“Oh, you silly boy, then!” Belle answered, smiling into his eyes. “I believe I have half committed myself to the idea of marrying you when you’ve made your place in life. But it was Dave Darrin to whom I gave that half promise—not a uniform of any sort. Dave, if anything ever happens that you have to quit here, don’t imagine that it’s going to make a particle of difference in our understanding.”
“You’re the real kind of sweetheart, Belle!” murmured Dave, gazing admiringly at her flushed face.
“Did you ever suspect that I wasn’t?” asked Miss Meade demurely.
“Never!” declared Midshipman Darrin devoutly. “Nevertheless, it’s fine to be reassured once in a while.”
“What a great fellow Dan is!” exclaimed Belle a few minutes later. “See how gayly he is chatting with Laura. I don’t believe Laura guesses for a moment that Dan Dalzell is just as game a fellow as the Spartan boy of olden times.”
A DISAGREEABLE FIRST CLASSMAN
The hop that night was one of the happiest occasions Dave had ever known, yet it was destined to result in trouble for him.
Midshipman Treadwell, of the first class, caught sight of Belle as she entered the gym at Dave Darrin’s side.
With Treadwell it happened to be one of those violent though unusually silly affairs known as “love at first sight.”
As for Belle, she was not likely to have eyes for anyone in particular, save Dave.
Treadwell, who had come alone, and who was not to be overburdened with dances, went after Dave as soon as that youngster left Belle for the first time.
“Mighty sweet looking girl you have with you, Darry,” observed the first classman, though he took pains not to betray too much enthusiasm.
“Right!” nodded Dave.
“You’ll present me, won’t you?”
“Assuredly, as soon as I come back. I have a little commission to attend to.”
“And you might be extremely kind, Darry, and write me down for a couple of numbers on Miss——”
“Miss Meade is the young lady’s name.”
“Then delight me by writing down a couple of reservations for me on Miss Meade’s card.”
Darrin’s face clouded slightly.
“I’d like to, Treadwell, but the card is pretty crowded, and some other fellows—”
“One dance, anyway, then.”
“I will, then, if there’s a space to be left, and if Miss Meade is agreeable,” promised Dave, as he hurried away.
Two minutes later, when he returned, looking very handsome, indeed, in his short-waisted, gold-laced dress coat, Dave felt his arm touched.
“I’m waiting for you to keep your engagement with me,” Midshipman Treadwell murmured.
“Come along; I shall be delighted to present you to Miss Meade.”
Since every midshipman is granted to be a gentleman, midshipman etiquette does not require that the lady be consulted about the introduction.