Part 3 out of 6
"Are you going to the party this evening?" chuckled Frank.
"Not till I have done you up, my friend with the swelled head."
"Then you expect to be rather late?"
Frank resorted to all the tricks he knew, but Browning was familiar with
every one of them. They gave up trying to down each other by main
strength, and science cut quite a figure in their battle.
At length Browning got Frank foul, and to his dismay the leader of the
freshmen felt himself falling. Browning fell with him, a cry of triumph
coming to his lips.
That cry turned to an exclamation of dismay, for Merriwell seemed to
twist about in the air, and they fell side by side on the ground. In a
twinkling they were at it again, and over and over they went, till they
finally stopped and got upon their feet together.
"Very good thus far," laughed Merriwell. "But I see your wind will not
hold out. I am bound to do you in the end."
That was the very thing Browning feared.
"Well, I don't know about that," he said as he broke Frank's grip. "This
may settle the whole business."
He struck hard and straight at Merriwell's face!
"Down you go!"
Browning followed the freshman closely, launching out again, with the
full expectation that the second blow would be a settler.
Frank had been taken slightly off his guard, so that he had failed in
getting away from the first blow, but he skillfully ducked the second,
countering as the king's fist passed over his shoulder.
Browning reeled backward, having received a terrific crack on the ear.
If Frank had not been slightly dazed he might have followed the
sophomore closely, but he was a bit slow in getting after Bruce.
For a few seconds the boys gave an exhibition of scientific sparring
which would have proved very interesting to their comrades if all had
not been too busy to watch them.
Frank Merriwell contiuued to laugh, and it had been said at Yale that
he was most dangerous in an encounter when he laughed.
"You came near doing it, Browning," he admitted, "but it was rather
tricky on your part. I wasn't looking for a fight."
"You will get many things you are not looking for before you have been
at Yale much longer," returned the king.
The two lads seemed to be very evenly matched, save that Merriwell was
the more catlike on his feet. Browning was solid, and it took a terrific
blow to stagger him. Merriwell was plainly the more scientific. He could
get in and away from his foe in a most successful manner, but he saw
that in the confined limits of a ring Browning's rush would be difficult
What the result of this encounter might have been cannot be told, for
two freshmen suddenly appeared and gave the alarm that at least a
hundred sophomores were coming in a body to aid their comrades.
A moment later the sophs appeared, hurrying along the street toward the
scene of the encounter.
"'Umpty-seven! 'Umpty-seven! Rah! rah! 'rah!"
Then the signal was given for the freshmen to break away and take to
flight, which they promptly did.
"Oh, soph--oh, my poor soph!" cried many taunting voices.
"Good-evening, gentlemen!" called Bandy Robinson. "Shall I toss you down
soap and towels?"
"Say, fellows," cried Lucy Little, "don't you think it is rather warm
out this evening?"
"Hello! hello!" shouted Rattleton. "Has it been raining, or did we have
a small shower?"
Then Merriwell's beautiful baritone voice pitched the chorus of a
familiar negro melody, in which the triumphant and delighted freshmen
"Git erway from de window, mah love an' mah dove!
Git erway from de window--don't yeh heah?
Come eround some odder night,
For dere's gwine ter be er fight,
An' dar'll be razzers er-flyin' through de air."
The sophomores retired to a safe distance and then challenged the
freshmen to come out and fight. They called them cowards and other
things, but the freshmen laughed and taunted them in return.
"Is--er--King Browning present?" yelled a freshman, leaning out of a
window. "If so, I'd like to inquire if he means to attend the party this
"If he does," said another freshman, "he will be able to obtain a dress
suit down at Cohen's, price 'von tollar ber efenin' to shentlemen.'"
"Oh, you wait till we get at you fresh ducks!" shouted back an angry
sophomore. "We'll make you sweat for this!"
"Go on! you're only fooling!" sang the freshmen.
"We'll show you we're not fooling!" excitedly declared Punch Swallow.
"We'll scalp a few of you!"
"Ah!" cried Bandy Robinson. "He is a bad man! Methinks I can detect his
"You're wrong," laughed Merriwell. "But you may have been near enough at
some time to detect his cloven breath!"
The three freshmen who were leaning out of one of the upper windows
repeated in chorus:
"Punch, brother--punch with care,
Punch in the presence of the passenjair."
Another freshman shouted:
"Say, Swallows, give us a lock of your hair. It'll save the expense of
gas in my room."
"I'd like a lock of it, too," declared another. "I'm troubled with rats,
and I haven't any paris green handy."
"Oh, rats!" yelled twenty voices.
"Hello, Parker!" cried Little. "I hear you were held up last night? Is
"Oh, yes," said Rattleton. "He'd been down to Morey's, and that was the
way he got home."
"But oh, what a difference in the morning," sang the freshmen.
"Ask Rattleton if he means to join the Indians?" called a soph.
"Or will he Sioux for damages?" put in another.
"Oh, say!" groaned Dismal Jones. "That's the worst I ever heard! It's
enough to give one heart failure!"
"Come out and fight! Come out and fight!" urged the sophomores. "You
don't dare to come out and fight!"
"You will have to excuse us this evening, gentlemen," said Merriwell,
suavely. "We have done our best to entertain you, and we will see you
again at some other date."
"You are certain to see me again," assented Browning. "You ran away, or
we would have settled matters between us this evening. As it is, I am
going to watch my opportunity to do you fairly and squarely. When I am
done with you one of us will be beautifully licked."
"And that one will not be King Bruce," declared Andy Emery.
"Say! say! say!" spluttered Rattleton. "I'll go you a shot that it is!
I'll stand you a supper for twenty at any place you'll name that
Merriwell knocks the everlasting stuffing out of Browning."
"Done!" returned Emery.
"You name plime and tace--I mean time and place, and we'll be there,
you bet!" declared Harry. "All we want is a fair deal."
"You'll get that," assured Browning. "This little affair shall be
arranged very soon."
"The sooner the better. Don't delay on our account."
The sophomores, seeing it was useless to linger there and be taunted by
the freshmen, began to stroll away one by one.
Up in Merriwell's room Rattleton got down his banjo and began to put it
in tune. A merry party gathered there. One of the strings snapped, and
as he was putting on another Harry fell to laughing.
"What are you laughing at?" asked Bandy Robinson.
"Down at the table to-night," explained Harry, "Merriwell was poking his
finger into the butter. I asked him what he was doing that for, and he
said he was only feeling its muscle."
The boys who dined in the house appreciated that, and there was a
general laugh. Then Harry adjusted the string and placed the banjo in
tune. Pretty soon the boys were singing "Bingo," "Upidee," "Nellie Was a
Lady," and other college songs. Every one of them seemed familiar with
"Paddy Duffy's Cart" and its pretty chorus:
"Twinkling stars are laughing, love,
Laughing on you and me,
While your bright eyes look into mine,
Peeping stars they seem to be."
Such glorious days and such merry nights will never come again to those
who have known them. Here's to good old Yale!
At last the sophomores were thoroughly aroused. The freshmen had long
been carrying things with a high hand, but the rushing of a lot of them
who were in dress suits and bound for a swell party was the straw that
broke the camel's back.
An indignation meeting was held, and certain freshmen were placed under
Of these Merriwell was the leader, and it was agreed that every effort
must be made to "take the starch" out of him. That Browning intended to
"do" Merriwell was well known, but some of the others proposed to get at
"Wait," advised Bruce--"wait till I have had it out with that fellow.
Then you may do whatever you like with him. But I feel it a solemn duty
to settle our little affair before anybody else tackles him."
The freshmen were getting their ball team in condition for the coming
season, and they were practicing as often as possible. Frank was
interested in the team, and it was said by those who watched him that he
seemed to have the making of a pitcher in him. He had sharp curves and
good control. If he had a head, they said, he was all right. But this
was something that could not be decided till he had been tried in a
Another freshman by the name of Walter Gordon seemed certain to be the
regular pitcher of the team. He had a record, as he had shown, while
Merriwell would say nothing about what he had done in the way of
The students had found it extremely difficult to find out much about
Merriwell, as he persistently avoided talking about himself. If he had
been one of the kind of fellows who go around and brag about themselves
and what they have done he would not have aroused so much interest; but
the very fact that he would not talk of himself made the students
curious to know something of his history.
