Part 5 out of 6
the wild tumult of noise.
"'Umpty-six is up to tricks!" shouted the juniors. "'Umpty-six, they
are bricks! Whoop 'er up! 'Rah! 'rah! 'rah!"
The yelling of the freshmen became louder, for their crew was holding
its own--was beginning to gain.
"That is the best freshman crew that ever appeared at Saltonstall,"
declared a spectator. "Every man seems to be a worker. There's no one
"And look at the stroke oar," urged another. "That fellow is the winner!
He is working like a veteran, and he is setting a stroke that is bound
to tell before the race is over."
This was true enough. The strong, long stroke of the freshmen kept their
boat going steadily at high speed once it was in motion, and they
steadily overhauled the juniors, who had fallen away from the sophs. At
the stake the freshman crew passed the juniors, and the freshmen
witnesses had fits.
But that was not the end of the excitement. The speed of the freshman
boat was something wonderful, and it was overhauling the sophs, despite
the fact that they were pulling for dear life to hold the lead.
And now the shouting for 'Umpty-eight was heard on every side. The sophs
were encouraging their men to hold the advantage to the finish, but
still the freshmen were gaining.
The nose of the freshman boat crept alongside the sophs, whose faces
wore a do-or-die look. The suspense was awful, the excitement was
Then Rattleton was heard talking:
"Well, this is the greatest snap we ever struck! I wonder how the sophs
like the Oxford stroke? Oh, my! what guys we are making of them! It
don't make a dit of bifference how hard they pull, they're not in the
race at all. Poor sophs! Why don't they get out and walk? They could get
That seemed to break the sophs up, and then a great shout went up as the
freshman boat forged into the lead. They soon led the sophs by a length,
and crossed the line thirty feet in advance.
Then Rattleton keeled over, completely done up, but supremely happy.
How the freshmen spectators did cheer!
"'Umpty-eight! 'Umpty-eight! Whoop 'er up! 'Rah! 'rah!' rah!"
It was another great victory for the freshmen--and Frank Merriwell, and
that night a great bonfire blazed on the campus and the students made
merry. They blew horns, sang, cheered and had a high old time.
The freshmen made the most noise, and they were very proud and
aggressive. Never had Yale College freshmen seemed happier.
"Where is Merriwell?" was the question that went around.
A committee was sent to search for him, and they returned with him on
their shoulders. He tried to get down, but he could not.
Uncle Blossom climbed on a box and shouted:
"Three cheers for 'Umpty-eight, the winners!"
The cheers were given.
Easy Street leaped on another box and yelled:
"Three cheers for Frank Merriwell, the winning oar!"
It seemed that the freshmen were trying to split their throats. And not
a few juniors joined with them, showing how much admiration Merriwell
had won outside his own class.
Walter Gordon cheered with the others, but Roland Ditson stood at a
distance, beating his heart out with rage and jealousy. He was all
alone, for at Yale not one man was left who cared to acknowledge Ditson
as a friend.
A CHANGE OF PITCHERS.
"The game is lost!"
"Yale has not scored since the second inning."
"That's right. She made one in the first and three in the second, and
then comes four beautiful whitewashes. Harvard hasn't missed a trick,
and the score is eleven to four in her favor."
"Lewis, this is awful!"
"Right you are, Jones. Hear those Harvard rooters whoop up! It gives me
The Yale freshmen were playing the Harvard freshmen on the grounds of
the latter team, and quite a large delegation had come on from New Haven
to witness the game, which was the second of the series of three
arranged between the freshmen teams of the two colleges. The first had
been played at New Haven, and the third was to be played on neutral
Yale had won the first game by heavy batting, the final score being
twelve to eleven. As the regular 'Varsity nine had likewise won the
first of their series with Harvard, the "Sons of Eli" began to think
they had a sure thing, and those who came on from New Haven were dead
sure in their minds that they would bring back the scalps of the Harvard
freshmen. They said over and over that there would be no need of a third
game to settle the matter; Yale would settle it in the second.
Walter Gordon had pitched the whole of the first Harvard game. He had
been hammered for thirteen singles, two two-baggers, and a three-bagger,
and still Yale had pulled out, which was rather remarkable. But Walter
had managed to keep Harvard's hits scattered, while Yale bunched their
hits in two innings, which was just enough to give them the winning
It was said that Frank Merriwell was to be given a show in the second
game, and a large number of Yale men who were not freshmen had come on
to see what he would do. Pierson had been particularly anxious to see
Merriwell work, and he had taken a great deal of trouble to come on. The
"great and only" Bob Collingwood, of the 'Varsity crew, had accompanied
Pierson, and both were much disappointed, not to say disgusted, when Old
Put put in Gordon and kept him in the box, despite the fact that he was
being freely batted.
"What's the matter with Putnam?" growled Pierson. "Has he got a grudge
against Merriwell, or does he intend to lose this game anyway?"
"He's asleep," said Collingwood, wearily. "He's stuck on Gordon."
"He must be thick if he can't see Gordon is rapidly losing his nerve.
Why, the fellow is liable to go to pieces at any minute and let those
Willies run in a score that will be an absolute disgrace."
"Go down and talk to him, Pierson."
"Not much! I am too well known to the Harvard gang. They wouldn't do a
thing to me--not a thing!"
"Then let's get out of here. It makes me sick to hear that Harvard yell.
I can't stand it, Pierson."
"Wait. I want to see Merriwell go into the box, if they will let him at
all. That's what I came for."
"But he can't save the game now. The Yale crowd is not doing any
batting. All Harvard has to do is to hold them down, and they scarcely
have touched Coulter since the second inning."
"That's right, but the fellow is easy, Coll. If they ever should get
"How can they? They are not batters."
"That is true," he admitted. "They are weak with the stick. Diamond is
the only man who seems to know how to go after a ball properly. He is
raw, but there is mighty good stuff in that fellow. If he sticks to
baseball he will be on the regular team before he finishes his course."
"I believe Merriwell has shown up well as a batter in practice."
"He certainly has."
"Well, I should think Old Put would use him for his hitting, if for
nothing else. He is needed."
"It seems to me that there is a nigger in the woodpile."
"You think Merriwell is held back for reasons not known?"
"Say, by jingoes! I am going down and talk to Putnam. If he doesn't give
Merriwell a trial he's a chump."
"What for? If I wait it will be too late for Merriwell to go in on the
first of the seventh."
"Perhaps Merriwell may stand on his dignity and refuse to go in at all
at this late stage of the game."
"He wouldn't be to blame if he did, for he can't win out."
"Something is up. Hello! Merriwell is getting out of his sweater! I
believe Putnam is going to send him out!"
There was a great satisfaction in Pierson's voice. At last it seemed
that he would get a chance to see Merriwell work.
"Somebody ought to go down and rap Putnam on the coco with a big heavy
club!" growled Collingwood. "He should have made the change long ago.
The Harvard Willies have been piling up something every inning."
Down on the visitors' bench Merriwell was seen to peel off, while Gordon
was talking rather excitedly to Burnham Putnam. It seemed evident by his
manner that he was speaking of something that did not please him very
Merriwell was pulled out of his sweater, and then somebody tossed him a
practice ball. Little Danny Griswold, the Yale shortstop, put on a
catcher's mitt and prepared to catch for Frank.
Yale was making a last desperate struggle for a score in the sixth
inning. With one man out and a man on first, a weak batter came up. If
the batter tried to get a hit, it looked like a great opportunity for a
double play by Harvard.
Old Put, who was in uniform, ran down to first, and sent in the coacher,
whose place he took on the line. Then he signaled the batter to take
one, his signal being obeyed, and it proved to be a ball.
Put was a great coacher, and now he opened up in a lively way, with
Robinson rattling away over by third. Put was not talking simply to
rattle the pitcher; he was giving signals at the same time, and he
signed for the man on first to go down on the next pitch, at the same
time giving the batter the tip to make a fake swing at the ball to
bother the catcher.
This programme was carried out, and it worked, for the runner got second
on a slide and a close decision.
Then the Yale rooters opened their throats, and blue banners fluttered
in a bunch over on the bleachers where the New Haven gang was packed
"Yell, you suckers, yell!" cried Dickson, Harvard's first baseman. "It's
the only chance you'll get."
