DAVE DARRIN'S FIRST YEAR AT ANNAPOLIS
Two Plebe Midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy
H. IRVING HANCOCK
I. Two Admirals in the Bud
II. The First Day at the Naval Academy
III. A Taste of Hazing
IV. The "Youngsters" Who Became "Spoons On"
V. Invited to Join the "Frenchers"
VI. Dave Passes the Lie
VII. On the Field of the Code
VIII. The Man Who Won
IX. Dan Just Can't Help Being "Touge"
X. "Just For Exercise!"
XI. Midshipman Henkel Does Some Thinking
XII. A Chronic Pap Frapper
XIII. Midshipman Farley's About-Face
XIV. The Trap in Midshipman's Quarters
XV. Air "The Rogue's March"
XVI. Brimmer Makes a New Friend
XVII. Tony Baits the Hook
XVIII. In the Days of "Old Two-Five"
XIX. The Collision of the Chesapeake
XX. In the Line of Duty
XXI. Official and Other Report
XXII. The "Bazoo" makes Trouble
XXIII. The Spectre at the Fight Party
TWO ADMIRAL'S IN THE BUD
"Dave, I'm getting nervous!"
"Is that the best way you can find to enjoy yourself?" demanded
the taller boy.
"But I am, Dave—dreadfully nervous!" insisted Dan Dalzell positively.
"Well, you'll have to conceal it, then. The doctors at the United
States Naval Academy won't pass any nervous wrecks," laughed Dave
"Don't you understand?" demanded Dan, in a hurt voice. "The nearer
we get to Annapolis the more nervous I'm getting."
"You'd better drop off, then," hinted Dave ironically, "and take
the next car back to Odenton and Baltimore. What earthly good
would a Naval officer be who was going to get nervous as soon
as he came in sight of an enemy?"
"But I wouldn't get nervous in the sight the enemy," flared up
"Then why get nervous about the folks down at the Naval Academy?
They all intend to be your friends!"
"I guess that is true," Dan went on. "Of course, back in April,
we went before the Civil Service Commission and took our academic
examinations. We passed, and haven't got that to go up against
"We passed the home medical examiner, too," retorted Dave. "In
fact, you might say that we passed the sawbones with honors.
"But that medical chap put in a long time listening at my chest,"
complained Dan Dalzell, who was undeniably fidgeting in his seat.
"Then, too, the civil service sawbones told me that, while he
passed me, as far as he was concerned, I'd have to stand the ordeal
again before the Naval surgeons at Annapolis."
"Well, he did just the same thing with me," rejoined Darrin.
"You just keep your eye on me, Dan! Do you see me shaking? Do
you hear my voice falter? See me burning any blue lights?
"Perhaps, Dave, you don't take the whole business as much to heart
as I do," continued Dan Dalzell almost tremulously. "Why, Great
Scott, if they drop me at the Naval Academy, I'll be the bluest
fellow you ever saw! But maybe you won't care, Dave, whether
you are dropped or not."
"Won't I?" grumbled Darrin. "The Navy is the only thing in life
that I care about!"
"Then aren't you nervous, just now?" demanded Dan.
"If I am, I'm not making a show of myself," retorted Darrin.
"But are you nervous?" begged Dan.
"No!" roared Dave, and then he allowed a grin to creep over his face.
"Oh, go ahead and say so tonight," jeered Dan. "Tomorrow, if
you have the good luck to get sworn in, you'll have to quit fibbing
and begin practicing at telling the truth. A midshipman at the
Naval Academy, I understand, is kicked out of the service if he
"Not quite—only in case he gets caught," laughed Dave Darrin.
"But really, about being nervous—"
"Oh, forget that sort of nonsense, won't you, Dan, old fellow?"
begged his chum. "Just get your eye on the lovely country we're
It was just about the first of June. Our two young travelers
had come by train, from Baltimore to a little country junction.
Thence they had traveled, briefly, by trolley, to Odenton. There,
after a wait of some minutes, they had boarded another trolley
car, and were now bowling along through the open country of that
part of Maryland. At the end of their journey lay the historic
little town of Annapolis. It was now after seven o'clock; still
daylight, the fag end of a beautiful June day in Maryland.
Dave Darrin and Dan Dalzell had been appointed as midshipmen at
the United States Naval Academy. If they should succeed in passing
the four years' course in the big government school at Annapolis,
they would then be sent to sea for two years, as midshipmen, after
which they would return to Annapolis for their final examinations.
Passing these last examinations, they would then be commissioned
as ensigns in the United States Navy, with the possibility of
some day becoming full-fledged admirals.
Readers of our High School Boys Series have no need of further
introduction to Dave and Dan.
These two young men will be remembered as former members of Dick
& Co., six famous chums back in the lively little city of Gridley.
Dick Prescott, Greg Holmes, Dave Darrin, Dan Dalzell, Tom Reade
and Harry Hazleton had composed the famous sextette who, in their
day at Gridley High School, had been fast chums and leaders in
all pertaining to High School athletics in their part of the state.
Following their High School days, however, the six chums had become
somewhat widely scattered. Dick Prescott and Greg Holmes secured
appointments to the United States Military Academy. Readers of
our West Point Series are already familiar with the stirring doings
and life of Dick and Greg at the fine old Army Academy on the
Hudson. At the time this present narrative opens Dick and Greg
had been nearly three months as plebe cadets, as told in the first
volume of the West Point Series, under the title, "DICK PRESCOTT'S
FIRST YEAR AT WEST POINT."
Tom Reade and Harry Hazleton had gone from Gridley High School
to the far West, where they had connected themselves with a firm
of civil engineers engaged in railway construction. What befell
Tom and Harry is told in "THE YOUNG ENGINEERS IN COLORADO," the
first and very entertaining volume in the Young Engineers Series.
Readers of "THE HIGH SCHOOL CAPTAIN OF THE TEAM" recall how Dave
Darrin won his appointment to the Naval Academy, as did Dick Prescott
his chance for West Point, from the Congressman of the home district.
Dalzell's appointment, on the other hand, came from one of the
two United States Senators from that state.
And here Dave and Dan were, on a trolley car from Odenton, rapidly
At the forward end of the car was a small compartment set apart
for the use of smokers Dave and Dan did not smoke; they had take
seats in this compartment because they wished to be alone.
"You asked me to let you know when we got near Annapolis, gentlemen,"
announced the conductor, a cheery-faced young man, thrusting his
head in. "There is the town right ahead of you."
"You said that you go by the hotel, I think?" Dave asked.
"I'll stop and call the hotel," replied the conductor. "We'll
be there in less than two minutes."
It was a quaint, old-fashioned, very pretty southern town that
the car now entered.
"I'll bet they're a thousand years behind the times here," sighed
Dalzell, as they gazed about them.
"Not at the Naval Academy, anyway," retorted Dave Darrin.
"Oh, of course not," Dan made haste to agree.
The car passed an imposing-looking brick building that housed
the post-office, then sped along past the handsome, dignified
old residence of the Governor of Maryland. Up on a hill at their
left the State Capitol stood out. Then the car bell clanged,
and the car stopped.
"Maryland Hotel!" called the conductor.
Dave and Dan caught up their suit cases and descended from the
car. At their right, the found the steps leading to the porch
of the roomy old hotel. In another moment they were in the office,
"You want a room together, gentlemen?" asked the clerk.
"Surely," retorted Dan. "My friend is always afraid when the
gas is turned off. My presence quiets him."
"Pardon me, gentlemen, but are you on your way to the Naval Academy?"
queried the clerk.
"Yes," nodded Dave quietly.
"Then you will want a room with bath, of course. You'll have
to strip before the medical examiners tomorrow.
"A room with bath, of course," assented Dan. "I never have stopped
at a hotel without a bathroom."
Dan didn't mention that this was the first time he had ever stopped
at a hotel in his short life.
"Front!" called the clerk.
A small black boy in knee trousers came forward, picked up their
suit cases and led the way to the next floor.
"My! I wonder who else is expected," muttered Dalzell, as the
two young travelers found themselves in their room after the boy
had left them.
It was an enormous room, and the three beds in it did not crowd
the apartment in the least. All the furniture was of a massive
and old-fashioned pattern.
A few minutes later, with face and hands washed—clean collars,
clothes neatly brushed, the two clear-eyed, manly-looking young
fellows returned to the first floor.
"I suppose this hotel is full of young men like ourselves, wondering
what tomorrow will bring them, when they get before the sawbones,"
"Candidates, like ourselves, you mean?" suggested Darrin. "We'll
inquire." With that, he approached the clerk and made the inquiry.
"Oh, no," replied the clerk, in answer to Dave's question. "There
are only two other candidates besides yourselves stopping here.
There are a good many young men in town, of course, but most
of them have been here for some weeks, and are in lodging houses.
A good many young men come here, you know, to attend the Naval
preparatory schools before they go up for their examinations."
"We've had our academic examinations, and have passed," announced
"What about supper, sir?" asked Dave, who, in his short trip through
the South, had noticed that in this part of the country the "sir"
is generally employed.
"You'll find supper ready, gentlemen," replied the clerk, pointing
the way to the dining room.
So the two young men passed in and enjoyed their first sample of
At this hour there were only a half dozen other people in the
dining room—none of them interesting, Darrin decided, after
hastily surveying the other diners.
The meal over, the two young candidates sauntered again out into
the hotel office.
"Any midshipmen out around the town, sir?" Darrin asked.
"Hardly, sir," replied the clerk, with a smile. "At this hour
the young gentlemen are in their rooms at Bancroft Hall."
"What does a midshipman look like?" ventured Dalzell.
"Like a human being, of course," Dave laughed.
"You mean the uniform?" inquired the clerk. "A midshipman, sir,
wears a dark blue uniform, like an officer's, and a visored cap,
Naval pattern. He also wears the anchor insignia on each side
of his coat collar."
Dave and Dan soon walked over to the open doorway and stood looking
out upon the street, in which, at this time, few people were passing.
Hearing a step in the office, Dan quickly turned. He saw
a young man coming through the office, holding himself very erect.
This young man was in dark blue uniform, with visored cap, and
on each side of his collar was the anchor insignia. Past the
anchor were two bars, but Dalzell didn't notice that at the moment.
"There's a real midshipman," whispered Dan, plucking at Dave's
sleeve. "I'm going to speak to him."
"Don't you do it," warned Dave, in an undertone. "You may make
"Mistake?" echoed Dan. "With that anchor on his collar?"
Hastily Dan Dalzell slipped back into the office, going up to
the young man in uniform, who had stopped before the desk.
"Good evening," began Dan politely. "I'd like to introduce myself.
'Tomorrow I expect to be one of the crowd. You're a midshipman,
"I'm an officer of the Navy," replied the uniformed stranger coldly,
as he half turned to glance briefly at Dalzell. "You are a candidate,
I suppose? Then I fancy you will report at the superintendent's
office in the morning."
With that the Naval officer turned away, leaving poor Dalzell
feeling decidedly dumfounded.
"Wasn't that a midshipman?" gasped Dan, in a whisper.
"That gentleman is a lieutenant in the Navy," replied the clerk,
with a slight smile.
Crestfallen Dan hurried back to Darrin, brushing off his sleeves
with his hands as he walked.
"Served you right; you must get over being fresh," Dave Darrin
rebuked his chum. "But what is the matter with your sleeves?"
"I'm brushing the frost off of them," murmured Dan dejectedly.
"Did you notice the ice-bath that fellow threw over me?"
"Come out for a walk," urged Dave. "But be careful where you
step and what you say to others."
The two young men strolled down the street.
"Well," smiled Darrin, "I must say, Dan, that you appear to be
getting all over your nervousness."
"No; I'm still nervous," protested Dan. "Before, I was afraid
I wouldn't get into the Naval Academy. Now, I'm only afraid that
"What nonsense are you talking now?" demanded Darrin, giving his
chum a sharp look.
"Why, if they're all going to be as chesty as that near-officer I
spoke to in the hotel," blinked Dan, "I'm not so sure that I want to
go in with the bunch."
"That officer wasn't either chesty or snobbish," rejoined Darrin.
"Then you will kindly explain what he tried to do to me?"
"That's easy enough. That Naval officer recognized in you a rather
common type—the too-chummy and rather fresh American boy. Down
here in the service, where different grades in rank exist, it is
necessary to keep the fresh greenhorn in his place."
"Oh!" muttered Dan, blinking hard.
"As to your not wanting to go into the service," Dave continued,
"if you should fail, tomorrow, in your physical examination, you
would be as blue as indigo, and have the blue-light signal up
all the way back home."
"I don't know but that is so. Yes; I guess it is," Dalzell assented.
"Now, there are at least ninety-nine chances in a hundred that
you're going to pass the Navy doctors all right, Dan," his chum
went on. "If you do, you'll be sworn into the Naval service as
a midshipman. Then you'll have to keep in mind that you're not
an admiral, but only a midshipman—on probation, at that, as
our instructions from the Navy Department inform us. Now, as
a new midshipman, you're only the smallest, greenest little boy
in the whole service. Just remember that, and drop all your jolly,
all your freshness and all your patronizing ways. Just listen
and learn, Dan, and study, all the time, how to avoid being fresh.
If you don't do this, I'm mighty confident that you're up against
a hard and tough time, and that you'll have most of the other
midshipmen down on you from the start."
"Any more 'roast' for me?" asked Dalzell plaintively.
"No; for, if you need any more, you'll get it from other midshipmen,
who don't know you as well as I do, and who won't make any allowances
for your greenness and freshness."
"My!" murmured Dan enthusiastically. "Won't I quiver with glee
the first time I see you being called for twelve-inch freshness!"
Yet, despite their wordy encounters, the two remained, as always,
the best and most loyal of friends.
For an hour and a half the two youngsters roamed about Annapolis,
taking many interested looks at quaint old buildings that had
stood since long before the Revolutionary War.
At last they turned back to the hotel, for, as Dalzell suggested,
they needed a long night's sleep as a good preparation for going
before the Naval surgeons on the next day.
Five minutes after they had turned out the gas Dave Darrin was
soundly, blissfully asleep.
In another bed in the same room Dan Dalzell tossed for fully
half an hour ere sleep caught his eyelids and pinned them down.
In his slumber, however, Dan dreamed that he was confronting
the superintendent of the Naval Academy and a group of officers,
to whom he was expounding the fact that he was right and they
were wrong. What the argument was about Dan didn't see clearly,
in his dream, but he had the satisfaction of making the
superintendent and most of the Naval officers with him feel like a
lot of justly-rebuked landsmen.
THE FIRST DAY AT THE NAVAL ACADEMY
A few minutes before nine o'clock, the next morning, Dave and
Dan were strolling through Lover's Lane, not far from the
administration building at the United States Naval Academy.
Their instructions bade them report at 9.15. Dan was for going
in at once and "calling on" the aide to the superintendent. But
this Dave vetoed, holding that the best thing for them to do was
to stick to the very letter of their orders.
So, as they waited, the young men got a glimpse of the imposing piles
of buildings that compose the newer Naval Academy. Especially did
handsome, big, white Bancroft Hall enchain their admiration. This
structure is one of the noblest in the country. In it are the
midshipmen's mess, the midshipmen's barracks for a thousand young
men, numerous offices and a huge recreation hall.
"That's a swell hotel where they're going to put us up for four
years, isn't it?" demanded Dan.
"I fancy that we'll find it something more—or less—than a
hotel, before we're through it," was Dave's prophetic reply.
As, at this time in the morning, all of the enrolled midshipmen
were away at one form or another of drill or instruction, the
central grounds were so empty of human life that the onlooker
could form no idea of the immense, throbbing activity that was
going on here among the hundreds of midshipmen on duty.
"Here's some of our kind," spoke Dan, at last, as he espied more
than a dozen young men, in citizen's dress, strolling along under
"I guess they're candidates, fast enough," nodded Darrin, after
briefly looking at the approaching group.
"Cheap-looking lot, most of them, aren't they?" asked Dalzell
"Probably they're saying the same thing about us," chuckled Dave
"Let 'em, then. Who cares?" muttered Dalzell.
"Dan, my boy, I reckon you'll need to put the soft pedal on your
critical tendencies," warned Dave. "And, if you want my friendly
opinion, I've a big idea that you're going to talk your way into
a lot of trouble here."
"Trouble?" grinned Dalzell. "Well, I'm used to it."
In truth Dan had been victor in many a hard-fought schoolboy
disagreement, as readers of the High School Boys Series are aware.
As the young men in question drew nearer they eyed Darrin and
Dalzell with a disapproval that was not wholly concealed. The
truth was that Dave and Dan were recognized as not being boys
who had studied at one of the Naval prep. schools in Annapolis.
The assumption was, therefore, that Dave and Dan had not been
able to afford such a luxury.
"Good morning, gentlemen," was Dave's pleasant greeting. "You
are candidates, like ourselves, I take it?"
This fact being acknowledged, Dave introduced himself and his
friend, and soon some pleasant new acquaintances were being formed,
for Darrin had a way that always made him popular with strangers.
"Have you two got to go up before the June exams. here?" asked
one of the young men, who had introduced himself as Grigsby.
"Part of it," grinned Dan. "We've already gone through the primer
tests and the catechism, and that sort of thing; but we still
have to go before the barber and the toilet specialists and see
whether our personal appearance suits."
"You're lucky, then," replied Grigsby. "Our crowd all have to
take the academic exams."
"Cheer up," begged Dan. "Any baby can go past the academic exams.
Arithmetic is the hardest part. One funny chap on the Civil
Service Commission nearly got me by asking me how much two and
two are, but Darrin saved me, just in the nick of time, by holding
up five fingers; so I knew the answer right off."
Some of the candidates were already surveying Dan with a good
deal of amusement. They had heard much of the severe way upper
classmen at the Naval Academy have of taking all the freshness
out of a new man, and, like Dave, these other candidates scented
plenty of trouble ahead for cheerful, grinning Dan Dalzell.
"Gentlemen," broke in Dave quietly, "do you see the time on the
clock over on the academic building? It's nine-fourteen. What
do you say if we step promptly over to the administration building
and plunge into what's ahead of us?"
"Good enough," nodded one of the new acquaintances. "Suppose
you lead the way?"
So, with Dan by his side, Dave piloted the others over to the
administration building, just beyond the chapel.
As they stepped inside, and found themselves in a hallway, a marine
orderly confronted them.
"Candidates, gentlemen? Walk right upstairs. An orderly there will
direct you to the office of the superintendent's aide."
"Thank you," replied Dave, with a bow, and led the way upstairs.
Near the head of the stairs another marine, in spick-and-span
uniform, wearing white gloves and with a bayonet at his belt,
called out quietly:
"Candidates? First two, step this way please."
He swung open a door. Dave and Dan stepped into an office where
they found a young-looking though slightly bald gentleman in uniform,
seated behind a flat-top desk.
"We have come to report, sir, according to our instructions,"
announced Dave Darrin, happily.
"You are candidates, then?" asked Lieutenant-Commander Graham,
reaching for a pile of bound sheets.
"David Darrin and Daniel Dalzell, sir."
"Have you your papers, Mr. Darrin?"
Dave drew an official-looking envelope from an inner pocket and
handed it to Lieutenant-Commander Graham.
These the Naval aide scanned closely, after which he looked up.
"You have your papers, Mr. Dalzell?"
"Yes," nodded Dan.
A more than perceptible frown flashed across the face of the officer.
"Mr. Dalzell, whenever you answer an officer you will say 'yes,
sir,' or 'very good, sir.'"
Rather red in the face Dan handed over his envelope.
Mr. Graham examined these papers, too. Then, pulling a pile of
blanks before him, he filled out two, bearing the names of the
young men, and signed them, after which he handed one of the signed
blanks to each.
"Mr. Darrin, you will inquire of the orderly downstairs your way
to the office of the commandant of midshipmen. You will then
at once present yourself before the commandant, handing him this
"Yes, sir; thank you, sir," replied Dave, with a slight bow.
"Mr. Dalzell, stick close to your friend and you will find out
what to do."
"Yes, sir," murmured Dan, again reddening.
The orderly below directed the two young men how to proceed to the
main entrance of Bancroft Hall, there to turn to their left and
inquire again their way to the commandant's office.
"You see," lectured Dave pleasantly, as the chums plodded along
one of the walks, "you have already received your first lesson.
You answered the superintendent's aide without saying 'sir.' You'll
have to work out of this freshness."
"That wasn't freshness; it was ignorance," protested Dalzell.
"Don't you worry, Dave; I shall soon get the Naval trotting gait
to such an extent that I shall be saying 'sir' at every other word."
This declaration was more prophetic than Dalzell could guess at
Each lad had a queer feeling at heart as he began to climb the
long series of white steps that lead to the main entrance to Bancroft
Hall. What would be the outcome? Were they hence-forth to find
this huge pile "home" for four years to come? Would they, through
all after life, look back upon this great government training
school as their alma mater? It all seemed to depend, now, on
the verdict of the examining Naval surgeons!
But there was little time for thought. Once inside, they were
ushered, by a white-gloved midshipman, into the office of Commander
Jephson, commandant of midshipmen.
That gentleman, also in uniform, as were all Navy officers on
duty at the Academy, looked briefly as the two young men stood
"Yes, sir," replied Dave.
Each young man handed over the slip given him by the aide. Commander
Jephson scanned each sheet closely, then made some entries on
a set of papers of his own.
Next the commandant touched a button on his desk. Almost immediately
footsteps were heard outside. Another white-gloved midshipman
entered, raising his hand smartly to his cap in salute. This
salute the commandant acknowledged in kind.
"Mr. Salisbury, conduct Candidates Darrin and Dalzell outside.
Ascertain how soon the surgeons will be ready to examine them,
and conduct the candidates to the Board Room at the time assigned
for their examination."
"Very good, sir," replied Midshipman Salisbury, in measured tones.
Again the inter-change of salutes, after which Midshipman Salisbury
led Dave and Dan to an outer office.
"Wait here," directed the midshipman briefly, "I'll let you know when
it's time to go to the Board Room."
Five minutes later the midshipman again approached them.
By this time there were seven more candidates in the room. The
aide to the superintendent and the commandant were passing the
young men quickly through the mill.
"Mr. Darrin, Mr. Dalzell!" called the midshipman master of ceremonies.
As Dave and Dan started to their feet their conductor added:
"Follow me to the Board Room."
Down the corridor and into the Board Room the two chums were led.
There, awaiting them, they found three Naval medical officers,
all in their proper uniform and one of them seated at a desk.
"Strip, with the least delay possible," ordered the senior surgeon.
In a very short space of time Dave and Dan stood forth, minus
clothes and, it must be confessed, both very nervous as to what
these medical men might or might not find.
Thorough, indeed, was the examination, which began with the heart.
But it went much further, including the hair, scalp, eyes, teeth,
the condition of the tonsils, the appearance of the tongue, and
so on, by regular stages, down to the soles of their feet.
"If there's a square quarter of an inch these fellows have missed,
I didn't notice it," muttered Dan to himself.
"You may dress, Mr. Darrin," announced the senior surgeon, and
Dave went to the chair on which his clothing lay.
"Mr. Dalzell, come here a moment"
Dan began to feel queer. What had they missed? On what point
was his physical condition doubtful?
"Open your mouth," directed one of the surgeons.
Then followed some more exploration of his teeth.
"Oh," murmured Dan, when the medical men gave him a rest for a
moment. "It's only my teeth, eh? That's not a vitally important
point, is it, sir?"
"We reject candidates for what might seem very slight defects
of the teeth," replied the senior surgeon, with emphasis. "Open
your mouth again."
The cold ooze stood out on Dan's brow this time. Joke as he might,
he did not want to be dropped out of the Navy. Were these medical
officers going to find, in his mouth, the clue his disqualification?
"Hm!" said the senior surgeon, watching while another medical
officer did the probing and the holding of the dental mirrors.
That "hm!" sent a cold chill of dread coursing down young Daniel's
"Your teeth just about pass," remarked the senior officer. "You
may dress, Mr. Dalzell."
It was not long before Dave and Dan both had their clothing on.
As Dan was finishing, Dave turned to the senior surgeon.
"Is it improper, sir, for me to ask whether we have passed?" asked
"You have both passed," nodded the surgeon. "Mr. Dalzell, however,
will do well to take the most wholesome care of his teeth hereafter."
Just then the door opened and two more candidates were shown in.
"Come with me," directed the same midshipman master of ceremonies.
Dan was indiscreet enough to range up alongside their conductor,
just missing a vigorous nudge that Dave tried to give him.
"Well, we slipped by the drug-store sign all right," Dan confided
to the white-gloved midshipman. "Now, how soon do we get our
"Never, I hope," replied their conductor frigidly, "unless you
can learn to speak of the uniform of the service with more respect."
Dan fell back abashed. His style of humor, he was fast discovering,
did not seem to make a hit at Annapolis.
Back in the same waiting room the two young men lingered until
nearly eleven o'clock. More than two score of candidates had
passed the medical examiners by this time, and some others had
failed to pass. Yet many of these successful candidates had yet
to take their scholastic examinations over in Academic Hall, and
so did not wait with Dave and Dan, who had now passed in everything.
By eleven there were fully a dozen young men who, like Dave and
Dan, were ready to be sworn in. These were now led to the commandant's
office. Here each signed a paper agreeing to serve in the United
States Navy for a term of eight years, unless sooner legally discharged.
Each also signed a statement to the effect that he took this step
with the full permission of parents or guardian.
Then the commandant of cadets ordered them to form in a line facing
his desk. A notary appeared, who administered to them the oath
of loyalty and obedience. These young men were at last actual
members of the brigade of midshipmen.
Commander Jephson now delivered a short address to the lined-up
dozen. He pointed out where the lines of their duty lay, and
exhorted them to seek their duty and to perform it at all times.
In closing the commandant put emphasis on these words:
"One word more, young gentlemen. Until this moment perhaps all
of you have been wont to look upon yourself as boys. That time
has passed. From the moment that you were sworn into the Navy
of the United State—remember—you became men. All of your
superior officers will now look to you to realize most fully that
you are men—men in word, deed, thought and judgment."
Now another midshipman, a cadet petty officer, appeared and conducted
the new members of the brigade outside.
"Fall in by twos," he directed. "When I give the word, move forward
as well as you can, in the idea of marching."
It was, indeed, a busy hour that followed. The young men were
led before the midshipmen's pay officer, with whom each deposited
the sum of two hundred and sixty-four dollars and ninety-eight
cents. This amount from each new midshipman is required by law.
Of this sum sixty dollars is applied to the purchase of books
needed by the new midshipman. The balance of the sum goes to
pay for uniforms, articles of equipment, etc. From this it would
seem that an absolutely poor boy had no chance to enter the Naval
Academy. It usually happens, however, that, when a very poor
boy is appointed to the Naval Academy, his Congressman, or some
of his friends or fellow townsmen will loan him the money, returnable
after he enters the service as an officer.
In addition to the amount required by law to be deposited with
the Academy authorities each midshipman is ordered to turn over
any other money that may be in his possession, this extra amount
to be credited to him. A midshipman, on entering the service,
receives a salary of six hundred dollars a year. Nearly all of
this, however, is required to pay his ordinary expenses. Each
midshipman is allowed a very small amount of spending money, with,
however, a more liberal allowance when visiting ports during a
It is forbidden for a midshipman to receive spending money from
home or friends. Midshipmen sometimes disobey this latter regulation,
but, if detected, are liable to severe punishment.
Afterwards the new midshipmen were taken to the storekeeper's, where
each was supplied with one of the uniform caps worn by midshipmen.
Thence the young men were marched back to Bancroft Hall and out
onto the terrace over the mess hall.
"Halt! Break ranks!" commanded their instructor, Midshipman Cranthorpe.
"You will now pay close heed and endeavor to learn rapidly. Mr.
Darrin, step over here."
Dave went forward, Midshipman Cranthorpe placing him.
"The others will form in line of platoon front, using Mr. Darrin
as their guide," directed the young instructor.
Then followed some rapid-fire drilling in dressing, facings, counting
fours, marching and halting. The material in hand was excellent,
or Midshipman Cranthorpe might have been in despair.
