying:

"You'll have to excuse me, too, Merriwell."

With that he bolted out of the room, and all the others followed,
leaving Frank there alone.

For some moments the stunned and astonished lad stood as if turned to
stone, staring with distended eyes toward the door by which they had
passed out. His hands were clinched, his nostrils dilated, his head
thrown back and his attitude that of a warrior wounded to the heart, but
still unconquered in spirit.

He was aroused by a touch on the arm, and the smooth, almost sneering
voice of a waiter asked:

"What will you drink, sir?"

Frank lifted one hand to his head and seemed to awaken from a dream. He
looked at the waiter doubtfully, as if he did not understand the
question that was put to him, then, after a bit, said:

"Thank you, I never drink."

The corners of the waiter's mouth curled upward in the faintest smile--a
smile in which pity and scorn seemed to mingle. That aroused all the
fury in Frank Merriwell's heart, and, with his eyes blazing, he
half-lifted his fist as if he would strike the man in the face. Then he
as quickly dropped his hand at his side, shivering as if he had been
touched by a sudden chill.

The waiter had shrunk away with Merriwell's menacing movement, but when
he saw there was no danger, he softly said:

"I beg your pardon--I thought you were going to drink, as you asked the
others to have something with you."

How the words cut and stung! It was as if the man had struck him across
the face with a whip. He fell back, half-lifting his hand, and his chin
quivered.

"I did ask them!" he hoarsely whispered--"and they refused! Not one of
them but would have considered it a high honor to have me ask them a
month ago! And I have come to this!"

His words were incoherent, but his face told the story of his wounded
pride. He remembered how many times he had been welcomed with a shout in
that little room where the famous tables hung upon the wall. He
remembered how his admirers had gathered about him, eager to listen to
every word he might speak, and roar with laughter at his stories and
jests. He remembered the songs, the speeches, all the jolly times in
that room.

Little had he dreamed the time would come when the very ones he had
counted as his warm friends would refuse to drink with him there and
turn their backs on him in disdain.

Nothing could have hurt him more than that. His pride was cut to the
core, and his spirit was shaken as it had never been before.

His first thought was that he would find a way to get even with them
all. Then he realized how great a task that would be. He saw himself
scorned and ostracized by the whole college, and, for a fleeting moment,
he thought of leaving New Haven forever that very night.

His brain began to whirl. The waiter was standing there, looking at him
in a manner that seemed rather insolent.

"What do you want?" he snapped.

"I beg your pardon," returned the waiter; "what do you want?"

"Whiskey!" cried Frank Merriwell--"bring me whiskey, waiter, and bring
it quick!"



CHAPTER XXXIII.

"FOR THE HONOR OF OLD YALE."


The order was filled, the whiskey was brought. It was placed on the
table at which Frank sat. He stared at it in surprise.

"What's that?" he asked.

"Why, sir, it's the whiskey you ordered," answered the waiter.

"Whiskey?" said Merriwell, in a dazed way. "Did I order that?"

"Yes, sir."

He paid for it.

Later, when a gay party dropped in, he was sitting at that table, with
the untasted whiskey before him. He sat there staring and scowling at
the table, but paid no attention to any one. The expression on his face
made him look like anything but his old jolly self.

No one spoke to him. Newcomers drank, joked, laughed and went out. Still
he sat there, scowling and staring at the table.

The report spread that Merriwell had been cut by his old friends.
Curious ones strolled in and ordered a drink just to get a look at him.
He seemed quite unaware of this.

Never in his life had Frank tasted whiskey, but for one moment he had
weakened and thought of easing the blow to his pride by resorting to the
stuff.

Merriwell was human, but still that weakness lasted no more than a
moment. Then he came to himself, and he was ashamed to think that he had
contemplated such a course. It seemed cowardly.

"They say I am a coward," he thought; "but I am not a coward enough for
that."

For more than an hour he sat there at the table. Finally he seemed to
come out of the stupor that had seized upon him.

"Waiter," he called.

His voice was calm and natural, the scowl had vanished from his face,
and he was himself once more.

"Waiter, you may remove this whiskey and bring me a lemon-seltzer. I
don't care for this stuff."

When this order was filled, he calmly drank the lemon-seltzer, paid for
it, rose to his feet, pulled on his gloves, and left Morey's with an air
of combined nonchalance and dignity.

He was his own master once more. He had been insulted by fellows he
formerly believed friends, but he was still Frank Merriwell. He felt
within himself that he was a man and the equal of the best of them. Some
day they should be ashamed when they remembered their act. He felt
confident that day would come.

That night he slept as peacefully as a child, and arose in the morning
refreshed and undisturbed. He would not permit his mind to dwell on what
had happened, but resolutely set himself at his studies.

Those who had thought Merriwell, having once been so popular, would be
crushed, soon found out their mistake. He was calm, quiet, and
dignified. He did not seek the society of his fellows, but seemed the
same old Merriwell to those who came to him. He was perfect in his
recitations. He attended the gym., as usual, taking his daily exercise.
He paid not the least attention to sneering words and scornful looks.

Frank's bitterest enemies were dissatisfied. They had fancied he would
be utterly broken by his downfall, and they could not understand his
dignity and disregard for public opinion.

Those who had reluctantly turned against him were impressed by his
strength of spirit and dignity. He carried about him an air of manliness
that won their admiration, despite themselves.

But every one had not turned against him. Bruce Browning was stanch and
true, although he fiercely berated Merriwell for his course.

Harry Rattleton tried to remain unchanged, and never a word of reproach
did he utter, no matter what he thought.

Jack Diamond did not say anything, but it was because he could not trust
himself to speak. In his heart he felt like punching Frank and whipping
his enemies and traducers; but he knew enough to let Merry alone.

Halliday held aloof. He was thoroughly disgusted with Merriwell. At
first he said as much, and then he became silent and would say nothing
at all.

So the days went by. Frank called on Inza, but did not mention what had
happened. He had thought of telling her everything, and then he decided
that it would do no good, and he would tell her nothing. It was too late
for him to change his course, and it could do no good to talk it over.
He preferred not to think about it.

The football team continued to practice and get ready for the great game
at Cambridge. It was said that Harvard had the strongest eleven put on
the field by her in five years. Her games with the higher teams had
shown she was "out for blood." There was doubt and uncertainty in the
Yale camp.

Ott, Marline's substitute, was not satisfactory. Those who understood
the situation best said that an injury to Marline early in the game
would ruin Yale's prospects.

The anxiety increased as the day of the game approached. Some claimed
the eleven had not been properly trained, others asserted they had been
overtrained.

From Frank Merriwell's manner one could not have suspected he had ever
taken the slightest interest in football. He did not seem to know
anything of the general gossip.

It was the night before the game. Merry had been studying. He was alone
in his room. At last, feeling exhausted, he flung open the window and
looked out.

It was a perfect night, cold, clear and light. The sky was filled with
stars. From across the campus came the sound of a rollicking song.

Directly beneath Frank's window was a group of students who were
excitedly discussing something. Their words attracted Merriwell's
attention.

"It's settled," said the voice of Paul Pierson. "Yale will not be in the
game for a minute. What can a team do without a first-class full-back?"

"Isn't there a chance that Marline's ankle will be all right in time for
the game?" asked another of the group.

"Not a chance," positively asserted Pierson. "The doctor says he'll not
step on it for three days, at least. It is a bad sprain."

"Such beastly luck!" growled Randy Robinson. "Now if Merriwell----"

"Don't speak of that fellow," exclaimed two or three.

"He is the only hope for Yale," declared Pierson. "Ott isn't in it for a
minute. Frank Merriwell must be appealed to for the honor of old Yale."

"Who'll appeal to him?"

"I will, if they'll give me authority. I know he will play when he
understands the situation."

Merriwell drew in his head and closed the window. His face was pale. Up
and down the floor he walked.

"For the honor of old Yale!" he muttered.

Then he suddenly cried:

"For the honor of old Yale I will do anything!"

Then came a knock on his door.



CHAPTER XXXIV.

A SENSATION ON THE FIELD.


The day of the great football game between Harvard and Yale had arrived.
The hour approached.

Jarvis Field was ready for the great struggle. The white marks of the
gridiron were regularly and beautifully made.

The sun shone down from a clear sky. There was no breeze, but the air
was crisp, for all of the sunshine.

At either side the stands were filled; hundreds upon hundreds were
standing; hundreds upon hundreds were coming. A better day for the game
could not have been ordered, and spectators were turning out in force.

Harvard students were there in a body. They flaunted the crimson and
sung their songs of glee. Their faces were radiant, and they were
confident of victory.

Yale had sent her representatives by hundreds. They wore the blue, they
waved the blue, they cheered for the blue.

Everywhere the blue and the crimson could be seen. Everybody was
partisan; everybody had a favorite.

Back of the dark mass of human beings, beyond the limit of the field,
were the trees and the great buildings with their many windows, upon
which the sunshine glinted coldly.

Policemen kept back the standing mass of spectators, or those in the
rear would have pressed those in advance forward upon the field.

A few of those in the rear had obtained boxes or stools, upon which they
were standing in order to look over the heads of those before them. A
wagon was covered with spectators; they were standing on the spokes of
the wheels.

The excitement and the eager anticipation was most intense. It betrayed
itself on every face.

Not far from the point where the mass of Yale blue was thickest two lads
were talking. One wore the blue, the other wore the crimson. The first
was Sport Harris, and the other was Rolf Harlow, who had been forced to
leave Harvard after being exposed as a crooked gambler.

"Every dollar is up," said Harlow, gleefully. "We are in to win a good
pile on this game if what you say is right."

"What I have told you is straight."

"Marline can't play?"

"No."

"Ott is a poor man?"

"Sure."

"And there is no chance that Frank Merriwell will be run in?"

"Bah!" exclaimed Harris, disdainfully. "Merriwell is a dead duck at
Yale. He'll never count in anything more. He is an outcast now. What do
you think?--he's universally rated as a coward."

"Oh, say!" exclaimed Harlow; "that's too much! You don't expect me to
believe that about Frank Merriwell?"

"Believe it or not, it's true."

"I don't understand how it could come about, for you and I know there is
not a drop of cowardly blood in Merriwell. Confound him! If there had
been, some things that have happened would not have taken place."

"Circumstances have conspired to put him where he is, and he'll never
dig out. He has a few enemies who will take care to keep him down, now
he is down."

"Well, I'm glad he's not on the team. We'll make a fat thing out of
this, old man."

"Yes, I gave you every dollar I could raise, so you must know I am dead
sure Harvard will win. If, by any fluke, Yale should happen to pull off
this game I shall be busted."

"Same here."

"In that case, we'd have to stand in together and catch some suckers.
We've done it before."

"And been exposed in it by that cursed Merriwell! Oh, I'd like to get a
good rap at that fellow! He has spoiled a number of good, soft things
for me since we first met."

"You can't hate him more than I do."

"I don't know about that; but he has been a lucky devil. I'm glad he's
not going to play for Yale to-day."

"He couldn't win the game alone."

"No, but it would be Yale's luck to win if Merriwell played. He has been
a mascot for Yale in almost everything."

Harris believed this, for he remembered how many times Frank Merriwell
had been the instrument by which Yale had snatched victory from
apparent, certain defeat.

Suddenly a band struck up, and out upon the field came the Harvard
eleven on the trot. What a cheer went up--what a wild roar of greeting!

For the moment it seemed that the crimson was everywhere. The band
hammered away, and the blood was leaping in the veins of the thousands
of spectators.

Harvard immediately took a bit of preliminary practice.

"They are the boys to polish Yale off this year!" laughed Harlow. "It's
going to be a snap for Harvard."

"I believe it," grinned Harris. "We'll have money to burn after this
game."

Suddenly another kind of a cheer rent the air, and now the blue was
waving everywhere. Onto the field came the Yale eleven at a sharp trot.

Harris and Harlowe laughed and nudged each other with their elbows.

"See the little lambs!" chuckled the sport.

"Coming to the slaughter!" grinned Rolf.

"Too bad!"

"It's a shame!"

"I feel for them."

"I expect to feel for that money. Where's Ott?"

"Why, he's right over--over there--where the dickens is Ott?"

"Can't you see him?"

"Can't seem to, but he must be there. Yes, there he is with the group
out to the right."

"Those are the substitutes. Why is he with them?"

Harris stared, quite as much puzzled as Harlow, for he had understood
that Ott was to be put in as full-back for Yale at the very start.

"It must be--it can't be--it can't be Marline is going to try it!"

"You said he couldn't step on his foot."

"He can't."

"Then he isn't in it."

"Of course not."

"Who is?"

"You tell!"

Then, all at once, Harlowe caught Harris by the shoulder, and, pointing
toward the field, almost screamed in his ear:

"Ten thousand furies! Look there--look there, you blunderer! See
him--see that tall, straight fellow?"

"Where?--who?"

"Where? Who? Right there, with the Yale captain--with Forrest! By all
the living fiends, it is----"

"Frank Merriwell!" gasped Harris.

"Yes, and he is going to play full-back for Yale! He'll hoodoo Harvard!
Yale will win this game!"



CHAPTER XXXV.

STOPPING A TOUCHDOWN.


Frank Merriwell was there. His appearance was a surprise to nearly all
the Yale crowd; it created a sensation.

"Merriwell has been taken in to fill Marline's place!" was the excited
statement that went around.

"It's a foolish move," declared scores. "He has not been practicing with
the team. He's not in condition."

They did not know Frank Merriwell thoroughly, for he kept himself in
condition constantly.

At first his appearance seemed to create doubt and uncertainty among the
spectators who were interested in Yale. Gradually, however, enthusiasm
grew. It was remembered how he had carried the ball right through
Princeton's center in the game the year before, making the most
remarkable run ever known on a football field. Yale had felt her chance
was a desperate one; surely it could not be any worse. Perhaps it might
be bettered by the placing of Merriwell at full-back. It was a desperate
resort, but who could say the result would not justify the move?

Forrest was talking to Merriwell, having drawn Frank aside. They were in
earnest conversation.

A little negro boy came on the field. How he escaped the vigilance of
the officers was a mystery, but he reached the group of substitutes.

"Heah!" he called, flourishing something in his hand: "heah am suffin'
to Mistah Merriwell. Where am he?"

It was a folded scrap of paper. One of the substitutes took it and told
the boy to "chase himself."

"I's done got mah pay fo' bringin' it," he chuckled, as he scudded off.

The note reached Merriwell when he had finished talking with Forrest. He
took it in surprise, and then opened it hastily. A gasp came from his
lips when he saw the writing.

"From Inza!" he whispered.

This is what he read:

     "DEAR FRANK: Did not receive your letter till this morning. Too
     late then to answer. Had left New Haven for Boston before I
     read it. You asked me to release you from your promise not to
     play football. No, I will not! You must not play! If you do,
     I'll never speak to you again! I know Yale will win if you
     play! You must not play! Hastily,

     "INZA."

"Line up!"

The game was about to begin!

Frank tore the note into many pieces, and those pieces he tossed aside.
His face was stern and determined.

"It's for old Yale--dear old Yale!" he muttered. "She has no right to
ask so much of me without giving me a reason for it. I must play--I will
play!"

Out to positions went the two teams. They lined up for business, and a
great hush came over the mighty jam of spectators.

Yale had the first kick-off, and Merriwell balanced himself for it.

Pung!--away sailed the ball clean through Harvard's goal posts, causing
the uninitiated to tremble, as it was an exquisite exhibition of
kicking.

But this kick really gave Yale no advantage, for the rule gives the ball
to the opponents on such a play.

Harvard's full-back sent it spinning back into the center of the field.
It looked like another kick by Merriwell, but, instead of that, Yale
tried Mills, the right-half, who could make only two yards against
Harvard's heavy forwards.

The game was on in all its fury, and the excitement was intense. Kick
followed kick in quick succession, but that style of play did not seem
to gain anything worth gaining for either side.

Yale got the ball and tried the revolving wedge on Harvard. They could
not make a big gain, for the Cambridge lads were like a stone wall.

Again and again was this style of play tried, till Harvard got the ball
on downs.

Then came Harvard's turn to see what she could do, and the first attempt
was a try at the tandem play, made famous by Pennsylvania.

Yale seemed ready enough for that, and the way she cut through and broke
Harvard's line showed immediately that the tandem was not likely to
prove very effective.

Then Harvard called on Benjamin, her right-half, and a moment later the
rush line did a fine piece of work, opening Yale's center and letting
the little fellow through.

Benjamin had the speed of the wind. He also had the ball. Away he went
with it, and there was a clear field before him.

Harvard admirers roared from all over the field. The crimson flaunted
everywhere.

It looked like a sure touchdown for Harvard. Every Yale spectator held
his breath in racking suspense.

Benjamin was flying over the ground. It seemed that his feet scarcely
touched the turf.

Where is Yale now? What chance has she to stop the little fellow with
wings on his feet?

Three seconds of suspense seemed like three hours of torture. It was
awful!

A Yale man was after little Benjamin--was gaining! Could he stop the
little fellow in time? It must be a tackle from behind, if at all, and
the slightest slip would bring failure.

Behind them came all the others on the run, strung out raggedly.

Benjamin would make it--he was sure to make it. His pursuer could not
reach him in time.

Then it seemed that the Yale man had springs in his legs, for he sailed
over the ground like a frightened rabbit. He closed in on Benjamin and
flung himself headlong at the little fellow.

Down slipped the tackler's hands, down from the hips to the knees, to
the ankles. Down went Benjamin with a hard thump, stopped within three
yards of Yale's line.

Twenty men piled upon tackler and tackled.

Deep down beneath that mass was Frank Merriwell, his hands clinging like
hooks to Benjamin's ankles.

He had stopped what seemed to be a sure touchdown for Harvard at that
early stage of the game.



CHAPTER XXXVI.

WON BACK.


Beside Inza Burrage, in a splendid position to watch the game, sat a
pretty girl with fluffy hair. She wore Harvard's colors, and seemed
greatly excited.