In a vague sort of way it became known that although he lived in simple
style, like any freshman whose parents were not wealthy, he had a
fortune in his own right and had traveled extensively in various parts
of the world.
Frank's silence seemed to cast an air of mystery about him, and that air
of mystery made him all the more interesting, for the human mind is ever
curious to peer into anything that has the flavor of a secret.
The sophomores had been rushed by the freshmen, and they resolved to
retaliate in a similar manner. On Saturday afternoons the freshmen ball
team practiced, and Saturday was at hand. It would be an opportune time
to meet the youngsters and make it warm for them.
The affair was carefully planned, but wind of it reached the freshmen.
As a result, the youngsters prepared for what they knew must take place.
There could be no such thing as avoiding it, so when Saturday noon came
they dressed themselves in their old clothes and started for the park,
going out as much as possible in a body.
When the park was reached it was found that the sophomores were there
ahead of them. More than that, the sophs had closed and fastened the
gate, and they proposed to hold it. They taunted the freshmen, and told
them they would have to climb the fence if they hoped to get into the
Then there was a consultation among the freshmen. "We'll have to make a
rush," was the universal decision.
Frank looked the ground over, and he decided that an ordinary rush would
not be successful, for that was the very thing the sophomores were
expecting. But there seemed no other way of getting into the park unless
they climbed the fence, and not a man thought of doing such a thing as
The sophomores formed in front of the gate, five deep. In the front
rank of the sophs were Browning and two 'Varsity crew men. Bruce was in
the middle, with the rowers on either side. The ends were two men from
the football team.
Thus the very first line of the sophomores made a formidable array, and
it is not surprising that some of the freshmen were chicken-hearted.
With assistance, Frank marshaled the freshmen, reserving a place in the
first line for himself. While that might be considered a position of
honor, it was the most dangerous, and every fellow there knew this rush
was to be no baby play.
For companions Merriwell selected Dismal Jones, Jack Diamond, Puss
Parker and a big, broad-shouldered fellow by the name of Hovey.
Rattleton and Robinson, together with a dozen others, were appointed as
"scouts." It was their duty to "hook" out men from the ranks of the
sophs and break the force of the enemy's rush as far as possible.
The sophomores had likewise appointed a dozen scouts, strong, active
fellows, every one of whom had shown ability as an athlete.
The sophs prepared quickly for the rush, but it took more time to get
the freshmen in order. In this the seniors rendered not a little
When everything was ready the order was given, and the freshmen started
forward. Those in the front line leaned back at a slant, and those
At the same time the sophomores moved toward the freshmen, and then
there were shouts, taunts and jeers. Each side gave its own cheer.
"This is the last of the freshmen!" cried the sophomores. "We'll wipe
them off the earth. Good-by, freshies!"
"'Umpty-seven will never be heard of again," returned the freshmen.
"They'll be angels right away."
Then the two bodies came together with a frightful impact. They had
locked their arms about each other's waists, and there they clung, while
they pressed upon each other with all their might.
For a little time they swayed and swayed. There were screams and cries
of pain. They wavered and turned about, but still the crush continued.
The scouts were getting in their work, hooking their bent arms around
the necks of their opponents and yanking them out of the line.
Before long the rush turned into a general pushing and hauling. Freshman
pitted himself again sophomore, and a score of wrestling matches were in
Merriwell and Browning had clinched at the outset, but it was a long
time before they could do anything but cling to each other. When they
did have an opportunity another soph, a scout, spoiled the match by
making a low tackle on Frank and flinging him to the ground. Browning
came down heavily on the leader of the freshmen, but he immediately
jumped up, crying:
"That was not a square deal. Let's have it over."
But the breath had been knocked out of Frank with the force of the fall,
and he fell back twice as he struggled to arise.
"Are you hurt?" asked Browning.
"No," panted Frank, who could dimly see his opponent through a thick
haze which seemed to hang before his eyes.
"Then why don't you get up?"
"I--I'm going to."
Setting his teeth, he did so, but Rattleton caught Browning by the
collar and flung him aside as the big soph sprang at Frank.
"You are hurt, old man!" insisted Harry. "I saw the fellow when he
tripped you. It wasn't a fair thing. You are in no condition to meet
Browning now. Wait till you get your wind."
"I must meet him!" cried Frank. "He'll say he did me up if I do not."
"Then he'll lie. It's all right. You do as I say."
Frank tried to resist, but Rattleton dragged him aside, being able to do
so because Browning found himself occupied by a little freshman who
stuffily blocked his way, declaring that Merriwell should have a show.
Frank was more than disgusted by the result of the affair. He felt that
he must have it out with Browning then and there, and he made desperate
attempts to break from Harry. Ordinarily he would have succeeded with
the greatest ease, but the fall had robbed him of his strength.
Then came the knowledge that the freshmen had been repulsed. The
sophomores were cheering wildly, and the unfortunate freshmen were
"They've held us out," muttered Harry, bitterly. "It begins to look as
if we'll have to climb over the fence if we get inside."
"What's that?" cried Frank, bracing up a little. "Climb the fence? Not
"Then how'll we get in? Will you tell me that?"
"We'll find a way."
"Wind a fay!" spluttered Harry excitedly. "It's easy enough to say that,
but I don't believe we can do it."
"Oh, freshies! oh, you poor freshies!" tauntingly cried the victors.
"Don't you wish you could? But you can't do it, you know!"
"That remains to be seen," muttered Merriwell, brushing the hair back
from his eyes. "I didn't think we could do it in this way. But there are
"You'll be a dandy if you devise a way," declared Little.
Diamond, with his coat off, his vest ripped up the back and his shirt
torn open at the throat, was regarding the jeering sophomores with a
fierce, sullen look. Evidently he was ready for anything. He glanced at
Merriwell, but said nothing.
Frank called the freshmen around him.
"Look here, fellows," he said, "we are bound to go into that park, and
we're going through that gate."
"That sounds well," said Dismal Jones, who wore an unusually long face,
"but I'm inclined to believe we're not in it with that crowd."
"Guess again!" exclaimed Frank. "Now listen to me, and I don't want one
of you to look around. You might arouse suspicion if you did. Close to
the wall there lies a long stick of timber."
"We'll use it."
"As a battering-ram."
"To batter down the gate? Why, how are we to get to the gate?"
"The timber will take us there, and it will open the gate. When I give
the word we will rush for it, pick it up, and sail right into the sophs.
I'll bet anything they get out of the way when they see us coming with
that. It will take them by surprise."
"'Rah! 'rah! 'rah!" yelled several of the enthusiastic freshmen.
The sophomores yelled back at them in derision.
"They think we are beaten now," said Diamond, whose face had lighted up
somewhat as he listened to Merriwell's plan. "If we only can get the
best of them that way!"
"We can and we will," assured Frank. "Those who can't get hold of the
timber may look out that they don't hook our men away from it. That is
The freshmen became eager for the effort, but Frank held them back till
he was certain they all understood just what was to be done.
"Are you ready?" he finally asked.
"All ready," was the eager reply.
The sophomores were astonished to see the freshmen suddenly whirl all
together and rush toward the wall.
"They're going over! They're going over!"
The sophomores shouted their satisfaction and delight, fully convinced
that they had forced the freshmen to abandon all hope of going through
Then came a surprise for them.
The freshmen caught up the timber, and Merriwell cried:
Like a tornado they bore down on the men near the gate, toward which the
timber was directed.
With cries of amazement the alarmed sophomores broke and scattered
before the oncoming freshmen.
The timber struck the gate, bursting it open instantly, and the
triumphant freshmen swarmed into the park, cheering wildly.
"Hurrah for 'Umpty-eight!" yelled Bandy Robinson, turning a handspring.
"We are the boys to do 'em!"
"Hurrah for Frank Merriwell!" shouted Harry Rattleton, his face beaming
with joy. "It was his scheme that did it."
"Hurrah! hurrah! hurrah!" roared the freshmen. "'Rah! 'rah! 'rah!"
Then Frank felt himself lifted to the shoulders of his enthusiastic
admirers and carried to the home plate of the ball ground, where the
freshmen cheered again and again.
The sophomores were filled with rage and chagrin.
"That was the blamedest trick I ever heard of in all my life!" declared
Andy Emery. "We weren't looking for anything of the kind."