His words were drowned in the tumult and noise.
Up in the grand stand there was a waving of blue flags and white
handkerchiefs, telling that there were not a few of the fair spectators
who sympathized with the boys from New Haven.
Then the man at the bat reached first on a scratch hit and a fumble, and
there seemed to be a small rift in the clouds which had lowered over the
heads of the Yale freshmen so long.
But the next man up promptly fouled out, and the clouds seemed to close
in again as dark as ever.
In the meantime Frank was warming up with the aid of Danny Griswold, and
Walter Gordon sat on the bench, looking sulky and downcast.
"Gordon is a regular pig," said one of the freshman players to a
companion. "He doesn't know when he has enough."
"Well, we know we have had enough of him this game," said the other,
sourly. "If we had played a rotten fielding game Harvard would have a
"Well, nearly that," grinned the first speaker. "Gordon hasn't struck
out a man."
"And still he is sore because Putnam is going to put Merriwell in! I
suppose that is natural, but--Hi, there! look a' that! Great Scott! what
sloppy work! Did you see Newton get caught playing off second? Well,
that gives me cramps! Come on; he's the last man, and we'll have to go
So, to the delight of the Harvard crowd, Yale was whitewashed again, and
there seemed no show for the New Haven boys to win.
Walter Gordon remained on the bench, and Frank walked down into the box.
Then came positive proof of Merriwell's popularity, for the New Haven
spectators arose as one man, wildly waving hats and flags, and gave
three cheers and a tiger for Frank.
"That's what kills him!" exclaimed Pierson in disgust. "It is sure to
rattle any green man."
"That's right," yawned Collingwood. "It's plain we have wasted our time
in coming here to-day."
"It looks that way from the road. Why couldn't the blamed chumps keep
still, so he could show what he is made of?"
"It's ten to one he won't be able to find the plate for five minutes. I
believe I can see him shaking from here."
The Harvard crowd had never heard of Merriwell, and they regarded him
with no little interest as he walked into the box. When the Yale
spectators were through cheering Harvard took it up in a derisive way,
and it certainly was enough to rattle any fellow with ordinary nerves.
But Frank did not seem to hear all the howling. He paid no attention to
the cheers of his friends or the jeers of the other party. He seemed in
no great hurry. He made sure that every man was in position, felt of the
pitcher's plate with his foot, kicked aside a small pebble, and then
took any amount of time in preparing to deliver.
Collingwood began to show some interest. He punched Pierson in the ribs
with his elbow and observed:
"Hanged if he acts as if he is badly rattled!"
"That's so. He doesn't seem to be in a hurry," admitted Paul. "He is
using his head at the very start, for he is giving himself time to
become cool and steady."
"He has Gibson, the best batter on the Harvard team, facing him. Gibson
is bound to get a safe hit."
"He is pretty sure to, and that is right."
Merriwell knew that Nort Gibson was the heaviest and surest batter on
the Harvard team, but he had been watching the fellow all through the
game, trying to "get his alley." He had seen Gibson light on a drop and
smash it fiercely, and then he had seen him get a safe hit off a rise,
while an outcurve did not fool him at all, as he would bang it if it
came over the plate or let it alone when it went outside.
Frank's mind was made up, and he had resolved to give Gibson everything
in close to his fingers. Then, if he did hit it, he was not liable to
knock it very far.
The first ball Merriwell delivered looked like a pretty one, and Gibson
went after it. It was an inshoot, and the batter afterward declared it
grazed his knuckles as it passed.
"One strike!" called the umpire.
"What's this! what's this!" exclaimed Collingwood, sitting up and
rubbing his eyes. "What did he do, anyway?"
"Fooled the batter with a high inshoot," replied Pierson.
"Well, he doesn't seem to be so very rattled after all."
"Can't tell yet. He did all right that time, but Gibson has two more
chances. If he gets a drop or an outcurve that is within reach, he will
Ben Halliday was catching for Yale. Rattleton, the change catcher and
first baseman, was laid off with a bad finger. He was rooting with the
New Haven gang.
Halliday returned the ball and signaled for a rise, but Merriwell shook
his head and took a position that meant that he wished to try the same
thing over again. Halliday accepted, and then Frank sent the ball like a
This time it seemed a certain thing that Frank had depended on a high
straight ball, and Gibson could not let it pass. He came near breaking
his back trying to start the cover on the ball, but once more he fanned
"Great Jupiter!" gasped Collingwood, who was now aroused. "What did he
do then, Pierson?"
"Fooled the fellow on the same thing exactly!" chuckled Paul. "Gibson
wasn't looking for two in the same place."
Now the freshmen spectators from Yale let themselves out. They couldn't
wait for the third strike, but they cheered, blew horns and whistles,
and waved flags and hats.
Merriwell had a trick of taking up lots of time in a busy way without
pitching the ball while the excitement was too high, and his appearance
seemed to indicate that he was totally deaf to all the tumult.
"That's right, Merry, old boy!" yelled an enthusiastic New Haven lad.
"Trim his whiskers with them."
"Wind them around his neck, Frank!" cried Harry Rattleton. "You can do
Rattleton had the utmost confidence in his chum, and he had offered to
bet that not one of the first three men up would get a safe hit off him.
Sport Harris, who was always looking for a chance to risk something,
promptly took Harry up, and each placed a "sawbuck" in the hands of
"I am sorry for you, Harris," laughed Rattleton after Gibson had missed
the second time, "but he's going to use them all that way."
"Wait, my boy," returned Sport, coolly. "I am inclined to think this man
will get a hit yet."
"I'll go you ten to five he doesn't."
They had no time to put up the money, for Merriwell was at work again,
and they were eager to watch him.
The very next ball was an outcurve, but it was beyond Gibson's reach and
he calmly let it pass. Then followed a straight one that was on the
level with the top of the batter's head, and Gibson afterward expressed
regret that he did not try it. The third one was low and close to
Three balls had been called in succession, and the next one settled the
matter, for it stood three to two.
"Has he gone to pieces?" anxiously asked Collingwood.
"I don't think so," answered Pierson, "but he has wasted good
opportunities trying to pull Gibson. He is in a bad place now."
"You have him in a hole, Gibson," cried a voice. "The next one must be
right over, and he can't put it there."
"It looks as if you would win, Rattleton," said Harris in mild disgust.
"Merriwell is going to give the batter his base, and so, of course, he
will not get a hit."
Harry was nettled, and quick as a flash returned:
"Four balls hits for a go--I mean goes for a hit in this case."
"Now I have you sure," he chuckled.
"In your mind, Sport, old boy."
Merriwell seemed to be examining the pitcher's plate, then he looked up
like a flash, his eyes seeming to sparkle, and with wonderful quickness
delivered the ball.
"It's an outcurve," was the thought which flashed through Gibson's mind
as he saw the sphere had been started almost directly at him.
If it was an outcurve it seemed certain to pass over the center of the
plate, and it would not do to let it pass. It was speedy, and the
batter was forced to make up his mind in a fraction of a second.
He struck at it--and missed!
"Three strikes--batter out!" called the umpire, sharply.
Gibson dropped his stick in a dazed way, muttering:
"Great Scott! it was a straight ball and close to my fingers!"
He might have shouted the words and not been heard, for the Yale rooters
were getting in their work for fair. They gave one great roar of
delight, and then came the college yell, followed by the freshman cheer.
At last they were given an opportunity to use their lungs, after having
been comparatively silent for several innings.
"Whoop 'er up for 'Umpty-eight!" howled a fellow with a heavy voice.
"What's the matter with 'Umpty-eight?"
"She's all right!" went up the hoarse roar.
"What's the matter with Merriwell?"
"He's all right!" again came that roar.
When the shouting had subsided, Rattleton touched Harris on the shoulder
and laughingly asked:
"Do I win?"
"Not yet. There are two more coming."
"But I win just as hard, my boy."
"Hope you do."
The next Harvard batter came up, determined to do something, although
he was a trifle uncertain. He let the first one pass and heard a strike
called, which did not please him much. The second one was a coaxer, and
he let that ball go by. The umpire called a ball. The third was a high
one, but it looked good, and he tried for it. It proved to be a rise,
and he struck under it at least a foot.
Bob Collingwood was growing enthusiastic.
