“I guess, Darry, you come pretty near being right,” assented Hallam, after thinking for a few moments.
By the time they reached Chow Hop’s again they found that Dr. Lawrence had brought the unfortunate Pennington to. And a very scared and humiliated midshipman it was who now stood up, a bit unsteadily, and tried to smooth down his uniform.
“How do you feel now?” asked Dave.
“Awful!” shuddered Pennington. “And now see here, what are you fellows going to do? Blab, and see me driven out of the Navy?”
“Don’t do any talking in here,” advised Dave, with a meaning look over his shoulder at the yellow men in the outer room. “Doctor, is our friend in shape to walk along with us now?”
“He will be, in two or three minutes, after he drinks something I’m going to give him,” replied the medical man, shaking a few drops from each of three vials into a glass of water. “Here, young man, drink this slowly.”
Three minutes later the midshipmen left the place, Dave walking beside Pennington and holding his arm lightly for the purpose of steadying him.
“How did this happen, Pen?” queried Dave, when the six men of the third class at last found themselves walking down Maryland Avenue. “How long have you been at this ‘hop’ trick?”
“Never before to-day,” replied Midshipman Pennington quickly.
“Pen, will you tell me that on your honor?” asked Dave gravely.
The other midshipman flared up.
“Why must I give you my word of honor?” he demanded defiantly. “Isn’t my plain word good enough?”
“Your word of honor that you had never smoked opium before to-day would help to ease my mind a whole lot,” replied Darrin. “Come, unburden yourself, won’t you, Pen?”
“I’ll tell you, Darry, just how it happened. To-day was the first time, on my word of honor, I came out into Annapolis with a raging toothache. Now, you know how a fellow gets to hate to go before the medical officers of the Academy with a tale about his teeth.”
“Yes, I do,” nodded Darrin. “If a fellow is too much on the medical report for trouble with his teeth, then it makes the surgeons look his mouth over with all the more caution, and in the end a fellow may get dropped from the brigade just because he has invited over zeal from the dentist. But what has all this to do with opium smoking?”
“Just this,” replied Pennington, hanging his head. “I went into a drug store and asked a clerk that I know what was the best thing for toothache. He told me the best he knew was to smoke a pipe of opium, and told me where to find Chow Hop, and what to say to the chink. And it’s all a lie about opium helping a sore tooth,” cried the wretched midshipman, clapping a hand to his jaw, “for there goes that fiendish tooth again! But say! You fellows are not going to leak about my little mishap?”
“No,” replied Darrin with great promptness. “You’re going to do that yourself.”