Part 6 out of 6
But the man had a hard head, and he hastily got upon his feet, uttering
fierce words. He expected to see the youth in full flight, and was
astonished to perceive that Frank had not taken to his heels.
With a snarl of fury the wretch rushed at Merriwell.
Frank dodged again and came up under the man's arm, giving him another
heavy blow. Then the man turned, and they sparred for a moment.
"Durned if youse ain't der liveliest kid I ever seen!" muttered the
astonished ruffian. "Youse kin fight!"
"Well, I can fight enough to take care of myself," returned the lad,
with something like a laugh.
Smack! smack! smash! Three blows in rapid succession caused the ruffian
to reel and gasp. Then for a few moments the fight was savage and swift.
It did not last long. The ruffian had been drinking, and Frank soon had
the best of it. He ended the encounter by striking the man a regular
knockout blow, and the fellow went down in a heap.
When the ruffian recovered he was astonished to find Frank had not
departed, but was bending over him.
"How do you feel?" the boy calmly inquired.
"Say, I'm all broke up!" was the feeble reply. "Are youse der feller
wot done me?"
"I presume I am."
"Well, wot yer waitin' fer?"
"To see how badly you are hurt. Your head struck the stones with
frightful force when you fell."
"Did it? Well, it feels dat way! Here's a lump as big as yer fist. But
wot d'youse care?"
"I didn't know but your skull was fractured."
"Wot difference did dat make?"
"I didn't want you to remain here and suffer with a broken head."
"Didn't, eh? An' I tried ter do ye up widout givin' yer any warnin'! Dis
is der quarest deal I ever struck! I was tryin' ter knock yer stiff an'
den break year arm."
"Break my arm?"
"Dat's wot I was here fer."
Frank was interested.
"Then you were here on purpose to meet me?"
"But why were you going to break my arm?"
"'Cause dat's wot I was paid fer, me boy."
Frank caught hold of the ruffian, who had arisen to a sitting posture
and was holding onto his head.
"Paid for?" cried the boy, excitedly. "Do you mean to tell me that you
were paid to waylay me and break my arm?"
"I didn't mean ter tell yer anyt'ing, but a feller wot kin fight like
you kin an' den stay ter see if a chap wot tried ter do him was
hurt--dat kind of a feller oughter be told."
"Then tell me--tell me all about it," urged Merriwell.
"Dere ain't much ter tell. Some sneak wanted yer arm broke, an' he came
ter me ter do der job. He paid me twenty ter lay fer youse an' fix yer.
I was hard up an' I took der job, dough I didn't like it much. Den he
put me onter yer, an' I follored yer ter der house where youse went dis
evenin'. I watched till yer comes out, and den I skips roun' ter head
yer off yere. I heads yer an' asks fer a light. Youse knows der rest
better dan wot I does."
"Well, this is decidedly interesting! So I have an enemy who wants my
"Yes, yer right arm."
"That would fix me so I'd never pitch any more."
"Dat's wot's likely, if ye're a pitcher."
"Would you know the person who hired you if you were to see him again?"
"Did he give you his name?"
"Dat's wot he did."
"Ha! That's what I want! See here! Tell me his name, or by the gods of
war I will see that you are arrested and shoved for this night's work!"
"An' you will let me off if I tells?"
"I swear it!"
"You won't make a complaint agin' me?"
"I will not."
"Well, den, yere's his card wot he give me.'"
The ruffian fumbled in his pocket and took out a card, which he passed
to Frank, who eagerly grasped it.
"Here's a match, me boy," said the man. "I had a pocketful w'en I braced
yer for one."
He passed a match to Frank, who hastily struck it on a stone and then
held it so that he could read the name that was engraved on the card in
A cry of astonishment broke from Merriwell's lips, and both card and
match fell from his fingers to the ground.
This is the name he had read upon the card:
"Mr. Burnham Putnam."
DITSON IS TRAPPED.
"It don't make a dit of bifference, Frank!" spluttered Harry Rattleton.
"I don't care if you have got his card! That thug lied like blazes!
