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Text - "Frank Merriwell's Bravery" Burt L. Standish


They'd never dream I was his. He has gone where he pleased, and done as he pleased. Look where he has dragged me! Where is this forsaken hole on the face of the earth? It's somewhere in Utah." "Blake is very easily located," said Frank, glibly. "Any schoolboy will tell you it is in Eastern Utah, on the line of the Grand Western Railway, at the point where the railroad crosses Green River. You are a little rusty on such things, professor, and so you fancy everybody else is as much a back number as yourself." "Back number!" howled the little man, leaping into the air and dashing his hat to the floor. "That is more than I can endure. You have passed the limit." Neither of the boys had ever before seen him so far forget his dignity without greater provocation, and they were not a little surprised. "Steady, professor," laughed Frank. "Don't fly off the handle." "Howld onter yersilf, profissor," chuckled Barney. "Av ye don't, ye may get broken." "This is terrible!" cried the professor, his face crimson with anger. "Frank Merriwell, you are an ungrateful, reckless, heartless young rascal!" "Oh, professor!" Frank seemed deeply touched. He grew sober in a moment, out came his handkerchief, he carried it to his eyes, and he began to sob in a pitiful way. Behind the handkerchief the mischievous lad was laughing still. The professor rushed about the room a moment, and then he stopped, staring at Frank and beginning to look distressed. "That I-should-ev-ev-ever live-to-see-this sad-hour!" sobbed the boy, with the handkerchief to his eyes. "That I should be called ungrateful and heartless by a man I have loved and honored like-like a-a sister! If my poor uncle had not died-" "Goodness knows you cannot feel worse about that than I do!" came from the little man's lips. "I suppose he fancied he was doing me a favor when he appointed me your guardian and directed that I should accompany you as your tutor in your travels over the world. Your tutor indeed! Why, you insist on giving me points and information about every place we visit. You do exactly as you please, and it is a wonder that either of us is alive to-day. You have dragged us through the most deadly perils, and now that I object when you want to go ranting away into a wild and unexplored region of Southern Utah, where you say there dwells the last remnant of the murderous and terrible Danites, you-you-you-" "What have I done?" sobbed Frank. "Why, you've-you've said-" "What?" "I don't remember now; but I'd give seventeen million dollars if Asher Merriwell, your uncle, was living and had to travel around with you!" "Now my heart is broken!" came mournfully from behind that handkerchief. That was more than Scotch could stand. He edged nearer Frank, who fell face downward on the table, still laughing, but pretending to quiver with sobs. "There, there, there!" fluttered the little man, patting the boy on the shoulder. "Don't feel so bad about it." "I-I can't help it." "Oh, I didn't mean anything-really I didn't. I'll take it back, and-" "Your cruel words have pierced my tender heart as the spear of the fisherman pierceth the unwary flounder." "I was too hasty-altogether too hasty." "That does not heal the bleeding wound." "Oh, well, say-I'll do most anything to-" "Will you permit me to go on this expedition?" "No, never!" cried the little man. "There is a limit, and that is too much." "But you have not heard the story of this Walter Clyde, to whom I owe my very life," said Frank, pretending to dry his eyes with the handkerchief. "You owe what?" shouted the professor, astonished. "How do you owe him so much?" "Well, sir," spoke the boy, "it was like this: I had fallen into the hands of a band of murderous ruffians, and-" "When did this occur?" "At about half past six. Please do not interrupt me again. These ruffians, after relieving me of my valuables and wearing apparel, so that I was clad in nothing but a loose-fitting suit of air, proceeded, with fiendish design, to tie me to the railroad track." "Terrible!" gasped Scotch, his face pale and horrified. "But where did this take place?" "Directly on the line of the railroad. Will you be good enough not to interrupt! I was helpless in their power, and I could do nothing to save myself. I begged them to spare me, but they laughed at my entreaties." "The wretches!" roared the little professor. "Ah! Er! Excuse me for breaking in." "Having tied me firmly across the polished rails," continued Frank, growing dramatic in his method of relating the yarn, "they told me the express would be along in fifteen minutes, and then they left me to my fate." "The dastardly scoun- Beg pardon! Go on! go on!" "I tried to wrench myself free, but it was impossible; they had tied the knots well, and I began to believe I was doomed. The rail sang beneath my head, and I knew the express was approaching at terrible speed." "This is too much-too much!" groaned the little man, flopping down on a chair. "It actually overcomes me!" "I fully expected the express would come over me," the boy went on. "I gave up hope. Looking along the track, I saw the engine swoop into view round a curve in the road. Down upon me with the speed of the wind it swept." No sound but a groan came from the lips of Professor Scotch. "Staring with horrified eyes and benumbed senses at the engine, I heard it shriek a wild note of warning. I had been seen! But the train was on a down grade, and it could not stop in time. I was doomed just the same." The professor was ready to fall off his chair. "Then," cried Frank, dramatically, "out along the side of the engine crept a boy, who carried something in his hand. That boy was Walter Clyde, to whom I owe my very life. The something he carried in his hand was a lasso, and with that he saved me." "How-how could he do it?" palpitated the professor. "You were tied to the track!" "Yes, but Walter Clyde is an ingenious fellow, and he saw how to get around that difficulty." "But how-how?" "Well, close beside the railroad was the stump of a great tree that had been cut down. I saw him point at it, and above the roar of the train I heard him shriek for me to lift my head and look at it." "Yes, yes! Go on!" "I saw him whirling the lasso-noose about his head, making ready for the cast, having first hitched the other ends to the cow-catcher of the locomotive." "Well, well?" "I lifted my head as high as possible, and I saw the noose shoot through the air. Excuse me while I shudder a few seconds!" "Did he drag you from the track in time?" shouted the professor. "Did the noose fall over your head?" "No," answered Frank; "but it fell over that stump, and, when the express reached the end of the lariat, having come so near that the nose of the pilot brushed my hair, the lariat brought up. It was a good stout rope, and it yanked that engine off the track in a second, and piled the entire train in the ditch. I was saved-saved by a brave boy, and only forty of the passengers on the train were killed." Professor Scotch gasped for breath and sank from his chair to the floor.

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