"And we have Merriwell to thank for it!" snapped Evan Hartwick. "He's
full of tricks as an egg is full of meat."
"By Jawve!" said Willis Paulding, who had managed to keep out of harm's
way during the entire affair. "I think somebody ought to do something to
that fellaw--I really do, don't yer know."
"Suppose you try to see what you can do with him," grinned Tad Horner.
"You ought to be able to do something."
"Aw--really you will hawve to excuse me!" exclaimed Willis in alarm. "I
hawdly think I could match his low cunning, don't yer understand."
"Oh, yes, I understand," nodded Horner, significantly. "It takes a man
to go up against Merriwell."
"I hope you don't mean to insinuate--"
"Oh, no!" interrupted Tad. "I have said it."
"Eh? I hawdly think I understand, don't yer know."
"Think it over," advised the little soph as he turned away.
It is probable that Bruce Browning was more thoroughly disgusted than
any of his friends.
"Confound it!" he thought. "If I'd stuck to that fellow and done him up
anyway he wouldn't have been able to carry out this trick. If he is
given any kind of a show he is bound to take advantage of it."
Bruce felt like fighting.
"I'm going in there and lick him," he declared. "I will settle this
matter with Merriwell right away."
But some of his friends were more cautious.
"It won't do," declared Puss Parker.
"It might be done under cover of a rush, but a single fight between a
soph and a fresh under such public conditions would be sure to get them
both in trouble."
"I don't care a continental! I've stood him just as long as I can! If I
can give him a good square licking I'll stand expulsion, should it come
They saw that Browning was too heated to pause for sober thought, and so
they gathered close around him and forced him to listen to reason.
It took no small amount of argument to induce the king to give over the
idea of going onto the ball field and attacking Merriwell, but he was
finally shown the folly of such a course. However, he vowed over and
over that the settlement with Merriwell should come very soon.
ON THE BALL FIELD.
The sophomores went in to watch the freshmen practice and incidentally
to have sport with them.
Two nines had been selected, one being the regular freshman team and the
other picked up to give them practice.
As Merriwell had been given a place on the team as reserve pitcher, his
services were not needed at first, and so he went in to twirl for the
Walter Gordon went into the box for the regular team, and he expected to
fool the irregulars with ease. He was a well-built lad, with a bang, and
it was plain to see at a glance that he was stuck on himself. He had a
trick of posing in the box, and he delivered the ball with a flourish.
The scrub team did not have many batters, and so it came about that the
first three men up were disposed of in one-two-three order, not one of
them making a safe hit or reaching first.
Rattleton had vainly endeavored to get upon the regular team. He had
played pretty fast ball on a country nine, but he was somewhat out of
practice and he had not made a first-class showing, so he had failed in
He went into catch for Merriwell, and they had arranged a code of
signals beforehand, so that they were all prepared.
There was no affectation about Frank's delivery, but the first man on
the list of the regulars found Merriwell's slow drop was a hard ball to
hit. He went after two of them before he saw what he was getting. Then
he made up his mind that he would get under the next one and knock the
peeling off it.
He got under it all right, for instead of being a drop it was a rise,
and the batter struck at least eighteen inches below it.
"Well, say," laughed Gordon, who had been placed second on the list at
his own request. "I'll go you something he doesn't work that on me."
He was full of confidence when he walked up to the plate. The watching
sophomores were doing their best to rattle Merriwell, and it seemed that
he must soon get nervous, even though he did not seem to hear any of the
jolly that was being flung at him.
The very first ball seemed to be just where Gordon wanted it, and he
swung at it with all his strength. It twisted in toward him and passed
within two inches of his fingers.
Gordon looked mildly surprised, but he was still confident that he
would be able to hit the next one with ease. He found out his mistake
later on when he went after an out drop and failed to come within six
inches of it.
Then it was Gordon who grew nervous. He did not fancy the idea of being
fanned out by his rival, and he felt that he must make connections with
the next one. He resolved to wait for a good one, and Frank fooled him
by putting two straight ones right over the center of the plate. Gordon
felt sure that both would be curves, and so he offered at neither of
them. The umpire, however, who was a particular friend of Gordon, called
them both balls. Then Gordon went after the next ball, which was a
raise, but found nothing but empty air.
The third man was easy, and he fanned, also, making three in succession.
Parker punched Browning in the ribs.
"Say," he observed, "I'll go you two to one that Merriwell is on the
'Varsity team before the end of next season."
"If he is alive he may be," returned the king, grimly.
Our hero's pitching was a surprise to his friends, for until that day he
had not seemed to let himself out. Even then he did not appear to be
doing his best work, and one who watched him in a friendly way fancied
he might do still better if forced to make the effort.
Walter Gordon was filled with disgust and dismay.
"He's having great luck," muttered Gordon. "Why, I don't see how I
missed a ball I struck at. Every one was a dead easy thing, and I should
have killed any of them."
He squirmed as he heard Burn Putnam--familiarly called Old Put--the
manager of the team, compliment Merriwell on his skillful work.
"I fancy I'll be able to use you more than I thought I should at first,
Merriwell," said Putnam. "We can tell more about that in the future."
"I've got to strike that fellow out," thought Gordon as he went into the
But he did not. Merriwell came first to bat in the second inning, and he
sent a safe single into right field, deliberately placing it, as was
evident to every ball player present.
Gordon turned green with anger, and then he became nervous. To add to
his nervousness, Merriwell obtained a lead from first and stole second
on his delivery, getting it easily.
But that was not the end of Gordon's woes, for Merriwell seemed in a
reckless mood, and he made for third on the next pitch, getting it on a
beautiful slide, although the catcher made an attempt to throw him out.
The catcher came down scowling, and Gordon went to meet him, asking as
he did so:
"What's the matter with you? You ought to have stopped him at second and
held him there."
"I ought to have stopped him!" came derisively from the disgusted
backstop. "I came down to ask you if this was the way you were going to
pitch in a regular game. Why, that fellow is getting a long start on
your delivery, and he does it every time. You've got to stop that kind
For some moments they talked, and then Gordon sulkily walked back to the
box. He tried to catch Frank playing off third, but simply wasted time.
Then he made a snap delivery and hit the batter, who went down to first.
By this time Gordon was rattled, and he sent the next ball over the
heart of the plate. The batter nailed it for two bags, and two men came
Gordon walked out of the box and up to the bench where Old Put was
"I am sick," he declared.
He looked as if he spoke the truth.
"I thought something was the matter with you," said the manager. "You're
white as a sheet. It's folly for you to practice while you are in this
Gordon put on his sweater and then drew his coat over that. He wandered
off by himself and sat down.
"Hang that fellow Merriwell!" he whispered to himself. "I never thought
he would bother me so much. I am beginning to hate him. He is too cool
and easy to suit me."
The practice was continued, and Merriwell showed up finely, so that Old
Put was pleased.
The sophomores quit trying to have sport with the freshmen, as it
happened that two of the professors had wandered into the park and were
looking on from a distance.
Browning saw them.
"Why are they out here?" he snapped. "Never knew 'em to come before. I
won't even get a chance to talk to Merriwell."
"Better keep away from him this afternoon," cautioned Hartwick. "He
can't escape you, and there is plenty of time."
"That's so," agreed Bruce. "But I hate to think how he is crowing to
himself over the way the freshies got into the park. I'd like to take
the starch out of him at once."
Hartwick induced Browning to leave the park, and the departure of the
king caused the sophomores to wander away in small groups.
As a general thing they were discussing Merriwell, his position with the
freshmen, and his pitching. Some insisted that he was not a pitcher and
would never make one, while others were equally confident that he was
bound to become a great twirler some day.
Some of the groups discussed the antagonism between Merriwell and
Browning, and all were confident that the king would do the freshman
when he got himself into condition. It was not strange that they
believed so, for they remembered how Bruce had knocked out Kid Lajoie,
who was a professional.
Browning himself proceeded directly to his rooms, where he sat himself
down and fell to thinking. Twice had he been up against Merriwell, and
he had found out that the leader of the freshmen was no easy thing. In
neither struggle had he obtained an advantage through his own unaided
efforts, and in this last affair he had felt that he was losing his
wind, while Merriwell seemed as fresh as ever till he was thrown by a
"That's where I am not yet his match," Bruce soberly decided. "If I were
fortunate enough to land a knockout blow with my left at the outset I'd
finish him easily; but if he should play me and keep out of my reach he
might get me winded so he could finally get the best of it. I must work
off more flesh."