Presently their instructor gave the order to break ranks, showing
the new men where to stand, up against the building, out of the
way. Almost immediately a bugler sounded a call. Then the new
men were treated to a sight that made their blood dance.
Out of Bancroft Hall hastily poured scores and scores of midshipmen,
until nearly six hundred had assembled. These were the members
of the three upper classes.
The brigade of midshipmen is divided into two battalions, each
of two divisions, six companies. The first and fourth companies
formed on the right of the first battalion, the seventh and tenth
companies on the right of the second battalion. The divisions
formed with intervals of two paces between companies preparatory
to muster. Second call was sounded quickly on the bugle, immediately
after which the first petty officer of each company began briskly
to call the roll. Each man answered just loudly enough to be
heard. While roll-call was going on company commanders stepped
briskly along inspecting their companies.
As the muster of each company was completed the first petty officer
commanded, "count off!"
"One, two, three, four! One, two, three four!" went the count
along each company line. Then the first petty officer of each
company wheeled about, saluted his company commander, and reported:
"Sir, all present or accounted for!"
Company commanders next corrected the alignment on the right center
company of each line.
Battalion commanders, seeing the divisions of their respective
battalions aligned, faced about, while the battalion adjutants
took post to right and rear. The brigade adjutant then faced
about, saluted the brigade commander, reporting: "Sir, the brigade
Receiving the word from his superior, the brigade adjutant next
read the orders, after which he was ordered to take his post.
While this was going on Midshipman Cranthorpe had formed his awkward
squad to the rear, behind the first battalion.
Now orders rang out crisply for battalion commanders to take charge.
Thereupon each battalion commander marched his command in column
of squads into the mess hall; battalion commanders preceding their
battalions, company commanders preceding their companies and the
junior officers of each company following the company. Last of
all came Midshipman Cranthorpe's awkward squad.
And very awkward, indeed, these young men felt. Each had a burning
conviction that he was being watched curiously by hundreds of
pairs of eyes. The new men might as well have saved themselves
their worry. Barely an upper class man in the hall was paying
any heed whatever to these self-conscious plebes.
The meal, a mid-day dinner, was an excellent one. Few of the
new men, however, had any notion of what it consisted.
Mess hall was left with almost the same amount of formality.
In the short recreation period that followed the new men, painfully
conscious that their caps were the only part of the uniform they
wore, were hurried away by Midshipman Cranthorpe.
Now they were quickly assigned to the rooms that they would occupy
during their first year at the Naval Academy.
The midshipmen are not roomed by classes. Instead, each is assigned
to a company, and there are three companies to a division. Each
division occupies a floor in Bancroft Hall. It is not called
a "floor" but a "deck." Dave and Dan were assigned to the armory
wing of the lowest deck, on what was virtually the basement floor
of Bancroft Hall, or would have been, but for the mess hall underneath.
As far as wood work went it was a handsome room. When it came
to the matter of furniture it was plain enough. There was the
main or study room. Off at either side was an alcove bedroom.
There was also a closet in which stood a shower bath. The one
window of the room looked over across the Academy grounds in the
direction of Academic Hall.
A cadet petty officer from the first class briefly, crisply instructed
them concerning the care of their room, and their duties within
What followed that afternoon put the heads of the new midshipmen
in a whirl. Afterwards they had a confused recollection of having
been marched to the tailor at the storekeeper's, where they were
measured for uniforms, all of which are made to order. They recalled
receiving a thin, blue volume entitled "Regulations of the U.S.
Naval Academy," a book which they were advised by a first clansman
instructor to "commit to memory."
"In former days, in the old-time academy, there were something
more than six hundred regulations," dryly remarked the cadet petty
officer in charge of them. "In the new up-to-date Naval Academy
there are now more than one thousand regulations. You are all
expected to appreciate this merciful decrease in the number of
things you are required to remember."
There were also two periods of drill, that afternoon, and what-not
Supper came as a merciful release. When the meal was over, while
many of the upper class men remained outside in the warm June
air, the plebes were ordered to go to their rooms and start in
making themselves familiar with the thousand-and-more regulations.
"Thank goodness they give us some time for light reading," muttered
Dan Dalzell, as he stalked into his room, hung up his uniform
cap and sank into a chair. "Whew! What a day this has been!"
"I've rather enjoyed it," murmured Dave, as he sank into the chair
on the opposite side of the study table.
"Huh! You have liberal ideas, then, about enjoyment. How many
hundred rules are you going to commit to memory tonight?
"I don't know," returned Dave. "But I do know that my head is
in a big whirl, and that I'm going to rest it for a few minutes.
By the way, Dan, there's one thing I hope you remember."
"What is that?" demanded Dalzell.
"What did they tell us this lower deck was named?"
"Dunno," grunted Dan. "But I have my own name for it. I call
it the pinochle deck."
"I'm afraid that won't do to repeat," laughed Dave.
At that moment the handle of the door was turned. Five upper
class midshipmen entered, closing the door behind them. Then
they stood there, glaring at the two poor plebes in "cit." clothes.
A TASTE OF HAZING
"Good evening, gentlemen," nodded Dave pleasantly, as he rose
and stood by the study table, waiting to hear the pleasure of
Dan Dalzell favored his callers with a nod, but remained seated,
both hands thrust deep in his pockets.
"Get up on your feet, mister!" ordered one of the midshipmen,
so sternly that Dan obeyed like a shot.
"Excuse me," he began hastily. "I didn't know you came here in
an official capacity. I thought—"
"Silence, mister!" commanded another of the visitors. Dan subsided.
"What's your name, mister?" demanded the last speaker, as he favored
Dave with his next glance.
"Why, my name is Dave Darrin," replied that plebe pleasantly.
"Say 'sir,' mister, when you address an upper class man. When
asked your name, reply, 'Darrin, sir.'"
"Darrin, sir," replied Dave promptly.
"Stand at attention, both of you!" commanded another visitor.
Both plebes obeyed. Now still another caller wheeled upon Dan.
"What's your name, mister."
"Dalzell—Sir!" thundered Dan's questioner.
"Dalzell, sir," Dan responded meekly enough.
"It is plain enough that both of you plebes need a good deal of
practice in the use of the word, sir. Therefore, in your next
answers, you will be careful to employ 'sir' after each word that
you utter in your reply. Mister," to Dave, "what did you come to
the Naval Academy for?"
"To, sir, become, sir, a sir, Naval, sir, officer. Sir."
"Very good, mister. Mister," to Dalzell, "why did you come here?"
"For sir, the same pur—"
"Sir, sir, sir, sir!" interrupted the quizzer. "Now, try again,
"For, sir, the, sir, same, sir, purpose, sir."
"Now, mister," continued the quizzing visitor, transfixing Dalzell
with a look of tremendous sternness, "can you talk French?"
Dan's eyes twinkled briefly.
"I don't know, sir. I never tried, sir," replied Dalzell, in pretended
For a moment it looked as though Dan had turned the tables of
mischief upon his tormentors. His reply was so absurd that all
of the upper class men, for a moment, betrayed signs of twitching
at the corners of their mouths. Then all of them conquered the
desire to laugh and returned to the inquest with added severity.
The late questioner turned to one of his classmates, remarking
"Very touge, indeed" replied the one addressed.
A "touge" plebe, in Naval Academy parlance, is one who is wholly
"Mister," continued Dan's quizzer, "we find you too full of levity
for one who intends to embrace the profession of quarter-deck
lounger. In our belief it will be necessary for you to let some
new ideas soak into your head. Mister, get your wash basin and
fill it exactly half full of water. Remember, mister—neither
a drop nor less than exactly half full."
Dan's first impulse was to grin, his second to laugh. Yet something
in the tone and look of the last speaker made "touge" Dalzell
feel that the simplest way out of difficulty would be for him
to obey as carefully and speedily as he could. So, with a hurried
"very good, sir," Dalzell turned in quest of his basin. He brought
it, just about half full, for the inspection of his imperious
"Place it there on the floor, beside the wall," ordered the tormentor
"Now, mister, stand on your head in that water!"
Dan flushed hotly, for an instant. He even clenched his fists.
Then, with a sudden rush of good sense to the head, he bent over
to carry out the order that he had received.
It was not as easy a feat as might be supposed, even for a rather
well trained and hardened athlete like Dan Dalzell.
He got his head into the bowl all right, and rested his hands
on the floor on either side of the bowl. It was when he tried
to throw his feet up against the wall that he came to grief.
His feet slid along the wall and came down to the floor again.
Dan fell out of the bowl with a good deal of splash.
"If, at first, you don't succeed, mister," began Midshipman Trotter,
who had constituted himself chief of the tormentors, "try, try
"I'll make it, sir," responded Dan cheerily, and his very manner,
now, inclined his tormentors to go a little more lightly with him.
At the third trial, with his eyes closed, just below the level of
the water, Dalzell succeeded in standing very solidly on his head.
The upper class men, who were all third class men, or "youngsters"
as they are unofficially termed, watched the performance with
"Rather well done, for a beginner," commented Midshipman Trotter.
"As you were, mister."
Dan, unfortunately, tried to be a bit "smart." He made a half
somersault forward, trying to spring up on his feet. He fell
back, however, and sat down squarely in what was left of the water.
"Never mind a little wet, mister," advised Midshipman Trotter,
with a very serious face. "We always rate a man as highly awkward,
however, if he breaks the washbowl."
"Which one of you is the better athlete?" suddenly asked Midshipman
Neither chum intended to be caught, by this crowd, as wanting
"He is, sir," replied Dan, with great promptness, nodding toward
"Dalzell is, sir," contended Dave.
"In view of this conflicting testimony, we shall have to settle
the question by actual test," replied Mr. Trotter. "Mister,"
to Dan, "bale out your boat."
From the nod which accompanied this command Dalzell understood
that he was to empty the water from his wash basin so he promptly
"Mister," to Darrin, "launch your boat on this water here."
Plainly the "water" signified the floor. Dave brought out his
own wash basin with alacrity. Under further orders the chums
placed their bowls about four feet apart.
"Here," announced Midshipman Trotter, taking two toothpicks from
a pocket, "are a pair of oars."
Dave Darrin received the toothpicks with a grin.
"And here are your oars, mister," supplemented Mr. Trotter, handing
another pair of toothpicks to Dan Dalzell.
At this instant a faint knock was heard at the door, which opened
"Got a pair of beasts at work, fellows?" asked a voice. "Here
are some more young admirals who need a little help."
Four new midshipmen, in the custody of three youngsters, now stepped
into the room and the door was closed.
"Bender's in charge of the floor tonight, you know," nodded one
of the newly-arrived youngsters, "and Bender's duty-crazy. Besides,
he belongs to the second class, and hardly admits that we're alive."
On each floor a midshipman is detailed to be in charge through
the evening. He is responsible for discipline on his floor, and
must report all breaches of the rules. A midshipman who wishes
to stand well with his comrades may, when in charge of the floor,
conveniently fail to see a good many minor breaches of discipline.
When the man in charge of the floor reports all breaches that
come to his notice he is said to be duty-crazy. He is also charged
with "trying to make his mark in grease." "Grease" is high standing
on the efficiency report. As a rule the man who stands well in
"grease" stands somewhat lower in general popularity.
Midshipman Bender, second class, was, at this time, regarded as
one of the worst "greasers" of all.
"What's on?" inquired Midshipman Hayes, one of the newcomers in
the room. "Tub race?"
"No, sir; fast spurt in single-pair shells," replied Midshipman
"Whew! You've caught some real athletes, have you?"
"That's what we want to find out," responded Mr. Trotter. "Now,
then, misters, we warn you against approaching this noble sport
in any spirit of levity! You are not to think that this work
is for your own amusement, or for anyone else's. You must try
yourselves out fairly and squarely. Our purpose is to find out
which is the better oarsman, and also which rows with the more
finish. Take your seats in your craft."
Dave and Dan seated themselves, with all possible gravity, in their
respective wash basins.
"Up oars!" commanded Mr. Trotter.
As neither plebe knew just what was meant by this command they
had to be shown how to sit holding their "oars" straight up in
This time the two new men guessed fairly well. They went through
the motions of allowing their toothpick oars to fall into row-locks.
"Now, at the outset, take your strokes from my count," directed
Mr. Trotter. "One, two three, four, five, six, seven—"
And so on. It was all ludicrously absurd, to see Dave and Dan
bending to their tasks as seriously as though they were rowing
real craft with actual oars.
One of the visiting plebes was stupid enough to giggle.
"Go over and stand by the window in arrest, mister," ordered Midshipman
Hayes. "You shall be tried later!"
Then the "boat race" continued. It soon proved to be more than
absurd; it was decidedly fatiguing. Both Dave and Dan found that
their strained positions, and the motions required of them, made
backs and shoulders ache. Their legs, too, began to suffer from
It was not until both showed signs of decided weariness that the
race was brought to an end.
Then the cadet who had giggled was called forward, ordered to
half fill one of the washbowls and to stand on his head in it.
While this was going on there was not a smile from anyone. From
the serious faces of all this might have been one of the most
important bits of drill in the whole course at the Academy.
Dave, however, made the best impression upon the youngsters.
All the other new men came sooner or later, to the ordeal of standing
on their heads in the wet bowl, but Dave seemed destined to escape.
The rowing was carried on until all of the youngsters had tired
of this sport.
"Fall in, in platoon front," directed Midshipman Trotter.
The six plebes, solemn as owls, stood up in line, "dressing" their
"Now, attend me carefully," cautioned Mr. Trotter, sweeping a
stern glance down the line of plebes. "I am about to tell you
a bit of the day's news from over in Sleepy Hollow, which place
is known to Maryland geographers as the village of Annapolis.
You must attend me with extreme care, for, after I have narrated
the news, I shall question you concerning it. Do you follow me,
"Yes, sir," came in a chorus.
"You need not answer quite as loudly," warned Midshipman Trotter,
sending a backward look over his shoulder at the door. "Now,
then, the police over in Sleepy Hol—Annapolis—today learned
the details of a yellow tragedy. Some weeks ago three Chinamen
came to town and opened a clean—I mean, a new—laundry. During
the last week, however, the public noted that the door leading
from the office to the rear room was always closed. You follow
"Yes, sir," came in an almost whispered chorus.
"Finally," continued Mr. Trotter, "one customer, more curious
than the others, reported his observations to the police. Today
the Johnny Tinplates made a raid on the place. A most curious
state of affairs came to light. So—but is this tangled tale
clear to you all as far as I have gone?"
"Yes, sir," came the whispered chorus.
"What the police learned," went on Mr. Trotter, in a voice that
now sounded slightly awestruck, "was this: a week ago the three
Chinese partners had a serious row. They quarreled, then fought.
Two of the yellow partners killed the third! And now, a serious
problem confronted the two survivors of that misunderstanding.
What was to be done with the remains of the unsuccessful disputant?"
Midshipman Trotter looked at each of the wondering plebes in turn.
It looked as though he were asking the question of them.
"I don't know, sir," admitted Dan Dalzell, at the left of the line.
"I don't know, sir," admitted the man next to Dan. So it went
down the line, until Dave Darrin, at the further end, had admitted
himself to be as much in the dark as were the others.
"Then, listen," resumed Mr. Trotter impressively. "The Chinese,
being descended from a very ancient civilization, are not only
very ingenious but also very thrifty. They were burdened with
two hundred pounds of evidence on the premises. In their extremity
the two survivors cut up their late partner, cooked him, and disposed
of the flesh at meal times."
From the gravity of the narrator's expression he appeared to be
reciting a wholly true story.
"Now, then," rasped out Midshipman Trotter, "that being the state
of affairs at the laundry—what was the telephone number?"
Trotter's gaze was fixed on Dan Dalzell's face almost accusingly.
"How the—" began startled Dan gruffly. Then, instantly realizing
that he was making a mistake, he broke in hastily:
"Beg your pardon, sir, but I don't understand how to get at the
"You try, mister," ordered Midshipman Trotter, turning to the
plebe next to Dalzell.
"I can't solve the problem, sir."
So it ran, straight down the line, each confessing his ignorance,
until finally Mr. Trotter glared at Dave Darrin.
"Come, come, mister, from the very exact narrative that I have
given, can't you deduce the telephone number of that laundry?"
"Yes, sir; I think so," answered Darrin, with a slight smile.
"Ah! Then there's a man in the squad who is more than a mere
saphead. Let us have the telephone number, mister!
"Two-ate-one-John," replied Dave promptly.
This was the correct answer. Dave had heard that "gag" before.
"Mister," beamed Mr. Trotter, "I congratulate you. You are no
mollycoddle. Your head is not over-fat, but somewhat stocked
with ideas. As soon as you have soaked in a few more ideas you
will be fit to associate with the young gentlemen at this
sailor-factory. You may, therefore, take the washbowl, fill it
half full of ideas, and stand on your head in them until they have
soaked well in!"
Poor Dave, his face flushed crimson, could have dropped in his
humiliation at having thus fallen into the trap. But he started
manfully for the washbowl, which he half filled with water. Meanwhile
the other five plebes were choking. They could have screamed
in their glee—had they dared!
Placing the bowl where ordered, Dave bent down to his knees, immersing
the top of his head in the water.
With hands on opposite sides of the bowl he balanced his feet,
preparatory to hoisting them into place against the wall.
"Up oars!" commanded Mr. Hayes dryly.
From one of the visiting plebes came an incautious giggle. Mr.
Hayes turned and marked his man with a significant stare that
made the unfortunate giggler turn red and white in turn with alarm.
At the order, "up oars," Dave Darrin sent his feet aloft. By
rare good luck he succeeded the first time trying.
There he remained, his head in the bowl of water, his feet resting
against the wall.
Just at this moment, though, the sound of trouble was in the air,
even if it reached interested ears but faintly.
A step was heard in the corridor outside. There was a faint knock.
The upper class midshipmen knew on the instant what the knock
meant—and so indeed did Dave Darrin.
THE "YOUNGSTERS" WHO BECAME "SPOONS ON"
It was a most critical moment in the life histories of several
young men who had grown to consider themselves as future officers
in the United States Navy!
Such a man as Midshipman Bender was certain to report any form
of hazing he detected.
Now, the usual punishment meted out to hazers at either Annapolis or
West Point is dismissal from the service!
True, this was not brutal hazing, but merely the light form of
the sport known as "running" the new man.
Nevertheless, "all hazing looks alike" to the public, when posted
by the newspapers, and the Naval Academy authorities deal severely
with even "running."
So, for all of the "youngsters," or third class men, who had been
conducting the evening's festivities, all the elements of trouble,
and perhaps of dismissal, were at hand.
But Dave Darrin had been the first to hear the soft approach of
footsteps, and somehow, he had guessed at the meaning of it all.
Just in the fraction of a second before the knock had sounded
at the door Dave had made a fine handspring that brought him from
his topsy-turvy attitude to a position of standing on his feet.
And, at the same time, he held the washbowl in his hand without
having spilled a drop of the water. Like a flash Dave few across
the room, depositing the bowl where it belonged. With a towel
he wiped his hair, then swiftly mopped his face dry. Hair brush
and comb in hand, he turned, saving:
"Why, I suppose, gentlemen, Dalzell and myself were very fair
athletes in the High School sense of the word. But it's a long
jump from that to aspiring to the Navy football team. Of course
we'll turn out for practice, if you wish, but—"
At this moment, Lieutenant Bender, the "duty-crazy" one, thrust
the door open.
Here Dave, on his way to the mirror, hairbrush and comb in hand,
halted as though for the first time aware of the accusing presence
of Bender, midshipman in charge of the floor for the day.
"Uh-hum!" choked Midshipman Bender more confused, even, than he
had expected the others to be.
"Looks like rather good material, doesn't he, Bender?" inquired
Mr. Trotter. "Green, of course, and yet—"
"I didn't come here to discuss Navy athletics," replied Midshipman
"Oh, an official visit—is that it?" asked shipman Hayes, favoring
the official visitor with a baby-stare. "As it is past graduation,
and there are no evening study hours, there is no regulation against
visiting in the rooms of other members of the brigade."
"No," snapped Mr. Bender, "there is not."
Saying this the midshipman in charge turned on his heel and left
An instant after the door had closed the lately scared youngsters
expressed themselves by a broad grin, which deepened to a very
decided chuckle as Mr. Bender's footsteps died away.
"Mister," cried Midshipman Trotter, favoring Darrin with a glance
of frank friendliness, "do you know that you saved us from frapping
the pap hard?"
"And that perhaps you've saved us from bilging?" added Midshipman
"I'm such a greenhorn about the Navy, sir, that I am afraid I
don't follow you in the least, sir," Darrin replied quietly.
Then they explained to him that the "pap" is the conduct report,
and that "to frap" is to hit. To "frap the pap" means to "get
stuck on" the conduct report for a breach of discipline. A "bilger"
is one who is dropped from the service, or who is turned back
to the class below.
"I judged that there was some trouble coming sir," Dave confessed,
"and I did the best that I could. It was good luck on my part that
I was able to be of service to you."
"Good luck, eh?" retorted Midshipman Trotter. "Third class men,
As the "youngsters" lined up Mr. Trotter, standing at the right
of the line, asked coaxingly:
"Mister, will you be condescending enough to pass down the line
and shake hands with each of us?"
Flushing modestly, but grinning, Dave did as asked—or directed.
"Mister," continued Midshipman Trotter impressively, "we find
ourselves very close to being 'spoons on' you."
For a youngster to be "spoons on" a new fourth classman means
for the former to treat the latter very nearly as though he were
a human being.
"Now, you green dandelions may go," suggested Mr. Trotter, turning
to the four "visiting" plebes.
As soon as this had come about Trotter turned to Dave Darrin.
"Mister, we humble representatives of the third class are going
to show you the only sign of appreciation within our power. We
are going to invite you to stroll down the deck and visit us in
our steerage. Your roommate is invited to join us."
Dave and Dan promptly accepted, with becoming appreciation. All
of the youngsters escorted Dave and Dan down the corridor to
Midshipman Trotter's room.
In the course of the next hour the youngsters told these new midshipmen
much about the life at the Naval Academy that it would otherwise
have taken the two plebes long to have found out for themselves.
They were initiated into much of the slang language that the older
midshipmen use when conversing together. Many somewhat obscure
points in the regulations were made clear to them.
Lest the reader may wonder why new fourth class men should tamely
submit to hazing or "running," when the regulations of the Naval
Academy expressly prohibit these upper class sports, it may be
explained that the midshipmen of the brigade have their own internal
A new man may very easily evade being hazed, if he insists upon it.
His first refusals will be met with challenges to fight. If he
continues to refuse to be "hazed" or "run," he will soon find
himself ostracized by all of the upper class men. Then his own
classmates will have to "cut" him, or they, too, will be "cut."
The man who is "cut" may usually as well resign from the Naval
Academy at once. His continued stay there will become impossible
when no other midshipman will recognize him except in discharge
of official duties.
The new man at Annapolis, if he has any sense at all, will quietly
and cheerfully submit to being "run." This fate falls upon every
new fourth class man, or nearly so. The only fourth class man
who escapes bring "run" is the one who is considered as being
beneath notice. Unhappy, indeed, is the plebe whom none of the
youngsters above him will consent to haze. And frequent it happens
that the most popular man in an upper class is one who, while
in the fourth class, was the most unmercifully hazed.
Often a new man at the Naval Academy arrives with a firm resolution
to resist all attempts at running or hazing. He considers himself
as good as any of the upper class men, and is going to insist on
uniformly good treatment from the upper class men.
If this be the new man's frame of mind he is set down as being
But often the new man arrives with a conviction that he will have
to submit to a certain amount of good-natured hazing by his class
elders. Yet this man, from having been spoiled more or less at
home, is "fresh." In this case he is called only "touge."
Hence it is a far more hopeful sign to be "touge" than to be "ratey."
The new man who honestly tries to be neither "touge" nor "ratey,"
and who has a sensible resolve to submit to tradition, is sometimes
termed "almost sea-going."
Dave Darrin was promptly recognized as being "almost sea-going."
He would need but little running.
Dan Dalzell, on the other hand, was soon listed as being "touge,"
though not "ratey."
INVITED TO JOIN THE "FRENCHERS"
Within the nest few days several things happened that were of
importance to the new fourth class men.
Other candidates arrived, passed the surgeons, and were sworn into
Many of the young men who had passed the surgeons, and who had
gone through the dreary, searching ordeals over in grim old Academic
Hall, had now become members of the new fourth class.
As organized, the new fourth class started off with two hundred
and twenty-four members—numerically a very respectable battalion.
At the outset, while supplied only with midshipmen's caps, and
while awaiting the "building" of their uniforms, these new midshipmen
were drilled by some of the members of the upper classes.
This state of affairs, however, lasted but very briefly. Graduation
being past, the members of the three upper classes were rather
promptly embarked on three of the most modern battleships of the
Navy and sent to sea for the summer practice cruise.
The night before embarkation Midshipman Trotter looked in briefly
upon Dave Darrin and his roommate.
"Well, mister," announced the youngster, with a paternal smile,
"somehow you'll have to get on through the rest of the summer
"It will be a time of slow learning for us, sir," responded Darrin,
"Your summer will henceforth be restful, if not exactly instructive,"
smiled Trotter. "In the absence of personal guidance, mister,
strive as far as you can to reach the goal of being sea going."
"I'll try, sir."
"You won't have such hard work as your roommate," went on Trotter,
favoring Dalzell with a sidelong look. "And, now, one parting
bit of advice, mister. Keep it at all times in mind that you
must keep away from demoralizing association with the forty per cent."
Statistics show that about forty per cent of the men who enter
the U.S. Naval Academy fail to get through, and are sent back
into civil life. Hence the joy of keeping with the winning "sixty."
The next morning the members of the three upper classes had embarked
aboard the three big battleships that lay at anchor in the Severn.
It was not until two days afterwards that the battleships sailed,
but the upper class men did not come ashore in the interval.
Soon after the delivery of uniforms to the new fourth class men
began and continued rapidly.
Dave and Dan, having been among the first to have their measure
taken, were among the earliest to receive their new Naval clothing.
A tremendously proud day it was for each new midshipman when he
first surveyed himself, in uniform, in the mirror!
The regular summer course was now on in earnest for the new men.
On Mondays those belonging to the first and second divisions marched
down to the seamanship building, there to get their first lessons
in seamanship. This began at eight o'clock, lasting until 9.30.
During the same period the men who belonged to the third and
fourth divisions received instruction in discipline and ordnance.
In the second period, from 10 to 11.30 the members of the first
and second division attended instruction in discipline and ordnance
while the members of the third and fourth divisions attended seamanship.
In the afternoon, from 3 to 4.45, the halves of the class alternated
between seamanship and marine engineering.
All instruction proceeded with a rapidity that made the heads
of most of these new midshipmen whirl! From 5 to 6 on the same
afternoon the entire fourth class attended instruction in the
art of swimming—and no midshipman hope to graduate unless he
is a fairly expert swimmer!
Wednesday and Saturday afternoons were devoted to athletics and
A midshipman does not have his evenings for leisure. On the first
five evenings of each week, while one half of the class went to
the gymnasium, the other half indulged in singing drill in Recreation
"What's the idea of making operatic stars out of us?" grumbled
Dan to his roommate on day.
"You always seem to get the wrong impression about everything,
Danny boy," retorted Darrin, turning to his roommate with a
quizzical smile. "The singing drill isn't given with a view to
fitting you to sing in opera."
"What, then?" insisted Dan.
"You are learning to sing, my dear boy, so that, later on, you will
be able to deliver your orders from a battleship's bridge in an
"If my voice on the bridge is anything like the voice I develop
in Recreation Hall," grimaced Dalzell, "it'll start a mutiny right
then and there."
"Then you don't expect sailors of the Navy to stand for the kind
of voice that is being developed in you in Recreation Hall?" laughed
"Sailors are only human," grumbled Dalzell.
The rowing work, in the big ten-oared cutters proved one of the most
interesting features of the busy summer life of the new men.
More than half of these fourth class midshipmen had been accustomed
to rowing boats at home. The work at Annapolis, however, they found
to be vastly different.
