“How did you come out, Danny boy?” anxiously inquired Dave Darrin as the two, in their room, hastily prepared to answer the coming call for dinner formation.
“I wish I knew,” replied Dalzell wistfully. “I said all that I could say without being everlastingly fresh.”
After the brigade had been formed for dinner, and the brigade adjutant had reported the fact, the command was given:
“Publish the orders!”
This the brigade adjutant did rapidly, and in perfunctory tones.
Dalzell jumped, however, when he heard his own name pronounced. He strained his ears as the brigade adjutant read:
“In the matter of Daniel Dalzell, summoned before the Academic Board to determine his fitness and aptitude for continuing in the brigade, the Board has granted Midshipman Dalzell’s urgent request that he be continued as a midshipman for the present.”
There was a great lump, instantly, in Dan’s throat. It was a reprieve, a chance for official life—but that was all.
“I’ll make good—I’ll make good!” he told himself, with a violent gulp.
The orders were ringing out sharply now. The midshipmen were being marched in to dinner.
Hardly a word did Dalzell speak as he ate. As for Dave Darrin, he was too happy over his chum’s respite to want to talk.
Yet, when they strolled together in the open air during the brief recreation period following the meal, Dalzell suddenly asked:
“Dave when do you fight with Treadwell?”
“To-night, I hope,” replied Darrin.
“Oh, then I must get busy!”
“Why, I’m to represent you, Darry. Who are Treadwell’s—”
“Danny boy, don’t make a fuss about it,” replied Dave quietly, “but just for this once you are not to be my second.”
“Danny boy, you have just gotten by the Board by a hair’s breadth. What kind of an act of gratitude would it be for you to make your first act a breach of discipline? For a fight, though often necessary here, is in defiance of the regulations.”
“But Dave, I’ve never been out of your fights!”
“You will be this time, Danny. Don’t worry about it, either. Farley and Page are going to stand by me. In fact, I think that even now they are talking with Treadwell’s friends.”
“You’re wrong,” murmured Dalzell, looking very solemn. “Here come Farley and Page right now.”
In another moment the seconds had reached Darrin and his chum.
“To-night?” asked Dave Quietly.
“Yes,” nodded Page.
“Just after recall.”
“Good,” murmured Darrin. “You two come for me, and I’ll be ready. And I thank both of you fellows for taking up the matter for me.”
“We’ll be mighty glad to be there, Darry,” grinned Farley, “for we look to see you finish off that first classman.”
“Maybe,” smiled Dave quietly. “I’ll do all I can, anyway.”