“Of what kind?”
“Several civilians attacked a man in a midshipman’s uniform. I went to his aid.”
“And attacked some civilians?”
“Mr. Dalzell, Mr. Joyce, did you also take part in that affair?” inquired the O.C.
“Yes, sir,” answered both midshipmen.
“For what reason?”
“Because, sir,” answered Joyce, “several civilians pounced upon one man who wore a midshipman’s uniform.”
“And you three rushed in and pounded some civilians?” asked the O.C. coolly.
“I’m afraid we did, sir,” answered Dave, who found the lieutenant-commander’s gaze turned on him.
“Who was that other midshipman, Mr. Darrin?”
“I don’t know, sir.”
“Didn’t you recognize him when you went to his aid?”
“I did not, sir.”
“Did either of you gentlemen recognize the midshipman to whose rescue you rushed?”
Dan and Joyce replied in the negative.
“Tell me the circumstances of the attack, Mr. Darrin. Take pains to make your statement so exact that you will not have to amend the statement afterwards.”
Darrin told the affair as it had happened.
“Hm! And none of you recognized the fourth midshipman?” pursued the O.C. “That, in itself, was strange, Mr. Darrin, was there any agreement among you three that you would not recognize your comrade?”
“Not exactly an agreement, sir,” Dave confessed candidly. “At the distance that we were from the scene before we rushed in the darkness prevented our seeing the face of the unknown midshipman. As we started forward, I will admit that I warned Mr. Dalzell and Mr. Joyce not to look at the other midshipman’s face.”
“So that you might answer truthfully, if asked, that you did not know the man?”
“Yes, sir; that was my reason for so advising Mr. Dalzell and Mr. Joyce.”
“That was what might be termed extraordinary foresight, Mr. Darrin,” remarked Lieutenant-Commander Denham ironically.
“Thank you, sir,” answered Dave as innocently as though he did not understand that he had just been rebuked. The O.C. frowned.
“Mr. Darrin, since I assume you to have been the ringleader of your trio, did you give that wonderful advice to your companions just so that you might be able to refuse any aid to the Naval Academy authorities in running this matter to the ground?”
“Yes, sir,” Dave answered very frankly.
“You wished, then,” demanded the O.C. sternly, “to hinder the course of justice at the Naval Academy?”
“It, at least, sir, did not strike me at the time quite in that light.”
“Yet something was happening on the streets of Annapolis that you knew would be very thoroughly investigated if it were reported here, and so you took precautions against being able to aid the authorities in the investigation?”
“I admit the truth of that, sir.”