"That Merriwell is full of tricks," he declared. "Think how he secretly
coached the freshman crew up on the Oxford stroke last fall and won the
race at Saltonstall. If it hadn't been for a traitor nobody would have
known what he was doing with the crew, for he wouldn't let them practice
at the machines."
"I have had my eye on him ever since he entered Yale," confessed
Pierson. "I have seen that he is destined to come to the front."
The batter seemed angry because he had been deceived so easily, and this
gave Frank satisfaction, for an angry man can be deceived much easier
than one who keeps cool.
Merriwell held them close in on the batter, who made four fouls in
succession, getting angrier each moment. By this time an outdrop was the
thing to fool him, and it worked nicely.
"Three strikes and out!" called the umpire.
Frank had struck out two men, and the Yale crowd could not cheer loud
enough to express their delight.
Old Put was delighted beyond measure, but he was keeping pretty still,
for he knew what he was sure to hear if Yale did not pull the game out
some way. He knew everybody would be asking him why he did not put
Merriwell in the box before.
Lewis Little was hugging himself with satisfaction, while Dismal Jones'
long face actually wore something suggestive of a smile.
Rattleton felt like standing on his head and kicking up his heels with
the delight he could not express.
"Oh, perhaps they will give Frank a show after this!" he thought.
"Didn't I tell Put, the blooming idiot? It took him a long time to get
out of his trance."
Sport Harris coolly puffed away at a black cigar, seemingly perfectly
unconcerned, like a born gambler. He had black hair and a faint line of
a mustache. He was rather handsome in a way, but he had a pronounced
taste for loud neckties.
The next batter to come up was nervous, as could be seen at a glance. He
did not wish to strike out, but he was far too eager to hit the ball,
and he went after a bad one at the very start, which led him to get a
mild call down from the bench.
Then the fellow let a good one pass, which rattled him worse than ever.
The next looked good and he swung at it.
He hit it, and it went up into the air, dropping into Merriwell's hands,
who did not have to step out of his tracks to get it.
Yale had whitewashed Harvard for the first time in that game.
THE GAME GROWS HOTTER.
By the noise the Yale crowd made one might have fancied the game was
theirs beyond a doubt.
"Poor fellows!" said one languid Harvardite to an equally languid
companion. "It's the only chawnce they have had to cheer. Do let them
make a little noise."
"Yas," said his companion, "do. It isn't at all likely they will get
another opportunity during this game."
There were cheers for Merriwell, but Frank walked to the bench and put
on his sweater as if utterly unconscious of the excitement he had
created. His unconcerned manner won fresh admiration for him.
Old Put congratulated Frank as soon as the bench was reached.
"That was great work, Merriwell. Keep it up! Keep it up!"
"That kind of work will not win the game as the score stands," returned
Frank. "Some batting must be done, and there must be some score
"You are right, and you are the second man up this inning. See what you
"If I had known I came so soon I wouldn't have put on my sweater."
"Keep it on. You must not get chilly. We can't tell what may happen.
Harder games than this have been pulled out. They lead us but five
"Blossom bats ahead of me, does he? Well, he never got a hit when one
was wanted in all his life; but he's got a trick that is just as good,
if he will try to work it."
"Getting hit by the ball? He is clever at that. Tell him to work the
dodge this time if he can. Get him onto first some way. We must have
some scores, if we steal them."
"I wish we might steal a few."
"If I get first and Blossom is ahead of me on second, let us try the
double steal. I may be caught at second or he may be caught at third,
and there is a bare possibility that we'll both make our bags. At any
rate, but one of us is liable to be caught, and if it is Blossom it will
leave us scarcely any worse off than before. If it is myself, why,
Blossom will be on third, we'll have one man out, and stand a good show
of scoring once at least."
Merriwell said this in a quiet manner, not at all as if he were trying
to dictate, and Putnam made no reply. However, he spoke to Blossom, who
was picking out his bat.
"Look here, Uncle," he said, "I want you to get first base in some way.
Do you understand?--in some way. If you can't make a hit or get it on
balls, get hit."
Blossom made a wry face.
"Coulter's got speed to burn," he said, "but I'll try to get hit if he
gives me an in, even though it kills me."
"That's what I want," returned Old Put, grimly. "Never mind if it does
kill you. We are after scores, and a life or two is of small
"That's a pleasant way of looking at it," muttered Blossom as he
advanced to the plate. "Here goes nothing!"
The very first ball was an inshoot, and Blossom pretended to dodge and
slip. The ball took him in the side and keeled him over instantly. He
was given a little water, whereupon he got up and trotted down to first,
his hand clinging to his side, but grinning a bit in a sly way.
There was a brief discussion about giving Blossom a runner, but when one
was chosen who could not run as well as he could himself, he suddenly
found himself in condition to get along all right.
Merriwell took his place at the bat, having selected a bat that was a
trifle over regulation length, if anything.
Frank saw a hole in right field, and he hoped to be able to place a hit
right there. If he could do it, there was a chance for Blossom to get
around to third on a single.
Coulter knew nothing of Merriwell's batting, so he was forced to
experiment on the man. He tried a drop that almost hit the plate, but
Frank did not bite. Then Coulter sent over a high one, and still
Merriwell refused to swing, and two balls had been called.
Coulter had a trick of holding a man close on first, and so Blossom had
not obtained lead enough to attempt to steal second.
Frank felt that Coulter would make an attempt to get the next one over
the outside or inside corner of the plate, as it would not do to have
three balls in succession called without a single strike.
Merriwell was right. Coulter sent one over the inside corner, using a
straight ball. Still Merriwell did not offer at it, for he could not
have placed it in the right field if he had tried.
"One strike!" called the umpire.
Although he seemed quite unconcerned, Sport Harris had been nettled when
Rattleton won the ten-dollar bet, and he now said:
"I will go you even money, Rattleton, that Merriwell does not get a
hit. If he goes down on four balls the bet is off."
"I'll stand you," nodded Harry, laughingly. "Why, Harris, I never
dreamed you were such an easy mark! Merriwell is bound to get a hit."
"Ha! ha!" mocked Harris. "Is that so? And he just let a good one pass
without wiggling his bat!"
"It wasn't where he wanted it."
"And Coulter will not give him one where he wants it."
"Coulter doesn't know anything about Merriwell's batting, and so he is
liable to make a break at any moment."
This proved right, for Coulter tried to fool Frank with an outcurve on
the next delivery. He started the ball exactly as he had the one before
it, to all appearances as if he meant to send another straight one over
the inside corner. He believed Merriwell would bite at it, and he was
But right there Coulter received a shock, for Merriwell leaned forward
as he swung, assuming such a position that the ball must have hit him if
it had been a straight one. It had a sharp, wide curve, and passed at
least ten inches beyond the plate.
Passed? Not much! Merriwell hit it, and sent a "daisy cutter" down into
right field, exactly where he wished to place it.
Down on the coach line near first little Danny Griswold had
convulsions. He whooped like a wild Indian.
"Spring, ye snails! Tear up the dust, ye sons of Eli! Two--make it two,
Blos, old boy! Why, this game is easy now! We've just got started!
In going over second Blossom tripped and fell heavily. When he scrambled
to his feet he was somewhat dazed, and it was too late for him to try
for third. He saw Halliday down by third motioning wildly for him to get
back and hold second, but there was such a roar of voices that he could
not hear a word the coachers were saying. However, the signals were
enough, and he got back.
Now the "Sons of Eli" were all on their feet, and they were making the
air quiver. It was enough to inspire any man to do or die, and it is
doubtful if there was not a man on the Yale team who did not feel at
that moment that he was willing to lay down his life, if necessary, to
win that game.
When the shouting had subsided in a measure, Rattleton was heard to
shout from his perch on the shoulders of a companion, to which position
he had shinned in his excitement:
"Right here is where we trick our little do, gentlemen--er--I mean we do
our little trick. Ready to the air of 'Oh, Give Us a Drink, Bartender.'
Let her go!"
Then the Yale crowd broke into an original song, the words of which
"Oh, hammer it out, Old Eli, Old Eli,
As you always have, you know;
For it's sure that we're all behind you, behind you,
And we will cheer you as you go.
We're in the game to stay, my lads, my lads,
We will win it easily, too;
So give three cheers for old 'Umpty-eight--
Three cheers for the boys in blue!
