Just after chapel, however, the fourth midshipman discovered himself to the officer in charge. He was Midshipman Totten, of fourth class.
Totten admitted that it was he who had waited outside of the house in question, and who had knocked down the civilian. He further gave the name of that civilian, who was the son of one of the prominent officials of the state government.
“Why did you strike him, Mr. Totten?” demanded the officer in charge.
“Because, sir, the fellow had grossly insulted a young lady whom I felt bound to avenge.”
“Who is the young lady?”
“Am I obliged, sir, to give her name in the matter?”
“It will be better, Mr. Totten. You may be sure that your statement will be treated with all the consideration and confidence possible.”
Totten thereupon explained that the young woman in question was his cousin. Totten, who was an orphan, had been brought up by an aunt who had but one child of her own, the young woman in question. When Totten had won an appointment to the Naval Academy, the aunt and cousin had decided to move to Annapolis sooner than have their little family broken up.
“How did you come to be outside the Academy grounds last evening, Mr. Totten? You were not on leave to go outside.”
“I took the chances and Frenched it, sir,” confessed Totten candidly. “I knew that I could not get leave, and so did not ask it. But I felt that the fellow had to be punished, no matter at what hazard to myself.”
“Then you considered the avenging of the insult to your cousin as being a matter of greater importance than your future career in the Navy?”
Midshipman Totten paled, but he answered bravely:
“Yes, sir; and at the same time a Naval career means nearly everything in the world to me.”
Lieutenant-Commander Morrill, the new officer in charge, felt that it was difficult to rebuke a future Naval officer for defending from insult a woman dear to him.
“I shall have to pass this matter on to the commandant of midshipmen,” decided the O.C. “Mr. Totten, you will go to your quarters and remain there, until further orders, save only for meal formations.”
“Very good, sir,” replied the fourth classman saluting.
“That is all, Mr. Totten.”
“Very good, sir.”
Within half an hour, Dave, Dan and Joyce knew that the unknown midshipman had come forward and announced himself, but they did not hear the story of the reason back of Totten’s attack. They heard, however, that Totten had not heard of their predicament until just after chapel call.
The commandant of midshipmen sent for Mr. Totten. That official, however, after hearing the story, felt that the matter was one for the superintendent. The superintendent did not send for Totten and question him, but sent, instead, for the civilians who had lodged the complaint the evening before. He sent also for young Crane the man Totten had named, and who had not been among the complainants of the evening before.