Having arrived at this conclusion, Browning was decidedly glad that his
friends had kept him from closing in on Merriwell and forcing a fight on
the ball field.
"Another week will do it," Bruce thought. "No matter what is said, I'll
not meet that fellow till I am his match--till I am more than his match,
for I must do him. If I do not my days as king of the sophs are
numbered. I can see now that some of the fellows sympathize secretly
with Merriwell, although they do not dare do so openly. It must be
stopped. He may be a first-class fellow, but when he treads on my corns
Hartwick tried to talk to Bruce, but the latter would say very little,
and it was not long before he left the room.
Browning stepped out briskly, and a stranger who saw him could not have
believed that he had the reputation of being the laziest lad in college.
In one line Bruce was thoroughly aroused, but he was neglecting his
studies in a shameful manner, and more than once a warning voice told
him that while he was putting himself in condition to dispose of
Merriwell he was getting into trouble in another quarter.
He did not heed that warning, however. His one thought was to retain his
position as king of the sophomores, and in order to do that he must not
let any freshman triumph over him.
In town he went directly to a certain saloon and stopped at the bar,
although he did not order a drink.
"Is the professor in?" he asked.
"I think he is," replied the barkeeper.
Then Browning passed through into a back room and climbed some dirty
stairs, finally rapping at a door.
"Come in!" called a harsh voice.
Bruce pushed open the door and entered. The room was quite large, but
was not very clean. The walls were pasted over with sporting pictures
taken from illustrated papers. There was a bed, some old chairs, one of
which had a broken back, a center table, a cracked mirror, and two
cuspidors. A door opened into another room beyond.
Lounging in a chair, with his feet on the table beside an empty beer
bottle and dirty glass, was a ruffianly-looking chap, who had a thick
neck that ran straight up with the back of his head. His hair was close
cropped and his forehead low. There was a bulldog look about his mouth
and jaw, and his forehead was strangely narrow.
The man was smoking a black, foul-smelling pipe, while the hands which
held a pink-tinted illustrated paper were enormous, with huge knuckles
and joints. His hand when closed looked formidable enough to knock down
"How do you do, professor?" saluted Bruce.
"Waryer," growled the man, still keeping his feet on the table. "So it's
you, is it? Dis ain't your day."
"I know it, but I decided to come around just the same. I am not
getting the flesh off as fast as I ought."
"Hey?" roared the man, letting his feet fall with a crash. "Wot's dat?
D'yer men ter say I ain't doin' a good job wid yer? Wot der blazes!"
"Oh, you are doing all right, professor, but I find I must be in
condition sooner than I thought. My gymnasium exercise doesn't seem
"Dat gymnasium work is no good--see? I knows wot I'm givin' yer, too. I
told yer in der first place ter stick ter me, an' I'd put yer in shape.
It'll cost more, but--"
"I don't mind that. No matter what it costs, I must be in condition to
lick that fellow I was telling you about, and I must be in condition one
week from to-day."
"Dat's business. I'll put yer dere. An' yer know wot I told yer--I'll
show yer a trick dat'll finish him dead sure ef de mug is gittin' de
best of yer. It'll cost yer twenty-five extra ter learn dat trick, but
it never fails."
Browning showed sudden interest.
"I had forgotten about that," he said. "What will it do?"
"It'll do der bloke what ye're after, dat's wot."
"Yes, but how--how?"
"T'ink I'm goin' ter give der hull t'ing erway? Well, I should say nit!
I tells yer it'll fix him, and it'll fix him so dere won't be no more
fight in him. It'll paralyze him der first t'ing, an' he won't be no
better dan a stiff."
"How bad will it hurt him?"
The man paused a moment and then added:
"Well, I don't mind sayin' dat it'll break his wrist. Yer can do it de
first crack arter I shows yer how, but it'll cost twenty-five plunks ter
learn der trick."
After a few moments of hesitation Browning drew forth his pocketbook and
counted out twenty-five dollars.
TO BREAK AN ENEMY'S WRIST.
Buster Kelley was a character. Professor Kelley he called himself. He
claimed to be a great pugilist, and he was forever telling of the men he
had put to sleep. But he couldn't produce the papers to show for it. The
public had to take his word, if they took anything.
In fact, he had never fought a battle in his life, unless it was with a
boy half his size. He made a bluff, and it went. The youngsters who came
to Yale and desired to be instructed in the manly art were always
recommended to Kelley.
To give Kelley his due, he was really a fairly good boxer, and he might
have made a decent sort of a fight if he had possessed the courage to
accept a match and the self denial and energy to go through a regular
course of training.
But Kelley was making an easy living "catching suckers," and there was
no real reason why he should go through the hardships of training and
actually fighting so long as he could fool the youngsters who regarded
him as a one-time great and shining light of the prize ring.
He was too shrewd to stand up with any pupil who might get the best of
him and permit that pupil to hammer away at him. He kept them at work on
certain kinds of blows, so he always knew exactly what was coming. In
this manner of training them he never betrayed just how much he really
knew about fighting.
Some of the young fellows who became Kelley's pupils were the sons of
wealthy parents, and then it happened that the professor worked his
little game for all there was in it. He sold them "secrets," and they
paid dearly for what they learned. Some of the secrets were of no value
at all, and some were actually worth knowing.
It happened that he did know how to break a man's wrist in a very simple
manner, providing he could find just the right opportunity. It was a
simple trick, but the opportunity to practice it could seldom be found
in a fight.
Kelley's eyes, which were somewhat bleary, bulged with greed as he saw
Browning count out the money.
"It's givin' yer der trick dirt cheap--see?" said the professor. "I
never sold it less dan twice dat ermount before. Dat's straight. I'll
have ter make yer promise not ter tell it ter der odder chaps before I
"If I buy it it is mine," said Bruce.
"Come off der roof! You enters inter an' agreement wid me dat yer don't
blow dis t'ing, ur I don't tell yer."
"What if I want to tell a particular friend?"
"Yer don't tell him. Dat's all. I had ter pay t'ree hunderd dollars ter
learn dis, an' sign a 'greement dat I wouldn't give it erway. Jem Mace
tort me dis trick w'en I sparred wid him in Liverpool. He says ter me,
says he: 'Buster, ye're a boid, dat's wot ye are. If you knowed der
trick of breakin' a bloke's wrist dere ain't no duffer in der woild dat
can do yer. I'll show yer der crack fer sixty pound.' He wouldn't come
down a little bit, an' I paid him wot he asked. Since dat time I've
knocked roun' all over der woild, an' it's saved me life fife times. Dat
was a cheap trick wot I got from old Jem, dat were. A dago pulled a
knife on me oncet fer ter cut me wide open, but I broke der dago's wrist
quicker dan yer can spit."
"Well, here is your money, and now I want to know that trick."
"Yer 'grees not ter tell it ter anybody?"
"Yes, I agree."
"Dat settles it."
Kelley took the money and carefully stowed it away in his clothes.
"Strip up an' git inter yer trainin' rig," he directed.
Bruce went into the back room, and Buster poked himself in the ribs
with his thumb, grinning and winking at his own reflection in the
"Oh, say! but I'm a peach!" he told himself in a confidential whisper.
"If der college perfessers don't git arter me ergin I'll make me
forchune right yere."
Kelley had originally hung out a sign and advertised to instruct young
gentlemen in boxing, but the faculty had made it rather warm for him,
and it was generally supposed that he had been forced to leave New
Haven. He had not left, but he had changed his quarters to the rooms he
now occupied, one flight up at the back of a saloon.
In a short time Bruce called that he was ready, and the professor
leisurely strolled into the back room, where there was a punching bag, a
striking machine, all kinds of boxing gloves, and other paraphernalia
such as a man in Kelley's business might need.
At one side of the room were several small closets, in which Kelley's
pupils kept their training suits while they were not wearing them. The
door of one closet was open, and Browning's street clothes were hanging
on some hooks inside.
Browning had got into trunks, stockings, and light, soft-bottomed shoes.
He was stripped to the waist.
Buster walked around the lad, inspecting him with a critical eye,
punching here and there with his fingers, feeling of certain muscles
and some points where there seemed to be a superabundance of flesh.
