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       Frank Merriwell's Athletes; Or, The Boys Who Won, p.1

          
Frank Merriwells Athletes; Or, The Boys Who Won


  Produced by Roger Frank and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team athttps://www.pgdp.net.

  Frank Merriwell's Athletes

  OR

  The Boys Who Won

  BY

  BURT L. STANDISH

  Author of the famous _Merriwell Stories_.

  STREET & SMITH CORPORATION

  PUBLISHERS

  79-89 Seventh Avenue, New York

  Copyright, 1903

  By STREET & SMITH

  Frank Merriwell's Athletes

  All rights reserved, including that of translation into foreign languages, including the Scandinavian.

  Contents

  CHAPTER I--FRANK AND HIS FRIENDS CHAPTER II--BARNEY'S STORY CHAPTER III--IN A QUANDARY CHAPTER IV--INZA'S LETTER CHAPTER V--TO THE RESCUE CHAPTER VI--FRANK BUYS A YACHT CHAPTER VII--THE STORM CHAPTER VIII--A CHANGE OF SCENE CHAPTER IX--A DISCUSSION ABOUT GIRLS CHAPTER X--THE YALE COMBINE CHAPTER XI--THE STRUGGLE FOR LIFE CHAPTER XII--FRANK IS TROUBLED CHAPTER XIII--A GAME FOR TWO CHAPTER XIV--A GOOD START CHAPTER XV--A HOT DASH CHAPTER XVI--THE ARRIVAL AT EMBUDO CHAPTER XVII--OFF FOR PUEBLO CHAPTER XVIII--CARVER'S OPINION CHAPTER XIX--ON DANGEROUS GROUND CHAPTER XX--THE SUN DANCE CHAPTER XXI--THE RELIGIOUS RACE CHAPTER XXII--THE BALL GAME CHAPTER XXIII--THE WRESTLING MATCH CHAPTER XXIV--THE FOOT RACE CHAPTER XXV--JOHN SWIFTWING'S FAREWELL CHAPTER XXVI--MORNING AT RODNEY'S RANCH CHAPTER XXVII--COWBOY PECULIARITIES CHAPTER XXVIII--INDIAN CHARLIE IS SURPRISED CHAPTER XXIX--HANS AND THE BRONCHO CHAPTER XXX--INDIAN CHARLIE'S GAME CHAPTER XXXI--FRANK MERRIWELL'S RIDE CHAPTER XXXII--INSOLENCE OF BILLY CORNMEAL CHAPTER XXXIII--SHOOTING CHAPTER XXXIV--FRANK SHOWS HIS SKILL CHAPTER XXXV--WHO FIRED THE SHOT CHAPTER XXXVI--A CAST FOR LIFE--CONCLUSION

  Frank Merriwell's Athletes

  CHAPTER I--FRANK AND HIS FRIENDS

  "Say, boys, just listen to that racket!"

  It was Jack Diamond who spoke, and he addressed Frank Merriwell andseveral others of his friends.

  "It is certainly awful," came from Harry Rattleton, one of the boys.

  "I can't stand much of this," put in Bruce Browning. "It is enough todrive one crazy."

  The boys had just entered the outer portals of a Chinese theatre,located in Chinatown, the Celestial portion of San Francisco. There wasa great crowd, and it was only with difficulty that they made their wayalong the narrow and gloomy passages leading to the theatre proper.

  Frank Merriwell and his chums from Yale College had filled in theirsummer vacation by a trip on bicycles from New York to San Francisco.They had had numerous adventures, but had come out "right side up withcare," as Frank put it.

  The party was composed of Frank Merriwell, Harry Rattleton, a formerroommate at Yale; Jack Diamond, from Virginia; Bruce Browning, fat, lazyand good-natured; and Toots, a colored boy from the Merriwell homestead.

  On reaching California, Frank had fallen in with Bart Hodge, aschoolmate of years gone by, when Frank had attended Fardale MilitaryAcademy. Bart had been in serious trouble, and it was Frank who helpedhim out of it. For some time Hodge had found it best to "keep shady,"and his troubles were not yet a thing of the past.

  As the boys walked farther into the entrance of the Chinese theatre, aclanging medley of the most horrible sounds came up from the passagethat lay at the foot of a steep flight of stairs.