The cutter is a fearfully heavy boat. The long Naval oar is
surprisingly full of avoirdupois weight. True, a midshipman has to
handle but one oar, but it takes him many, many days to learn how to
do that properly.
Yet, as August came and wore along, the midshipmen found themselves
becoming decidedly skilful in the work of handling the heavy cutters,
and in handling boats under sail.
Competitive work and racing were encouraged by the Navy officers who
had charge of this instruction.
Each boat was under the direct command of a midshipman who served
as crew captain, with thirteen other midshipmen under him as crew.
When the post of crew captain fell to Dan Dalzell he embarked
his crew, gave the order to shove off and let fall oars, and got
away in good style.
Then, leaning indolently back Dan grinned luxuriously.
"This is the post I'm cut out for," he murmured, so that stroke-oar
heard him and grinned.
Yet, as "evil communications corrupt good manners," Dan's attitude
was reflected in his crew of classmates. The cutter was manned
badly at that moment.
"Mr. Dalzell!" rasped out the voice of Lieutenant Fenton, the
instructor, from a near-by boat.
Dan straightened up as though shot. But the Navy officer's voice
"Sit up in a more seamanlike manner. Pay close attention to the
work of your boat crew. Be alert for the best performance of
duty in the boat that you command. For your inattention, and
worse, of a moment ago, Mr. Dalzell, you will put yourself on
the conduct report."
The next morning, at breakfast formation, Dan's name was read
from the "pap." He had been given five demerits. This was below
the gravity of his offense, but he had been let off lightly the
"You've got to stick to duty, and keep it always in mind," Darrin
admonished his chum. "I don't intend to turn preachy, Dan; but
you'll surely discover that the man who lets his indolence or
sense of fun get away with him is much better off out of the Naval
"Pooh! A lot of the fellows have frapped the pap," retorted Dalzell.
"Demerits don't do any harm, unless you get enough of 'em to cause
you to be dropped."
"Well, if there is no higher consideration," argued Dave, "at
least you must remember that the number of demerits fixes your
conduct grade. If you want such liberties and privileges as are
allowed to new midshipmen, you'll have to keep your name away from
"Humph! Setting your course toward the grease mark are you?"
"Think it over!" urged Dave Darrin patiently.
Before August was over the new fourth class men marched "like
veterans." They had mastered all the work of drill, marching and
parade, and felt that they could hold their own in the brigade when
the upper class men returned.
On the 28th of August the three big battleships were sighted coming
up the bay in squadron formation. A little more than an hour
later they rode at anchor.
It was not, however, until the 30th of August that the upper classmen
August 31 was devoted to manifold duties, including the hurried
packing of light baggage, for now the members of the three upper
classes were to enjoy a month's leave of absence before the beginning
of the academic year on October 1.
Then, like a whirlwind mob, and clad in their "cit." clothes, the
upper class men got away on that hurried, frenzied leave.
There was no leave, however, for the new midshipmen.
In lieu of leave, through the month of September, the new fourth
class men spent the time, each week-day, from ten o'clock until
noon, at the "Dago Department," as the Department of Modern Languages
Here they made their start in French.
"When Trotter comes back," muttered Dan, "if he asks me whether
I can talk French, I'll tell him that I've tried, and now I know
It was the last night before the upper classmen were due back from
Dave and Dan were in their room, poring hard over French, when
a light tap sounded on the door.
Right on top of the tap Midshipman Farley, fourth class, entered
on tiptoe, closing the door behind him.
This accomplished, Farley dropped his air of stealth, strolling
over to the study desk.
"There's a nice little place in town—you know, Purdy's," began
"I've heard of it as an eating place," responded Darrin.
"It's more than that," returned Farley, smacking his lips. "It's
an ideal place for a banquet."
"I accept your word for it," smiled Dave.
"I don't ask you to, Darrin," grinned Farley. "Like any honest
man I'm prepared to prove all I say. Purdy has received—by
underground telegraph—orders to prepare a swell feast for eight.
It's to be ready at eleven tonight. We had the eight all made
up, but two fellows have flunked cold. We're to French it over
the wall tonight, leaving here a few minutes after taps. Are you on?"
Farley's enthusiastic look fell upon the face of Dalzell.
"I'm on!" nodded Dan
"No; you're not" broke in Dave quietly.
"I'm afraid I must disagree with you, little David," murmured Dan.
"Oysters, clams, fish—watermelon!" tempted Midshipman Farley.
"Um-yum!" grunted Dan, his eyes rolling.
"Then you're with us, Dalzell?" insisted Farley.
"—not!" interjected Dave Darrin with emphasis.
"Now, what are you butting in for, you greasy greaser?" demanded
Farley, giving Dave a contemptuous glance. "Maybe you won't join
us, and maybe we'd just as soon not have as greasy a midshipman
as you at the festive board, but Dalzell isn't tied to your apron
strings, are you, Dalzell?"
"No; he's not," replied Darrin, speaking for his chum. "Dalzell
will speak for himself, if he insists. But he and I have been
chums these many years, and we've often given each other good
advice in trying or tempting times. Dalzell will go with you,
if he cares to, for he already knows all that I have to say on
"You've had your nose stuck down deep in the grease-pot ever since
you struck Annapolis!" cried Farley angrily. "I hope you bilge,
Darrin; with all my heart I hope you bilge soon. We don't need
a mollycoddle like you here in the Naval Academy!"
"Isn't that about all you want to say?" demanded Dave, looking
up with a frown.
"No; it's not half what I have to say," cried Farley hotly. "Darrin,
your kind of fellow is a disgrace to the Naval service! You're
a sneak—that's what—"
"You may stop, right there!" frowned Darrin, rising from his chair.
"I'll stop when I'm proper ready!" retorted Farley hotly.
"If you don't stop right now, you'll finish while engaged in landing
on your ear in the hall outside!" warned Dave, stepping forward.
There was a new look in Darrin's usually patient eyes. It was
a look Farley hadn't seen there before, and it warned the hot-headed
midshipman that he was in danger of going too far.
"Oh, fudge on you, Darrin!" jeered Farley, turning on his heel.
"Going to be with us, Dalzell?
"No," replied Dan promptly. "I never travel with the enemies of
"Greasers, both of you!" flung back the caller, and left them.
"If that fellow had talked an hour longer I believe I might have
lost my patience," smiled Darrin, as he turned back to his desk.
"But I'm glad you're not with that outfit tonight Danny boy.
It may turn out a big scrape."
"Why should it turn out a big scrape." demanded Dan.
"Oh, you never can tell," replied Darrin, as he picked up his
Farley did not succeed in getting two more midshipmen to join
in the Frenching. Twenty minutes after taps, however, the original
six of the fourth class slipped out of Bancroft Hall.
Slyly they made their way to where they had a board hidden near
the wall of the Academy grounds.
One at a time, and swiftly, they went up this board, and over
At Purdy's they found a meal to tempt the most whimsical appetite.
The meal over they spent much time in singing and story-telling.
It was nearly two in the morning when Farley and his fellow feasters
tried to get back into the grounds, over the wall.
They got over the wall, all right, but only to fall into the hands
of one of the watchmen, who seemed to have known exactly where
to expect their return.
All six were reported to the officer in charge. At breakfast
formation Midshipmen Farley, Oates, Scully, Brimmer, Henkel and
Page were assigned fifty demerits each for unauthorized absence
during the night.
Farley and his friends were furious. More, they were talkative.
Had Dave Darrin been less occupied that day he would have noted
that many of his classmates avoided him.
Dan did notice, and wondered, without speaking of the matter.
That day all the upper class men returned, and Bancroft Hall hummed
for a while with the bustle of the returning hundreds.
Just before the dinner formation Youngster Trotter encountered
Dave in the corridor.
"Hullo, mister!" was Trotter's greeting, and the youngster actually
held out his hand.
"I hope you had a mighty pleasant leave, sir," replied Dave, returning
"Passably pleasant, passably, mister," returned Midshipman Trotter.
"But see here, mister, what's this about you and your class that
"Nothing, so far as I know, sir," replied Dave, scanning the youngster's
"It must be more than nothing," returned Trotter. "I understand
that more than half of your class are furious with you over something
that happened last night. I've heard you called a sneak, mister,
though I don't believe that for a single minute. But I've heard
mutterings to the effect that your class will send you to coventry
for excessive zeal in greasing, to the detriment of your classmates.
What about it all, mister?"
Dave Darrin gazed at the youngster with eyes full of wonder.
"What about it?" repeated Dave. "That's the very thing I'd like to
know, sir, for this is the very first word I've heard of it."
Nor could Midshipman Trotter doubt that Dave Darrin had answered
in all sincerity.
"Well, you certainly must be innocent, mister, if you're as puzzled
as all this," replied the youngster. "Then it must be that malicious
mischief is brewing against you in some quarter. Take my advice,
mister, and find out what it all means."
"Thank you. I most certainly will, sir," replied Dave, his eyes
DAVE PASSES THE LIE
Dalzell looked up wonderingly as Darrin marched swiftly into their
"Danny boy, have you heard any talk against me today?" demanded
"Do I look as though I had been fighting?" queried Dan promptly.
"I've just heard, from Trotter, that a good many of the fellows
in our class are scorching me, and talking of sending me to coventry.
"I sure will," broke in Dan, dropping his book, rising and snatching
at his cap. "I'll be back as soon as I've heard something, or have
settled with the fellow who says it."
Dan was out of the room like a flash.
Dave sat down heavily in his chair, his brow wrinkling as he tried
to imagine what it all meant.
"It must all be a mistake that Trotter has made," argued Dave
with himself. "Of course, Trotter might be stringing me, but
I don't believe he would do that. Now, to be sure, I came near
to having words with Farley last night, but that wouldn't be the
basis for any action by the fourth class. That, if anything,
would be wholly a personal matter. Then what am I accused of
doing? It must be some fierce sort of lie when the fellows talk
of taking it up as a class matter."
For ten minutes more Dave puzzled and pondered over the problem.
Then the door flew open and Dan bolted hastily in.
"You haven't been hitting anyone have you? asked Dave, noticing
the flushed, angry face of his chum.
"No! But one of us will have to do some hitting soon," burst hotly
"It'll be my hit, then, I guess," smiled Dave wearily. "Have
you found out—"
"Dave it's the most absurd sort of lie! You know that Farley
and his little crowd got caught last night, when they returned
from their Frenching party over the wall?"
"Frenching" is taking unauthorized leave from the academic limits
by going over the wall, instead of through the gate.
"Yes; I know Farley and his friends got caught," rejoined Darrin.
"But what has that to do with me?
"Farley and his friends are sore—"
"They ought not to be," said Darrin quietly. "They took the chance,
and now they ought to be ready to pay up like good sportsmen."
"Dave, they say you informed on them, and got them caught!"
"What?" shouted Darrin, leaping to his feet. His face was deathly
white and the corners of his mouth twitched.
He took two bounding steps toward the door, but Dalzell threw
himself in his chum's way.
"Not just this minute, Dave!" ordered Dan firmly. "We don't want
any manslaughter here—not even of the 'justifiable' kind!
Sit and wait until you've cooled off—some. When you go out
I'm going with you—whether it's out into the corridor, or out
of the Naval Academy for good. Sit down, now! Try to talk it
over coolly, and get yourself into a frame of mind where you can
talk with others without prejudicing your case."
"My case?" repeated Dave bitterly, as he allowed Dan to force
him back into his chair. "I haven't any case. I haven't done
"I know that, but you've got to get cool, and stay so, if you want
to make sure that others have a chance to know it," warned Dan.
"Does Farley say that I sneaked in information against him?"
"Farley and the others are so sore over their demerits that they
believe almost anything, now, and they say almost anything. Of
course, Farley remembers the row he had with you last night.
In a fool way he puts two and two together, an decides that you
helped set the trap for them."
"If I had done a dirty thing like that, then I'd deserve to be
cut by the whole brigade," retorted Dave, his face flushing.
"But I want to tell you, right now, Dave, that some of the fellows
of our class know you too well to believe any such thing against you."
"I'm properly grateful to the few, then," retorted Darrin, his eyes
softening a trifle. "But come along, Dan, if you will. I mean to
start in at once to sift this thing down."
"Let me look at you," ordered Dalzell, grappling with his chum,
and looking him over.
Then, a moment later, Dan added:
"Yes; you're cool enough, I think. I'll go with you. But remember
that the easiest way to destroy yourself is to let your temper
get on top. If anybody is to get mad before the crowd, let me
do it. Then you can restrain me if I get too violent."
Dave Darrin took his uniform cap down from the nail and put it
on with great deliberation. Next, he picked up his whisk broom,
flecking off two or three imaginary specks of dust.
"Now, I guess we can go along, Danny boy," he remarked, in a tone
of ominous quietness.
"Where are you headed?" murmured Dalzell, as they reached the
"To Farley's room," answered Dave Darrin coolly. "Do you suppose
"He was, a few moments ago" Dan answered.
"Then let us hope he is now."
Carrying himself with his most erect and military air, Darrin
stepped down the corridor, Dalzell keeping exactly at his side.
The chums arrived before the door of the room in which Farley was
Dave raised his hand, sounding a light knock on the door, which
he next pushed open.
Farley and a dozen other members of the fourth class were in the
room. Moreover, it was evident instantly that some of those present
were discussing the burning class issue.
"But are you sure he did it? Farley?" one midshipman inquired,
as the chums entered.
"Sure?" repeated Farley. "Of course I am! Didn't I tell you what
a hot row we had. Darrin—"
"I'm here to speak for myself, Farley," boomed in the quiet, steady
voice of Dave Darrin. "But I'll hear you first, if you wish."
"Oh, you're here, are you?" cried Farley hotly, wheeling about
on the visitors.
Some of the other fourth class men present turned and glanced
coldly at the two last-comers. Others looked on with eager curiosity.
"I've heard," announced Darrin, "that you are saying some things
about me that don't sound well. So I've come to ask you what you
"I won't keep you waiting," jeered Farley. "You know, from hearing
morning orders, that six of us were given fifty demerits apiece."
"For going over the wall to a late supper in town," nodded Dave.
"You wouldn't go with us," continued Farley angrily, "and gave
us a greaser's talk-fest instead."
"I didn't advise you against going," responded Dave, standing
with his arms folded, utterly cool as he eyed his accuser.
"Then, after we went, some one went and wised the powers," charged
Farley. "Now, no one but a most abandoned greaser would do that."
To "wise the powers" is to give information to the Naval officers.
"The fellow who would wilfully tell on you would be worse than
what you term a greaser," agreed Dave.
"Careful," warned Farley ironically. "You know who told, or who
caused the wise word to leak to the powers."
"I don't," Dave denied bluntly.
"You're the sneak, yourself!" cried Farley angrily.
"I am not," spoke Dave, with clear denial.
"Do you mean to say I lie?" demanded Midshipman Farley threateningly,
as he took a step forward.
"Do you deliberately state that I informed upon you, or caused
you to be informed upon?" demanded Dave Darrin.
"Yes, I do!
"Then you lie!" returned Darrin promptly.
With a suppressed yell Farley sprang at Darrin, and the latter
struck out quickly.
ON THE FIELD OF THE CODE
Midshipman Farley had the bad judgment to stop that blow with
the side of his neck.
Across the room he spun, going down in a heap, his head under
the study table.
Dave Darrin looked on with a cool smile, while Farley lay there
for an instant, then scrambled out and up onto his feet.
But two or three other new midshipmen sprang in between Dave and
"We can't have a fight here, Farley," urged two or three in the
"Let me at the sneak!" sputtered Farley who was boiling over with
"Yes; let him at me," voiced Dave coolly, "and I'll send him into
the middle of next term!"
But three of the midshipmen clung to Farley, who furiously strove to
fling them off.
"Let me at him!" insisted the accuser. "He struck me."
"You struck at him first, and didn't land," replied one of the
peacemakers. "You go on with a fight here, and you'll bring the
officer in charge down on us all. Farley, if you feel you've
a grievance you are privileged to take recourse to the regular
code in such matters."
"The fellow has lied about me, and I'm ready to settle it with
him now, or outside by appointment," broke in Dave, speaking as
coolly as before.
"He calls me 'fellow' and 'liar,'" panted Farley, turning white.
"Do you think I can stand that?
"You don't have to," replied one of those who held Farley back.
"Send Darrin a challenge, in the regular way."
"I will!" panted Midshipman Farley. "And I'll hammer him all over
and out of the meeting-place!"
"Then it's settled for a challenge," interposed Dan Dalzell.
"That will suit us all right. We'll be ready whenever the challenge
comes. And now, to prevent getting a lot of decent fellows into
a needless scrape, Darrin and I will withdraw."
Dan took Dave by the arm, and both turned to leave the room.
"You—" began Farley hoarsely, when another midshipman clapped
a hand over his mouth.
"Shut up Farley! Save all of your undoubted grit for the field, when
you two meet."
The door closed softly behind Darrin and Dalzell.
"Why didn't you let me at the sneak?" bellowed Farley, released,
now, from interfering hands.
"See here, Farley," advised one of his friends, "cool down and keep
your face in a restful attitude. Darrin behaved twice as well as
you did. If you don't look out you'll lose the sympathy of the
class. Just keep cool, and restrain your tongue from wagging until
you've met Darrin. Don't try to start the row again, this side of
the field where you meet. If you do, you'll get many a cold shoulder."
Other midshipmen present spoke in the same vein. Farley, who
wanted to be popular at all times, presently allowed himself to
Of course the news of the meeting, and of the more emphatic one to
come spread fast through Bancroft Hall. There is an unknown
wireless that carries all such news on wings through the brigade
Within half an hour Henkel and Page brought the challenge to Dave
Darrin. Dan, in the meantime, had been busy, and had induced
Midshipman Rollins, of the fourth class, to act with him as second.
Rollins, indeed, needed little urging. He was eager to see the
Tyson, of the second class, was secured as referee, while Trotter,
of the third class, gladly agreed to act as time-keeper.
The time was set for an hour before taps, as, on this evening,
it would be easy for all the young men involved to slip away and
be back in time for taps.
"I won't let the thing run over two rounds," promised Farley,
who had an excellent idea of himself as a fighter.
That afternoon Dave and Farley were obliged to pass each other.
Dave did not even seem to know that his enemy was around. Farley,
on the other hand, glared ferociously at Darrin as he passed.
Midshipman Trotter certainly would have come around to offer Dave
friendly counsel, had not his position as one of the officials
of the fight restrained him.
Dave, by his prompt action, had veered many of his classmates
around to his side. The bulk of opinion in the class, however,
was that Farley would make good in his boasts of victory. He
was a heavily-built yet very active young man, who had shown great
promise in boxing bouts in the gymnasium.
At half-past eight that evening, while scores of cadets strolled
through the grounds, thinking of the academic term to begin on
the morrow, some little groups made their way more directly across
the grounds. Many interested glances followed them.
Over in the direction of the Old Government Hospital stepped Dave,
accompanied by Dan and Rollins.
They were the first to arrive, though a few minutes later Midshipmen
Tyson and Trotter appeared.
"Farley doesn't seem in as a big hurry as he was," remarked Dan
It was not, in fact, until close to the time that Farley, Henkel
and Page came on the scene.
"We want to put this mill through briskly, gentlemen," announced
Midshipman Tyson, in a low tone. "Both principals will be good
enough to get ready as rapidly as possible."
Dave Darrin had been only awaiting the order. Now he took off
his cap and uniform blouse, handing them to Dan, who folded the
coat and laid it on the ground, placing the cap on top of it.
By this time Darrin had pulled his shirt over his head. Dan took
that also, while Rollins produced a belt which Dave strapped about
his waist with care.
Then he stepped forward, like a young war horse, sniffing the
Farley was more leisurely in his preparations, though he did not
appear nervous. In fact, Farley wasn't a bit nervous. But he
meant "wind up" the fight in such short order that there would
be an abundance of time to spare.
"There's no use in giving you any advice, old fellow," murmured
Dan. "You've been in too many fights, back in the good old High
School days of Dick & Co."
"I can handle myself," nodded Dave, "unless Farley proves to be
a veritable wonder."
"He certainly thinks he is," warned Rollins. "And a good many
of the fellows believe Farley to be the best man of the class
in this line of work."
"They won't think so much longer," returned Dan, as simply as
though merely stating a proved fact. "You see, Rollins, you never
had the great good luck to get your kid training with Dick & Co.
Our old crowd always went in to win just because we were blind
to the idea that there was any possible chance of losing."
"Did you always make good?" asked Rollins curiously.
"Just about always, I reckon," nodded Dan confidently.
"You must have been a wonder-bunch then," smiled Rollins.
Farley was ready, now, and coming forward with a second on either
side of him.
"Step in Dave old fellow." directed Dan.
Dave came forward to where Midshipman Tyson awaited them.
"Gentlemen," announced the referee, "this is to be a fight to
the finish, bare hands. As time is short you are urged to mix
it up briskly to a conclusion. The usual ring rules will guide
the officials of this meeting. Hand-shaking will dispensed with.
Are you ready?"
"Ready!" hissed Farley venomously.
"Ready," nodded Dave coolly.
With a yell Farley leaped in. He didn't want it to last more
than one round, if it could be helped.
The fury of his assault drove the lighter Darrin back. Farley
followed up with more sledge-hammers. He was certainly a dangerous
man, with a hurricane style. He was fast and heavy, calculated
to bear down a lighter opponent.
Before that assortment of blows Dave Darrin was forced to resort
"Stand up and fight!" jeered Farley harshly as he wheeled and
wheeled, still throwing out his hammer blows. "Don't play sneak
on the field!"
Dave didn't even flush. Trained with Dick Prescott at Gridley
High School, Darrin was too old a hand to be taunted into indiscretion.
In spite of his footwork, however, Farley succeeded in landing
upon him twice, though neither blow did much damage.
Then a third blow landed, against the side of Darrin's head, that
jarred him. It was all he could do to stand off Farley until
he recovered his wits enough to dodge once more.
Yet, all the while, Darrin was watching his chance.
THE MAN WHO WON
"This isn't a sprint!" yelled Farley, in high disgust. "Come back
here!" Dave did come back.
Wheeling suddenly, he struck his right arm up under Farley's now
In the same fraction of a second Dave let fly with his left.
It wasn't such a very hard blow—but it landed on the tip of
With a yell of rage Farley made a dive at his lighter opponent.
In his rage Farley tried to strike after that call, but Dave bounded
to one side.
Then, turning his back, Darrin walked away to where Dan and Midshipman
Rollins awaited him.
"Be careful, Mister Farley," warned Second Class Man Tyson, striding
over to him. "You struck out after the call of time. Had the
blow landed I would have been compelled under the rules to award
Darrin the fight on a foul."
"First blood for our side!" cheered Dan, as he sprang at Dave
with a towel.
In a few moments the young man had been well rubbed down, and
now Dan and Rollins, on opposite sides, were kneading his muscles.
From over in Farley's corner came a growl:
"I came here to fight, not to go in for track work. That fellow
"Queer!" remarked Dan cheerfully. "We hold all the honors so far."
Quickly enough the call of time came.
Farley, the flow of blood from his nose stanched, came back as
full of steam as before.
Dave's footwork was as nimble as ever. Speed and skill in dodging
were features of Darrin's fighting style.
Yet Farley caught him, with a blow on the chest that sent him
to his knees.
Like a flash, however, Darrin was upon his feet, and Farley lunged
at him swiftly and heavily.
In the very act of reaching his feet, however, Dave Darrin leaped
lightly to the left.
With an exclamation of disgust Farley turned and swung again.
But Dave dropped down, then shot up under his opponent's guard
This time an exclamation of real pain came from Farley, for the
blow had landed solidly on his left eye, just about closing it.
A second time Darrin might have landed, but he was taking no chances
under a steam-roller like Farley.
As Dave danced away, however, followed up by his opponent, bellowing
from the sudden jolt his eye had received, he saw that Farley
was fighting almost blindly.
Dan Dalzell now jumped in as close as he had any right to be.
He wanted to see what would happen next.
Nor was he kept long guessing, for Dave had slipped around on
the blind side of his opponent.
"Confound you! Can't you stand up and fight square?" demanded
Dave flushed, this time. Dodging two of Farley's blows he next
moved as though about to retreat.
Instead, however, Darrin leaped up and forward.
Pound! Dave's hard left fist landed crushingly near the point
of Farley's jaw.
Down went the larger man, while his seconds rushed to him.
Midshipman Trotter, watch in hand, began calling off the seconds.
Steadily he counted them, until he came to "—eight, nine,
Still Farley lay on the ground, his good eye, as well as his damaged
If he was breathing it was so slightly that his seconds, not permitted
under the rules to go close, could not detect the movements of
"He loses the count," announced Second Class Man Tyson, in businesslike
tones. "I award the fight to Mister Darrin."
Always the ceremonious "mister" with which upper class men refer
to new fourth class men. It is not until the plebe becomes a
"youngster" that the "mister" is dropped for the more friendly
Farley's seconds were kneeling at his side now.
"Can you bring him out easily?" asked Midshipman Tyson, going
over to the defeated man's seconds.
"He's pretty soundly asleep, just now," put in Midshipman Trotter.
"My, but that was a fearful crack you gave your man, mister!"
"I'm sorry if I have had to hurt him much," replied Dave coolly.
"I am not keen for fighting."
Dan and Rollins offered their services in helping to bring Farley
to, only to met by a curt refusal from Midshipman Henkel.
So Dave and his seconds stood mutely by, at a distance, while
the two officials in the late fight added their efforts to those
of the seconds of the knocked-out man.
At last they brought a sigh from Farley's lips.
Soon after the defeated midshipman opened his eyes.
"Is—Darrin—dead?" he asked slowly, with a bewildered look.
Midshipman Trotter chuckled.
"Not so you could notice it, mister. But you surely had a close
call. Do you want to try to sit up?"
This Farley soon concluded to do. Then his seconds dressed him.
"Now, see if you can stand on your feet," urged Midshipman Tyson.
By this time Farley's wits had returned sufficiently for him to
have a very fair idea of what had passed.
Aided by Henkel and Page Midshipman Farley got to his feet. There
he stood, dizzily, until his late seconds gave him stronger support.
"You can't go back to Bancroft while you are in this condition,
mister," hinted Tyson decidedly. "You'll have to pass in review
before one of our medical gentlemen, and do whatever he deems best."
"Dan," murmured Dave, "go over and ask Farley whether he cares
to shake hands."
Dan crossed in quest of the information.
"Never!" growled Farley, with a hissing intake of breath.
"It's a shame to have bad blood after the fight is over," muttered
"I don't want anything to do with that fellow until we meet again,"
"Great Scott, mister! You don't think of calling Mister Darrin
out again, do you?" demanded Tyson, with a gasp.
"Yes; if he can be made to fight fair!" snarled Farley.
"He fought fairly this time, mister," replied Second Class Man
Tyson, almost with heat. "You're a fast, heavy and hard scrapper
for your age, mister, but the other man simply out-pointed you
all through the game. If you call him out again, and he meets
you, he can kill you if he sees fit."
"Misters," directed Midshipman Trotter, addressing Henkel and
Page, "you'd better hurry to get your man over to a surgeon if
you want to be in your rooms at lights-out time."
As Page and Henkel started away with their unfortunate comrade,
Dave approached Tyson.
"Sir, do you believe that I fought with entire fairness?" asked
Darrin of the referee.
"Fair? Of course you did, mister," replied Tyson. "Come along,
Dave, who had dressed some time before, now turned with Dan and
Rollins and started back. They took pains not to be seen close
to the upper class men.
"Who won?" demanded a fourth class man, curiously, as they neared
"Farley will tell you tomorrow if he's able," grinned Dan.
When taps sounded on the bugle, that evening, all of the midshipmen,
save Farley, were in their rooms.
Promptly as the last note of taps broke on the air the last of the
midshipmen was in bed, and the electric light was turned off from a
master switch. The inspection of rooms was on.
DAN JUST CAN'T HELP BEING "TOUGE"
Fourth Class Man Farley did not put in an appearance at breakfast
formation in the morning.