"There he is!" she exclaimed, at various stages of the game--"there is
Jack! See him, Inza!"

"Yes," said Inza, "I see him."

But her eyes were not on the one meant by her companion. She was
watching Frank Merriwell, and she bit her lip as she watched.

She had seen him receive her note, she had seen him read it, tear it in
pieces, cast the pieces aside.

"He will play!" she muttered. "He will break his promise to me!"

Her companion heard her words.

"You said Merriwell would not go into the game," she cried.

"Yes, I said so, but I was wrong. He gave me his promise not to play,
and last night he sent me a letter asking to be released from that
pledge. The note I sent to him a short time ago was a reminder of his
promise, and a refusal to release him."

"Yet he will play?"

"He is going into the game."

"Then it can't be that he thinks as much of you as you supposed."

"He does not. This has settled that point."

"I'm afraid Harvard will not win, Inza. Jack says Frank Merriwell has
been Harvard's hoodoo in everything. He was sure Harvard would obtain
this game if Merriwell did not play. You said he did not mean to play,
but I wanted you to ask him not to do so."

"I did ask him, something I should not have done had we not been such
friends, Paula, although I was curious to know how much influence I had
over him. Oh, I think he is the meanest fellow! I shall hate him now!"

Inza's eyes were flashing and her face flushed. She was intensely angry,
and she showed it.

Paula Benjamin was startled.

"Oh, you musn't be too hard on him!" she said. "You know how much Jack
loves Harvard, and how crazy he is for Harvard to beat Yale in this
game. I was almost as crazy myself, and that is why I wanted you to ask
Mr. Merriwell not to play."

"I shall never trust him again," whispered Inza, hoarsely--"never! He
has broken his promise to me."

"It is certain he loves Yale as dearly as Jack loves Harvard. He may
think it is his duty to break his word for the sake of Yale."

"I don't care! I don't care! I do hope Harvard will beat!"

With breathless interest the two girls watched the game. They were
nerved to a point of intense excitement. They saw Harvard stand like a
stone wall against Yale's repeated assaults. It was a battle of
gladiators.

Then came Harvard's tiger-like assault upon Yale's center, and Jack
Benjamin went through with the ball. The great crowd of spectators rose
as one person, seething with excitement, as Benjamin flew toward Yale's
line.

"Hurrah!" cried the sister of the little fellow. "That is Jack--my
brother Jack! He'll make a touchdown! They can't catch him--they can't
stop him!"

"Wait a bit!" palpitated Inza Burrage, who was clinging convulsively to
Paula's arm. "Look--look there! Frank is after him! See them run! Frank
is gaining!"

"He can't catch Jack--my brother Jack! I know he can't do it! Jack has
the start! Hurrah! Hurrah!"

"He will catch him! He's gaining! See--see him again! He is getting
nearer--nearer! Now--now----Oh-o-o-oh!"

Frank Merriwell had flung himself at the Harvard man and pulled him
down. Then the other players piled upon them.

"I knew it!" cried Inza, with a hysterical laugh. "I knew he could not
get away from Frank!"

"Oh, the brute!" sobbed Paula--"the brute to throw my brother like that!
Jack was right! Frank Merriwell will keep Harvard from winning! I hate
him!"

"Yes," fluttered Inza, "he will do it if it is in his power. Oh, he is a
wonderful player! But he thinks more of his old college than he does of
me! I'll never speak to him again!"

Paula sat down and cried, while Inza did her best to comfort her friend.

Soon the game was on again, as fierce as ever. Yale fought desperately,
driving Harvard back a little, but it seemed that Harvard had the
superior team. All the fighting was on Yale's territory. At last, as the
first half drew to a close, Harvard's left half-back went around Yale's
end, and the most masterly interference prevented Yale from stopping
him. He crossed the line and made a touchdown. Then Harvard's full-back
had time enough to kick a goal, and the first half ended with Harvard
triumphant.

"Har-vard! Har-vard! Harvard! Rah-rah-rah! Rah-rah-rah! Rah-rah-rah!
Harvard!"

It was a sense of wild rejoicing. Crimson fluttered all over the great
throng.

Where was the blue?

"Yale isn't in the game for a minute," said some who were supposed to be
experts. "The Yale fellows found they were butting against a stone wall
every time they tried a rush. This is Harvard's year."

Ralph Harlow was beaming with triumph.

"It's going to be an easy thing for our money, Harris," he chuckled.
"Yale can't do anything with Harvard to-day."

"That's the way it looks," admitted Harris; "but the game is not over."

"The game will run the same way till, it is over. Yale's rushers could
do nothing with Harvard's line. Frank Merriwell is the only man who has
distinguished himself for Yale, and he could do nothing but delay the
inevitable for a short time."

"That was the only real good opportunity Merriwell has had," said Sport.
"He showed what he could do then. You remember his run through
Princeton's line last year?"

"That's all right. Yale can't break an opening to let him through
Harvard's line this year."

"I hope not, but I shan't feel sure of it till the game is over."

The Harvard crowd cheered and sang songs till they were hoarse. They
hugged each other, tooted horns and indulged in wild antics to give vent
to the exuberance of their feelings.

The sons of Old Eli who had come up from New Haven to see the game were
dolefully silent. They had seen Yale fling herself upon Harvard time
after time and rebound as a ball rebounds from a solid wall, and their
hearts were weak within them.

Paula Benjamin was almost crazy with joy. She laughed and cried by
turns.

"Oh, the dear fellows!" she exclaimed. "I could hug every one of them!"

Inza Burrage said nothing, but upon her face there was a look of
unspeakable disappointment and dismay. In her heart she was crying:

"Will Yale let them beat? Will Frank be beaten? If he is, I am sure I'll
never speak to him again!"

Soon the men formed for the beginning of the second half. Harvard went
into the game on the jump, and Yale was forced to resort to defense
play. It seemed that there was no stopping the crimson in its onward
march to victory. Foot by foot and inch by inch Yale was beaten back
till the ball was on the twenty-yard line.

Then Halliday revived hope in a measure by taking it back to the center
of the field, where he was downed with such violence that he was picked
up quite unconscious, and another man had to be put in his place, while
he was carried from the field, limp and covered with dirt and glory.

It seemed that Halliday's desperate do-or-die break gave Yale courage
and hope. For some time she held Harvard at the center of the field, not
allowing a gain of a foot. Then Old Eli got the ball and rushed it into
Harvard's territory.

What a glorious fight it was! Now every Yale man in the crowd was on his
feet cheering like mad. Those cheers seemed to make fiends of the
defenders of the blue. They played, every man of 'em, as if they were in
battle and ready to sacrifice their lives without a moment of
hesitation. They were irresistible. Harvard's stone wall was broken at
last. Merriwell was in the thick of it. Four times he advanced the ball.
Others took turns, and, at last, the ball was on Harvard's
twenty-five-yard line.

Then there was a hush, for it suddenly became plain that Merriwell would
try to kick a goal from the field. It was a desperate expedient. Yale
feared to lose the ball and have it carried back to the center in a
minute. Such a loss would be fatal, and Forrest knew it Frank had been
given the signal to kick.

"He can't do it!" cried scores.

Then they thought of the beautiful kick he had made at the very
beginning of the game and were silent.

Frank advanced to the proper position, exactly the right blade of grass.
There he poised himself.

Cross fiddled with the ball between his legs. The suspense became
intense.

Suddenly the ball was snapped and passed back. Punk--Frank kicked it.
Away it sailed.

He did it before those Harvard tigers could down him. It was a glorious
kick. Through the goal posts and over the bar it sailed.

Then the Yale yell was heard.

But the game was not over. Harvard had secured a touchdown and a goal.
Yale had secured a goal. It seemed that she had feared utter defeat,
else she would have fought for the touchdown.

The Harvard crowd remained confident. They crowed, for they said Yale
had displayed her own lack of confidence by kicking a goal from the
field.

The time was growing short, and there seemed little chance for Yale to
do anything more. Harvard men laughed and said Harvard would obtain
another touchdown and goal before the end.

Little time was lost in putting the ball into play again. Harvard
immediately started out with rushes. Now, to the astonishment of all,
Yale was the stone wall.

Soon the ball went to Yale. Mills took it around Harvard's end for
fifteen yards. Powell bucked the center with it and gained some ground.

Harvard men began to get anxious. Things had changed since the first
half. Harvard was on the defensive now. What had caused the change no
one could tell.

Back and still back the Harvard line was forced. Would Yale try to
secure another goal from the field? That was the question.

Paula Benjamin was almost crying.

"It's Frank Merriwell!" she said. "Jack said he would hoodoo Harvard,
and he has!"

"It is Frank!" thought Inza. "He has put life into the Yale men. He has
given them confidence somehow. He must win now--he will!"

The ball was getting dangerously near Harvard's line. The Cambridge men
fought to hold it during the last few minutes of the game.

Then, with a sudden movement, a man was sent through Harvard's center,
although an around-the-end play had been anticipated. It was a tricky
move, and took Harvard by surprise.

Like a shot that man went through Harvard's line. He ran with wonderful
speed, with interferers on either side and a bit in advance.

It was Frank making a last desperate effort for a touchdown!

One by one the interferers were flung aside till he was alone, hugging
the ball, running as if for his life.

Three men came down on him while he had fifteen yards to go. They flung
themselves on him like famished wolves. They thought to crush him to the
ground.

Then ten thousand people gasped with astonishment, scarcely able to
believe what they saw.

It did not seem that Merriwell slackened speed much, and he still went
forward, carrying those three men on his back and shoulders. They tried
to drag him down, and others tried to reach him. They could not break
him to the ground, and, with them all on his back he carried the ball
over the line. Then he fell, and the ball was beneath him.

It was a touchdown for Yale! Besides that, it was the most wonderful
touchdown ever made on a football field. A mighty roar went up from the
spectators when they realized what had happened. Never before had they
witnessed anything like that. They knew the man who made the play had
won fame. To-morrow his picture would be in every Boston and New York
newspaper.

Oh, how the Yale men shrieked, and screamed, and roared! They were like
human beings gone mad. They were crazed with their admiration for the
man who had done that trick. They longed to take him in their arms, to
bear him on their shoulders, to do him every honor.

Gloriously had Frank Merriwell won back his lost prestige! Let a man
breathe a slur against him now and there would be a hundred ready to
knock that man down.

When the mass untangled Merriwell was seen lifted to his feet. He stood
up, wavering a bit, supported by Forrest, who had an arm around Frank's
body.

Then Frank pushed Forrest off. Time was precious, and his soul was
strong.

Hasty preparations were made, and, for all of what he had just passed
through, Merriwell kicked a goal.

Three seconds later the game was over, and Yale had won.

Then all Merriwell's admirers rushed upon the field to surround him, to
fight for a look at him, and to roar their delight.

"Rah for Yale!"

"Three cheers for Frank Merriwell!"

"They can't down Old Eli!"

So the cries rang on.

It was truly a scene never to be forgotten.

But at that moment Frank did not think of the game.

He was wondering what Inza would say.

Would she forgive him for what he had done?

"Oh, I hope she does," was his thought. "If she doesn't----" And he
could think no further.



CHAPTER XXXVII.

INZA BEGINS TO UNDERSTAND.


"How did the game come out?" asked Miss Abigail Gale, Inza's aunt, as
the two girls returned to Paula's home, which was a handsome house in an
aristocratic portion of the Back Bay.

Miss Gale was knitting. For all of her luxurious surroundings, she was
plainly dressed, and she was practicing economy by knitting herself some
winter stockings. Reputed to be comfortably rich, Miss Gale was
"close-handed" and thrifty.

"Yale won, of course!" cried Inza, who had not recovered from her
enthusiasm. "Oh, Aunt Abby, you should have seen it!"

"No, no!" exclaimed the spinster, shaking her head.

"You would have gone crazy over it!"

"It's brutal. I have no sympathy with such brutal games. I didn't want
to see it, and I stayed away."

"But it was such a splendid spectacle. Twenty-two young gladiators, clad
in the armor of the football field, flinging themselves upon each other,
struggling like Trojans, swaying, straining, striving, going down all
together, getting up, and----

"Land!" cried Miss Abigail, holding up both hands. "It must have been
awful! It makes my blood run cold! Don't tell me any more!"

"At first Harvard rushed Yale down the field. Yale could not hold them
back. It was easy for Harvard. Jack got the ball--Jack Benjamin. He went
through Yale's line. The coast was cleared. He made a touchdown. He ran
like a deer. How his legs did fly!"

"Good!" cried Miss Abigail, getting excited and dropping her
knitting--"good for Jack!"

"But a Yale man was after him, and the Yale man could run. The crowd was
wild with excitement. Jack tore up the earth. The Yale man tore up the
earth----"

"He couldn't catch Jack!" exclaimed the spinster. "It wasn't any use for
him to try."

"He did catch him--jumped at him--caught his ankles--pulled him down!"

"You don't say! He'd ought to be walloped!"

"Then the others came up, and they all piled on Jack and Frank."

"Frank? Frank who?"

"Why, Frank Merriwell, of course."

"Was he the one that caught Jack?"

"Yes."

"I might have known it. No use for Jack to try to run away from Frank.
He couldn't do that. But I thought Frank wasn't going to play?"

"He broke his promise to me--he did play."

"Do tell! I'm surprised!"

"So was I. He stopped Jack, but Harvard scored in the first half, and
Yale didn't get a thing. Then came the other half. Yale went at Harvard
with new life. Frank seemed to give it to them. He rushed the ball down
the field. Harvard couldn't hold him."

"Of course not."

"He got the ball close down to Harvard's line. Then he kicked a goal."

"Hurrah!" cried Miss Abigail, with an astonishing burst of enthusiasm.
"Go on, Inza."

"The ball was put into play again. Again Yale got it and rushed it down
through Harvard's line. Harvard made a furious struggle to hold it back.
Frank got it at last--he broke through--they couldn't stop him.
Then--then, with three Harvard men on his back, he carried the ball over
the line for a touchdown, kicked a goal, and won the game."

Miss Abigail was palpitating with excitement.

"Goodness me!" she gurgled. "And Frank did all that? I didn't see him do
it, either! Goodness me! It must have been grand--it must have been!
What a fool I was to stay at home!"

Inza laughed, and then became sober, suddenly.

"Yale won," she said, "but I'll never speak to him again."

"Him? Who?"

"Frank."

"Won't speak to Frank Merriwell?"

"No."

"Why not?"

"He broke his promise to me. Harvard would have won if he hadn't. Look
at Paula! She is heartbroken! It was mean of Frank--just as mean as it
could be!"

"It was mean," said Paula, "and Frank Merriwell ought to be ashamed. I
think he must be an awfully cheap fellow to do anything like that."

Miss Abigail's face grew hard as iron.

"Now, you hold right on, Paula Benjamin!" she said, severely. "Don't you
talk about him! Your mother and me was schoolmates, but I won't stay in
this house to hear Frank Merriwell traduced! I know him, and he's a fine
young man."

"He may be," reluctantly admitted Paula, seeing Miss Gale was thoroughly
aroused; "but it seems to me that a fine young man should keep a
pledge."

"You don't know his circumstances. There must have been a good reason
why he broke his pledge."

"I presume he was called on to play when Mr. Marline injured his ankle."

Inza looked at Paula quickly.

"Mr. Marline?" she said. "I think Frank spoke of him. Who is he?"

"He was to play full-back for Yale, but he sprained his ankle, and so he
could not play."

"Do you know him?"

"I have been introduced to him. Jack knows him very well. We met him
when we were South two years ago."

"How do you know he sprained his ankle?"

"Jack heard of it last night."

"Then word must have been sent from New Haven. Did it come through a
traitor or a spy?"

Paula flushed, and then said:

"Through neither. Mr. Marline expected to see us after the game, and he
sent word that he could not very well, as he had sprained his ankle and
might not be able to come on. I saw him with the Yale boys, though. He
was on crutches."

"I begin to understand Frank's position," thought Inza. "He was forced
into the game. Well, I have said I'd never speak to him again, and I
shall keep my word. I don't care if it breaks my heart! I know he thinks
more of his old college than he does of me."

Jack Benjamin came home bruised in body and crushed in spirit. Paula met
him at the door, and drew him into the sitting-room, where Inza and Miss
Gale were.

"It's too bad, Jack!" cried his sister, her sympathetic heart wrung by
the look of pain on his face. "I think it is just awfully mean that
Harvard didn't win!"

"Harvard would have won if it hadn't been for that fellow, Frank
Merriwell!" growled Benjamin. "I said he'd hoodoo us, and I was right.
We can't down Yale at any game he is in. It's no use to try. Why, we
out-classed Yale all around to-day, and still he won the game for them.
That's what I call infernal luck!"

Inza repressed her elation, but something like a grim smile came to Miss
Abigail's hard face.

"If Marline hadn't hurt his ankle, we'd been all right," declared Jack,
as he sat with his elbows on his knees and his chin on his hands,
looking down at the floor. "Rob is a good man, they say, but he could
not have done the things Merriwell did. Why, hang it!" he suddenly
cried, getting on his feet, sinking his hands deep in his pockets, and
stamping around the room, "that fellow actually carried Woodbury,
Stanton and Glim on his back for more than fifteen yards! They couldn't
pull or crush him down. I wouldn't believe it possible if I hadn't seen
it. He's a terror!"

Inza's eyes sparkled.

Paula followed Jack and took his arm.

"I hate him!" she cried. "I saw him pull you down, the big, strong
ruffian!"

"Yes," nodded Jack, "and a pretty tackle it was. He didn't pile upon me
like a wooden man, but his hands went down to my ankles and flipped me
in a second. If he'd bungled the least bit, I'd made a touchdown. Oh, he
is a terror!"

"But I hate him!" persisted Paula. "I was so sure you would make a
touchdown. What right had he to grasp you that way and throw you so
hard?"

"That's the game, sister mine. Any Yale man would have done it--if they
could."

"I don't care! Why was he playing?"

