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   Chapter 1 A QUESTION OF MIDSHIPMAN HONOR

Dave Darrin's Second Year at Annapolis / Or, Two Midshipmen as Naval Academy Youngsters"" By H. Irving Hancock Characters: 21505

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02


"How can a midshipman and gentleman act in that way?"

The voice of Midshipman David Darrin, United States Navy, vibrated uneasily as he turned to his comrades.

"It's a shame-that's what it is," quivered Mr. Farley, also of the third class at the United States Naval Academy.

"But the question is," propounded Midshipman Dan Dalzell, "what are we going to do about it?"

"Is it any part of our business to bother with the fellow?" demanded Farley half savagely.

Now Farley was rather hot-tempered, though he was "all there" in points that involved the honor of the brigade of midshipmen.

Five midshipmen stood in the squalid, ill-odored back room of a Chinese laundry in the town of Annapolis.

There was a sixth midshipman present in the handsome blue uniform of the brigade; and it was upon this sixth one that the anger and disgust of the other five had centered.

He lay in a sleep too deep for stirring. On the still, foul air floated fumes that were new to those of his comrades who now gazed down on him.

"To think that one of our class could make such a beast of himself!" sighed Dave Darrin.

"And on the morning of the very day we're to ship for the summer cruise," uttered Farley angrily.

"Oh, well" growled Hallam, "why not let this animal of lower grade sleep just where he is? Let him take what he has fairly brought upon himself!"

"That's the very question that is agitating me," declared Dave Darrin, to whom these other members of the third class looked as a leader when there was a point involving class honor.

Dave had became a leader through suffering.

Readers of the preceding volume in this series, "DAVE DARRIN'S FIRST YEAR AT ANNAPOLIS," will need no introduction to this fine specimen of spirited and honorable young American.

Readers of that preceding volume will recall how Dave Darrin and Dan Dalzell entered the United States Naval Academy, one appointed by a Congressman and the other by a United States Senator. Such readers will remember the difficult time that Dave and Dan had in getting through the work of the first hard, grinding year. They will also recall how Dave Darrin, when accused of treachery to his classmates, patiently bided his time until he, with the aid of some close friends, was able to demonstrate his innocence. Our readers will also remember how two evil-minded members of the then fourth class plotted to increase Damn's disgrace and to drive him out of the brigade; also how these two plotters, Midshipmen Henkel and Brimmer, were caught in their plotting and were themselves forced out of the brigade. Our readers know that before the end of the first year at the Naval Academy, Dave had fully reinstated himself in the esteem of his manly classmates, and how he quickly became the most popular and respected member of his class.

It was now only the day after the events whose narration closed the preceding volume.

Dave Darrin and Dalzell were first of all brought to notice in "THE HIGH SCHOOL BOYS' SERIES." In their High School days, back in Gridley, these two had been famous members of Dick & Co., a sextette of youngsters who had made a name for themselves in school athletics.

Dick Prescott and Greg Holmes, two other members of the sextette, had been appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point, where they were serving in the corps of cadets and learning how to become Army officers in the not far distant future. All of the adventures of Dick and Greg are set forth in "THE WEST POINT SERIES."

The two remaining members of famous old Dick & Co., Tom Reade and Harry Hazelton, became civil engineers, and went West for their first taste of engineering work. Tom and Harry had some wonderful and startling adventures, as fully set forth in "THE YOUNG ENGINEERS' SERIES."

On this early June day when we again encounter Dave Darrin and Dan Dalzell in their handsome Naval uniforms, all members of the first, second and third classes were due to be aboard one of the three great battleships that lay off the Yard at Annapolis at four p.m.

These three great battleships were the "Massachusetts," the "Iowa" and the "Indiana." These three huge, turreted fighting craft had their full crews aboard. Not one of the battleship commanders would allow a "jackie" ashore, except on business, through fear that many of the "wilder" ones might find the attractions on shore too alluring, and fail to return in time.

With the young midshipmen it was different. These young men were officially and actually gentlemen, and could be trusted.

Yet here, in the back room of this laundry, was one who was apparently not dependable.

This young midshipman's name was Pennington, and the fact was that he lay in deep stupor from the effects of smoking opium!

It had been a storekeeper, with a shop across the street, who had called the attention of Dave and his four comrades to the probable fate of another of their class.

"Chow Hop runs a laundry, but I have heard evil stories about a lot of young fools who flock to his back room and get a chance to 'hit' the opium pipe," the storekeeper had stated to Dave. "One of your men, or at least, one in a midshipman's uniform, went in there at eleven o'clock this forenoon, and he hasn't been out since. It is now nearly two o'clock and, I've been looking for some midshipmen to inform."

Such had been the storekeeper's careful statement. The merchants of Annapolis always have a kindly feeling toward these fine young midshipmen. The storekeeper's purpose was to enable them to help their comrade out.