Putnam may be selfish--he may have other faults, but he never hired
anybody to break your arm."
"I cannot think he would do such a thing myself," said Frank; "but this
Plug Kirby, as he is called, seemed honest and in earnest. He stands
ready to identify the fellow at any time."
"Then why not settle it by bringing him before Putnam this very
afternoon? That's the way to mix the fatter--I mean fix the matter."
"It is a good idea, Harry, and we will have to carry it out. I'll need
"You shall have it, old man."
So Frank and Harry arranged to bring Putnam and his accuser together
that afternoon, it being the day after the assault on Merriwell. Frank
was to look out for Kirby while Harry brought Putnam along to the saloon
over which Buster Kelley had rooms.
Frank and Kirby were there in advance, and they sat down in a corner,
where they were not likely to be observed by anybody who entered.
Kirby's face was cut and scarred where he had felt Frank's hard fists,
and the tough looked on the cool lad with genuine respect and
"I wants yer ter understan' dat I'd never gone inter dat game if I
hadn't been hard up an' in a bad way," he said, trying to apologize for
himself. "T'ings have been runnin' agin' me, an' I've been on de rocks
fer a long time, an' I didn't know how I was ter make a haul any easier
dan by breakin' a kid's arm. It warn't no killin' matter nohow, an' so I
took der job. I never s'pected I was ter run up agin' anyt'ing like wot
you are. If I had, why, wild hosses wouldn't get me ter tried it."
"My enemy knew enough not to meet me himself."
"Dat's right, an' now I want ter git square wid him fer steerin' me up
agin' anyt'ing of der sort. Wot yer goin' ter do wid him--break his
"I have not decided what I shall do, but I shall not lay a hand on him."
"Well, I would if I was in your place. I'd t'ump der everlastin'
stuffin' outer der bloke--dat's wot!"
"If it is the man whose name is on the card that was given you I shall
be sorry for him, for I have always believed him to be a white man."
"An' yer'll be sorry?"
"Well, ye're der funniest cove wot I ever saw. Arter ye hed knocked der
wind outer me, ye stayed eround ter see dat I wasn't hurt too bad, w'en
anybody else would 'a' kicked me inter der gutter an' left me. An' now
youse say dat you'll be sorry fer der feller wot hired me ter do yer!
I'd like ter know jes' how ye're put up."
"I can't help being sorry to know that a fellow I have considered white
and a friend is crooked and an enemy, if it is to prove that way."
"Say, young feller, I likes you, durn me ef I don't! If you ever has
anyt'ing ye wants done, jes' come ter me, an' I'll do it if I kin, an' I
won't charge yer nottin'."
"Thank you," smiled Frank; "but I do not fancy I shall have anything in
your line. While we are talking, though, let me give you some advice.
Turn over a new leaf and try to be on the level. You will find it the
best policy in the long run."
"I t'ink ye're right, an' I'm goin' ter try ter do it. I allus did hate
ter work, but if I kin git any kind of a job I'm goin' ter try it once
more. I don't know w'y it is, but jes' bein' wid youse makes me want ter
do der square t'ing."
Frank might well have felt pleased that he exercised such an influence
over a man like Plug Kirby.
The door opened and Rattleton came into the saloon, followed by Old Put
and Dismal Jones.
"Come on, Kirby," said Frank, quietly. "Here is the man we are waiting
Putnam had halted near the bar, a puzzled look on his face, and Frank
heard him say to Harry:
"What in the world did you drag me in here for, old man? You know I am
not drinking anything now, and--"
"As I told you," interrupted Harry, grimly, "I brought you in to see a
man. Here he is."
Frank and the rough had come up behind Putnam, who now turned, and, with
still greater astonishment, cried:
"What--Merriwell? What in the world are you doing in this place?"
"Permit me to introduce you to Mr. Plug Kirby--Mr. Burnham Putnam. Have
you ever met the man before."
Old Put drew back, staring at the ruffian in astonishment.
"What in blazes is this?" he gasped. "Is it a joke?"