"Well, say!" cried the professor. "I'd like ter know wot yer kickin'
erbout! I never seen a feller work off fat no faster dan wot youse has,
an' dat's on der dead. Why, w'en yer comes yere yer didn't have a muscle
dat weren't buried in fat, an' now dey're comin' out hard all over yer.
You'd kick ef yer wuz playin' football!"
"That's all right," said Bruce, rather impatiently. "I know what I want,
and I am paying you to give it to me. Go ahead."
"Don't be so touchy," scowled Kelley. "Tackle der bag a while, an' let's
see how yer work."
Browning went at the punching bag while the professor stood by and
called the changes. He thumped it up against the ceiling and caught it
on the rebound thirty times in succession, first with his right and then
with his left. Then he went at it with both hands and fairly made it
hum. Then, at the word, with remarkable swiftness, he gave it fist and
elbow, first right and then left. Then he did some fancy work at a
combination hit and butt.
By the time Buster called him off Browning was streaming with
perspiration and breathing heavily.
"Dat's first rate," complimented the professor. "Yer does dat like yer
wuz a perfessional."
"Great Scott!" gasped Bruce. "I'd never torture myself in this way if I
didn't have to! It is awful!"
He looked around for a chair, but Buster grinned and said:
"Dat's right, set right down--nit. Youse don't do dat no more in dis
joint. Wen I gits yer yere, yer works till yer t'rough--see? Dat's der
way ter pull der meat off er man."
"Well, what's next?"
"See if yer can raise yer record anoder pound on der striker."
Bruce went at the striking machine, which registered the exact number of
pounds of force in each blow it received.
"Has any one beaten me yet?" he asked.
"Naw. Dere ain't nobody come within ninety pound of yer."
Bruce looked satisfied, but he made up his mind to raise his record if
possible, and he succeeded in adding twelve pounds to it.
"Say!" exclaimed Buster, "if dat cove wot yer arter does you he's a
"That's just what he is," nodded Bruce, streaming with perspiration. "He
is a bad man to go against."
"If yer ever gits at him wid dat left ye'll knock him out, sure."
"He is like a panther on his feet, and I shall be in great luck if I
find him with my left."
"Yer don't want ter t'ink dat. Yer wants ter t'ink yer goin' ter find
him anyhow. Dat's der way."
"I have thought so before, and I have discovered that he is a
wonderfully hard man to find."
"Wen yer goin' ter fight him?"
"I am going to try to make him meet me one week from to-day."
"I don't know yet."
"Is he a squealer?"
"I don't believe you could drag anything out of him with horses."
"If dat's right yer might make it yere, an' it could be kept quiet. I'd
charge a little somet'ing fer der use of der room, but dat wouldn't come
out of eder of youse, fer we'd make der fellers pay wot come in ter see
"We'll see about that," said Bruce. "But now I want to know that trick."
"Oh, yes. I near fergot dat."
"Well, I didn't."
"Say, if yer use dat on him I don't t'ink we can have der scrap here."
"If one of dem freshies got injuries in dis place so bad it might git
out, an' dat would fix me."
"I don't intend to use it on him unless I have to. Go ahead and explain
your trick. If it isn't straight I want my money back."
"Dere won't be any money back, fer der trick is all right, all right.
Now stan' up here an' I'll show yer how it's did."
Kelley then showed Bruce how to bring the edge of his open hand down on
the upper side of an enemy's wrist just back of the joint.
"Yer wants ter snap it like dis," Buster explained, illustrating with a
sharp, rebounding motion. "If yer strikes him right dere wid der cushion
meat on der lower edge of yer hand an' snaps yer hand erway like dis,
it's dead sure ter break der bone. Jes' try it on yer own wrist, but be
careful not ter try it too hard."
Bruce did as directed, and he found that he hurt himself severely,
although he struck a very light blow.
"Dat's ter trick," said Kelley, "an' it's a dandy. Don't yer ever use it
'less yer dead sure yer wants ter break der odder feller's wrist."
Then the professor called up a colored boy, who rubbed Bruce down, and
the king of the sophomores finally departed.
As he walked back toward his room in the dusk of early evening,
Browning began to feel sorry that he had learned the trick at all.
"It would be a dirty game to play on Merriwell," he muttered, "but now
that I know it, I may get mad and do it in a huff, especially if I see
Merriwell is getting the best of me."
The more Browning thought the matter over the greater became his regret
that he had learned the trick of breaking an opponent's wrist. For all
that he had a strong feeling against Merriwell, he could see that the
leader of the freshmen was square and manly, and he did not believe
Frank would take an unfair advantage of a foe.
Bruce became quite unlike his old jovial self. He was strangely downcast
and moody, and he saw that he was fast losing prestige with those who
had once regarded him as their leader.
Hartwick, Browning's roommate, was more bitter against Merriwell.
"The confounded upstart!" he would growl. "Think of his coming here and
carrying things on with such a high hand! When we were freshmen the
sophomores had everything their own way. They Lambda Chied us till they
became sick of it, and all our attempts to get even proved failures. Now
the freshmen who are following the lead of this fellow Merriwell seem to
think that they are cocks of the walk. I tell you what it is, Bruce,
you must do that fellow, and you must do him so he will stay done."
"Oh, I don't believe he is such a bad fellow at heart, It wouldn't be
right to injure him permanently."
"Wouldn't it? Give me the chance and see if I don't fix him."
Hartwick began to regard his roommate with disdain.
"For goodness' sake, don't get soft," he implored. "The fellows will say
you are chicken-hearted, and that will settle your case. You'll never
get back to your old position if you once lose it."
"I'd rather be thought chicken-hearted than hold my position by dirty
Hartwick made no retort, but it was plain to see that he entertained a
different view of a case like the one in question.
Browning worked like a beaver to get himself in shape for the coming
struggle, but he promised himself over and over that he would never do
such a thing again. It was pride and hope that sustained him through his
severe course of training.
"No fresh mug can do youse now," Buster Kelley finally declared. "I'll
put me dough on you, an' I'll win, too."
Bruce was really in very good form, and he felt that he stood more than
an even chance with Merriwell.
He had seen the freshman fight, however, and he realized that he would
not have a walkover.
The freshmen began to think that Browning feared to meet Merriwell, and
they openly told him as much. They taunted him to such an extent that it
was with the utmost difficulty he held himself in check till the
expiration of the time he had set for getting himself in condition.
"What if I should see the freshman getting the best of me and should
break his wrist?" he thought. "I might make it appear to be an accident,
but I would know better myself. I'd get the best of Merriwell, and the
fellows would still hail me as King Browning, but I would be ashamed of
myself all the while."
It was that thought which troubled him so much and made him appear so
"Browning is in a blue funk whenever he thinks of stacking up against
the freshman," one sophomore confidentially told another. "I believe he
has lost his nerve."
"It looks that way," admitted the other.
Thus it came about that Bruce's appearance led his former admirers to
misjudge him, and he saw a growing coolness toward him.
"I'll meet Merriwell on the level," he finally decided, "and I will whip
him on the level or I'll not whip him at all."
Then he instructed Hartwick to carry a challenge to Frank.
"I will fight him with hard gloves," said Bruce.
He had decided that with a glove on his hand he could not easily perform
the trick of breaking his enemy's wrist in case he was seized by an
impulse to do so.
"Gloves?" cried Hartwick. "Why, man, why don't you challenge him to meet
you with bare fists?"
"Because I have decided that gloves are all right."
"The fellows will say you are afraid."
"Let them say so if they like," returned Bruce, but he winced a bit, as
if a tender spot had been touched.
Hartwick did his test to induce his friend to challenge Merriwell to a
fight with bare fists, but Bruce had made up his mind and he was
So it came about that Hartwick carried the challenge just as Browning
desired, and it was promptly accepted. Merriwell was not a fellow who
sought trouble, but he knew he must meet Browning or be called a coward,
and he did not dally. He quietly told Hartwick that any arrangements Mr.
Browning saw fit to make would be agreeable to him. In that way he put
Browning on his honor to give him a square deal.
The matter was kept very quiet. It was decided that the match should
come off in Kelley's back room, and a few of Merriwell's and Browning's
friends should be invited. Bruce paid for the room and firmly "sat on"
the professor's scheme to charge admission.