"That's right!" cried Jack, turning to Inza. "I thought he wasn't in the
game this season? I thought he gave you his promise not to play?"

Inza flushed with shame and embarrassment.

"He did," she confessed.

Jack whistled.

"And broke his promise--I see! It can't be that he thinks much of his
word."

It seemed for an instant that Inza would defend him, but she did not.
For the first time Frank had broken a promise to her, and she felt it
keenly. She turned away.

Miss Gale looked grim, but remained silent. She knew herself, and
realized she might say too much, if she spoke at all.

It was an hour or so before Jack could cool down, so stirred up was he
by the result of the game. Finally, he went upstairs to take a bath.

Before dinner there was a ring at the bell, and a servant brought in a
card, which she gave to Jack, who was enjoying his first smoke of weeks,
now that the game was over.

"Hello!" he cried. "Rob Marline! I didn't expect him."

"Rob Marline!" exclaimed Paula, in no little confusion. "Gracious! I
must be looking like a fright! Come up to my room with me, Inza, and see
that I am presentable."

So the girls ran up to Paula's room, and Jack directed that Marline be
brought directly to the smoking-room.

"I want to look my best when Mr. Marline comes," said Paula, when they
were in her boudoir. "I am sure my hair looks bad, and I must be a
perfect fright."

Inza laughed.

"It seems to me you are very particular about Mr. Marline."

"I am," confessed Paula, busying herself before the mirror. "You know,
he is Jack's particular friend."

"Oh, he's Jack's particular friend!"

The manner in which Inza said that brought a warm flush to Paula's
cheeks, and she endeavored to hide her confusion, but in vain.

"I've discovered your secret, dear!" cried Inza, with her arm about her
friend's waist. "Now I know why you take such an interest in Robert
Marline."

"Nonsense! I like him, because--because----"

"Just because you do."

"No; because he is Jack's friend."

"Now, don't try to deceive me, Paula!" cried Inza, holding up one
finger. "You can't do it. You would like Rob Marline just as much if
your brother was not in it."

"Oh, it's no use to talk to you," fluttered Paula. "You are one of the
girls who will have your own way."

"No, not always. I did not have my way to-day. Frank Merriwell played
football. But, Paula, I think I am beginning to understand more fully
just why you were so anxious Mr. Merriwell should not play on the Yale
eleven. He was Mr. Marline's natural rival for the position of
full-back. If Frank Merriwell played, Rob Marline could not. I'm sure I
am right. You did not tell me the entire truth, but I have found it
out."

Paula was more than ever confused, but she could not deny Inza's charge.

"If I told you that," she confessed, with sudden frankness, "I feared
you would not try to induce Mr. Merriwell not to play. Now, don't be
angry with me, Inza! I know it was Rob's--I mean Mr. Marline's ambition
to play full-back on the Yale team, and I wanted him to do so. That's
all. Perhaps I ought to have told you in the first place. Do forgive me,
dear!"

It was not in Inza's heart to be unforgiving, and so the girls hugged
each other, kissed and assisted each other in getting ready to go down
and meet the visitor.

They found Jack and Marline in the library. The Yale lad arose with
difficulty. His crutches were lying on the floor beside the chair on
which he sat.

Paula blushed prettily as she shook hands with Marline, and then she
presented Inza.

Thirty minutes later, while they were chatting, there was another ring
at the bell, and the servant brought a card to Inza.

"Gentleman wishes to see you, miss."

Inza looked at the card, turned pale, and then, her voice quivering a
bit, said:

"Tell Mr. Merriwell I will not see him!"



CHAPTER XXXVIII.

A BLOW FOR FRANK.


"Eh? What's that?" exclaimed Miss Abigail, who entered the library just
in time to catch Inza's words.

"Frank Merriwell has had the impudence to call here to see me--as soon
as this!" flared Inza, her face flaming.

"Eh?" exclaimed Miss Abigail, once more. "Impudence?"

"Yes--insolence! After he did not keep his promise to me!"

Rob Marline was greatly interested, although he pretended not to notice
what was going on.

"Oh, well, dear," said the spinster, "you must not blame him."

"But I do!"

"You do not know the circumstances."

"I know he broke his promise, and I know I'll never speak to him again
as long as I live--never!"

"You think so now, but----"

"I shall think so always."

"Don't be foolish, child! Mr. Merriwell is a splendid young man, and
you----"

"I will not see him! That is all."

Then Inza again instructed the servant to tell Mr. Merriwell that she
would not see him.

"If you won't see him, I will," said Miss Abigail. "Is he in the parlor?
I'll go to him."

"Now, aunt!" cried Inza, catching her arm, "you need not try to fix
anything up. He broke his promise to me, and I said I'd never speak to
him again. I meant it! He may just stay away, for I don't want to see
him. Tell him so for me."

"All right, I will, but I'm going to tell him you're all fluttered, and
don't know what you're talking about."

So Miss Gale went to see Frank in the parlor, while Inza remained in the
library.

Paula was not hard-hearted, for all that she had declared she hated
Frank Merriwell, and, when she saw Inza was in earnest about not seeing
Frank, she drew her aside, and said:

"Perhaps you had better see him. I don't want to be the cause of a
misunderstanding between you."

"Don't let that worry you," said Inza, with affected lightness. "I don't
want anything to do with a fellow who cares so little for me that he
will break a pledge the way Mr. Merriwell did."

"But--but he was loyal to his colors and his college."

"Which shows he thinks more of his old college than he does of me. I
have said I'd never speak to him again, and you shall see that I can
keep my word."

Paula was distressed, for she began to think herself responsible for the
misunderstanding between Frank and Inza. She knew Inza well enough,
however, to realize it was useless to attempt to reason with her when
her mind was set on anything. The more one tried to reason, the more set
she became.

Rob Marline had taken in all that passed, although he pretended to be
interested in Jack Benjamin's talk about the football game.

Marline felt elated, for he saw Merriwell had done something to turn
against him this pretty girl, who was Paula's friend. At first glance,
this Yale student from South Carolina had been strongly impressed by
Inza's appearance, and there was something about her spirit and her
manners that impressed him more and more.

"If I could cut Merriwell out with her!" he thought. "Ah! that would be
a rich revenge! But Paula might object! Never mind; I've given Paula no
particular reason to think I am stuck on her. If she is stuck on me,
it's not my fault. There is no reason why I should not try to catch on
with Miss Burrage."

He compared Inza and Paula, and he saw that the former was far the
handsomer girl. She had a strikingly attractive face with large dark
eyes, red lips and perfect teeth, while the color that came and went in
her cheeks told the tale of perfect health. He could see that she was
destined to become the kind of a young lady who always creates a
sensation when she enters a drawing-room and causes men to turn and look
after her on the street.

The more Marline thought it over, the firmer became his determination to
do his best to win Inza from Frank Merriwell. He laughed to himself when
he thought what a revenge that would be upon the fellow he hated.

"What are you laughing at?" cried Benjamin, somewhat offended. "I tell
you Harvard would have won in a walk if it hadn't been for that fellow
Merriwell."

"Beg pardon," said Marline, quickly. "Did I laugh? Excuse me. Still, I
think you overestimate Merriwell."

"Not a bit of it. He's the best man on the Yale eleven. Besides that, he
is one of the best baseball pitchers who ever twirled a ball. He has
done more for Yale sports and athletics than any one man ever did before
in the same length of time."

"He had the opportunities to-day," said Marline. "That's how he happened
to do so much."

"He made the opportunities," declared Benjamin. "What kind of an
opportunity was it when three of our men piled upon him and he carried
them more than fifteen yards? That was something wonderful!"

"Don't speak so loud, Jack," cautioned Paula. "He is in the parlor, and
he might hear you."

"Well, I'm sure I'm not saying anything that could offend him."

"It might give him the swelled head," put in Marline.

Inza turned on him like a flash.

"It is evident you do not know him very well, Mr. Marline," she said,
severely. "Frank Merriwell never gets the swelled head."

Marline was somewhat embarrassed, but, with the utmost suavity, he bowed
to her, smoothly saying:

"It is possible I do not know him very well, as you say; but I am sure
almost any fellow might be in danger of getting a touch of swelled head
had he done the things Mr. Merriwell did to-day."

He said this so gracefully that Inza's threatened anger was averted, and
she fell to chatting with him, much to his satisfaction.

They were standing close together, talking earnestly, Marline supporting
himself by leaning on the back of a chair, when Frank left the parlor,
saying to Miss Gale that he must hasten to catch a train back to New
Haven.

The library door opened into the hall, and Frank saw Inza chatting with
Rob Marline in a manner that seemed very friendly and familiar. The
sight gave him a start, and the hot blood rushed to his cheeks.

Inza knew Frank had seen them, but she did not turn to look at him. She
began to laugh in her most bewitching manner, as if amused very much at
something Marline had said, and leaned a little nearer her companion.

Frank seemed dazed. The sight of Rob Marline in that house chatting thus
with Inza seemed a revelation to him. All at once, he fancied he
understood the situation--fancied he knew why Inza had not wished him to
play on the Yale football team.

"We shall be in New Haven the last of the week, Mr. Merriwell," said
Miss Abigail. "She'll get over it by that time, and we'll call. It's
nothing but a foolish whim."

She spoke the words just loud enough for Frank to hear, but he did not
seem to understand. Like one in a dream, he took his cap from the rack
and turned toward the door.

"Good-day, Mr. Merriwell," called the old maid.

"Eh? Oh! Good-day!"

Frank paused at the door and looked back; then he spoke, loudly enough
to be heard in the library:

"I shall be pleased to see you at any time, Miss Gale, but, if you call
on me, perhaps it would be well not to bring a certain person with you.
It might be embarrassing and unpleasant. Good-day."

Bounding down the steps, Frank walked swiftly away. There was a hard,
set look on his face, which had grown singularly pale.

"Yes," he muttered, "I understand it all now. She would not tell me why
she did not wish me to play on the eleven, but I know now. Somewhere she
has met Rob Marline, and she is stuck on him. He wanted to play
full-back for Yale, and she aided him all she could by inducing me to
promise that I would not play. I see through the whole game! She was
playing me for a fool! I did not think that of her, but it is as clear
as crystal."

And Marline had cut him out with Inza! He felt sure of that.

"Well," he grated, "I have been easy with that fellow. Now we are
enemies to the bitter end! Let him look out for me!"



CHAPTER XXXIX.

THE HOMEWARD JOURNEY.


"What's the matter with Merriwell?" asked Lewis Little, speaking to a
group of jolly lads who were on the train that bore the Yale football
team out of Boston on its way to New Haven. "He's grouchy."

"Is he?" cried Paul Pierson. "Well, he ought to be ashamed of himself!
Why, he's the hero of the day! All the papers will have his picture
to-morrow. I saw at least five persons snapping him with cameras on the
field. Grouchy, is he? Well, confound him! He has no right to get a
grouch on."

"Not a bit of it!" cried Charlie Creighton. "What's the matter with him?
Where is he?"

"He's sitting back in the end of the car, looking fierce enough to eat
anybody."

Creighton, Pierson and several others sprang to their feet and looked
for Frank. They saw him.

He was staring out of the window in a blank manner, although he did not
seem to notice anything the train passed. He was paying no attention to
the gang of shouting, singing, laughing students, who filled the smoker
and were perched on the backs of the seats and crowded into the aisles.

"Hey, Merry!" shouted Creighton. "Shake it, old man--shake it! Come up
here! Get into the game!"

Frank looked around, shook his head, and then looked out of the window
again.

"Well, hang him!" growled Charlie. "Any one would think he had played
with Harvard, instead of winning the game for Yale! What can be the
matter with him?"

No one seemed to know. Creighton went down and talked to Frank, but
could get no satisfaction out of him.

As soon as he was let alone again, Merriwell fell to gazing out of the
window, seeming quite unaware of the shouts and songs of the jolly lads
in the car.

When strangers crowded into the car to get a look at the man who had won
the game for Yale, having heard he was on the train, he still continued
to gaze out of the window, and it was not apparent that he heard any of
their remarks.

"Tell you what," said Creighton, as he returned to Pierson and the
others of the little group, "Merriwell is sore."

"Sore?" cried Tom Thornton, "he can't be any sorer than I am! Why, I was
jumped on, kicked, rammed into the earth, and annihilated more than
twenty times during that game. A little more of it would have made a
regular jellyfish out of me. I'll be sore for a month, but I believe in
being jolly at the same time."

Then he broke forth into a song of victory, in which every one in that
car seemed to join, judging by the manner in which the chorus was roared
forth.

    "Boom-to-de-ay, boom-ta-de-ay,
    Boom-to, de-boom-ta, de-boom-ta-de-ay;
    We won to-day, we won to-day,
    We won, oh, we won, oh, we won to-day."

Any one who has not heard a great crowd of college lads singing this
chorus cannot conceive the volume of sound it seems to produce. When
they all "bear down together" on the "boom-ta," the explosive sound is
like a staggering blow from the shoulder.

But even this song of victory did not seem to arouse Frank in the least.
He remained silent and grim, being so much unlike his usual self that
all who knew him were filled with astonishment.

"I did not mean that he was sore of body," said Creighton. "I think he
is chewing an old rag."

"What do you mean by that?"

"Well, you know, we all gave him the marble heart when we thought he had
decided not to play football because he was afraid for certain reasons.
I think he is sore over that, and I don't know that I blame him. I
swear, fellows, we did use him shabby!"

"That's it," nodded Pierson; "that's just it. And he is proud and
sensitive. He would not show he cared a continental before the game,
but, now he was the means of saving the day for Yale, I fancy he is
chewing over it a little."

"Never thought of that," said Bink Stubbs. "Bet you're right, fellows.
We'll have to get down on our hulks to him to make it all right. I'm
ready to say I'm ashamed of myself, and ask him to forget it."

The others expressed themselves as equally willing, and so it came about
that Frank was much surprised to have them come to him, one after
another, and confess they had used him shabbily. He was ready enough to
shake hands with them all, while he assured them he did not hold the
least hardness.

They saw he was in earnest, they were satisfied he was willing and ready
to forget they had ever treated him with contempt, and yet he did not
cheer up, which was something they could not understand.

"Better let him alone," advised Creighton, after a little. "It may be
something we don't know anything about, that he is chewing. Anyway, he's
not himself."

Bruce Browning, big and lazy ever, was one of the group. He had been
keeping still, but now he observed:

"That's right, let him alone. I've traveled with him, and I never saw
him this way before. I tell you he is dangerous, and somebody may get
hurt."

    "Keep away from the window, my love and my dove--
    Keep away from the window, don't you hear!
      Come round some other night,
      For there's gwine to be a fight,
    And there'll be razzers a-flyn' through the air."

Thus sang Bink Stubbs.

"Look at Harris!" laughed Thornton, nudging the fellow nearest him.
"Don't he look sour? They say he got hit to-day."

"Got hit?"

"Yes."

"What with?"

"A roll."

"A roll of what?"

"Bank notes."

"You mean he has been betting?"

"Sure."

"But you don't mean he bet on Harvard?"

"I understand he put his last cent on Harvard, and went broke. He was
fortunate enough to have a return ticket to New Haven, so he didn't have
to borrow money to get back on."

Harris was sitting in a seat, looking sulky and disgusted, fiercely
trying to chew the end of his short black mustache. His hat was pulled
over his eyes, and he did not seem to take much interest in what was
going on in the car.

Stubbs and Creighton got a crowd together to jolly Harris, and they
descended on him in a body.

"Hello, old man!" cried Charlie, gayly. "Is it straight that you won
three hundred on Yale to-day?"

"I heard it was five hundred," chirped Bink Stubbs, "What a pull to
make! Congratulations, old man!"

"You'll have to ball the crowd when we get to New Haven, Sport," said
Lewis Little. "You can afford to open fizz."

Harris smiled in a sickly way, and tried to say something, but Paul
Pierson got him by the hand and gave him a shaking up that literally
took away his breath.

"Good boy!" cried Paul. "I'm glad you stuck by old Eli! But did you have
the nerve to bet every cent you had that Yale would take that game? My,
my! You are a nervy fellow, Sport, old chap. You were the only man who
had all that confidence."

"Sport never goes back on old Yale," laughed Little. "He knew the chance
of Yale's winning looked slim, but still he backed her up. That's what
makes him look so cheerful now."

"You would have felt bad if you had bet your money on Harvard, now
wouldn't you?" cried Thornton.

"Oh, yes, I certainly should," gasped Harris, who was suffering
tortures.

"What a jolly time we'll have drinking fizz on you, old man!" exclaimed
Bink Stubbs. "I feel as if I might get away with about four quarts."

"Oh, we'll make a hole in your winnings!" laughed Pierson. "I am so dry
this minute that my neck squeaks."

"So are we all!" shouted the others.

Harris could not repress a groan. He wondered if they were fooling with
him, but they seemed so much in earnest that he could not tell. Perhaps
they really thought he had won a big roll on Yale. He couldn't tell them
he had bet on Harvard. What could he do?

He was forced to pretend that he was delighted, but over and over he
promised himself that he would give them the slip, even if he had to
leap from the train while it was running at full speed. Pay for fizz!
Why, he didn't have enough left to pay for a glass of plain beer!



CHAPTER XL.

REJOICING AT YALE.


Harris found his opportunity to slip away when the train drew into the
station at New Haven.

A band of music was on hand to meet the returning conquerors. A wild mob
of screaming, cheering, horn-tooting students was there.

It was evening, and the Yale lads had come down to the station with
torches, prepared to give the eleven such a reception as no other
football team had ever met.

When the train drew into the station, the band was hammering away at a
blood-stirring tune. When the train stopped, the great crowd of young
men and boys presented a perfect sea of upturned faces beneath the
flaring light of the torches. Blue was everywhere. It was Yale's great
day, and all New Haven wore the color.

The train stopped. Then there was a fierce swaying and surging of the
crowd, a flutter of flags, followed by a mighty cheer that was like a
savage yell of joy over the downfall of a defeated and slain enemy.

