“He was in a class of his own, at the siege of Troy,” volunteered Farley.
“Troy, N.Y.?” inquired Waite.
“If you keep on, Waite,” muttered Farley, “someone will have to give you an ancient history book at Christmas. You don’t seem well posted on Greek tales.”
“Don’t have to be, thank goodness,” returned Waite, helping himself to another piece of beef. “Greek isn’t on the list here.”
There was abundant time for rest before the game. The players and subs, for the Navy team, however, were early at dressing quarters. Jetson hadn’t been called as one of the subs., so he walked sulkily and alone through the grounds while most of the midshipmen strolled, about in groups.
Half an hour before the time for the game the spectators’ seats held fair-sized crowds. At that time the Naval Academy Band began to play, just to keep the waiting ones more patient.
Ten minutes later the Hanniston players came on to the field at a slow trot. Instantly the Hanniston howlers in the audience began to whoop up the noise. The midshipmen joined in cheers, and then the band took up the music again.
At first sight of the visitors, some of the Navy people began to have their doubts about victory. The Hannistons surely were “bulky.” In size and age, the visitors were as formidable as any of the college elevens.
Many of the midshipmen, too, recalled what they had heard Waite say at table. It seemed little wonder that the popular odds were against the middies.
But the band, having played its welcome to the Hannistons, who were now chasing a ball over the field in practice, almost immediately switched off into the strains of “See, the Conquering Hero Comes!”
All doubts were dispelled for the moment at least, as all the Navy people present let loose a tremendous cheer in which the midshipmen spectators led, for now Captain Hepson was leading his own men on to the field, the hope of the Navy that day.
“Hepson! Hepson!” went up rousingly from the brigade.
“Darrin! Darrin!” howled others.
“Hepson must enjoy hearing more noise for Darrin than for himself,” reflected Jetson moodily.
But Hepson, big in body, heart and mind, was intent only on victory. It did not even occur to the captain of the Navy eleven that Darrin was getting more of a reception than himself. Hepson was simply and heartily glad to find himself supported by two such promising gridiron men as Darrin and Dalzell.
“Remember, Darry, how much we’re backing on you to-day,” muttered Hepson, after another round of yells for Dave had been given.
“I can’t do everything, and perhaps not much,” smiled Dave. “But I’ll do my level best to do all that you call upon me for at my own little spot in the line.”
A din of Hanniston yells was now smiting the air. Uncle Sam’s midshipmen waited with patience and courtesy, but when their turn came they volleyed forth four times as much as the visiting howlers could supply.