Breka Co ax, Co ax, Co ax!
Breka Co ax, Co ax, Co ax!
Yale! Yale! Yale!
'Rah! 'rah! 'rah!
The enthusiasm which this created was immense, and the next man walked
up to the plate filled with determination. However, Old Put was shrewd
enough to know the man might be too eager, and so he gave the signal for
him to take one anyway.
Coulter was decidedly nervous, as was apparent to everybody, and it
seemed that there was a chance of getting him badly rattled. That was
exactly what the Yale crowd was doing its best to accomplish.
Merriwell crept away from first for a long lead, but it was not easy to
get, as Coulter drove him back with sharp throws each time. Then Blossom
came near being caught napping off second, but was given "safe" on a
Suddenly Coulter delivered, and the batter obeyed Old Put and did not
offer, although it was right over the heart of the plate.
"One strike!" was called.
Now came the time for the attempted double steal that Frank had
suggested. Putnam decided to try it on, and he signaled for it. At the
same time he signaled the batter to make a swing to bother the catcher,
but not to touch the ball.
Frank pretended to cling close to first, but he was watching for
Coulter's slightest preliminary motion in the way of delivery. It came,
and Old Put yelled from the coach line, where he had replaced Griswold:
Frank got a beautiful start, and Blossom made a break for third. If
Blossom had secured a lead equal to Merriwell's he would have made third
easily. As it was, the catcher snapped the ball down with a short-arm
throw, and Blossom was caught by a foot.
Then it was Harvard's turn, and the Cambridge lads made the most of it.
A great roar went up, and the crimson seemed to be fluttering
"Har-vard! Har-vard! Har-vard! 'Rah! 'rah! 'rah! 'Rah! 'rah! 'rah! 'Rah!
'rah! 'rah! Harvard!"
One strike and one ball had been called on the batter, and Merriwell
was on second, with one man out. Yale was still longing vainly for
scores. It began to look as if they would still be held down, and
Coulter was regaining his confidence.
Frank was aware that something sensational must be done to keep Coulter
on the string. He longed for an opportunity to steal third, but knew he
would receive a severe call down from Old Put if he failed. Still he was
ready to try if he found the opportunity.
Frank took all the lead he could secure, going up with the shortstop
every time the second baseman played off to fill the right field gap. He
was so lively on his feet that he could go back ahead of the baseman
every time, and Coulter gave up trying to catch him after two attempts.
Frank took all the ground he could, and seeing the next ball was an
outdrop he legged it for third.
"Slide! slide! slide!" howled the astonished Halliday, who was still on
the coach line at third.
Frank obeyed, and he went over the ground as if he had been greased for
the occasion. He made the steal with safety, having a second to spare.
Rattleton lost his breath yelling, and the entire Yale crowd howled as
one man. The excitement was at fever pitch.
Bob Collingwood was gasping for breath, and he caught hold of Paul
Pierson, shouting in his ear:
"What do you think of that?"
"Think of it?" returned Pierson. "It was a reckless piece of work, and
Merriwell would have got fits if he'd failed."
"But he didn't fail."
"No; that lets him out. He is working to rattle Coulter, but he took
desperate chances. I don't know but it's the only way to win this game."
"Of course it is."
"Merriwell is a wonderful runner. I found that out last fall, when I
made up as Professor Grant and attempted to relieve him of a turkey he
had captured somewhere out in the country. I blocked his road at the
start, but he slugged me with the turk and then skipped. I got after
him, and you know I can run some. Thought I was going to run him down
easily or make him drop the bird; but I didn't do either and he got
away. Oh, he is a sprinter, and it is plain he knows how to steal bases.
I believe he is the best base runner on the freshman team, if he is not
"He is a dandy!" exclaimed Collingwood. "I have thought the fellow was
given too much credit, but I've changed my mind. Pierson, I believe he
is swift enough for the regular team. What do you think of it?"
"I want to see more of his work before I express myself."
Merriwell's steal had indeed rattled Coulter, who became so nervous that
he sent the batter down to first on four balls.
Then, with the first ball delivered to the next man up, the fellow on
first struck out for second.
Merriwell was playing off third, and pretended to make a break for home
as the catcher made a short throw to the shortstop, who ran in behind
Coulter, took the ball and lined it back to the plate.
But Frank had whirled about and returned to third, so the play was
wasted, and the runner reached second safely.
Then there was more Yale enthusiasm, and Coulter was so broken up that
he gave little Danny Griswold a shoulder ball right over the heart of
Griswold "ate" high balls, as the Harvard pitcher very well knew. He did
not fail to make connection with this one, and drove it to deep left for
two bags, bringing in two runs.
THE END OF THE GAME.
Now the New Haven crowd took their turn, and took it in earnest.
Rattleton stood upon the shoulders of a friend, and fell off upon the
heads of the crowd as he was cheering. He didn't mind that, for he kept
right on cheering.
"Merriwell, I believe you have broken the streak!" cried Old Put, with
"Well, I sincerely hope so," returned Frank. "I rather think we are all
right now, but we've got a hard pull ahead of us. Harvard is still five
in the lead, you know."
"If you can hold them down--"
"I am going to do my best."
"If you save this game the boys won't do a thing when we get back to New
Haven--not a thing!"
The next batter flied out to shortstop, and Griswold remained on second.
Now there was suspense, for Yale had two men out. A sudden hush fell on
the field, broken only by the voices of the two coachers.
Coulter had not recovered his nerve, and the next batter got a safe hit
into right field, while Danny Griswold's short legs fairly twinkled as
he scudded down to third and then tore up the dust in a mighty effort to
get home on a single.
Every Yale man was on his feet cheering again, and Danny certainly
covered ground in a remarkable manner. Head first he went for the plate.
The right fielder secured the ball and tried to stop Danny at the plate
by a long throw. The throw was all right, but Griswold was making too
much speed to be caught.
The instant Old Put, who had returned to the coach line, saw that the
fielder meant to throw home, he howled for the batter to keep right on
Griswold scored safely, and the catcher lost little time in throwing to
"Slide!" howled a hundred voices.
The runner obeyed, and he got in under the baseman, who had been forced
to take a high throw.
It is impossible to describe what followed. The most of the Yale
spectators acted as if they had gone crazy, and those in sympathy with
Harvard showed positive alarm.
Two or three men got around the captain of the Harvard team and asked
him to take out Coulter.
"Put in Peck!" they urged. "They've got Coulter going, and he will lose
the game right here if you do not change."
At this the captain got angry and told them to get out. When he got
ready to change he would do it without anybody's advice.
Coulter continued to pitch, and the next batter got first on an error by
"The whole team is going to pieces!" laughed Paul Pierson. "I wouldn't
be surprised to see Old Put's boys pull the game out in this inning, for
all that two men are out."
"If they do so, Merriwell is the man who will deserve the credit," said
Collingwood. "That is dead right."
"Yes, it is right, for he restored confidence and started the work of
"Paul," said the great man of the 'Varsity crew, "that fellow is fast
enough for the regular team."
"You said so before."
"And I say so again."
Now it became evident to everybody that Coulter was in a pitiful state,
for he could not find the plate at all, and the next man went down on
four balls, filling the bases.
But that was not the end of it. The next batter got four balls, and a
score was forced in.
Then it was seen that Peck, Harvard's change pitcher, was warming up,
and it became evident that the captain had decided to put him into the
If the next Yale man had not been altogether too eager to get a hit,
there is no telling when the inning would have stopped. He sent a
high-fly foul straight into the air, and the catcher succeeded in
gathering it in.
The inning closed with quite a change in the score, Harvard having a
lead of but three, where it had been seven in the lead at the end of the
"I am afraid they will get on to Merriwell this time," said Sport
Harris, with a shake of his head.
"Hey!" squealed Rattleton, who was quivering all over. "I'll give you a
chance to even up with me. I'll bet you twenty that Harvard doesn't
"Oh, well, I'll have to stand you, just for fun," murmured Harris as he
extracted a twenty-dollar bill from the roll it was said he always
carried and handed it to Deacon Dunning. "Shove up your dough, Rattle."
Harry covered the money promptly, and then he laughed.
