As Darrin sat down there was a ripple of applause. There were many present, however, who took a sterner view of the affair. These wanted to see Jetson, and all others who might similarly offend the brigade, forced to quit the Naval service.
“Question! question!” called a score of voices at once.
“Any further remarks?” inquired the class president, glancing about.
“Mr. President,” said Midshipman Jerould, “I am certain that we all appreciate the remarks of Mr. Darrin. The remarks were prompted by a generous heart, and we respect Mr. Darrin and his motives alike. But I am certain, sir, that the majority of us feel that this is an ugly business and that only stern treatment can meet the situation. I therefore trust that the motion will be at once put and passed.” (Loud cries of “hear! hear!”)
“Mr. President, I wish I could throw my whole being and soul into this problem, in order to make it clearer, as I see it. I would even appeal, as a favor, to the class to quash this Coventry resolution, and perhaps I might be considered to have some right to ask the favor, since the whole trouble grew out of an affair between Mr. Jetson and myself. I beg of you all, classmates, to quash the motion now before the class.”
“No, no, no!” came the hearty response.
“Then, Mr. President and gentlemen,” went on Dave Darrin in a voice slow and grave, “speaking for myself, as an individual member, I beg to state that I cannot respect a Coventry ordered under such circumstances. In this matter I would find myself unable to respect the mandates of the class. Therefore. I beg you to send me to Coventry with Mr. Jetson!”
Blank astonishment fell over the second class. Utter indignation seized some of the midshipmen. In another moment the feeling boiled up so that a few hisses rose.
Dave Darrin was pallid, but he had no desire to recede. He had acted according to the dictates of his conscience and he had kept his word.
In that pained instant Midshipman Farley sought to save the situation. He leaped to his feet, shouting:
“Mr. President, I move that this meeting adjourn!”
“Second the motion,” called Page promptly, and now there was uproar on all sides.