"No joke," returned Frank, sternly. "It is a matter of business. Mr.
Kirby, have you ever met Mr. Putnam before?"
"Naw!" cried the man. "Dis ain't der cove wot come ter me ter do der
job. Dis is anodder feller."
"You are sure?" demanded Frank, with an expression of positive relief.
"His name was on the card you gave me."
"I don't care if it was, dis ain't der feller wot give der card ter me,
not by a great big lot."
"Well, I am glad of that!" cried Frank, and he grasped Putnam's hand.
"It is a great relief."
"Didn't I tell you!" almost shouted Harry.
"Well, now, I want to know what all this is about," said Old Put, who
was greatly puzzled. "I am all at sea."
Without hesitation Frank explained how a person had hired Plug Kirby to
break his arm and what the result had been; how the person who made the
bargain had given a card on which Putnam's name was engraved. Frank took
the card from his pocket and Putnam said it was one of his regular
"Some fellow has been working on my name in order to hide his own
identity!" cried Put, who was greatly angered. "Oh, I'd like to get hold
of the skunk!"
At this moment the door which led to the back room opened, and Roland
Ditson, who had again visited Buster Kelley, came into the saloon. He
started back when he saw the little group of students, but Plug Kirby
saw his face and hoarsely exclaimed:
"Dere's der mug now! Dat's der feller wot hired me an' give me der card!
I'll swear ter dat!"
Seeing there was no way out of it, Roll came forward. He was rather
pale, but he succeeded in putting on a front.
"Hello, fellows!" he cried. "What are you doing in here?"
Merriwell had him by the collar in a twinkling.
"Looking for you," he said, "and we have found you! So you are the chap
who hired this man to break my arm in order to fix me so I couldn't
pitch any more! Well, I declare I didn't think anything quite as low as
that even of you!"
Ditson protested his innocence. He even called Kirby a liar, and Frank
was forced to keep the ruffian from hammering him. He swore it was some
kind of a plot to injure him, and he called on the boys to know if they
would take the word of a wretch like Kirby in preference to his.
"Oh, get out!" exclaimed Putnam in disgust. "Take my advice and leave
Yale at once. If you do not, I'll publish the whole story, and you will
find yourself run out. Go!"
Ditson sneaked away.
Before night Merriwell received an appealing letter from Ditson, in
which the young scapegrace protested his sorrow and entreated Frank to
do what he could to keep the matter quiet, so he would not be forced to
Ditson declared it would break his mother's heart if he failed to
complete his course at Yale. Over and over he entreated forgiveness,
telling how sorry he was that he had ever tried to injure Merriwell in
any way, and declaring that, if Frank would forgive and forget, he would
never cause him any further trouble.
Frank pondered over the letter so long, and with sach a serious look on
his face, that Harry asked him what he had struck. Then Merriwell read
it to his roommate.
"Oh, what a snizerable meak--I mean miserable sneak, that fellow is!"
exclaimed Harry. "He goes into a dirty piece of business like this, and
then he gets down and crawls--actually crawls!"
"I have no doubt but his mother is proud of him," said Frank. "He says
he is an only son. It is his mother, not Ditson, I am thinking about. I
do not wish to cause her so much pain."
"Oh, come off! If a fellow is such a snake as Ditson, he must get it
from his parents on one side or the other. Perhaps his mother is not so
"I do not wish to think that of any fellow's mother. I much prefer to
think that he takes all his bad qualities from the other side of the
house. I remember my own mother--the dearest, gentlest, sweetest woman
in all the world! How she loved me! How proud she was of me! All the
better part of my nature I owe to her, God bless her!"
Frank spoke with deep feeling, and Rattleton was touched and silenced.
Merriwell arose and walked the floor, and there was an expression of the
utmost tenderness and adoration on his face--a look that brought
something like a mist to Harry's eyes. Frank seemed to have forgotten
his companion, and he gently murmured:
"My angel mother!"
