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Frank Merriwell at Yale by Burt L. Standish

Part 4 out of 6

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understand Jones, and he was on his guard, knowing how often the fellow
turned into a farce what seemed a serious matter.

Dismal locked his fingers and twiddled his thumbs. He cleared his
throat and then said:

"Merry, what would you say if I were to tell everything I could find out
about our crew to the sophs?"

"I should say you were a confounded sneak!"

"Hum! I kinder thought you'd say something like that."

"But you do not know too much about the crew."

"I know something, and I could know more if I had a mind to. All I would
have to do would be to play the spy a little."

"Well, I suppose that is right. What about it?"

"Somebody is playing the spy."

"How do you know?"

"I've got it straight enough, for the sophs know all about what our crew
is doing. They are laughing over the Oxford stroke and the English

"How do you know this?"

"Heard 'em."




"On the street. Browning and a party were going down to Morey's, and
they were having a high old time with Hartwick, who was explaining the
advantages of the stroke and the oars our crew has adopted."

"That's not proof that somebody has played the spy. It may have slipped
out through the carelessness of some of our men."

"It may. But I don't think so. I heard Emery ask Hartwick how he knew so
much about us."

"What did Hartwick say?" Frank eagerly asked.

"He said he had a nice fresh flat who thought it a fine thing to play
the spy and blab all he found out."

"Blay bluses--I mean blue blazes!" cried Harry, banging his fist down on
the table. "That's what makes me cot under the hollar! A man who would
do a thing like that will steal a sheep! I'd like to have the pleasure
of thumping him a few times--just a few!"

Merriwell was silent, a dark look on his face.

"It will not be healthy for the spy if I catch him," he finally
declared. "I'll make it pretty hot for him around here!"

"Which would be a highly commendable action," bowed Dismal.

"Have you any idea who would do such a low-down thing?" asked Harry.

"Sometimes we have ideas which we do not care to express."

"That's right; but in a case like this--confidentially--to us, you

"Well, if I say anything, it is to be strictly confidential."

"Sure!" cried Frank and Harry in a breath.

"You both give me your word for it?"

"We do."

"If I knew, I would not hesitate to come out openly and accuse the
fellow," said Dismal; "but this is merely a case of suspicion, and I
will tell you who I suspect."

"Go ahead."

"Well, there is a certain fellow who has not been above playing into the
hands of the sophs in the past, and it is natural for me to suspect him.
His name is--"

The door opened, and Roland Ditson came in without knocking.



"Hello, fellows!" cried Ditson. "How are yer, Jones! I am surprised to
see you here. Is it possible you have let up cramming long enough to
make a call? Why, I have even heard that you had your eye on some
classical scholarship prize as soon as this. Everybody who knows you
says you're a regular hard-working old dig."

"There are fools who know other people's business a great deal better
than their own," said Dismal stiffly.

"That's right," nodded Ditson, who made a great effort to be rakish in
his appearance, but always appeared rather foxy instead. "But I tell you
this matter of burning the midnight oil and grinding is not what it's
cracked up to be. It makes a man old before his time, and it doesn't
amount to much after he has been all through it. Goodness knows we
freshmen have to cram hard enough to get through! I am tired of it
already. And then we have to live outside the pale, as it were. When we
become sophs we'll be able to give up boarding houses and live in the
dormitories. That's what I am anxious for."

"It strikes me that you are very partial to sophs," said Dismal, giving
Roll a piercing look.

Ditson was not fazed.

"They're a rather clever gang of fellows," he said. "Freshmen are very
new, as a rule. Of course there are exceptions, and--"

"I suppose you consider yourself one?"

"Oh, I can't tell about that. But supposing I am; by the time I become a
soph some of the newness will have worn off."

"I am not particularly impressed with any freshman who seems to think so
much of sophomores. You ought to stay with them all the time."

"Oh, I don't know. They have treated me rather well, and I have found
the most of them easy people."

"They seem to have found some freshman easy fruit. Somebody has been
blowing to them about our crew."

"I know it," was Ditson's surprising confession, "and that's why I
dropped in here. I wanted to tell Merriwell about it."

Jones gasped for breath. He was too surprised to speak for some minutes.

Ditson took out a package of cigarettes, offering them first to Harry,
who shook his head.

"What?" cried Roll, amazed. "You won't smoke?"


"What's that mean?"

"I have left off," said Harry, with an effort.

"Left off? Oh, say! that's too good! You leave off!"

A bit of color came to Rattleton's face, and he gave Ditson a look that
was not exactly pleasant; but Roll was too occupied with his merriment
to observe it.

Frank was studying Ditson. He watched the fellow's every movement and

Roll knew it was useless to offer cigarettes to Merriwell or Jones, so
he selected one from the package, kneaded it daintily, pulled a little
tobacco from the ends, moistened the paper with his lips, and then
lighted it with a wax match.

"Say, Harry, old man, I pity you," he said, with a taunting laugh,
looking at Harry. "I've tried it. It's no use. You'll break over before
two days are up--yes, before one day is up. It's no use."

Rattleton bit his lips.

"Why, you are dying for a whiff now!" chuckled Ditson. "I know you are.
I got along a whole day, but it was a day of the most intense torture."

"There may be others with more stamina than you, Ditson," snapped
Rattleton. "Just because you couldn't leave off a bad habit, it's no
sign that nobody can."

"Oh, I suppose not. But what's the use? Don't get hot, old man. You
ought to know my way by this time."

"I do."

"What is it that you came to tell me?" asked Frank.

"Eh? Oh, about the sophs. Those fellows seem to know more about our crew
than I do."

"What do they know?"

"Why, they know our men are using English oars, have adopted a new
stroke, and have done several other things. Now, those are matters on
which I was not informed myself."

"How do you know the sophs know so much?"

"I've just come from Morey's. Went in there with Cressy. Fine fellow, he
is. While I was in there Browning and his crowd wandered in. They were
drinking ale and discussing the race. I heard what they were saying.
Couldn't help hearing, you know. They were talking about our crew and
the new methods you had introduced. It was mighty interesting to me, as
I didn't know about those new methods myself."

"How innocent!" muttered Jones.

Ditson elevated his eyebrows.

"What's that?" he demanded. "Why shouldn't I be innocent? I am not on
the crew, and the men are training and practicing secretly. I have had
no way of finding out what they were doing."

"But some sneak has!" cried Rattleton, fiercely, "and he's been and
blowed all he found out!"

"Unless somebody on the crew has done the blowing," suggested Roll,
exhaling a great puff of smoke. "That is barely possible, you

"Possible! No!" cried Frank. "There's not a man on the crew who would do
such a thing!"

"Oh, well, I suppose you know. But I understand there are two who are
kept in form as substitutes. One of them thinks he should be on the
crew. He is rather jealous of somebody who fills his place. He might be
the one who has talked too much."

"You don't mean--"

"Rattleton ought to be able to guess who I mean," craftily said Ditson
as he arose. "I'm not calling names, for I don't know anything certain.
If I had proof--but I haven't. Never mind. You ought to know enough to
watch a certain fellow who thinks his place is filled by a person not
his equal. He says there is favoritism in the matter. I rather think I
have spoken plainly enough. Wish you success, Merry, old man. Evening,

Ditson departed.

Our hero, Rattleton and Jones sat and looked at each other in grim
silence for several minutes.


Frank broke the spell, looking keenly at Jones as he spoke.

"I dunno," mumbled Dismal, falling into the manner of speaking that had
been habitual with him from his childhood. "I dunno--hanged if I do!"

"You thought you knew when you came in, my boy."

"That's right; but I dunno but I was off my trolley. And still--"

"Still what?"

"I don't like the man I suspected, but I never thought the fellow shrewd
enough to play a double game."

"Perhaps it is because you do not like him that you suspected him."

"Oh, it may be--it may be. And I don't suppose that is a square deal. I
didn't have absolute proof."

"You were going to name him when Ditson came in."

"I was, but I will not call any names now. I propose to look into this
matter somewhat. Likely it's too late to prevent the traitor from
completing the damage, but he can be exposed. It will be some
satisfaction to see him held up to public scorn."

