“Well, Hep, you made as good a showing, after all, as could be expected with a dub team,” spoke Joyce consolingly, when they met in a corridor.
“It wasn’t a dub team,” retorted Hepson dismally. “The eleven was all right. The only trouble lay in having a dub for a captain.”
It was a relief to hundreds that night when taps sounded at last, and the master switch turned off the lights in midshipmen quarters. At least the young men were healthy and did not waste hours in wooing sleep and forgetfulness.
Then Sunday morning came, and the football season was over until the next year.
“From now on it’s going to be like starting life all over again, after a fire,” was the way Dan put it that Sunday morning, in an effort to make some of his comrades feel that all was not lost.
Had Dan been able to foresee events which he and Dave must soon encounter, even that grinning midshipman wouldn’t have been happy.
THE MAN WITH A SCOWL ON TAP
“I wish we lived in Annapolis, that we might be here at every hop!” sighed Belle Meade, as the waltz finished and she and Dave, flushed and happy, sought seats at the side of the ballroom.
They had hardly seated themselves when they were joined by Dan and Laura Bentley.
“I was just saying, Laura,” Belle went on, “that it would be splendid if we lived here all through the winter. Then we’d have a chance to come to every hop.”
“Wouldn’t we want to put in a part of the winter near West Point?” asked Miss Bentley, smiling, though with a wistful look in her eyes.
“Perhaps that would be fairer, to you,” Belle agreed.
“You’d soon get tired of the hops,” ventured Dave.
“Can one ever weary of dancing?” Belle demanded. “Well, perhaps one might, though never on the small amount that has come to me so far in life. And this Navy orchestra plays so divinely!”
“Our number’s next, I believe, ladies,” called Midshipman Farley, as he and Page came up, eager for their chances with these two very charming belles of the hop.
“Hang you, Farl!” muttered Dave.
“That’s just like Darrin, Miss Meade,” laughed Farley. “He’s always a monopolist at heart. Though in this instance I am far from wondering at his desire to be.”
It was the first hop after the semi-annual exams. A host of fourth classmen and some from the upper classes had been dropped immediately after the examinations, but Dave and Dan and all their more intimate friends in the brigade had pulled through. Darrin and Dalzell had come out of the ordeal with the highest markings they had yet achieved at the Naval Academy.
Mrs. Meade had come down to Annapolis to chaperon Belle and Laura, but this evening Mrs. Meade was chatting with a middle-aged Naval officer and so did not see much of the young people.