Dick merriwells trap; or.., p.14
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       Dick Merriwell's Trap; Or, The Chap Who Bungled, p.14

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  The football-team soon began to feel the hand of Chester Arlington. Hesent men out to practise and directed that they should be tried on theregular team. And he seemed to have the athletic committee behind him,for they backed up his demands. Two of these men, Peter Hicks and RufusHoyt, knew something about football and played fairly well.

  Dick chafed, for he saw that serious trouble was brewing. He saw thatArlington would try to manage the team through the committee, and thatwas just what Dick determined he should not do.

  "It's a fight, pard," said Brad Buckhart. "Mark what I say, you'll haveyour troubles with that galoot right along."

  Phil Warne was chairman of the committee. In the past he had permittedDick to run the team on the field just about as he pleased. Now,however, he advised a shifting about of the team and trying them inother positions.

  Dick felt that this was more of Arlington's work, for Warne was not thefellow to dip in like that without being put up to it by another.

  A feeling of uncertainty and restlessness attacked the team. Dick fearedthe men were lacking confidence. They had relied on him in the past, andnow they saw that he was being ordered about. They had talked over thegame with U. A. A., and were almost unanimous on the folly of playingit. What was there to gain by it? The committee had arranged to have thegame take place in Fardale. If it had been arranged to play in Uniontownon the same terms as the baseball-game was pulled off, they might haveurged that winning the game would bring in a large amount of money. Butthey had agreed to pay U. A. A. a sum of money to come and play thegame, which made it almost a settled thing that it would be a financialfailure.

  U. A. A. had vowed to get revenge on Fardale for defeat in thebaseball-game. Now it was said that the Uniontown men were anxious toget up against the cadets and "soak 'em."

  It was not to be a game between schools, and so the school spirit waslacking. Neither team regarded the other as a rival in its class. Therewas no rivalry of a friendly nature.

  Some of the boys threatened to rebel, but Dick talked to them andconvinced them that it was best to play the game. He knew Arlingtonwould make a great to-do about it, saying he was afraid to play, if theFardale boys declined to meet the chaps from Uniontown.

  Saturday came, and an early train brought the Uniontown players intoFardale. Some of the boys from the academy were at the station to seethem arrive and to size up their antagonists. Buckhart was one of these,and he hastened back to the academy, seeking Dick, whom he found in thegymnasium.

  "Pard," he said, "guess who's in town?"

  "I thought you hailed from Texas?"

  "Well, so I do."

  "But this guessing-racket is a Yankee trick."

  "You can't guess?"

  "I don't think I can. Who is it?"

  "Fred Kennedy."

  "Kennedy? Who is----"

  "Why, pard, you must remember him. He is----"

  "Not the dirty whelp who doped Singleton and blinded me when we went toUniontown?"

  "The same."

  "Where is he?"

  "At the North Hotel."

  Five minutes later Dick was on his way to town, accompanied by Brad.They went direct to the North Hotel, which did all the hotel business ofthe place, now that Fardale House had been gutted by fire, and therethey sought Kennedy.

  His name was not on the register. He did not seem to be with thestrangers from Uniontown. Those strangers were the "sports" who followedthe U. A. A. games and bet on the Uniontown team. They were looking forbets, and they hailed the appearance of Dick Merriwell.

  "Tell us where we can get some of our good money up," said one of theteam. "We're betting two to one on U. A. A. Have you children at theacademy got any dough you wish to lose?"

  "No," said Dick quietly. "Few of us bet on these games. When we do betit is for sport, not for profit. Can any of you gentlemen tell me whereI can find Mr. Kennedy?"

  "Kennedy? Kennedy? What Kennedy?"

  "Fred Kennedy."

  "From our place? Oh, he isn't with us."

  Kennedy was not found, but Buckhart was still certain he had arrived intown, even after they turned back toward the academy.

  "He's here, pard," asserted the Texan. "I never make a mistake in faces.That onery whelp stepped off the train, or I'm a Chinaman! You hear mechirp!"