That was too much for Harry, and he coughed huskily, in an attempt to
break the spell without being rude. Frank immediately turned, and said:
"I beg your pardon, old man. I forgot myself, for a moment."
"Oh, don't pard my begoner--that is, begon my pard--no, I mean peg my
bardon! Hang it all! I'm all twisted! I don't know what I am trying to
In confusion Harry got up and went to look out of the window.
"Jeewhittaker! I'm glad Merry don't get this way often!" he thought.
"Never knew him to do it before."
After some moments Frank declared:
"I am going to try to hush this Ditson matter up, Harry."
"Yes, for the sake of Ditson's mother. I want you to help me. We'll go
see Putnam and Jones. If they have told anybody, we'll see the others. I
am the one who has the greatest cause for complaint, and if I am willing
to drop it, I am sure Putnam should be. Come on, old man. Let's not lose
"Well, I suppose you are right," admitted Harry, as he reached for his
cap. "But there's not another person on top of the earth who could
induce me to keep still in such a case. It is a second offense, too."
So they went out together, and searched for Putnam and Jones.
At first Putnam was obstinate, and utterly refused to let Ditson off;
but Frank took him aside, and talked earnestly to him for fifteen
minutes, finally securing his promise to keep silent. It was not
difficult to silence Jones, and so the matter was hushed up for the
time. Nothing was said to Ditson, who was left in suspense as to what
course would be pursued.
A day or two later came the very thing that had been anticipated and
discussed, since the freshman game at Cambridge. Merriwell was selected
as one of the pitchers on the 'Varsity nine, and the freshmen lost him
from their team.
Putnam came out frankly and confessed that he had feared something of
the kind, all along, and Frank was in no mood to kick over his past
treatment, so nothing was said on that point.
In the first game against a weaker team than Harvard, Merriwell was
tried in the box and pitched a superb game, which Yale won in a walk.
Big Hugh Heffiner, the regular pitcher, whose arm was in a bad way,
complimented Merriwell on his work, which he said was "simply great."
Of course Frank felt well, as for him there was no sport he admired so
much as baseball; but he remained the same old Merriwell, and his
freshmen comrades could not see the least change in his manner.
The second game of the series with Harvard came off within a week, but
Frank got cold in his arm, and he was not in the best possible condition
to go into the box. This he told Pierson, and as Heffiner had almost
entirely recovered, Frank was left on the bench.
The 'Varsity team had another pitcher, who was known as Dad Hicks. He
was a man about twenty-eight years old, and looked even older, hence the
nickname of Dad.
This man was most erratic and could not be relied upon. Sometimes he
would do brilliant work, and at other time children could have batted
him all over the lot. He was used only in desperate emergencies, and
could not be counted on in a pinch.
During the whole of the second game with Harvard Frank sat on the bench,
ready to go into the box if called on. At first it looked as if he would
have to go in, for the Harvard boys fell upon Heffiner and pounded him
severely for two innings. Then Hugh braced up and pitched the game
through to the end in brilliant style, Yale winning by a score of ten to
Heffiner, however, was forced to bathe his arm in witch hazel
frequently, and as he went toward the box for the last time he said to
Frank with a rueful smile:
"You'll have to get into shape to pitch the last game of the series with
these chaps. My arm is the same as gone now, and I'll finish it this
inning. We must win this game anyway, regardless of arms, so here goes."
He could barely get the balls over the plate, but he used his head in a
wonderful manner, and the slow ball proved a complete puzzle for Harvard
after they had been batting speed all through the game, so they got but
one safe hit off Heffiner that inning and no scores.
There was a wild jubilee at Yale that night. A bonfire was built on the
campus, and the students blew horns, sang songs, cheered for "good old
Yale," and had a real lively time.
One or two of the envious ones asked about Merriwell--why he was not
allowed to pitch. Even Hartwick, a sophomore who had disliked Frank from
the first, more than hinted that the freshman pitcher was being made
sport of, and that he would not be allowed to go into the box when Yale
was playing a team of any consequence.