"This cakes the take--I mean takes the cake! I never struck such an easy
way of making money! I say, fellows, we'll open something after the
game, and I'll pay for it with what I win off Harris."
"That will be nice," smiled Harris; "but you may not be loaded with my
money after the game."
The very first batter up, got first on an error by the second baseman
who let an easy one go through him.
"The money is beginning to look my way as soon as this," said Harris.
"It is looking your way to bid you good-by," chuckled Harry, not in the
least disturbed or anxious.
Merriwell had a way of snapping his left foot out of the box for a throw
to first, and it kept the runner hugging the bag all the time.
Frank also had another trick of holding the ball in his hand and
appearing to give his trousers a hitch, upon which he would deliver the
ball when neither runner nor batter was expecting him to do so, and yet
his delivery was perfectly proper.
He struck the next man out, and the batter to follow hit a weak one to
third, who stopped the runner at second.
Two men were out, and still there was a man on first. Now it looked dark
for Harvard that inning, and not a safe hit had been made off Merriwell
The Harvard crowd was getting anxious. Was it possible that Merriwell
would hold them down so they could not score, and Yale would yet pull
out by good work at the bat?
The captain said a few words to the next batter before the man went up
to the plate, and Frank felt sure the fellow had been advised to take
Having made up his mind to this, Frank sent a swift straight one
directly over, and, as he had expected, the batter let it pass, which
caused the umpire to call a strike.
Still keeping the runner hugging first, Frank seemed to start another
ball in exactly the same manner. It was not a straight one, but it was a
very slow drop, as the batter discovered after he had commenced to
swing. Finding he could not recover, the fellow went after the ball with
a scooping movement, and then did not come within several inches of it,
greatly to the delight of the Yale crowd.
"Oh, Merry has every blooming one of them on a string!" cried Rattleton.
"He thon't do a wing to 'em--I mean he won't do a thing to 'em."
The Yale men were singing songs of victory already, and the Harvard
crowd was doing its best to keep up the courage of its team by rooting
It was a most exciting game.
"The hottest game I ever saw played by freshmen," commented Collingwood.
"It is a corker," confessed Pierson. "We weren't looking for anything of
the sort a short time ago."
"I should say not. Up to the time Merriwell went in it looked as if
Harvard had a walkover."
"Gordon feels bad enough about it, that is plain. He is trying to
appear cheerful on the bench, but--"
"He can't stand it any longer; he's leaving."
That was right. Gordon had left the players' bench and was walking away.
He tried to look pleased at the way things were going, but the attempt
was a failure.
"Merriwell is the luckiest fellow alive," he thought. "If I had stayed
in another inning the game might have changed. He is pitching good ball,
but I'm hanged if I can understand why they do not hit him. It looks
Neither could the Harvard lads thoroughly understand it, although there
were some who realized that Merriwell was using his head, as well as
speed and curves. And he did not use speed all the time. He had a fine
change of pace, sandwiching in his slow balls at irregular intervals,
but delivering them with what seemed to be exactly the same motion that
he used on the speedy ones.
The fourth batter up struck out, and again Harvard was retired without a
score, which caused the Yale crowd to cheer so that some of the lads got
almost black in the face.
"Well! well! well!" laughed Rattleton, as Deacon Dunning passed over the
money he had been holding. "This is like chicking perries--I mean
picking cherries. All I have to do is to reach out and take what I
"If the boys will capture the game I'll be perfectly satisfied to lose,"
declared Harris, who did not tell the truth, however, for he was
chagrined, although he showed not a sign of it.
"How can we lose? how can we lose?" chuckled Harry. "Things are coming
our way, as the country editor said when he was rotten-egged by the
It really seemed that Yale was out for the game at last, for they kept
up their work at the bat, although Peck replaced Coulter in the box for
Merriwell had his turn with the first batter up. One man was out, and
there was a man on second. Coulter had warned Peck against giving
Merriwell an outcurve. At the same time, knowing Frank had batted to
right field before, the fielders played over toward right.
"So you are on to that, are you?" thought Frank. "Well, it comes full
easier for me to crack 'em into left field if I am given an inshoot."
Two strikes were called on him before he found anything that suited him.
Harris was on the point of betting Rattleton odds that Merriwell did not
get a hit, when Frank found what he was looking for and sent it sailing
into left. It was not a rainbow, so it did not give the fielder time to
get under it, although he made a sharp run for it.
Then it was that Merriwell seemed to fly around the bases, while the man
ahead of him came in and scored. At first the hit had looked like a
two-bagger, but there seemed to be a chance of making three out of it as
Frank reached second, and the coachers sent him along. He reached third
ahead of the ball, and then the Yale crowd on the bleachers did their
"How do you Harvard chaps like Merriwell's style?" yelled a Yale
enthusiast as the cheering subsided.
Then there was more cheering, and the freshmen of 'Umpty-eight were
The man who followed Frank promptly flied out to first, which quenched
the enthusiasm of the Yale gang somewhat and gave Harvard's admirers an
opportunity to make a noise.
Frank longed to get in his score, which would leave Harvard with a lead
of but one. He felt that he must get home some way.
Danny Griswold came to the bat.
"Get me home some way, Danny," urged Frank.
The little shortstop said not a word, but there was determination in his
eyes. He grasped his stick firmly and prayed for one of his favorite
But Peck kept them low on Danny, who took a strike, and then was pulled
on a bad one.
With two strikes on him and only one ball, the case looked desperate
for Danny. Still he did not lose his nerve. He did not think he could
not hit the ball, but he made himself believe that he was bound to hit
it. To himself he kept saying:
"I'll meet it next time--I'll meet it sure."
He knew the folly of trying to kill the ball in such a case, and so when
he did swing, his only attempt was to meet it squarely. In this he
succeeded, and he sent it over the second baseman's head, but it fell
short of the fielder.
Merriwell came home while Griswold was going down to first.
And now it needed but one score for Yale to tie Harvard.
The man who followed Griswold dashed all their hopes by hitting a weak
one to short and forcing Danny out at second.
Harvard cheered their men as they came in from the field.
"We must make some scores this time, boys," said the Harvard captain. "A
margin of one will never do, with those fellows hitting anything and
"That's exactly what they are doing," said Peck. "They are getting hits
off balls they have no business to strike at."
"Oh, you are having your troubles," grinned a friend.
"Any one is bound to have when batters are picking them off the clouds
or out of the dirt. It doesn't make much difference where they are."
"This man Merriwell can't hold us down as he has done," asserted
Dickson, Harvard's first baseman.
"I don't know; he is pretty cagey," admitted Nort Gibson.
"I believe he is the best pitcher we'll strike this season," said
"Here, here, you fellows!" broke in the captain. "You are getting
down-hearted, and that won't do. We've got this game and we are going to
hold it; but we want to go in to clinch it right here."
They didn't do much clinching, for although the first man up hit the
ball, he got to first on an error by the third baseman, who fumbled in
trying to pick it up.
Blossom was the third baseman, and he was confused by his awkwardness,
expecting to get a call down.
"Steady, Blos, old boy!" said Frank, gently. "You are all right. The
best of us do those things occasionally. It is nothing at all."
These words relieved Blossom's feelings and made him vow that he would
not let another ball play chase around his feet.
Frank struck the next man out, and held the runner on first while he was
doing it. The third man sent an easy pop-fly to Blossom, who got hold of
it and clung to it for dear life.
Then the runner got second on a passed ball, but he advanced no farther,
for the following batter rolled a weak one down to Frank, who gathered
it in and threw the man out at first.
In three innings not a safe hit had been made off Merriwell, and he had
struck out five men. No wonder his admirers cheered him wildly as he
went to the bench.
Yale started in to make some scores. The very first man up got a hit and
stole second. The next man went to the bat with the determination to
slug the ball, but Old Put signaled for a sacrifice, as the man was a
good bunt hitter.
The sacrifice was tried, and it worked, for the man on second got third,
although the batter was thrown out at first.
"Now we need a hit!" cried Put. "It takes one to tie and two to win. A
hit ties the game."
Rattleton offered to bet Harris two to one that Yale would win, but
Sport declined the offer.
"It's our game fast enough," he said. "You are welcome to what you have
won off me. I am satisfied."
