“Miss Meade,” began Dave, bowing before his sweetheart, “I wish to present Mr. Treadwell”
Belle’s greeting was easy. Treadwell, gazing intensely into her eyes, exchanged a few commonplaces. Belle, entirely at her ease, did not appear to be affected by the battery of Mr. Treadwell’s gaze. Then good breeding required that the first classman make another bow and stroll away.
As he left, Treadwell murmured in Dare’s ear:
“Don’t forget that dance, Darry! Two if there is any show.”
Midshipman Darrin nodded slightly. As he turned to Belle, that young lady demanded lightly:
“Is that pirate one of your friends, Dave?”
“Not more so than any other comrades in the brigade,” Darrin answered. “Why?”
“Nothing, only I saw you two speaking together a little while ago——”
“That was when he was asking me to present him.”
“Then, after you left him,” continued Belle, in a low voice, “Mr. Treadwell scowled after you as though he could have demolished you.”
“Why, I’ve no doubt Mr. Treadwell is very jealous of me,” laughed Damn happily. “Why shouldn’t he be? By the way, will you let me see your dance card? Mr. Treadwell asked me to write his name down for one or two dances.”
“Please don’t,” begged Belle suddenly, gripping her dance card tightly. “I hope you don’t mind, Dave,” she added in a whisper, “but I’ve taken just a shadow of a dislike to Mr. Treadwell, after the way that he scowled after you. I—I really don’t want to dance with him.”
Dave could only bow, which he did. Then other midshipmen were presented. Belle’s card was quickly filled, without the appearance of Midshipman Treadwell’s name on it.
The orchestra struck up. Dave danced the first two numbers with Belle, moving through a dream of happiness as he felt her waist against his arm, one of her hands resting on his shoulder.
The second dance was a repetition of Dave’s pleasure. Then Dave and Dan exchanged partners for two more dances.
After their first dance, a waltz, Dave led Laura to a seat.
“Will you get me a glass of water, Dave?” Laura asked, fanning herself.
As Dave hastened away he felt, once more, a light, detaining touch.
“Darry, did you save those two dances for me with Miss Meade?” asked Treadwell.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Dave replied. “But there had been many other applicants. By the time that Miss Meade’s card was filled there were many disappointed ones.”
“And I’m one of them?” demanded Mr. Treadwell.
“Very sorry,” replied Darrin regretfully, “but you were one of the left-over ones.”
“Very good, sir,” replied Treadwell coldly, and moved away.
“Now, I’ll wager anything that Treadwell is sore with me,” murmured Dave to himself. “However, Belle is the one to be pleased.”
It was a particularly gay and pleasant hop. When it was over Dave and Dan escorted the girls and Mrs. Meade back to the hotel. The little room in Bancroft Hall seemed especially small and dingy to the returning midshipmen.