Jack Diamond overheard the remark, and he promptly offered to bet
Hartwick any sum that Merriwell would pitch the next game against
Diamond was a freshman, and so he received a calling down from Hartwick,
who told him he was altogether too new. But as Hartwick strolled away,
Diamond quietly said:
"I may be new, sir, but I back up any talk I make. There are others who
do not, sir."
Hartwick made no reply.
As the third and final game of the series was to be played on neutral
ground, there had been some disagreement about the location, but
Springfield had finally been decided upon, and accepted by Yale and
Frank did his best to keep his arm in good condition for that game,
something which Pierson approved. Hicks was used as much as possible in
all other games, but Frank found it necessary to pull one or two off the
coals for him.
Heffiner had indeed used his arm up in the grand struggle to win the
second game from Harvard--the game that it was absolutely necessary for
Yale to secure. He tended that arm as if it were a baby, but it had been
strained severely and it came into shape very slowly. As soon as
possible he tried to do a little throwing every day, but it was some
time before he could get a ball more than ten or fifteen feet.
It became generally known that Merriwell would have to pitch at
Springfield, beyond a doubt, and the greatest anxiety was felt at Yale.
Every man had confidence in Heffiner, but it was believed by the
majority that the freshman was still raw, and therefore was liable to
make a wretched fizzle of it.
Heffiner did not think so. He coached Merriwell almost every day, and
his confidence in Frank increased.
"The boy is all right," was all he would say about it, but that did not
satisfy the anxious ones.
During the week before the deciding game was to come off Heffiner's arm
improved more rapidly than it had at any time before, and scores of men
urged Pierson to put Old Reliable, as Hugh was sometimes called, into
A big crowd went up to Springfield on the day of the great game, but the
"sons of Old Eli" were far from confident, although they were determined
to root for their team to the last gasp.
The most disquieting rumors had been afloat concerning Harvard. It was
said her team was in a third better condition than at the opening of the
season, when she took the first game from Yale; and it could not be
claimed with honesty that the Yale team was apparently in any better
shape. Although she had won the second game of the series with Harvard,
her progress had not been satisfactory.
A monster crowd had gathered to witness the deciding game. Blue and
crimson were the prevailing colors. On the bleachers at one side of the
grandstand sat hundreds upon hundreds of Harvard men, cheering all
together and being answered by the hundreds of Yale men on the other
side of the grand stand. There were plenty of ladies and citizens
present and the scene was inspiring. A band of music served to quicken
the blood in the veins which were already throbbing.
There was short preliminary practice, and then at exactly three o'clock
the umpire walked down behind the home plate and called: "Play ball!"
A HOT FINISH.
Yale took the field, and as the boys in blue trotted out, the familiar
Yale yell broke from hundreds of throats. Blue pennants were wildly
fluttering, the band was playing a lively air, and for the moment it
seemed as if the sympathy of the majority of the spectators was with
But when Hinkley, Harvard's great single hitter, who always headed the
batting list, walked out with his pet "wagon tongue," a different sound
swept over the multitude, and the air seemed filled with crimson
Merriwell went into the box, and the umpire broke open a pasteboard box,
brought out a ball that was wrapped in tin foil, removed the covering,
and tossed the snowy sphere to the freshman pitcher Yale had so
audaciously stacked up against Harvard.
Frank looked the box over, examined the rubber plate, and seemed to make
himself familiar with every inch of the ground in his vicinity. Then he
faced Hinkley, and a moment later delivered the first ball.
Hinkley smashed it on the nose, and it was past Merriwell in a second,
skipping along the ground and passing over second base just beyond the
baseman's reach, although he made a good run for it.
The center fielder secured the ball and returned it to second, but
Hinkley had made a safe single off the very first ball delivered.
Harvard roared, while the Yale crowd was silent.
A great mob of freshmen was up from New Haven to see the game and watch
Merriwell's work, and some of them immediately expressed disappointment
"Here is where Merriwell meets his Waterloo," said Sport Harris. "He'll
be batted out before the game is fairly begun."
That was quite enough to arouse Rattleton, who heard the remark.