How they shouted for Yale! How they swayed and surged! How like lunatics
they were!

The sound of the band was drowned, and not a strain of music could be
heard. The musicians continued to play, but they might have saved their
breath.

The crowd knew well enough that the eleven would be on the smoker. That
was the car in which the victors could disport themselves as hilariously
as they pleased.

The smoker began to discharge its passengers. Paul Pierson was the first
to get off, and he was followed closely by a stream of Yale men.

The general cheering had died down, but almost every man who stepped
from the train was greeted in some peculiar manner.

"What's the matter with Yale?" howled a voice.

Then a thousand throats seemed to roar back:

"She's all right! 'Rah! 'rah! 'rah! 'Rah! 'rah! 'rah! Yale!"

Bruce Browning appeared.

"Hey, Brownie!" cried some one on the platform. "How's your corns?"

"Sore," answered the big fellow. "Strained 'em cheering for Yale."

Bink Stubbs came forth riding astride Puss Parker's shoulders. Somewhere
on the train he had captured a silk hat that was much too large for him,
and it had dropped down over his head to his ears, which were lopped
forward by the weight of it. In the hatband was stuck the short staff of
a small flag. Bink had a horn, and he blew a hoarse blast the moment he
was outside the car.

"Where'd you get that horn?" called a voice.

"This horn's nothing," returned the little fellow. "I've had about
twenty horns besides this, and still my neck is dry."

Four fellows came off the car, carrying a fifth. They held their caps in
their hands, and were as mournful and sad-appearing as possible. The one
who was carried had a big white placard on his breast. On the card were
these words:

"I bet a dime on Harvard, and dropped dead after the game!"

It was not an easy thing to carry him down the steps, but the
mournful-appearing bearers succeeded in doing the trick.

Dismal Jones came forth from the car. He was holding a handkerchief to
his eyes and pretending to weep.

This brought a shout of delight, and some one yelled back:

"Weep for poor old Harvard. She needs it."

Then Capt. Forrest of the eleven appeared.

A mighty roar went up the moment he was seen. It was a great shout of
admiration and welcome. It brought a hot flush of satisfaction to his
cheeks, and he stood bowing and smiling on the platform.

"What's the matter with Forrest?" shrieked a voice, when the noise
lulled somewhat.

"He's a lulu!" shrieked another voice.

"He's all right--he is!" roared the crowd.

Then they cheered for him in the regular manner.

Each player was received with an ovation as he came out of the car, and
they must have felt themselves well repaid for their weeks of hard
training and practice.

Frank Merriwell was nearly the last one to show himself. The crowd had
been waiting for him.

What a shout went up! The torches flared, and it seemed that the very
stars quivered with the volume of sound.

"Merriwell! Merriwell! Merriwell!" roared the vast throng.

Roar! roar! roar! It seemed that they would never stop. It was an
ovation that might have pleased a monarch.

Frank would have been less than human had he not thrilled with
satisfaction as he heard them cheering him thus. He took off his cap and
bowed again and again. He tried to descend from the steps and mingle
with the throng, but some of them held him back. They seemed to want him
up there where they could look at him.

It was some time before the cheering subsided. At last, somebody began
to shout:

"Speech! speech! speech!"

Frank shook his head, but it was useless. They were determined he should
say something. He saw he could not escape, so he held up one hand.

Silence fell on the great crowd beneath the torchlights.

Then Frank spoke--a single sentence:

"Every man of us did his level best for dear old Yale!"

That was enough. They went mad again, and again they roared till they
were hoarse. They cheered for Yale, they cheered for Forrest, they
cheered for Merriwell. Of everything for which they cheered, Merriwell
created the greatest enthusiasm.

Then he was lifted from the steps and carried away on the shoulders of
his admirers, while the mob swarmed after him.

The band got out and formed to head the parade of triumph. The crowd of
students fell in behind. The band struck up, and away they went, with
the Yale eleven close behind them.

Great crowds had turned out to witness the spectacle, knowing the
students meant to give their victorious team a rousing reception. All
along the line the spectators cheered and waved hats, flags and
handkerchiefs.

A committee had raised a fund for fireworks, and Roman candles began to
pop up balls of fire, while rockets went whizzing into the air from the
head of the procession.

No one interfered with the rejoicing students. It was their night, and
the city fathers remained in the background and permitted them to have a
glorious time.

Some of the business places were prepared for their appearance with
illuminated windows. All New Haven seemed delighted.

This year every one had seemed to expect Harvard would "wipe up the
gridiron" with Yale, and this victory was so unexpected that it set the
people wild with delight.

All along the line the students sang and cheered. Now and then the band
could be heard pounding away industriously.

In this manner they marched to the college grounds. As they drew near
the college, Browning suddenly descended on the trombone player and
captured his horn.

That was a signal for a general rush upon the band by the boys, and,
within three minutes, every instrument was in the hands of a Yale
student.

Some of the boys could play on the instruments they captured, and some
could simply make a noise.

"Attention!" roared Browning, who seemed to have awakened from the
lethargy that had been on him so long, and was once more a leader in a
genuine racket. "We will play the 'Star-Spangled Banner.' All ready! Let
her rip!"

They played! Such a wild medley of sounds never was heard before. Puss
Parker had a cornet, and he was playing the air of the "Star Spangled
Banner," while Browning was putting in the variations with the trombone.
But the others played anything they could think of and some things they
could not think of! "John Brown's Body," "Yankee Doodle," "Marching
Through Georgia," "Suwanee River," and "Hail Columbia," were some of the
tunes that mingled in that medley. Those who could not play anything at
all added to the hideous din by making the captured horns bleat forth
horrible sounds. Bink Stubbs had secured the bass drumstick, and the way
he hammered the big drum was a caution. He did his best to break in the
head--and finally succeeded!

In this manner the rejoicing students marched right in upon the campus,
regardless of policemen, professors, rules or regulations.



CHAPTER XLI.

A CONTRAST IN ENEMIES.


It was a wild night on the Yale campus. Even the worst old "grind" in
the college came out and looked on while the hilarious students made
merry, even if he did not join in the riotous proceedings.

A bonfire was built. Once there had been rules prohibiting such fires,
but of what use were rules now! Boxes, barrels, lumber, fencing, almost
anything that would make a blaze was brought in and heaped up there. It
was done in a rush in a manner that showed all preparations had been
made in advance, although the combustible material had not been piled up
till the time arrived when the fire was required.

Around the great fire the students with the instruments belonging to the
band marched and tooted and sang. Bink Stubbs had knocked in one end of
the bass drum, but he continued to hammer away on the other end,
apparently doing his best to break that in also. Bruce Browning "tore
off" music and other sounds with the trombone, while Puss Parker
astounded those who knew him best by his skill with the cornet, for he
really could play at some tunes.

About twenty fellows tied handkerchiefs over their faces, turned their
coats, and attempted to rush the band and capture the instruments.

Then there was war, and the real owners of the instruments looked on in
horror, wondering what would become of the horns.

The police were called upon to regain the instruments for the proper
owners. A dozen of them attempted to do the trick, but they were not
permitted to come onto the campus.

There were rumors of a rush. It was reported that the freshmen were
coming out with canes.

But the freshmen were not fools, and they knew it was a bad time to
bring about a cane rush. They mingled with the rejoicing crowd, but
sported no canes.

Some of the band instruments were ruined in the struggle, but a cheap
band had been engaged, and the instruments were of poor grade, so the
boys did not mind their destruction, although all felt that somebody
would have to settle the bill for damages.

Some one placed Danny Griswold on a box and yelled for a speech. Danny
never made a speech in his life, but he felt elated, and he started in
to say something. The moment he opened his mouth everybody cheered. When
they stopped cheering, Danny started again.

"This is----"

Not another word was heard. Again they cheered, drowning his voice. He
waited for them to stop. They stopped.

"This is----"

"'Rah! 'rah! 'rah! Whooper up! whooper up! 'Rah! 'rah! 'rah!"

Danny waited again. Now he felt that he wanted to make a speech. He was
determined to make a speech.

"This is----"

He couldn't get beyond "is," and he was growing disgusted. He longed for
a fireman's hose and good head of water.

As they began to cheer all at once, they stopped all together.

Once more Danny tried it:

"This is----"

It was no use. The mere sound of his voice seemed to arouse them to the
wildest enthusiasm. He shook his fist at them.

"Go to thunder!" he screamed, getting black in the face.

But they laughed and cheered so he could not hear the sound of his own
voice.

Some fellows found Frank and carried him around and around the fire.
They tried to induce him to get on the box in Danny's place, and say
something, but he was too shrewd to try that, even if he had wished to
do so.

Sport Harris, holding aloof, his heart sour with disappointment and
disgust, saw a fellow swinging himself along on crutches, but refraining
from taking any part in the celebration.

"It's Marline," thought Sport. "He must be somewhat sore himself."

Then he approached and spoke to the unlucky student, who had lost the
opportunity to play full-back when he sprained his ankle.

"Hello, Marline!" called Harris. "Why aren't you whooping her up with
the others?"

Marline looked at him in doubt, and then remembered that Harris and
Merriwell had never been good friends.

"Why should I celebrate?" he asked, sourly.

"Yale won."

"Yes, and I sat where I could see the fellow who filled my place secure
the opportunities to win, which must have been mine had I played."

"It was hard luck for you to be knocked out in such a manner."

"Hard luck! It was beastly! But it was worse luck to have that fellow,
Merriwell, run into the game and get all the opportunities to cover
himself with glory."

"Well, he got 'em, and he improved 'em."

"Any fellow fit for the position could have done the same thing."

"Think so?"

"I know it."

"How about carrying three men on his back the way Merriwell did?"

"That was nothing."

"Everybody seems to think it was a great trick."

"It was nothing, I tell you. Those Harvard chumps tackled him in the
most foolish manner possible. Not one of them tried to get low down on
him, but all piled upon his back."

"Still, it seems that three of them ought to have crushed him into the
ground."

"Not if he had any back at all. You could have stood up under it."

"Thanks!" said Harris, dryly. "I don't care to try."

"I know I could."

"But Merriwell carried them right along on his back."

"What of it?"

"Wasn't that something? He scarcely seemed to slacken his speed in the
least, for all of their weight."

"Rot! They came upon him from behind, and when they leaped on him they
hurled him forward still faster than he was going, if anything."

"It's a wonder they didn't hurl him forward on his face."

"Wonder--nothing! Are you stuck on that fellow?"

"Well, I should say not! I have no reason to admire him."

"Nor I! I despise him, and I am willing he should know it. Wait till my
ankle gets well."

"What will you do then?"

"I am making no talk about what I'll do," said Marline, lowering his
voice and hissing forth the words; "but Frank Merriwell had better steer
clear of me."

"He is a bad man to have for an enemy," said Harris, "I know, for he is
my enemy."

"How does he happen to be your enemy?" asked Marline. "You are not in
athletics. What made him your enemy?"

Harris hesitated, and then said:

"Some time ago he wrongfully accused me of cheating at cards. I have
hated him ever since."

A sudden change came over Marline. He remembered now. He had heard
something about it at the time, but it had slipped his mind. He
remembered that he had heard from a reliable source that Merriwell had
exposed Harris in a crooked game.

Involuntarily, Marline drew away from Harris. The lad from South
Carolina had very high ideas of honor, and he could feel nothing but
contempt for a card sharp. Sometimes he played cards himself, but he
would have died rather than do a crooked or dishonorable thing. A moment
before, he had seemed to feel a bond between himself and Sport, as they
were both enemies to Merriwell, but now there was a feeling of
repulsion.

No matter what Rob Marline's faults might be, and he had many of them,
there was not a dishonest streak in him.

Harris seemed to see the change come over the other, and regretted that
he had told the truth, for he knew Marline was "encumbered" by a fine
sense of honor. He tried to set himself right by fiercely declaring he
had been unjustly accused by Merriwell.

"That's what makes me hate the fellow so," he said. "He has injured me
by leading some fellows to think I was crooked, and that is the worst
injury he could do anybody."

"I agree with you on that point," nodded Marline.

"Some time I'll square it up with him," grated Harris. "We both hate
him, and I see no reason why we shouldn't pull together."

Marline hesitated a moment, then shook his head.

"No," he said, "I'll not make a compact with any one against him. I hate
him, and I am willing he should know it. I'll meet him face to face and
man to man, and I'll make him crawl, or I'll fix him so he won't play
football for a long time to come!"



CHAPTER XLII.

A CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.


The day after the great game the Boston and New York morning papers gave
columns to a full report of the contest. All the evening papers of the
day before had contained reports, but on the following morning the story
was told more fully and accurately.

Not a morning paper appeared in either city that did not contain Frank
Merriwell's picture. It made little difference if some of the pictures
were poor, Frank's name was beneath each and every one of them.

The papers gave him glaring headlines. He was called "The Yale Trojan,"
"The Sensation of the Season," "The Boy of Iron," and many other
complimentary things.

All Yale was reading the papers, and Frank was more than ever the topic
of conversation, for his fellow-students began to realize that he had
played an even more important part in the game than was at first thought
possible by those who had not witnessed it.

If Frank had smoked or drank he would not have found it necessary to buy
a cigar or a drink for weeks to come. Scores of fellows would have
considered it a great honor to buy smokes and drinks for him.

But Merriwell neither smoked nor drank. He had never indulged in tobacco
or liquor. Who knows how much that was responsible for his wonderful
strength, nerve and wind?

At the fence a group gathered early and read and discussed the newspaper
reports. Rob Marline seemed to be the only man who did not have a paper.

"What's the matter with you, old man?" asked Tom Thornton. "You are
looking as blue as if we had lost yesterday."

"I'm feeling grouchy," confessed Marline.

"Ankle?"

"Has something to do with it."

"Too bad! It was tough to be knocked out just before the game, but you
can feel satisfied that your place was filled by a good man."

Marline seemed to turn yellow.

"That is it, sah--that's just it!" he exclaimed, "Look at all the stuff
in the papers about him! And I might have had the opportunities he had
if I had played."

"Perhaps not."

"Why not?"

"The change might have made considerable difference in the play. You
know as well as I, no two men will play just the same under the same
circumstances. They may attempt similar plays, but they do not carry
them out in precisely the same manner."

"I don't like the way you use that word 'attempt,' sah!" said Marline,
flaming up a bit. "It seems like an insinuation that I might have failed
in the attempt, while Merriwell succeeded."

"You are altogether too suspicious and sensitive, Marline. I did not
hint anything of the sort, although even you cannot be sure you would
have succeeded as well as Merriwell. Indeed, what he did in that game
was phenomenal."

"Rot, sah!"

"I believe you are jealous of him, Marline. If you are, take my advice,
and conceal it, or the boys will jolly you to death."

Rob Marline drew himself up with as much haughtiness as possible,
considering his lame ankle.

"Sah," he said, hissing the words through his white teeth, "the boys had
better be careful. I am in no condition to be jollied on that point,
sah."

Had any other fellow at Yale taken such a stand, it would have produced
shouts of laughter. As it was, not a fellow of the group grinned, and
Burn Putnam observed:

"If you don't want to be jollied, you'd better keep still about
Merriwell. All the fellows will be onto you if you keep it up."

Rob flashed Old Put a cutting look, and then haughtily returned:

"My tongue is my own, sah!"

"All right," grunted Burn. "Use it as you please. You'll find I've given
you a straight tip."

"I presume, sah, a man has a right to criticise the playing of any
fellow on the eleven?"

"Sure; but it doesn't come very well from you, as you and Merriwell were
rivals."

"We were not rivals, if you please. He was substituted to fill my place
after I was injured. But for this ankle, he would not have been on the
team."

"But that he refused to play football this season, you would not have
been on the team," put in Bandy Robinson.

"Oh, I see all you fellows are standing up for him and are down on me!"
fiercely cried Marline. "I don't care if you are. I think Frank
Merriwell is----"

"Is what, sir?"

It was Merriwell himself, who had approached the group without being
noticed by any of them. He now stepped forward promptly and faced
Marline.

Rob turned pale, and his eyes gleamed. For some moments he did not
speak, but he did not quail in the least before Merriwell's steady gaze.

At last, gaining control of his voice, he sneered:

"So you were listening. Well, there is an old saying that eavesdroppers
seldom hear good of themselves."

"So you call me an eavesdropper?"

"You heard what was not meant for your ears."

"Because I happened to be coming here to join this party. You were
talking loudly and in public. There was no reason why I should not have
heard, and I did so in anything but a sneaking manner. Your insinuation
that I eavesdropped is an insult."

"What are you going to do about it, sah?"

"Demand satisfaction!" shouted back Frank, who was aroused to such a
pitch that he was ready to quarrel with his rival on the slightest
provocation.

Marline grinned sarcastically.

"Very well, sah," he said, something like exultation in his voice. "I am
ready to give you all the satisfaction you want, sah, as soon as my
ankle will permit."

"You will fight me?"

"With pleasure, sah."

"All right; it's settled. I'll agree to give you a pair of nice black
eyes."

"No, you won't, sah."

"Eh? You won't be able to stop me."

"Only ruffians and prize fighters use their fists."

"Eh? What do you mean?"

"I mean business, sah!" shot back the boy from South Carolina, drawing
himself up, with the aid of his crutch. "You have seen fit, Mr.
Merriwell, to consider yourself insulted by me, and you have demanded
satisfaction. You shall have it, sah--all you want! We will fight, but
not with our fists. I am the challenged party, and I name swords as the
weapons!"

Marline's words produced a sensation. Of all who heard them, Frank
Merriwell seemed the least startled or surprised. Danny Griswold near
fell off the fence. All the boys looked at each other, and then stared
at the boy from South Carolina, as if seeking to discover if he could be
in earnest.

He was in deadly earnest; there could be no doubt of it. His face was
pale, and his eyes gleamed. The fighting blood of the Marlines was
aroused.

