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Frank Merriwell's Nobility; Or, The Tragedy of the Ocean Tramp By Burt L. Standish Characters: 5491

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02




The same word, but from three different persons, and spoken in three different inflections.

"Will somebody please hit me with something hard!" murmured Jack.

"What does it mean, Merry?" asked Rattleton.

"You may search me!" exclaimed Frank, in rather expressive slang, something in which he seldom indulged, unless under great provocation.

Browning had said nothing. He was pulling steadily at his pipe, quite unaware that it had gone out.

"What do you make of Mr. Peddington Slush?" asked Jack.

"I don't know what to make of him," confessed Frank. "About the only thing of which I am sure is that he has a corker for a name. That name is enough to make any man look sad and dejected."

"What did he come here for, anyhow?" asked Rattleton.

"To find out about Raymond Bloodgood-he said."

"I know he said so, but I don't stake any talk-I mean take any stock in that. What difference does it make to him who Bloodgood is?"

"That was something he did not make clear."

"He didn't seem to make anything clear," declared Jack. "I thought for sure that he was going to throw out some hooks to drag us into that game of poker. If he had, I should have known he was sent here, and I'd kicked him out, whether you had been willing or not, Merry!"

"I'd opened the door and held it wide for you," smiled Frank.

"What do you think of him, Browning?" asked Harry.

"His way of talking made me very tired," yawned the big fellow. "He seemed to work so hard to get anything out."

"I'll allow that we have had two rather queer visitors," said the Virginian.

"And I shall take an interest in them both after this," declared Frank.

"Talk about superstitious persons, I believe he heads the list," from Jack.

"He said he was not superstitious," laughed Merry.

"But the cat worried him."

"And my twiddling my thumbs," put in Bruce.

"And this dagger pin in my scarf," said Frank.

"It's a wonder he didn't prophecy shipwreck, or something of that sort," groaned Rattleton, who had settled at full length in his berth. "If this rolling motion keeps up, I shall get so I won't care if we are wrecked."

"He must be a dandy in a good swift game of poker!" laughed Frank. "I shouldn't think he'd be able to make up his mind how to discard. He'd be a drawback to the game, or I'm much mistaken."

"It strikes me that he'd be easy fruit," said Rattleton.

"He looks like a 'sucker' himself, but sometimes it is impossible to tell about a man till after you see him play. Anyhow, these two visits were something to break the monotony of the voyage. It promised to be pretty lively at the start, but it has settled down to be rather quiet."

Bloodgood and Slush proved goo

d food for conversation, but the boys tired of that after a while.

Diamond went out by himself, and Frank went to Tutor Maybe's room, where he spent the time till the gong sounded for supper.

"Come, Harry," said Frank, appearing in the stateroom, "aren't you ready for supper?"

Rattleton gave a groan.

"Don't talk to me about eating!" he exclaimed. "It makes me sick to think about it. Leave me-let me die in peace!"

Jack was not there, so Frank and Bruce washed up and went out together. They were nearly through eating when the Virginian came in and took his place near them at the table.

Usually the captain sat at the head of that table, but he was not there now.

"Where have you been?" asked Frank.

"Getting onto a few things," said Jack, in a peculiar way.

"Why, what's the matter with you?" asked Bruce, pausing to stare at the Southerner. "You are pale as a ghost!"

"Am I?" said Diamond, his voice sounding rather strained and unnatural.

"Sure thing. I wouldn't advise you to eat any more, and perhaps you hadn't better look at the chandeliers while they are swinging. You'll be keeping Rattleton company."

"Oh, I'm not sick-at least, not seasick," averred Jack.

"Then what ails you? I was going to prescribe ginger ale if it was the first stage of seasickness. Sometimes that will brace a person up and straighten out his stomach."

"Oh, don't talk remedies to me. I took medicine three days before I started on this voyage, and everybody I saw told me something to do to keep from being sick. I'm wearing a sheet of writing paper across my chest now."

When supper was over Jack motioned for his friends to follow him. The three went on deck and walked aft till they were quite alone.

The "Eagle" was plowing along over a deserted sea. The waves were running heavily, and night was shutting down grimly over the ocean.

"What's the matter with you, Diamond?" asked Browning. "Why have you dragged us out here? It's cold, and I'd rather go into our stateroom and take a loaf after eating so heartily. By Jove! if this keeps up, they won't have provisions enough on this boat to feed me before we get across."

"I wanted to have a little talk without," said Jack; "and I didn't care about talking in the stateroom, where I might be overheard."

"What's up, anyway?" demanded Frank, warned by the manner of the Virginian that Jack fancied he had something of importance to tell them.

"I've been investigating," said Jack.


"Well, I found out that there is something the matter on this boat."

"Did you learn what it was?"

"I don't know that I have, but I've discovered one thing. I've learned the kind of cargo we carry."

"What is it?"

"Petroleum and powder!"

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