  Frank Merriwell laughed.

  "That is music, old fellow!" he said.

  Then came another burst of sounds, more horrible than the first, ifpossible. There was a banging of brass, a clanging of gongs, a roaringof drums, and a wild shrieking and wailing as of ten thousand fiddlescut of tune.

  Jack jabbed his fingers into his ears and actually turned pale.

  "Music!" he gasped--"that music? That is enough to drive any man crazy!It is the most frightful thing I ever heard. Music! You are joking,Merriwell!"

  "Not a bit of it," declared Frank. "Aren't we on our way to witness aplay in a Chinese theatre?"

  "Well, I supposed so, but it strikes me now that this is one of yourjokes. You have put up a job on me. You are trying to horse me."

  "Nothing of the sort, my dear boy."

  Jack still continued suspicious.

  "Who ever heard of such a way of getting into a theatre?" he exclaimed."We entered a narrow door in an old building, came through a long, darkpassage, climbed stairs, descended stairs, turned, twisted, climbed morestairs, turned again, and now here we are with another flight of stairsbefore us. A fine way of getting into a theatre!"

  "That is the way the Chinese do the trick. Eh, John?"

  The Chinaman who had been acting as their guide, and who stood on thefirst stair, waiting for them to follow him downward, nodded his head,saying:

  "Allee samee legler way."

  "It may be the regular way," admitted Jack; "but I doubt if I could findmy way out of here alone. This would be a fine place to run an enemyinto if one wished to murder him secretly. There would be little dangerthat the police would ever find out anything about it."

  Frank made a signal to the guide, and then the trio slowly descended thestairs, which were dimly lighted by paper-shaded lamps.

  At the foot of the stairs the boys passed a door that stood open,enabling them to look into a room that was filled with bunks, upon manyof which lay Chinamen who were sleeping or smoking opium. The powerfulodor of "dope" that came from that room was sickening.

  Then they came to an ordinary step-ladder that led downward again.

  Jack halted in dismay.

  "Why," he said, "we must be underground now! Where are we going?"

  "To the theatre, dear boy. Hear the music."

  "Why will you persist in calling it that? It seems that those soundscome from the infernal regions, and this passage must lead down to theold fellow's reception-room."

  "Glit to theatal plitty soon," assured the guide.

  Down the ladder they went, and then, at an open door, paid an admissionfee, after which they entered a room that was packed with human beingsand was not at all well ventilated.

  The room had a low ceiling, from which Chinese lanterns were suspended,shedding a soft light over the scene, which was so strange that itactually seemed weird to the American visitors.

  At either side of the theatre was a space railed off and raised somewhatabove the level of the general floor. This was reserved for women, andwas well filled. In the pit sat a closely packed throng of men, all withhats upon their heads.

  There were a great number of Caucasian visitors, drawn to the place bycuriosity.

  The stage was on a level with the raised portion reserved for women, andit was filled with actors, many of whom were richly dressed in orientalrobes.

  Instead of sitting in front of the stage, like an American orchestra,the musicians were on the stage.

  As for scenery, there was none to speak of, save a few movable screens.It was not thought necessary to attempt to please the eye further thanin the matter of costumes.

  As no female actors are ever permitted on the stage of a Chinesetheatre, the female _roles_ were played by youths, who were carefullymade up for their parts.

  The Chinese guide found seats for Frank and Jack, but retired himself tothe back of the room, where he stood and waited till they should seeenough of the show and wish to go.

  The audience never applauded, although there was a quick ripplingresponse to what seemed to be an occasional witty passage or cleversituation.

  But the musicians--the musicians wearied and tortured Jack Diamond'ssoul. They were there to accentuate the emotional parts of the play, andthey seemed bent upon doing their duty and doing it fully. At times theypoured forth a maddening volume of sounds, and then they seemed to getweary and rest, with the exception of two or three stringed instruments,which sawed, and squeaked, and squawled, and growled, and muttered tillthe Virginian's blood was cold and his hair standing like porcupinequills.

  "Frightful! frightful!" he gasped.

  Frank chuckled with satisfaction. It was a new experience for Diamond,and Merriwell was enjoying it as one always enjoys introducing hisfriends to something new and novel.

  "My dear fellow," whispered Frank, "I fear your ear is not educated toappreciate the beauties of Chinese music."

