Had Hepson been asked if there had recently been a fight in progress he would have answered truthfully, but he did not feel called upon to volunteer damaging information.
“I thought I heard sounds as of some disturbance,” remarked the O.C., looking at the young men rather sharply. “That is to say, I was under the impression that there had been some unusual agility in operation. I heard something that sounded like scuffling.”
“Yes, sir,” replied Mr. Hepson; “I think it very likely. The men on this deck, sir, can’t think of anything in these days but line-ups and scrimmage tactics.”
“It occurred to me,” went on the O.C., “that there was some sound of scuffling in this room.”
“There was, sir,” admitted Midshipman Hepson candidly. “There was a species of scrimmage.”
“Was it in connection with football?” inquired Lieutenant Cotton.
“Yes, sir,”—which answer, again, was wholly truthful.
“Ah, I thought I heard something like a scrimmage in the room,” assented Lieutenant Cotton. “Yet remember, gentlemen, that quarters is not the place for football practice.”
“Very good, sir; thank you, sir,” replied the unmovable Hepson.
“And remember that it is now very close to the time for study call,” continued the O.C.
“Yes, sir; thank you, sir. We are just parting to our various quarters, sir.”
“Good evening, gentlemen.”
“Good evening, sir.”
Lieutenant Cotton passed on down the corridor, and the midshipmen eased themselves from the rigid position of attention.
“That was a narrow squeak,” grunted Hepson. “Now, Jetson, get out ahead.”
“I’ll renew this argument at another time,” retorted Jetson slowly, as he crossed the floor.
“You don’t need to, sir,” Midshipman Hepson advised him. “Every gentleman here will agree with me that Mr. Dalzell had the best of the affair right up to the end. Nor is Mr. Dalzell under any obligation whatever to afford you another meeting on the score of to-night’s disagreement.”
“We’ll see about that,” snapped Jetson, as he passed through the doorway.
At that instant the study call sounded. The others hastened away to their quarters.
Dan Dalzell stepped over to the handbowl, washing his hands, after which he went to his study-table and began to arrange his books.
“It’s kind of lonely to sit here without old Darry,” sighed Dan dismally. “I hope he’ll be here with me to-morrow evening. No; I don’t either, though. I want him to stay over in hospital until there’s no chance whatever that he’ll have to wear an ugly scar through life.”
It was three evenings later when Midshipman David Darrin returned to his own quarters in Bancroft Hall. By this time the surface wound on his face was healing nicely, and with ordinary care he would soon be without sign of scar.
“Pills (the surgeon) told me that I’ll have to be careful and not let anything bump this face for days to come,” remarked Dave, pointing to the strip of adhesive plaster that neatly covered his injury.