As this was the opening day of the first term of the academic
year it was a bad time to be "docked for repairs" at the hospital.
Merely reading over the list of the fourth class studies did not
convey to the new men much idea of how hard they were to find
In the department of Marine Engineering and Naval Construction
there were lessons in mechanical drawing.
No excuse is made for a midshipman's natural lack of ability in
drawing. He must draw satisfactorily if he is to hope to pass.
In mathematics the new man had to recite in algebra, logarithms
In addition to the foregoing, during the first term, the new midshipman
had courses in English and in French.
As at West Point, the mathematics is the stumbling block of the new
man at Annapolis.
In the first term algebra, logarithms and geometry had to be finished,
for in the second term trigonometry was the subject in mathematics.
Shortly before eight in the morning the bugle call sounded for the
first period of recitation.
The midshipmen fell in by classes in front of Bancroft Hall.
After muster the classes marched away by sections.
Each section contained an average of ten men, under command of
one of their number, who was known as the section leader.
It was the section leader's duty to march his section to the proper
recitation room in Academic Hall, to preserve discipline while
marching, and to report his section to the instructor.
At the beginning of the academic year the fourth class men were
divided into sections in alphabetical order. Afterwards the sections
would be reorganized according to order of merit.
So, at the outset, Darrin and Dalzell were in the same section,
and Dave, as it happened, had been appointed section leader.
When the command rang out Dave marched away with his section,
feeling somewhat proud that he had attained even to so small a
degree of command.
It was an interesting sight to see hundreds of midshipmen, split
up into so many sections, marching across the grounds in so many
different directions, for not all the sections were headed for
Dave knew the number of the room to which his section was bound, and
knew also the location of the room.
Sections march, in step, at a brisk gait, the clicking of so many
heels against the pavements making a rhythmic, inspiring sound.
Some of the midshipmen in Dave's section however, felt low-spirited
that morning. They had been looking through their text-books,
and felt a dread that they would not be able to keep up the stiff
pace of learning long enough to get past the semi-annual examinations
in the coming January.
Dave and Dan, however, both felt in good spirits. They had looked
through the first lessons in algebra, and felt that they would
not have much trouble at the outset, anyway. They believed that
they had been well grounded back in their High School days.
On their way Darrin's section was passed by three officers of
the Navy. Midshipmen must always salute officers of the Navy.
While marching in sections, however, the only midshipman who
salutes is the section leader.
Three times Dave's hand came smartly up to the visor of his cap
in salute, while the other men in his section looked straight ahead.
Reaching Academic Hall Dave marched his section mates into the
Lieutenant Bradshaw, the instructor, was already present, standing
by his desk.
Darrin saluted the lieutenant as soon as he had halted the section.
"Sir, I report all members of the section present."
Five of the midshipmen were directed by Lieutenant Bradshaw to go
to their seats. The rest were ordered to blackboards, Dave and Dan
among the latter number.
Those at the blackboards were each given a problem to lay out
on the blackboard. Then the instructor turned to the fourth class
men who remained in their seats.
These he questioned, in turn, on various aspects of the day's lesson.
All the time the midshipmen at the blackboard worked busily away,
each blocking out phase after phase of his problem.
Dave Darrin was first to finish. He turned his back to the board,
taking the position of parade rest.
Dan was third to finish.
"Mr. Darrin, you may explain your work," announced Lieutenant
This Dave did, slowly, carefully, though without painful hesitation.
When he had finished the instructor asked him several questions
about the problem, and about some other phases of the day's work.
Darrin did not jump at any of his answers, but made them thoughtfully.
"Very good, indeed, Mr. Darrin," commented the instructor. "But,
when you are more accustomed to reciting here, I shall hope for
a little more speed in answering."
As Dave was returning to his seat Lieutenant Bradshaw marked him
3.8 per cent on the day's work.
That was an excellent marking, 4 being the highest. The lowest
average in a study which a midshipman may have, and hold his place
in the Naval Academy, is 2.5. Anything below 2.5 is unsatisfactory,
which, in midshipman parlance is "unsat." Taking 4 to represent
100 per cent., 2.5 stands for 62.5 per cent. This would not be
a high average to expect, as courses are laid down in the average
High School of the land; but as most of our American High Schools
go 2.5 at Annapolis is at least as good a marking as 90 per cent
would be in a High School.
"Good old Dave leaks too slow at the spout, does he?" chuckled
Dan to himself, as he waited at parade rest. "When it comes my
turn, then, as I happen to know my problem as well as the fellow
who wrote the book, I'll rattle off my explanation at a gait that
will force the lieutenant to stand on his feet to hear all I say."
Dalzell was the fourth man called upon at the blackboard.
Taking a deep breath, and assuming a tremendously earnest look,
Dan plunged into the demonstration of his problem as fast as he
could fire the words out.
Lieutenant Bradshaw, however, listened through to the end.
"Your demonstration is correct, Mr Dalzell," said the instructor
quietly. "However while speed in recitation is of value, in the
future try to speak just a little more slowly and much more distinctly.
You are fitting yourself to become a Naval officer one of these
days. On shipboard it is of the utmost importance that an officer's
voice be always distinct and clear, in order that every word he
utters may be instantly understood. Try to keep this always in
mind, Mr. Dalzell, and cultivate the habit of speaking distinctly."
The rebuke was a very quiet one, and courteously given. But Dan,
who knew that every other man in the section was grinning in secret
over his discomfiture, was quickly losing his nerve.
Then, without favor, Lieutenant Bradshaw questioned Dan searchingly
on other details of the day's work. Dan stammered, and forgot
much that he had thought he knew.
Lieutenant Bradshaw set down a mark of 2.9, whereas Dalzell, had
he stuck sensibly to the business in hand, would have been marked
as high as Dave had been.
As the section was marching back to Bancroft Dan whispered:
"Dave, did you hear the old owl go 'too-whoo' at me in the section
"Stop talking in section!" ordered Dave crisply.
"Blazes! There isn't a single spot at Annapolis where a fellow
can take a chance on being funny!" muttered Dalzell under his breath.
"Dave, old chum," cried Dan tossing his cap on the bed as they
entered their room. "Are you going to turn greaser, and stay greaser?"
"What do you mean?" asked Darrin quietly.
"You told me to shut up in the ranks."
"That was right, wasn't it? I am under orders to see that there
is no talking in the section when marching."
"Not even a solitary, teeny little word, eh?"
"Not if I can stop it," replied Dave.
"And what if you can't stop it?"
"Then I am obliged to direct the offender to put himself on the
"Great Scott! Would you tell your chum to frap the pap for a
little thing like that, and take demerits unto himself?"
"If I had to," nodded Dave. "You see, Dan, we're here trying
to learn to be Naval officers and to hold command. Now, it's
my belief that a man who can't take orders, and stick to them,
isn't fit to give orders at any period in his life."
"This sort of thing is getting on my nerves a bit," grumbled Dan.
"Just think of all the freedom we had in the good old days back
"This is a new life, Dan—a different one and a better one."
"Maybe," half assented Dalzell, who was beginning to accumulate
the elements of a "grouch."
"Dan," asked Darrin, as he seated himself at his desk and opened
a book preparatory to a long bit of hard study, "don't you know
that your bed isn't the regulation place to hang your cap?"
"Oh, hang the cap, and the regulations, too!" grumbled Dalzell.
"I'm beginning to feel that I've got to break through at some
"Pick up your cap, and put it on its hook—do," begged Darrin
At the same time he looked us with a smile which showed that he
thought his friend was acting in a very juvenile manner.
Something impelled Dan to comply with his chum's request. Then,
after hanging the cap, with great care, on its nail, the disgruntled
one slipped to the study table and picked up a book.
Just as he did so there came a knock on the door.
Then Lieutenant Stapleton, in white gloves and wearing his sword,
stepped into the room, followed by a midshipman, also white-gloved.
Lieutenant Stapleton was the officer in charge, the young man
the midshipman in charge of the floor.
"Good morning, gentlemen," said the Lieutenant pleasantly, as
both midshipmen promptly rose to their feet and stood at attention.
Dave and Dan remained standing at attention while the lieutenant
stepped quickly about the room, taking in everything with a practiced
"Everything in order," commented the lieutenant, as he turned
to the door. "Resume your work, gentlemen."
"Maybe you're glad you hung your cap up just in time," grinned
"Oh, bother the whole scheme!" grunted Dan "The idea of a fellow
having to be a jumping-jack all the time!"
"A midshipman has to be a jumping-jack, I reckon," replied Dave,
"until he learns to be a man and to live up to discipline as only
a man can."
"See here, do you mean to say—"
"Go on with your study of English, unless you're sure you know
all the fine points of the language," interrupted Darrin. "I
know I don't and I want time to study."
Dan gazed steadily at his chum, but Darrin seemed too deeply absorbed
in his work to be conscious of the gaze.
On the whole studies and recitations passed off rather pleasantly
for both chums that day, though both could see that there were
After supper a few minutes were allowed for recreation, which
consisted mostly of an opportunity for the midshipmen to chat
with each other. Then came the call that sent them to their rooms
to study for two solid hours.
"I wish the powers that be would let us sit up an hour later,"
sighed Dave, looking up from his book in the middle of the study
"I'd rather they'd let us sleep an hour later in the morning,"
"But, really, it would be great to have chance to study an hour
more each evening," insisted Dave.
"Yes; I begin to feel that we're going to need more study time
than we get, if we're ever to pass."
At 9.30 the release bell rang. Dan closed his book with a joyful
bang, Darrin closing his much more reluctantly.
"I'm going visiting," declared Dalzell, starting toward the door.
Before he could reach the door, however, there sounded a slight
knock and two midshipmen of the third class stepped in.
"Mister, what's your name?" demanded one of the visitors.
"Dalzell, sir," replied Dan, standing at attention.
"What's yours, mister?
"Stand on your head, mister."
Dave obeyed with good-natured speed.
"That will do, mister. Now, on your head, mister."
Dan made a grimace, but obeyed.
Then the other visitor demanded:
"Do either of you fourth class men intend to try to be ratey?"
"No, sir," replied Darrin promptly.
"Do you, mister?" turning to Dalzell.
"Are you both a bit touge?" asked the youngster questioner.
"I hope not, sir," replied Dave.
"Do you feel that way, mister?"—looking at Dan.
"What way, sir?"
"Do you feel inclined to be touge, mister?"
"I'm willing to be anything that's agreeable, and not too much
work, sir," replied Dan, grinning.
It is offensive for a fourth class man to grin in the presence
of an upper class man.
Moreover, two other youngsters had just stepped into the room
to watch proceedings.
"Mister," commanded the youngster whom Dan had answered, "wipe
that grin off your face."
Dalzell drew out his handkerchief, making several elaborate passes
across his countenance with it.
"Touge!" growled his inquisitor.
"Very touge, indeed," assented the other three youngsters.
"Why did you bring out your handkerchief, mister?"
"Just obeying orders," replied Dan, with another grin.
"Wipe that grin off your face, sir!—no, not with your handkerchief!"
So Dalzell thrust the handkerchief away and applied his blouse
sleeve to his face.
"Stop that, mister!
"Yes, sir," replied Dalzell meekly.
"Don't you know how to wipe a grin off your face?"
"I'm not sure, sir," Dan admitted.
"Mister, you are wholly touge! I'm not sure but that you're a
ratey plebe as well."
Thereupon Youngster Quimby plunged into a scathing lecture on
the subject of a plebe being either touge or ratey. At first
Dan listened with a becoming air of respect. Before long, however,
a huge grin began to illumine Dalzell's face.
"Wipe that grin off, mister!" commanded Mr. Quimby sternly.
"I—I simply can't!" gasped Dan, then began to roar with laughter.
"Why can't you?" insisted Quimby. "What's the matter?
"It's—it's your face!" choked Dan.
"My face?" repeated Quimby, reddening "What do you mean, sir?"
"I—I—it would be a shame to tell you!" sputtered Dalzell between
spasms of laughter.
Truth to tell, Midshipman Quimby did look funny when he attempted
to be over-stern. Quimby's face was one of his sensitive points,
anyway. Yet it was not, strictly speaking, the face, but the
look of precocious authority on that face which had sent Dan,
with his keen sense of humor, off into spasms of laughter. But
the youngster didn't propose to see the point.
"Mister," spoke Midshipman Quimby, with an added sternness of
look that sent Dan off into another guffaw, "you have been guilty
of insulting an upper class man. Your offense has been so
serious—so rank—that I won't accept an apology. You shall
"When? Whom?" asked Dan, the big grin still on his face.
"Me, mister—and as soon as the thing can be pulled off."
"Oh, all right, sir," nodded Dalzell. "Any time you like, then,
sir. I've been accustomed, before coming here, to getting most
of my exercise out of fighting. But—pardon me, if I meet, I
shall have to hit—pardon me—that face."
"Call this plebe out, Quimby, and trim him in good shape," urged
one of the other youngsters present. "He's touge all the way
through. He'll need trimming."
"And he'll get it, too," wrathfully promised Midshipman Quimby, who
was rated high as a fighter at the Naval Academy.
"JUST FOR EXERCISE"
"Now, then, mister, keep your eyes on my humorous face!"
It was the next evening, over behind the old government hospital.
Midshipman Quimby had just stepped forward, from the hands of
his seconds, two men of the third class.
"I can't keep my eyes away from that face, and my hands are aching
to follow the same route, sir," grimaced Dalzell.
He, too, had just stepped forward from the preliminary care of
Dave and of Rollins, for that latter fourth class man was as anxious
to see this fight as he had been the other one.
"Stop your talk, mister," commanded Midshipman Ferris, of the
second class, who was present to officiate as referee. "On the
field you talk with your hands. Don't be touge all the time,
or you'll soon have a long fight calendar."
"Very good, sir," nodded Dan, his manner suddenly most respectful—as
far as appearance went.
Dave Darrin did not by any means approve his chum's conduct of
the night before, but Dave was on hand as second, just the same,
and earnestly hoping that Dan might get at least his share of
the honors in the event that was now to be "pulled off."
"Gentlemen," began Mr. Ferris, in the monotonous way of referees,
"this fight is to be to a finish, without gloves. Hand-shaking
will be dispensed with. Are you ready?"
"Ready!" assented both.
Both men advanced warily.
Quimby knew well enough that he could whip the plebe, but he didn't
intend to let Dalzell get in any blows that could be guarded against.
Both men danced about until Mr. Ferris broke in, rather impatiently:
"Stop eating chocolates and mix it up!"
"Like this, sir?" questioned Dan. Darting in, on a feint, he
followed Quimby's block with a blow that jolted the youngster's
Then Dan slipped away again, grinning gleefully, well aware that
nothing would anger Quimby more easily than would that same grin.
"I'll wipe that disgrace off your face myself," growled Quimby,
closing in briskly.
"Come over here and get it," taunted Dan, showing some of his
Quimby sent in three blows fast; two of them Dalzell blocked,
but one hit him on the chest, staggering him slightly. Midshipman
Quimby started to follow up his advantage. In another moment,
however, he was backing away with a cut lip.
"There's something to wipe off your own face," suggested Dan,
grinning harder than ever.
Stung, Mr. Quimby made strenuous efforts to pay back with worse coin.
He was still trying when the call of time sounded.
"You didn't half go in after him, Dan," murmured Dave, as the latter
and Rollins quickly toweled their man in the corner.
"If I had, I might have gotten more of him than I wanted," muttered
"Why don't you mix it up faster?" queried Rollins.
"Because," proclaimed Midshipman Dan, "I don't want to fight or
get hurt. I'm doing this sort of thing just for exercise, you
Then they were called into the second round. Quimby, in the meantime,
had been counseled to crowd the plebe hard, and to hammer him when
he got close.
So, now, Quimby started in to do broadside work. At last he scored
fairly, hitting Dalzell on the nose and starting the flow.
But, within ten seconds, Dalzell had return the blow with interest.
After that things went slowly for a few more seconds, when time
was again called.
"That plebe isn't exactly easy," Quimby confided to his seconds.
"I've got to watch him, and be cautious. I haven't seen a plebe as
cool and ready in many a day."
In the third round Quimby was perhaps too cautious. He did not
rush enough. Dan, on the other hand, bore down a bit. Just before
the call of time he closed Quimby's right eye.
Both Quimby and his seconds were now dubious, though the youngster's
fighting pluck and determination ran as high as ever.
"I've got to wipe him off the field in this fourth round, or go to
the grass myself," murmured Quimby, while his seconds did the best
they could with him.
"I'm warming up finely," confided Dan to Dave and Rollins.
"You're coming through all right," nodded Dave confidently. "At
present you have twice as much vision as the other fellow, and only
a fraction as much of soreness. But keep on the watch to the end."
For the first twenty seconds of the new round it was Quimby who
was on the defensive. Dan followed him up just warmly enough
to be annoying.
At last, however, Dan straightened, stiffened, and there was a
quick flash in his eyes.
He saw his chance, and now he jumped in at it. His feint reached
for Quimby's solar plexus, but the real blow, from Dalzell's right
hand, hammered in, all but closing Quimby's other eye.
Smack! Right on top of that staggerer came a hook that landed
on the youngster's forehead with such force that Quimby fell over
backward. He tried to catch himself, but failed, and lurched
to the ground.
"—six, seven, eight—" counted the timekeeper.
Quimby staggered bravely to his feet, but stood there, his knees
wobbling, his arms all but hanging at his side.
Dan did not try to hit. He backed off slightly keeping only at
half-guard and watching his opponent.
"What's the matter, Quimby" called Mr. Ferris. "Can't you go on?"
"Yes; I'm going on, to the knock-out!" replied the youngster doggedly.
He tried to close in, but was none too steady on his feet. Dan,
watching him, readily footed it, merely watching for the youngster
to lead out.
Quimby's two seconds rushed to his side. Midshipman Ferris and
the time-keeper also gathered around.
"Quimby," spoke the referee, "you're in no shape to go on."
"I can stand up and be hit," muttered the youngster gamely.
"Mr. Dalzell, do you care to go further?" asked Mr. Ferris.
"I shan't attempt to hit Mr. Quimby, sir, unless he develops a
good deal more steam."
Ferris looked at Quimby's seconds. They shook their head.
"I award the fight to Mister Dalzell," declared Midshipman Ferris.
"Oh, give it to Mr. Quimby, if you don't mind, sir," begged Dan.
"He got the game, and might as well have the name along with it."
"Mister, don't be touge all the time," cried Mr. Ferris sharply.
"I don't mean to be, sir," replied Dan quite meekly. "What I
meant to convey, sir, is that I don't care anything about winning
fights. The decision, sir, is of very little importance to me.
I don't fight because I like it, but merely because I need the
exercise. A fight about once a week will be very much to my liking,
"You'll get it, undoubtedly," replied Midshipman Ferris dryly.
"Whee, won't it be great!" chuckled Dan, in an undertone, as he
stepped over to his seconds. "Give me that towel, Dave. I can
rub myself off."
While Dan was dressing, and Quimby was doing the same, one of
the seconds of the youngster class came over, accompanied by the
"Mister, you really do fight as though you enjoyed it," remarked
"But I don't," denied Dan. "I'm willing to do it, though, to
keep myself in condition. Say once a week, except in really hot
weather. A little game like this tones up the liver so that I
can almost feel it dancing inside of me."
As he spoke, Dalzell clapped both hands to his lower left side
and jumped up and down.
"You heathen, your liver isn't there," laughed the time-keeper.
"Isn't it?" demanded Dan. "Now, I'm ready to maintain, at all
times, that I know more about my liver and its hanging-out place
than anyone else possibly can."
There was a note of half challenge in this, but the time-keeper
merely laughed and turned away. Members of the second class usually
feel too grave and dignified to "take it out of" plebes. That
work is left to the "youngsters" of the third class.
A little later Mr. Quimby presented himself for medical attendance.
His face certainly showed signs of the need of tender ministration.
"Dan, why in the world are you so fresh?" remonstrated Dave,
when the two chums were back in their room. "You talk as though
you wanted to fight every man in the upper classes. You'll get
your wish, if you don't look out."
"Old fellow," replied Dalzell quizzically, "I expect to get into
two or three more fights. I don't mean to be touge, but I do
intend to let it be seen that I look upon it as a lark to be called
out. Then, if I win the next two or three fights also, I won't
be bothered any after that. This is my own scheme for joining the
peace society before long."
Nor is it wholly doubtful that Dan's was the best plan, in the
long run, for a peaceful life among a lot of spirited young men.
MIDSHIPMAN HENKEL DOES SOME THINKING
"Busy" asked Midshipman Henkel, of the fourth class, stepping
into the room which Farley and Page shared.
The release bell had just sounded, giving all of the young men
a brief interval of freedom before taps.
"Not especially," laughed Farley, as he finished stacking his
books and papers neatly.
It was about a week after the night of Dan's fight with Midshipman
"Let me get a good look at your face, Farley, under the light,"
continued Henkel. "Why, it looks almost natural again. My, but
it was a rough pounding that fellow, Darrin, gave it!"
"Yes," nodded Farley, flushing.
"Let me see; isn't it about time that you squared matters up with
Darrin?" went on Midshipman Henkel.
"How? What do you mean?" demanded Farley, while Page, too, looked
on with interest.
"Well, first of all, Darrin gets the whole bunch of us ragged by the
watchman. The when you object, he pounds your face at his own sweet
"What are you trying to do?" laughed Farley. "Are you trying to fan
up the embers of my wrath against Darrin?"
"Such embers shouldn't need much fanning," retorted Mr. Henkel coolly.
"Surely, you are not going to let the dead dog lie?"
"Darrin and I fought the matter out, and he had the good fortune
to win the appeal to force," replied Plebe Farley stiffly. "I
don't associate with him now, and don't expect to, later on, if
we both graduate into the Navy."
"That satisfies your notions of honor, does it, with regard to
a man who not only injured you, but pounded your face to a fearful
Henkel's tone as he put the question, was one of bitter irony.
"Do you know," demanded Farley, rising, his face now flushing
painfully, "I don't wholly like your tone."
"Forget it, then," begged Henkel. "I don't mean to be offensive
to you, Farley. I haven't the least thought in the world like
that. But I take this whole Darrin business so bitterly to heart
that I suppose I am unable to comprehend how you can be so meek
"Meek?" cried Farley. "What do you mean by that word?"
"Well, see here," went on Henkel coaxingly, "are we men of spirit,
or are we not? We fellows devise a little outing in the town
of Annapolis. It's harmless enough, though it happens to be against
the rules in the little blue book. We are indiscreet enough to
let Darrin in on the trick, and he pipes the whole lay off to
some one. Result—we are 'ragged' and fifty 'dems.' apiece.
When you accuse Darrin of his mean work he gives you the lie.
True, you show spirit enough to fight him for it, but the fight
turns out to be simply more amusement for him. Now, I've been
thinking over this thing and I can't rest until the mean work
is squared. But I find you, who suffered further indignities
under Darrin's fists, quite content to let the matter rest. That's
why I am astonished, and why I say so frankly."
Having delivered this harangue with an air of patient justice,
Henkel seated himself with one leg thrown over the edge of the
study table, waiting to hear what Farley could say in reply.
"Well, what do you plan to do further in the matter?" insisted
"To get square with Darrin!"
"Well, now see here, Farley, and you, too, Page, what has happened?
At first we had the class pretty sore against Darrin for getting our
crowd ragged. Since the fight, however, in which you were pummeled
"Never mind my fate in the fight," interposed Farley. "It was
a fair fight."
"Well, ever since the fight," resumed Henkel, "Darrin has been
climbing up again in class favor. Most of the boobies in the
fourth class seem to feel that, just because Darrin hammered you
so, the beating you received proves Darrin's innocence of a mean
"I can't help what the class concludes," retorted Farley stiffly.
"Page, you have more spirit than that, haven't you?" demanded
Henkel, wheeling upon Midshipman Farley's roommate.
"I hope I have spirit enough," replied Page, bridling slightly,
"but I am aware of one big lack."
"What is that?"
"I seem to lack the keen intelligence needed to understand what
you are driving at, Henkel."
"That's the point, Henkel," broke in Midshipman Farley, walking
the floor in short turns. "Just what are you driving at? Why
are you trying to make me mad by such frequent references to the
fact that Darrin won his fight with me?"
"I'm sounding you fellows," admitted Henkel.
"That's just what it rings like," affirmed Midshipman Page, nodding
his head. "Well, out with it! What's your real proposition?"
"Are you with me?" asked Midshipman Henkel warily.
"How can we tell," demanded Farley impatiently, "until you come
down out of the thunder clouds, and tell us just what you mean?"
"Pshaw, fellows," remarked Mr. Henkel, in exasperation, "I hate
to think it, but I am beginning to wonder if you two have the
amount of spirit with which I had always credited you."
"Cut out the part about the doubts," urged Farley, "and tell us,
in plain English, just what you are driving at."
"Fellows, I believe, then," explained Midshipman Henkel, "that
we owe it to ourselves, to the Naval Academy and to the Navy,
to work Dave Darrin out of here as soon as we can."
"How?" challenged Farley flatly.
"Why, can't we put up some scheme that will pile up the 'dems.'
against that industrious greaser? Can't we spring a game that
will wipe all his grease-marks off the efficiency slate?" asked
Midshipman Henkel mysteriously.
"Do you mean by putting up a job on Darrin?" inquired Page.
"That's just it!" nodded Henkel, with emphasis.
"Putting up a job on a man usually calls for trickery, doesn't it?"
"Why, yes—that is—er—ingenuity," admitted Henkel.
"Trickery isn't the practice of a gentleman, is it?" insisted
"It has to be, sometimes, when we are fighting a rascal," retorted
"I'm afraid I don't see that," rejoined Page, shaking his head.
"Dirty work is never excusable. I'd sooner let a fellow seem to win
over me, for the time being, than to resort to trickery or anything
like underhanded methods for getting even with him."
"Good for you, Page!" nodded Farley "That's the whole game for
a gentleman—and that's what either a midshipman or a Naval officer
is required to be. Henkel, old fellow, you are a little too hot
under your blouse collar tonight. Wait until you've cooled off,
and you'll sign in with us on our position."
"Then you fellows are going to play the meek waiting game with
Darrin, are you?" sneered Henkel.
"We're going to play the only kind of game that a gentleman may
play," put in Page incisively, "and we are not going to dally with
any game about which a gentleman need feel the least doubt."
"You've spoken for me, Page, old chap," added Farley.
Midshipman Henkel took his leg off the desk, stood there for a
moment, eyeing his two comrades half sneeringly, then turned on
his heel and left the room. Just before he closed the door after
him Henkel called back:
"Good night, fellows."
"Well, what do you think of that?" demanded Farley, a moment later.
"I think," replied Midshipman Page, "just as you do, that Darrin,
in his desire to bone grease somewhere, played a dirty trick on
us. I consider Darrin to be no better than a dog, and I apologize
to the dog. But we're not going to make dogs of ourselves in order
to even up matters."
"We're certainly not," replied Farley, with a nod. "Oh, well,
Henkel is a mighty good fellow, at heart. He'll cool down and
come around all right."
At that instant, however, Midshipman Henkel, with a deep scowl
on his face, was whispering mysteriously with his roommate Brimmer.
A CHRONIC PAP FRAPPER
Another week had passed.
By this time all of the new midshipmen had had a very strong taste
of what the "grind" is like at the U.S. Naval Academy.
If the lessons had seemed hard at the outset, the young men now
regarded the tax demanded on their brains as little short of inhuman.
The lessons were long and hard. No excuse of "unprepared" or
otherwise was ever accepted in a section room.
The midshipman who had to admit himself "unprepared" immediately
struck "zip," or absolute zero as a marking for the day. Many such
marks would swiftly result in dragging even a bright man's average
down to a point where he would fall below two-five and be "unsat."
"I thought we plugged along pretty steadily when we were in the
High School," sighed Dave Darrin, looking up from a book. "Danny
boy, a day's work here is fully three times as hard as the severest
day back at the High School.
"David, little giant," retorted Dalzell, "your weak spot is arithmetic.
It's just seven times as hard here as the worst deal that we ever got
in the High School."