  "Music! music! Why, a boiler factory in full blast makes better musicthan this!"

  "You are prejudiced. It is a fact that their music is based on ahestablished scale and a scientific theory."

  "Oh, come! that's too much! Why, see, those players have no leader, andevery man is going it alone for himself. It is exactly the same as ifevery person in one of our orchestras should play a different tune thananybody else and all play at the same time--only I don't believe theseheathens are playing tunes at all. They are just hammering, and tooting,and sawing away, and letting it go at that."

  "It does seem so," confessed Frank, "although at certain points they allcome together with a grand burst, like sprinters making a dash."

  Jack's hand dropped on Frank's wrist.

  "Look!" he excitedly whispered, pointing to a Chinaman who had risenamid the spectators at a short distance. "What is that fellow going todo? I saw him conceal a knife in his sleeve."

  "And he acts as if he meant to use it on some one," said Frank, madesuspicious by the fellow's manner. "That's exactly what he is up to!"

  But the Chinaman did not succeed in his purpose, for a stout youthsuddenly arose from a seat and gave the heathen a terrific crack on thejaw, knocking him down in a twinkling.

  "Take thot, ye thafe av th' worruld!" cried the one who had deliveredthe blow. "It's Barney Mulloy thot wur watchin' yez all th' toime, yehaythen spalpane!"

  "Barney Mulloy!"

  Frank uttered the name in a joyous cry of recognition; but his voice wasdrowned by the sudden uproar in the theatre. Men sprang to their feet,and women screamed.

  Frank caught Jack by the arm, shouting in his ear: "Come, we must standby that fellow! He is an old friend of mine!"

  "I am with you," assured Diamond, who had good fighting blood, which waseasily aroused.

  They forced their way through the throng which surrounded the boy whohad struck the Chinaman.

  "Barney!" cried Frank.

  "Mother av Mowses!" shouted the Irish lad in amazement. "Is it mesilfthot's gone crazy, or am Oi dramin'?"

  "Not a dream," assured Merry, as he grasped Barney's hand.

  "Is it yesilf, Frankie?"

  "It is!"

  "Dunder und blitzens!" cried another voice at Frank's side. "Uf id don'tpeen Vrankie Merriwell, you vos a liar!"

  Then Frank's amazement and wonder was complete, for he was grasped andhugged by the arms of a fat boy who was laughing all over his fat, jollyface, and that boy was Hans Dunnerwust, who, with Mulloy, had known himat Fardale Academy when all were students there.

  "Hans! Why, where--how----"

  But Frank was given no time for questions, as an angry crowd waspressing about them, and they were in danger.

  Merriwell lifted his voice, crying:

  "Every American in the place should stand by us! My friend struck theChinaman because he saw him draw a knife, and the blow was delivered inself-defense."

  Several voices answered, and bursting through the crowd came three menin yachting suits, who assured the boys that they would stand by them.

  The yachtmen seemed to be on a lark, and they took great delight inknocking Chinamen right and left, which they did in a highlyentertaining manner.

  "For the door!" cried Frank, commandingly. "We must get out of here!"

  For the door they rushed, sweeping everything before them. Crack! crack!crack! sounded the blows of the yachtsmen's fists, and they gave ahoarse cheer that seemed to have in it the boom of the surf on a rockycoast.

  "Hurro!" shouted Barney Mulloy, in a wild fever of excitement. "It'smesilf thot's not been in a bit av a scrap loike this fer a wake! It'sfun, it is! Git out av th' way, ye pig-tailed rat-'aters! Ye nivver wurmade ter live in a whoite man's country at all, at all!"

  "Say, you nefer saw such a fight as this, did I?" cried the Dutch boy,flourishing his arms in a furious manner and striking friends almost asoften as foes. "Uf this don'd peat der pand, you don'd toldt me so!"

  With a few exceptions, the Chinamen did not seem at all anxious to getin the way of the Americans. It was not the first occasion when anaffair of a similar nature had occurred in a Chinese theatre.

  Sometimes some of the bloods of the town would come down into Chinatownfull of wine and "good intentions," and it was their custom to end theracket whenever possible by "cleaning out" a Chinese theatre.