Then the other lads of the group remembered the record made by the
Marlines, the famous fighters of South Carolina. They remembered that
Rob Marline's ancestors were duelists before him, and every one of them
on record had killed his man!

With such an example in his own family, and with certain notions of the
proper course for a man to defend his honor, it was certain Marline
meant business when he named swords as the weapons.

But such a meeting could not take place. It was unlawful. Besides that,
dueling was not popular in the North, and it was not believed that a man
showed cowardice if he refused to consider the challenge of an enemy.

What would Merriwell do? He could not accept Marline's proposal, and
still it would not be easy for him to back down, after demanding
satisfaction. He was in a trying position, and the boys wondered how he
would get out of it.

"Mr. Marline," said Frank, and his voice was perfectly calm and cool,
"you must be aware that such a thing as you propose is utterly
impossible."

"I am not aware of anything of the sort, sah."

"Then I will tell you so now."

"That means you are afraid--you dare not meet me face to face and man to
man! You show the white feather!"

"It means nothing of the sort."

"You can't get out of it, sah."

"I am a Northerner, and I do not believe in personal encounters with
deadly weapons, after the rules of the code duello."

"A Northerner!" flung back Marline, with a curl of his lips and a proud
toss of his head. "Well, I am a Southerner, and we do believe in the
code duello. It is the only way for a man to satisfy his honor."

"It is evident that is a point on which we cannot agree."

"Then, you are going to back down--you will play the coward?"

"You are making your language very strong and offensive. Will you be
good enough to remember you are on crutches, which makes it impossible
for me to strike you now?"

"No man ever struck a Marline without spilling his blood for the blow!
It is a good thing for you, sah, that I am on crutches."

"If you were not crippled, you could not use the language you have
within the past few moments, without getting my fist between the eyes."

Marline sucked in his breath with a hissing sound through his teeth.

"Never mind my condition, sah--hit me! Nothing would give me greater
satisfaction, sah!"

"It is impossible. You will not be crippled long."

"I shall recover as swiftly as possible. You may be sure of that, sah!"

"There will be time enough to settle this little affair between us
then."

"But the preliminaries can be arranged in advance, Mr. Merriwell. My
representative will call on any friend you may name, sah."

It was plain enough to all that Marline intended to force a duel or
compel Merriwell to back down squarely.

"If I decline to name a friend--if I decline to meet you in a regular
duel----"

"I shall brand you as a pusillanimous cur, sah!"

Frank's face paled a bit, but still his eyes met Marline's steadily.

"You seem to forget you are not in the South," he calmly said. "If you
were on your own soil, you might be justified in pushing this thing as
you are, for that is the not entirely obsolete custom among Southern
gentlemen. But you are in the North, where duelists are criminals who
have not even the sympathy of the public in general. Under such
circumstances, you have no right to try to force such an encounter with
me."

"You demanded satisfaction, sah, and I named the weapons. I know nothing
of your Northern ideas, and I care less. I do know that a man of honor
in your position would name a representative and have this affair
settled properly."

"You have raised a point of honor on which we cannot agree, that is
all."

"Then you refuse to meet me? You take water? Ha! ha! ha! I swear I did
think you were a coward all along! A short time ago all Yale said you
were a coward, but now, because you made two or three lucky plays in the
football game, all Yale is praising you to the skies. Well, sah, I will
show them the kind of a man you are! I will show them that you
challenged me, and then dared not meet me. I will brand you as the
coward you are, sah! It will give me great satisfaction, I assure you."

"Look here, Marline," broke in Burn Putnam, "you are carrying this thing
beyond the limit. Merriwell has explained to you his position and made
it clear that such a meeting as you propose is utterly impossible."

"That's right, that's right!" chorused the others.

"Mr. Merriwell knew me at the beginning," said the boy from the South,
unrelentingly. "He knew I did not take any stock in fist-fighting--that
I made no pretensions of being what you call a scrapper. Yet he demanded
satisfaction of me for what he chose to consider an insult. That gave me
the chance to name the weapons, and I named them. It seems that he
sought to take an unfair advantage of me, thinking to force me into a
fist-fight, about which he knew I knew nothing, and, having the
advantage of me thus, give me a drubbing. It was a brutal attempt to
take advantage of me, but he was check-mated. Now, under the
circumstances, I have a right to push this matter as far as possible,
and I will do it! He'll meet me in a regular duel, or I will take great
trouble to brand him as a craven."

"You'll get yourself into a very bad scrape, Marline," said Thornton.
"Sympathy will not be with you."

"Bah! What do I care! I can stand alone! I am a Marline!"

"Besides that," continued Tom, "there is another point to be
considered."

Rob made a gesture of disdain, but Thornton hastened on:

"Suppose you two would fight a duel and one of you should be seriously
wounded, what then? Why, an investigation would follow, and the truth
would come out That would mean expulsion for you both--it would mean
disgrace."

"Bah!" cried Marline, once more. "I presumed I was dealing with a man of
honor, and that every person here was a man of honor. In such a case, if
one of us should be wounded, he would keep his lips closed, even if he
were dying. Not a word of the truth would he disclose, and no amount of
investigation would discover the truth. The victor would be safe."

"That is much easier to talk about than it would be to put in practice.
I, for one, am against anything of the sort."

"You do not count, sah."

"Don't, eh? Well, we'll see about that! Frank Merriwell can't meet you,
and that settles it. If you try to force him, I'll report the whole
matter to the faculty, and the chances are about ten to one that you
will be fired from college. There, Mr. Marline, you have it straight
from the shoulder, and I trust you are satisfied."

Thornton was astonished with himself for taking such a stand, as he was,
as a rule, a good follower, but no leader. He had a way of thinking of
things after others put them into execution, but now he was the one to
take the lead.

Marline made a gesture of scorn.

"Yes, sah, I am satisfied," he said; "I am satisfied that Mr. Merriwell
is a coward. He was looking for a loophole to crawl through, and you
have provided him with that loophole. He should feel very grateful to
you, sah!"

"Marline," said Frank, sharply, "you can make a mistake by heaping this
on too thick! I can't stand everything, and you'd better drop it."

"Yes, drop it, Marline!" cried some of the others.

"Oh, I'll drop it for the present," said Rob, with deep
significance--"for the present, you understand. But I am not done with
Mr. Merriwell. My ankle will be all right in a short time, and then----"

He paused, giving Frank a stare of hatred. Then, without another word,
he turned and swung himself away, aided by his crutches.

All felt sure that the affair was not ended.



CHAPTER XLIII.

AN UNPLEASANT SITUATION.


"Great Scott!" gurgled Old Put, staring after Marline. "But he is a
regular fire eater!"

"He's a bad man--a blamed bad man!" fluttered Danny Griswold.

"That's right," nodded Lewis Little. "He really wants to fight with
swords, I believe."

"Of course, he does," nodded Andy Emery, who had not said a word during
all the talk between Merriwell and Marline. "Jack Diamond was another
fellow just like him when he first came to Yale."

"So he was," said Putnam. "And it seems to me I have heard that
Merriwell met him."

Frank smiled a bit.

"We had a little go," he said. "He put up a fierce fight, too, for a
fellow that knew nothing about the science."

"Oh, everybody knows about that!" said Put. "It was the other affair I
was speaking of. Didn't he force you into a duel with swords?"

"That affair was not very serious," said Frank, evasively.

"But I know it took place. He was a fire eater, and he had just such
ideas of honor as Marline holds. Thought it a disgrace to fight with
fists, and all that. You couldn't get out of meeting him in a regular
duel, and you did so. I've heard the fellows talking it over. Let's see,
who got the best of it?"

"It was interrupted before the end," said Frank. "The sophs came down on
us, and we thought them the faculty. Everybody took to his heels."

"And Diamond would have been captured if it hadn't been for Merriwell,
who stayed behind to help him out," put in Thornton. "The duel was never
finished."

"Don't try it again, Merry," cried Danny Griswold. "The next one
wouldn't come out as well as that."

"But what am I going to do?" asked Frank. "This fellow Marline will not
let up on me."

"Don't pay any attention to him," advised Little.

"That's right, ignore him," said the others.

"That will be a hard thing to do. I am no bully, as you all know, but I
cannot ignore a man who tries to ride me."

"Better do that than get into a fight with deadly weapons, and be
killed," said Put.

"Or kill him," added Griswold.

"Never mind if he does try to brand you as a coward," advised Emery. "He
can't make the brand stick. You are known too well here."

Frank flushed a bit.

"I don't know about that," he asserted. "It was only a few days ago that
almost everybody here seemed to think me a coward because I declined to
play football. They would be thinking so now if I had not played through
absolute necessity."

"But what you did in that game has settled it so no man can call you a
coward hereafter, and have his words carry any weight," said Putnam. "I
believe you can afford to ignore Rob Marline. He is sore now because he
was unable to play in the game, and because you put up such a game.
He'll get over that after a time, and it's quite likely he'll be ashamed
of himself for making such a fuss. He's not much good, anyway."

"Right there is where I think you make a big mistake," said Frank.
"Marline has been underestimated by many persons. He has sand, and
plenty of it. He is not responsible for his peculiar notions as to the
proper manner for a man to settle an affair of honor, for he was born
and brought up where such settlements are generally made with pistols."

"Well, you can't fight him in the manner he has named, and that's all
there is to it. Nobody will blame you for not meeting him. Let him go it
till he cools off."

"Perhaps he will be cool by the time his ankle gets well," said
Griswold.

Others came along and joined the crowd, and the talk turned to football.
Everybody seemed to want to shake hands with Frank, and his arm was
worked up and down till it ached. He was congratulated on every hand.

Sport Harris stood at a distance and saw all this, while his face wore a
sour, hateful sneer.

"It makes me sick to see them slobbering over him!" he muttered. "He'll
swell up and burst with conceit now. Hang him! He beat me out of my last
dollar yesterday, and now I'll have to take some of my clothes down to
'uncle' and raise the wind on them. Ain't got even enough for a beer
this morning, and my account is full at Morey's. This is what I call
hard luck! Wonder how Harlow feels this morning?"

Rolf Harlow had formerly been a Harvard man, and he was an inveterate
gambler. Through him Harris had placed all his money on the Harvard
eleven. Sport had tipped Harlow to the condition of the team, and the
apparent fact that Harvard was sure to win, on which tip Rolf had
hastened to stake everything on the Cambridge boys. At the close of the
game Harris got away from Harlow as quickly as possible, finding him
anything but agreeable as a companion.

Harris knew Marline hated Merriwell, and he felt sure the boy from the
South had nerve and courage, but, to his wonderment and disgust, Rob
would not enter into any sort of a compact against Frank.

"Together, we might be able to do up Merriwell," thought Harris. "The
only man I ever, found who had the nerve to stick by me against
Merriwell was Hartwicke, and he was forced to leave college. I'll get
the best of the fellow some day."

Later on, Sport heard something of the encounter between Merriwell and
Marline that morning. He listened eagerly to this, and he was seized by
a few thoughts.

What did he care about Marline? If Merriwell could be led into a genuine
duel with the lad from South Carolina, it might result in the expulsion
of both from Yale, either if neither should be seriously injured.

If Merriwell should be injured, all the better. If he wounded Marline,
the whole story might come out on investigation, and that would put him
in a bad box.

Anyway, a duel between the two might bring about Merriwell's downfall.

Harris set about stirring the matter up. He reported that Marline had
driven Merriwell "into his boots." There were a few fellows who "took
some stock" in Sport, and through them he worked to spread the story.

Harris was industrious, and before another night all sorts of tales
concerning the encounter between the rivals were in circulation.

Harry Rattleton, Frank's old-time chum, heard some of the reports, and
he lost no time in telling Frank just what was being said. Merriwell
smiled grimly, and said nothing.

"What are you going to do about it?" asked Harry, excitedly.

"Nothing," said Frank.

"What's that?" shouted Rattleton. "If you don't do anything, lots of the
fellows will think the stories are true."

"Let them."

"I wouldn't stand it! I'd hunch somebody's ped--I mean, punch somebody's
head."

"The fellows who heard it all know if Marline drove me into my boots."

"All right!" said Rattleton. "If you don't do anything about it, I
shall. I'm going to find out who started the yarns, and then I'm going
to punch him!"

And Rattleton went forth in search of some one to punch.

And he was not the only one, as we shall see.

Within three days Marline was able to get around, with the aid of a
cane. His ankle was improving swiftly, and he expected it would be
nearly as well as ever in less than a week.

Marline had a following. There were some rattle-brained young fellows in
the college who looked on him with admiration, as it was known he came
from a fighting family, and was just as ready to face a foe on "the
field of honor" as any of his ancestors had been before him.

Marline considered himself a "careful drinker," for he took about a
certain number of drinks each day, seldom allowing himself to indulge in
more than his allowance.

He always took whiskey. Beer and ale he called "slops." Such stuff was
well enough to boys and Dutchmen, but "whiskey was the stuff for a man."

Rob did not know he was forming one of the worst habits a man can
acquire--that of "drinking moderately." The moderate drinker becomes the
steady drinker, and, in time, he gets his system into such a condition
that he cannot get along without his regular allowance of "stuff." The
moment he tries to cut down that allowance, he feels miserable and "out
of sorts." Then he "throws in" a lot of it to brace up on. Perhaps it is
some time before he realizes what a hold drink has on him, and, when he
does realize it, in almost every case it is too late to break off the
habit. Gradually he increases his "allowance," and thus the moderate
drinker becomes a slave to liquor, and a drunkard.

The only "safe way" to handle liquor is not to handle it at all.

Marline had a father with plenty of money, and he was provided with more
than a liberal allowance while at college. He had money to spend, and
now, knowing the value of popularity, he began to spend it with unusual
liberality. As a result, there was a crowd of fellows who clung to him
closely in order to get as many drinks as possible out of him.

Although Frank did not drink, he often went around with fellows who did.
He had a strong mind, and it was not difficult for him to resist
temptation.

Thus it came about that Merriwell and Marline sometimes saw each other
in Morey's or Treager's, two well-known students' resorts. At first,
they seemed to avoid each other. Then Marline got the idea that
Merriwell was afraid of him, and he took to flinging out scornful
insinuations and staring at Frank contemptuously.

It was difficult for Merriwell to restrain his passions, for never had
he known a fellow who could anger him like Marline, but he held onto
himself with a close hand.

Jack Diamond heard of the affair between Frank and the boy from South
Carolina. Although Jack was from the South, he knew Merriwell as well as
anybody at Yale, and his knowledge told him Frank was in the right.

It galled Diamond to think that anybody could sneer at Merriwell, and
not be called to account. He did not say much at first, but, after a
time, he began to feel that he had stood it about as long as possible.

"Look here, Merry!" he exclaimed, as he stalked into Merriwell's room
one evening; "how long are you going to stand this?"

Frank had been studying, but he flung down his book immediately.

"Stand what?" he asked, smiling.

"Why, the insolence of this fellow from South Carolina. I heard him in
Morey's last evening when he made that sneering remark about you, and it
has been galling me all day. I expected you would jump him on the spot,
but you never moved an eyelash."

"What did you think I'd do?"

"Punch him, confound it!"

"How can I?"

"How can you? With your fist, of course."

"But I can't do it, you know. He has acknowledged publicly that he is no
fighter with his fists, and I'd seem like a bully if I hit him."

"Oh, rot!" exploded Jack. "Think I'd let any fellow insult me and then
rub it in without giving him a thump on the jaw? Not much!"

"Your ideas on that point seem to have changed since you came to Yale.
You will remember you did not believe in fighting with fists when you
came here."

"That's right," nodded Jack. "I thought gentlemen never fought in such a
manner, but I have found out that even gentlemen are occasionally forced
to do so."

"Marline holds just the same ideas as you held. I demanded satisfaction
of him, and he said he'd give it to me, with swords."

"He's a chump! What he really needs is a good drubbing, and you ought to
give it to him."

"And be called a bully. They would say it was a cowardly thing to do.
Really, Jack, I'm in a confounded nasty place!"

"I believe you are," admitted Diamond, slowly. "But you must do
something."

"Suggest something."

"Fight him with the weapons he named!" cried the Virginian, hotly. "You
can do it, and I know you can get the best of him. I haven't forgotten
our little duel. Not much! Why, Merriwell, you disarmed me twice! You
can do the same trick with him."

"Perhaps not."

"I know you can. If you disarm him twice, you can call him a bungler,
and refuse to continue the duel. Do it, Merry!" excitedly urged Jack.
"I'll stand by you--I'll be your second."

"Thank you, old man; but aren't you afraid of getting into serious
trouble? If the faculty----"

"Hang the faculty! We'll have to take chances. You can't stand his
insults, Merry, and you'll have to fight him with the weapons he has
named. That's the only thing you can do."

"You may be right," said Frank, slowly. "I am getting sick of the way
the thing is going, but I don't want to make a fool of myself."

"You won't; but you'll make a monkey of Rob Marline, and I'll bet on it.
Why, Merry, you are wonderfully clever with the foils, and you have
nerves of iron."

"Still, there might be a slip, you know."

"Are you afraid he'll do you up?"

"Not that," said Frank, "although I know he might. I'll tell you the
truth. I hate Marline, and I might do him up. A sword is a nasty weapon.
What if I should run him through?"

"I never saw the time yet when you were not your own master. I don't
think there is any danger that you will kill Marline, but you pink him,
just so he would remember you. He wouldn't blow. He's from the South. He
wouldn't blow if you pinked him for keeps."

"I think you are right about that. Well, Jack, there's no telling what I
may be driven into. If I have to meet him in a duel, I shall call on you
to act as my second."

"You may depend on me. I'll serve you with great satisfaction. Call him
out, Merry--call him out!"



CHAPTER XLIV.

STUDENTS' RACKETS.


Inza Burrage came back to New Haven with Miss Gale. Frank discovered she
was there by seeing her on the street. He started to join her and speak,
but she entered a store, and he lost her.

That evening he started out to call on her, resolved to have a talk with
her and come to a complete understanding, if she would see him.

