“Oh, we’ll gladly pay the half sov.” protested Darrin.
“Not on this craft you can’t, sir,” replied the skipper firmly.
Looking eagerly ahead, the three middies saw two of the launches go along side of the “Massachusetts” and discharge passengers. As the second left the side gangway the Briton, who had been crowding on steam well, ranged in along side.
“What craft is that, and what do you want?” hailed the officer of the deck, from above.
“The tender ‘Lurline,’ sir, with three of your gentlemen to put h’aboard of you, sir,” the Briton bellowed through a window of the wheel-house.
“Very good, then. Come alongside,” directed the officer of the deck.
In his most seamanlike style the Briton ranged alongside. Dave tried to press the fare upon the skipper, but he would have none of that. So the three shook hands swiftly but heartily with him, then sprang across to the side gangway, where they paused long enough to lift their caps to this stranger and friend. The Briton lifted his own cap, waving it heartily, ere he fell off and turned about.
“You didn’t get aboard any too soon, gentlemen,” remarked the officer of the deck, eyeing the three middies keenly as they came up over the side, doffing their uniform caps to the colors. “Hustle for the formation.”
Midshipman Pennington was chuckling deeply over the supposed fact that he had at last succeeded in bringing Darrin in for as many demerits as Darrin had helped heap upon him.
“That’ll break his heart as an avowed greaser,” Pen told himself. “With all the demerits Darrin will get, he’ll have no heart for greasing the rest of this year. It’s rough on Farley, but I’m not quite as sorry for Dalzell, who, in his way, is almost as bad as Darrin. He’s Darrin’s cuckoo and shadow, anyway. Oh, I wish I could see Darrin’s face now!”
This last was uttered just as Midshipman Pennington stepped into line at the supper formation.
“I wish I could see Darrin’s face now!” Pen repeated to himself.
Seldom has a wish been more quickly gratified. For, just in the nick of time to avoid being reported, Midshipmen Darrin, Dalzell and Farley came into sight, falling into their respective places.
At that instant it was Midshipman Pennington’s face, not Dave Darrin’s, that was really worth studying.
“Now how did the shameless greaser work this!” Pennington pondered uneasily.
But, of course, he couldn’t ask. He could only hope that, presently, he would hear the whole story from some other man in the class.
THE TRAGEDY OF THE GALE
There is altogether too much to the summer practice cruise for it to be related in detail.
Nor would the telling of it prove interesting to the reader. When at sea, save on Sundays, the midshipman’s day is one of hard toil.