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   Chapter 22 THE BIRTH OF A GENTLEMAN

Dave Darrin's Third Year at Annapolis; Or, Leaders of the Second Class Midshipmen By H. Irving Hancock Characters: 6704

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02


It wasn't a real bombshell that hit the class, of course, but the effect was almost as startling. First, there were murmurs, then a hubbub of voices, last of all a rousing cheer.

In the midst of the excitement Midshipman Farley leaped to his feet.

"Mr. President!" he bellowed.

But his voice did not carry ten feet from where he stood.

"Mr. President!" he yelled, louder than ever before.

Still the hubbub continued. Farley leaped to the seat of his chair, turning and waving both arms frantically. Any midshipman who had glanced toward the chair would have discovered that the occupant of the class chair was rapping hard with his gavel, though no sound of it was heard above the tumult.

Presently, however, Farley's antics produced their effect. The noise gradually lessened.

"Mr. President!" essayed Farley once more.

"Mr. Farley has the floor!" shouted the class president hoarsely.

"Mr. President," went on Farley, at the top of his voice, "class honor and that of the brigade have been satisfied by the direct, manly statement of Mr. Jetson. I move you, sir, that the motion now before this body be tabled, all further action dropped and the class meeting adjourned subject to call."

"Second the motion!" yelled Page.

"The motion to adjourn must follow the disposal of the first part of the motion," ruled the chair.

"I accept the amendment," called Farley.

"I, also," assented Page.

"Question! question!"

"Before putting the motion," continued the chair, "I desire to ask Mr. Jetson if he has fully considered his statement and the revised position that he has taken? Since the matter affects the entire brigade, and not this single class, I feel that there should be no doubt, or any question to be raised later."

"Mr. President," announced Jetson, when he had secured recognition, "I have retracted any offensive words that I may have uttered. I have attempted no justification of any of my words, but have made flat apology."

"Three cheers for Jet!" shouted one impulsive midshipman.

"Any remarks?" questioned the chair.

"Mr. President!"

"Mr. Darrin."

"I do not see how Mr. Jetson's retraction or apology could be made any more explicit. I trust to see Mr. Farley's motion, seconded by Mr. Page, put to the vote and carried at once. I am wholly aware that I have incurred the class's displeasure (cries of 'no! no!') but I urge that whatever action may be taken regarding myself be deferred until after Mr. Jetson has been restored to the fullest measure of class and brigade fellowship."

"Any further remarks?" questioned the class president, when Darrin had seated himself. "If not, I will state the motion."

A few "nays" succeeded the great chorus of "ayes," and the motion of

Coventry for Jetson was declared tabled.

"Any further action?" demanded the chair.

"Move we adjourn!" called Farley.

"Second the motion!" seconded Page.

The motion was put and carried without dissent Then, amid the greatest jollity, the meeting was declared adjourned.

There was a rush of at least twenty men to shake hands with Jetson, who, with flushed but pleased face, bore his honors as modestly as he could.

"What on earth came over you, Jet?" demanded Joyce bluntly.

"It would be a long story about Darrin," replied Midshipman Jetson. "He had the grace to show m

e that I was a constitutional ass, with perhaps some slight chance of being reborn. To make it short, Darrin persuaded me to come before the class, eat humble pie and set myself right with myself, even if I couldn't with the class."

"It was beautifully done, Jet," murmured Page, who was tremendously grateful at seeing Dave Darrin rescued from sacrificing himself to a principle.

"If any of you fellows catch me in the sulks hereafter," spoke up Jetson, though he winced as he said it, "I hope the man who catches me will do me the very great favor of passing me a few sound kicks before others have a chance to catch me to the bad."

"Bully for you-you're all right, Jet!" called several warmly.

Fully half of the class members had left the room by this time. Dan Dalzell, who had been thunderstruck, and who was now full of questions, was being urged out of the room by Dave.

"So Darry converted you, did he?" laughed Joyce. "Bully for Darry. Why, that great and good fellow dared the class to send him to Coventry after it got through with you. He accused the class of kicking a man without giving that man a chance to get up on his feet."

"It's a good deal like Darrin," remarked Jetson, his eyes a trifle misty, "though it took me a thundering long time to realize that Darrin was really of that kind."

"How did it happen, any way?" insisted Farley.

"You've heard nothing about it?"

"Not a word-not a hint," protested Page eagerly.

There were less than twenty of the midshipmen now remaining in the room, so Jetson did not feel as embarrassed as he might have done had he been called upon to give the recital before a class meeting. He told his listeners the story of Dave's splendid conduct in the gym. that afternoon, and of the talk that had followed the reconciliation of the enemies.

"That was like good old Darry again," remarked Farley proudly. "No fellow has a warmer temper than Darry when he's aroused to righteous anger, but no fellow has a more generous temper at all times."

"Let's go down and jump in on Darry, all hands!" proposed Joyce.

"Listen!" warned Farley.

Study call! That took the young men hastily to their regular academic duties.

"One thing this business has done," remarked Midshipman Farley, looking up from his books.

"I'll be the goat," murmured Page.

"Darry has always been somewhat the leader of the class, ever since the fellows began to find him out, back in the first year here. But this last business has boosted Dave Darrin unmistakably and solidly now into the post of leader of the class."

"We're safe, then!" retorted Page. "Darry won't lead us into any trouble!"

The realization that Midshipman Dave Darrin was assured leader of the second class was not long in coming to most of the other men of the class.

Yet Dave did not seek the post, nor did he attempt to do any actual leading. He still considered himself as possessing one voice, and one only, in the class councils.

If Dave was leader, Dan Dalzell, both by reflected glory and by virtue of his own sterling merits as well, shared the leadership with Dave to a great extent. Dan's power might have gone further than it did had it not been for the fact that he was so full of mischief as to leave his comrades often in doubt as to whether he were really serious in what he said and did.

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