  Many of the spectators on this occasion believed it was a pre-arrangedplan to clean out the theatre, and so they made haste to get outthemselves as soon as possible.

  The boys and their sailor friends were among those who early rushed outthrough the door, and they clambered up the step-ladder with no smallhaste.

  It was not difficult to find their way out, for it was only necessary tofollow the crowd. Now and then a few of the Chinamen disappeared bymeans of side doors, but the most of them kept straight on to the openair.

  The main streets of the quarter were lighted by paper lanterns, whichgave out a dim, mellow light, beneath which the oriental throng lookedstrange and fantastic.

  To Frank it seemed as if they were in Pekin instead of the American cityof San Francisco.

  Barney Mulloy laughed heartily.

  "Did yez ivver see th' bate av thot?" he cried. "It's th' divvil's ownruction it wur, but nivver a Chink came back fer a sicond dose afthergettin' a chrack av me fist."

  "Dot's vot's der madder mit Hannah!" put in Hans. "Ven I hit somepody myfist mit they nefer lif to dell uf him. Yah!"

  "They nivver knew ye shtruck thim, ye Dutch chase," said Barney,contemptuously.

  "Dot vos righd," agreed Dunnerwust. "Ven I hit nopody it alvays meanssutten death."

  "G'won!" snorted the Irish boy. Then Barney caught hold of Frank oncemore, and gave him a genuine bear hug.

  "Begorra! Oi thought Oi'd nivver see yez again, Frankie!" he cried. "Oihearrud ye wur in Yale Collige, an' it's yersilf Oi thought moight getsuch a great gintlemon ye'd care nivver a bit to see yer ould fri'ndsany more at all, at all."

  "You should know me better than that, Barney," said Frank, protestingly."No matter what happens to me, you may be sure I'll always be true to myold friends."

  "Dot vos righdt!" grinned Hans. "Vrankie Merriwell nefer goes pack onhis friendts, ur don'd you pelief me. He vas all righdt vrom der top ufhis headt ubvard."

  Other visitors kept pouring from the small door that had admitted themto the passage leading to the theatre, and one of the sailors, ahandsome-looking man with a full beard, said:

  "I think, we'll get away from here, as the police seem to have a grudgeagainst any one in a sailor's suit, and this racket may bring some ofthem down here."

  Immediately Frank said:

  "We owe you thanks, sir, for the aid you gave us in getting out of a badscrape. You responded to my appeal for help immediately, and----"

  The man interrupted with a laugh.

  "We were only too glad of a chance to do it, as we were looking for agood opportunity to smash a few Chinks in the mug. Eh, boys?"

  "That's right," nodded his companions.

  Merriwell looked at the men curiously, and he saw they were anything butordinary sailors. All were fine-appearing men, and they spoke likepersons of education.

  "We will go along with you, if you don't mind," he said. "I think wehave seen quite enough of Chinatown to suffice for to-night. What do yousay, fellows?"

  "I am sure I have," said Diamond.

  "And Oi," nodded Barney.

  "You vos anodder," grinned Hans, who meant to say he was quite willingto leave Chinatown for the night.

  So the little party moved away, and as they went along the leader of theyachtsmen said:

  "My name is Chandler and I am stopping at the Baldwin. Have beencruising in my yacht with several friends, but just now I am trying tosell her, as some business has arisen which defeats my plans for asummer's outing."

  Frank introduced himself, and in a short time the boys were chattingfreely with the yachtsmen, who proved to be rather jolly gentlemen.

  Passing out of Chinatown they were soon on Market Street, and a walk ofa few blocks brought them to the hotel where Merriwell and the friendswho had accompanied him on the bicycle tour across the continent werestopping.

  Chandler wished to go in and "blow off," but Frank insisted that none ofthe party drank.

  "If that is the case, you are a queer set of college lads," saidChandler, with a laugh. "I never saw a college boy who would not swim inbeer every chance he found."

  "There are exceptions, you see."

  "I see, and I consider it most remarkable. Will you smoke?"

  But Frank declined to drink or smoke, shook hands with his accidentallyfound friends, and they parted.

  "Now," he said, addressing Barney and Hans, "you must come in and seeour rooms."

  They entered the hotel and ascended in the elevator to the floor onwhich the boys had their rooms.

  A few minutes later Barney and Hans were thoroughly at home.

 
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