"This is no prize fight," he rather warmly declared. "We are not putting
ourselves on exhibition, like two pugilists. It is a matter of honor."
"Well, if youse college chaps don't git der derndest ideas inter yer
nuts!" muttered Kelley, who could not understand Browning's view of an
affair of honor. "Youse takes der cream, dat's wot yer do!"
On Saturday afternoon one week after the rush at the park certain
students might have been seen to stroll, one at a time, into the saloon
over which were the headquarters of Professor Kelley. It was three in
the afternoon that about twenty lads were gathered in Buster's
training-room to witness the meeting between Merriwell and Browning.
Tad Horner was chosen referee.
"Look here," he said before the first round, "if any man here isn't
satisfied with my decisions, let him meet me after the match is over,
and I will satisfy him or fight him."
This was said in all earnestness, and it brought a round of applause and
It was agreed that it should be a six-round contest, not more and no
less, unless one side threw up the sponge or one of the men was knocked
Rattleton was Frank's second, and Hartwick represented Bruce. A regular
ring had been roped off, and the men entered from opposite sides at a
signal. Much to his disgust, Kelley was not allowed to take any part in
Both lads were stripped to the waist. Merriwell was clean limbed, but
muscular, while Browning was stocky and solid. The sophomore had gotten
rid of his superfluous flesh in a wonderful manner, and he looked to be
a hard man to tackle.
The gloves were put on, and then the rivals advanced and shook hands. An
instant later they were at it, and the decisive struggle between them
Their movements were so rapid that it was difficult for the eyes of the
eager spectators to follow them. Both got in some sharp blows, and the
round ended with a clean knock-down for Browning, who planted a terrific
blow between Merriwell's eyes and sent the freshman to the floor.
The sophs were jubilant and the freshmen were downcast. Merriwell simply
laughed as he sat on Rattleton's knee.
"Whee jiz--I mean jee whiz!" spluttered Harry. "Are you going to let
that fellow do you. The sophs will never get over it if you do. Hear 'em
"Don't worry," smiled Frank. "This is the beginning. There must be an
"Do him--do him, Bruce!" fiercely whispered Hartwick in the ear of his
principal. "It's plain enough that you can."
"I think I can," said Bruce, confidently.
The sophs offered three to two on Browning, and many bets were made.
Then time was called and the rivals advanced once more.
The second round was hotter than the first, if possible, and Merriwell
drew first blood by giving Browning a heavy one on the nose. It ended
with both sparring, and neither seeming to have a decided advantage.
Now the freshmen were encouraged, and they expressed their confidence in
their man. More bets were made, the sophomores still giving odds.
The third round filled the freshmen with delight, for Merriwell knocked
Browning off his feet twice, while he seemed to get no heavy blows
The sophs became quieter, and no money at odds was in sight. In fact,
the freshmen tried to get even money, but could not.
The fourth and fifth rounds were filled with good, sharp, scientific
work, but toward the close of the fifth both men seemed a trifle groggy.
Neither had a decided advantage.
"Dat Merriwell is a boid!" declared Buster Kelley enthusiastically.
"Why, dat chap could be der champeen of der woild if he went inter der
business fer fair. Dat's on der level, too."
Both lads were battered and bruised, and there was blood on their faces
when they retired to their corners at the command from Horner.
"He's a nut," confessed Frank. "He has given me some soakers, and he
takes his medicine as if he liked it."
"You'll finish him next round, sure," fluttered Harry. "I shall buck the
kickit--I mean kick the bucket if you don't."
"How is it?" Hartwick eagerly asked as he wiped the blood from
Browning's face. "Can you finish him next round?"
"I shall try, but I don't believe the fellow can be licked unless he is
killed. That's what I think of him."
"Didn't I hear you say you knew a trick that would do him?"
"Yes, but it is not a square deal, although no referee could call it
foul if this were a fight with bare fists. As it is, I'd have to get my
"Do it! do it! You're a fool if you don't!"
"Then I'm a fool. That man has trusted this entire affair to our honor,
and if I can't whip him fair I won't whip him at all."
"You make me sick!" sneered Hartwick.
At the call the two men promptly faced each other for the final round.
At first they were a bit wary, but then, as if by mutual agreement, they
went at each other like tigers. Blow followed blow, but it was plain
that one man was getting quite as much as the other. Browning got in one
of his terrific drives, but it was not a knockout, and Merriwell had the
sophomore up up against the rope three times.
"Time! Break away!" yelled Tad Horner, forcing himself over between the
combatants. "It's all over."
"What's the decision?" shouted a dozen voices.
"A draw," was the distinct answer. "I declare it an even thing between
There was a moment of silence, and then, bruised and smiling, Frank
Merriwell tore off his glove and extended his hand. Off came Browning's
glove, and he accepted the hand of the freshman.
TALKING IT OVER.
Before night nearly every student knew that Merriwell and Browning had
fought a six-round, hard-glove contest to a draw, and it was generally
said that the decision was fair. Evan Hartwick seemed to be the only
witness of the fight who was dissatisfied. Roland Ditson had not been
invited to see it, but he expressed a belief that Browning would prove
the better man in a fight to a finish.
Several weeks slipped by.
After the glove contest Browning had very little to say about the
freshman leader. Whenever he did say anything, it was exactly what he
thought, and it was noted that he admitted Merriwell to be a comer.
Evan Hartwick could not crush down his powerful dislike for Merriwell.
He admitted to Bruce that he felt an almost irresistible desire to
strike the cool freshman whenever they met.
"I wouldn't advise you to do it, my boy," lazily smiled Browning, who
was growing fat again, now that he was no longer in training. "He is a
bad man to hit."
"It depends on what he is hit with," returned Hartwick, grimly. "You
made a fool of yourself when you failed to break his wrist, after paying
twenty-five toadskins to learn the trick. That would have made you the
"And it would have made me feel like a contemptible sneak. I have been
well satisfied with myself that I did not try the trick. It is a good
thing to know, but it should be used on no one but a ruffian."
"It's surprising to me how soft you're getting. This Merriwell is
dangerous in many directions, and his career would have been stopped
short if you had broken his wrist. He has shown that he is a baseball
pitcher, but no man can pitch with a broken wrist. He is one of the best
freshmen half-backs ever seen at Yale, according to the general
acknowledgment. And now he is pulling an oar and coaching the freshmen
crew at the same time--something never attempted before--something said
to be impossible. Where would he be if you had broken his wrist?"
"He could coach the freshmen just the same, and the very fact that he
can do all these things makes me well satisfied that I did not fix him
so he couldn't."
"Wait! wait! What if the freshmen beat us out at Lake Saltonstall? What
if they come out ahead of us?"
"I know the fellows are saying they will not, but I tell you this
Merriwell is full of tricks, and there is no telling what he may do with
the fresh crew. He is working them secretly, and our spies report that
he seems to know his business."
"Well, if he makes them winners he will deserve the credit he will
receive. But he can't do it. No man can coach a crew and pull an oar at
the same time. The very fact that he is attempting such a thing shows he
isn't in the game."
"Don't be so sure. They say he has a substitute who takes his place in
the boat sometimes, and that gives him a chance to see just how the crew
"Rats! Who ever heard of such a thing! Merriwell is all right, but he
doesn't know anything about rowing. He may think he knows, but he is
"Well, we will have to wait and see about that."
"I really believe you are afraid of Merriwell. Why--ha! ha! ha!--you are
the only one who has an idea the freshmen will be in the race at all."
"I know it, but few have had any idea that the freshmen could do any of
the things they have done. They have fooled us right along, and--"
"Oh, say! Give me a cigarette and let's drop it. From the way you talk I
should say you would make a good sporting editor for a Sunday-school
"That's all right," muttered Hartwick, sulkily, as he tossed Bruce a
package of Turkish cigarettes. "Wait and see if I am not right."
After this Bruce went about telling all the sophomores what Hartwick
thought, and urging them to "jolly him" whenever they could get a
chance. As a result Evan was kept in hot water the most of the time, but
he persisted in claiming that the freshmen were bound to give them a
One evening a jolly party gathered in Browning and Hartwick's rooms.
Cigarettes were passed around, and soon the smoke was thick enough to
cut with a knife.
