Burt L. Standish.

Frank Merriwell at Yale online

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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."

"How?"

"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
roommate."

"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!




CHAPTER XX.

A HOT CHASE.


"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
farmer.

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.




CHAPTER XXI

ROAST TURKEY.


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
Grant.

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

"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
ear:

"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
you?"

"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
lucky.

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
hose!"

"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."

"What!"

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
remembered.




CHAPTER XXII.

A SURPRISE FOR FRANK.


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."

"Agreed."

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
unprecedented.

"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
listened.

"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


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