"That is true, Dismal, and I want you to do your best to find out who
the man is. Make a sure thing of it. Get positive proof, if possible."

"Whoever he is his sin is sure to find him out."

There were footsteps on the stairs and the sound of laughing voices. The
door burst open and several freshmen came trooping in, as if they felt
quite at home there. Lucy Little was at their head, and his face showed

"I say, Merriwell!" he cried, "are you out for a little sport to-night?"

"That depends on what sort of sport it is."

"'Sh!" said Little, mysteriously. "Close the door, uncle."

A fellow by the name of Silas Blossom, who was familiarly called
"uncle," obeyed.

Little looked at Rattleton and then stared hard at Jones, who had the
face of a parson.

"I don't know about you," he said, "but I think you are all right. Even
if you have scruples I don't believe you will blow."

"Very kind!" grunted Dismal.

"The rest of the gang is all right," said Little.

"Then give us your scheme," spluttered Harry, whose curiosity was
thoroughly aroused. "Don't bush around the beat--I mean beat around the

"What do you fellows say to a turkey chase?" asked Little.

"A turkey chase?"

"Yes. Out around West Rock way. There are plenty of old farmers who
have good fat turkeys out that way. It is a good cool night, and we can
capture two turkeys without trouble. Then we'll take 'em in here and
have a roast. Are you wid us?"

"Those who are not wid us are agin' us!" fiercely declared Bandy

"And that is dead right, me b'hoys," nodded Arthur Street, who was known
at Yale as Easy Street, on account of his free-and-easy way.

Merriwell hesitated. He was in for any kind of honest sport, but he did
not quite fancy the idea of stealing turkeys.

"Why don't we buy our turkeys at the markets?" he asked.

The other lads stared at him in astonishment.

"Buy them!" they shouted. "Say, are you dafty, man? Where would the fun
come in? You know better than to propose such a thing."

"Stolen fruit is ever the sweetest," quoth Uncle Blossom. "It's not many
fellows we would take into such a scheme, but you were just the man we
wanted, Merriwell. If we bought a turkey we wouldn't have any appetite
for it. Now, the run out into the country and back will give us an
appetite. One fellow will have to stay here and get the fire ready,
while the rest of us chase turks. Come on, man--it's what you need to
start your blood circulating."

Merriwell seemed to suddenly make up his mind.

"I am with you," he said as he arose. "Who stays and looks after the
fire? We don't want anybody along that can't run."

"Well, I'm no sprinter," confessed Dismal. "I'd like to go along, but
I'm afraid I'd peg out. I'll have things ready when you show up. But
what time will you be back?"

Frank looked at his watch and then made a mental calculation.

"It will be about eleven," he said.

"All right."

"Say, Jones," said Street, "just go down to Billy's and get a few
bottles of beer. We'll need it to wash the turk down."

"And cigars," cried Blossom. "Don't forget cigars. What would a turkey
feast be without a smoke afterward?"

Matters were soon arranged, and it was not long before five freshmen
left Mrs. Harrington's "quiet house" for freshmen, and started along
York Street at a brisk, steady jog.

Merriwell took the lead, and the others came after him at regular
distances. The night air was rather sharp, and there was a bright moon.

Along the streets of New Haven the five freshmen ran, and those who
observed them supposed they were some crew in training.

Merriwell set a moderate pace, for he knew it was likely they would need
all their wind on the return. There was no telling what sort of a scrape
they might get into.

Rattleton was behind, taking things as easy as possible. He filled his
lungs with the crisp, clear air, and it made him feel like a young race
horse, but he held himself in check.

Street actually loafed along, although he managed to keep his place.

"If one of us is caught, he'll be like the gangplank of a steamer,"
called Harry as they left the main part of the city and entered the

"How's that?" asked Blossom.

"Pulled in," chirped Rattleton. "Don't stop to throw anything this way.
Keep right on."

"They say Browning was caught swiping turks in his freshman year," said
Lewis, "and it cost his old man a round sum to settle and keep the thing
quiet, so Bruce wouldn't be expelled. Dad Browning has got money to

"Well, his son's a good match for him," Merriwell tossed over his

"A good match for him! Oh, say!" gasped Robinson, exhibiting signs of
sudden weakness.

Away they went, laughing and jesting, finally leaving the city behind
and getting out into the country. Up hill and down dale they steadily
jogged, covering mile after mile in a rather surprising manner.

At length Merriwell called a halt, and they held a council of war.
Blossom said he knew where they were certain to find turkeys, and so
they gave him the lead. He confessed that there was a chance of getting
into trouble, as the owner of the turkeys had been robbed before, and he
might be on the watch. That simply added zest to the adventure, and
there was not one of the party who would have consented to look
elsewhere for their turkeys.

They finally came in sight of a farmhouse that sat on the side of a
hill. Near the house was a stable and sheds. A large orchard lay back of
the sheds.

"There," said Blossom. "That is where old Baldwin lives, and his turks
are in one of those sheds."

"Crumping jickets--I mean jumping crickets!" exclaimed Harry. "How
bright the moon shines! If he's on the watch we can't get anywhere near
those sheds without being seen."

The boys began to realize that they were engaged in a decidedly perilous
adventure. If one of them should be caught it would mean almost certain
expulsion from college, besides a heavy fine if the case were carried to

"We'll have to approach by way of the orchard," said Frank. "Does
Baldwin keep a dog?"

"Sure--a big half-blood bull."

"That's nice. We are liable to find plenty of fun here. Every man must
provide himself with a stout and heavy club to use on that dog in case
of emergency. That is important. The lights are out, and it looks as if
the farmer and his family were sleeping soundly, but, as Jones says,
appearances are sometimes deceptive. We'll have to take our chances.
Three of us will go through the orchard. The other two must get near the
house in front and be ready to create a diversion in case we are
discovered. Harry, you and Bandy take the front. You are both good
runners. If Mr. Baldwin and his dog get after us, attract his attention
in some manner."

"And get him after us?"

"That's the idea."

"Jupiter! I wish I had brought a gun for that dog! Bandy, you are liable
to have to use those crooked legs of yours in a decidedly lively manner
before the night is over."

When everything was arranged Harry and Bandy advanced along the road,
going forward slowly, while Frank, Blossom and Little made a detour and
came into the orchard.

The hearts of the boys were in their throats, and still there was
something about the adventure that filled them with the keenest delight.

Each one had secured a club, and they were ready to give the dog a warm
reception if he came for them.

Little watched beneath a tree, while Merriwell and Blossom slipped up to
one of the sheds which had a favorable look.

In the meantime Rattleton and Robinson had got near the front of the
house and were hiding in a ditch, waiting and listening.

"I am surprised that Merriwell should agree to take a hand in this,"
whispered Harry. "He is a queer chap--has scruples about doing certain
things. I thought he would object to hooking out a turk."

"Oh, such a thing as this isn't really stealing," protested Robinson.
"It is different."

"In our minds, but not in the mind of Farmer Baldwin, by a long shot. If
we're caught it will be called stealing."

"Oh, well, a fellow who won't do anything like this is too good for this
world. He's got wings sprouting."

"You know well enough that Merriwell is no softie," returned Harry,
rather warmly. "He's proved that. Any man has a right to his ideas, and
if he thinks a thing wrong he's justified in refusing to have anything
to do with it."

"Perhaps so; but Merriwell is right on the limit now."


"He will not drink, he does not smoke, and I never have heard him cuss."

"Does it make a fellow a man to drink and smoke and swear? I tell you
you'll go a long distance before you find a fellow who is any more of a
man than Frank Merriwell. I was dead lucky when I got him for a

"You're stuck on him. I say he is all right, but he is on the limit. I
believe the fellows would like him better if he would break over once in
a while."

"I doubt it. But it is awful still around here. I wonder where that dog
can be? It would be a surprise if the fellows got away with the turks
without making any noise at--"

There was a sudden hubbub, a terrible squalling and squawking, the
barking of a dog, and the report of a gun!



"My stars!" gasped Harry. "There's trouble, sure enough!"