"Oh, well," retorted Darrin doggedly, "other men have stood this
racket before us, and have graduated into the Navy. If they did
it, we can do it, too. Mr. Trotter was telling me, yesterday,
that the plebe year is the hardest year of all here."
"Mr. Trotter is a highly intelligent individual, then," murmured
"He explained that the first year is the hardest just because the
new man has never before learned how to study. After our first
year here, he says, we'll have the gait so that we can go easily
at the work given us."
"If we ever live through the first year," murmured Dan disconsolately.
"As for me, I'm hovering at the 'unsat.' line all the time, and
constantly fearing that I'm going to be unseated. If I could
see myself actually getting through the first year here, with
just enough of an average to save me, I'd be just as happy as
ever a fourth class man can hope to be here."
"Remember the old Gridley spirit, Danny boy," coaxed Dave. "We
can't be licked—just because we don't know how to take a licking.
We're going to get through here, Danny, and we're going to become
officers in the Navy. It's tough on the way—that's all."
"And we green young idiots," sighed Dalzell, "thought the life
here was just a life of parading, with yachting thrown in on the
side. We were going to feel swell in our gold lace, and puff
out our chests under the approving smiles of the girls. We were
going to lead the german—and, say, Dave, what were some of the
other fool things we expected to find happiness in doing at Annapolis?
"It served us right," grunted Darrin, "if we imagined that we
were going to get through without real work. Danny boy, I don't
believe there's a single thing in life—worth having—a fellow
can get without working hard for it!"
"There goes the call for mathematics, Dave. We'll tumble out and
see whether we can get a two-six today.
"Or a two-seven," suggested Darrin hopefully. "My, but how far
away a full four seems!
"Did anyone ever get a full four?" asked Dan, opening his eyes
As each, with his uniform cap set squarely on, and his book and
papers carried in left hand, turned out, he found the corridor
to be swarming with midshipmen fully as anxious as were this pair.
A minute later hundreds of midshipmen were forming by classes.
Then the classes parted into sections and the little groups marched
away in many directions, all going at brisk military gait.
Dave got through better, that forenoon, than usual. He made
a three-one, while Dalzell scored a two-eight.
Then this section, one of many, marched back.
As Dave and Dan swung down the corridor, and into their own room,
they halted, just inside the door, and came quickly to attention.
Lieutenant Hall, the officer in charge for the day, stood there,
and with him the midshipman who served as assistant cadet officer
of the day.
"Mr. Darrin," spoke Lieutenant Hall severely, "here is your dress
jacket on the floor, and with dust ground into it."
"Yes, sir," replied Dave, saluting. "But I left it on its proper
hook—I am sure of that."
Up came Dan's hand in quick salute.
"May I speak, sir?"
"Yes, Mr. Dalzell," replied the officer in charge.
"I remember seeing Mr. Darrin's coat hanging properly on its hook,
sir, just before we marched off to math. recitation."
"Did you leave the room, Mr. Dalzell, after Mr. Darrin, or even
with him?" questioned Lieutenant Hall.
"No-o, sir. I stepped out just ahead of Mr. Darrin."
"That is all, then, Mr. Dalzell. Mr. Darrin, there is a pair
of your shoes. They are in place, but one of them is muddy."
Dave glanced at the shoes uneasily, a flush coming to his face.
"I am certain, sir, that both shoes were in proper condition when
I left to go to the last recitation."
"Then how do you account for the dust-marked dress jacket on the
floor, and the muddy shoe, Mr. Darrin?"
"I can think of no explanation to offer, sir."
"Nor can I imagine any excuse," replied Lieutenant Hall courteously,
Lieutenant Hall made a further inspection of the room, then turned
"Mr. Darrin, you will put yourself on the report for these two
examples of carelessness of your uniform equipment."
"Very good, sir."
Saluting, Dave crossed to the study table, laying his book and
papers there. Then, once more saluting, he passed Lieutenant
Hall and made his way to the office of the officer in charge.
Taking one of the blanks, and a pen, Dave Darrin filled out the
complaint against himself, and turned it over.
"Dave, you didn't leave your things in any such shape as that?"
burst from Dan as soon as Dave had returned to his room.
"I didn't do it—of course I didn't," came impatiently from Darrin.
"Then who did?"
"Some fellow may have done it for a prank."
Dan shook his head, replying, stubbornly:
"I don't believe that any fellow in the Naval Academy has a sense
of humor that would lead him to do a thing like that, just as
a piece of what he would consider good-natured mischief. Dave,
this sort of report against you on pap means demerits."
"Fortunately," smiled Darrin, "the pap sheet is so clear of my
name that I can stand a few demerits without much inconvenience."
But at breakfast formation, the next morning, Dave's name was
read off with twenty demerits.
"That's a huge shame," blazed forth Dan, as soon as the chums were
back in their room, preparing to march to their first recitation.
"Oh, well, it can't be helped—can it?" grimaced Dave.
Within the next fortnight, however, Darrin's equipment and belongings
were found to be in bad shape no less than five other times.
With a few demerits which he had received in the summer term Dave
now stood up under one hundred and twenty demerits.
"I'm allowed only three hundred demerits for the year, and two
hundred by January will drop me," muttered Dave, now becoming
For, by this time, he was certain that some unknown enemy had
it "in for him." Darrin felt almost morally certain that some
one—and it must be a midshipman—was at the bottom these troubles.
Yet, though he and Dan had done all they could think of to catch
the enemy, neither had had the least success in this line.
"Eighty demerits more to go," muttered Dave, "and the superintendent
will recommend to the Secretary of the Navy that I be dropped
for general inaptitude. It seems a bit tough, doesn't it, Danny
"It's infamous!" blazed Dalzell. "Oh, if I could only catch the
slick rascal who is at the bottom of all this!"
"But both of us together don't seem to be able to catch him,"
replied Darrin dejectedly. "Oh, well, perhaps there won't be
any more of it. Of course, I am already deprived of all privileges.
But then, I never care to go into Annapolis, and I am never invited
to officers' quarters, anyway, so the loss of privileges doesn't
mean so very much. It's the big danger of losing my chance to
remain here at the Naval Academy that is worrying me."
Yet outwardly, to others, Dave Darrin was patient. His surplus
irritation he vented in extraordinary effort in the gymnasium,
where he was making a remarkable record for himself.
But of course his worries were reflected in his studies and recitations.
Dave was dropping steadily. He seemed soon destined to reach
the "wooden section" in math. This "wooden section" is the section
composed of the young men who stand lowest of all in a given study.
The men of the "wooden section" are looked upon as being certain
of dismissal when the semiannual examinations come along.
Now, for five days, things went along more in a better groove.
Nothing happened to Darrin, and he was beginning to hope that
his very sly persecutor had ceased to annoy him for good.
On the sixth day, however, the chums returned from recitation
"Nothing seems to be wrong here," remarked Dave, with a sigh of
"Umf—umf!" sniffed Dan, standing still in the middle of the
room. "Doesn't it smell a little as though some one had been
smoking in here?"
"Don't even suggest the thing!" begged Dave turning white at the
Tap-tap! sounded at the door. In walked the white-gloved cadet
assistant officer of the day.
"Mr. Darrin, you will report immediately to the officer in charge."
"Very good, sir," Dave answered.
This was again Lieutenant Hall's day to be in charge. Dave walked
into that gentleman's office, saluted, reported his presence under
orders and then stood at attention.
"Mr. Darrin," began Lieutenant Hall, "I had occasion to inspect
your room. The air was quite thick with tobacco smoke. I felt
it necessary to make a very thorough search. In the pocket of
your rain-coat I found"—Lieutenant Hall produced from his desk
a pouch of tobacco and a well-seasoned pipe—"these."
The officer in charge looked keenly at Darrin, who had turned
almost deathly white. Certainly Dave had the appearance of one
"Have you anything to say, Mr. Darrin?" continued the officer in
"I have never, in my life, sir, smoked or used tobacco in any form,"
Darrin truthfully answered.
"Then how did these articles come to be in your possession?"
"They were not in my possession, sir, were they?" Darrin asked,
with the utmost respect.
Lieutenant Hall frowned perceptibly.
"Mr. Darrin, do not attempt any quibble. The circumstances under
which these articles were found place them sufficiently in your
possession. What have you to say that will clear you?"
"I can offer, sir, the testimony of my roommate, Mr. Dalzell,
who will declare most positively that he has never known me to
"Did Mr. Dalzell leave your room with you when you went to your
"No, sir; he left fifteen minutes before, by permission, to go
to his locker in the gymnasium to look over certain articles there."
"Then you are unable to call your roommate to support your assertion
that you did not smoke before going with your section to recitation
"I have only my unsupported word, sir, as a midshipman and a gentleman,
"Under almost all circumstances, Mr. Darrin, a midshipman's word
of honor should be sufficient. But you have been reported several
times of late, and with apparent justice. You will make in writing,
Mr. Darrin, at once, such report as you wish to hand in on this
incident, and the report against you will be considered in the
Dave returned to his room. Though he was discouraged his face looked
grim, and his air was resolute.
Taking pen and paper he began to prepare his report on this latest
Having finished and signed, Dave next picked up a bit of exercise
paper and began to figure.
"What are you doing, old chap?" asked Dan sympathetically.
"My head is in too much of a whirl for me to trust myself to any
mental arithmetic," Darrin answered. "I have been figuring how
much further I have to go. First offense of having tobacco in
possession calls for twenty-five demerits. That brings the total
up to one hundred and forty-five. Dave, I have a lease of life
here amounting to fifty-four more demerits in this term. The
fifty-fifth signs my ticket home!
"The next trick of this kind attempted," cried Dalzell, his face
glowing with anger, "must sign, instead, the home ticket of the
rascal who is at the bottom of all this!"
"But how?" demanded Dave blankly. "He has been entirely too slick
to allow himself to be caught."
MIDSHIPMAN FARLEY'S ABOUT-FACE
The gloom that now hung over Dave Darrin was the thickest, the
blackest that he had ever encountered in his short life.
He was fully convinced, of course, that his troubles were the
work of some determined and unscrupulous enemy or enemies.
Yet he was equally convinced that he was not likely to catch the
plotter against his happiness. He and Dan had already done all
that seemed to be in their power.
On the Saturday afternoon following the tobacco incident the first
ray came to light up the gloom—though it did not take away any
of awesome demerits that had piled up against him.
Dave and Dan were standing chatting in a group of about a score of
fourth class men when Farley and Page stepped briskly in their
Dave glanced at the pair in some astonishment, for it was weeks
since he had been on speaking terms with either of them, and now
both looked as though about to address him.
"One moment gentlemen, all, if you please," called out Midshipman
Farley. "Let no one leave just now. I have something to say
that I wish to make as public as possible."
Then, turning toward the astonished Darrin, Mr. Farley continued:
"Darrin, I got into a bad scrape once, and I accused you of carrying
the information that resulted in several others and myself being
detected. I was positive in my charge. I now wish to make you the
most public apology that is possible. I know now that you did not
in any way betray myself and my companions."
"I am glad you have come to this conclusion," Dave Darrin replied.
"It is not exactly a conclusion," replied Farley frankly. "It is
"How did you find it out, Farley?" asked Dan Dalzell, speaking to
that midshipman for the first time in many weeks.
"I have the word of the watchman who caught us. That is old Grierson,
and there isn't a more honest old fellow in the yard."
"Did you ask Grierson, Farley?" questioned another midshipman
"No; for that would be to pile on another offense," replied Farley
readily. "I am well enough aware that a midshipman has no right
to go to a watchman about a matter in which the watchman has reported
him. But a civilian is under no such restrictions. As some of
you fellows know, my cousin, Sloan, was here at the Academy yesterday.
Now, Ben Sloan is a newspaper man, and a fellow of an inquiring
disposition. I told Ben something about the scrape I had been
in, and Ben soon afterward hunted up Grierson. Grierson told
Ben the whole truth about it. It seems that Grierson did not
have any information from anyone. He saw our crowd go over the
fence the night we Frenched it. But Grierson was too far away
to catch any of us, or recognize us. So he made no alarm, but
just waited and prowled until we came back. He heard the noise
we made trying to get up over the wall from the outside, and ran
down to that part of the wall. He didn't make any noise, and
stood in the shrubbery until we had all dropped over. Then he
stepped out, looked us over quickly and demanded our names. He
had us ragged cold, so there was nothing to do but give him our
names. Now, there's the whole story fellows, and I'm mighty glad
I've got at the truth of it."
"So am I," muttered Dan dryly.
"Darrin, you haven't said whether you accept my apology," Farley
continued insistently. "I'm mighty sorry for the whole thing,
and I'm glad you thrashed me as you did when we met. I richly
deserved that for my hot-headedness."
For just a moment Dave Darrin couldn't speak, but he held out his
"Thank you, old fellow," cried Farley, grasping it. "From now
on I hope we shall trust each other and be friends always."
Farley had been a good deal spoiled at home, and had a hasty,
impetuous temper. His career at Annapolis, however, was doing much
to make a man of him in short time.
Several of the other midshipmen spoke, expressing their pleasure
that the whole thing was cleared up, and that Dave had proved
to be above suspicion.
"And now I'm off to find the other fellows who were with me that
night," continued Farley. "I've told Page, already, but I've
got to find Scully and Oates, Henkel and Brimmer and put them
Five minutes later Farley was explaining to Midshipman Henkel.
"Well, you are the softy!" said Henkel, in a sneering tone.
"Why?" demanded Farley stiffly.
"To fall for a frame-up like that."
"Do you mean that my cousin lied to me?"
"No; but Grierson certainly did."
"Old man Grierson is no liar," retorted Farley. "He is one of
most trusted employes in the yard. He has caught many a midshipman,
but Grierson is such a square old brick that the midshipmen of two
generations love him."
"You're too easy for this rough world," jeered Midshipman Henkel.
"Perhaps I am," retorted Farley. "But I'm going through it decently,
"So you went and rubbed down Darrin's ruffled fur as gently as you
could," continued Henkel.
"I went to him and apologized—the only thing a man could do under
"And now I suppose some of the fellows are trying to build up an
altar to Darrin as the class idol?"
"I don't know. I hope so, for I'm convinced that Dave Darrin is as
decent a fellow as ever signed papers at Annapolis."
"Go on out and buy some incense to burn before Darrin," laughed
Perhaps Mr. Henkel might not have been as flippant had he known
that, all the time, Farley was studying him intently.
"So, in spite of all explanations, you still have no use for Darrin?"
asked Midshipman Farley.
"I have just as much use for him as I have for any other big sneak,"
retorted Mr. Henkel. "He betrayed us to the watchman, and I don't
care what explanations are offered to show that he didn't."
"And you won't be friendly with Darrin?" insisted Farley.
"I?" asked Henkel scornfully. "Not for an instant!
"Well, I hardly believe that Darrin will care much," replied Mr.
Farley, turning on his heel and walking out of the room.
"It's a mighty good thing that Darrin is going to be dropped out
of Annapolis," growled Henkel to himself. "He's altogether too
slick in playing a dirty trick on people and then swinging them
around so that they'll fawn upon him. When Farley first came
here he was a fellow of spirit. But he's been going bad for some
time, and now he's come out straight and clean for grease-mark!"
Saturday afternoon proved a dull time for Dave Darrin. The heavy
pile of demerits opposite his name prevented his getting leave
even to stroll out into the town of Annapolis. Dan could have
gone, but would not leave his chum.
Sunday morning there was chapel, but Dave, usually attentive,
heard hardly a word of the discourse. Sunday afternoon he turned
doggedly to his books. Dan, who was getting along better, and
who just now, stood three sections higher than Dave in math.,
went visiting among the members of his class.
Sunday evening all the cadets were again busy at their studies
until 9.30. As early as the regulations allowed Dave turned down
his bed, undressed and got into it, feeling utterly "blue."
"It's no use," he told himself, as he lay awake, thinking, thinking,
thinking. "Some one has it in for me, of course. But Dan and I
together can't find out who the rascal is. He may try nothing
against me again, for weeks, but sooner or later he'll turn another
demerit trick against me. Before January I shall be home again,
looking for some sort of job."
Before eight o'clock the following morning the class, after muster,
broke into sections which marched away to recitation in math.
Dan Dalzell was now section leader of one group. Dave marched in
the ranks of a much lower section.
This morning the section with which Dave marched was one man short.
Not until the members had taken their seats, or places at the
blackboards, did Darrin give heed enough to note that it was Farley
who was absent.
The section leader, however, had reported that Mr. Farley was
absent by permission of the head of the Department of Mathematics,
"for purposes of study." Unusual as this excuse was the instructor
had accepted it without making any inquiry.
If Farley was in his room for purposes of study, then what kind
of "study" could it be?
For at that precise moment, Midshipman Farley was standing close
to a tiny crack between the edge of his room door and the jamb.
He was "peeking" out attentively.
Curiously enough Midshipman Page, Farley's roommate, had also
been excused from attending section work. At this moment Mr.
Page sat tilted back in his chair, with his feet resting across
the corner of the study table.
A most unmilitary pose for Mr. Page, to be sure. Yet what need
was there to fear report with roommate Farley thus industriously
standing by the door?
So Mr. Page hummed softly to himself and stared out of the window.
Midshipman Farley remained by the door until he was becoming decidedly
wearied of his occupation, and Page had several times shifted his feet.
Then, all of a sudden, Midshipman Farley turned with a low, sharp hiss.
"It?" whispered Midshipman Page, rising swiftly.
"Yes," nodded Farley.
Midshipman Page walked swiftly out of the room, though his heels
did not make as much noise as usual.
Just after Page had left the room Midshipman Farley stole along
the corridor, halting before a door.
There he paused, as though on duty. It was not long before his
erect attitude was accounted for, for Lieutenant Nettleson, the
officer in charge, came down into the corridor, followed by the
cadet officer of the day.
Just a little way behind them walked Midshipman Page.
Farley stood quickly at attention, saluting the officer in charge,
who returned the salute.
THE TRAP IN MIDSHIPMEN'S QUARTERS
Tap-Tap! sounded Lieutenant Nettleson's knuckles on the door.
Just a shade longer than usual the lieutenant waited ere he turned
the door knob and entered the room.
Behind him, like a faithful orderly, stood Midshipman Hawkins, of
the first class, cadet officer of the day.
A quick look about the room Lieutenant Nettleson took, then turned
to the cadet officer of the day.
"Mr. Hawkins," spoke the O.C., "Mr. Darrin seems to be growing
worse in his breaches of duty."
"So it seems, sir," agreed the cadet officer the day.
"Mr. Darrin has left his bed turned down," continued the lieutenant,
inspecting that article of furniture. "And, judging by the looks
of the sheets, he has been abed with his boots on."
"You will put Mr. Darrin on the report for this latest offense,
"Aye, aye, sir."
Lieutenant Nettleson made a further inspection of the room.
"And Mr. Darrin has neglected to empty his washbowl. He has also
thrown the towel on the floor. Put Mr. Darrin on the report for
that as well."
"Aye, aye, sir."
"That is all here, Mr Hawkins."
"Very good, sir."
O.C. and cadet officer of the day turned to leave the room. As they
were crossing the threshold Midshipman Farley, saluting, reported:
"I think, sir, if you search more closely, you will find some one
in this room."
"Very good," replied the officer in charge, turning back.
In truth, Lieutenant Nettleson was already aware that there was a
prowler in the room, for he had seen a pair of feet in a dark corner;
but he had purposely awaited Midshipman Farley's report.
Now, swift as a flash, Lieutenant Nettleson turned back, going
straight so the cupboard in which Dave Darrin's uniform equipment
Pushing aside a dress uniform and a raincoat that hung like curtains,
Lieutenant Nettleson gazed into the face of—Midshipman Henkel!
Henkel had been caught so suddenly, had realized it so tardily, that
the grin of exultation had not quite faded from his face by the time
that he stood exposed.
In another second, however, that midshipman's face had turned as
white as dirty chalk.
"Stand forth, sir!" ordered the O.C. sternly.
Henkel obeyed, his legs shaking under him.
"What is your name?"
"Mr. Henkel, what are you doing in the room of another midshipman,
in the absence of both occupants?
"I—I—just dropped in, sir!" stammered affrighted midshipman.
"Mr. Henkel, sir," continued Lieutenant Nettleson sternly, "it
has long been a puzzle to the discipline officers why Mr. Darrin
should so deliberately and senselessly invite demerits for lack
of care of his equipment. You may now be certain that you will
be accused of all breaches of good order and discipline that have
been laid at Mr. Darrin's door. Have you anything to say, sir."
Midshipman Henkel, who had been doing some swift thinking, had
had time enough to realize that no one had seen him doing any
mischief in the room. The offense, merely, of visiting another
midshipman's room improperly would call but for ten demerits.
Pooh! The scrape was such a simple one that he would lie valiantly
out of the graver charge and escape with ten demerits.
"I admit being here, sir, without propriety. I am innocent of
any further wrongdoing, sir," lied the culprit.
Lieutenant Nettleson studied the young man's face keenly.
"Mr. Henkel, was Mr. Darrin's bed turned down and in its present
disordered state when you entered the room?"
"You declare this on your honor as a midshipman and gentleman?"
"Yes, sir," lied the unabashed Henkel.
"Was Mr. Darrin's washbowl in its present untidy state?"
"I don't know, sir. I didn't notice that."
"Very good, Mr. Henkel. Go to your room and remain there in close
arrest. Do not leave your room, except by orders or proper permission,
"Very good, sir," replied Henkel, saluting. Then, his face still
a ghastly hue, he turned and marched from the room, not venturing,
under the eyes of the O.C., to look at either Farley or Page.
When the sections came marching back from math. Lieutenant Nettleson
stood outside the door of his office.
"Mr. Darrin!" called the O.C. And, a moment later, "Mr. Dalzell!"
Both wondering midshipmen approached the officer in charge for the
day at Bancroft Hall, and saluted.
"Mr. Darrin," stated Lieutenant Nettleson, "you and your roommate
may go to your room to leave your books. In the room you will
find some evidences of disorder. Do not attempt to set them straight.
As soon as you have left your books return to me."
"And I also, sir?" queried Dan, saluting.
"You, also, Mr. Dalzell," replied the officer.
"Now, has this thing broken loose again?" groaned Dave Darrin, as the
two chums hurried below.
"It seems as if it ought to stop some time," gasped Dalzell.
"It will, and soon," gritted Darrin. "In a very short time, now,
I shall certainly have the full course of two hundred demerits.
For now the two chums were in their room, and saw the full extent of
the mischief there. "I guess I may as well wire home to Gridley for
the price of my return ticket," hinted Dave bitterly.
"Don't do anything of the sort," urged Dan, though with but little
hope in his voice. "You may still have a margin of ten or fifteen
dems. left to hold you on."
"We're under orders, Danny boy, to report back to the O.C."
"Come along, then."
In the office of the officer in charge stood Midshipmen Farley and
Page. Just after Dave and Dan entered Henkel came in, accompanied
Midshipman Hawkins, the cadet officer of day.
It was an actually ferocious gaze that Henkel turned upon Darrin.
In that same instant Dave believed that a great light had broken in
upon his mind.
"Mr. Hawkins," requested the O.C., "ascertain whether the commandant
of midshipmen can see us now."
Saluting, the cadet officer of the day passed out of the room, very
prim and erect, his white gloves of duty a very conspicuous part of
In a few moments, he returned, raising his right, white-gloved hand
to the visor of his cap.
"The commandant of midshipmen is ready, sir."
"Come with me, then," directed Lieutenant Nettleson, who had already
risen to receive the cadet officer's report.
The O.C. led the way into the office of Commander Jephson, U.S. Navy,
the commandant of midshipmen.
"This, Mr. Nettleson, I understand, relates to Mr. Darrin's late
apparent course in matters of discipline?" inquired Commander
The commandant of midshipmen, who was middle-aged and slightly
bald, removed his eye-glasses, holding them poised in his right
hand while he gazed calmly at Mr. Nettleson.
"Yes, sir. This is the matter," replied the O.C., saluting his
Commander Jephson had, usually, a manner of slow and gentle speech.
He impressed one, at first sight, as being a man lacking in "ginger,"
which was a great mistake, as many a midshipman had found to his
The commandant of cadets, however, did not believe in becoming
excited or excitable until the occasion arose.
"Be good enough to make your statement, Mr. Nettleson," requested
Consulting a slip of paper that he held in his left hand the younger
Naval officer recounted the previous instances in which Midshipman
Darrin, fourth class, U.S. Naval Academy, had been found delinquent
in that he had slighted the care of his equipment or of his room.
Having made this preliminary statement, the officer in charge now
came down to the doings of the present day.
Midshipman Henkel kept his gaze fixed on Lieutenant Nettleson's face.
Henkel's bearing was almost arrogant. He had fully decided upon
his course of lying himself out of his serious scrape.
AIR "THE ROGUE'S MARCH"
"It is already, sir," spoke Lieutenant Nettleson, "a matter of
knowledge with you that Mr. Darrin denied his responsibility in
each case of disorder among his personal belongings. It is also
a matter within your knowledge, sir, that Mr. Darrin, finally,
in his desperation, informed you that he believed that some enemy
in the brigade of midshipmen was responsible for all the bad appearances
"The reply of this department, sir, to Mr. Darrin, was to the effect
that, while there was a possibility of his claim being correct, yet
it was nearly inconceivable. Mr. Darrin was given permission to
bring forward any evidence he could secure in support of his view.
As time passed, and he confessed himself unable to secure any such
evidence, one set of demerits after another accumulated against
"Yesterday, sir, so I am informed, Mr. Farley and Mr. Page approached
you, stating that they believed they had good reason for suspecting
a member of the brigade of seeking to injure Mr. Darrin. Midshipmen
Farley and Page also stated to you that they believed the offender
to be a member of the half of the fourth class which does not
recite in mathematics the same time as does the half of the class
to which Mr. Darrin and his roommate belong.
"As Midshipmen Farley and Page belong to the half of the class
that recites during the same periods as do Mr. Darrin and Dalzell,
Midshipmen Farley and Page requested permission to remain in their
room during the time when they would otherwise be reciting in
mathematics. They were thus to remain for two mornings, and other
members of the fourth class were then willing to stay on watch
for two mornings more, and so on, until the offender against Mr.
Darrin, if there was one, could be caught in the act."
What a baleful glare Midshipman Henkel shot at Farley and Page!
Then Henkel saw the eye of the commandant of midshipmen fixed
curiously on him, and glanced down at the floor.
"This very unusual permission, sir, you finally agreed to seek
from the head of the Department of Mathematics. So, this morning,
Mr. Farley and Mr. Page did not march off to recitation in mathematics,
but remained in their room. Presently Mr. Page reported to me,
in great haste, that a midshipman other than Mr. Darrin, or Mr.
Dalzell had just entered their room. I thereupon went down to
that room, knocked, waited a moment, and then entered, accompanied
by the cadet officer of the day. The condition of things that
I found in the room you already, sir, know from my written report.
While in the room I detected a pair of feet showing under the
bottom of Mr. Darrin's uniform equipment hanging in his cupboard.
I pretended, however not to see the feet, and turned to leave
the room when Mr. Farley, as prearranged, stepped forward and
informed me that he had seen some one enter the room a while before.
I then turned and compelled the prowler to step forth. That
prowler was Mr. Henkel."
"You questioned Mr. Henkel as to his reason for being in the room?"
asked Commander Jephson.
"I did, sir."
"Did he deny guilty intention in being there?"
"He did, sir, other than admitting that he had broken the regulations
by entering another midshipman's room in that midshipman's absence."
Tapping his right temple with the eye-glasses that he held in
his hand, the commandant of midshipmen turned to look more directly
at the startled culprit.
"Mr. Henkel, did you arrange any or all of the disorder which
Lieutenant Nettleson reported having found in Mr. Darrin's room?"
"I did not, sir."
Henkel's voice was clear, firm—almost convincing.
"Have you, at any time, committed any offense in Mr. Darrin's room,
by tampering with his equipment or belongings, or with the furniture
of the room?"
"Never, sir," declared Midshipman Henkel positively.