He knew where Miss Gale was stopping, and he made his way to the house
by a roundabout course, thinking over what he would say in case Inza
consented to see him.

As he approached the house he saw some one ascending the steps. The
person going up the steps carried a cane.

Frank halted abruptly.

"Marline!" he whispered.

It was his rival.

Rob rang the bell and was admitted to the house.

Frank turned about and walked swiftly away.

"That settles it!" he grated. "I don't want to see her now, for I am
sure she was playing double with me. She is stuck on Rob Marline. It's
all right! it's all right! I'll have to take Diamond's advice. Marline
shall have all the satisfaction he desires."

On his way back to his room he met Browning, Diamond, Rattleton and
several other fellows, who were starting out for a jolly time. They were
singing, "Here's to Good Old Yale," and he immediately joined in with
them, his beautiful baritone adding to the melody which floated out on
the crisp evening air.

"Hurrah!" cried Rattleton. "It's Merry! Come on, old man, and we'll have
some sport."

To the surprise of all, Merriwell joined them, without asking where they
were going. He seemed ready enough for any kind of sport, and his
laughter rang the loudest and merriest of them all. He was overflowing
with jokes and witty sayings, so that the boys began to say to each
other that he was like the Frank Merriwell of old.

They made the rounds of the "places." Nearly all of them drank beer,
but, although Frank seemed in a reckless mood, not a drop of beer or
liquor touched his lips. He seemed to enjoy the sport as much as any of
them, and still he remained sober.

In fact, Frank was a leader in wild pranks that night. Before the
evening was over, the boys got two policemen after them, and were forced
to run to escape arrest.

Rattleton was somewhat slower than the others in starting, and he soon
found one of the policemen was close upon him.

"Stop!" cried the officer.

"Go to thunder!" flung back Harry.

"Stop, I tell yer!"

"Save your wind! You can't catch me in a thousand years."

"Can't?"

Whiz--something flew through the air. It struck Harry between the
shoulders, knocking him forward on his hands and knees.

Then the officer pounced upon him, picking up his stick, which he had
flung at the boy.

"Oh, I've got yer!" grated the policeman. "I'll teach yer to be tearin'
down an' shiftin' round people's signs! I saw yer when yer pulled down
the sign in front of the Chinese laundry, and the charge'll be larceny.
We're goin' to fix some of you frisky students."

The police had been sore ever since their ineffectual attempt to get
upon the campus and arrest the students who were parading with the horns
captured from the band. Word had gone the rounds among the students that
the "cops" were watching for an opportunity to retaliate. Evidently this
policeman fancied his opportunity had come.

Larceny! Harry realized the full meaning of the charge, and he knew it
would go hard with him if he were convicted. Thoughts of making a
desperate effort to slip out of his coat, and leave it in the officer's
clutch, flashed through his head; but the blow of the club had knocked
the wind out of him, and, just then, he did not have the strength to
make the effort.

Where were the others? Had they all escaped? Had they abandoned him?

"Git up!" ordered the policeman, releasing his grip on Harry a bit, in
order to change his hold.

Swish! thump! bump!

A dark body came out of the shadows and struck the policeman with the
force of a catapult.

The officer was hurled through the air, his hold on Harry being broken.
He struck the stone paving heavily.

A hand fastened on Rattleton's collar, a strong arm jerked him to his
feet, a familiar voice hissed in his ear:

"Run!"

It was Merriwell! Harry's heart leaped as he realized that. Frank had
not deserted him. Frank never deserted a friend.

Rattleton was somewhat dazed, but Merriwell's hand directed him, and
away they sped. They heard the policeman behind them, heard him shout
breathlessly for them to stop, but they had no thought of obeying.

Into a narrow space between two buildings plunged Frank, telling Harry
to follow. Merriwell came to a gate, but he seemed to see it, for all of
the intense darkness.

"Over here!" he called to Harry.

They heard the policeman plunge in behind them. Over the gate they
scrambled, not daring to pause long enough to find the way it was
fastened. Out into a back yard they dashed, hearing the officer run into
the gate and grunt as he was flung backward.

There was a high fence around the yard, and it seemed that they might be
in a trap.

Frank felt for a clothesline and found it. He seemed to see in the dark.

"Over the fence, Harry--over the fence!" he whispered.

"Come on!"

"In a moment."

"What are you doing?"

"Lowering this line, so it will just catch Mr. Officer under the chin.
Get over the fence."

Rattleton obeyed. He found a place where he could scramble to the top of
the fence, and there he sat, calling to Frank:

"Come on--hurry!"

The policeman came out into the yard. It seemed that Merriwell had been
waiting for him. Frank started to run, and the officer started after
him.

"I have yer now!" grated the policeman.

Frank led him directly toward the clothesline. Just before the line was
reached, Frank seemed to stumble and nearly fall. He did it in order to
duck under the line.

A triumphant exclamation broke from the officer. It was cut short by
another sort of exclamation.

The clothesline caught him under the chin. It snapped his head backward
and his heels forward. He went down flat on his back with a terrible
thump, and there he lay.

With a triumphant laugh, Frank shinned up the fence and perched on the
top beside Rattleton.

The officer was sitting up. He had seen more stars and fireworks than it
had ever been his fortune to behold before.

"Ta, ta, old chappie!" tauntingly called Merriwell. "We'll see you some
other evening."

"Stop--stop right where you are!" ordered the policeman, in a bewildered
way, looking around for the speaker. "You can't get away. It's no use
for you to try."

"You're twisted, old man," laughed Frank. "Good-night, and pleasant
dreams! We certainly had you on a string to-night. Ha! ha! ha!"

Then the boys dropped down from the fence into the next yard, made their
way to the street, and hastened toward Morey's.

"Christopher? what a racket!" laughed Rattleton. "Why, I haven't been in
anything like this since I was a freshman."

"It's good for a fellow once in a while," said Frank. "It stirs up his
blood."

"But I was in a hard place when you came to my rescue, Merry. The cop
had me pinched, and he said the charge would be larceny. I thought I was
in for it."

"I wasn't going to leave anybody to be locked up."

"You never do, Merry; you always stick. It does me good to see you out
on a time like this, for you have not been like yourself in weeks. Now
you seem like the old Frank Merriwell."

They reached Morey's safely. Entering, they discovered nearly all the
others of their party there ahead of them.

And Rob Marline was there, drinking whiskey.

As soon as Frank and Harry appeared, the others of the party surrounded
them, asking about their adventures.

Bruce Browning was wiping the perspiration from his flushed face, while
he growled:

"Haven't done anything like that for a long time. It was awful! Wouldn't
done it then if it hadn't been to escape arrest. Cæsar's ghost! think of
being arrested."

"I was arrested!" said Rattleton.

"What?" cried the others. "Come again!"

"A cop pinched me."

"No? How did you get away?"

"Merriwell came to my rescue. He didn't desert me, if the rest of you
did. He saw the cop nail me, and he sent his buttons flying by running
into him. That gave me a chance to skip. I tell you, it took nerve to
tackle a cop like that."

Rob Marline laughed sarcastically, but did not say anything. Rattleton
flushed with anger, but Merriwell did not seem to notice it.

Harry went on with his story, telling of their adventures, and the party
shouted with laughter when he related the clothesline incident.

The fellows were gathering about Merriwell, and Marline found that he
was being deserted, which added to his bitterness. He saw the boys
listening to the story of Merriwell's attack on the officer and the
trick with the clothesline, and the soul of the boy from the South was
filled with bitterness.

"He's cutting ice with the gang again," thought Marline. "That must be
stopped."

But how could he stop it? He thought of calling to those who had been
with him before Merriwell came in, and asking them to have another
drink. Then it seemed that he would humiliate himself by doing so, for
he would cause everybody to notice how he had been abandoned. So he
ordered another drink for himself, and drank it sullenly.

Every time the boys laughed Marline grated his teeth. Things had not
gone right with him that night, and he was in an ugly mood. He had
called to see Inza Burrage, and had attempted to make himself "solid"
with her. In the course of his conversation he had made some disparaging
remark about Frank Merriwell.

That remark was like a spark of fire in a keg of powder. In a moment
Inza flared up and exploded. She told him Frank Merriwell was a
gentleman. She told him Frank Merriwell was too much of a man of honor
to malign an enemy behind his back. She showed deep scorn and contempt,
and Marline left the house crestfallen and raging with anger.

He had been touched on a tender spot. To have any one insinuate that
Frank Merriwell was more honorable than he, was like stabbing him to the
heart.

The whiskey made Marline desperate. Little did he know that the boy he
hated was in a most reckless mood. Had he known it, he would not have
cared. There was not a drop of cowardly blood in Marline's body. He
longed for an encounter with Merriwell.

At length, when he could stand it no longer, he arose to his feet. Some
one was complimenting Merriwell on his nerve. Marline had not tasted the
last glass of whiskey brought him. He took it in his hand, made two
steps toward Frank, and flung the stuff full into Merry's face!

"If Mr. Merriwell has so much nerve, let him resent that!" rang out the
hoarse voice of the boy from South Carolina. "We'll see how much nerve
he has!"

Frank took out a handkerchief and slowly wiped the liquid from his face.
He was very pale, and his eyes gleamed with a glare that his best
friends had never seen in them before. But he laughed, and those who
knew him best shuddered at that laugh.

"Mr. Marline," he said, his voice calm and modulated, "will you be kind
enough to name your friend?"

Marline looked around. Sport Harris was at his side in a moment.

"I'll serve you!" Sport eagerly whispered.

Marline felt that almost any one was preferable to Harris, but he saw
the others had drawn away. Harris seemed to be the only one with nerve
enough to stand by him. He felt forced to accept Sport.

"Mr. Harris is my man," he said.

Frank bowed gracefully.

"Mr. Diamond will wait on him."

A gleam of exultation came into Marline's face, for he felt that he had
driven Merriwell to the wall at last.

Frank and Jack immediately withdrew from Morey's, and, later, the
Virginian sought Harris in his room.

Frank awaited Diamond's return. He came back in about an hour

"To-morrow, at sunrise," he said.



CHAPTER XLV.

THE DUEL.


"Are you ready, gentlemen?"

The sun was just peeping over the horizon.

Beyond the city limits, near a strip of timber far down the Sound, five
persons had met.

Two of them were Frank Merriwell and Robert Marline, who were to fight a
deadly duel there that beautiful morning.

Two more were their seconds, Jack Diamond and Sport Harris.

The fifth was a young collegian named Morton, who was studying medicine
and surgery. He had brought along a case of instruments, although he was
not certain this was to be a duel in deadly earnest.

Merriwell and Marline, despite the fact that the morning air was keen
and cold, had stripped off their coats and vests and were in their shirt
sleeves.

Now they stood facing each other, weapons in hand.

Frank's face was calm and confident, as if he had not the least doubt
concerning the outcome of the affair. His nerves were under admirable
control. He was a trifle paler than usual.

Marline, on the other hand, was flushed and nervous. He had taken
several drinks of whiskey to brace him, and Merriwell's calm confidence
was something he could not understand. At that moment, Frank seemed like
the duelist and Marline like the novice.

The sun shot a single lance of light across the world, and then Diamond,
who had been chosen to give the signal, spoke the word that set the
rivals at each other.

Clash! clash! clash! The bright blades clanged sharply on the morning
air. The sunshine glittered coldly on their polished lengths.

At first the work was of a very scientific order, for each man seemed
feeling of the other to discover just how much skill he possessed.

Marline was more than ever astonished, for he had scarcely fancied Frank
could be an expert with such a weapon. Now, however, he saw by the
manner in which Frank handled himself, by his every move, that he was a
skillful swordsman.

The boy from the South attempted to force the fighting. The whiskey went
to his head, and he fought savagely, his teeth set and his eyes
gleaming. Deadly determination was in his every move. The seconds and
the surgeon watched breathlessly.

Suddenly there was a cry. By a twisting movement of his wrist, Frank had
disarmed his enemy, sending Marline's blade spinning into the air.

The sword fell with a clang on the frozen ground at Rob's feet, and he
instantly snatched it up. Then he came at Frank with the fury of one
driven mad.

Merriwell was forced to give ground before the fierce onslaught of his
enemy. He knew well enough that Marline was exceedingly dangerous, for
he had flung discretion to the winds and was exposing himself in all
ways by his fierce desire to get at Frank.

Merriwell did not wish to wound Marline, but hoped to humble him.
However, it began to look as if Frank would be forced to do his best in
self-defense.

He had remarkable control of himself, and watched his chance. It came in
a short time, and again he twisted the sword from Marline's hand.

Marline fell back before Merriwell's half-lifted sword.

"Kill me!" he passionately cried. "Kill me now, or I'll kill you!"

Merriwell lowered his blade.

In a moment Marline sprang to the spot where his sword had fallen,
caught it up, and turned on Frank again.

"On guard!" he shouted.

Like a whirlwind, he came at Merriwell.

Clash! clash! clash! It was a terrific battle now. The young surgeon was
excited and frightened.

"It must be stopped!" he cried. "Marline is determined to kill him! We
must stop it!"

Snap!--Frank Merriwell's blade broke within a foot of the hilt!

With a hoarse shout of victorious fury, Marline thrust straight at
Frank's breast!

Merriwell succeeded in foiling the thrust with the part of his weapon
that remained in his hand, but Marline's sword passed through Frank's
shirt sleeve at the shoulder.

The seconds and the surgeon had started forward to interfere, but, with
a gasping curse, Marline flung his sword on the ground and covered his
eyes with his hands, his whole body quivering.

Diamond caught up the weapon the Southerner had flung down, muttering:

"There's no telling what he may try to do next. I'll keep this out of
his reach."

But Marline had no thought of resuming the duel. When he lowered his
hand from his face, his shame was betrayed.

"Mr. Merriwell," he said, his voice quivering, "I wish to apologize to
you."

All were astonished.

"For what?" asked Frank, calmly.

"You have shown yourself more honorable than I," said Marline, although
every word cut him like the stroke of a knife. "Twice you disarmed me
and took no advantage of it. But when my turn came, my hatred for you
was so great I lost my head. I tried to kill you. I offer a humble
apology, and say what I never expected to say to any living being--you
have shown yourself more honorable than I."

That was enough to touch Frank, and all the past was forgotten in a
moment. With an impulse of generosity, he held out his hand.

"Take it!" he cried. "Let's call the past buried."

Marline shook his head.

"I can't!" he exclaimed. "I can't be a hypocrite. You have shown
yourself the more honorable, Merriwell, but I hate you still. I shall
try to forget it, but, with my disposition, it will not be easy. If I
conquer myself, some day, perhaps, I'll accept your hand--if you care to
offer it then."

"When the time comes," said Frank, "my hand will be open to you."

Then the dueling party broke up.

When Frank reached his room, he found a letter from Inza awaiting him.
This is what he read:

     "DEAR FRANK: I have been a foolish girl, and I am ashamed. I
     can't say more this way, but will explain everything when I see
     you. Please come to me. Come as soon as possible.

     "Inza."

Frank's heart gave a great bound as he read this communication. He could
not go to see Inza at once, but he sent word that he would call that
evening.

When he arrived, he found Inza awaiting him alone, the girl's aunt
having wisely withdrawn.

"Oh, Frank--I--I----" she began, and then she could not go on, for he
caught her in his arms and gave her a tight squeeze.

"Don't let's talk about it," he said, cheerily. "I guess it was all a
mistake."

"I had no right to bind you down, Frank," said Inza, softly. "It has
been a lesson to me. You know what is best, always, and after this you
shall have your own way in everything."

"Are you quite sure of that?" he said, softly, looking into her clear
eyes, which immediately dropped. "Then, I'm going to have my way now."

And a kiss followed, which seemed to be a complete forgiveness all
around.

Then she told him of Marline, and he understood something of what had
led to the duel.

But he did not tell Inza of that terrible encounter, and the girl did
not learn of it until some time later.



CHAPTER XLVI.

A STUDENTS' CONFAB.


The days passed, and Frank turned again to his studies. He was anxious
to prove to the professors that he could learn his lessons, as well as
play football.

To be sure, he did not give up his sports entirely, nor his recreation
at the gym.

As the days slipped by, many of the students became more or less
interested in a big, burly freshman, who went by the name of Hock Mason.

Mason had proved himself a regular bruiser on more than one occasion,
and he was such a thoroughly "bad man," that some of the boys grew
afraid of him.

One night there was a crowd gathered in Frank's room, and it was not
long before the conversation turned upon the "bad man," who was hardly
known to our hero.

"He's a terror!"

It was plain Halliday thought so. The manner in which he uttered the
words showed that he was fully satisfied on that point.

"Is he scientific?" asked Merriwell.

"No; but he is a bulldog," answered Halliday.

"And a brute!" exclaimed Harry Rattleton.

"That's right," nodded Danny Griswold. "Look at my eye. I hadn't an idea
that he thought of hitting me till he let me have it. Knocked me flat.
Felt as if I'd been kicked by a mule."

"What did you do to cause him to strike you?" asked Frank.

"Nothing. Just looked at him."

"If he keeps this up," grunted Bruce Browning, who was stretched on the
couch, puffing away at a cigarette, "his career at Yale will be short."

"That's right!" cried Jack Diamond, showing his teeth. "Some one will
kill him. If he struck me, I'd shoot him in a minute--in a minute!"

Diamond meant it. There was hot blood in his veins. Frank's example had
taught him to control his fiery temper to a certain extent, but there
were times when it would blaze forth and get the best of him for all of
anything he could do.

"It's a pity some fellow can't get at him and lick the stuffing out of
him," said Bandy Robinson. "That's what he needs."

"Well, who is there that can do it?" cried Griswold. "He's a perfect
giant, over six feet tall, and must weigh nearly two hundred pounds,
though there's not an ounce of fat on him. He's all bone and muscle. He
strikes a regular prize-fighter blow, and he can't be hurt. I tell you,
he is a good man to let alone."

"That's right," agreed Halliday. "I saw him do up those coppers the
other night, four of them, and they all had their clubs out."