But the game was not won. Amid the most intense excitement the next man
Then Peck seemed to gather himself to save the game for Harvard. He got
some queer quirks into his delivery, and, almost before the Yale crowd
could realize it, two strikes were called on the batter.
The Yale rooters tried to rattle Peck, but they succeeded in rattling
the batter instead, and, to their unutterable dismay and horror, he
fanned at a third one, missed it, and--
"Batter is out!" cried the umpire.
Then a great roar for Harvard went up, and the dazed freshmen from New
Haven realized they were defeated after all.
RATTLETON IS EXCITED.
"It wasn't Merriwell's fault that the freshies didn't win," said Bob
Collingwood to Paul Pierson as they were riding back to New Haven on the
train that night.
"Not a bit of it," agreed Pierson. "I was expecting a great deal of
Merriwell, but I believe he is a better man than I thought he could be."
"Then you have arrived at the conclusion that he is fast enough for the
"I rather think he is."
"Will you give him a trial?"
"We may. It is a bad thing for any freshman to get an exalted opinion of
himself and his abilities, for it is likely to spoil him. I don't want
to spoil Merriwell--"
"Look here," interrupted Collingwood, impulsively. "I am inclined to
doubt if it is an easy thing to spoil that fellow. He hasn't put on airs
since coming to Yale, has he?"
"Instead of that, he has lived rather simply--far more so than most
fellows would if they could afford anything better. He has made friends
with everybody who appeared to be white, no matter whether their parents
possessed boodle or were poor."
"That is one secret of Merriwell's popularity. He hasn't shown signs of
thinking himself too good to be living."
"Yet I have it straight that he has a fortune in his own right, and he
may live as swell as he likes while he is here. What do you think of
"It may be true," admitted Pierson. "He is an original sort of chap--"
"But they say there isn't anything small or mean about him," put in
Collingwood, swiftly. "He isn't living cheap for economy's sake. You
know he doesn't drink."
"Yes. I have made inquiries about his habits."
"Still they say he opens wine for his friends now and then, drinking
ginger ale, or something of that sort, while they are surrounding fizz,
for which he settles. And he is liberal in other ways."
"He is an enigma in some ways."
"I have heard a wild sort of story about him, but I don't take much
stock in it. It is the invention of some fertile brain."
"What is it?"
"Oh, a lot of trash about his having traveled all over the world, been
captured by pirates and cannibals, fought gorillas and tigers, shot
elephants and so forth. Of course that's all rot."
"Of course. What does he say about it?"
"Oh, he simply laughs at the stories. If a fellow asks him point-blank
if they are true he tells him not to let anybody string him. He seems to
regard the whole business as a weak sort of joke that some fellow is
trying to work."
"Without doubt that's what it is, for he's too young to have had such
adventures. Besides that, there's no fellow modest enough to deny it if
he had had them."
"Of course there isn't."
In this way that point was settled in their minds, for the time, at
There was no band to welcome 'Umpty-eight back to New Haven. No crowd of
cheering freshmen was at the station, and those who had gone on to
Cambridge to play and to see the game got off quietly--very quietly--and
hurried to their rooms.
Merriwell was in his room ahead of Rattleton. Harry finally appeared,
wearing a sad and doleful countenance.
"What's the matter, old man?" asked Frank as Harry came in and flung his
hat on the floor, after which he dropped upon a chair. "You do not seem
to feel well."
"I should think you would eel felegant--I mean feel elegant!" snapped
Harry, glaring at Frank.
"Oh, what's the use to be all broken up over a little thing?"
"Wow! Little thing!" whooped Harry. "I'd like to know what you call a
little thing--I would, by jee!"
"You are excited, my boy. Calm down somewhat."
"Oh, I am calm!" shouted Harry as he jumped up and kicked the chair
flying into a corner. "I am perfectly calm!" he roared, tearing up and
down the room. "I never was calmer in all my life!"
"You look it!" came in an amused manner from Frank's lips. "You are so
very calm that it is absolutely soothing and restful to the nerves to
Harry stopped short before Frank, thrust his hands deep into his
pockets, hunched his shoulders, thrust his head forward, and glared
fiercely into Merriwell's face.
"There are times when it positively is a crime not to swear," he
hoarsely said. "It seems to me that this is one of the times. If you
will cuss a little it will relieve my feelings immensely."
"Why don't you swear?" laughed Frank.
"Why don't I? Poly hoker--no, holy poker! I have been swearing all the
way from Cambridge to New Haven, and I have completely run out of
"Well, I think you have done enough for both of us."
"Oh, indeed! Well, that is hard of me! I came in here expecting to find
you breaking the furniture, and you are as calm and serene as a summer's
morning. I tell you, Frank, it is an awful shock! And you are the one
who should do the most swearing. I can't understand you, hanged if I
"Well, you know there is an old saw that says it is useless to cry over
"Confound your old saws! Crying and swearing are two different things.
Don't you ever cuss, Frank?"
"Well, I'd like to know how you can help it on an occasion like this!
That is what gets me."
"Never having acquired the habit, it is very easy to get along without
swearing, which is, beyond a doubt, the most foolish habit a man can get
Rattleton held up both hands, with a look of absolute horror on his
"Don't--don't preach now!" he protested. "I think the habit of swearing
is a blessing sometimes--an absolute blessing. A man can relieve his
feelings that way when he can't any other."
"You don't seem to have succeeded in relieving your feelings much."
"I don't? Well, you should have seen me when I got aboard the train! I
was at high pressure, and there was absolute danger of an explosion. I
just had to open the safety valve and blow off. And I find you as calm
as a clock! Oh, Frank, it is too much--too much!" and Harry pretended to
"Go it, old man," he smiled. "You will feel better pretty soon."
"I don't know whether I will or not!" snapped Harry. "It was a sheastly
bame--I mean a beastly shame! That game was ours!"
"Not quite. It came very near being ours."
"It was! Why, you actually had it pulled out! You held those fellows
down and never gave them a single safe hit! That was wonderful work!"
"Oh, I don't know. They are not such great batters."
"Gordon found them pretty fast. I tell you some of those fellows are
batters--good ones, too."
"Well, they didn't happen to get onto my delivery."
"Happen! happen! happen! There was no happen about it. They couldn't get
onto you. You had them at your mercy. It was wonderful pitching, and I
can lick the gun of a son--er--son of a gun that says it wasn't!"
"I had a chance to size every man up while Gordon was pitching, and that
gave me the advantage."
"That makes me tired! Of course you had time to size them up; but you
couldn't have kept them without a hit if you hadn't been a dandy
pitcher. Your modesty is simply sickening sometimes!"
Then Harry pranced up and down the room like am infuriated tiger, almost
gnashing his teeth and foaming at the mouth.
"If I didn't think I could pitch some I wouldn't try it." said Frank,
quietly. "But I am not fool enough to think I am the only one. There are
"Well, they are not freshmen, and I'll tell you that."
"I don't know about that."
"All right. Have it as you like it."
"And you batted like a fiend. Twice at bat and two hits--a two-bagger
and a three-bagger."
"A single and a three-bagger, if you please."
"Well, what's the matter with that? Whee jiz--mean jee whiz! Could
anybody ask for anything more? You got the three-bagger just when it was
needed most, and you would have saved the game if you had come to the
bat in the last inning."
"You think so, but it is all guesswork. I might have struck out."
"You might, but you wouldn't. Oh, merry thunder! To think that a little
single would have tied that game, and we couldn't get it! It actually
makes me ill at the pit of my stomach!"
The expression on Harry's face seemed to indicate that he told the
truth, for he certainly looked ill.
"Don't take it to heart so, my boy," said Frank. "The poor chaps earned
that game, and they ought to have it. We'll win the last one of the
series, and that's all we want. Do you want to bury poor old Harvard?"
"You can't bury her so deep that she won't crawl out, and you know that.
Those fellows are decidedly soon up at Cambridge, and Yale does well to
get all she can from them. You can't tell what will happen next game.
They have seen you, and they may have a surprise to spring on us. If we
pulled this game off the whole thing would be settled now."
"Don't think for a moment that I underestimate Harvard. She is Yale's
greatest rival and is bound to do us when she can.
"We made a good bid for the game to-day, but it wasn't our luck to win,
and so we may as well swallow our medicine and keep still."
