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Dave Darrin's Third Year at Annapolis; Or, Leaders of the Second Class Midshipmen By H. Irving Hancock Characters: 9839

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02

"Police!" bawled others of the civilians, taking up the hue and cry.

That spelled serious trouble if Dave and his friends should tarry there. Midshipmen are in no sense free from arrest by the civil authorities, and it is likely to fare hard with Uncle Sam's young sailors if they are taken in by the civil authorities.

"Come along," muttered Darrin, leading the way. He did not run, but he certainly walked fast, and in a direction away from Main Street. His two companions followed him. The "unknown midshipman," taking Darrin's shrewd hint, had already made himself invisible.

After the prompt drubbing they had received, not one of the young civilians felt any desire to follow these husky midshipmen.

The police in Annapolis are few in number, and so do not always hear a street summons. In this instance Dave and his friends turned a corner and were soon away from the scene of the late affair.

"Now, I hope you've had all the excitement you want, Joyce," Dave remarked dryly.

"Like most good things, it didn't last long," complained Joyce.

"Oh, it isn't over yet, by any means. We've the O.C. and the com. to face," grumbled Darrin. "But we couldn't stand by and see one of our own punched by a whole gang."

"Of course we couldn't, but why fuss about the com, and his satellite, the O.C.? They'll never hear of this."

"I think there's a big chance that we shall hear of it," retorted Dave. "That's why I advised you not to look at the unknown midshipman closely enough to be able to recognize him in the dark."

"I don't know who he was," admitted Dan candidly.

"Nor do I," supplemented Joyce.

"Then, whoever he is, the chap stands little chance of being caught unless he voluntarily announces himself."

Presumably the police didn't answer the hail of the young civilians. At any rate, Darrin and his friends heard nothing more of the matter while in town.

But when they returned to Bancroft Hall the trio were met by this announcement:

"The officer in charge wishes to see you in his office."

"It's coming," warned Dave, as he and his companions turned and went in to report themselves.

"There has been a disturbance in Annapolis," stated Lieutenant-Commander

Denham. "Mr. Darrin, were you in it?"

"I was in one kind of disturbance, sir," Darrin answered at once.

"Of what kind?"

"Several civilians attacked a man in a midshipman's uniform. I went to his aid."

"And attacked some civilians?"

"Yes, sir."

"Mr. Dalzell, Mr. Joyce, did you also take part in that affair?" inquired the O.C.

"Yes, sir," answered both midshipmen.

"For what reason?"

"Because, sir," answered Joyce, "several civilians pounced upon one man who wore a midshipman's uniform."

"And you three rushed in and pounded some civilians?" asked the

O.C. coolly.

"I'm afraid we did, sir," answered Dave, who found the lieutenant-commander's gaze turned on him.

"Who was that other midshipman, Mr. Darrin?"

"I don't know, sir."

"Didn't you recognize him when you went to his aid?"

"I did not, sir."

"Did either of you gentlemen recognize the midshipman to whose rescue you rushed?"

Dan and Joyce replied in the negative.

"Tell me the circumstances of the attack, Mr. Darrin. Take pains to make your statement so exact that you will not have to amend the statement afterwards."

Darrin told the affair as it had happened.

"Hm! And none of you recognized the fourth midshipman?" pursued the O.C. "That, in itself, was strange, Mr. Darrin, was there any agreement among you three that you would not recognize your comrade?"

"Not exactly an agreement, sir," Dave confessed candidly. "At the distance that we were from the scene before we rushed in the darkness prevented our seeing the face of the unknown midshipman. As we started forward, I will admit that I warned Mr. Dalzell and Mr. Joyce not to look at the other midshipman's face."

"So that you might answer truthfully, if asked, that you did not know the man?"

"Yes, sir; that was my reason for so advising Mr. Dalzell and Mr. Joyce."

"That was what might be termed extraordinary foresight, Mr. Darrin," remarked Lieutenant-Commander Denham ironically.

"Thank you, sir," answered Dave as innocently as though he did not understand that he had just been rebuked. The O.C. frowned.

"Mr. Darrin, since I assume you to have been the ringleader of your trio, did you give that wonderful advice to your companions just so that you might be able to refuse any aid to the Naval Academy authorities in running this matter to the ground?"

"Yes, sir," Dave answered very frankly.

