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Frank Merriwell's Nobility; Or, The Tragedy of the Ocean Tramp By Burt L. Standish Characters: 8063

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02

The captain listened to what Frank had to say, but his sternness did not seem to relax in the least, as Merry described the sufferings the prisoner was enduring. But Frank would not be satisfied till the captain had made a promise to visit Harris himself and see that the fellow was taken out and cared for if he needed it.

Needless to say that the captain forgot to make the visit right away.

Frank did not tell his friends where he had been and what he had seen. He did not feel like talking about it, and they noticed that he looked strangely grim and thoughtful.

Tutor Maybe tried to talk to him about studies, but Merry was in no mood for that, as his instructor soon discovered.

Despite the fact that the sea was running high, Rattleton seemed to have recovered in a great measure from his sickness, so he was able to get on deck with the others. At noon, he even went to the table and ate lightly, drinking ginger ale with his food.

An hour after dinner Frank found a game of poker going on in the smoking-room. Mr. Slush was in the game. So were the Frenchman, the Englishman, and Bloodgood.

No money was in sight, but it was plain enough from the manner in which the game was played that the chips each man held had been purchased for genuine money, and the game was one for "blood."

M. Montfort looked up for a moment as Frank stopped to watch the game. Their eyes met. The Frenchman permitted a sneer to steal across his face, while Frank looked at him steadily till his eyes dropped.

At a glance, Merry saw that Bloodgood was "shakey." The fellow had been growing worse and worse as the voyage progressed, and now he seemed on the verge of a break-down.

A few minutes after entering the room Frank heard one of the spectators whisper to another that Bloodgood was "bulling the game," and had lost heavily.

Bloodgood was drinking deeply. Mr. Slush seemed to be indulging rather freely. The Frenchman sipped a little wine now and then, and the Englishman drank at regular intervals.

The Frenchman was perfectly cool. The Englishman was phlegmatic. Slush hesitated sometimes, but, to the surprise of the boys, seemed rather collected. Bloodgood was hot and excited.

Frank took a position where he could look on. He watched every move. After a time he discerned that the Englishman and the Frenchman were playing to each other, although the trick was done so skillfully that it did not seem apparent.

Bloodgood lost all his chips. The game was held up for a few moments. He stepped into the next room and returned with a fresh supply.

"This is the bottom," he declared. "You people may have them as soon as you like. To blazes with them! Let's lift the limit."

"Ah-er-let's throw it off-entirely," suggested Mr. Slush.

Bloodgood glared at the little man in astonishment.

"What?" he cried. "You propose that? Why, you didn't want to play a bigger game than a quarter limit at the start!"

"Perhaps you are-er-right," admitted Mr. Slush. "I-er-don't deny it. But I have grown more-more interested, you understand. I-I don't mind playing a good game-now."

"Well, then, if the other gentlemen say so, by the gods, we'll make it no limit!" Bloodgood almost shouted.

The Frenchman bowed suavely, a slight smile curling the ends of his pointed mustache upward.

"I haf not ze least-what you call eet?-ze least objectshong," he purred.

"I don't mind," said the Englishman.

Now there was great interest. Somehow, Frank felt that a climax was coming. He watched everything with deep interest.

Luck continued to run against Bloodgood. To Frank's surprise, it was plain Mr. Slush was winning. This seemed to surprise and puzzle both the Englishman and the Frenchman.

It was hard work to draw the little man in when Hazleton or Montfort dealt. On his own deal or that of Bloodgood, he seemed ready for anything.

"By Jove!" whispered Frank, in Diamond's ear. "That man is not such a fool as I thought! I haven't been able to understand him at all, and I don't un

derstand him now."

At length there came a big jack-pot. It was passed round several times. Then Hazleton opened it on three nines.

Bloodgood sat next. He had two pairs, aces up, and he raised instantly.

Montfort was the next man. He held a pair of deuces, but he saw all that had been bet, and doubled the amount!

Mr. Slush hesitated a little. He seemed ready to lay down, but finally braced up and came in, calling.

Hazleton did not accept the call. He raised again.

Bloodgood looked at his hand and cursed under his breath. It was just good enough to make him feel that he ought to make another raise, but he began to think there were other good hands out, and it was not possible to tell where continued raising would land him, so he "made good."

With nothing but a pair of deuces in his hand, Montfort "cracked her up" again for a good round sum.

The hair on the head of Mr. Slush seemed to stand. He swallowed and looked pale. Then he "made good."

Hazleton had his turn again, and he improved it. For the next few minutes, Montfort and Hazleton had a merry time raising, but neither Slush nor Bloodgood threw up.

"This is where they are sinking the knife in the suckers!" muttered Jack Diamond.

Frank Merriwell said not a word. His eyes were watching every move.

At last the betting stopped, and Slush picked up the pack to give out the cards.

Hazleton called for two. He received them, and remained imperturbable.

He had caught nothing with his three nines.

Bloodgood had tumbled to the fact that he was "up against" threes, and he had discarded his pair of low cards, holding only the two aces. To these he drew a seven and two more aces!

Bloodgood turned pale and then flushed. He held onto himself with all his strength. Here was his chance to get back his losings. Everything was in his favor. He was confident there were some good hands out, and it was very likely some of them might be improved on the draw, but he felt the pot was the same as his.

The Frenchman drew two cards.

Slush took one.

Then hot work began. Within three minutes Hazleton, with his three nines, had been driven out. Bloodgood, Montfort and Slush remained, raising steadily.

There was intense excitement in that room. The captain of the steamer had come in, and he was looking on. Some of the spectators were literally shaking with excitement.

Bloodgood's chips were used up. He flung money on the table.

All that he had went into the pot, and still he would not call. He offered his I.O.U.'s, but Mr. Slush declined to agree.

"Money or its equivalent," said the little man, with such decisiveness that all were astonished.

"I haven't any money," protested Bloodgood.

"Then you are out," said Slush.

"It's robbery!" cried Bloodgood.

"Why, you can't kick; you haven't even called once."

"Not even once, saire," purred the Frenchman.

"By blazes! I have the equivalent!" shouted Bloodgood.

Into an inner pocket he plunged. He brought out a velvet jewel box. When this was opened, there was a cry of wonder, for a magnificent diamond necklace was revealed.

"That is worth ten thousand dollars!" declared Bloodgood, "and I'll bet as long as it lasts!"

Mr. Slush held out his hand.

"Please let me examine it," he said.

He took a good look at it.

"Ees it all right, sair?" asked the Frenchman, eagerly.

"It is," said Mr. Slush, "and I will take charge of it!"

He thrust the case into his pocket, rose quickly, stepped past Montfort and clapped a hand on Bloodgood's shoulder.

"I arrest you, Benton Hammersley, for the Clayton diamond robbery!" he said. "It is useless for you to resist, for you are on shipboard, and you cannot escape."

Bloodgood uttered a fierce curse.

"Who in the fiend's name are you?" he snarled, turning pale.

And "Mr. Slush" answered:

"Dan Badger, of the New York detective force! Permit me to present you with a pair of handsome bracelets, Mr. Hammersley."

Click-the trapped diamond thief was ironed!

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