"I'll bet you ten dollars he isn't batted out at all,"' spluttered
Harry, fiercely. "Here's my money, too!"
"Make it twenty-five and I will go you," drawled Harris.
"All right, I'll make it twenty-five."
The money was staked.
Derry, also a heavy hitter, was second on Harvard's list. Derry had a
bat that was as long and as large as the regulations would permit, and
as heavy as lead; yet, despite the weight of the stick, the strapping
Vermonter handled it as if it were a feather.
Frank sent up a coaxer, but Derry refused to be coaxed. The second ball
was high, but Derry cracked it for two bags, and Hinkley got around to
It began to seem as if Merriwell would be batted out in the first
inning, and the Yale crowd looked weary and disgusted at the start.
The next batter fouled out, however, and the next one sent a red-hot
liner directly at Merriwell. There was no time to get out of the way, so
Frank caught it, snapped the ball to third, found Hinkley off the bag,
and retired the side without a score.
This termination of the first half of the inning was so swift and
unexpected that it took some seconds for the spectators to realize what
had happened. When they did, however, Yale was wildly cheered.
"What do you think about it now, Harris?" demanded Harry, exultantly.
"I think Merriwell saved his neck by a dead lucky catch," was the
answer. "If he had missed that ball he would have been removed within
Pierson, who was sitting on the bench, was looking doubtful, and he held
a consultation with Costigan, captain of the team, as soon as the latter
came in from third base.
Costigan asked Frank how he felt, and Merriwell replied that he had
never felt better in his life, so it was decided to let him see what he
could do in the box the next inning.
Yedding, who was in the box for Harvard, could not have been in better
condition, and the first three Yale men to face him went out in
one-two-three order, making the first inning a whitewash for both sides.
As Merriwell went into the box the second time there were cries for
Heffiner, who was on the bench, ready to pitch if forced to do so, for
all of the fact that it might ruin his arm forever, so far as ball
playing was concerned.
In trying to deceive the first man up Merriwell gave him three balls in
succession. Then he was forced to put them over. He knew the batter
would take one or two, and so he sent two straight, swift ones directly
over, and two strikes were called.
Then came the critical moment, for the next ball pitched would settle
the matter. Frank sent in a rise and the batter struck at it, missed it,
and was declared out, the ball having landed with a "plunk" in the hands
of the catcher.
The next batter got first on a single, but the third man sent an easy
one to Frank, who gathered it in, threw the runner out at second, and
the second baseman sent the ball to first in time to retire the side on
a double play.
"You are all right, Merriwell, old man," enthusiastically declared
Heffiner, as Frank came in to the bench. "They haven't been able to
score off you yet, and they won't be able to touch you at all after you
get into gear."
Pierson was relieved, and Costigan looked well satisfied.
"Now we must have some scores, boys," said the captain.
But Yedding showed that he was out for blood, for he allowed but one
safe hit, and again retired Yale without a score.
Surely it was a hot game, and excitement was running high. Would Harvard
be able to score the next time? That was the question everybody was
Yedding came to the bat in this inning, and Merriwell struck him out
with ease, while not another man got a safe hit, although one got first
on the shortstop's error.
The Yale crowd cheered like Indians when Harvard was shut out for the
third time, the freshmen seeming to yell louder than all the others.
They originated a cry which was like this:
"He is doing very well! Who? Why, Merriwell!"
Merriwell was the first man up, and Yedding did his best to get square
by striking the freshman out. In this he was successful, much to his
But no man got a hit, and the third inning ended as had the others,
neither side having made a run.
The fourth opened in breathless suspense, but it was quickly over,
neither side getting a man beyond second.
It did not seem possible that this thing could continue much longer, but
the fifth inning brought the same result, although Yale succeeded in
getting a man to third with only one out. An attempt to sacrifice him
home failed, and a double play was made, retiring the side.
Harvard opened the sixth by batting a ball straight at Yale's shortstop,
who played tag with it, chasing it around his feet long enough to allow
the batter to reach first. It was not a hit, but an error for short.
