Frank Merriwell, Junior’s, Golden Trail - Burt L. Standish - ebook

Frank Merriwell, Junior’s, Golden Trail ebook

burt l standish



Frank Merriwell, Junior’s, Golden Trail- the story is not much different from other author’s stories. The plot is based on the adventures of the protagonist. Frank tries to talk about a dream that has been tormenting him for a long time. All this is not just so, the dream has a great value on the further development of the plot. Such an intriguing development of the plot doesn’t let the reader get bored.

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Liczba stron: 104

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“Look here, you fellows,” cried Ballard, “if I don’t get this out of my system I’m going to explode. It will only take a minute or two, and–”

“Go on and explode,” cut in Clancy unfeelingly. “Can’t you see that Chip and I are busy?”

“But this dream was a corker, Red, and I–”

“For the love of Mike, Pink, I wish you’d cork. Wait till the work out there is wound up and then you can–wow! How was that for a tackle, Chip?”

Three separate and distinct times, there in the grand stand, Billy Ballard had tried to tell his chums, young Frank Merriwell and Owen Clancy, of a dream he had the night before. It seemed to have occurred to suddenly, for the forenoon and part of the afternoon had slipped away without any attempt on Ballard’s part to rehearse the fancies that had afflicted him in his sleep. But now he was feverishly eager, and the rebuffs he took from the annoyed Clancy only exasperated him.

It was hardly an opportune moment, however, to talk dreams and omens. Merry was wrapped up in a practice game of football, and was alternately scrutinizing players and hastily jotting down notes with a pencil. Clancy was not making any memoranda, but snappy work on the gridiron was claiming his full attention. With a sigh of resignation, Ballard bottled up his remarks and sat back on the hard boards.

Only Merry and his two chums were in the grand stand. The practice game was between the regular Ophir Athletic Club eleven and a scrub team. It had been put on for Frank’s exclusive benefit.

For two straight years the O. A. C. had gone down to inglorious defeat before their rivals from Gold Hill–thirty-six to nothing on last Thanksgiving Day–and the sting of those defeats had made Ophir pessimistic and their eleven a joke. Another Thanksgiving Day was less than two months ahead, and the Ophir fellows were turning to Merriwell for help. They felt that if any one could pick an eleven from the club members and round them, into winning form, it was he, and he alone.

This was not the first practice game staged for Merriwell. The first one had degenerated into a farce, for the spirit of fun had taken untimely grip of the players and a promising exhibition had gone to pieces on a reef of horseplay. Spink and Handy, for the club, had waited upon Merry and tendered apologies, and a second game had been arranged. Circumstances over which Merry had had little control had kept him away from that second game; and now, four days later, the Ophir eleven were gallantly retrieving themselves.

The two teams had ranged themselves across the field, and a scrub foot had booted the oval well down toward the regulars’ goal. A nervous full back waited to receive that opening kick, while his teammates rushed at him to form their flying screen of interference. The ball evaded the arms that reached for it, while another back fell on it and kept it clear of the clutches of a scrub end.

Frank scrawled a note on the paper that lay on his knee. “That’s Leversee,” he remarked, “but I think he’ll steady down.”

“That scrub end is faster than a streak of greased lightning, Chip,” commented the admiring Clancy. “Good material, what?”

Presently came the first scrimmage, and a regular half back, all beef and brawn, went down in a flurry. The scrub defense was like a stone wall. It was the second down and four yards to gain. The regular interferers dashed to get around one end of the line, but were flung to right and left, and the runner, dropped more than a yard short of the required distance.

The regular full back retreated for a punt. Fast and far the ball sailed into the scrub field, which proved that the back’s feet were not nervous, no matter if his hands and arms had been a trifle unsteady.

“Bully!” muttered Frank, and scrawled another notation.

The scrubs, going up against the regulars’ defense, found it impossible to make any decisive gains. Vigor and rocklike endurance marked the clashes, and both regulars and scrubs had to punt and punt again. Fake plays were riddled by swift and sagacious end rushes, for one side or the other, hurling attacks against the center were crushed and flung back; and, more and more as the battle raged, it became evident that the regular eleven, while good, were no whit better than the scrubs.

The fight in the first half was carried into the last minute of the play. The whistle separated the combatants, and neither side had scored.

During the interval that followed Ballard sought to tell his dream, Merriwell and Clancy, however, were in close and earnest conversation regarding the players and had no time for anything not connected with the game.

“With material like that to choose from, Chip,” said Clancy, “it ought not to be much of a trick to select an eleven that would put it all over Gold Hill.”

“From all I can hear, Clan,” Merry answered, “the Gold Hill bunch is a fast one. I don’t know what we can do. The Ophirites are liable to hit, their funny bone in the last half and turn the performance into a farce comedy.”

“Never again, Chip. Once was enough.”

“What happens once is always liable to happen again,” Frank answered, “although I’m hoping for the best.”

His fears were not realized. The last half of the game, although faulty in spots, was, on the whole a creditable performance. Merriwell was more than pleased. When Spink and Handy, dusty and breathless, halted on their way to the showers and the dressing rooms to ask his opinion, Merry gave them the praise that was their due.

“We can make up an eleven here that ought to do things to Gold Hill, fellows,” said he.

“They say that Gold Hill is so sure of getting our scalps for the third time,” said Spink, “that they haven’t begun their fall work.”

“Which makes everything look all the brighter for Ophir,” laughed Frank. “Too much confidence is worse than not enough. You seem to think that I can help you, although I–”

“It’s a cinch you can help us!” broke in Handy. “Wasn’t your father the star coach at Yale?”

A slight frown crossed Frank’s face.