"It wasn't a case of luck at all," spluttered Harry. "It was sheer
bull-headedness, that's what it was! If Put had put you in long before
he did the game might have been saved."
"He didn't like to pull Gordon out, you see."
"Well, if he's running this team on sentiment, the sooner he quits the
better it will be for the team."
Frank said nothing, but he could not help feeling that Harry was right.
Managing a ball team is purely a matter of business, and if a manager is
afraid to hurt anybody's feelings he is a poor man for the position.
"Why didn't he put you in in the first place?" asked Harry.
"I don't know. I suppose he had reasons."
"Oh, yes, he had reasons! And I rather think I know what they were. I am
sure I do."
"What were they?"
"Didn't you expect to pitch the game from the start to-day?"
"Yes, I did."
"I thought so."
Harry nodded, as if fully satisfied that he understood the whole matter.
"Well," said Frank, a bit sharply, "you have not explained yourself. I
am curious to know why I was not put into the box at the start."
"Well, I am glad to see you show some emotion, if it is nothing more
than curiosity. I had begun to think you would not show as much as
"Naturally I am curious."
"Do you know that Paul Pierson, manager of the 'Varsity team, went on to
see this game?"
"Why do you suppose he did so?"
"Oh, he is acquainted with several Harvard fellows, and I presume he
went to see them as much as to see the game."
"He wasn't with any Harvard fellows at the game."
"Well, what are you trying to get at?"
"Don't be in a hurry," said Harry, who was now speaking with unusual
calmness. "You regard Old Put as your friend?"
"I always have."
"But you think he didn't use you just right to-day?"
"I will confess that I don't like to be used to fall back on with the
hope that I may pull out a game somebody else has lost."
Harry nodded his satisfaction.
"I knew you would feel that way, unless you had suddenly grown foolish.
It's natural and it's right. There is no reason why you shouldn't be the
regular pitcher for our team, but still Gordon is regarded as the
pitcher, while you are the change pitcher. Frank, there is a nigger in
"You will have to make yourself clearer than that."
"Putnam knew that Pierson was going to be present at the game."
"Pierson didn't go on to see any Harvard friends. He couldn't afford the
time just at this season with all he has on his hands."
"Putnam knew Pierson was not there to see any Harvard men."
"Oh, take your time."
Harry grinned. He was speaking with such deliberation that he did not
once twist his words or expressions about, as he often did when excited
and in a hurry.
"That's why you wasn't put in at the start-off," he declared.
"What is why? You will have to make the whole matter plainer than you
have so far. It is hazy."
"Putnam did not want Pierson to see you pitch."
"He didn't? Why not?"
"Because Pierson was there for that very purpose."
"I know what I am talking about. You have kept still about it, but
Pierson himself has let the cat out of the bag."
"He has told--confidentially, you know--that he has thoughts of giving
you a trial on the regular team. The parties he told repeated
it--confidentially, you know--to others. It finally came to my ears. Old
Put heard of it. Now, while Old Put seems to be your friend, he doesn't
want to lose you, and he had taken every precaution to keep you in the
background. He has made Gordon more prominent, and he has not let you
do much pitching for Pierson to see. He permitted you to go in to-day
because he was afraid Gordon would go all to pieces, and he knew what a
howl would go up if he didn't do something."
Frank walked up and down the room. He did not permit himself to show any
great amount of excitement, but there was a dark look on his handsome
face that told he was aroused. Harry saw that his roommate was stirred
up at last.
"As I have said," observed Frank, halting and speaking grimly. "I have
regarded Burnham Putnam as my friend; but if he has done as you claim
for the reasons you give he has not shown himself to be very friendly.
There is likely to be an understanding between us."
"That's right," he said. "He may deny it, but I know I am not off my
trolley. He didn't want Piersan to see you work because he was afraid
you would show up so well that Pierson would nail you for the regular
"And you think that is why I have been kept in the background so much
since the season opened?"
"I am dead sure of it."
"Putnam must have a grudge against me."
"No, Frank; but he has displayed selfishness in the matter. I believe
he has considered you a better man than Gordon all along, and he wanted
you on the team to use in case he got into a tight corner. That's why he
didn't want Pierson to see you work. He didn't want to lose you. But he
was forced to use you to-day, and you must have satisfied Pierson that
you know your business."
"Well, Harry, you have thrown light on dark places. To-morrow I will
have a little talk with Put about this matter."
"That's right," grinned Harry; "and Pierson is liable to have a little
talk with you. You'll be on the regular team inside of a week."
WHAT DITSON WANTED.
On the following day the great topic of conversation for the class of
'Umpty-eight was the recent ball game. Wherever the freshmen gathered
they discussed the game and the work of Gordon and Merriwell.
Gordon was a free-and-easy sort of fellow, and he had his friends and
admirers, some of whom were set in their belief that he was far superior
to Merriwell as a pitcher.
Roland Ditson attempted to argue on two or three occasions in favor of
Gordon, but nobody paid attention to what he said, for it was known that
he had tried by every possible means to injure Merriwell and had been
exposed in a contemptible piece of treachery, so that no one cared to be
known as his friend and associate.
Whenever Ditson would approach a group of lads and try to get in a few
words he would be listened to in stony silence for some moments, and
then the entire crowd would turn and walk away, without replying to his
remarks or speaking to him at all.
This would have driven a fellow less sensitive than Ditson to abandon
all hope of going through Yale. Of course it cut Ditson, but he would
grind his teeth and mutter:
"Merriwell is to blame for it all, curse him! I won't let him triumph!
The time will come when I'll get square with him! I'll have to stay here
in order to get square, and stay here I will, no matter how I am
Since his duplicity had been made known and his classmates had turned
against him Ditson had taken to grinding in a fierce manner, and as a
result he had made good progress in his studies. He was determined to
stand ahead of Merriwell in that line, at least, and it really seemed
that he might succeed, unless Frank gave more time to his studies and
less to athletics.
This was not easy for a fellow in Merriwell's position and with his
ardent love for all sorts of manly sports to do. He gave all the time he
could to studies without becoming a greasy grind, but that was not as
much as he would have liked.
To Ditson's disappointment and chagrin Merriwell seemed quite unaware
that his enemy stood ahead of him in his classes. Frank seemed to have
quite forgotten that such a person as Roll Ditson existed.
Ditson was an outcast. The fellow with whom he had roomed had left him
shortly after his treachery was made public, and he was forced to room
alone, as he could get no one to come in with him.
Roll did not mind this so much, however. He pretended that he was far
more exclusive than the average freshman, and he tried to imitate the
ways of the juniors and seniors, some of whom had swell apartments.
Ditson's parents were wealthy, and they furnished him with plenty of
loose change, so that he could cut quite a dash. He had fancied that his
money would buy plenty of friends for him. At first, before his real
character was known, he had picked up quite a following, but he posed as
a superior, which made him disliked by the very ones who helped him
spend his money.
He had hoped to be a leader at Yale, but, to his dismay, he found that
he did not cut much of a figure after all, and Frank Merriwell, a fellow
who never drank or smoked, was far more popular. Then it was that Ditson
conceived a plot to bring Merriwell into ridicule and at the same time
to get in with the enemies of the freshmen--the sophomores--himself.
At last he had learned that at Yale a man is not judged so much by the
money he spends and the wealth of his parents as by his own manly
But Ditson was a sneak by nature, and he could not get over it. If he
started out to accomplish anything in a square way, he was likely to
fancy that it could be done with less trouble in a crooked manner, and
his natural instinct would switch him off from the course he should have
He was not at all fond of Walter Gordon, but he liked him better than he
did Merriwell, and it was gall and wormwood for him when he heard how
Merriwell had replaced Gordon in the box at Cambridge and had pitched a
marvelous game for three innings.
"Oh, it's just that fellow's luck!" Roll muttered to himself. "He seems
to be lucky in everything he does. The next thing I'll hear is that he
is going to pitch on the 'Varsity team."
He little thought that this was true, but it proved to be. That very day
he heard some sophomores talking on the campus, and he lingered near
enough to catch their words.
"Is it actually true, Parker, that Pierson has publicly stated that
Merriwell is fast enough for the Varsity nine?" asked Tad Horner.
"That's what it is," nodded Puss Parker, "and I don't know but Pierson
is right. I am inclined to think so."
