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   Chapter 24 CONCLUSION

Dave Darrin's Third Year at Annapolis; Or, Leaders of the Second Class Midshipmen By H. Irving Hancock Characters: 8652

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02

By the next day it was generally conceded among the midshipmen that the ranks of the brigade were about to be thinned as a result of the last hazing episode. Nor did the third class generally uphold Eaton and his youngster associates in the affair of the night before.

"They were out for trouble, and they got it," declared one third classman. "The rest of us let up on all hazing before Christmas."

In some underground way Farley and Page heard the straight story concerning Dave and Dan; how the two upper classmen had gone to the room and Darrin had entered a mild protest against the hazing.

Though it was against regulations to visit them confined to their quarters, Farley took the chance and got a few words with Dave.

"Darry, don't let anyone trim you for what you didn't do," begged Midshipman Farley. "Go straight to the com.; tell him that you and Dan had just entered the room to see what was going on, and that you had just made a protest against the hazing."

"Nothing doing there, Farl," Dave gently assured his friend. "We were present and we really had no business to be. We wouldn't make ourselves look any more manly by crying when the medicine is held out to us."

"But you did protest," urged Farley anxiously. "Stand up for your own rights, Darry. Remember, I'm not counseling you to lie, or to make any stretched claims. That would be unworthy of you. But tell the full truth in your own defense."

"Dan and I will truthfully answer all questions put to us by competent officers," Dave replied gravely. "Farl, that is about all we can do and keep our self-respect. For, you understand, we were there, and we knew just about what we were going to look in on before we crossed the threshold of that room."

"But we can't lose you from the brigade, Darry," pleaded Farley hoarsely. "Nor can the people of this country spare you from the Navy of the future. Stick up for all your rights. That's all your friends ask of you. Remember, man, you're nearly three fourths of the way through to graduation! Don't let your fine chances be sacrificed."

Dave, however, still maintained that he was not going to play baby. In dismay some forty members of the second class held an unofficial outdoor meeting at which ways and means were suggested. In the end Joyce, Farley and Page were appointed a committee of three to think the matter over solemnly, and then to go to the commandant of midshipmen with whatever statement they felt justified in making.

At the earliest possible moment the three waited outside the door of the commandant's office, after having sent in their cards and a message as to why they desired to see the commandant.

"Well, gentlemen," began the commandant briskly, "I understand that you want to see me in reference to the last hazing outrage. What have you to say?"

"We come in behalf of two members of our own class, sir," spoke up


"Hm! What do you expect to be able to say for Midshipmen Darrin and

Dalzell? They do not attempt to deny the fact that they were present at

the hazing, and that they were at least looking on when Lieutenant

Preston entered the room."

"May I inquire, sir," replied Farley very respectfully, "whether either Mr. Darrin or Mr. Dalzell have stated that Mr. Darrin had just entered a protest against the hazing, and that they had made the protest just before Lieutenant Preston went into the room?"

"No; such a statement has not been made by either Mr. Darrin or

Mr. Dalzell," admitted the commandant. "Are you sure that Mr.

Darrin did protest?"

"I can only say, sir," replied Farley, "that I have been so informed. I also know, from Mr. Darrin's own lips, that he has refused to inform you that he made such a protest."

"Why?" shot out the commandant, eyeing Mr. Farley keenly.

"Because, sir, Mr. Darrin feels that he would be doing the baby act to enter such a defense."

"And so has commissioned you to appear for him?"

"No, sir," returned Farley almost hotly. "In fact, sir, I believe Mr. Darrin would be very angry if he knew what I am doing and saying at this moment. This committee, sir, was appointed by some forty members of the second class, sir, who are familiar with the facts. We have been sent to you, sir, by our classmates, who are frantic at the thought of losing t

he finest fellow in the class."

"I thank you, gentlemen," said the commandant, in a tone which signified the polite dismissal of the committee. "I will keep in mind what you have told me."

The investigation was being carried on daily. All of the third class offenders were put on carpet more than once. At the next session with the youngsters the commandant questioned them as to the truth of the statement that Darrin had tried to protest against the hazing.

"Why, yes, sir," Eaton admitted, "Mr. Darrin did say something against what we were doing."

"As an upper classman, did Mr. Darrin order you to stop?"

"No, sir," Eaton admitted; "he didn't command us to stop."

"What did Mr. Darrin say?"

"I can't state with accuracy, now, sir, just what Mr. Darrin did say to us."

"Did he disapprove of your acts?"

"Yes, sir. I am very certain that he made every third classman present feel uncomfortable."

"Then whatever Mr. Darrin's words were, they had the effect, if not the exact form, of a rebuke against your conduct?" pressed the commandant.

"Yes, sir," replied Midshipman Eaton with great positiveness.

Eaton's companions in the hazing all bore him out in the statement. The commandant of midshipmen then took up the matter of their testimony with the superintendent of the Naval Academy.

After six days of confinement to quarters, Darrin and Dalzell were ordered to report before the commandant. With that officer they found the superintendent also. It was the latter officer who spoke.

"Mr. Darrin and Mr. Dalzell, on the testimony of others, not of yourselves, we have learned that Mr. Darrin had just entered a rebuke against the hazing before Lieutenant Preston entered the room in which the hazing was taking place. We have this on such general assurance that both the commandant and myself feel warranted in restoring you to full duty and privileges. At the same time, Mr. Darrin, I desire to thank you for your manliness and attention to duty in entering a protest against the hazing."

"I thank you very much, sir," Dave Darrin answered. "However, much as I long to remain in the Navy, I do not want to hide behind a misunderstanding. While I spoke against the hazing, candor compels me to admit that I did not protest so vigorously but that more hazing went on immediately."

"That I can quite understand," nodded the superintendent. "I am aware of the disinclination of the members of one upper class to interfere with the members of another upper class. The fact that you made a protest at all is what has convinced me that yourself and Mr. Dalzell were in the room at the time with a worthy instead of an unworthy motive. Worthy motives are not punished at the Naval Academy, Mr. Darrin. For that reason yourself and Mr. Dalzell are restored to full duty and privileges. That is all, gentlemen."

Thus dismissed, Dave and Dan could not, without impertinence, remain longer in the room.

There was wild joy in the second class when it was found that the class leaders, Darrin and Dalzell, had escaped from the worst scrape they had been in at Annapolis.

Eaton, Hough and Paulson, of the third class, proved to have been the ringleaders in the hazing. They were summarily dismissed from the Naval Academy, while the other six youngsters implicated in the affair all came in for severe punishments that fell short of dismissal.

After that matters went on smoothly enough for the balance of the term. Dave, Dan, Joyce, Farley, Page, Jetson and all their closest intimates in the class succeeded in passing their annual examinations. Jetson, in addition, had made good in his new role of amiable fellow.

As these young men, now new first classmen, stood on the deck of a battleship, watching the Naval Academy fade astern, at the beginning of the summer cruise, Dave Darrin turned to his friends, remarking wistfully:

"Fellows, if we get through one more year of it without falling down, we shall then be putting to sea once more, and then as graduated midshipmen, afloat in our effort to win our ensign's commissions!"

How did they come out?

The answer must be deferred to the next and last volume of this series, which is published under the title, "DAVE DARRIN'S FOURTH YEAR AT ANNAPOLIS; Or, Headed for Graduation and the Big Cruise."


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