"How are the eggs down where you are taking your meals now, Horner?"
asked Puss Parker.
"Oh, they are birds!" chirped little Tad, who was perched on the back of
a chair, with his cap on the side of his head.
This produced a general laugh, and Parker said:
"Speaking of birds makes me think that riches hath wings. I dropped
seventy-five in that little game last night."
Punch Swallows groaned in a heartrending way.
"That's nothing," he said, dolefully. "I lost a hundred and ten last
week, and I've been broke ever since. Wired home for money, but the gov
didn't respond. After that game all I could think of was two pairs,
three of a kind, bobtail flushes, and so on. I made a dead flunk at
recitations for two days. The evening after I lost my roll I was to
attend a swell affair up on Temple Street. I was in a rocky condition,
and I took something to brace me up, for I knew there would be pretty
girls there, and I wouldn't have missed it for anything. The memory of
that horrible game was still with me, and whenever my mind wandered I
was thinking of jack pots and kindred things. Well, I went to the party,
and there were plenty of queens there, but I didn't seem to enjoy
myself, for some reason. I fancied it possible they might smell my
breath, and that worried me. I thought I would go off by myself, and so
I wandered into a little room where I imagined I would be alone, but
hanged if I didn't run into the hostess and a stack of ladies. Then,
with my mind confused, I made a fool of myself. 'Er--er--excuse me,' I
stammered; 'what room is this?' 'This is the anteroom, sir,' replied the
hostess. 'What's the limit?' says I, as I fumbled in my pocket. Then I
took a tumble to myself and chased out in a hurry. I saw the girls
staring after me as if they thought me crazy. It was awful."
"Oh, well, you mustn't mind the loss of a few dollars," said Andy Emery.
"A man can make a fortune in this country picking up chips--if he puts
them on the right card."
"Put a little perfumery on that before you use it again, Emery,"
grinned Tad Horner. "It's got whiskers."
"I think Swallows all right, but he reminds me of a man I knew once on a
time. I haven't seen Swallows when he had over twenty-five at a time
since he's been here, and still he says he dropped a hundred and ten in
"How about this man you knew?" asked Parker.
"He was a great fellow to stretch the long bow, and it became such a
habit that he could not break it. He seemed to prefer a falsehood to the
truth, even when the truth would have served him better. Well, he died
and was buried. One day I visited the cemetery and gazed on his
tombstone. On the top of the stone was his name and on the bottom were
these words: 'I am not dead, but sleeping.' Now that man was lying in
his grave, for his habit--"
Parker flung a slipper at Emery, who dodged it. The slipper struck Tad
Horner and knocked him off the back of the chair.
"That's all right," said Swallows, nodding at Emery, who was laughing.
"I'll square that the first chance I get."
"Do! But when you get a roll, remember there are Others who are looking
"Drop this persiflage and come down to business," said Browning, winking
at the others and nodding toward Hartwick, who did not seem to be
taking any interest in what was going on. "Let's talk about the races."
"Yas, by Jawve!" drawled Willis Paulding, who tried to be "deucedly
English" in everything. "Let's talk about the races, deah boys. That's
what interests me, don't yer know."
Hartwick squirmed. He knew what was coming, and still his disposition
was such that he could not resist a "jolly" in case the jolliers
expressed opinions that did not agree with his own.
Browning enjoyed seeing the gang get Hartwick on a string, and he was
ever ready to aid anything of the kind along. By nature the king of
sophomores was a practical joker. He had put up more jobs than any man
who ever entered Yale. That was what had given him his reputation.
"I understand the freshmen are rapidly coming to the front," observed
Hod Chadwick, with apparent seriousness.
"Is that right?" asked Parker. "Heard anything new?"
"Why, they say this Merriwell has the genuine Oxford system."
"Where'd he get it?"
"He has been abroad. It is even reported that he has studied at Oxford.
He has watched the work of the Oxford coach, and he is working the
freshmen eight on the same lines."
"That's right--that's right," nodded Hartwick, and the boys winked at
"How do you know it is right?" asked Emery. "What do you know about
"I know he has been abroad, and I have it straight that he spent
considerable time at Oxford."
"That's nothing. Any lubber might watch the work at Oxford, but what
would that amount to?"
"Merriwell is no lubber, as you fellows should know by this time."
"We don't seem to know much of anything about him. Who are his parents?
What about them?"
"I hear his father was drowned in bed," murmured Tad Horner.
"By Jawve!" exclaimed Willis Paulding. "How could that happen?"
"There was a hole in the mattress, and he fell through into the spring,"
gravely assured Tad.
Willis nearly lost his breath.
"That's all wrong," said Browning. "It's true Merriwell is no lubber.
Why should he be? His father was a skipper."
"What! A sea captain?" asked Hartwick.
"No, a bank cashier. He skipped to Canada."
"Wow!" whooped Tad Horner. "How that hurt! Don't do it again!"
"You fellows have things twisted," asserted Parker, with apparent
seriousness. "I have private advices that Merriwell's father is a poor
"A poor dentist, eh?"
"Yes, rather poor, but he manages to pull out."
Tad Horner fell off the back of his chair and struck sprawling on the
"Water!" he gasped.
"You wouldn't know it if you saw it," grinned Parker.
"Without a doubt and without any fooling, Merriwell's father is dead,"
said Hod Chadwick.
"Do you know this for a fact?" asked Swallows.
"Yes. It is said that he died on the field."
"Then he was a soldier?"
"No; a baseball umpire."
"This is a very dry crowd," laughed Browning.
"I should think you would say something," hinted Chadwick.
"It isn't in the house. We'll go down to Morey's after supper settles
and I'll blow."
"Not this evening. Ale is good enough for this crowd."
"Oh, I don't suppose we can kick at that. But we were speaking about
Merriwell and the freshman crew. How are we to escape death at their
"Have another cigarette all around," invited Parker as he passed them.
"That's too slow, but I'll take a cigarette just the same."
Hartwick got up and walked about in a corner, showing nervousness. They
urged him to sit down and take things easy. He felt like making a break
and getting out, but he knew they would roar with laughter if he did.
"You fellows are a lot of chumps!" he exclaimed, suddenly getting angry.
"You treat this matter lightly now, but you are likely to change your
tune after the race."
The boys were well satisfied, for they saw he was getting aroused.
"Oh, I don't know as we treat it so very lightly," said Emery. "We've
got to have our fun, no matter what we may think."
"But every one of you is of the opinion that we are going to have a
cinch with the freshmen."
"It does look easy."
"Have they been easy thus far?"
"Oh, that's different."
"You will find this is different when it is all over."
"Now, see here, Hartwick," said Parker; "you are the only soph who does
not think we have a soft thing with the freshmen. What's the matter with
"Why, he wants to disagree with us, that's all," said Browning. "Why, he
wouldn't eat anything if he thought it would agree with him. That's the
kind of a man he is."
Hartwick looked disgusted.
"Keep it up! keep it up!" he cried. "But you'll find out!"
"Now, see here, man," said Parker once more; "are you stuck on
Hartwick showed still greater disgust, his eyes flashing.
"Stuck on him!" he cried. "Well, not any! You fellows ought to know
that! Stuck on him! That gives me pains!"
"Well, I couldn't see what ailed you unless you were."
"It is because I am not stuck on him that I am so anxious to beat him,
as you fellows ought to be able to see."
"Oh, that's it? Excuse me! Well, now, how is he going to make a lot of
lubberly freshies beat us?"
"He's found some men who can pull oars all right, and he has introduced
a few innovations that will be surprises."
"How do you know so much about it?"
"I have been investigating, and I am not the only one."
"Well, what are his innovations?"
"The Oxford oar, in the first place."
"What is that?"
"Two to four inches longer than our oar, with a blade five and one-half
inches wide, instead of seven inches."
"For goodness' sake, what is the advantage of such an oar?"
"I'll tell you. With a short course and high stroke no set of men are
strong enough to use the old oar and go the distance without weakening.
You must admit that."
"With the narrow blades a longer oar can be used and the leverage
increased. That is plain enough."
The boys were silent for some moments. Here was a matter they had not
considered, and they were forced to confess that it was a point for
"But that is not enough to enable the freshmen to win, even admitting
the English oar to be better, which has not been proven," said Emery.
"By Jawve! I am rather inclined to believe the English oar is superior,
don't yer know," put in Willis Paulding.