"I should remark!" palpitated Robinson. "I'll bet a dollar one of the
fellows is full of shot!"

"And somebody is in danger of being full of teeth directly. Come, this
is our time to create a diversion."

Then Harry let himself out. He whooped like a wild Indian and pranced
right up toward the house. Robinson followed the good example, but they
did not seem very successful in attracting attention to themselves.

Two dark figures were seen scudding through the orchard, and then a man
came out of the house, slamming the door and shouting:

"Sick 'em, Tige--sick the pesky rascals! Chaw 'em up! Don't let 'em git
erway! Take 'em, dorg!"

The dog was doing his duty in the vicinity of one of the sheds, but his
barking suddenly turned to howls of pain, and several blows were
distinctly heard.

Despite the two yelling and dancing lads in the road, the old farmer
made for the shed, and it was seen that he had a gun in his hands.

"He's going to shoot somebody!" cried Harry, wildly. "We must hake a
tand--er--take a hand in this! Come on!"

With all the speed he could command Rattleton dashed after the farmer.
The barking of the dog had suddenly ceased, and a third dark figure was
seen scudding through the orchard.

"Stop, you pesky thief!" yelled the farmer. "If you don't stop I'll
shoot! I'll fire ye full of lead!"

Then he halted and raised his gun to his shoulder. He was quite unaware
that Harry was now quite close upon him.

When Rattleton saw the man raise the gun he swung back the hand that
held the heavy stick. With all his strength he hurled the stick at the

Whiz! It sped through the air and struck the man fairly between the
shoulders. At the same instant the gun spoke, but the farmer went down
in a heap, and his aim was spoiled.

"Had to do it to save some one of the fellows from carrying off a load
of buckshot," muttered Rattleton, who was desperate. "I don't want to
see anybody shot to-night."

He did not stop running, but he dashed straight up to the man, snatched
up the gun, and fled onward.

"Hey! hey!" cried the man, as he scrambled to his feet. "Consarn you!
Drop that gun! Bring it back!"

"Come get it!" invited Harry, with a defiant laugh.

The farmer started after the boy, who led him a merry chase across the
fields and over the fences. Harry kept just far enough ahead to lure the
panting man on.

"If I ever git my hands on ye you'll go to jail!" declared the farmer.
"I'll learn you pesky rascals a lesson!"

"Teach--not learn, uncle," Harry flung back. "You should be more careful
about your grammar."

"I believe you are one of them consarned student fellers."

"You are a wonderful guesser."

"If I can't ketch ye I'll report ye."

When he had lead the man far enough so that he was sure the other
fellows had plenty of start, Harry tossed aside the gun, which was an
old muzzle-loading, single-barreled affair.

The panting farmer stopped and picked up the gun, then he stood and
shook his fist at Rattleton, who was speeding away like a deer.

"Oh, I'll report ye--I will, by jee!" he vowed over and over.

In the meantime Merriwell had had a most exciting adventure. He had
found the turkey roost and had selected the biggest old gobbler of them
all. But the gobbler was a hard customer and he showed fight, whereupon
there was a general squawking and squalling.

Clinging to his capture, Frank made a dash for the door. He tripped and
fell, and it is certain that by falling he saved himself from carrying
off a charge of shot, if not from death. He had tripped over a rope that
connected with a spring gun, which was discharged, and some of the shot
tore through his coat sleeve.

Then he heard the dog, and he knew he was in for a hot time. He gave the
old gobbler's neck a fierce wring, then dropped the turkey just in time
to meet the dog.

The creature sprang for Frank's throat, and the boy struck him with the
club which he had brought along. The dog dropped to the ground, but
immediately made another dash. Frank was fortunate in getting in a lick
that stretched the animal quivering on the ground.

He could hear Rattleton and Robinson whooping wildly, but he knew no
time was to be lost in getting away, so he caugh up the gobbler and ran.

Frank heard the farmer calling for him to stop, but, with Mr. Gobbler
dangling on his back, he fled the faster.

The gun spoke, but he was not touched, and he did not stop to look
around, so he did not know how Harry had saved him.

Three-quarters of an hour later the five fellows who had started out on
the turkey chase met on the outskirts of New Haven. They came up one at
a time, Rattleton being the last to appear. There was a general feeling
of relief when it was found that all were there safe and sound.

It was decided that they should go into the city one at a time, taking
different routes. Frank believed he could reach the house without being
stopped, although it would be no very easy job.

He was remarkably successful until he was on York Street and close to
Mrs. Harrington's. The street seemed clear, and he wondered where all
the fellows could be, when of a sudden a tall form in dark clothes
stepped right out before him. He gave a gasp, for at a glance he seemed
to recognize one of the professors.

"Young man," sternly said a familiar voice, "what have you there?"

"It's Professor Grant!" thought Frank, aghast.

The professor blocked his way. What could he do?

Quick as a flash he swung the gobbler around and struck his challenger a
smashing blow with it, knocking him sprawling.

Then he took to his heels, still holding fast to his capture.

In a moment he heard the sound of feet in pursuit, and he knew the
outraged professor was after him.

Frank's heart was in his mouth, and he felt scared for the first time
that night. He was certain it would mean expulsion to be caught.

For all of the running he had done that night, he fled like a frightened
deer, occasionally glancing over his shoulder. He had never dreamed that
Professor Grant was a sprinter, but the man was running at great
speed--seemed to be gaining.

"Stop, sir!" cried the pursuer. "I tell you to stop!"

"Not much!" thought Frank. "I won't stop! If you catch me your wind is
better than I think it is."

He did not dare go into his house, so he dashed past, cut into another
street, turned corner after corner, and still he found himself pursued.
It seemed marvelous that Professor Grant could keep up such a pace.

Finally the pursuer called:

"Merriwell, is that you?"

No answer.

"I know you," declared the pursuer, and now Frank perceived that that
voice did not sound like Professor Grant. "You are a crackajack runner.
I wanted to give you a try to see what you could do. I'll see you
to-morrow. Good-night."

The pursuer gave up the chase.

"As I live, I believe it was Pierson, manager of the ball team!"
muttered Frank when he was sure it was no trick and he was no longer
followed. "He looks something like Professor Grant, and he is a great
mimic. That's just who it was."

A short time later he was in his room, where a jovial party of freshmen
was gathered.



Frank's appearance, with the turkey still in his possession, was hailed
with shouts of delight.

"We didn't know as you would get in," said Jones. "I invited some more
of the fellows up here, as you see, and we found out that some of the
sophs seemed to know something unusual was going on."

"That's right," nodded Rattleton. "They were laying for us. Two of them
stopped me when I reached York Street. They told me to give up what I
had, but I didn't have anything to give up, so they let me go."

Then Frank told of his adventure with a person who looked like Professor

"That's it!" cried Little. "That was their game! They were after our

"But how did they know we were after turkey?" asked Robinson.

"They must have been told by somebody," said Street.

"And that means we have a tattler among us," declared Burnham
Putnam--Old Put--looking keenly around.

The boys looked at each other suspiciously, wondering if there was one
of the number who would carry to the sophs.

To Frank's surprise he saw that Walter Gordon was there. Jack Diamond
was also present.

Frank found an opportunity to get close to Dismal and whisper in his

"Great Caesar, old man! why did you invite Gordon here?"

"I did not."

"Then how does he happen to be here? He didn't come without an
invitation, I am sure of that."

"He was in Billy's when I asked Put to come up. I knew you would like to
have Put here."

"That's all right."

"Well, Put asked Gordon to come along before I could prevent it. Of
course I didn't have the crust to make any objection after that."

"I should say not! It's all right, but you want to remember that the
sophs found out something was going on. Did Gordon come right along with

"No. He said he'd have to go to his room, but he showed up a few minutes
after we arrived here."

"Lots of mischief can be done in a few minutes. Did he know just what
was going on here?"

"Well, he knew somebody had gone out into the country to swipe something
for a feast."

"And it is pretty plain that the sophs became aware of the same fact.
Here is food for reflection, Dismal."

"You are right."