"You wished, then," demanded the O.C. sternly, "to hinder the course of justice at the Naval Academy?"

"It, at least, sir, did not strike me at the time quite in that light."

"Yet something was happening on the streets of Annapolis that you knew would be very thoroughly investigat

ed if it were reported here, and so you took precautions against being able to aid the authorities in the investigation?"

"I admit the truth of that, sir."

"Mr. Darrin, why did you feel called upon to try to defeat the investigation that you foresaw, and which is now under way?"

"Because, sir, it is contrary to the spirit of the brigade of midshipmen to carry tales against each other. I did not care to act contrary to that spirit."

"Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that you did not dare," observed the O.C. half sneeringly.

"That way of stating it would be true, sir. I do not care to turn informer against my comrades."

"Yet you think you possess the courage to become one of our fighting officers in the future, if the need arises?

"Of my courage as a fighting man, sir, I am unable to form any opinion until that courage has been properly tested."

"But you are afraid to inform the authorities of the identity of comrades who commit serious offenses?"

"As it is contrary to the spirit of the brigade, sir, I would be more afraid of my own contempt than of any other punishment."

Lieutenant-Commander Denham appeared to lose some of his patience presently.

"I wonder," he remarked brusquely, "why you midshipmen cannot learn to accept some of your sense of honor from the officers who have seen so much more service than you. I wonder why you will go on formulating your own canons of honor, even when such beliefs sometimes result in the dismissal of midshipmen from the service."

The three midshipmen, not being questioned, remained silent.

"And so not one of you has the slightest idea of the original nature of the quarrel in which you so readily took part? And none of you has any idea of the identity of the fourth midshipman concerned in this evening's work?"

"I have not, sir," replied Midshipmen Darrin, Dalzell and Joyce in one breath.

"Very good, gentlemen. The matter will be investigated further. You will go to your quarters and remain there. You will take part in the meal formations, but in no drills or recitations until you are further advised. And you will not leave Bancroft Hall without direct orders from competent authority."

The three midshipmen saluted, turned and left the office, going to their own rooms.

"Wow!" muttered Dan as soon as the chums had closed their door on themselves.

"We shall surely have enough to think of," smiled Dave wearily.

"Oh, aye!" agreed Dalzell.

"Oh, well, if we're going to skip some recitations we'll need all the more study," sighed Dave, seating himself at his study table and drawing his books toward him.

But he was not permitted to study long in peace. Word of the affair had spread, and Hepson presented himself at Darrin's quarters in great consternation.

"Great!" mocked Hepson. "Just when we've discovered that the Navy has a dub team without you two, or next door to one, then you two go and get ordered to quarters. You'll not turn out with us Monday; you may not practice with us through the week or play in our next game. Fine!"

"Perhaps," grinned Dan, "if we two are so important to Navy prestige as you appear to imagine, we shall not be kept long from the gridiron."

"Dalzell," retorted Hepson impatiently, "you're a second classman, and you've been here long enough to know that no considerations of discipline will be made to stand aside in order that the Navy may have a better athletic team of any kind. Nothing here is sacrificed to athletics, and you surely must know it."

"Then I guess we're dished," confessed Dalzell mournfully.

"A fine way for you two to go and use the football squad! Great!" insisted Hepson bitterly.

"Had you been with us, Hepson, you'd have done just as we did. I know that," Dave replied.

"Well, you are calling me a bit," agreed Hepson. "After all, I don't know just what it was that got you both into this scrape. Some kind of fight, or row, in town, was all I heard."

"Then I'll tell you about it," Darrin went on quietly.

"Well, I really don't see how you could have helped it," agreed

Midshipman Hepson after he had listened. "But that doesn't save us any.

We're out our two best line players and our quarter-back."

"Oh, we'll be restored to the squad as soon as the sentence has been pronounced," predicted Dan Dalzell.

"Even if you're bounced out of the Naval Academy?" demanded Hepson savagely.

"It-it won't be as bad as that," faltered Dan.

"Perhaps not," agreed Hepson, "though you must understand that the charge of assaulting civilians is not a light matter. You can be dismissed for it, you know."

"Yes," nodded Dave Darrin, and then Danny boy went several shades less ruddy.

"Here's hoping for the best," grumbled Hepson, holding out his hand to each in turn. "And, for the love of Mike, keep out of all further trouble! Don't look cross-eyed-once-until after November!"

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