“Are you sure that you would?”
“Oh, yes! By gracious! There’s Danny going around the corner above at this very moment.”
Belle had looked in the same instant.
“Yes; and a skirt swished around the corner with him,” declared Belle impressively. “It would be funny, wouldn’t it, if you didn’t happen to know all about Dan Dalzell?”
In the early afternoon, however, the mystery was cleared up.
On the street Dalzell had encountered Laura Bentley. Both were full of talk and questions concerning Dick Prescott and Greg Holmes, at West Point, for which reason Dan had strolled home with Miss Bentley without any other thought, on the midshipman’s part, than playing substitute gallant for his chum, Cadet Richard Prescott, U.S. Military Academy.
A most delightful afternoon the four young people spent together at the Bentley home.
These were the forerunners of other afternoons.
Belle and Laura, however, were not able to keep their midshipmen to themselves.
Other girls, former students at the High School, arranged a series of affairs to which the four young people were invited.
Dave’s happiest moments were when he had Belle to himself, for a stroll or chat.
Dan’s happiest moments, on the other hand, were when he was engaged in hunting the old High School fellows, or such of them as were now at home. For many of them had entered colleges or technical schools. Tom Reade and Harry Hazelton, of the famous old Dick & Co., of High School days, were now in the far southwest, under circumstances fully narrated in “The young engineers in Arizona,” the second volume of “The young engineers’ series.’”
Day by day Belle jotted down in her notebook more specimens of midshipman slang.
“I shall soon feel that I can reel off the language like a native of Crabtown,” she confided laughingly to Dare.
“It won’t be very long before you have an opportunity to try,” Dave declared, “if you and Laura embrace your first opportunity to come to a middy hop.”
Dan had a happy enough time of it, even though Dave’s suspicion was true in that Dan had no sweetheart. That, however, was Dan’s fault entirely, as several of the former High School girls would have been willing to assure him.
Since even the happiest times must all end so the latter part of September drew near.
Then came the day when Dave and Dan met at the railway station. A host of others were there to see them off, for the midshipmen still had crowds of friends in the good old home town.
A ringing of bells, signaling brakesmen, a rolling of steel wheels and the two young midshipmen swung aboard the train, to wave their hats from the platform.
Gridley was gone—lost to sight for another year. Dan was exuberant during the first hour of the journey, Dave unusually silent.