So the five had entered the laundry. The proprietor, Chow Hop, had attempted to bar their way to the rear room.

But Dave had seized the yellow man and had flung him aside.

The reader already knows what they discovered, and how it affected these young men.

"Bring that copper-colored chink in here, if you'll be so good," directed Dave.

Dan and Hallam departed on the quest.

"You're wanted in there," proclaimed Dalzell, jerking a thumb over his shoulder.

"Me no sabby," replied Chow Hop, looking up briefly from his ironing board.

"Get in there-do you hear?" commanded Hallam, gripping the other's arm with all his force.

"You lemme go chop-chop (quickly), or you get alle samee hurt-you sabby?" scowled Chow Hop, using his free hand to raise a heavy flat-iron menacingly.

But Dan Dalzell jumped in, giving the Chinaman's wrist a wrench that caused him to drop the iron.

Then, without a bit of ceremony, Dan grasped the Oriental by the shoulders, wheeled him about, while he protested in guttural tones, and bluntly kicked the yellow-faced one through the door into the inner room.

At this summary proceeding both the Chinese helpers gripped their flat-irons firmly; and leaped forward to fight.

In an ugly temper the Chinaman is a bad man to oppose. But now this pair were faced by a pair of quietly smiling midshipmen who were also dangerous when angry.

"You two, get back," ordered Dalzell, advancing fearlessly upon the pair. "If you don't, we'll drag you out into the street and turn you over to the policemen. You 'sabby' that? You heathen are pretty likely to get into prison for this day's work!"

Scowling for a moment, then muttering savagely, the two helpers slunk back to their ironing boards.

Yet, while Dan turned to go into the rear room, Hallam stood just where he was, to keep an eye on two possible sources of swift trouble.

"Chow Hop," began Dave Damn sternly, as the proprietor made his flying appearance, "You've done a pretty mean piece of work here"-pointing to the unconscious midshipman in the berth. "Do you understand that you're pretty likely to go to prison for this?"

"Oh, that no maller," replied Chow, with a sullen grin. "Him plenty 'shipmen come here and smoke."

"You lie!" hissed Dave, grasping the heathen by the collar and shaking him until the latter's teeth rattled.

Then Dave gave him a brief rest, though he still retained his hold on the Chinaman's collar. But the yellow man began struggling again, and Dave repeated the shaking.

Chow Hop had kept his hands up inside his wide sleeves. Now Farley leaped forward as he shouted:

"Look out, Darry! He has a knife!"

Farley attempted to seize the Chinaman's wrist, for the purpose of disarming the yellow man, but Dave swiftly threw the Chinaman around out of Farley's reach. Then, with a lightning-like move, Dave knocked the knife from Chow Hop's hand.

"Pick that up and keep it for a curio, Farley," directed Dave coolly.

In another twinkling Darrin had run the Chinaman up against the wall.

Smack! biff! thump!

With increasing force Dave's hard fist struck the heathen in the face.

"Now stand there and behave yourself," admonished Midshipman Dave, dropping his hold on the yellow man's collar, "or we'll stop playing with you and hurt you some."

The scowl on Chow Hop's face was ominous, but he stood still, glaring at Dave.

"Chow, what can we do to bring this man out of his sleep!" asked Dave coolly, and almost in a friendly tone.

"Me no sabby," sulked the Chinaman.

"Yes, you do," retorted Dave warningly. "Now, what can we do to get our friend out of this!"

"You allee same cally (carry) him out," retorted Chow, with a suspicion of a sulky grin.

"None of that, now, you yellow-face!" glared Dave. "How shall we get our comrade out of this opium sleep!"

"Me no sabby no way," insisted Chow.

"Oh, yes, you do!" snapped Dave. "But you won't tell. All right; we'll find the way, and we'll punish you into the bargain. Dan, get a piece of paper from the other room."

Dalzell was quickly back with the desired item. On the paper Dave wrote a name and a telephone number.

"It's near the end of the doctor's office hours," murmured Dave. "Go to a telephone and ask the doctor to meet you at the corner above. Tell him it's vastly important, and ask him to meet you on the jump."

"Shall I tell him what's up!" asked Dan cautiously.

"Yes; you'd better. Then he'll be sure to bring the necessary remedies with him."

Dan Dalzell was off like a shot.

Chow tried to edge around toward the door.

"Here, you get back there," cried Dave, seizing the Chinaman and slamming him back against the wall. "Don't you move again, until we tell you that you may-or it will be the worse for you."

Ten minutes passed ere Dan returned with Dr. Lawrence.

"You see the job that's cut out for you," said Darrin, pointing to the unconscious figure in the bunk. "Can you do it, Doctor?"