"Did they hit him?" asked Merriwell.

"Hit him! Well, I should guess yes. They cracked him eight or ten times
over the head and shoulders."

"Somebody said it didn't have any effect on him," observed "Uncle"
Blossom, who was chewing gum as if his life depended on it.

"Not a bit more than it would if they had hammered a block of wood,"
declared Halliday. "It made me sick the first time they cracked him on
the head, and it sounded exactly as if they struck a piece of hard wood.
I expected it would lay him out stiff."

"But he kept on his feet?"

"He never staggered! Cut his scalp open in three places, and he bled
frightfully, but that only seemed to make him worse."

"Very interesting," commented Frank, his eyes sparkling. "It would be an
honor to subdue such a fellow as that."

"Honor?" cried Halliday and Griswold. "It would be a miracle!"

"If he lives, he'll become a prize fighter," said Blossom. "He has their
brutal instincts, and still he seems to have some brains."

"That's what makes him such a bad man--his brains," cried Halliday. "He
fights with his head, as well as with his hands."

"I must say, you interest me greatly in this freshman," said Merriwell.
"What did you call his name--Mason?"

"Yes, Hock Mason. You've seen him. He's that big, red-headed bruiser,
who----"

"Yes, I've seen him," nodded Frank. "I know him by sight."

"It's a wonder he hasn't jumped on you yet. You must have attracted his
notice, for you are the most popular man in college."

"Oh, he'll get at Merry in time," grinned Griswold. "All he is waiting
for is the opportunity."

Frank laughed.

"I don't know as I care about having any trouble with this freshman
bully," he confessed.

"I should say not!" cried the others.

"But I shall not run to get out of his way."

"You'd better."

"Perhaps some of you are aware that I can put up a good, stiff fight
myself."

"Yes, but you can't lick a fellow you can't hurt."

"There is no man living that can't be hurt--if you find out his tender
spot. If I were forced into trouble with this Hock Mason, I should try
to find how I could hurt him."

"While you were finding it, Merry, he would kill you."

Frank laughed again, showing not the least annoyance.

"You think so, and you may be right. As I said before, I don't know as I
care to have any trouble with him; but, at the same time, I am not going
to run away from him. I never saw a genuine bully yet that was not a
squealer when he knew he had met his master, and I'll wager something
Mr. Hock Mason can be cowed, for all of his famous fight with the
policemen."

"If you'd seen that fight, you might have a different opinion," put in
Halliday. "All he had was his bare fists, and he knocked those four cops
out. Why, when he struck one of them fairly, the man went down like a
stricken ox, and lay quivering on the ground. He knocked out two of
them, and then he grabbed the others by the collars. Both let him have
it with their clubs, but he just thumped their heads together and
dropped them. They were knocked out, and I wondered if their heads were
cracked. That made him a king among the freshmen. They're so scared of
him that they shiver when he looks at them. I don't believe there is a
freshman who likes him, but they pretend to, and they got him to his
room after the fight, washed him up, plastered up his head, and then
went forth and swore they knew nothing about the affair. The cops
couldn't spot their man when they tried, for Mason came out the next
morning looking as if nothing had happened. He wears his hair long, and
he's had it clipped away around the wounds on his head, plastered the
cuts up, and then combed his hair over the plasters. I tell you, he is a
bad man!"

"Every bad man meets his match some day," said Frank.

"Mason's match is not to be found in Yale."

"Perhaps not."

"He's bound to be cock of the walk."

"And are freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors going to allow this
brutal bully to walk on their necks?"

"What else can they do?"

"Kill him!" cried Jack Diamond, fiercely--"kill him, by the eternal
gods! He can't walk on my neck! If he tried it, I'd kill him, though I
hung for it!"

"I don't think it is necessary to kill him," smiled Frank. "There's
always some way of subduing a bully. That way must be discovered, and he
must be subdued."

"We'll owe you a vote of thanks if you discover it and do the job," said
Griswold.

"Well, you are liable to owe Merriwell a vote of thanks, then," grunted
Browning. "I've traveled all over with him, and I never saw him take
water for anything that stood on legs. There are a few bad men out West,
but they didn't faze him."

"Merry is all right," said Halliday. "He's a corker, and athlete, and is
built of pure sand, but he'd have to be built of iron to go up against a
big ruffian like this Mason. About the only way to subdue that fellow is
to kill him, as Diamond suggests."

"He is growing more and more insolent and aggressive every day," said
Griswold. "If something isn't done to check him, he and his crowd of
followers will run over us. They are all getting insolent, and we have
received notice that they'll appear in a body to-night with tall hats
and canes. Mason will lead them, and they don't think we'll dare tackle
them."

"We'll rush them, if we're killed!" cried Diamond, springing to his feet
and wildly pacing up and down the floor. "Are you in it, fellows?
Hark--what's that? They're out now! They're singing! It's a challenge!
Oh, there'll be a hot time around here to-night!"



CHAPTER XLVII.

DIAMOND STRIKES A BLOW.


Forty freshmen, with tall hats and canes, commanded by the giant, Hock
Mason, were singing, "That Bully." In the most belligerent manner
possible, they shouted the line:

    "We're lookin' for that bully, and he must be found."

Behind them were more freshmen without silk hats and canes, but prepared
to take a hand in the scrimmage, if the juniors tried a rush.

The freshmen had grown bold and saucy. Hock Mason bullied them, and they
were afraid of him, but they knew the juniors were afraid of him, too.

They sang and shouted. They marched up and down with Mason leading. They
began to express their fears that the juniors would not dare try a rush.

The juniors saw the freshmen were out in force, and they were not hasty
about making an assault. They seemed to lack a leader. They kept
gathering, but held aloof.

The freshmen grew bolder and bolder. They invaded the campus. The
juniors were gathered at their fence. It was plain the freshmen meant to
rush them, and attempt to take the fence. The juniors prepared to
struggle to the bitter end.

On came the freshmen. The others were outnumbered. It looked as if many
of them were afraid, and were keeping out of the _mêlée_ that must come.

The freshmen marched past the line along the fence. They were insulting.
They turned and marched back. Then, at a signal from their giant leader,
they attempted to sweep the juniors from the fence, and take it by
storm.

There was a charge, a clash, and the battle was on.

But it afterward developed that the juniors were far more crafty than
the freshmen thought. They had not concentrated their entire force at
the fence, but their main body were keeping out of sight and waiting for
the onset to begin, knowing the freshmen were in a mood to try something
desperate and unusual.

The moment the freshmen made a rush for the fence, the second body of
their antagonists came with a wild charge.

Frank Merriwell led them!

In a moment such a battle was taking place there at the fence as had not
been witnessed since the old days at Yale--the good old fighting days.

Almost immediately the freshmen were on the defensive, doing their best
to retain their hats and canes.

Frank singled out Hock Mason, believing the best course was to engage
his entire attention without delay. He was urging the freshmen on, and
no one seemed to stand before him.

With all the nerve he could command, putting all his strength and skill
into the effort, Merriwell went at Mason. He came upon the fellow like a
tornado.

Frank did not try slugging tactics, but he caught Mason's cane with both
hands, and, giving it a twist and a whirl, snapped the big freshman into
the air and fairly flung him over his shoulder, tearing away the cane.

It is possible that never before in all his life had Hock Mason been
handled in such a summary manner. He struck the ground with a thump,
bewildered beyond measure by what had happened, for he had not dreamed
any man at Yale could handle him that way, even if he were taken by
surprise.

But Mason was not hurt in the least, and he was furious.

Laughing triumphantly, Frank Merriwell spun the cane into the air and
caught it with the skill of a baton-thrower when it came down.

Roaring like an enraged lion, Hock Mason scrambled to his feet. Somebody
gave Merriwell a push from behind, nearly throwing him down, and Mason
struck him behind the ear.

It was one of the giant freshman's sledge-hammer blows, and Frank
dropped like a log.

"Cuss ye!" snarled the bully. "I'll fix ye!"

The brute in his nature was aroused, and he kicked the fallen lad in the
ribs with his toe.

"Shame! shame!" cried a score of voices.

Bruce Browning, with a roar of rage, tried to reach the brutal fellow,
but Jack Diamond was quicker.

Jack had torn a heavy cane from a freshman, and now he wielded it, butt
foremost, with all the strength he could command.

Whack!

The blow might have been heard anywhere on the campus. It fell just
where the furious Virginian had intended it should--across the side of
Mason's head and behind his ear!

The fellow who had stood on his feet before the blows of the policemen's
clubs now fell as if he had been shot, pitching headlong over Frank
Merriwell.

Frank sat up, still grasping the cane he had captured from the bully.
Jack caught his hand and pulled him to his feet.

Hock Mason lay at full length on the ground, gasping for breath.

"He's dying!" cried somebody, horrified.

The rush was over, freshmen and juniors stopped struggling in a moment,
and all gathered around the spot where the giant lay. His heavy rasping
breathing was terrifying.

"He is dying, Diamond!" whispered Browning, in Jack's ear.

"I don't care!" returned the Virginian, passionately.

"But think--think what that means!"

"I don't care!" repeated Jack. "He struck Frank--kicked him when he was
down! You know, Browning--you know how Merriwell stood by me on our trip
when all the rest of you turned against me, because I was out of sorts.
You know how he stood by me when I raved at him. Another fellow would
have told me to go to the Old Nick. I haven't forgotten those things. I
am ready to do anything for him!"

"But if it should happen that you have killed this freshman----"

"What then?"

"It will go hard with you. A little while ago, in Merriwell's room, you
were saying you would kill him. It will look like a premeditated
murder."

This hit Jack hard, but it did not stagger him.

"I can't help it. I did the trick to keep him from killing Merriwell.
Merry was down, and that brute was kicking him. No one would dare try to
stop Mason with bare hands. I used the best and only means to stop him.
If he dies----Well, I'll take my chance with a jury of honest men."

Browning felt that Diamond had nerve, for all that he was hot-headed and
passionate.

"Well, we'll hope the fellow isn't hurt much."

Some one was bending over Mason, fanning him, while others were pushing
the crowd back.

"Get back--give him air! Do you want to smother him to death?"

"Smother time, perhaps," chirped Danny Griswold, who could not hold back
the pun, for all of the gravity of the situation.

The rush had begun and ended so quickly that the faculty did not seem to
be aroused. Some of the students were watching for the expected
appearance of the professors, however.

Water was brought, and Mason's temples were bathed. He continued to
breathe hoarsely for some time, plainly drawing his breath with the
utmost difficulty, but the sound gradually lessened, and he finally
struggled to sit up.

"What's the matter? What's the matter?" he growled, harshly. "Let me
alone! Let me get up!"

Some one offered to help him.

"Get out!" he snarled, flinging the fellow off. "What do I want of help?
What's the matter with my head? It is whirling."

He got up, although it was with the utmost difficulty he could do so,
and there he stood in the midst of the crowd, swaying and putting his
hands to his head.

Some could not believe their eyes. They had not thought it possible Hock
Mason could betray weakness.

"Somebody struck me!" he harshly grated, glaring around. "Where is he?
I'll wring his neck as if he were a chicken! Where is the fellow?"

All were silent.

"Oh, I'll find out who it is," declared the bully, "and when I do,
I'll make him weep tears of blood. I'll make him wish he never had
been born. I'll----What's the matter with my head? It's going
around--around--around----"

He would have fallen, but some of the freshmen caught hold of him, and
he was led from the campus toward his room.



CHAPTER XLVIII.

FACING THE BULLY.


The events of that night created a sensation, forming a topic of general
conversation.

Strangely enough, very few seemed to know who had struck Mason, and
those who did, kept silent, not wishing to be drawn into the affair,
being friendly toward Diamond.

Jack was not at all excited or alarmed over it, and he did not show
concern when he was told over and over that the giant freshman would be
sure to make good his threat, if possible.

"Let him try it!" said the lad from Virginia. "Next time I will finish
him. I do not propose to fool with a beast like him."

From the campus a party of students went direct to Frank's room. Frank
had the cane he had taken from Mason.

"It will make a fine ornament for my room," he laughed, as he placed it
conspicuously over the mantel.

"Jove!" cried Danny Griswold. "You should be proud of it. You took it
from Mason so quick that the fellow was dazed."

"That was the flittiest pring I ever saw--I mean the prettiest fling I
ever saw," excitedly declared Rattleton. "How did you do it, Merry?"

"Oh, that was a simple trick," smiled Frank.

"It would have bumped the wind out of any other fellow, but it didn't
seem to damage Mason much," observed Charlie Creighton.

"It was Diamond's little rap that damaged him," grunted Browning, who
had again captured a couch.

"That was a corker!" broke forth Banny Robinson.

"A corker!" echoed Halliday. "I should guess yes! It dropped him in his
tracks, and I saw the cops hammer him over the head with their clubs
till they were tired without bringing him to his knees."

"I intended to lay him out when I struck him," said Jack, his eyes
flashing. "I hit him on exactly the right spot."

"I'm sorry you did it, old man," said Creighton, soberly.

"I'm not!" returned Diamond, instantly.

"He is sure to make it hot for you."

"Let him try it! He was kicking Merry, and Merry was down. If I'd had an
iron bar, I should have cracked him with it, after seeing him sink his
toe into Frank's ribs."

Merriwell took a long step toward Jack and grasped his hand.

"Thank you, Diamond," he said, soberly and sincerely. "It is a true
friend who stands by a man when he is down."

He glanced around at the others a moment after saying this, and the eyes
of some of them failed to meet his. They remembered how, a short time
before, Frank had been somewhat unpopular because of his refusal to play
on the football team, and many of them had turned against him. They knew
well enough that Merriwell had not forgotten it, and he thought of it
when he spoke. Diamond was one of the few who had stood by him when he
was most unpopular.

"The time has come," said Browning, slowly, "when this bully must be
shown that he is not cock of the walk."

"Who'll show him?" cried several voices.

"Merriwell didn't hesitate about tackling him to-night--and got the best
of him in a fair way. He struck a foul blow, and----"

"A terrible blow it was," confessed Frank, soberly. "I felt as if I had
been kicked in the head by a mule."

"Oh, he'll kill a weak fellow with a fair blow of his fist!" exclaim
Halliday.

"If we can't do anything else," said Browning, "we'll have to organize
against him. If we were to do that, we could bring him to time after a
while."

Danny Griswold lighted a cigarette, and perched himself on top of the
table.

"If Merry will be our leader we may do something," he said.

"I am not in favor of the scheme," declared Frank.

All regarded him in surprise.

"You are not?" they cried.

"No."

"Why not?"

"It seems cowardly for several fellows to band together against one."

"But it's all the way he can be subdued. What can we do?"

"I am not certain it is the only way he can be subdued."

"Suggest another."

"I won't make any suggestions to-night, but I will think it over."

"We should organize for the protection of Diamond," suggested Creighton.
"He is bound to find out Jack struck him the blow that knocked him out,
and then----"

"Don't worry about me," broke in the Virginian. "I am not afraid of Hock
Mason. He might kill me, but he'd never be able to make me squeal."

This was not boasting. Those who knew Jack Diamond best realized that he
spoke nothing more than the simple truth. Brute force might conquer him
physically, but his heart could not be conquered in such a manner.

Creighton was in earnest about forming some sort of a combination,
offensive and defensive, against Mason, but Merriwell would not go into
it, and the scheme failed to go into effect.

Some one suggested that Mason might be hurt more severely than they
supposed, and Robinson went out to find out, if possible, about it. He
finally returned, but brought no information.

"It would be a good thing if he couldn't get into bed for a day or two,"
said Halliday; "but you'll see him about as well as ever to-morrow."

Ben was right. Mason came forth to chapel in the morning, and, from his
appearance, no one could have told that he had been knocked out in such
manner the night before.

Straightway the giant freshman set about trying to discover just who it
was that struck him, but those he questioned did not know, or lied by
saying they did not know.

Mason grew more and more furious as time progressed and he failed to
learn what he desired. He swore that he would find out before night, and
the fellow should suffer.

At noon a crowd gathered at the fence and talked the matter over.
Charlie Creighton was there, and again he was in favor of organizing
against the freshmen.

While they were talking, Mason was seen approaching.

"Here he comes!" was the general exclamation.

"And he's out for blood!" declared Creighton. "His manner shows that.
There is going to be trouble."

Before reaching the fence, Mason encountered Danny Griswold. Instantly
he collared the little fellow.

"Griswold," he said, "I know that you know who struck me last night. If
you don't tell, I'm going to give you the worst drubbing you ever
received."

Danny shrank away, saying:

"I didn't see the fellow hit you."

"But you know who did it. You can't deny that. Who was it?"

"I can't tell."

Mason raised his heavy fist.

"Tell, or I'll break your pretty little nose!" he grated.

There was a step near at hand, and a calm voice said:

"Drop it, Mason! You should be ashamed to bully a man smaller than
yourself. Don't dare to strike him!"

Hock looked around in astonishment.

Frank Merriwell was close at hand, coolly standing there, with his hands
thrust into his pockets.

"Hey?" cried Mason, in surprise.

"You heard what I said, freshman," spoke Frank, as coolly as ever.

There was a stir at the fence, for the students there saw all and heard
all.

"Jingoes! Merriwell has a nerve!" gasped one.

"Mason will thump him, sure!" said another.

"If he does----"

"Hark!"

"Yes, I heard what you said," flung back the bully; "but what you say
chops no frost. If I want to thump this chap I'll thump him, and twenty
fellows like you can't stop me."

"You overestimate your ability, freshman," said Frank, and his coolness
was most exasperating. "If you thump that chap, one fellow will thump
you."

"Jee whiz!" palpitated one of the students at the fence, "Now he's in
for it!"

"There'll be gore spilled!" muttered Creighton.

"I'm sorry for Merriwell!" said another.

"Eh?" gurgled Hock Mason, more astonished than ever. "Is that a fact?"

"That is."

"Well, I'm going to thump him!"

Again he lifted his fist, and Danny Griswold cowered before it.