The foragers told of their adventures in capturing the turkey, and there
was a great deal of laughter over it. Merriwell showed how near he came
to getting shot, and it was universally agreed that he was remarkably

Harry told how he had bowled the old farmer over just as the man was
about to shoot at Frank, and then he convulsed them with laughter by
relating the capture of the gun and the chase he had led the hayseed.

Robinson said he thought Harry was crazy when he rushed after the farmer
in the way he did.

"I couldn't understand what sort of a game he was up to," said Bandy,
"and I didn't feel like following him into the jaws of the lion, so I
held aloof. I saw him fling his club at the old duffer and saw it knock
him down. Then, when I was sure Harry was all right, I legged it."

"Farmer Baldwin's dog will have a sore head in the morning," smiled
Frank. "The last crack I gave him stretched him quivering on the ground.
Hope it didn't kill the brute."

"Hope it didn't?" shouted Little. "I hope it did!"

"But I don't want to pay for his old dog."

"Pay for it! Are you dopy, daft, or what's the matter with you? Why,
that man had a spring gun set, and it would have filled you full of shot
if you hadn't tripped!"

"He had a right to set a spring gun in his own shed to protect his
turkey roost from marauders."

The boys stared at Frank in amazement.

"Say, Merriwell," said Uncle Blossom, gravely, "you're an enigma. Great
poker! The idea of calling us marauders!"

"What else were we?"

"Boys, it is our duty to take him out and hold him under under the

"Gentlemen," said Jack Diamond, who was present, "you will have a real
lively time if you try to do it. I fully agree with Mr. Merriwell that
the farmer had a right to protect his property."

"Whe-e-ew!" whistled several lads, and then they all cried together:
"Goodness, how the wind blows!"

The boys had come to understand in a measure Diamond's chivalric nature
and sentiments, and it did not seem strange that he should see something
improper in stealing turkeys from a farmer; but it did appear rather
remarkable that Merriwell should maintain such an idea after he had
taken a hand in the game.

"It must be that you chaps intend to become parsons after you leave
college," said Walter Gordon, rather derisively.

"And Merriwell would pay for the dog if he killed the beast!" exclaimed
Uncle Blossom. "How about the turkey? I should have thought you'd paid
for that."

"I did."


That word was a roar, and it seemed to leap from the lips of every lad
in the room, with the exception of Diamond and Merriwell. The boys were
all on their feet, and they stared at Frank with bulging eyes, as if
they beheld a great curiosity.

Merriwell simply smiled. He was quite cool and unruffled.

"You--you paid--for--the--turkey!" gasped Lucy Little, as if it cost him
a mighty effort to get the words out.

"Exactly," bowed Frank.

"How? When? Where?"

"I pinned a five-dollar bill to the roost before I laid violent hands on
the old gobbler. Baldwin will find it there in the morning."

"Water!" panted Robinson as he flopped down on a chair. "I think I am
going to faint!"

"Oh, think of the beautiful beers that V would have paid for!" sighed
Robinson, with a doleful shake of his head.

"This is a disgrace on the famous class of 'Umpty-eight!" shouted Lewis
Little. "We can never wipe it out!"

"I fear not," said Easy Street. "It is really awful!"

"And to think Merriwell should have done it. It would have served him
right if that spring gun had filled him with shot!"

"Excuse these few tears!" exclaimed Blossom, who had secretly opened a
bottle of beer and saturated his handkerchief with the contents.

He now proceeded to wring the handkerchief in a highly dramatic manner.

"Go ahead," laughed Frank. "Have all the sport you like over it, but I
feel easy in my mind."

Some one proposed not to eat the turkey at all, but there was a
dissenting shout at that. Then the bird was taken down into the cellar
by three of them and stripped of its feathers. A pan and necessary
dishes had been borrowed of Mrs. Harrington, and there was a roaring
hard-wood fire in the open grate.

Harry officiated as cook, and set about his duties in a manner that
showed he was not a novice, while the other lads looked on with great
interest, telling stories and cracking jokes.

Merriwell offered to bet Robinson that woman was created before man, but
Bandy was shy, scenting a sell. However, Frank kept at him, finally
offering to let Robinson himself decide. At length Robinson "bit," and a
small wager was made.

"Now," cried Bandy, "go ahead and prove that woman was made before man.
You can't do it."

"That's dead easy," smiled Frank. "I know you will readily acknowledge
that Eve was the first maid."

"No, I'll be hanged if--"

Then Robinson stopped short, for he saw the point, and the others were
laughing heartily and applauding.

"The first maid!" he muttered. "Oh, thunder! What a soft thing I am! You
have won, Merriwell."

The turkey began to give out a most delicious odor, and the boys snuffed
the air with the keenest delight. How hungry they were! How jolly
everything seemed! There was not one of the party who did not feel very
grateful to think he was living that night.

At last the turkey was done. Harry pronounced it done, and it was
certainly browned and basted in beautiful style. It was a monster, but
there would be none too much for that famished crowd.

Frank and Blossom assisted Harry in serving. There were not enough
plates for all, but that did not matter. They managed to get along all
right. Some were forced to drink their beer out of the bottle, but
nobody murmured.

The turkey was white and tender, and it was certainly very well cooked.
It had a most delicious flavor. And how good the beer was with it! How
those fellows jollied Merriwell because he would not even taste the
beer. And still they secretly admired him for it. He had the nerve to
say no and stick to it, which they could not help admiring.

When the turkey was all gone cigars were passed, and nearly every one
"fired up." Then Harry and Frank got out a banjo and mandolin and gave
the party some lively music. It was long after two o'clock, but who
cared for that? Nobody thought of the hour. If Mrs. Harrington
complained in the morning, she must be pacified with a peace offering.

They sang "Old Man Moses," "Solomon Levi," "Bingo," and a dozen more.
There were some fine voices among them. Finally a quartet was formed,
consisting of Merriwell, Rattleton, Diamond and Blossom. It positively
was a treat to hear them sing "Good-by, My Little Lady."

"The boats are pushing from the shore,
Good-by, my little lady!
With brawny arm and trusty oar,
Each man is up and ready;
I see our colors dancing
Where sunlit waves are glancing;
A fond adieu I'll say to you,
My lady true and fair.

"Good-by, good-by, my lady sweet!
Good-by, my little lady!
Good-by, good-by, again we'll meet,
So here's farewell, my lady!"

Oh, those old college songs! How they linger in the memory! How the
sound of them in after years stirs the blood and quickens the pulse! And
never can other songs seem half so beautiful as those!

It was after two when the party broke up, but it was a night long to be



On the following morning Merriwell arose with a headache.

"The smoke was too much for me last night," he said. "It was thick
enough to chop in this room."

"And you don't know how I wanted to have a whiff with the fellows," said
Harry, dolefully. "It was awful to see them enjoying cigars and
cigarettes and not touch one myself!"

"But you didn't," smiled Frank. "Good boy! Stick to that just as long as
you wish to keep a place in athletics."

"I don't know which is the worst, smoking or midnight suppers."

"Midnight suppers are bad things, and you will observe that I seldom
indulge in them. If I was on one of the regular teams I could not
indulge at all. I'll not have any part in another affair like that of
last night till after the race. From now till it is over I am going to
live right."

"Well, I'll do my best to stick with you. If you see me up to anything
improper, just call me down."


There was no time for a cold bath before chapel, although Frank would
have given something to indulge in one. As it was, he dipped his head in
cold water, opened the window wide, and filled his lungs with fresh air,
then hustled into his clothes and rushed away, with the chapel bell
clanging and his temples still throbbing.

The whole forenoon was a drag, but he managed to get through the
recitations fairly well. Over and over he promised himself that he would
not indulge in another midnight feast until the time came when such
dissipation was not likely to do him any particular harm physically.

At noon as he was crossing the campus he was astonished to see Paul
Pierson, a junior and the manager of the regular ball team, stop and
bow. Unless it was Pierson who had pursued him on the previous night,
Frank had never spoken a word to the fellow in his life. And this public
recognition of a freshman on the campus by a man like Pierson was almost

"Ah, Mr. Merriwell, I would like to speak with you," said Pierson in a
manner that was not exactly unfriendly.