"Rot!" exclaimed Evan Hartwick, sharply. "I don't take stock in anything
of the sort. Merriwell may make a pitcher some day, but he is raw. Why,
he would get his eye batted out if he were to go up against Harvard on
the regular team."
"Oh, I don't know about that," said Andy Emery. "He is pretty smooth
people. Is there anybody knows Pierson made such an observation
"Yes, there is," answered Parker.
"Who knows it?"
"Did you hear him?"
"That settles it."
"Yes, that settles it!" grated Roland Ditson as he walked away. "Parker
didn't lie, and Pierson has intimated that Merriwell may be given a
trial on the Varsity nine. If he is given a trial it will be his luck to
succeed. He must not be given a trial. How can that be prevented?"
Then Ditson set himself to devise some scheme to prevent Frank from
obtaining a trial on the regular nine. It was not an easy thing to think
of a plan that would not involve himself in some way, and he felt that
it must never be known that he had anything to do with such a plot.
That night Ditson might have been seen entering a certain saloon in New
Haven, calling one of the barkeepers aside, and holding a brief
whispered conversation with him.
"Is Professor Kelley in?" asked Roll.
"He is, sir," replied the barkeeper. "Do you wish to see him?"
"Well--ahem!--yes, if he is alone."
"I think he is alone. I do not think any of his pupils are with him at
"Will you be kind enough to see?" asked Ditson. "This is a personal
matter--something I want kept quiet."
The barkeeper disappeared into a back room, was gone a few minutes, and
then returned and said:
"The professor is quite alone. Will you go up, sir?"
"Y-e-s," said Roll, glancing around, and then motioning for the
barkeeper to lead the way.
He was taken into a back room and shown a flight of stairs.
"Knock at the door at the head of the flight," instructed the barkeeper,
and after giving the man some money Ditson went up the stairs.
"Come in!" called a harsh voice when he knocked at the door.
Ditson found Kelley sitting with his feet on a table, while he smoked a
strong-smelling cigar. There were illustrated sporting papers on the
table, crumpled and ragged.
"Well, young feller, watcher want?" demanded the man, withont removing
his feet from the table or his hat from his head.
Ditson closed the door. He was very pale and somewhat agitated.
"Are we all alone?" he asked, choking a bit over the question.
"Dat's wot we are," nodded the professor.
"Is it a sure thing that our conversation cannot be overheard?"
Ditson hesitated. He seemed to find it difficult to express himself just
as he desired.
"Speak right out, chummy," said Kelley in a manner intended to be
reassuring. "I rudder t'inks yer wants ter lick some cove, an' yer've
come ter me ter put yer in shape ter do der job. Well, you bet yer dough
I'm der man ter do dat. How many lessons will yer have?"
"It is not that at all," declared Roll.
"Not dat?" cried Kelley in surprise. "Den wot do youse want?"
"Well, you see, it is like this--er, like this," faltered Roland.
"I--I've got an enemy."
"Well, ain't dat wot I said?"
"But I don't want to fight him."
"Oh, I sees! Yer wants some odder chap ter do de trick?"
"Yes, that is it. But I want them to more than lick him."
"More dan lick him? W'y, yer don't want him killed, does yer?"
"No," answered Ditson, hoarsely; "but I want his right arm broken."
Down came Buster Kelley's feet from the table, upon which his knuckles
fell, and then he arose from the chair, standing in a crouching
position, with his hands resting on the table, across which he glared at
"Hey?" he squawked. "Just say dat ag'in, cully."
Roll was startled, and looked as if he longed to take to his heels and
get away as quickly as possible; but he did not run, and he forced
himself to say:
"This is a case of business, professor. I will pay liberally to have the
job done as I want it."
"An' youse wants a bloke's arm bruck?"
"Well, dis is a quare deal! If yer wanted his head bruck it wouldn't
s'prise me; but ter want his arm bruck--jee!"
"I don't care if he gets a rap on the head at the same time, but I don't
want him killed. I want his right arm broken, and that is the job I am
ready to pay for."
Kelley straightened up somewhat, placed one hand on his hip, while the
other rested on the table, crossed his legs, and regarded Ditson
steadily with a stare that made Roll very nervous.
"I might 'a' knowed yer didn't want ter fight him yerself," the
professor finally said, and Ditson did not fail to detect the contempt
in his face and voice.
"No, I do not," declared Ditson, an angry flush coming to his face. "He
is a scrapper, and I do not think I am his match in a brutal fight."
"Brutal is good! An' yer wants his arm bruck? Don't propose to give him
no show at all, eh?"
"I don't care a continental what is done so long as he is fixed as I
"I s'pose ye're one of them stujent fellers?"
"Yes, I am a student."
"An' t'other feller is a stujent?"
"Dem fellers is easy."
"Then you will do the job for me, will you?"
"Naw!" snorted Kelley. "Not on yer nacheral! Wot d'yer take me fer? I
don't do notting of dat kind. I've got a repertation to sustain, I has."
Ditson looked disappointed.
"I am willing to pay well to have the job done," he sad.
"Well, yer can find somebody ter do it fer yer."
"But I don't know where to find anybody, professor."
Kelley sat down, relighted his cigar, restored his feet to the table,
picked up a paper, seemed about to resume reading, and then observed:
"Dis is no infermation bureau, but I s'pose I might put yer onter a cove
dat'd do der trick fer yer if yuse come down heavy wid der stuff."
"If you will I shall be ever so much obliged."
"Much erbliged don't but no whiskey. Money talks, me boy."
Ditson reached into his pocket and produced some money.
"I will give you five dollars to tell me of a man who will do the job
for me," he said, pulling a five-dollar bill from the roll.
"Make it ten an' I goes yer," said Kelley, promptly.
"Done. Here is your money."
Ditson handed it over.
"I'd oughter made it twenty," grumbled the pugilist. "Dis business is
outer my line entirely, an' I don't want ter be mixed up in it at
all--see? I has a repertation ter sustain, an' it wouldn't do fer nobody
ter know I ever hed anyt'ing ter do wid such a job as dis."
"There is no danger that anybody will ever know it," declared Ditson,
impatiently. "I will not say anything about it."
"Well, yer wants ter see dat yer don't. If yer do, I'll hunt yer up
meself, an' I won't do a t'ing ter youse--not a t'ing!"
"Save your threats and come to business. I am impatient to get away, as
I do not care to be seen here by anybody who may drop in."
"Don't care ter be seen here! I like dat--nit! Better men dan youse has
been here, an' don't yer fergit dat!"
"Oh, I don't care who has been here! You have the money. Now tell me
where I can find the man I want."
"D'yer know Plug Kirby?"
"Well, he is der feller yer wants."
"Where can I find him?"
"I'll give yer his address."
Kelley took a stub of a pencil out of his vest pocket and wrote with
great labor on the margin of one of the papers. This writing he tore off
and handed to Ditson. Then, without another word, he once more restored
his feet to the top of the table and resumed reading as if there was no
one in the room.
Ditson went out without a word. When he was gone Kelley looked over the
top of the paper toward the door and growled:
"Dat feller's no good! If he'd wanted ter fit der odder feller hisself
I'd tole him how ter bruck der odder chap's wrist, but he ain't got der
sand ter fight a baby. He makes me sad! I'd like ter t'ump him a soaker
on de jaw meself."
That evening Frank went out to call on some friends. He was returning to
his rooms between ten and eleven, when, as he came to a dark corner, a
man suddenly stepped out and said:
"Give us a light, young feller."
"I have none," said Frank, attempting to pass.
"Den give us a match," demanded the man, blocking the road.
"As I do not smoke I never carry matches."
"Well, den, I s'pose I'll have ter go wit'out er light, but--you'll take
Like a flash the man struck straight and hard at the youth's face. It
was a wicked blow, delivered with marvelous swiftness, and must have
knocked Frank down if it had landed.
But Merriwell had suspected all along that it was not a light the man
was after, and he had been on the watch for just such a move as was
made. For all of the man's swiftness Frank dodged, and the blow passed
over his shoulder.
When Frank ducked he also struck out with his left, which he planted in
the pit of the assailant's stomach.
It was a heavy blow, and for a moment it rounded the man up. Before the
ruffian could recover he received a thump under the ear that made him
see stars and sent him sprawling.