This seemed to break the Yale team up somewhat. The runner tried for
second on the first ball pitched, and Yale's catcher overthrew, although
he had plenty of time to catch the man. The runner kept on to third and
got it on a slide.
Now Harvard rejoiced. Although he had not obtained a hit, the man had
reached third on two errors, and there was every prospect of scoring.
Merriwell did not seem to lose his temper or his coolness. He took
plenty of time to let everybody get quieted down, and then he quickly
struck out the next man. The third man, however, managed to hit the ball
fairly and knocked a fly into left field. It was gathered in easily,
but the man on third held the bag till the fly was caught and made a
desperate dash for home.
The left fielder threw well, and the ball struck in the catcher's mitt.
It did not stick, however, and the catcher lost the only opportunity to
stop the score.
Harvard had scored at last!
The Harvard cheer rent the air, and crimson fluttered on all sides.
Frank struck out the next man, and then Yale came to bat, resolved to do
or die. But they did not do much. Yedding was as good as ever, and the
fielders gathered in anything that came their way.
At the end of the eighth inning the score remained one to nothing in
Harvard's favor. It looked as if Yale would receive a shut out, and that
was something awful to contemplate. The "sons of Old Eli" were ready to
do anything to win a score or two.
In the first half of the ninth Harvard went at it to make some more
runs. One man got a hit, stole second, and went to third on an error
that allowed the batter to reach first.
Sport Harris had been disappointed when Merriwell continued to remain in
the box, but now he said:
"He's rattled. Here's where they kill him."
But Frank proved that he was not rattled. He tricked the man on third
into getting off the bag and then threw him out in a way that brought a
yell of delight from Yale men. That fixed it so the next batter could
not sacrifice with the object of letting the man on third home. Then he
got down to business, and Harvard was whitewashed for the last time.
"Oh, if Yale can score now!" muttered hundreds.
The first man up flied out to center, and the next man was thrown out at
first. That seemed to settle it. The spectators were making preparations
to leave. The Yale bat-tender, with his face long and doleful, was
gathering up the sticks.
What's that? The next man got a safe hit, a single that placed him on
first. Then Frank Merriwell was seen carefully selecting a bat.
"Oh, if he were a heavy hitter!" groaned many voices.
Yedding was confident--much too confident. He laughed in Frank's face.
He did not think it necessary to watch the man on first closely, and so
that man found an opportunity to steal second.
Two strikes and two balls had been called. Then Yedding sent in a swift
one to cut the inside corner. Merriwell swung at it.
Crack! Bat and ball met fairly, and away sailed the sphere over the head
of the shortstop.
That word was a roar. No need to tell Frank to run. In a moment he was
scudding down to first, while the left fielder was going back for the
ball which had passed beyond his reach. Frank kept on for second. There
was so much noise he could not hear the coachers, but he saw the fielder
had not secured the ball. He made third, and the excited coacher sent
him home with a furious gesture.
Every man, woman and child was standing. It seemed as if every one was
shouting and waving flags, hats, or handkerchiefs. It was a moment of
such thrilling, nerve-tingling excitement as is seldom experienced. If
Merriwell reached home Yale won; if he failed, the score was tied, for
the man in advance had scored.
The fielder had secured the ball, he drove it to the shortstop, and
shortstop whirled and sent it whistling home. The catcher was ready to
That word Frank heard above all the commotion. He did slide. Forward he
scooted in a cloud of dust. The catcher got the ball and put it onto
Frank--an instant too late!
A sudden silence.
"Safe home!" rang the voice of the umpire.
Then another roar, louder, wilder, full of unbounded joy! The Yale
cheer! The band drowned by all the uproar! The sight of sturdy lads in
blue, delirious with delight, hugging a dust-covered youth, lifting him
to their shoulders, and bearing him away in triumph. Merriwell had won
his own game, and his record was made. It was a glorious finish!
"Never saw anything better," declared Harry. "Frank, you are a wonder!"
"He is that!" declared several others. "Old Yale can't get along without