Frank remembered that the fellow who chased him the night before had
promised to see him again, but he had thought at the time that the man
did not mean it. Now he wondered what in the world Pierson could want.

"Yes, sir," said Merriwell, stopping and bowing respectfully.

"I understand that you are something of a sprinter," said Pierson as he
surveyed the freshman critically. "A--ah--friend of mine told me so."

"Well, I don't know, but I believe I can run fairly well," replied
Frank, with an air of modesty.

"My friend is a very good judge of runners, and he says you're all
right. In doing so he settled a point in my mind. I have been watching
your ball playing in practice this fall, and I have arrived at the
conclusion that you have good stuff in you if you do not get the swelled
head. Young man, the swelled head is one of the worst things with which
a youth can be afflicted. When he gets it for fair it is likely to be
his ruin."

Pierson addressed Frank as if he were a father speaking to a boy. Frank
felt that the junior was patronizing to a certain extent, but the
fellow's manner of stopping him on the campus was so remarkable that it
more than overbalanced his air of superiority.

Wondering what Pierson could be driving at, Frank kept silent and

"Now, I have a fancy," said the baseball magnate, "that you are rather
level headed. Still, the best of them get it sometimes, and that is why
I am warning you."

Pierson spoke deliberately, still looking hard at the freshman, who
waited quietly.

"He'll come to the point if he is given time," thought Frank.

"I have seen you pitch," said Pierson, "and I have watched your delivery
and your curves. You are very good. More than that, you bat properly and
your judgment is excellent."

He paused again, as if to note what impression this praise made upon the
other. Frank felt his cheeks grow warm, but his voice was perfectly
steady as he said:

"Thank you, sir."

"I did not know just what you would do when it came to running till my
friend saw you run," Pierson went on. "He says you are all right. Now,
if you will look out for yourself and keep yourself in condition, it is
quite possible that you may be given a trial on the regular ball team in
the spring."

Frank felt his heart give a great jump. On the regular team! Why, he had
not dreamed of getting there the very first season. Was Pierson giving
him a jolly?

"Are you serious, sir?" he asked.

"Most certainly, Mr. Merriwell," answered the junior. "I can assure you
that you stand an excellent chance of having a trial. What the result of
the trial is will depend entirely upon yourself."

"What position, Mr. Pierson?"

"Well, there is but one position that is not well filled. We've got men
to burn for every other place. If you are tried at all, it will be in
the box. Heffiner is the only man we have, and he can't do all the work.
There will come times when he will be out of condition."

To pitch on the regular ball team! To be given an opportunity when the
great Heffiner proved out of condition! That was glory indeed. No wonder
Frank Merriwell tingled with excitement in every part of his body; but
it was a wonder that he appeared so cool and self contained.

Pierson was surprised by the freshman's manner, for he had expected
Frank to show excitement and delight.

"What sort of a fellow is this?" he thought. "Does he really understand
me, or is he a little thick?"

Then he saw by Frank's fine and highly sensitive face that he could not
be thick, and he began to perceive that the freshman had nerve. That was
one of the great requirements for a successful pitcher.

"I have spoken of this to you, Mr. Merriwell, so you may be keeping
yourself in condition through the winter, as you will then stand all the
better show of making a favorable impression when you are given a

"Thank you, sir."

"If I were in your place I would not make any talk about it, for
something may happen that you will not be given a trial, in which case
it would be very humiliating if you had publicly stated that you were to
have a show."

"You may be sure I will say nothing about it, Mr. Pierson."

"That is all. Good-day, sir."

"Good-day, sir."

Pierson passed on, quite aware that a number of students were regarding
him with the utmost amazement, plainly wondering that he should have
stopped to talk with a freshman on the campus.

Walter Gordon had seen the two speaking together, and he hastened to
call the attention of some friends to it.

"Look there!" he cried. "As I live, Merriwell is talking with Pierson!
What'll you bet the fellow's not making a try to get on the regular ball
team? Ha! ha! ha! He's got crust enough for it."

"And I am not sure he hasn't the ability for it," said Easy Street.

"Oh, rats!" snapped Walter. "He'd go to pieces in the first inning.
He'll never make a pitcher in his life."

"There are others," murmured Lucy Little.



Frank went to his room with his head in a whirl. He had dreamed of
working hard to secure a place on the freshman team, but he had not
dreamed there was a possibility that he would be given a trial in the
regular Yale nine during his first year in college.

Merriwell knew well enough that Phillips men were given the preference
in everything at Yale as a rule, for they had friends to pull them
through, while the fellows who had been prepared by private tutors
lacked such an advantage.

But Frank had likewise discovered that in most cases a man was judged
fairly at Yale, and he could become whatever he chose to make himself,
in case he had the ability.

The Phillips man might have the advantage at the start, but he could not
hold the advantage unless he proved himself worthy. If the unknown
student had nerve and determination he could win his way for all of the
wire pulling of the friends of some rival who was not so capable.

Frank had heard the cry which had been raised at that time that the old
spirit of democracy was dying out at Yale, and that great changes had
taken place there. He had heard that Yale was getting to be more like
another college, where the swell set are strongly in evidence and the
senior likely to be very exclusive, having but a small circle of
speaking acquaintances.

It was said that in the old days the Yale junior or senior knew
everybody worth knowing. But this had changed. The blue-blooded
aristocrat had appeared at Yale, and he had chosen his circle of
acquaintances with great care. To all outward appearances, this man
believed that outside his limited circle there was nobody at Yale worth

Professor Scotch, Frank's guardian, had read this in certain newspaper
articles relating to Yale, and had expressed his regret that such should
be the case.

After coming to Yale Frank kept his eyes open to see to what extent such
a state of affairs obtained. At first it had seemed that the newspapers
were right, but he came to see that his position as freshman did not
give him the proper opportunity to judge.

In the course of time Frank came to believe that the old spirit was
still powerful at Yale. There were a limited number of young gentlemen
who plainly considered themselves superior beings, and who positively
refused to make acquaintances outside a certain limit; but those men
held no positions in athletics, were seldom of prominence in the
societies, and were regarded as cads by the men most worth knowing. They
were to be pitied, not envied.

At Yale the old democratic spirit still prevailed. The young men were
drawn from different social conditions, and in their homes they kept to
their own set; but they seemed to leave this aside, and they mingled and
submerged their natural differences under that one broad generalization,
"the Yale man."

And Merriwell was to find that this extended even to their social life,
their dances, their secret societies, where all who showed themselves to
have the proper dispositions and qualifications were admitted without
distinction of previous condition or rank in their own homes.

Each class associated with itself, it is true, the members making no
close friendships with members of other classes, with the possible
exception of the juniors and seniors, where class feeling did not seem
to run so high. A man might know men of other classes, but he never took
them for chums.

The democratic spirit at Yale came mainly from athletics, as Frank soon
discovered. Every class had half a dozen teams--tennis, baseball,
football, the crew and so on. Everybody, even the "greasy" grinds,
seemed interested in the something, and so one or more of these
organization had some sort of a claim on everybody.

Besides this, there was the general work in the gymnasium, almost every
member of every class appearing there at some time or other, taking
exercise as a pastime or a necessity.

The 'Varsity athletic organization drew men from every class, not
excepting the professional and graduate schools, and, counting the
trials and everything, brought together hundreds of men.

In athletics strength and skill win, regardless of money or family; so
it happened that the poorest man in the university stood a show of
becoming the lion and idol of the whole body of young men.

Compulsory chapel every morning brought together the entire college, and
had its effect in making everybody acquainted with everybody else.

A great fosterer of the democratic spirit was the old Yale fence, over
the departure of which "old grads" are forever shedding bitter tears.
The student who had not known the old fence was inclined to smile
wearily over the expressions of regret at its loss, but still the "old
grad" continued to insist that the fence was one of the crowning
beauties of Yale, and that nothing can ever replace it.

On the old fence men read the newspapers, crammed for recitation,
gossiped, told stories, talked athletics, sung songs, flirted with
passing girls, and got acquainted. Oh, yes, it was a great fosterer of
the democratic spirit.