"You are aware that Mr. Darrin has been punished by the imposition
of a great many demerits for untidiness in the care of his equipment?"
"But you were not responsible for any of these seeming delinquencies
on Mr. Darrin's part?"
"You did not turn down, disarrange and soil his bed this forenoon,
or create the appearance of untidiness in connection with Mr.
"You make these denials on your word of honor, as a midshipman
and gentleman?" persisted Commander Jephson.
"I do, sir, and most earnestly and solemnly, sir," replied Midshipman
"One word, more, Mr. Henkel," went on the commandant of midshipmen.
"When you improperly entered Mr. Darrin's room this morning,
did you then observe the signs of disorder which Lieutenant Nettleson
subsequently discovered and reported?"
"I did, sir, as to the bed. The washbowl I did not notice."
"That will do, for the present, Mr. Henkel. Mr. Farley, will you
now state just what you saw, while watching this forenoon?"
Midshipmen Farley told, simply, how he and Page had commenced
"In the first place, sir," declared Farley, "as soon as Mr. Darrin
and Mr. Dalzell had left their room, and the corridor was empty,
Mr. Page and I, acting by permission and direction of this office,
went at once to Mr. Darrin's room. We made an inspection. At
that time there were no such signs of disorder as those which
Lieutenant Nettleson subsequently found. Then, sir, Mr. Page
and I went back to our room. I held our door very slightly ajar,
and stood in such a position that I could glance down the corridor
and keep Mr. Darrin's room door constantly within my range of
"As a matter of vital fact, Mr. Farley," interrupted the commandant
of midshipmen, "did you at any time relax such vigilance, even for a
"Not even for a few seconds, sir."
"After the inspection that Mr. Page and yourself made, who was the
first person that you saw enter Mr. Darrin's room?"
"Was he Alone?"
"Did you then immediately send Mr Page to the officer in charge?"
"I did, sir."
"Without allowing my glance to turn from Mr. Darrin's door, sir, I
stepped out into the corridor, walked close to Mr. Darrin's room
door, and then stood there until Lieutenant Nettleson and Mr.
"Then, Mr. Farley, you are certain that there was no disorder in
Mr. Darrin's room at the time when he and Mr. Dalzell left to
recite in mathematics?
"I am absolutely positive, sir."
"And you are also certain that none but Mr. Henkel entered that room
up to the time when the disorder was discovered by Lieutenant
"I am certain, sir."
Midshipman Page was then questioned. He bore out the testimony
just given by Farley in every particular.
The manner of the commandant of midshipmen was still gentle when he
turned again to Henkel.
"Mr. Henkel, do you wish to modify your previous statements in
"No, sir," replied Henkel. "In all my answers I have told the
whole and exact truth, as I know it. I am eager, sir, to answer
any further questions that you may wish to put to me on the subject."
"Gentlemen, you may all withdraw, save Lieutenant Nettleson and
Mr. Henkel," announced the commandant, after a few moments of
seemingly mild thought. "Mr. Hawkins, of course you understand
that what you know of this matter you know officially, and that
you are not to mention or discuss it until such time as official
action shall have been taken. As for you other midshipmen, I
see no harm, gentlemen, in your discussing it among yourselves,
but you will see to it that information does not, for the present,
spread through the brigade. You may go, gentlemen."
Once outside Farley and Page walked so rapidly that Dave and Dan
did not attempt to overtake them in the corridors. But they found
Farley and Page waiting outside Dave's room door.
"May we come in?" asked Farley.
"If anyone on earth may," replied Dave heartily, throwing open the
door, then stepping back to allow the others to enter.
"I'm afraid we've cooked a goose for some one," cried Farley,
with grim satisfaction.
"Great Scott, yes," breathed Dan Dalzell, in devout thankfulness.
"Is it fair, Farley, for me to ask you whether you suspected Henkel
before you caught him?" queried Dave Darrin.
"Yes; and the commandant knows that. Henkel came here one night,
weeks ago, and mysteriously tried to interest us in putting up
a job to get you dropped from the Navy rolls. When Page and I
really tumbled that an enemy working against you, it didn't take
us two minutes to guess who that enemy was. Then we started on
"I wonder," asked Dave Darrin huskily, "whether it is really necessary
for me to assure you of the tremendous burden of obligation that
you've put upon me?"
"It isn't necessary, any way that you can look at the question,"
retorted Farley promptly. "What we did for you, Darrin, is no
more than we'd stand ready to do for any man in the brigade who
was being ground down and out by a mean trickster."
"Wouldn't I like to take peep in on Henkel, now, while the commandant
is grilling him in that gentle way the commandant has?" mocked
"David, little giant, the matter is cleared and as good as squared,"
cried Dalzell. "And now I know this is the first time in my life
that I've ever been really and unutterably happy!"
During the nest two days it was known through the brigade at large
that Midshipman Henkel was in close arrest. The brigade did not
at once learn the cause. Yet, in such appearances as Henkel was
permitted to make, it was noted that he bore himself cheerfully
Then, one day, just before the dinner formation, Darrin was ordered
to report at the commandant's office.
"Mr. Darrin," announced Commander Jephson, when the midshipman
had reported and saluted, "I am glad to be able to announce that
we have been able to pile up so much evidence against Mr Henkel
that young man finally confessed that it was he, and he alone,
who created all the disorders with your equipment, and in your
room for which so many demerits have been inflicted upon you.
At the dinner formation. Therefore, when the orders of the day
are published by the brigade adjutant, you will again hear that
your demerits, given for the offenses unjustly charged against
you, have been remitted by order of the superintendent. You will
also learn that you have been restored to the first conduct grade,
with all the privileges belonging to the midshipmen of that grade."
It was with a light heart that Dave Darrin left the commandant's
office, though the young man had been expecting that very decision.
Yet, despite the fact that he knew it was coming, Dave's heart
thrilled with exultation and gratitude as he heard the order read
out in the brigade adjutant's quick, monotonous tones.
Then, immediately following, came another order.
Midshipman Henkel, for dishonorable conduct, was dropped from
"Fours right, march!"
By companies the brigade wheeled and marched into the mess hall—the
air resounding with the quick, martial tread of eight hundred or
more of the pick of young American manhood!
As the command "march" was given one man fell out of the ranks.
Henkel, from the moment of the publications of the order, was no
longer a midshipman!
He had fallen deservedly, as one not fit to associate with gentlemen,
or to figure among the future defenders of his country of honorable
As the brigade marched indifferently off, and left him there,
Henkel gazed, for a few moments at the solid ranks of blue and
gold, and a great sob welled up within him. In this supreme moment
he realized all that he had lost—his place among honest men!
Then, crushing down any feeling of weakness, he turned on his heel,
a sneer darkening his face.
Then, recalling himself, Henkel sprang up the steps and hastened to
the room that had been partly his. Here he discarded his uniform
substituting for it the citizen's clothes which had been brought to
him from the midshipmen's store. His own few belongings that he
cared about taking with him he packed hastily in a dress-suit case.
Yet the task required time. His roommate, Brimmer, was back before
Henkel was ready to depart.
"You'd better wait, now, until the coast is clear," whispered
Brimmer. "Hosts of the fellows are hanging about outside."
"They won't see me," jeered Henkel harshly. "I'll wait until
they're off at afternoon duties. But see here, Brimmer, don't
you dare forget that I might have said much about you, and that
I didn't. Don't dare forget that I leave to you the task of humbling
that fellow, Darrin. If you fail me, Brimmer, it won't be too
late for me to do some talking."
"Oh, I'll get Darrin out of here," grimaced Brimmer. "But I won't
try to do it the way you did. You went in for enmity. I'm going
to undo Darrin by being his friend."
"Well, I'm through and ready to leave," muttered Henkel. "But
I'm not going until the coast is clear."
Seating himself by the window, he stared moodily out, thinking
of the life which had strongly appealed to him, and from which
he had exiled himself. While he was so occupied knock sounded
at the door; then the cadet officer of the day stepped in:
"I see you are ready to go, Mr. Henkel," announced the cadet officer.
"The published order was to the effect that you leave the Naval
Academy immediately. The officer in charge has sent me to see that
you comply with the order at once."
"Oh, well," muttered Henkel bitterly. He turned, holding out his
hand to his late roommate.
"Goodby, Brimmer; good luck!"
"The same to you," replied Brimmer, as their hands met. That
was all that was said with the cadet officer of the day looking
on, but both of the late roommates understood the compact of dishonor
that lay between them concerning Dave Darrin's coming fate.
With his derby hat pulled low over his eyes and gripping his suit
case, Henkel slunk through the corridors of Bancroft Hall. Now
he faced the hardest ordeal of all in going out through the entrance
of the great white building, beyond which stood many groups of
Now these young men of the Navy caught sight of Henkel. No goodbyes
were called out to him. Instead, as his feet struck the flagging
of the walk scores of lips were puckered. The midshipmen gave
the departing one a whistled tune and furnished the drum part with
their hands. That tune was—
"The Rogue's March."
BRIMMER MAKES A NEW FRIEND
"Darrin, I hope you don't hold me in any way responsible for that
fellow Henkel's actions.
"Why should I?" asked Dave, turning and looking into the eyes of
"I know that, for a while, there was hard feeling between us,"
continued Brimmer seriously. "It took me a long time to get it out
of my stubborn head that you were the one responsible for having our
crowd ragged by the watchman the night of the spread in Annapolis.
Even after Farley changed his mind it took me a long time to believe
that he was right."
"I forgot that whole matter long ago," replied Darrin.
"Then will you accept my tardy apology, and let us be friends?"
urged Brimmer, holding out his hand.
It was not Dave Darrin's way to hold a grudge forever. He extended
his own hand to take Brimmer's.
"And I hope you'll let me know you better," continued Brimmer,
turning to Dan Dalzell.
"Most people who know me at all think they know me too well,"
laughed Dan, but he held out his hand.
Perhaps, in other walks of life, the chums might have been more
wary about accepting Brimmer's suddenly proffered friendship,
as they stood in the open air just after dinner one November day.
The weather was so fine and mild that it seemed a shame to be
cooped up between walls. Back in the High School days, for instance,
Dave and Dan would have been more cautious in accepting such an
offer of friendship. But at the U.S. Naval Academy the atmosphere
is wholly different. The midshipmen are ranked as gentlemen,
and all are so taken on trust unless they betray themselves as
dishonorable. Ninety-nine per cent of the young men are earnest,
honest and wholly aboveboard.
After that, during the next two or three weeks, Brimmer cultivated
the acquaintance of Darrin and Dalzell at every possible opportunity.
Often, in the evening, he came hastening to their room for a short
visit after the release bell had sounded at 9.30. When he called,
Brimmer always remained until the warning call just before taps.
"It took you a long while to find out that Dave Darrin is white
enough to shake hands with," laughed Farley, one day.
"As I remember, it took you quite a little while, also, to find
it out," laughed Brimmer. "I admit that I am slow at forming
my friendships. But there's no mistake about Darrin, when you get
to know him. He's about the finest fellow in the class."
"He certainly is," nodded Farley heartily.
Being shorn of the long list of unjustly-given demerits that had
stood against his name, Darrin was now in the first conduct grade.
So was Dan. That gave to both considerable in the way of privileges.
On Saturdays and Sundays, for instance, they were at liberty
to accept invitations to call on or dine at the houses of officers
and their families. This privilege, while pleasant to possess,
amounted to little, for Dave and Dan had been too busy over their
studies to have any opportunity to attract social notice.
As to dancing, fourth class men do not, by tradition, attend any
of the midshipmen's hops, which are reserved for upper class men.
Neither is a plebe midshipman expected to be seen escorting young
ladies. In fact, the plebe has no social pleasures within the
Outside, however, it is different. If the fourth class men are
acquainted with young ladies in the town of Annapolis they may
visit them on Saturday afternoons when so invited.
Here, again, Dave and Dan found no delight. For they became acquainted
with none of the girls of Annapolis.
They could, however, on Saturday afternoon secure permission to
go into the town. Any change outside of the Academy walls now
became welcome, though our young midshipmen had no other form
of pleasure than merely to stroll through the streets of the town
and occasionally regale themselves with a dish of ice-cream or
a glass of soda at Wiegard's.
Brimmer, one Saturday afternoon, when strolling through the town,
discovered a new little shop on Main Street.
This was a little store that had just been fitted up. Some fruit
was displayed for sale, though the main business of the place
appeared to be the dispensing of various temperance drinks.
On the sign over the door the proprietor's first name was given
as "Tony." The second name was an unpronounceable Greek one.
Being thirsty Brimmer stepped inside.
"Are you Tony?" he asked of the swarthy young man behind the counter.
"Yes, sare," grinned Tony. "What you drink?"
Brimmer looked over the stock, selected a bottle of ginger ale
and paid for it.
"Business good?" asked the midshipman.
"No, sare; ver' bad," replied Tony sadly.
"Oh, well, it will pick up by-and-by."
"I hope so, sare. But when I come here I think maybe the midsheepmen
come see me offen. You, sare, first midsheepman who came here."
"You have a neat little place," continued Brimmer. "And this
ginger ale," holding up his glass, "is good. You'll have trade
"You tell other midsheepmen they come here, sare?" asked Tony
"Why, yes; I think perhaps I can send you a bit of trade," replied
Brimmer. The young man's father was a politician, and a prosperous
one. The son had learned the wisdom of making friends wherever
he could, since there could be no telling when a friend anywhere
might be useful.
"You come with me, sare," urged Tony, taking a gentle hold on
Brimmer's arm, and leading him to the rear of the store.
Tony threw open a door, revealing a rear room in which were three
"Maybe midsheepmen like play cards, sometimes," suggested Tony,
with a grin.
"Great!" cried Brimmer. "Yes; sometimes the fellows do like to
know a quiet little place where they can have a good game without
a discipline officer butting in. Good enough; I'll tell some
of the fellows about this place; but you must keep it quiet, and
not let anyone else into that room."
"For midsheepmen on'y," promised Tony solemnly.
"Good enough, then," smiled Mr. Brimmer. "I'll bring you a party
as soon as possible."
"Then you make me your frien', sare," protested the Greek.
As Brimmer went strolling along the street, after that, a plan
began rapidly to hatch in his mind. He thought he saw how Tony
could made a most valuable ally.
As luck would have it, Brimmer was not long in meeting three midshipmen
of rather wild tendencies. To them he proposed a quiet little
game of cards. He led his classmates back to Tony's. Here they
regaled themselves with ginger ale, then passed on into the rear
room. For more than two hours the midshipmen remained here.
Occasionally they called for more of the temperance drinks. As
they left Brimmer passed Tony a two-dollar bill, for this midshipman
disregarded the regulations in that he frequently received money
from home and was always well supplied.
"Thank you, sare," cried Tony, bowing very low, indeed.
The following Saturday Brimmer returned to the little shop with
a small party of friends.
Late that afternoon Tony was richer by a few dollars.
"You one ver' good frien', sare," protested the delighted Tony.
"Me? I your ver' good frien', too. I do anything for you,
"I'm getting Tony about where I want him," thought Mr. Brimmer.
"Just a little more help to him, and then I'll spring my idea
Thanksgiving had gone by, and now the Christmas Holidays were
nearing. Brimmer was playing his game slowly, and without the
slightest risk to himself. Tony must take all the risk. If the
Greek got into any trouble Brimmer could deny all knowledge of
One Saturday afternoon, just before Christmas Midshipman Brimmer
came down Main Street, looked in and found the Greek standing
alone in his shop.
"Howdy, Tony," was the midshipman's greeting, as he sauntered
into the store.
"Hullo, my good frien', sare."
"Wish you a Merry Christmas, Tony."
"I don' know, sare, I don' know," replied the Greek, shaking his
"Why, isn't business good now, Tony?"
"You do ver' much, my frien', to help make it better," replied
Tony, shaking his head, "but still I not make much money."
"Are you hard up at Christmas, Tony?" asked Brimmer, with pretended
"Oh, yes, sare; all time hard up."
At that moment Brimmer's gleaming eyes saw Dave Darrin and Dan
Dalzell passing on the other side of the street.
"Quick, Tony! Get a look at my friends over there!" whispered
Brimmer. "Take such a good look that you will know them again
anywhere. Now, it's the one on the inside, especially. Note
him sharply, Tony."
"I never mistake him again, sare, eff I see him," replied the
"Do you see many of these ten-dollar bills nowadays, Tony?" questioned
Brimmer, carelessly displaying a banknote.
The Greek shook his head wistfully.
"This is yours now, Tony; and twice as much more afterwards, if
you do what I want of you. It's a good joke that I want to play
on a midshipman down at the Academy."
"A joke, eh?" repeated the Greek. "Then, sare, my frien', it
can't be anything so ver' bad, eef it only a joke."
"Oh, it isn't anything bad," Brimmer lied cheerfully. "But that
fellow played a warm one on me, and I want to pay him back."
"I understand, sare, my ver' good frien'."
Inside of five minutes Tony understood very much better. Still,
the Greek saw no real harm in what he now engaged himself to do.
That night Tony slept with Brimmer's ten-dollar note under his
pillow. Dave Darrin slept as soundly as ever, unconscious of
harm hanging over his head.
Midshipman Brimmer did much gleeful chuckling after taps, as he
lay on the bed in the room that Henkel had once shared with him.
"Now, let's see anyone get a chance to bring this job back to
me!" laughed Brimmer. "And goodby, Darrin! The Naval Academy
won't know you much longer!"
TONY BAITS THE HOOK
Up to this time Darrin had dropped in at Tony's but once, and
Dan not at all.
The Saturday after Christmas was an anxious one for nearly all
of the midshipmen. Only a few availed themselves of any privilege
of going into Annapolis this Saturday afternoon. Most of the
young men remained in their rooms at Bancroft Hall, anxiously
going over the work in which they were soon to take their semi-annual
Especially was this true of the fourth class men in the "wooden"
or lowest sections. Most of these men knew that, if they succeeded
in staying on at all, it would be by a very small margin indeed.
Even the men in the "savvy sections," with the highest marks
of their class, were eager to come out as well as possible in
the dreaded semi-ans.
Dave and Dan both had secured permission to go into Annapolis.
"We'll want to clear out the cobwebs by a brisk walk, anyway,"
They did not intend to go townward, however, until rather late
in the afternoon.
Dan, when he could stand the grind no longer picked up his cap.
Dave wanted to put in least fifteen minutes more over his book.
"I've got to get out in the air," Dalzell muttered.
"Going to town?" Dave asked.
"Yes. Coming along?"
"I've got a little more in logarithms to clean up," murmured Darrin,
looking wistfully at two pages in one of his text-books on mathematics.
"Will it do as well, Danny boy, if I follow in fifteen or twenty
"Yes; you'll probably find me on Main Street, though you can look
in at Wiegard's on the way."
Wiegard's is the famous confectionery shop where cadets go for
candy, for ices or soda fountain drinks. If upper class men and
young ladies are plentiful in Wiegard's, however, prudent fourth
class men keep right on without stopping.
Dan left Bancroft Hall quite certain that his chum would not be
along for at least an hour.
At the gate Dan made his report of liberty, then kept on up Maryland
As he turned into State Circle he slowed up a trifle, glancing
in through the door at Wiegard's.
"Too many upper class men in there for me," decided Dan, so turning
he made his was way through the State Capitol grounds, and on into
Here he strolled more slowly, passing, here and there, a member
of his class, though none with whom he was particularly intimate.
"I'm thirsty," decided Dalzell. "I don't believe I want any of
the hot drinks. There's Tony's. I'll drop in and get a bottle
of soda lemonade."
Tony saw the fourth classman coming, and a peculiar smile crossed
his lips. On the occasion on which Brimmer had pointed out the
chums to the Greek the latter had understood that it was Dan who
was to be the principal victim.
"Good afternoon, Tony!" was Dan's greeting, as he stepped into
the shop. "Merry Christmas."
"Thank you, sare, good frien'," was Tony's reply. Then the Greek
turned briefly, to hide a grin.
"Crowd seems to have left you, Tony," said Dan sympathetically.
"Save their money to buy present for girls," guessed the Greek.
"Tony, have you a small bottle of lemon soda that's good and cold?"
"Oh, yes, sare."
"Then I want it."
Tony fumbled among bottles clinking in ice under the counter.
At last he found what he wanted and held the bottle up to the
capping machine. Then the Greek did something unusual. Instead
of emptying the bottle into a glass on the counter he performed
that service underneath the counter. Next he held the glass up
full of bright, cold liquid filled with bubble and sparkle.
"It makes me thirstier to look at this," muttered Dan, picking
up the glass. "I'll get it down as soon as I can."
He sipped the last out of the glass, put do a coin to pay for
it, and stood, for a moment, chatting with Tony.
"Excuse me, sare," broke in the Greek, suddenly. "I hear ma wife
Opening a door behind him Tony stepped into a hallway.
The short December afternoon was drawing to a close. Standing
in the shop Dan saw that the light in the street was growing less.
"I'll walk a little further down the street," thought Dan. "Then
I'll turn back, and keep on toward State Circle, and look for Dave."
As he took the first step away from the store Dalzell noticed
a slight feeling of dizziness.
After a moment this passed off, but soon it came on again, heavier
"What ails me?" wondered the astonished midshipman. "It can't
be that I'm turning sick, for I've been feeling fine all along."
He tried the effect of will power, holding himself as erect as
he could and trying to walk slowly in a straight line.
Then, though he did not realize it, three or four passers-by turned
to look at the unsteady young man in a midshipman's uniform.
Two men passing in an auto runabout glanced quickly at Dan.
"Look at that fool midshipman, throwing away a great future for
a few glasses of strong drink," he remarked to his companion.
Then the auto sped on.
As for Dan Dalzell, he no longer understood clearly what was happening.
At this lower end of Main Street, on which he was now moving,
there were not many people astir. One there was behind him,
however—Tony, the Greek, following stealthily on his trail.
At last, as Dalzell reached the head of a short, narrow alleyway
Tony caught up with him in the darkness that had now fallen.
A quick shove Tony gave the midshipman, and Dan, helpless, staggered
into the alleyway, tripped and fell.
Tony passed on as though he had merely accidentally jostled another.
Then, in an instant he wheeled, went back the head of the alley
and glanced in.
Dan Dalzell was lying still, in a complete stupor.
With a chuckle the Greek drew a small bottle from one of his pockets,
taking out the stopper and throwing it away. Then he began sprinkling
the contents on Dan's uniform coat with energy.
At that instant there was a quick step outside. Then Dave Darrin,
tall, handsome, and even distinguished-looking in the uniform
that he wore so well, bounded in, gripping the Greek's right arm
in a tight grasp.
"You rascal!" vibrated Dave's angry voice. "What are you doing
It being darker in the alleyway than it was outside, Tony did
not recognize his captor. Dave towered so in his wrath that the
Greek took him to be an officer of the Navy.
"Speak up, before I shake the truth out of you!" warned Darrin.
"Do you understand that this is a crime, you knave, and that
I can place you under arrest and have you sent to the penitentiary
Tony was now sure that he was in the clutch of a Naval officer.
Moreover, Darrin's grip was one that spoke of more muscular strength
held in reserve.
"Let me go, sare!" begged the Greek, squirming. "This ees all
one joke. I do ze man no harm."
For answer, Dave used his left hand to snatch away the bottle
that Tony still held.
"Alcohol!" detected Dave, and hurled the bottle to the other end
of the alleyway. "And you have been sprinkling it on this midshipman's
uniform? You are the fellow who runs the temperance drinks place?
A nice business for you to be in—drugging midshipmen and trying
to ruin them! To prison you go, unless you limber up your tongue.
Who put you up to this miserable business? Talk quickly—or
off to a cell you go!"
This was pure bluff, as Dave, being under twenty-one, had no right
to make an arrest, even as a citizen. But he saw that he had
the Greek scared, and he resolved to push his advantage to the limit.
"Talk this instant, or to the police station you go!" warned Dave.
"Then it will be years before you are a free man again."
"Mercy, Captain!" howled the frightened Greek.
"Then out with the whole truth like lightning!" ordered Dave Darrin.
He accompanied his order with a shaking that made the Greek's
"Stop, sare, stop! I tell you!" whined Tony.
"Go ahead, then, you brute."
"You know Midsheepman Brimmer?"
"I know him," repeated Dave.
"He tell me, sare, about one joke. He geev me bottle of stuff,
and he tell me when this midsheepman, or his friend, come in my
place I am to put half of stuff in the bottle in one glass of
what the midsheepman order. Then I am to follow the midsheepman
out, and watch him until he fall. I am also to have bottle of
alcohol with me and sprinkle some on the midsheepman when he fall
and lie still. Then I am to go away and let the midsheepman be
found. It is to be one grand joke on the midsheepman."
"Give me what is left of the bottle of stuff that Midshipman Brimmer
gave you to put in the drink," commanded Dave sternly.
Tony's first impulse was to deny that he had the vial with him.
But Darrin's grip on the fellow's arm tightened so alarmingly
that the Greek thrust his left hand down into a trousers pocket,
then produced the vial, which Darrin pocketed.
"So this is Brimmer's work—and Brimmer was at one time Henkel's
roommate and crony!" flashed swiftly through Darrin's mind. "Oh,
"Some one ees coming, sare," warned Tony. "Let me go, sare."
"Stay where you are, and don't dare make a move to get away,"
warned Darrin. "It would do you no good, anyway. I know where
to find you."
Then Darrin peeped cautiously out at the head of the alley. Some
one was coming, and that some one wore the Naval uniform. Dave's
heart began to beat faster. Then the wearer the uniform passed
the light from a store window, and his face was briefly revealed.
Darrin's heart, for a few seconds, seemed almost to stop beating.
For it was Brimmer himself!
Further up in the town that midshipman had heard a fleeting word,
uttered by some one, about a staggering midshipman having been
seen going down Main Street.
"A dollar to a doughnut it's Darrin himself! flashed exultantly
through Brimmer's mind. He hurried on, though careful to avoid
the appearance of haste.
"I wish Henkel were here at this moment!" thought Brimmer. "Oh,
it will be great to see that sneak, Darrin—"
Just at that moment Brimmer stopped short, with something like
For he did see Darrin, standing before him, towering in his wrath.
IN THE DAYS OF "OLD TWO-FIVE"
Before Brimmer could utter a word Darrin pounced upon him, seizing
him by the collar and fairly dragging him into the alleyway.
Then, still gripping his astounded, dismayed foe, Darrin demanded:
"Tony, is this the fellow who paid you to drug my friend?
"The treacherous Greek has betrayed me!" was the thought that
flashed instantly through Brimmer's startled mind.
"Let go of my collar, Darrin!" he commanded loudly. "If this
lying Greek has dared to say that I—"
"Shut up!" ordered Dave tersely.
Ever since coming to Annapolis he had tried to keep his temper
in the background. But now, quivering in his righteous wrath,
Darrin was once more the hot-headed, impulsive, generous Dave
of old—a doer of deeds, and a thrasher of scoundrels.
"No, no, no!" protested Tony, shrilly and cunningly. "Mr. Brimmer,
he no tell me—he no hire me—"
"Be silent, fellow!" commanded Dave Darrin hotly. "You've told
the truth once. Don't spoil it with a dozen lies! Brimmer, you
dastard, you disgrace to the noble old uniform—"
By a quick, forceful twist Brimmer had freed himself from Dave's
It availed the plotter but little, however.
Quick as a flash Dave let drive with his right fist, landing a
blow on the chest that sent Mr. Brimmer flat to the pavement of
"You coward! You—" screamed Brimmer, as he rose.
But no sooner was he on his feet than Dave planted a terrific
blow over his left eye.
Down went Brimmer again, his eyes closed "until further notice."
"Don't try to get up!" warned Darrin, crouching over his enemy.
"If you make a move upward, until I'm through talking, I'll kick
you clean over the town of Annapolis and far out into Chesapeake
Bay. Brimmer, if you send me a challenge when we get back to
Bancroft Hall, I won't pay any attention to it until after the
class has passed on the merits of the case. If you want to fight
here and now I'll let you up and we'll settle it right off. But
no formal fight, under decent auspices. You hear me? You
Brimmer made no reply.