The medical man made a hasty examination of the unconscious midshipman before he answered briefly:

"Yes."

"Will it be a long job, Doctor?"

"Fifteen minutes, probabl

y."

"Oh, good, if you can do it in that time!"

"Me go now?" asked Chow, with sullen curiosity, as the medical man opened his medicine-case.

"Yes; if you don't try to leave the joint," agreed Dave. "And I'm going outside with you."

Chow looked very much as though he did not care for company, but Midshipman Darrin kept at his side.

"Now, see here, Chow," warned Dave, "this is the last day you sell opium for white men to smoke!"

"You heap too flesh (fresh)" growled the Chinaman.

"It's the last day you'll sell opium to white men," insisted Dave, "for, as soon as I'm through here I'm going to the police station to inform against you. They'll go through here like a twelve-inch shot."

"You alle same tell cop?" grinned Chow, green hatred showing through his skin. "Then I tell evelybody about you fliend in there."

"Do just as you please about that," retorted Dave with pretended carelessness. "For one thing, you don't know his name."

"Oh, yes, I do," swaggered Chow impudently. "Know heap 'bout him. His name alle same Pen'ton."

Seizing a marking brush and a piece of paper, Chow Hop quickly wrote out Pennington's name, correctly spelled. His ability to write English with a good hand was one of Chow's great vanities, anyway.

"You go back to your ironing board, yellow-face," warned Darrin, and something in the young third classman's face showed Chow that it would be wise to obey.

Then Hallam drew Darrin to one side, to whisper earnestly in his ear:

"Look out, old man, or you will get Pen into an awful scrape!"

"I shan't do it," maintained Darrin. "If it happens it will have been Pen's own work."

"You'd better let the chink go, just to save one of our class."

"Is a fellow who has turned opium fiend worth saving to the class!" demanded Dave, looking straight into Hallam's eyes.

"Well, er-er-" stammered the other man.

"You see," smiled Dave, "the doubt hits you just as hard as it does me!"

"Oh, of course, a fellow who has turned opium fiend is no fellow ever to be allowed to reach the bridge and the quarter-deck," admitted Hallam. "But see here, are you going to report this affair to the commandant of midshipmen, or to anyone else in authority?"

"I've no occasion to report," replied Dave dryly. "I am not in any way in command over Pennington. But I mean to persuade him to report himself for what he has done!"

"But that would ruin him!" protested Hallam, aghast. "He wouldn't even be allowed to start on the cruise. He'd be railroaded home without loss of a moment."

"Yet you've just said that an opium-user isn't fit to go on in the brigade," retorted Darrin.

"Hang it, it's hard to know what to do," rejoined Hallam, wrinkling his forehead. "Of course we want to be just to Pen."

"It doesn't strike me as being just exactly a question of justice to Pennington," Darrin went on earnestly. "If this is anything it's a question of midshipman honor. We fellows are bound to see that all the unworthy ones are dropped from the service. Now, a fellow who has fastened the opium habit on himself isn't fit to go on, is he?"

"Oh, say, but this is a hard one to settle!" groaned Hallam.

"Then I'll take all the responsibility upon myself," said Dave promptly. "I don't want to make any mistake, and I don't believe I'm going to. Wait just a moment."

Going to the rear room, Dave faced his three comrades there with the question:

"You three are enough to take care of everything here for a few minutes, aren't you?"

"Yes," nodded Dan. "What's up?"

"Hallam and I are going for a brief walk."

Then, stepping back into the front room, Darrin nodded to his classmate, who followed him outside.

"Just come along, and say nothing about the matter on the street," requested Dave. "It might be overheard."

"Where are you going?" questioned Hallam wonderingly.

"Wait and see, please."

From Chow Hop's wretched establishment it was not far to the other building that Dave had in mind as a destination.

But when they arrived, and stood at the foot of the steps, Hallam clutched Darrin's arm, holding him back.

"Why, see here, this is the police station!"

"I know it," Dave replied calmly.

"But see here, you're not-"

"I'm not going to drag you into anything that you'd object to," Darrin continued. "Come along; all I want you for is as a witness to what I am going to say."

"Don't do it, old fel-"

"I've thought that over, and I feel that I must," replied Dave firmly. "Come along. Don't attract attention by standing here arguing."

In another instant the two midshipmen were going swiftly up the steps.

The chief of police received his two callers courteously. Dave told the official how their attention had been called to the fact that one of their number was in an opium joint. Dave named the place, but requested the chief to wait a full hour before taking any action.

"That will give us a chance to get out a comrade who may have committed only his first offense," Dave continued.

"If there's any opium being smoked in that place I'll surely close the joint out!" replied the chief, bringing his fist down upon his desk. "But I understand your reasons, Mr.-"

"Darrin is my name, sir," replied Dave quietly.

