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Frank Merriwell's Nobility; Or, The Tragedy of the Ocean Tramp By Burt L. Standish Characters: 7338

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02


"Off---"

"At last!"

"Hurrah!"

The tramp steamer "Eagle" swung out from the pier and was fairly started en her journey from New York to Liverpool.

On the deck of the steamer stood a group of five persons, three of whom had given utterance to the exclamations recorded above.

On the pier swarmed a group of Yale students, waving hands, hats, handkerchiefs, bidding farewell to their five friends and acquaintances on the steamer. Over the water came the familiar Yale cheer. From the steamer it was answered.

In the midst of the group on deck was Frank Merriwell. Those around him were Bruce Browning, Jack Diamond, Harry Rattleton and Tutor Wellington Maybe.

It was Frank's scheme to spend the summer months abroad, while studying in the attempt to catch up with his class and pass examinations on re-entering college in the fall. And he had brought along his three friends, Browning, Diamond and Rattleton. They were on their way to England.

Frank was happy. Fortune had dealt him a heavy blow when he was compelled by poverty to leave dear old Yale, but he had faced the world bravely, and he had struggled like a man. Hard work, long hours and poor pay had not daunted him.

At the very start he had shown that he possessed something more than ordinary ability, and while working on the railroad he had forced his way upward step by step till it seemed that he was in a fair way to reach the top of the ladder.

Then came disaster again. He had lost his position on the railroad, and once more he was forced to face the world and begin over.

Some lads would have been discouraged. Frank Merriwell was not. He set his teeth firmly and struck out once more. He kept his mouth shut and his eyes open. The first honorable thing that came to his hand to do he did. Thus it happened that he found himself on the stage.

Frank's success as an actor had been phenomenal. Of course, to begin with, he had natural ability, but that was not the only thing that won success for him. He had courage, push, determination, stick-to-it-iveness. When he started to do a thing he kept at it till he did it.

Frank united observation and study. He learned everything he could about the stage and about acting by talking with the members of the company and by watching to see how things were done.

He had a good head and plenty of sense. He knew better than to copy after the ordinary actors in the road company to which he belonged. He had seen good acting enough to be able to distinguish between the good and bad. Thus it came about that the bad models about him did not exert a pernicious influence upon him.

Frank believed there were books that would aid him. He found them. He found one on "Acting and Actors," and from it he learned that no actor ever becomes really and truly great that does not have a clear and distinct enunciation and a correct pronunciation. That is the beginning. Then comes the study of the meaning of the words to be spoken and the effect produced by the manner in which they are spoken.

He studied all this, and he went further. He read up on "Traditions of the Stage," and he came to know all about its limitations and its opportunities.

From this it was a natural step to the study of the construction of plays. He found books of criticism on plays and playwriting, and he mastered them. He found books that told how to construct plays, and he mastered them.

Frank Merriwell was a person with a vivid imagination and great mechanical and constructive ability. Had this not been so, he might have studied forever and still never been able to write a successful play. In him there was something study cou

ld not give, but study and effort brought it out. He wrote a play.

"John Smith of Montana" was a success. Frank played the leading part, and he made a hit.

Then fate rose up and again dealt him a body blow. A scene in the play was almost exactly like a scene in another play, written previously. The author and owner of the other play called on the law to "protect" him. An injunction was served on Merry to restrain him from playing "John Smith." He stood face to face with a lawsuit.

Frank investigated, and his investigation convinced him that it was almost certain he would be defeated if the case was carried into the courts.

He withdrew "John Smith."

Frank had confidence in himself. He had written a play that was successful, and he believed he could write another. Already he had one skeletonized. The frame work was constructed, the plot was elaborated, the characters were ready for his use.

He wrote a play of something with which he was thoroughly familiar--college life. The author or play-maker of ability who writes of that with which he is familiar stands a good chance of making a success. Young and inexperienced writers love to write of those things with which they are unfamiliar, and they wonder why it is that they fail.

They go too far away from home for their subject.

At first Frank's play was not a success. The moment he discovered this he set himself down to find out why it was not a success. He did not look at it as the author, but as a critical manager to whom it had been offered might have done.

He found the weak spots. One was its name. People in general did not understand the title, "For Old Eli." There was nothing "catchy" or drawing about it.

He gave it another name. He called it, "True Blue: A Drama of College Life."

The name proved effective.

He rewrote much of the play. He strengthened the climax of the third act, and introduced a mechanical effect that was very ingenious. And when the piece next went on the road it met with wonderful success everywhere.

Thus Frank snatched success from defeat.

It is a strange thing that when a person fights against fate and conquers, when fortune begins to smile, when the tide fairly turns his way, then everything seems to come to him. The things which seemed so far away and so impossible of attainment suddenly appear within easy reach or come tumbling into his lap of their own accord.

It was much this way with Frank. He had dreamed of going back to college some time, but that time had seemed far, far away. Success brought it nearer.

But then it came tumbling into his lap. No one had been found to claim the fortune he discovered in the Utah Desert. Investigation had shown that there were no living relatives of the man who had guarded the treasure till his death. That treasure had been turned over to Frank.

Frank had brought his play to New Haven, and his old college friends had given him a rousing welcome. And now he had made plans to return to college in the fall, while his play was to be carried on the road by a well-known and experienced theatrical manager.

The friends who had been with Frank when he discovered the treasure, with the exception of Toots, the colored boy, had refused to accept shares of the fortune. Then Merry had insisted on taking them abroad with him, and here they were on the steamer "Eagle," bound for Liverpool.

Toots, dressed like a "swell," was on the pier. He shouted with the others, waving his silk hat.

The crowd was cheering now:

"Beka Co ax Co ax Co ax!

Breka Co ax Co ax Co ax!

O--up! O--up!

Parabolou!

Yale! Yale! Yale!

'Rah! 'rah! 'rah!

Yale!"

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