"All right, then," nodded Dave. "I understand that you don't
want to fight here. Don't try to provoke me into a formal fight,
at the Naval Academy, unless you are prepared to defend your side
before a class committee. Now get up and take yourself away—you
Tony, in the meantime, had swiftly vanished. The Greek's change
of front, in denying his charge against Brimmer, had been prompted
"Meester Brimmer, he pay me, now, not twenty dollars, but all
the money he have, and all he can get," chuckled the rascally
Greek. "Otherwise, he be afraid I tell too much, and he get the
double-queeck out of the Naval Acadeemy!"
Brimmer, boiling with helpless rage, got up and made off as quickly
as he could. He would have fought, on the spot, but knew that
with one eye closed, and giving him great pain, he would be but
a football for the strenuous Darrin.
And now Dave bent over his chum, who, still unconscious, was breathing
"He's in no immediate danger," breathed Darrin, in great relief.
Then, hearing wheels, he stepped to the end of the alleyway.
As if in answer to his prayer the vehicle turned ont to be a
cab, and without a fare.
"Driver, I need you here!" called Dave, and the cab rolled in
at the curb.
"Follow me," directed Darrin, leading the way up the alley
Catching sight of the prostrate midshipman the driver grinned.
"No, he's not intoxicated!" flashed out Darrin half angrily.
"This is all a trick. Help me lift him into your cab. Then drive
us to the best physician in the town."
Dan was propped in place on the back seat, Darrin beside him.
"Give me the card of your stable, driver," Dave requested. "I
haven't money enough to pay you, but I'll write and have my father
send you the amount of your bill."
"That'll be all right, sir," nodded the driver who knew the ways
of midshipmen, and who also knew that such a "risk" was a safe one.
A few minutes later the cab stopped before the residence of Dr.
"See if the doctor is in," directed Darrin.
The physician was at home, and not engaged. So Dave and the driver
carried Dan into the medical man's office.
"Too bad!" murmured the physician. "Intoxicated, eh?
"No, sir," responded Dave quietly, "and that's one of the things
I wish you to note positively, so that you can be prepared to
certify if necessary. This is the stuff, I believe, with which
my friend was drugged."
Dave passed over the vial Tony had handed him. Dr. Stewart smelled
the contents, then touched the bottle lightly to his tongue.
Next he stepped over to a cabinet, poured a small quantity of
the liquid into a test tube and did some hurried experimenting.
"The regulation knockout drops," he smiled grimly. "Now, help
me to take off your friend's overcoat. Whew! There is the smell
of alcohol here!
"Only on the overcoat, I guess, doctor," suggested Dave. "You
don't notice any on my friend's breath, do you?
"No," replied the doctor.
"There has been a plot on foot to make it appear that my friend
had been indulging in liquor. Doctor, I hope you can prove positively
that such was not the case."
"I shall have to pump the young man's stomach out. That is the
first step in getting him back to consciousness. That will also
show convincingly whether he has been using alcoholic drinks."
Within three minutes Dr. Stewart was positive that Dan had not
been using strong drink.
Soon after Dan regained consciousness. Dr. Stewart quickly gave
him something to restore his faculties.
Catching sight of the office clock Dave broke in:
"Doctor, if it is barely possible, we must be back for supper
formation. Can you fix it?"
"I think so," nodded the physician. "You can help. Turn on that
electric fan and place your friend's uniform overcoat where the
fan will play upon it. That will drive away most of the smell
"Alcohol?" mumbled Dan wonderingly.
"Don't try to think, now, Mr. Dalzell," ordered the physician.
"Mr. Darrin will explain to you later."
Dan lay on the lounge, the physician keeping a finger on his pulse.
Presently the man of medicine gave Dan another drink of restorative.
"Now, get up and walk to the back of the room with me," commanded
the physician. "Here, I'll throw this window up. Now, take in as
deep breaths as you can."
Dave, in the meantime, was standing near fan attending to driving
the fumes from his friend's coat.
A few minutes later Dr. Stewart gave Dalzell a third draught.
Dan was now recovering steadily from his mental numbness.
"You can take your friend away safely, now," declared Dr. Stewart,
at last. "He can thank a strong constitution for recovering so
quickly under treatment."
"Shall I take him near the gate in a cab, or walk him there?"
"It will bring about his recovery more completely if he walks."
"Pardon me for a moment, then, and I'll go outside and release
Then, returning, Darrin added:
"Doctor, if you'll hand me your bill, Mr. Dalzell will see that
his father remits to you."
Dr. Stewart nodded, wrote the bill, and passed it over. It was
not by any means the first time that the physician had done business
on that basis.
"A fairly brisk walk, gentlemen, will be best," said the doctor,
at the street door. "Good evening—and good luck."
"Another Naval mystery, I suppose," smiled the physician, as he
turned back to his office. "But I shall never hear from it again,
except when the remittance arrives from the young man's father."
Arriving at the Maryland Avenue gate of the Academy grounds Dave
turned in report for both of them. Then the chums continued across
to Bancroft Hall.
Midshipman Brimmer was reported absent, but accounted for, at
that supper formation. At that moment Brimmer was undergoing
a Naval surgeon's treatment for his eye. Brimmer's brief explanation
to the surgeon was that he had run his face against something hard
in a dark alleyway while in town. The surgeon noted down the
explanation, smiling grimly.
That being Saturday evening, with release from studies, Dave slipped
down to the door of Farley and Page, and invited them to his quarters.
There sat Dan.
Both Farley and Page listened almost in stupefaction. They had
always rather liked Brimmer. Yet they were convinced that Darrin
spoke the truth.
"Now, help me with your advice," begged Dave. "Should I make
an official report of this whole matter?
"Not until you have stronger evidence against Brimmer," suggested
"Would it do any good to ask for a class committee, and to bring
Brimmer before it?"
"Not until you have a better case to offer," replied Page.
"Then what should I do?"
"Cut Brimmer, of course," said Farley thoughtfully. "And don't
let him guess that you're going to let up at any point of the
investigation into the matter."
"We won't let up, either," blazed Dave, "if we can think of any
way to probe the facts.
"I don't believe it will do much good to fool with Tony, the Greek,"
suggested Midshipman Page. "Brimmer has more money than any of us,
and he'll pay blackmail to keep Tony's tongue quiet."
It was Tuesday when Midshipman Brimmer returned to formations.
Immediately after breakfast Dave Darrin went up to him.
"Mr. Brimmer, I want a word with you."
"I don't want any words with you, at any time, Mr. Darrin," Brimmer
"You won't have any that are not necessary," retorted Dave. "Yet I
think it will be to your advantage to step aside and hear what I
have to say now."
"Make it very short, then."
"Mr. Brimmer," continued Darrin, when they were by themselves,
"all I have to say is to confirm the language that I used to you
the other evening. Further, I will say that you are quite at
liberty to report me for having assaulted you. Or, you may ask
for a class committee to investigate this affair between us.
The last that I have to say is that I have the vial of knockout
stuff that you gave Tony to serve to Dalzell and myself, and I
have also expert testimony as to the nature of the stuff. Nor
do I mind admitting to you that Dalzell and I are going to go
as far as we can in getting the evidence that; will warrant our
making an official report your scoundrelly conduct. If possible
we shall bring about your dismissal from the Naval Academy."
Brimmer's eyes flashed. Yet in the next minute the yellow streak
in him showed. His lip quivered, and he begged, brokenly:
"Darrin, show a little mercy. Would you care to be kicked out
of the Academy?"
"Not any more than Dalzell would have liked it," replied Dave
"Then you must realize that it would spoil my life, too."
"Mr. Brimmer," retorted Darrin sternly, "it is no longer a question
of what your feelings in the matter may be. The plain fact is
that you are not a gentlemen—not honorable. You are not fit
to be the comrade of gentlemen. You are a profanation of the
uniform of the United States. It is for the good of the service,
far more than for any personal enmity, that several of us have
resolved to keep on the hunt for evidence until we get a complete
enough lot to drive you away from Annapolis."
Finding that coaxing was of no avail Brimmer became surly.
At the first opportunity for liberty to go into town Dave, Dan
and Farley went abruptly to Tony, the Greek, questioning him
insistently. Tony, however, would not say a word beyond stolidly
denying that he had had any part in the plot, and that he had
ever said so.
Tony had abundant reasons for his silence. He had promptly demanded
two hundred dollars from Brimmer, and the latter had sent post
haste to his father for the money, explaining only that he needed
it to "buy his way out of a scrape."
The money now rested in Tony's pocket.
Dave, Dan, Farley and Page tried hard, however, in other directions,
to secure the need evidence. There was no druggists' label on
the vial, so these four midshipmen visited all the druggists in
Annapolis, seeking light on the matter. The druggists, however,
denied any knowledge of the vial or of its contents.
Now, the friends appeared to be up against a dead wall of difficulty.
They did not cease their efforts, however, and held many conferences
behind closed doors.
Brimmer kept track of their activities as best he could. He became
moody, and slackened in his studies.
After that the semi-annual examinations came on. Dave passed
better than he had hoped, making two-nine as his standing.
Dalzell was forced to be content with two-seven, but as two-five
was a high enough mark for passing Dan was delighted. Farley and
Page got through safely, and that was all.
Fifty-nine of the men of the fourth class were dropped for failing
to keep up to the two-five standard.
And one of these was Midshipman Brimmer. He and the other unlucky
ones left for their homes as soon as the results had been announced.
Brimmer would have passed, in all probability, had he not been
unstrung by the knowledge that four of his comrades were working
to secure the evidence which should warrant his expulsion from
the Naval Academy. Oppressed by dread, this young scoundrel was
not capable of doing his best work at the semi-annuals.
So Brimmer left as Henkel had done. The only difference was that
Brimmer did not have to slink away to the tune of "The Rogue's
"You're past the worst of it, now, mister," murmured Youngster
Trotter, in passing Dave. "You'll win through hereafter."
But Dave Darrin could hardly help feeling that his greatest
thankfulness was over the fact that the poisonous pair, Henkel and
Brimmer, were both out of the Navy for good and all.
The Collision on the Chesapeake
The weeks slipped by quickly now.
Athletics cannot occupy as prominent a place at Annapolis as at
the universities and colleges, for the midshipmen must, above
all, be sure that they stand high enough in their academic work.
Dave and Dan were both invited out for baseball try-out,
but both asked to be excused.
Dan, by himself, would have gone in for the Navy nine, and
doubtless would have made it.
It was Darrin, the cautious, who dissuaded Dalzell.
"Better shy away from athletics, Danny boy, until you've made your
academic footing secure," was Dave's advice.
"You didn't talk that way in the High School," argued Dan.
"No; there the athletics were more necessary, if we were to keep
in condition. Here athletics may be regarded as the luxury, which
we are not yet entitled. Here, with the gym work, the fencing,
the drills under arms and the boat drills, we're kept in the pink
of physical condition without need for special training."
"Next year, when we feel absolutely solid in our marks, we can
go in for athletics, if we wish, Dan."
So Dalzell gave in. He was beginning to realize that his chum
had a "long" head and that his advice was always good.
With the coming of spring the boat drills were resumed in earnest.
Dave, standing well in "grease," now, became captain of one of
the boat crews, for he had developed unusual skill in boat handling.
One bright afternoon in the latter part of April, while half of
the brigade marched off to instruction on shore, the other half
marched down to the docks beyond the seamanship building.
Here the members of the third class embarked in the steam launches
each craft representing a war vessel—for fleet drill.
The fourth class men embarked, by crews, in the sailboats.
As each captain gave the order to shove clear of the dock the
mainsail was hoisted. Then each crew captain kept one eye on
the watch for the signals of the instructor, who was aboard a
boat designated as the flagship.
The sail was downstream. Beyond Annapolis some pretty manoeuvering
work was done. While this drill was proceeding, however, the
wind died out considerably. Then, light as the breeze was, the
youthful crew captains were forced to beat back against almost
a head wind.
There being no signs of squalls or puffs, the crew captains did not
seem to need to exercise much caution. The members of the crews
stood indolently at their stations.
Yet Dave was as alert as ever. He stood close to the midshipman
tillerman, looking constantly for signals from the flagship, and
at the same time watchful for any wind signs.
An hour or more they had proceeded thus. Some of Dave's boat
crew, who had been making a lark of their nearly becalmed condition
now began to demur over the prospect of getting back late for
"The steam-launch fleet might show up and give us a tow," grumbled
Dave smiled and said nothing. He was as eager as any midshipman
in the boat to have his supper on time, but he felt that the crew
captain must appear above any sign of complaint untoward fate.
For a moment or so Darrin turned to look aft at the weather.
"Motor boat 'John Duncan' on the port bow, two points off and
bearing this way, sir," reported the bow watch.
Darrin turned quickly, bending to glance under the boom, for the
mainsail was in his way.
What he saw made him dart quickly forward, to take up his stand
by the mast.
"Pass me the megaphone, Mr. Dalzell," he requested.
With this mouth-piece in hand, Dave watched the nearing craft.
The "Duncan" was a semi-speed boat, some forty-five feet over
all, without cabin, and carrying only a sprayhood forward to protect
Two men appeared in the boat—Mr Salisbury, the owner, and his
engineer. The latter was steering at this time.
Chug-chug-chug! came the fast craft.
Dave waited, well knowing that his hail could not carry to either
engineer or owner over the noise that the "Duncan's" engine was
Farley stood close to Dave watching. The tillerman also had his
eye on the approaching craft. The other midshipmen, telling stories
or staring out over the water, paid little heed. There could
be no danger from the motor boat. Both the owner and engineer
were well known, in these waters, as capable boat handlers and
as men of judgment.
Darrin, himself, did not believe that there was any danger.
"Throw her head a point and a half off to the starboard," called
Dave Darrin evenly.
"Aye, aye, sir," responded the midshipman tillerman, and the sailboat
responded slowly under the slight headway.
"Great Scott, don't those fellows know that a sailboat has the
right of way over a power craft?" demanded Darrin suddenly.
"Perhaps they're going to see how close they can come to us without
hitting us," remarked Farley.
Dave raised the megaphone to his lips, waiting until he judged that
there was a chance of his hail being heard.
"Duncan, 'ahoy!" bellowed Darrin. "Go to port of us!"
Still the motor boat came onward, at a speed something better than
"Hard-a-starboard!" Darrin roared back to his own tillerman.
Then he repeated his hail. He was almost frenzied now; for the
motor boat had not yet changed its course.
Suddenly, when the two craft were almost together, the engineer,
after throwing over his wheel, held up one hand.
Before Dave could guess what the gesture meant, the "Duncan" loomed
up on the sail-boat's port bow, coming on at unabated speed.
There was an instant scampering of midshipmen for safety. Then
bump! the motor boat's bow crashed into the sailboat, cutting
a great gap in her.
The force of the shock threw most of the midshipmen into the water.
The rest jumped.
Now, the "Duncan" responded to her engine by backing off. But
the motor boat, too, had received her deathblow. Ere she had
backed off a hundred and fifty feet she began to fill rapidly.
Owner and engineer had only time to adjust life-preservers
and leap overboard. Then the "Duncan" went down.
At the moment of collision there was a crash of spars and a snapping
of cordage. The sailing craft's mast had gone by the board, though
not much before the sailboat itself had filled.
Dave himself was pitched headlong. He sank below the water, but
had no fear for himself, for he was wholly at home in the water.
Yet, as he found the water closing over him, Dave Darrin felt
a great thrill of terror for others run through him.
"My boat crew is the poorest in the class in swimming!" he gasped,
with a throb of agony. "Not more than half of them know how
to take care of themselves! And I, as captain, am responsible
for their safety!"
IN THE LINE OF DUTY
As his head shot above the water a Dave barely paused to expel the
water from his mouth.
"Boat's crew close together, to stand by the poor swimmers!" he
The water being barely ruffled, Darrin was able to count eight heads
besides his own.
That meant that five men had still failed to come up.
Midshipman Driscoll, an instant later, shot up beside Dave.
"Help!" sputtered Driscoll.
"Float on my arm, sir," ordered Dave, swimming with lusty strokes
until he had thrust his left arm under Driscoll's chest.
Then the young crew captain shouted:
"Who can get here first to support Mr. Driscoll."
"Here!" called another midshipman, overtaking the pair with lusty
"Keep Mr. Driscoll up," called Dave, as he swam away. "I've got
to count heads fast."
Another midshipman came above water, and Dan Dalzell was at him,
like a flash, supporting the new arrival, who was one of the poor
That left three men to be accounted for.
Further down the stream still another head appeared. Only for
a moment or two, this midshipman succeeded in keeping his head
"I'll get that man," cried Farley, as he and another midshipman
started with powerful strokes after the man who was going down
for the second time.
"There's a seat floating!" shouted Dalzell.
Darrin plunged forward for it, until he saw one of his crew nearing
it ahead of him.
"Hold that as a life-buoy!" called Dave.
Hardly had he given this order when another midshipman made himself
heard, as he trod water.
The board was pushed toward him, while Dave made a rapid count.
"All up but Mr. Page;" muttered Dave, but even that thought made
him sick at heart.
Only a few moments had passed, but that was time enough for any
man to come to the surface if his buoyancy remained.
Darrin had paid no heed to Mr. Salisbury or the latter's engineer,
for he had seen them jumping for their life-preservers.
In the meantime the other boats of the sailing fleet were making
for the scene of the disaster. Yet, with the light breeze, that
was no easy thing to do. It would take some time yet to bring
the nearest of the sailing fleet to the scene.
Signals had been sprung to the steam-launch fleet, but the launches
were far down the bay, and many minutes must pass before relief
could be looked for from that quarter. Two or three of the
sailboats would, in fact, be at hand first.
Though there were some excellent swimmer among the wrecked
midshipmen, the best of these were already standing by midshipmen
who did not swim well. Dave Darrin was the only one free to go to
Page's assistance should he show up.
"Every man keep his eyes peeled for Mr. Page!" shouted Dave. "We
simply can't stand the loss of any member of the crew!"
"There's a hat!" cried Dan, a few moments later. "Can you make
it out, sir."
Dalzell was pointing further down the bay.
"A cap, yes," called Dave, striking out lustily for the spot.
"But I don't see any head there. Watch, all of you, and give
me a hail if you see Mr. Page's head show up anywhere."
Midshipman Farley was in agony over the thought of the loss of
his roommate. Yet Farley was at this time engaged in standing
by a less-skilled swimmer.
"That looks like a face, fifteen yards west from the cap!" shouted
one of the crew.
Dave Darrin made the greatest spring, he could up out of the water.
It gave him a chance for a better view.
"I see the face!" he roared back. "Look after yourselves. I'll
get in close to Mr. Page."
Dave swam as he had never done before, taking swift yet long,
powerful strokes. He reached the spot, only to see what he had
taken for a face sink slowly below the surface.
"That must be the second time going down!" throbbed Darrin, with
a feeling of horror.
More powerfully than ever he surged forward. He was too late to
catch another glimpse of the white face. But he had noted the
point at which it had sunk.
Taking a breath, Darrin took a dive downward, duck fashion. Holding
his breath, he went below, his eyes wide open, seeking as best
Down where the light of day reached him poorly Darrin caught sight
of something floating slowly past. It might have been a fish,
for all the sense of shape that reached Dave.
With an inward prayer the young crew captain surged downward and
forward. He grappled with—something—then fought his way the
surface, holding that something tightly.
As they shot above the water Darrin's blood danced for joy.
It was Page—"good old Page!"—whom he had brought to the top.
"Got him safe?" bellowed Farley, over the water.
Dave was too winded to answer. He thrust one hand above his head,
waving it joyfully. Then he let the hand fall that he might better
attend to his work.
For a few moments they floated there. The nearest of the sailing
cutters was now nearing the victims of the wreck.
The boat, however, would reach Darrin last of all.
While Darrin watched Farley and three others clambering aboard
the rescuing boat, the young crew captain trod water, supporting
Page at the same time.
Then Page opened his eyes, as though returning from a faint, rather
than reviving from a partial drowning.
"Hold me tight!" gasped Page, almost in a whisper. "I'm a fearfully
"I know," nodded Dave, "but I've got you, and I never let go of a
Darrin's heart throbbed gratefully. All of the boat crew were
accounted for; not a man of his command lost.
Further off he could see Mr. Salisbury and the engineer of the
foundered power boat, each held up by a life-preserve.
But, though all of the wrecked middies were afloat, they were
as yet by no means safe. Some were so helpless that every man
who could keep himself afloat and help another was thus engaged.
Dave, after his strong exertions, found himself rapidly "playing
out." If help did not soon reach him he felt that he would be
"Can't you help yourself a little more, Mr. Page?" he asked.
Unnoticed by Darrin, Midshipman Page had been slowly relapsing
into unconsciousness. In the collision Page had been hit glancingly
on the head by the gaff of the falling mainsail.
Page heard Dave's query with a muddled mind. All he grasped was
that Darrin was doubtful of his ability to keep them both up.
In an agony of unreasoning, stupefied dread, Midshipman Page swiftly
wound both arms around Dave Darrin.
"Here!" commanded the young captain the crew. "Don't do that!"
But Page either did not hear or did not heed. His arms clung
more desperately around Dave, binding one of the latter's arms
to his body.
"He'll drown both of us!" was the thought that flashed instantly
through Midshipman Darrin's mind.
There was no time to think of more. Before he realized that the
thing was happening Darrin felt the waters close over his head.
Both midshipmen were going down. While Darrin's mind was fully
alive to the situation Page, a gallant fellow at heart, and thoroughly
brave, was now unwittingly carrying his comrade down with him to
Nor, in the first moments, did any of the other midshipmen note
the tragic happening.
It was not long, however, before Dan Dalzell's agonized query
shot over the waters:
"Where's grand old Darrin?"
Dan groaned with his helplessness. For Dan was, at that instant,
holding up one of the poor swimmers, to leave whom would be to
abandon him to death.
OFFICIAL AND OTHER REPORT
When under the water, and in imminent danger of drowning, seconds
count as hours.
If they perished, now, Page would be spared the deep horror of it
all, for his mind was already clouded again through his recent
He retained only consciousness enough to fight like a dying wild
With one of Darrin's arms pinioned Page seemed fighting to get the
other in an equal state of helplessness.
Dave fought to free himself. Yet he did not struggle too hard.
"If I free myself abruptly, I may lose Page!" was the thought
that rushed through his brain.
To free himself of his comrade in order to get to the surface
alone and safe was furthest from the young midshipman's mind.
"It's a tough fix, but I'm going to get Page to the surface, or
stay down here with him!" throbbed Dave.
They were near enough to the surface to enable Darrin to see his
comrade, though not with much clearness.
Down under the water all forms looked indistinct.
While Darrin struggled cautiously his mind worked fast.
It would have been easy enough to choke Page into insensibility,
but that would cause the unreasoning midshipman to open his mouth,
insuring his drowning.
Suddenly Dave saw his chance! He made up his mind at once.
Swiftly moving his free hand back, he struck Page on the forehead
with his clenched fist.
At that moment, Page began to fight harder to keep them both down.
But Darrin struck him again on the head with his fist.
The injured midshipman now collapsed, senseless.
Cautiously though swiftly Dave freed himself, got a left hand
grip on the collar of Page's blouse, and with his right hand struck
out for the surface.
His feet aided. With joy Dave saw the water overhead growing
lighter and lighter. Then his face shot up into the life-giving air.
Darrin took in a great gulp of it, then turned to make sure that
the unconscious Page's mouth was above water.
Close at hand one of the sailboats of the fleet was bearing down
"There are Mr. Darrin and Mr. Page!" shouted a voice.
Splash! splash! Two classmates were over in the water, swimming
superbly toward the exhausted Dave.
"Keep up a moment or two longer, Mr. Darrin!" hailed the voice
of Midshipman Hallam encouragingly.
All these young midshipmen were on duty. Therefore, throughout
the mishap and its attendant circumstances the ceremonious use
of "Mr." had been followed.
"Won't I keep up, though!" thrilled Dave, as he heard the cheering
All but forgetting himself, Dave turned to make sure that Page's
mouth was kept above water.
"Let me have Mr. Page!" called out Midshipman Botkin, ranging
up alongside and taking charge of Darrin's burden.
"How are you, Mr. Darrin? Enjoy a little help?" queried Midshipman
Hallam, throwing out a supporting arm to his classmate.
"I'm nearly all in," confessed Dave, with a ghastly smile.
"But not all in? Good enough! Get hold of my arm, and don't
try to do much more than float. They're gathering the men in
Two sailboats were now engaged in the work of rescue, and a third
was heading for Mr. Salisbury and his engineer.
In almost no time, it seemed, Dave and Page, and their supporters,
were hauled into one of the boats.
"Give Mr. Page first aid for the injured—quick!" urged Dave,
almost in a whisper. "He has gone close to being drowned."
Hardly had he spoken the words when Darrin's own eyes closed.
The strain had been too much for him.
When the steam launches came up, Dave and Page, as well as the
other drenched fourth class men, were transferred, and fast time
was made back to the dock.
Mr. Salisbury and his engineer were also taken back by steam power.
The owner of the launch had a most satisfactory explanation to
He and his engineer had both believed that they had abundant room
in which to clear the sailboat. When, at last, they had tried
their helm, it was found that the steering gear had broken. There
was no way in which to change the course of the motor boat in
time. The reversing gear was promptly used, but it was impossible
to stop headway and dart back before the collision came.
It was accident, and that was all there was to it. Yet, had it
not been for Darrin's prompt judgment, and the cool conduct of some
of the members of his crew, there might easily have been some
fatalities to report among the midshipmen.
As it was, nothing but Darrin's splendid conduct had saved Midshipman
Page from speedy death by drowning.
Dave opened his eyes on his way back to Annapolis. Page, however
though he was "pumped dry" of the water that he had involuntarily
swallowed, remained in a stupefied condition all the way back.
An ambulance had been signaled for, and was waiting at the dock.
"I don't want to go to hospital, sir," Dave objected weakly.
"You'll come with me, Mr. Darrin," responded the Naval surgeon,
without argument. "Of course we can discharge you at any time
we find you strong enough for duty."
So Dave was taken to hospital, stripped, rubbed down, put to bed
and dosed with hot drinks.
Midshipman Page was put on the cot next to Dave's. Now the surgeons
discovered the injury that had been done Page's head by the falling
Some four hours later Commander Jephson, commandant of midshipmen,
came through the hospital, accompanied by Lieutenant Edgecombe,
who had been the sailing instructor of the afternoon.
"Good evening, Mr. Darrin," was the commandant's very cordial
"Good evening, sir."
"Good evening, Mr. Darrin," came from Lieutenant Edgecombe, which
greeting Dave also acknowledged.
"The surgeon says, Mr. Darrin, that you a fit to do some talking,"
continued the commandant.
"I am certain of that, sir," smiled Darrin. "In fact, my only
trouble is that the surgeon insists on my staying here tonight."
"Then it is an official order, and can't be dodged," laughed the
commandant pleasantly. "But, Mr. Darrin, you were crew captain
this afternoon. Lieutenant Edgecombe wishes to secure your official
report of the accident. He will reduce it to writing, read it
over to you, a then you will sign it."
"Very good, sir," responded Dave briefly.
The Navy lieutenant's questions drew out only the simplest account
of the affair. Of all the heavy, swift work he had done for the
safety of his crew after the foundering Dave gave only the barest
sketch. Lieutenant Edgecombe then wrote down a brief, dry recital
of fact, read it over, and Darrin signed it.
During this time the commandant of midshipmen had sat by, a quiet
"Mr. Darrin," said Commander Jephson, at last, "I am obliged to
say that, in some respects, your report does not agree with that
of members of your crew."
"I have made a truthful statement, sir, just as I recall the incidents
of the affair," replied Dave, flushing to the temples.
"Don't jump too speedily at false conclusions, Mr. Darrin," cautioned
the commandant. "My remark is founded on the statement, made
by other midshipmen of your crew, that you displayed the utmost
judgment and coolness, with great bravery added. That you clung
to Mr. Page to the last, and even went below with him at the almost
certain risk of being drowned yourself."