  "I should like to meet him!" said Dick.

  "And I'd enjoy being with you, pard. There would be something doing, youbet!"

  The gamblers from Uniontown found takers for their bets in Fardale, asthe villagers had great confidence in the academy team, which had notmet defeat while under command of Dick Merriwell. Odds of two to oneseemed like a good thing and were gobbled up.

  At one o'clock p. m. Dick Merriwell received a shock. He was sent for bythe athletic committee, which was in session at the time. When heappeared before them, Phil Warne said:

  "Mr. Merriwell, we have concluded that, while you have done splendidlywith the eleven, you have not been playing the men in just the rightpositions. Besides," he went on swiftly, not permitting Dick to speak,"there are two men on the team who are not strong men, and we haveconcluded to drop them off for this game and try the experiment ofsupplying their places. We do this now because this is not a game with aschool eleven, and we can better afford to experiment than at any othertime. If we find we have improved the team, we shall be very glad. Butwe insist that the team be given a fair trial as we have arranged it, nochanges being made until we give you permission, save on account ofinjuries. Here is the line-up of the team, with the names of substitutesto be used, if substitutes are required."

  There was a strange look on Dick's face as he took the paper fromWarne's hand and glanced over the line-up of the team. His cheeksflushed and his eyes gleamed.

  "Gentlemen of the committee," he said, his voice distinct but low, "Ineed not say that I am surprised at your most surprising action. I thinkyou are making a big mistake and are exceeding the bounds of yourauthority. It is not necessary to call attention to the fact thatFardale has not lost a game this season. Up to this time the making upof the team has been left almost wholly to me. In taking this privilegeout of my hands you have handicapped me greatly, making it impossiblefor me to work to the best advantage. I think the mistake is liable toprove fatal. The shifting about of these players I consider ill-advised,the dropping of Kent and Dare weakens the line, and, on the whole, theteam as given here will go on the field to-day greatly weakened."

  Chester Arlington had listened, his lips curling and his eyes expressingcontempt. When Dick finished, Chester turned to Hadley Burrows,observing loud enough for the captain of the eleven to hear:

  "Didn't I say he could insult the committee! He has had things his ownway altogether too long."

  Instantly Dick's anger flashed like powder to which a match has beentouched.

  "You, Arlington, are the cause of it all!" he exclaimed, pointingstraight at Chester. "And you are doing it not for the good of theeleven, but to annoy and injure me! I know you, and I know your methods.Yet but for me you would not be on that committee now!"

  "What?" cried Chester, astonished. "But for you?"


  "Bah! You would have kept me off the committee had you dared! I believeyou did try to! I believe you did get rid of some of my votes on thefirst two ballots. You knew you were watched too closely for it the lasttime, and you didn't dare try it."

  Dick actually laughed.

  "Why, you poor, mistaken duffer!" he exclaimed, unable to fully controlhis tongue. "It's surprising how little you really know about thetruth!"

  "Duffer!" snarled Chester, springing up. "Gentlemen, are you going topermit this? It's an insult to the entire committee!"

  "Mr. Merriwell," said Warne severely, "your language is offensive to usall. If you are not satisfied with what we have done, if you do not careto follow our instructions thoroughly----"

  "What then?"

  "You may resign from the team. Anoth
er captain will be appointed in yourplace."

  In his intense anger Dick came near making a mistake and playing intothe hands of Arlington. It was on the tip of his tongue to utter hisresignation, when he saw Chester leaning forward, breathless, expectant,eager. Instantly the rush of blood to Dick's head ceased, his heartseemed to stop its wild hammering, his pulse dropped back to normal, andhe was master of himself.

  "No, Arlington!" he exultantly thought, "I'll not do it! You have failedin this.

  "I'll stick by the team," he said aloud. "I could not think of desertingit now."

  Warne seemed relieved, while Arlington was plainly disappointed.

  "Very well," said the chairman, dismissing him with a gesture. "You haveyour instructions."

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