"That's not surprising in your case," said Emery.
"That's not all Merriwell has done," declared Hartwick.
"What else has he done?"
"He has introduced the Oxford style of catch, finish and length of
strokes, which means a longer swing, with more leg and body work."
"Well, that will cook 'em!" cried Tad Horner. "If he has done that,
we'll make a show of those greenies."
"What reason have you for thinking anything of the sort?"
"Every reason. The regular Yale stroke cannot be improved upon. That is
Hartwick smiled wearily.
"That's what I call conceit," he said. "You don't know whether it can be
improved upon or not."
There was an outburst of protests by the boys, who believed, as almost
every Yale man believes, that Yale methods are correct and cannot be
improved upon. Hartwick was regarded as disloyal, and all felt like
giving it to him hot.
"A longer body swing is certain to make a difficult recovery," said
Browning. "That is plain enough."
"Not if the men are worked right and put in proper form," declared
Hartwick. "I have been told that the English long stroke and recovery is
very graceful and easy, and that it does not wear on a man like the
"By Jawve! I think that's right, don't yer know," said Paulding.
"What you think doesn't count," muttered Tad Horner.
"With such a stroke and swing the men are bound to recover on their
toes," asserted Browning.
"Oh, rats!" said Punch Swallows. "What does that amount to, anyway, in a
case like this? We are talking of this tub load of freshmen as if they
were the 'Varsity crew. What's the use? It won't make any difference
what kind of a stroke they use. They are mighty liable to use several
different kinds, and they won't be in it at all, my children. Let's go
down to Morey's and oil up."
"Go ahead," said Hartwick, grimly. "But you will think over what I have
said after the race comes off."
The boys put on their caps and trooped out, laughing and talking as they
MERRIWELL AND RATTLETON.
"You've got to stop smoking those confounded cigarettes."
Harry Rattleton let his feet fall with a thump from the table on which
they had been comfortably resting and turned about to stare at
Merriwell, his roommate. His face expressed astonishment, not unmingled
"Will you be good enough to repeat that remark?" he said, exhaling a
cloud of smoke and holding his roll daintily poised in his fingers.
"I said that you must stop smoking cigarettes."
"Well, what did you mean?"
"I am in the habit of saying what I mean," was the quiet answer as Frank
scanned the paper over which he had been pondering for some time.
Harry got upon his feet, shoved one hand into his trousers pocket, and
stared in silence for some seconds at Merriwell. That stare was most
"Well, may I be jotally tiggered--I mean totally jiggered!" he finally
"You'll be worse than that if you keep on with those things," asserted
Frank. "You'll be totally wrecked."
"This is the first time you have had the crust to deliberately tell me
that I must do anything," growled Harry, resentfully. "And I feel free
to say that I don't like it much. It is carrying the thing altogether
too far. I have never told you that you must do this thing or you
mustn't do that. I should have considered that I was beddling with
something that was none of my misness--er--meddling with something that
was none of my business."
Frank perceived that his roommate was quite heated, so he dropped the
paper and said:
"Don't fly off the handle so quick, old man. I am speaking for your own
good, and you should know it."
"Thank you!" sarcastically.
"But I am in earnest."
"Really?" and Rattleton elevated his eyebrows.
"Come now," said Frank, "sit down and we will talk it over."
"Talk it over, eh? I don't know why we should talk over a matter that
concerns me alone."
"Your dinner did not set well. I never saw you so touchy in all my life.
You know I am your friend, old man, and there is no reason why you
should show such a spirit toward me."
"I don't like to be told what I must do and what I mustn't by anybody.
That's all there is about it."
Harry did sit down, but he lighted a fresh cigarette.
"Well, I suppose you will have your own way, but I want to explain why I
said what I did. You know we are out to beat the sophs in the boat
"Well, in order to do it every man of us must be in the pink of
condition. You are not drinking, and Old Put doesn't know how much you
are smoking. If he did he would call you down or drop you. It is pretty
certain that Gordon would take your place."
"Well, I suppose you are going to tell Old Put all about it? Is that
what you mean?"
"Not exactly. But you know I have as much interest in the makeup of our
crew as Old Put, although he is the man who really has charge of us."
"If I were to say so, you would be taken out and some one else would
fill your place."
"And would you do that?"
"Not unless forced to do so. You should know, Harry, that I am ready to
stick by you in anything--if I can."
"If you can! I don't understand that--hang me, if I do! If I have a
friend I am going to stick to him through anything, right or wrong!"
"That's first rate and it is all right. If you get into any trouble, I
fancy you will not find anybody who will stand by you any longer. But
this matter is different. You are in training, and you are not supposed
to smoke at all, but you get here in this room and puff away by the
"What harm does it do?"
"A great deal."
"Get out! It doesn't make a dit of bifference."
"That's what you think, but I know better. At Fardale I had a chum who
smoked cigarettes by the stack. He was a natural-born athlete, but he
never seemed quite able to take the lead in anything. It was his wind. I
talked to him, but he thought I didn't know. Finally I induced him to
leave off smoking entirely. He did it, though it was like taking his
teeth. It was not long before he showed an improvement in his work. The
improvement continued and he went up to the very top. He acknowledged
that he could not have accomplished it if he had kept on with his
"Now, old man," continued Frank, coming over and putting a hand on
Harry's shoulder in a friendly way, "I am interested in you and I want
to see you stay on our crew. You must know that I am giving it to you
Harry was silent, gazing down at the floor, while his cigarette was
going out, still held between his fingers.
"I am going to tell you something that you do not know," Frank went on.
"Old Put has been asking me to give Gordon more of a show. He thinks
Gordon is a better man than you, but I know better. If you will leave
cigarettes alone you are the man for the place. Gordon has a beautiful
back and splendid shoulders, but he lacks heart, or I am much mistaken.
It takes nerve to pull an oar in a race. A man has got to keep at it for
all there is in him till he drops--and he mustn't drop till the race is
over. That's why I want you. I am confident that you will pull your arms
out before you give up. But you won't have the wind for the race unless
you quit cigarettes, and quit them immediately."
Harry was still silent, but his head was lower and he was biting his
lips. The cigarette in his fingers had quite gone out.
"Come now, Harry," came earnestly from Frank. "Just cut clear from the
things. They never did any man any good, and they have taken the wind
and nerve out of hundreds. You don't want me to keep you on the crew and
lose the race by doing so. You don't want it said that I have been
partial to you because you are my roommate and particular friend.
That's what will be said if things go wrong. The fellows will declare I
was prejudiced against Gordon, and they will not be to blame unless you
can prove yourself the best man. I have nothing against Gordon, and I am
bound to use him as white as I can. I have explained why I don't want
him on the crew, and I have tried to make it clear why I'll have to let
him come on at once, unless you drop cigarettes. How is it, my boy? What
do you say?"
Harry got up and went into the bedroom. A moment later he came out with
a big package of cigarettes in his hands. He opened the window and flung
them as far as possible.
"There!" he cried. "By the mumping Joses--I mean the jumping Moses! I'm
done with 'em. I'm not going to smoke them any more!"
"Good boy!" laughed Frank, his face full of satisfaction. "Shake!"
They clasped hands.
Rat-tat-tat! A knock at the door.
The door opened and Dismal Jones, his face longer and sadder than usual,
came slouching into the room.
"Hello, Jones, old boy!" cried Frank, cheerfully. "What is troubling you
now? You look like a funeral."
"I'm mad," said Dismal in a spiritless way.
"Is that what ails you? I'd never suspected it from your appearance."
"Appearances are oftentimes deceitful," croaked Jones. "Whosoever is
deceived thereby is not wise."
"Well, sit down and tell us all about it," invited Frank, offering a
chair. "My boy, it must be that you are studying too hard. You have the
outward appearance of a greasy grind."
"What's that I just told you about appearances? You are too hasty in
your judgments. The trouble with me this evening is that I have found
"I never supposed it would trouble you like this."
"Wait. You do not know what it is."
"That's right. What is it?"
Frank was familiar with Dismal's queer ways, and he knew it was not easy
to tell when this son of a "shouting Methodist" was jollying and when he
was in earnest; but now he was convinced that Jones was really serious,
and he felt that there must be some cause for it.
Harry, strangely sobered and silent, sat listening. He could not