"You didn't expect me, sir, to include any praise of myself, in
my official report?" questioned Darrin.
"You have me there, Mr. Darrin," laughed the commandant, while
the lieutenant turned to hide a smile. "I am quite satisfied
with your official report, but I wish to ask you some questions,
on my own account, about your own experience in rescuing Mr. Page."
This it took some minutes to draw out. Darrin did not balk, nor
try to conceal anything, but he had a natural aversion to singing
his own praises, and answered questions only sparingly at first.
Yet, at last, the commandant succeeded in drawing out a story,
bit by bit, that made the old seadog's eyes glisten with pride.
"Mr. Darrin," announced the commandant, "from experience and
observation, through a rather long life in the Navy, I am able
to state that the kind of courage which enables a man go down in
drowning with a comrade, sooner than leave the comrade to his fate,
is the highest type of courage known among brave men!"
"You must have been aware, Mr. Darrin," added Lieutenant Edgecombe,
"that you were taking at least ninety-nine chances in a hundred
of offering up your life."
"Gentlemen," replied Dave, rather restless under so much praise,
"I have signed under the Flag, to give my life up for it at any
time in the line of duty. Does it make very much difference in
which year I turn that life over to the Flag?"
"Edgecombe," said the commandant, rather huskily, as the two
officers left the hospital, "I am glad—mighty glad—that we
didn't lose Darrin today. We are going to need him in the Navy
THE "BAZOO" MAKES TROUBLE
"Sir, the brigade is formed," reported the brigade adjutant, the
next day, as the midshipmen stood in ranks, ready to march into
the mess hall.
"Publish the orders," directed the cadet commander.
Then the brigade adjutant rattled off the orders, reading them
in a quick monotonous voice.
"For coolness, judgment and remarkable bravery displayed in an
accident encounter in the sinking and foundering of a sailboat
under his command, which accident was not any way due to his own
negligence or incapacity—"
Dave started, then crimsoned, as the brigade adjutant continued
"Midshipman David Darrin, fourth class, is hereby specially commended,
and his conduct is offered as an example to all his comrades in
the brigade of midshipmen."
A moment later the crisp marching orders rang out, and the brigade
was marching in by classes.
Dave's face was still flushed, his blood tingling somewhat. It
was pleasing, doubtless, to be thus reviewed in orders, but Dave
was not unduly elated.
In the Navy, though courage may sometimes be mentioned in orders,
not much fuss is made over it. All officers and men in the Navy
are expected to be brave, as a matter of course and of training.
Dan, in fact, was more pleased over that one paragraph in orders
than was his chum.
"Of course everyone in the Navy must brave," thought Dalzell,
to himself. "But old Dave will always be one of the leaders in
In accordance with custom a copy of the order giving Darrin special
commendation was mailed to his father, as one who had a right
to know and to be proud of his son's record at the Naval Academy.
Not a doubt was there that the senior Darrin was proud! So many
of the elder Darrin's friends were favored with a glimpse of the
official communication received from Annapolis that the editor
of the Gridley "Blade," heard of it. Mr. Pollock asked the privilege
of making a copy of the official communication, which contained
a copy of the paragraph in orders.
Mr. Pollock, however, was not contented with publishing merely
a copy of the official communication from the Naval Academy authorities.
The editor printed a column and a half, in all reminding his
readers that Midshipman Darrin was one of a recently famous sextette
of Gridley High School athletes who had been famous as Dick &
Co. Not only did Dave receive a flattering amount of praise in
print. Dan came in for a lot of pleasant notice also.
Dave received a marked copy of that issue of the "Blade." He
fairly shivered as he read through that column and a half.
"Danny boy," shuddered Darrin, passing the "Blade" over to his
roommate, "read this awful stuff. Then help me to destroy this
Dan Dalzell read the column and a half, and reddened, grinning
in a sickly sort of way.
"Just awful, isn't it?" demanded Midshipman Dalzell.
"Awful?" muttered Darrin uneasily. "Why that doesn't begin to
describe it. If any upper class man should see that paper—"
"He won't see this copy," proclaimed Dan, beginning to tear the
offending issue of the "Blade" into small bits.
In the parlance of Annapolis the newspaper from a midshipman's
home town is known as the "Bazoo." Now, the "Bazoo" has an average
inclination to print very flattering remarks about the local
representative at Annapolis. While the home editor always means this
as pleasant service, the detection of flattering articles by any
upper class man at Annapolis always means unpleasant times for the
poor plebe who has been thus honored in the columns of the "Bazoo."
The torn bits of the Gridley "Blade" were carefully disposed of,
but Dave still shivered. Through a clipping agency, or in some
other mysterious way, upper class men frequently get hold of the
Four days passed, and nothing happened out of the usual.
On the evening of the fifth day, just after the release bell had
rung, there was a brief knock at the door. Then that barrier
Midshipmen Jones, Hulburt and Heath of the second class filed
gravely into the room, followed by Midshipmen Healy, Brooks, Denton,
Trotter and Paulson of the third class.
Dave and Dan quickly rose to their feet, standing at attention
facing their visitors.
With a tragic air, as if he were an executioner present in his
official capacity, Youngster Paulson held out a folded newspaper.
"Mister," he ordered Darrin, "receive this foul sheet. Unfold
it, mister. Now, mister, what depraved sheet do you hold in your
"The Gridley 'Blade', sir," replied Darrin, his face crimsoning.
"Pardon me, sir—the Gridley 'Bazoo.'"
"Have you seen another copy of the 'Bazoo' lately, mister?"
"Yes, sir," admitted Dave, his face growing still redder.
"Ah! He saw it—and still he did not die of shame!" murmured
Second Class Man Jones.
"Shocking depravity!" groaned Midshipman Hurlburt.
"Since you have already scanned the 'Bazoo,'" resumed Midshipman
Paulson, "you will have no difficulty in finding the page, mister,
on which the editor of the 'Bazoo' sings his silly praise of you.
Turn to that page, mister."
Dave further unfolded the paper, coming to the page on which the
fearful article was printed. As he glanced at it Dave saw that
the article had been marked in blue pencil, and many of the paragraphs
"Since you admit having read the 'Bazoo's' infamous article, mister,"
continued Midshipman Paulson, "tell us whether any of the scurrilous
charges therein are true?"
"The quotation from the official report, sir, being correct as
a copy, is bound to be true—"
"Official reports at the Naval Academy are always true," retorted
Paulson severely. "Proceed, sir, to the comments which the ink-slinger
of the 'Bazoo' has made concerning you. Mister, read the paragraph
In a voice that shook a trifle Dave read:
"Dave Darrin is, beyond any question or cavil, one of the
brightest, smartest, bravest and most popular boys who ever went
forth into the world as a true son of old Gridley."
"Mister," declared Paulson, "you may gloss over some of the slander
in those words by singing them to the tune of 'Yankee Doodle.'"
Dave flushed. There was a momentary flash in his eyes. Dan,
watching his chum covertly, was briefly certain that Darrin was
going to balk. Perhaps he would even fight.
True hazing, however, does not aim at cruelty, but at teaching a
new man to obey, no matter how absurd the order.
In another moment the grim lines around the corners of Dave's mouth
softened to a grin.
"Wipe off that ha-ha look, mister!" warned Youngster Paulson.
"I'll sing, gentlemen, if you think you can stand it," Dave promised.
"You'll sing, mister, because you've been ordered to do so," reported
Paulson as master of ceremonies. "Now, then, let us have that
paragraph to the air of 'Yankee Doodle.'"
Dave obeyed. To do him justice, he sang the best that he knew how,
but that wasn't saying much for quality. Dave had a good voice for
a leader of men, but a poor one for a singer.
Somehow, he got through the ordeal.
"Now, cast your eye on the paragraph marked as number two," directed
Mr. Paulson. "Mister, the 'Bazoo' in your left hand. Thrust
your right hand in under the front of your blouse and strike the
attitude popularly ascribed to Daniel Webster. No comedy, either,
mister; give us a serious impersonation, sir!"
This was surely rubbing it in, but Dave gave his best in attitude
"Effective!" murmured Midshipman Jones. "Very!
"Superb!" voiced Mr. Hurlburt.
"Now, for the declamation, mister, of paragraph number two," commanded
In a deep voice, and with a ring that was meant to be convincing,
Dave read the paragraph:
"Since a school consists of pupils as well as of instructors,
the brightest student minds may be said to make the life and history
of a famous school. It has been so with our justly famous Gridley
High School. Mr. Darrin, in the past, has aided in establishing
many of the traditions of the famous school that claims him as
her own son. The young man's heroism at Annapolis, under the
most exacting conditions, will surprise no one who knows either
Mr. Darrin or the splendid traditions that he helped establish
among the youth of his home town. In the years to come we may
look confidently forward to hearing the name of Darrin as one
of the most famous among the newer generation of the United States
Navy. David Darrin will always be a hero—because he cannot
As Dave, his face flushing more hotly than ever, read through these
lines he was conscious of the jeering gaze of the upper class men.
He was interrupted, at times, by cries of fervid but mock admiration.
"I feel," announced Mr. Hurlburt, wiping his eyes with his handkerchief,
"that I am indeed honored in being one of the humbler students
at this great school on which our beloved comrade has shed the
luster of his presence."
"It seems almost profane to look at such a young man, except through
smoked glasses," protested Midshipman Heath.
"What's your name, mister?" demanded Midshipman Brooks.
"Darrin, sir," Dave answered, with the becoming meekness of a
fourth class man.
"Any relative of the Darrin mentioned in the elegy you have just
"I hope not, sir," replied Dave, fighting to stifle a grin, though
it was a sheepish one.
"Mister," stormed Midshipman Denton, "you are attempting to deceive
Dave gazed meekly but inquiringly at the last speaker.
"You are trying to evade the fact that you are the real Darrin,
the identical hero whom the 'Bazoo' so lovingly, so reverently
describes. Deceit fills your system, mister! You will stand
on your head long enough to let it run out of you."
Midshipman Paulson, though an inveterate "runner" of fourth class
men, had some regard for the dangers of overstaying the visit, and
kept his left eye on the time.
Darrin, standing on his head, became redder of face than ever,
for all the blood in his body seemed to be running downward.
At last he became so unsteady that twice his feet slipped along
the wall, and he had to return to his attitude of standing on
"Better let up on the beast, Paulson," murmured Midshipman Brooks.
"Yes," agreed Paulson. "The warning bell will go in a minute
more. Mister, on your feet!"
Dave promptly returned to normal attitude, standing respectfully
"Mister," continued Paulson, "you will be allowed to retain this
marked copy of the 'Bazoo.' You are warned to keep it out of sight,
ordinarily, that none of the discipline officers may find it.
But you will continue to refer to it several times daily, until
you are sure that you have committed all of the marked paragraphs
to heart, so that you can reel them off in song or in declamation.
And you will be prepared, at all times, to favor any of the upper
class men with these selections, whenever called for. Good night,
"Good night, sir."
Dave returned the salutations of each of the departing visitors.
Just as Brooks, the last of the lot, was passing through the
doorway, the warning bell before taps sounded.
For a moment Dave Darrin, his face still red, stood behind the
closed door, shaking his fist after the departing visitors.
"Why didn't you shake your fist while they were in the room?" asked
"That would have started a fight, as the least consequence," replied
Dave, more soberly.
"A fight, eh?" chuckled Dan. "Dave, I don't know what has come
over you lately. There was a time when you didn't mind fights."
"I have fought three times since coming here," Darrin replied
"And I have fought seven times," retorted Dan.
"Puzzle: Guess which one of us was found the fresher," laughed
"I never thought you'd stand anything such as you've endured at
Annapolis, without pounding your way through thick ranks of fighters,"
mused Dalzell aloud. "Dave, I can't fathom your meekness."
"Perhaps it isn't meekness," returned Darrin, wheeling and looking
at his chum.
"If it isn't meekness, then what is it? And, Dave, you used to
be the hothead, the living firebrand of Dick & Co.!"
"Danny boy, if hazing has lived nearly seventy years at Annapolis,
then it's because hazing is a good thing for the seedling Naval
officer. I believe in hazing. I believe in being forced to respect
and obey my elders. I believe in a fellow having every grain
of conceit driven out of him by heroic measures. And that's
hazing—long may the practice live and flourish!"
"Why, what good is hazing doing you?" insisted Dalzell.
"It's teaching me how to submit and to obey, and how to forget
my own vanity, before I am put in command of other men later on.
Danny boy, do you suppose it has cost me no effort to keep my
hands at my trousers-seams when I wanted to throw my fists out
in front of me? Do you imagine I have just tamely submitted to
a lot of abuse because my spirit was broken? Danny, I'm trying
to train my spirit, instead of letting it boss me! Many and many
a time, when the youngsters have started to guy me unmercifully
I've fairly ached to jump in and thrash 'em all. But, instead,
I've tried to conquer myself!"
"I reckon you're the same old Dave—improved," murmured Midshipman
Dalzell, holding out his hand.
THE SPECTRE AT THE FIGHT PARTY
"On your head, mister. Now, let us have paragraph number four,
with tragic, blank-verse effect."
That was Jennison's command
Brooks manifested a fondness for paragraph number one, to the
air of "Yankee Doodle."
Others dropped in on Dave, after release at 9.30, evenings, and
called for other paragraph rendered in various ways. He was also
overhauled, out of doors, in the brief recreation period after
dinner, and made to do various stunts with the unfortunate paragraphs
from the "Bazoo."
By the time the first week of this was over Dave Darrin wished
most heartily that Mr. Pollock had never founded the Gridley "Blade."
It is rare that second class men take any part in hazing; it is
almost unheard of for a first class man to take any really active
part in running a plebe.
Midshipman Henley, first class, proved an exception to this rule.
Regularly, once a day, he met Darrin and ordered him to sing
paragraph number one to the tune of "Yankee Doodle."
If Dave resented any part of the torment, he was especially annoyed
by Henley's unusual conduct.
Naval needs brought a strange revenge.
Reports had reached the Navy Department from commanders of warships
in commission that many of the graduates of the Naval Academy
serving with the fleets did not possess sufficient knowledge of
the command of boat crews.
In the past first class men had not been bothered with rowing
drills, which they were supposed to have thoroughly mastered earlier
in their course.
Acting on word from the Navy Department the superintendent of
the Naval Academy had the first class men ordered out for rowing
drills. All who showed sufficient skill were released from such
drills. The others were sent to drill with the fourth class men.
Four of Dave's boat crew of fourth class men were transferred to
another crew, their places being taken by four first class men who
had been found sadly deficient in rowing drill.
"Will one of the first class men serve as crew captain, sir?"
"Certainly not," replied Lieutenant Edgecombe. "You will still
keep command of your crew, Mr. Darrin. And you will be expected
to see that these first class men are most thoroughly grounded
in the boat drill. Do no spare any of them in the least because
they are upper class men."
"Very good, sir," Darrin answered, saluting.
Midshipman Henley was one of the four assigned to Dave's crew.
There was a deep scowl on Henley's face when he reported for the
first boat drill under a plebe crew captain.
As the boat was pushed off, after the crew had embarked, Darrin
was alert only to his duty as the man in charge of the boat.
Before the boat had gone a hundred yard Dave called crisply:
"Number four, handle your oar with more energy and precision!
"Don't get too stiff, mister," growled Midshipman Henley.
Darrin returned the black look coolly.
"Number four, when addressing the crew captain, you will employ
the word, 'sir.' And you will pay strict attention to criticisms
of your work."
"Beats all how these plebes think they're men!" growled Mr. Henley
disgustedly, without looking at Dave.
"No talking in the crew," called Dave
Henley subsided, for he had been trained to habits of obedience.
Had the man in command been a member of his own class there would
have been no trouble whatever, but Henley resented being at the
orders of a fourth class man.
"Number four, you are lounging," rebuked Darrin quietly, but firmly.
"Correct your deportment, sir."
Dave gazed so steadily at Midshipman Henley that the latter, though
he colored, took a more seamanlike attitude for a while. Bitter
thoughts, however, were seething in the mind of this first class
man. After a few minutes Henley again struck his improper attitude.
"Mr. Henley, upon your return put yourself on the report for taking
an unseamanlike attitude after having been once corrected," directed
Dave, in a businesslike tone.
The hot blood leaped to Henley's face and temples. He opened
his mouth, intent upon making a stinging retort.
But Dave was glancing at him so coolly, compellingly, that the
older midshipman now realized that he had gone as far as was safe.
During the rest of the drill Mr. Henley performed his work well
enough to escape further rebuke.
When the crew was dismissed, however, Henley wore a blacker look
than ever as he stalked along to the office of the officer in
Here Henley picked up one of the report blanks, filled it out
as briefly as possible, an signed his name, next turning in the
Immediately after supper that night, and before the signal sent
the midshipmen to their studies, Henley stepped up to Dave.
"Mister, I want a word in private with you."
"Certainly, sir," replied Dave. He was no longer crew captain
on duty, but a fourth class man answering a first class man.
Henley conducted Dave out of earshot of any one else before he
turned to say, hissingly:
"Mister, you used an upstart's privilege of abusing your authority
"I think not, sir," replied Dave quietly.
"You put me on report for no other reason than that I had made you
sing extracts from the 'Bazoo,'" charged the first class man.
"That reason or thought never entered my head, sir."
"I say it did!"
"Then I am very sorry to have to reply that you are entirely in
"You tell me that I am making a false statement?" demanded Midshipman
Henley, more angrily.
"If you choose to consider it in that light, sir."
"Mister, you are touge, ratey, impudent and worthless!" declared
"Then I infer, sir, that you do not wish to waste any more time
"Oh, you will not get off as easily as that," sneered Midshipman
Henley. "You are a good-sized fellow, and you have some fourth
class reputation as a fighter. We shall not be so badly or unevenly
matched, mister, I shall send a friend to inform you that I have
called you out."
"Then, sir, your friend will save time by seeking Mr. Dalzell, of
the fourth class, who will be informed that he is to represent me."
"Very good, mister."
"That is all you wish to say to me, sir?"
"You may go, mister."
Dave Darrin walked away, his mind full of mighty serious thoughts.
In the first place, for a midshipman to call out another, for
reporting him for breach of discipline, is about as serious an
offense as a midshipman can ordinarily commit. It insures, if
detected, the instant dismissal of the challenger. And the challenged
midshipman, if he accepts, held to be equally guilty. So are
In accepting this challenge, which he had done instantly, Dave
Darrin well knew that he placed his chances of remaining at the
Naval Academy in great peril. He was also aware that he ran Dan's
head into equal danger.
Yet tradition and custom would not allow Darrin to dodge the fight
thus thrust upon him. It was equally true, that, if he failed
to ask Dan to act as his second, he would put a serious slight
on his chum.
Dave hurried to Dalzell, who listened with more glee than might
have been expected.
"Good enough, David, little giant!" approved Dalzell. "When you
meet Henley on the field just close in and pound off the whole
of his superstructure!
"Dan, I'm afraid I'm letting you in for a tough risk."
"You wouldn't be my friend if you kept me out of it," retorted
Rollins proved only too glad to have the privilege of being the
other second. He, too, ran a risk of being dismissed, if caught
at this fight; but in adventurous youth the love of risk is strong.
The time was set for Saturday evening at 8.30; the place as usual.
Darrin, as usual, was the first principal to show up. He always
liked to have plenty of time for stripping, and he also found
it to his advantage to look the ground over.
Mr. Bailey, of the second class, was to serve as referee, and
Mr. Clafflin, of the second class as time-keeper. It was against
custom to have any of the officials from the first class since
member of that class was to be one of the principals.
"I wonder what sort of fellow Henley is with his fists," mused
Rollins, after they had reached the ground.
"Darrin will find out for you," replied Dan.
"I'm not as afraid of seeing my principal thrashed as I might have
been earlier in the year," went on Rollins.
"Hm! Any fellow that thrashes Dave is almost certain to carry
away a few mementos himself!"
As soon as Henley and his seconds were seen to be approaching,
Dave slipped off his blouse.
Within five minutes after that both men were ready and faced each
other. The word was given.
"Now, Mr. Touge," warned Henley, "guard that striking face of
"Oh, I don't do any striking with my face," retorted Dave dryly.
"I do all my killing with my hands."
"Stop that one," urged Henley, feinting cleverly with his left,
then following it up with a right hand crusher.
Dave stopped both blows neatly enough, then sidestepped and passed
over a fist that grazed Mr. Henley's face.
"I just wanted to find out where your face is," mocked Darrin.
"Talk less and fight more, Mr. Touge!" warned the referee.
"Very good, sir," Dave retorted. "But it's going to be hard on
"Bah!" sneered Henley. "Woof!"
The latter exclamation followed when Dave's fist cut Henley's
lip a bit. But that indignity stirred the first class man to
swifter, keener efforts. He failed to score heavily on the fourth
class man, however; but, just before the call time for the first
round Henley's nose stopped a blow from Darrin's fist, and first
class blood began to flow.
"Mr. Touge is a hard fighter," muttered the time-keeper to the
referee, while the seconds attended their men.
"We've plenty of fellows at Annapolis who can punish Darrin,"
replied Midshipman Bailey.
Time was called for the start-off of the second round. The two
principals were intent on their footwork around each other, when
there came hail that froze their blood.
"Halt! Remain as you are for inspection!"
It was the voice of Lieutenant Hall, one of the discipline officers,
and the fighters and their friends had been caught!
Blank dismay fell over the whole of the fight party.
Three first class men, two second class men and three members
of the fourth class stood on the brink of almost instant dismissal.
It was bitter for all of them, but it seemed especially hard to
the first class men, who had survived the four years of hard grilling
and were on the eve of graduation.
However, there was no thought of running. Though it was too dark
for the discipline officer to have recognized any of them at the
distance from which he had hailed them, yet, in a flight, it would
be easy enough for Lieutenant Hall, who was an athlete, to catch
one or two of them and then the names of all present could be
It was an instant of utter terror.
Then another voice broke in on the stillness.
"All hands to the fire apparatus! Fire in Bancroft Hall!"
The fight party felt another thrill. If the big Academy building
was in danger they must rush to do their share.
The officer's running footsteps were already heard. He had turned
and was speeding away.
"Get on your clothes, quickly, you two fellows!" ordered Midshipman
Bailey crisply "We've got to turn in with the rest for fast work!"
Just then another figure darted up to them. It turned out to be
"Yes; get on your clothes with some classy speed," chuckled Farley.
"Lieutenant Hall will be back here with a bunch of watchmen,
the marine guard, or any other old crowd, when he finds that he
has been lured on the reefs by false signals!
"Mister, did you give that call of fire?" demanded Midshipman
"And there's no fire?"
"None that I know of, sir."
"Mister, what's your name?"
"Then, Farley, sir, come and get hugged."
In truth a lot of fuss was made over that young midshipman within
a few seconds.
"It can't do much harm to use you something like a human being
and a comrade, anyway," declared Time-keeper Clafflin, as he wrung
both of Farley's hands. "Within a few days you'll be a youngster
Farley explained that an itching interest in the fight had tempted
him to be close at hand, and this had given him his chance to save
the fight party.
Darrin and Henley were dressing like lightning, and the others
would not flee until the principals were ready to take part in
"Henley," broke in Midshipman Bailey decisively, "you can't risk
your graduation again by resuming this fight at some other time. As
far as the mill had gone Mr. Darrin had the best of it. I award
the fight to him."
"I'm glad you do, Bailey," replied Henley heartily. "And, as
soon as I'm dressed, and my cap is set on square, I'm going to
apologize and ask Mr. Darrin to shake hands with me."
"Will you do me a favor, sir?" inquired Dave.
"A dozen," agreed Henley instantly.
"Then, sir, cut the apology and confine it to the hand-shake."
In another moment they were ready for hasty departure. But Dave
had to wait for a quick, hearty handclasp from each of the upper
class men. Then all divided into three groups, by classes, and
thirty seconds later found these midshipmen too far from the scene
to be identified with any fight party.
"It was a remarkably good and cheeky piece of work, sir," Lieutenant
Hall reported, twenty minutes later, to Commander Jephson, commandant
of midshipmen. "I had a fight party right under my hands when
that call of fire sounded. It was so natural that I bolted away
and lost my party before I discovered that it was a hoax."
"Did you recognize any of the fight party, Mr. Hall?
"No, sir; I was not close enough, and the night is dark."
"Did you recognize the voice of the man who gave the fire-call?"
"No, sir; at any rate, I believe that the voice was disguised."
"The young men have discovered a new one, and have tried it on
you, Mr. Hall."
"I realize that, sir," replied the lieutenant, in a voice of chagrin.
It was now the time of annual examinations, of daily dress parade
and the incoming of the first of the hosts of visitors who would
be on hand during graduation week.
Of the annual examinations the poor fourth class men thought they
had more than their share. Of the dress parades they had their
full share. In the graduating exercises they took no part; they
were not even present.
"What does a mere fourth class man know about the Navy, anyway?"
was the way Midshipman Trotter asked the question.
Twenty-two of the fourth class men stumbled in their annual examinations.
These went home promptly. They would not return again, unless
their Congressmen reappointed them for another try. In case that
happened to any of the young men they would return to take up
life with the new fourth class, and would henceforth be known as
A man who has been dropped is a "bilger," whether he comes back
or not. A "bilger" is further described as "one who used to be
in the game, and is now only on the outside looking in."
Dave Darrin's standing for the year was two-eighty-seven. Dan's
was two-eighty-two. Farley and Page came close to that figure.
None of these young men were in the "savvy" section, but all had
passed with sufficient credit for the first year.
While the graduating exercises were going on the fourth class
men were divided between drills on land and on water.
Dave and Dan were in a squad that marched up from the steam building
just in time to catch a distant glimpse of the crowds surging
out from the graduating exercises.
Both young men, and probably a lot of others in the same squad
throbbed with a swift flash of thought.
As soon as the ranks were broken Dalzell seized his chum's hand,
and began wringing it strenuously.
"David, little giant," murmured Dan ecstatically, "we are no longer
fourth class men. From the instant that the tail-ender of the
old first class received his diploma we became transformed into
third class men."
"Yes," smiled Dave. "We're youngsters. That's going some."
"Poor fourth class men!" sighed Dan. "I'm alluding to those who
will have to look up to and reverence me as a youngster!"
As soon as the chums had made a shift from their working clothes
to the uniform of the day, and had stepped outside, they saw Mr.
Henley coming their way, looking wholly proud and happy.
Then, of a sudden, Mr. Henley bent a keen look upon the new youngsters.
Just in the nick of time Dave Darrin recalled one of the regulations
to which he had hitherto paid little heed for lack of use.
Graduate midshipmen are entitled to be saluted by mere midshipmen
as though they were already officer.
Swiftly Darrin brought his heels together with a click, bringing
his hand smartly up to the visor of his uniform cap.
Henley gravely returned the salute with a new sense of existence.
Dan Dalzell caught the drift of the thing just in time, and saluted
"May we congratulate you, Mr. Henley?" asked Dave.
"I was hoping that you both would," replied the graduate. "And,
one of these days, I may have the pleasure of congratulating you,
as an officer, when you first come up over the side to start in with
your real sea life."
"I'm thinking, now, of our first taste of sea life," murmured
Darrin, a dreamy light coming into his eyes.
"Yes; just as soon as we graduates are gotten out of the way you
new youngsters will join the two upper classes on the big battleships
and start on your first summer practice cruise."
"I feel as if I couldn't wait," muttered Dan, as Henley moved
"You'll have to, however," laughed Dave. "Don't be impatient.
Think what a very small insect on shipboard a youngster midshipman is!"
The chums were through with their first year at Annapolis. But,
all in a moment, they had entered the next year. Many things
befell them on that summer practice cruise, and many more things
in the new academic year that followed. But these will be appropriately
reserved for the next volume, which will be entitled: "Dave Darrin's
Second Year at Annapolis; Or, Two Midshipmen as Naval Academy
Having left the fourth class behind Dave and Dan at last entered
fully into the life of the midshipmen. They "counted" now; they
were "somebodies," and a host of new and exciting experiences
were ahead of them.