In the promotion of this spirit the drinking places at Yale are
important factors. At Harvard the men drink in their clubs, the most of
which are very expensive places, and in the Boston cafes. The Yale men
drink at Morey's, and Traeger's, and Billy's. Traeger's, where from a
score to fifty students may be seen any afternoon or evening, is
furnished in exact imitation of German students' drinking places. In the
back room is heavy furniture, quaint paintings, and woodwork and
carvings. It had a sort of subdued cathedral light, which fell softly on
the mugs which decorated the shelves and mantel.

Frank had proven that it was not necessary for a man to drink at Yale in
order to be esteemed as a good fellow. Frank was a total abstainer, and
his friends had found that nothing would induce him to drink or smoke.
At first they ridiculed him, but they came to secretly admire him, and
it is certain that his example was productive of no small amount of

Frank's acquaintances declared he had a mighty nerve, for he was able to
travel with a crowd that drank and smoked, and still refrained from
doing either. That was something difficult for them to understand.

It was apparent to everybody that Merriwell's popularity did not depend
on his ability to absorb beer or his generosity in opening fizz. It came
from his sterling qualities, his ability as an athlete, his natural
magnetism, and his genial, sunny nature. Although he was refined and
gentlemanly, there was not the least suggestion of anything soft or
effeminate about him.

It is not strange that Merriwell could scarcely believe it possible that
Paul Pierson had been in earnest. Such a thing seemed altogether too
good to be true.

"If it's a jolly, he'll not have the satisfaction of knowing that I
spread it," Frank decided. "Mum is the word with me, and I'll keep right
on working for a place with the freshmen. Oh, if we can win the race at

Frank knew that he stood well with Old Put, who was to manage the
freshman team in the spring. If the freshman crew could defeat the
sophs, Put would have more confidence than ever in Merriwell.

Frank was thinking these things over, when Harry came in with a rush,
slamming the door and tripping over a rug in his haste.

"Say! say! say!" he spluttered, staring at Frank.

"Well, what is it?"

"Is it true?"

"Is what true?"

"I heard Paul Pierson was seen talking to you on the campus."

"Well, what of that?"

"Then it is true?"


"Gracious! Pierson was never known to thing a do--er--do a thing like
that before!"

"Is that so?"

"Is it so! Why, you know it is so! Think of Pierson--the great and only
Pierson--talking to a freshman on the campus in the middle of the day!

"You are excited, Harry. Sit down and cool off."

"I'll sit down, but you must tell me what he was saying to you."

"Must I?"

"Must you? I should say yes! I am dying to know what he could be saying
to a freshman!"

Frank was troubled, for he saw his roommate's curiosity was aroused to
the highest notch, and he knew it would be no easy thing to satisfy
Harry without telling the truth.

"Go ahead," urged Rattleton. "What did Pierson say to you?"

"Oh, he said a number of things," replied Frank, awkwardly.

Harry lifted his eyebrows.

"Haven't a doubt of it," he returned; "but what are they?"

Frank hesitated, and a cloud came to his friend's face.

"You see, it is a private matter," Merriwell explained.


There was infinite sarcasm in that ejaculation.

"You know I would tell you if I could, Harry," said Frank, rising; "but
this is a matter which I--"

"Oh, you needn't trouble yourself!" Rattleton cut in, sharply. "I'll
live just as long and be just as happy."

"Now don't be angry, old man; that is foolish. You know I would tell you
if I could do so without--"

"Oh, I don't know about that! You are getting so you have secrets
lately, and you don't seem to trust me. Say, if you think I am a sneak
and a tattler, say so, for I want to know it. I don't care to room with
any fellow who doesn't trust me."

Harry was angry, and Frank felt very sorry.

"Old man," said Merriwell, meeting Rattleton's sullen glance with a
frank, open look, "I do trust you, and you should know it. There is no
fellow in college I would as soon room with. Still, you should know
there are some things a man cannot honorably tell even his chum."

Harry was silent.

"Perhaps there are some things about yourself or some friend that you
would not care to tell me," Frank went on. "I am not going to be
offended at that. It is your right to tell what you like and keep what
you like to yourself. A thing like that should not create feeling
between us."

"But this seems different."

"Does it? Well, I will explain that I told Pierson I would say nothing
of the matter to anybody. I do not believe in lying. Do you want me to
break my word in this case?"

"No!" cried Harry. "You are all right again, Frank! You are always
right! Don't you mind me when I get cranky. I'm a fundering thool--I
mean a thundering fool! But I do hope Pierson is not working a jolly on

"He may have tried to work a jolly on me, but he is not succeeding,"
smiled Frank, whose face had cleared. "And the quieter I keep the
smaller will be the chance of success, if that is his little game."



At the first opportunity Frank had a talk with Burnham Putnam, who had
charge of the freshman crew. He told Put all that had been learned about
the traitor, and Burn listened with interest and growing anger.

"Who do you think the traitor is?" he asked at last.

"Well, there is a doubt in my mind, and I do not want to accuse

"We have conducted our work with great secrecy."

"We have that."

"And I have repeatedly cautioned the men about talking."


"I have warned them that it might mean the ruin of our plans."

"You have."

"And still everything we have done seems to be known."

"That's right."

"The man who has spread this matter has the very best means for
obtaining information, as he has made no mistake."

"Well, what do you think?"

"The traitor may be the last man we would suspect. He must have some
cause for playing crooked, though."

"That is the way I regarded it."

Old Put thought the matter over for a few moments. He finally said:

"I don't want to do any man injustice, but the turn affairs have taken
leads me to think it would be a good plan to drop our spare men entirely
and put full dependence on a settled crew."

Frank was silent, and so Putnam asked:

"What do you think of that?"

"I think it is a very good plan, and I approve of it."

"Then it is settled. They shall be dropped at once, although it seems
that the mischief is done now."

"There may be no mischief in it, for the sophs ridicule the innovations
introduced, and they are surer than ever that they will have a soft
thing of it.

"They have been fooled several times this fall. I am sorry we shall not
be able to spring our innovations as a surprise, but we may give them a
warm time just the same."

That day Putnam informed the spare men that he did not think they would
be needed any more in training, but asked them to keep in condition till
after the race, in case anything might happen that they were wanted.

Gordon was enraged immediately, for he had held on and worked through
everything with the belief that he would finally be given a place on the

"So I am dropped, am I?" he said, bitterly. "Well, I rather think I
understand how it comes about."

Putnam did not like this, and a dark look came to his rugged face.

"What do you mean?" he demanded, sharply.

"Never mind," returned Walter, with a toss of his head. "It's no use to
talk it over, but I know a few things."

He turned as if he would go away, but Put put out a hand and stopped
him, whirling him sharply about.

"See here," said the sturdy manager of the freshman ball team and crew,
"I want to know just what you mean, Gordon."

"Oh, you do?"

Walter flung to the winds all hope of getting on the crew. He sneered in
Putnam's face.

"Yes, sir, I do! You talk as if you had not been treated right."

"Have I?"

"I think you have, sir."

"I know I have not!"

Putnam was angry, and his face betrayed it.

"You must prove that, Gordon!"

"I can."

"Do so."

"I may not prove it to your satisfaction, but I can prove it just as
hard. You have told me that I am in fine form, and I know that you have
said I have as fine back and shoulders as may be found in the whole

"I did say that," calmly acknowledged Old Put.

"Well, that counts for something."

"But it does not make you suitable for the crew. There is something more
needed, as you should know. You must be able to row."

"Is there a man on the crew who pulls a prettier stroke than I? Just
answer me that, Burn Putnam?"

"You do pull a pretty stroke, but I have been convinced that the men on
the crew now will hold out, and it is not best to take you in place of
any of them."

"Who convinced you? I know! It was Merriwell! He is holding Rattleton on
the crew simply because they are chums, and you are letting him twist
you around his finger! Ha! ha! ha!"

Gordon's laugh was sarcastic and cutting and it brought a hot flush to
the face of Old Put.

