Instead, it was Farley who entered, followed by Page, Hepson and Joyce.
“Wow!” uttered Midshipman Farley in a low voice. Then: “Stop this, fellows!”
At the order, which Dan knew to be intended for his own good, the latter turned away, letting his hands fall. Jetson, on the point of a rush, realized that he had better desist.
“Joyce, you stand outside,” ordered Farley in a low voice. “Stand right at the door. If you see the O.C. (officer in charge) turning into this corridor, you rap as hard as you can on the door, and we’ll understand.”
Midshipman Joyce wanted most badly to be a spectator to what was likely to happen on the inner side of the door, but he had the good sense to realize that some one must do guard duty, so he stepped outside, closing the door after him.
“Now, gentlemen, what’s this all about?” demanded Hepson in a low, smooth voice.
“It means,” cried Jetson passionately, “that I’m not going to stand any more of this petty persecution. Everyone has been trying to pretend that he believes I’ve been trying to do Darrin up so that he can’t play on the Navy football team. It’s all just a mean scheme to keep me from making the Navy eleven.”
“There’s no such scheme afloat, or I’d know about it,” returned Hepson coolly. “Fact is, there isn’t any intention whatever of playing you on the Navy team.”
“Ah, you admit it!” snapped Midshipman Jetson, first turning white, after which his face showed a deep crimson of humiliation. “You’ve already done the dirty work.”
“Fellow, stop this talk!” commanded Hepson, almost at a white heat of resentment, “Among midshipmen and gentlemen there can be no thought of what you term ‘dirty work.’ The fact that you won’t play with us is due to your uncontrollable temper. A fellow who can’t control his nerves and temper isn’t fitted to play football—a game that requires cool judgment at every moment of the game.”
“Then, while you’re telling me what to stop, you just stop addressing me as ‘fellow,’” cried Jetson, his lip quivering with rage.
“I’ll admit that was hasty on my part,” agreed Midshipman Hepson, “but it seemed necessary to use some word to bring you to your senses. And now, this fight, which would get you both into serious trouble if a discipline officer came upon the scene, must cease.”
“I’m afraid it can’t,” broke in Midshipman Dalzell with quiet dignity. “At least, I won’t agree to stopping until Mr. Jetson admits himself satisfied. It was he who started the fight, and only his word can close it. But we don’t want you other fellows pulled into this trouble as spectators, so we’ll wait until you all withdraw.”
“If you’re determined to fight,” rejoined Hepson, who was the only first classman present, “then we don’t want to stop the fight. We’ll stay and see it pulled off fairly. But, Dalzell, do you really want to fight?”