"So, Mr. Darrin, I give you my word that I won't even start my investigations before this evening. And I'll keep all quiet about the midshipman end of it."

"Thank you very much, sir," said Dave gratefully.

As the two midshipmen strolled slowly back in the direction of Chow Hop's, Dave murmured:

"Now, you see why I took this step?"

"I'm afraid not very clearly," replied Midshipman Hallam.

"That scoundrelly Chow made his boast that other midshipmen patronized his place. I don't believe it. Such a vice wouldn't appeal to you, and it doesn't to me. But there are more than two hundred new plebes coming in just now, and many of these boys have never been away from home before. Some of them might foolishly seek the lure of a new vice, and might find the habit fastened on them before they were aware of it. Chow's vile den might spoil some good material for the quarter-deck, and, as a matter of midshipman honor, we're bound to see that the place is cleaned out right away."

"I guess, Darry, you come pretty near being right," assented Hallam, after thinking for a few moments.

By the time they reached Chow Hop's again they found that Dr. Lawrence had brought the unfortunate Pennington to. And a very scared and humiliated midshipman it was who now stood up, a bit unsteadily, and tried to smooth down his uniform.

"How do you feel now?" asked Dave.

"Awful!" shuddered Pennington. "And now see here, what are you fellows going to do? Blab, and see me driven out of the Navy?"

"Don't do any talking in here," advised Dave, with a meaning look over his shoulder at the yellow men in the outer room. "Doctor, is our friend in shape to walk along with us now?"

"He will be, in two or three minutes, after he drinks something I'm going to give him," replied the medical man, shaking a few drops from each of three vials into a glass of water. "Here, young man, drink this slowly."

Three minutes later the midshipmen left the place, Dave walking beside Pennington and holding his arm lightly for the purpose of steadying him.

"How did this happen, Pen?" queried Dave, when the six men of the third class at last found themselves walking down Maryland Avenue. "How long have you been at this 'hop' trick?"

"Never before to-day," replied Midshipman Pennington quickly.

"Pen, will you tell me that on your honor?" asked Dave gravely.

The other midshipman flared up.

"Why must I give you my word of honor?" he demanded defiantly. "Isn't my plain word good enough?"

"Your word of honor that you had never smoked opium before to-day would help to ease my mind a whole lot," replied Darrin. "Come, unburden yourself, won't you, Pen?"

"I'll tell you, Darry, just how it happened. To-day was the first time, on my word of honor, I came out into Annapolis with a raging toothache. Now, you know how a fellow gets to hate to go before the medical officers of the Academy with a tale about his teeth."

"Yes, I do," nodded Darrin. "If a fellow is too much on the medical report for trouble with his teeth, then it makes the surgeons look his mouth over with all the more caution, and in the end a fellow may get dropped from the brigade just because he has invited over zeal from the dentist. But what has all this to do with opium smoking?"

"Just this," replied Pennington, hanging his head. "I went into a drug store and asked a clerk that I know what was the best thing for toothache. He told me the best he knew was to smoke a pipe of opium, and told me where to find Chow Hop, and what to say to the chink. And it's all a lie about opium helping a sore tooth," cried the wretched midshipman, clapping a hand to his jaw, "for there goes that fiendish tooth again! But say! You fellows are not going to leak about my little mishap?"

"No," replied Darrin with great promptness. "You're going to do that yourself."

"What?" gasped Midshipman Pennington in intense astonishment. "What are you talking about?"

"You'll be wise to turn in a report, on what happened," pursued Dave, "for it's likely to reach official ears, anyway, and you'll be better off if you make the first report on the subject."

"Why is it likely to reach official ears, if you fellows keep your mouths shut?"

"You see," Darrin went on very quietly, "I reported the joint at the police station, and Chow Hop threatened that, if I did, he'd tell all he knew about everybody. So you'd better be first--"

"You broke the game out to the police!" gasped Pennington, staring dumfoundedly at his comrade. "What on earth--"

"I did it because I had more than one satisfactory reason for considering it my duty," interposed Dave, speaking quietly though firmly.

"You-you-bag of wind!" exploded Midshipman Pennington.

"I'll accept your apology when you've had time to think it all over," replied Dave, with a smile, though there was a brief flash in his eyes.

"I'll make no apology to you-at any time, you-you-greaser!"

Marks for efficiency or good conduct, which increase a midshipman's standing, are called "grease-marks" or "grease" in midshipman slang. Hence a midshipman who is accused of currying favor with his officers in order to win "grease" is contemptuously termed a "greaser."

"I don't want to talk with you any more, Mr. Darrin," Pennington went on bitterly, "or walk with you, either. When I get over this toothache I'll call you out-you greaser!"

Burning with indignation, Midshipman Pennington fell back to walk with Hallam.

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