“Don’t try to pin any of dad’s medals on me, Handy,” said Frank. “I didn’t inherit any of his couching ability. Dad gave me a good, clean bringing-up. Ever since I’ve been old enough to waddle, he has made me stand on my own feet. If you fellows are bound that I can help you, I’ll give some suggestions and do my best. I’ll get the suggestions in shape and give them to you in a day or so.”

The regulars and scrubs, who had grouped themselves at a little distance behind Spink and Handy, gave a delighted cheer. Frank, putting away his pencil and paper, smiled as he watched them trot away toward the gym.

“Now,” said Ballard, with a show of injured dignity, “I wonder if you fellows can spare a little of your valuable time?”

“What’s biting you, Pink?” inquired Frank.

“It’s a dream,” said Clancy derisively. “Pink has been seeing things at night, and he has been boiling over to tell us about it ever since this practice game started. Why don’t you get a dream book, you crazy, chump,” he added to Ballard, “and figure the visions out for yourself?”

“Or a joke book,” said Frank. “You can do about as much figuring from that as from anything else.”

“Oh, blazes!” exclaimed Ballard. “Don’t make light of this dream. I just happened to remember, since we reached this grand stand, that I’ve had it three nights in succession. When a dream comes to you three times like that it’s supposed to mean something.”

“Sure,” agreed Clancy, wagging his head; “it means that for three nights you have–er–eaten not wisely but too well. How’s that, Chip? Pretty good, eh?” He straightened up, looked grave, and went on to Ballard; “Dreams, William, are the result of tantrums in the tummy. You load up a suffering organ with grub that’s so rich it affects the imagination; consequently, when the razmataz, in a state of coma, projects itself into the medulla oblongata–”

Ballard, yelling wildly, made a jump for Clancy. Merry, however, had already taken hint in hand.

“That sounds too much like Professor Phineas Borredaile,” said Frank. “Call off the dog, Clan;” and he smothered his red-headed chum and pushed him down on the hard boards.

“I’ll be good, Chip,” murmured Clancy, in a stilted voice. “Take your hands, off my face and let me breathe.”

Frank released him with a laugh, and Clancy smoothed himself out.

“I was only expounding,” explained the red-headed chap, “and now that the prof isn’t around to do it, a substitute has to take hold.”

“Pink isn’t the only one who has taken a foolish powder,” said Merry.

“And, talking about Phineas, what do you suppose the old fossil is up to?” Clancy went on, just a shade of anxiety sifting into his tones. “It’s four days now, since he suddenly made up his mind to go over Gold Hill. What did he go for? And why is he staying away? We haven’t heard a word from him since he left.”

Merriwell looked serious.

“All that has been bothering me, Clan,” he acknowledged “Since we found the prof in that deserted, mining camp, and helped him file a location on that mining claim, we’re responsible for him, in a way. He need, looking after, and we have’t been on the job at all.”

“After you disappeared mysteriously the other night,” remarked Clancy, “Mr. Bradlaugh had an idea that you had gone over to Gold Hill to see the prof. Mr. Bradlaugh called up the Bristow Hotel, at the Hill, and talked with Borrodaile. He said he hadn’t seen you, on–”

“I know about that,” Merry interrupted. “That was four days ago, and we haven’t seen Borrodaile nor had a word from him since. Honest, fellows, I’m getting worried. Before we started out here this afternoon I asked Mr. Bradlaugh to try and get the prof on the phone, and to ask him when he intended coming back to Ophir. Until I hear from dad, in answer to that letter I sent the night I was taken out to the Bar Z Ranch, I won’t know what we’re expected to do with the prof. Meanwhile, we’ve got to keep an eye on him. He’s the sole owner of a rich mining claim, and he’s about as capable of looking after his interests as a blanket Indian.”

“That’s right,” assented Clancy. “Borrodaile can tell you all about the Jurassic Period, and can give you the complete history of the Neanderthal man from A to Izizard, but I’ll guarantee to sell him a gold brick in five minutes. As for business–well, he doesn’t know any more about ordinary, everyday business than a–er–troglodyte, whatever that is.”

“My dream was about the professor,” struck in Ballard.

Merry and Clancy turned at that and gave their chum some attention.

“Come over with it, Pink,” said Frank. “There’s nothing in the dream, of course, but the fact that the professor figured in it proves you were fretting a little on his account yourself.”

“Well, it was like this,” returned Ballard, glad that the opportunity had finally come to relieve his mind. “I seemed to be back in that pile of ruins that used to be Happenchance, the played-out mining camp. From that claim of the professor’s stretched a row of nuggets, clear from the Picket Post Mountains to Gold Hill. They were big nuggets, too, running all the way from one the size of my hat to a whole lot as big as a washtub–”

“Whew!” grinned Clancy. “Go on, Pink; don’t mind me.”

“The nuggets,” proceeded Ballard, frowning at Clancy, “were arranged like stepping-stones–one here, another a few feet beyond, and another beyond that, and so on.”

“Regular golden trail,” laughed Clancy. “That was some dream, Pink.”

“The professor,” resumed Ballard, “was running along the trail, hat off, his bald head glimmering in the sun, and the tails of his long coat flying out behind. Three or four nuggets behind him, running after him as fast as they could go, were several hard-looking citizens. That’s about all. For three times, now, I’ve seen the prof chased over that golden trail by desperadoes. I’ve never be able to see how the chase came out, for always, just at the critical moment, I’d wake up. What do you think of it?”

Before Frank could answer, some one appeared in the clubhouse door, across the athletic field from the grand stand, and trumpeted Merriwell’s name through his hands.

“Hello!” answered Frank, getting up and shouting.

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