"You are insolent, Gordon!" he said. "This is an open insult!"

"Is it? Well, I notice you do not deny that Merriwell has held Rattleton
on the crew in my place."

"I deny that he has held any one on the crew that is not fully capable
of remaining there on his own merit."

"That sounds first rate! Oh, well, I don't care, anyway! Your crew is
bound to make a show of itself, and it will be beaten hands down by the

"So that is the opinion you hold, is it?"

"It is."

"And I suppose you have held it all along?"

"I have."

"Then I have made no mistake in dropping you from the crew. You have
quite satisfied me on that point, Gordon. No man is suitable to hold a
place on any kind of a crew or team if he holds it in contempt and has
no confidence in it. He will not work, and his feeling of contempt will
communicate itself to others, thus demoralizing the whole lot of them.
Even if he kept his contempt to himself, he is not the man to work his
heart out in the effort to win. He thinks it is no use to kill himself,
and he will not make his best effort at any time. It is my policy to
drop such a man, in case I find him out, and drop him hard. Yes, I am
quite satisfied, Gordon."

Walter bit his tongue to keep back the fierce words which arose to his
lips. He felt himself quivering with anger.

"All right! all right!" he said, his voice unsteady. "I am glad you are
satisfied! But wait till the race is over. Rattleton's glory will be
gone then. Don't think that he will pull his heart out. A man who smokes
as much as he does can't pull."

"Smokes! Rattleton does not smoke at all. I observed him at the turkey
roast. He absolutely refused to smoke."

"Because you were present; but I know for a fact that he smokes behind
your back, and he smokes almost constantly."

"I cannot believe it. Merriwell would tell me."

"Would he? Ha! ha! ha! You don't know Frank Merriwell yet, but you will
find him out. That fellow will go to any extreme to injure me, and so it
is not likely he would tell anything on his chum that would cause you to
give me his place."

"I am sure you do Merriwell an injustice. He is a man who does not smoke
himself, and he would not allow his roommate to injure himself smoking.
However, I will find out about this."

"Do so; but I have found out about it already. I have certain means of
obtaining information."

"So have the sophs, and they have obtained a great deal," Putnam shot at
Walter as he turned away.

Putnam collared Merriwell at the first opportunity and demanded to know
the truth about Rattleton's smoking.

"I know you will tell me the truth, Merry," said Burnham, "and it is
important that you should."

"Some one has been telling you he is smoking?"


"Well, he is not smoking now. I had a talk with him and he swore off. He
is not touching tobacco in any form, and I give you my word on that."

"That's all I want," said Putnam, quite satisfied.

After this the freshman crew took to practicing nights, and it was said
that they worked as no crew of freshies every worked before. One night
they ran up against the regular 'Varsity crew, and gave it a hot pull,
but finally seemed to be beaten.

The report of this brush spread abroad, and the men on the regular crew
were rather complimentary toward the freshmen. They said the youngsters
worked together in a most surprising way, and it was predicted that they
would give their rivals a hard pull.

The sophs were inclined to regard this as a jolly, and they continued
confident of winning over the freshmen with the greatest ease.



"I say, Merry," said Rattleton, the day before the race was to come off,
"you can't guess who Gordon is chumming with lately."

"I don't know as I can. Who is it?"


"Get out!"

"That's on the level."

"But Ditson the same as suggested outright that Gordon was the traitor
who had told the sophs so much."

"That is true, but Gordon doesn't know it."

"Well, he ought to. What do you think Ditson is doing?"

"Oh, he is working Gordon, who has been drinking like a fish since Old
Put dropped him."

Frank was troubled. He did not approve of Ditson, and he feared that
Gordon had a weak nature, so that he could be easily influenced. Walter
had greatly taken to heart being dropped by Putnam, and he seemed
utterly reckless and careless about himself. If he did not look out, he
was almost sure to get into trouble and find himself "rusticated" or
sent home for good.

Merriwell could not help thinking it possible that Gordon had been
innocent and that a mistake had been made in dropping him, as it might
discourage him so that he would go to the bad. This worried Frank not a

"I'll have to make Ditson call a halt," he said to Harry. "He must be
told to let up on Gordon."

"Now, that is dead right," nodded Harry, who was inclined to be generous
and kindly toward the fellow who might have filled his place on the
freshman crew. "I tell you that Ditson is a bad man, and I would not
trust him as far as I can fling a cow by the tail."

"I'll get after him at the first opportunity," promised Frank.

Harry went out and had a talk with Bandy Robinson about the matter.
Robinson admitted that he did not have much use for either Gordon or
Ditson, but he was inclined to think Gordon the better fellow of the

That night Merriwell and Rattleton retired early, but they were not
allowed to go to sleep. Barely were they in bed before there was a knock
on the door, and they found Robinson and one of the fellows who lived in
the house were there.

"Say," said Bandy, "Ditson and Gordon are down at Billy's, and Gordon
has a great load on. I have told Ditson to let him alone, but was
advised to mind my own business. Ditson is deliberately getting Gordon

"Is that so?" cried Frank as he made a jump for his clothes. "Well, I
think I will have a talk with Mr. Ditson."

Frank and Harry dressed quickly, and away they went with Robinson and
his companion toward Billy's.

On arriving at Billy's they were told that Ditson and Gordon were in the
little corner behind the screen. Gordon was opening champagne, and both
fellows were pretty well intoxicated.

Harry slipped up behind the screen, stood on a chair, and peered over.
As he did so he heard Ditson say:

"That's right, Walter. Merriwell rubbed dirt all over you. He is trying
to become another king, like Browning, but you can bet I don't lose any
opportunity to throw him down."

"Throw him down! throw him down!" echoed Gordon, thickly. "That's right;
but you can't throw him down hard enough to keep him down."

"I don't know about that," declared Roll, with drunken sobriety. "If we
were to work together, Gordon, old man, we could hurt him. As it is,
you've helped me out wonderfully in what I've done."

"Have I? How?"

Harry looked around and saw Merriwell preparing to go into the corner
behind the screen. Then Rattleton made a few violent gestures, which
plainly told his roommate to refrain.

Frank looked astonished. What could Harry be up to that he appeared so
excited? He was motioning for Frank to come forward cautiously and join

Now, Merriwell did not believe in playing the eavesdropper on any one,
but he fancied Harry saw something he wished to show him, so he went
forward lightly, placed another chair, got upon it, and looked over the

In the meantime Ditson was saying:

"Yes, you've helped me. You know Merriwell is coaching the freshman
crew--or has been--for the race to-morrow. Well, I don't let any chance
go to get a jab at him."

"I don't see what that has to do with my helping you," mumbled Gordon,
vainly trying to light a cigarette with a broken match on which no
brimstone was left.

"Course yer don't," laughed Ditson, who was almost as full as his
companion. "This isn't the first time we have been out together, eh, old


"Only we had to be quiet about it when you were on the crew--or when you
thought you were on it."

"That's right."

"We have been pretty full once or twice."

"I thought so when we got up the next morning."

"Well, you have told me lots of things about Merriwell and what he was
doing with the crew. You're a great talker when you're loaded."

Gordon stiffened up a bit and tried to give his companion a sober stare,
but the effort was a ludicrous failure.

"Wazzyer mean?" he asked. "'Fi told you anything it was in strictest

"Cert; but then, you know, anything to knife Merriwell."

Gordon braced off, his hands on the table before him. Ditson laughed and
went on:

"Now, if we make a combine against him we can do him bad."

"Wazzyer mean?" Gordon again demanded. "Mean that you repeated anything
I tol' you in confidence when I was full?"

"Not publicly," grinned Ditson. "I may have used it to injure Merriwell,
but I was careful how I used it."

Walter thumped the table with his fist, growing angry suddenly.

"You're a hanged two-faced fraud!" he huskily cried. "That's jusht what
you are, Ditson! Somebody's been telling things to the sophs. They found
out everything. It was you! And you pumped your points out of me when I
was full."

"That didn't hurt you," Ditson hastened to declare. "It was entirely to
hurt Merriwell, and he is our common enemy."