"Stop, Mason!" cried Frank, his voice hard and cold. "Strike him, and
I'll give you a mark to remember me by!"

"Ho, ho!" sneered Mason, and he smashed Griswold in the face.

The moment the bully struck the little fellow, he released his collar
and whirled toward Frank.

Merriwell kept his word.

Crack--Frank's fist struck fairly on Hock Mason's left eye, and the big
bully was knocked down in a second.

The witnesses gasped with astonishment.

With a roar of rage, Mason leaped to his feet and came at Merriwell,
somewhat blinded and dazed, but raging like a mad bull.

With the utmost ease Frank avoided the big fellow, and then he struck
Mason again.

The second blow did not knock the giant down, but it stopped him a
moment, and the blood began to run down his face.

Frank's fist had cut a long gash over the bully's right eye, and the
blood quickly began to blind Hock, for already his left eye was swelling
swiftly, showing it might be entirely closed in a few moments.

Mason wiped away the blood with his coat sleeve, and went at Frank with
another rush.

Merriwell dodged, thrust out his foot, and tripped the freshman, sending
him to the ground with a thud.

Over by the fence a little party witnessed all this with astonishment
unspeakable.

Was this Mason, the freshman bully, who was being handled in such a
manner by Merriwell? Was this the man who had knocked out four New Haven
cops?

Mason had struck at Frank savagely enough to lay him out, but Merriwell
easily dodged the blow.

Now the bully got upon his feet the second time. Blood was streaming
down his face, and he was fast going blind. He looked around for
Merriwell, but saw him dimly and indistinctly.

"Oh, hang you!" he cried. "You took me by surprise, and I can't see you
now. If I could get hold of you----"

"But you can't do it, you know," said Frank, cheerfully, as he skipped
out of the reach of his enemy's long arms.

Mason whirled around dizzily. He began to realize that it would be
foolish to attempt to get the best of Merriwell then.

"Oh, I'll fix you for this--I will!" he grated.

"You think you will, but you won't," was the calm reply. "I shall be on
the watch for you, and this is but a taste of what you'll get the next
time you go up against me. Your days as a bully around here are over. I
told you I would mark you, and I have. Whenever you look in a mirror for
some time to come you will see something to remember me by."

"Whenever I look in a mirror for some time to come I shall remember you,
and I'll repeat my vow to make you regret the day you ever saw me. Next
time we meet to fight, I'll hammer you within an inch of your life!"

Then, holding a blood-stained handkerchief to his bleeding eye, he
turned and hastened away.



CHAPTER XLIX.

TO THE RESCUE.


Danny Griswold danced and crowed with delight.

"Oh, scissors!" cried the little fellow. "I don't mind the crack he gave
me a bit. It was worth it to see him get done up like that. And it was
done so quick!"

The fellows at the fence rushed forward and gathered around Merriwell.

"Never touched you at all, did he?" asked Creighton.

"Didn't come within a hundred miles of me," smiled Frank.

Then they got him by the hand, shook it, congratulated him, complimented
him, expressed their wonder, and some of them almost seemed to doubt if
they had actually seen Hock Mason done up in less than two minutes.

"Quickest job on record," declared Silas Blossom. "Biff--biff--it was
over. Didn't suppose he could be licked like that."

"He wasn't licked," said Frank. "It is a mistake to think that. I took
particular pains to give him the first soaker in the left eye, and that
eye was closing up on him so he couldn't see out of it very well. Then I
let him have the next one on the right eye, and skinned my knuckles,
see? Those knuckles cut him over the eye, and he bled as if he had been
stabbed. The blood got into his eye, and he was more than half blind.
That was what stopped him, and I hoped all the time that I might do it,
for I will confess that I have no desire to receive one of his
prize-fighter thumps. I was lucky to do the trick just as I planned it."

"And you had a nerve to stand up to him at all," said Deacon Dunning.
"Especially here on the campus at this time of day, when it would mean
something serious if the faculty knew of the fight."

"That was another thing I was thinking about," said Frank. "I wanted to
end the scrap as soon as possible, so we'd not be seen at it by anybody
who'd make trouble for us. Hope it won't kick up a muss and get us
hauled over the irons."

They were astounded by Merriwell's coolness. He did not seem in the
least ruffled by his encounter with the "bad man" of the freshman class,
and was not particularly elated by his easy victory. He seemed to take
it as a matter of course--a thing he had known would end just as it did.

It was not long before every freshman and junior knew what had happened,
but all alike were slow to believe it possible. Frank Merriwell,
single-handed, had got the best of Hock Mason--no, no, that could not be
true!

The most of them wished to believe it, but could not at first. Mason was
not popular among the freshmen, although he was their leader. He had
bullied them too much, and he had many secret enemies, who pretended to
his face that they were his friends.

The eyewitnesses of the encounter were forced to tell the story over and
over till they were tired. Every one seemed to desire to know to the
minutest particular just how Merriwell had gone to work to do the trick.

Some said it was pure accident, while others declared Hock Mason could
not be knocked out by an accident. The latter were inclined to give
Frank credit for all he had done, but the most of them prophesied that
Mason would kill Merriwell as soon as his eyes were in condition to
allow him to see properly.

Diamond had not seen the encounter, a fact which he bemoaned very much.

"Oh, Christopher!" he cried. "It was just my luck not to be around, and
I'd given ten dollars to see it."

Frank told him how Danny had refused to divulge the knowledge Mason had
desired.

"That shows little Gris has sand," said Jack. "But I'm sorry he didn't
speak right up and tell Mason who it was. I don't want anybody to get
thumped for keeping my secrets."

"It's all right. I don't think Mason slugged him hard. Anyway, he only
made a sore place on Danny's cheek bone."

"I am going to take pains to let Mason know who it was thumped him with
the cane. You're not going to fight him alone, Merry."

But that did not please Frank at all.

"You're going to do nothing of the sort, Diamond," he promptly declared.
"The fight is on between Mason and Merriwell now, and you will keep out
of it. I haven't made any talk about it, but it's my object to subdue
this fellow, if possible, so there will be no further trouble with him."

"You may need help."

"I think not. It will be better for one man to do the job, as that will
humiliate him, while he is such a bull-headed chump that he would never
submit till he was killed if there was a party against him."

Diamond seemed to feel sorry that he could not get into it somehow. He
even accused Frank of crowding him out. He had formed such a strong
hatred for Mason that he felt as if it would be the greatest
satisfaction of his life to do something to humble and crush the fellow.

But Frank knew Jack well enough to be sure it would not do for the
hot-blooded Virginian to be deeply mixed in the affair, as he would not
hesitate at anything in order to get the best of the freshman he hated.

Diamond's soul rose up in scorn and contempt for a brutal fellow like
Mason. He actually felt that it would be a desirable thing to call Mason
out and shoot him in a duel.

Merriwell's popularity rose to the flood when it was known that he had
not hesitated to face the freshman bully in defense of Danny Griswold,
and had got the best of the encounter. Every one congratulated Frank,
and shook hands with him till he was tired of it all, and felt like
keeping out of sight in his room.

But he knew it would not do to keep close in his room, for then it would
be said that, although he had faced Mason once, he was afraid of the
vengeance of the infuriated bully.

Frank went out more than had been his habit for some time. He had been
devoting himself with unusual closeness to his studies, his main object
being to stand so well in the spring that there would be no drawback
about going onto the baseball team.

Mason kept close in his room, had a doctor, and made the excuse that he
had inflammation of the eyes so he could not appear at recitations and
found it impossible to study.

To those who knew all about it, the bully's excuse provided great
amusement.

Three evenings after the encounter a jolly party gathered in Traeger's.
Ale was freely consumed, stories told and jokes sprung.

Frank Merriwell was one of the party, and, as usual, he drank nothing
but "soft stuff." Under no circumstances could he be induced to take a
drink of liquor.

Frank's temperance principles were so well known that it was seldom any
one urged him to drink anything. Occasionally they would jolly him, and
he was often spoken of as the "Worthy Chief of the Good Templars." He
did not mind this, however, and he often said that, as he never drank
anything but raw alcohol of the rankest kind, and he couldn't get that
at the places he patronized, he refused to take anything at all.

But he could be as jolly as any of the rest, and his stories and songs
always "took." He was the life of any party, and, naturally, his society
was much sought.

While the party was making merry in Traeger's, Dismal Jones wandered in.
He paused and regarded them sadly, then said:

"Feasting, song and merriment within; cold, bitterness and misery
without."

"Without what?" chirped Danny Griswold.

"Without yonder portal," solemnly returned Jones. "As I approached this
gilded snare of Satan, I chanced to behold one who hath lately removed
from one eye a beef-steak poultice, and whose other eye is in the
neighborhood of several strips of plaster."

"Mason?" cried several.

"Verily thou hast named him," bowed Dismal. "He stood there shivering in
the bitter cold, while about him gathered his wretched followers. It was
a sad and heart-rending sight. I was touched--no, I mean I was afraid I
would be touched, and I hastened hither to seek something that would
drive from me memory that sad spectacle. Hot toddy, please."

"Mason?" exclaimed Diamond. "I wonder why the fellow is hanging around
here?"

"Looking for Merry, perhaps," laughed Paul Pierson.

"He wants to look out, or he will get merry thunder," laughed Lewis
Little.

"He got that the last time," said Andy Emery.

"Boys," said Danny Griswold, with sudden seriousness, "I believe there
is something in the air."

"What?" asked several.

"Dust," chuckled Danny. "There's a high wind to-night."

"Hit him quick!" cried Halliday. "Hit him hard!"

"A-haw! a-haw! a-haw!" laughed Joe Gamp, a big, hulking fellow from New
Hampshire. "Darned if that little runt ain't alwus doin' that. A-haw!
a-haw! a-haw!"

Gamp had a laugh that was infectious. He seldom burst into a hearty roar
that every one in hearing did not roar also. On this occasion Dismal
Jones was the only man who did not join in the laughter. Dismal sipped
his hot toddy, and looked sad and reproachful.

Mason was forgotten. Jokes and stories followed. Merriwell sang a song.
The party showed no signs of breaking up, and Frank decided that he must
get some sleep, so he reluctantly bade them good-night.

"I'm going along," said Rattleton, rising.

"Don't want us all to go to protect you from Mason and his gang, do
you?" asked Puss Parker.

"I think not," smiled Frank. "I am not afraid of Mason himself, and I
hardly think he'll call on any of his friends to help him lick me.
Good-night, fellows."

"Good-night!"

"Good-night, Merry!"

"So long, old man!"

"Good luck, Frank!"

Any one hearing them bid him good-night would have known he was a very
popular fellow. Every man there joined in the general chorus, and Frank
went out laughing, his heart warm within his bosom.

"A jolly lot of fellows, Rattles," he said, "and white men, every one of
them."

"Oh, they are jolly enough," admitted Harry; "but I hope you have not
forgotten that almost every one of them turned his back on you when they
fancied you were afraid of Rob Marline and did not dare play on the
football team."

"It is best to forget such things as that," returned Frank. "It seemed
to all of them that I showed the white feather, and, not knowing me as
well as they might, they were disgusted. It also seemed that I was
willing to let Yale go on the field with a weak team when it might be
strengthened if I would play. Yale men are loyal to old Eli. They will
forgive a personal affront quicker than anything that looks like
cowardice or treachery toward Yale."

"Oh, well, if that's the way you look at it, I have nothing to say."



CHAPTER L.

AGAINST ODDS.


Five minutes after Merriwell and Rattleton left Traeger's the latter
came rushing back, hatless, excited and out of breath. He burst in upon
the merry party, gasping:

"Quick? quick! They've got him!"

"Hey?" cried several, astounded. "Got who?"

"Merry!"

"Who's got him?"

"Gang with--masks--over--faces!" palpitated Rattleton.

"What's this?" shouted Paul Pierson. "The deuce you say!"

"It's right," declared Harry. "Mason's gang--know it was--Mason's gang!"

Every man was on his feet.

"To the rescue!" shouted Jack Diamond.

Out of Traeger's they poured. Rattleton led them. He took them to the
dark street where the gang had suddenly jumped out and pounced upon
Merriwell and himself.

"It was right here," he said. "Yes--here's my hat. I got a soaker in the
jaw--knocked me stiff for a moment. They piled onto Merry. Had a cab
waiting--bundled him into it. Before I could give him a hand, they were
carrying him off in the cab."

"How many of them?" asked Pierson.

"I don't know--six or seven."

"Well, they have got away with him. They're gone. There is no cab in
sight. What are we going to do?"

"Try to follow some way!" cried Diamond. "We must find them! We must
stand by Merriwell! Oh, curse it! We might have known something was up
when Jones told us he saw Mason outside."

"Sure!" agreed the others.

"I said there was something in the air," put in Griswold, but no one
paid the slightest attention to him.

"We should have gone along with Merry," grated the excited Virginian.
"Then, if the gang had tried to jump him--oh, we'd given them a hot
time!"

"What do you suppose they'll do with him?" asked somebody.

"Do?" palpitated Rattleton. "The infernal skunks will do something
dirty! Mason is playing to get square. He has sworn to hammer the life
out of Merry, and he'll try to keep his word."

"It's a dirty trick!" fluttered Diamond. "If Merry is harmed, we should
stand together and tar and feather Mason."

"We will!"

Every man there uttered the shout, and they were in earnest.

For some moments they lingered near the spot, and then they started
along the street in the direction Rattleton said the cab had taken. They
found a policeman after a time, and he had seen a closed cab go past in
a hurry. He told them the direction it had taken.

They tried to trace the kidnaped junior, but the attempt was a failure.
At last they gave it up. Vowing vengeance on all freshmen in general and
Hock Mason in particular, they went back to Traeger's.

The story spread. It was not long before every junior abroad that
evening knew what had happened. Fierce were the threats made against the
freshmen.

The hour grew late, and some of the fellows decided to go to Merriwell's
room and wait for him. They anticipated that he would be released after
Mason had obtained his revenge.

To their astonishment, Merriwell's door was not locked. They opened it
and walked in.

Merriwell was there!

"Come in, fellows!" called Frank, cheerfully.

He was examining some of his clothes. They were the clothes he had worn
that evening, and a glance showed they were torn and ruined.

"Just looking over this suit, to see how much it was damaged," Merriwell
laughed. "It strikes me it is knocked out. Won't ever be able to wear it
again."

Then he saw them standing and staring at him in astonishment, and he
asked:

"What's the matter?"

"Rattleton must have been stringing us!" exclaimed Puss Parker.

"Lot on your nife--I mean not on your life!" spluttered Harry. "I gave
it to you straight."

"But Merriwell is here--all right."

"How long have you been here, Merry?" asked Browning.

"Came in about ten minutes ago," answered Frank. "Just had time to
change my clothes before you chaps drifted in."

"Then they did carry you off?"

"Rather."

"But you're all right?"

"Never was better."

"Mason didn't get revenge on you?"

"Not this evening."

"Tell us about it!" cried Browning and Halliday, together.

"Yes, tell us," urged Parker. "You've been in some kind of a scrimmage.
That's evident by the appearance of the clothes you have taken off. Tell
us what happened."

"I suppose Rattles has told you how they jumped us?"

"Yes."

"Well, they had me before I could do a thing. I rather think Mason got
his hands on me. Anyhow, it was some big fellow with the strength of
Samson. Before I could strike for myself I was bundled into a cab, and
two or three of them were in there with me. They told me to keep still.
My hands were twisted behind my back and tied. Then they carried me
off."

"Didn't I give it to you straight?" cried Harry.

"Where did they carry you?" asked Halliday, eagerly.

"Somewhere out of town. They didn't talk much--didn't want me to
recognize their voices, I suppose. I kept still, as they told me, but I
was trying to work my hands free all the time. I found I could do it,
but I waited till they stopped and bundled me out of the cab. Then----"

"Then?" cried the listening boys, eagerly.

"Then I slipped my hands out of the ropes and sailed into them."

"Wish I'd been there," grunted Browning, with unusual animation.

"Go on, Frank--go on!" cried the others.

"It was a right tight little scrap," laughed Merriwell; "but they were
taken by surprise, and that gave me a show. One or two of them got hold
of me. They tore my clothes. Once they got me down, but I managed to get
away and got onto my feet. I told them I was going to mark the whole
crowd so I would know them in the morning, and I think I did it for the
most of them. It was dark, or I should have known them, for I ripped the
masks off nearly all of the gang. Every time I could, I slugged a fellow
in the eye, and some of them will have their peepers decorated
to-morrow."

Rattleton fell to laughing.

"Oh, gee!" he cried. "They were monkeying with a cyclone! They'll
remember you, Merry!"

"I intended that they should. At last, seeing I could not lick the gang,
and they were bound to get the best of me in the end, if I persisted in
trying to do so, I took to my heels and ran for it. One fellow gave me a
red-hot chase. He was a sprinter, fellows. I found I had drawn him on
ahead of the others, and I slacked till he was close at my heels. He
thought he was overtaking me. All at once I stopped short and turned on
him. He couldn't stop or dodge, and he ran against my fist. Well, I am
dead sure he'll bear my mark to-morrow."

Merriwell was congratulated. Alone and single-handed he had bested his
enemies, a feat that was sure to add to his record.


THE END.



THE FAMOUS Frank Merriwell Stories

By BURT L. STANDISH

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    Frank Merriwell's Trip West
    Frank Merriwell's Secret
    Frank Merriwell Down South
    Frank Merriwell's Loyalty
    Frank Merriwell's Bravery
    Frank Merriwell's Reward
    Frank Merriwell's Races
    Frank Merriwell's Faith
    Frank Merriwell's Hunting Tour
    Frank Merriwell's Victories
    Frank Merriwell's Sports Afield
    Frank Merriwell's Power
    Frank Merriwell at Yale
    Frank Merriwell's Set-Back
    Frank Merriwell's Courage
    Frank Merriwell's False Friend
    Frank Merriwell's Daring
    Frank Merriwell's Brother



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