"Don't care a continental if he is!" cried Walter. "I don't like him,
but you have hurt me. Bet anything Merriwell and Old Put thought I had
blowed! I didn't have any confidence in Merriwell's methods, but I
didn't blow to the sophs! Still I was to blame for lettin' you get me
full and pump me. And the fellows think I'm a tattler! Well, I'll be
hanged if I don't even up with you by hammering the face off you right

Walter stood up and attempted to grasp Ditson's arm, but he was so full
that he made a miscalculation and caught nothing but empty air. Then he
struck across the table at Roll.

"Oh, you would hit me, would you!" grated Ditson, who saw that his
companion was much the drunker. "You would hammer my face! Well, perhaps
I'll do some hammering myself!"

Then he caught up an empty champagne bottle and swung it over his head
as if to strike Gordon.

Like a flash Merriwell's hand darted down over the top of the screen and
snatched the bottle from Roll's grasp.

A moment later Frank went around the screen and confronted the two lads,
still holding the bottle in his hand.

"I saved you from having a cracked head that time, Gordon," he said as
he collared Ditson. "And I have found out who the traitor is. I am glad
you are not the man. As for this thing"--he gave Ditson a shake that
caused the fellow's teeth to click together--"he has shown to-night that
he is a most contemptible cur! I hated to think him as dirty as he has
shown himself to be."

Frank's face was full of unutterable disgust for Ditson.

Other freshmen came crowding into the corner, and Ditson saw himself
regarded with scorn and contempt by everybody. He cowed like a whipped
cur and whined:

"I was simply fooling; it was all a jolly. I never did anything of the
sort. I was simply trying to get Gordon on the string by telling him

"Well, you got yourself on a string, and pretty well tangled up.
Gentlemen"--turning to the freshmen present--"here is the traitor who
has been giving our secrets away to the sophs. Both Rattleton and myself
heard him acknowledge it. Take a good look at him, so you will know him
in the future."

"Oh, we'll know him!" cried many voices.

"It's a mistake--" Roll began.

"That's right," agreed Frank. "The worst mistake you ever made. At last
you have shown just what you are, and everybody is dead onto you. Get
out of this!"

"Tar and feather him!" shouted a voice.

"Let him go," advised Merriwell. "He is covered with a coating of
disgrace that will not come off as easily as tar and feathers."

Ditson sneaked away, the hisses of his classmates sounding in his ears.
The look on his face as he rolled his eyes toward Merriwell before
leaving the room was malicious in the extreme.

Frank turned to Walter, who did not seem to know what to do.

"Gordon, you have found that fellow out, which is a lucky thing for
you," he said. "He would have ruined you. At the same time, I have found
out that you had no hand in the sneaking work that has been going on of
late. You were simply an unconscious and unwilling tool, and it did me
good to see you resent it when you found out what Ditson had been

Walter tried to say something, but he choked and stammered. Then he
muttered something about having a drink all around, but Frank assured
him that he had taken quite enough.

Rattleton and Robinson led the crowd away from the corner, and Merriwell
had a brief talk with Gordon, Then Harry and Frank took Gordon out and
did not leave him till he was safely in his room. As they were going
away Walter thickly said:


"What is it?"

"I want to 'pologize."

"What for?"

"Things I've said 'bout you."

"I don't know about them."

"'Cause I've said 'em behind your back. Sneakin' thing to do! Merriwell,
I'm 'shamed--I am, by thunder! I guess you're all right. Don't b'lieve
you ever done me dirt. Is it all right, old man?"

"Yes, it's all right."

"Say, that makes me feel better. It does, by thunder! You're a good
fellow, Merriwell, and I'm--I'm a fool! I talk too much! Drink too much,
too. You don't talk and you don't drink. You're all right. Good-night,

"Good-night, Gordon."

When Frank retired the second time that night it was with a feeling of
intense relief, for the perplexing problem as to the identity of the
traitor had been settled, and he felt that he had done Gordon a good
turn by getting him away from Ditson.

And Ditson? Well, he deserved to pass a wretched night, and he did. He
felt that he was forever disgraced at Yale, but he did not seem to
consider it his own fault. He blamed Merriwell for it all, and his heart
was hot with almost murderous rage. Over and over he swore that he would
get square some way--any way.



The day for the race came at last--a sunny day, with the air clear and
cold. Just the right sort of a day for the best of work.

Everybody seemed bound for Lake Saltonstall. They were going out in
carriages, hacks, coaches, on foot, by train, and in many other ways.
The road to the lake was lined with people. The students were shouting,
singing and blowing horns. One crowd of freshmen had a big banner, on
which was lettered:

"'Umpty-eight, she is great,
She will win sure as fate."

Evidently the sophomores had been informed about this banner in advance,
for they carried one which declared:

"'Umpty-eight isn't in it,
She'll be beaten in a minute."

How they shouted and taunted each other! How they raced along the road!
How sure everybody was that he could pick the winner!

The scene at the lake was beautiful and inspiring, for the shore was
lined with people and there were flags and bright colors everywhere. On
the point there was a great mob, composed mostly of students, who were
yelling and cheering and flaunting their flags. The boats on the lake
were well filled and gay with colors. New Haven swell society was fairly
represented, and it certainly was an occasion to stir youthful blood.

The freshman-sophomore-junior race came fourth on the list, and it was
to be the event of the day. Strangely enough, the juniors were not
reckoned as dangerous by either freshmen or sophomores. Between the last
two classes was to come the real tug of war.

In the boathouse the great Bob Collingwood, of the 'Varsity crew, gave
the freshmen some advice, and they listened to him with positive awe. He
had heard of Merriwell's attempt to introduce the English stroke, and he
did not approve of it.

After he had got through Merriwell took his men aside into another part
of the boathouse and warned them against thinking of anything
Collingwood had said.

"He is all right when he is talking to men who use his style of oar and
the regular American stroke, but you will be broke up sure as fate if
you think of what he has said that disagrees with my instructions. It is
too late now to make any change, and we must win or lose as we have

"That's right," agreed every man.

"We'll win," said Rattleton, resolutely.

They could hear the cheering as the other races took place, and at last
it came their turn. How their hearts thumped! And it was Merriwell that
quieted their unsteady nerves with a few low, calm words, which seemed
to give them the bracer which they needed before going into the race.

'Umpty-eight yelled like a whole tribe of Indians, wildly waving flags,
hats and handkerchiefs, as the freshman boat shot out upon the lake,
with Merriwell at the stroke. They did not row in the buff, as the
weather was too cold, but all wore thin white shirts, with
"'Umpty-eight" lettered in blue on the breast.

Old rowers looked the freshmen over with astonishment, for they gave the
appearance of well-drilled amateurs, and not greenhorns. There were a
few expressions of approval. The novel stroke was watched and
criticised, and an old grad who was regarded as authority declared that
the man who set the stroke for that crew was a comer, providing he was
built of the right kind of stuff.

Then came the sophs and juniors, both pulling prettily and gracefully,
and both being cheered by their classes. The juniors were light, but
they expected to walk away from the freshmen, as they had an expert at
the stroke and had been coached by Collingwood.

Soon the three crews lined up, and the voice of the referee was heard:

"Are you ready?"

Dead silence.


Away shot the boats, and the sophs took the lead directly, their short,
snappy stroke giving the boat the required impetus in short order. The
juniors held close on to them, while the freshmen seemed to take
altogether too much time to get away, striking a regular, long, swinging
stroke that seemed to be "overdone," as a jubilant sophomore spectator
characterized it.

The sophs along the shore and on the point were wild with delight. They
danced and howled, confident of victory at the very outset. The juniors
were enthusiastic, but not so demonstrative as the sophomores. The
freshmen cheered, but there seemed to be disappointment in the sound.

"Whoop 'er up for 'Umpty-seven!" howled the sophs. "Whoop 'er up! 'Rah!
'rah! 'rah! This is a cinch!"

"'Umpty-eight is in it; she will catch 'em in a minute," sang the
freshmen. "She is crawling on them!"

"All she can do is crawl!" yelled a soph, but his remark was drowned in

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