“I don’t,” Dave answered. “I know how it hurts. I wouldn’t see any midshipman here sent to Coventry for anything except positive and undeniable dishonor. Jetson hasn’t been guilty of anything worse than a mean, quick temper and a fit of sulks afterwards. That’s why, with my experience here at Annapolis, if Jetson is to be sent to Coventry, I decline to be bound by the class action.”
“But you can’t refuse to be bound by class action,” retorted Farley aghast.
“Try me and see,” smiled Dave stubbornly.
“Don’t be an idiot, Darry!”
“It would be a contemptible thing,” Dave went on, as calmly as before. “Coventry would mean the chasing of Jetson out of the brigade. You would ruin a man for a defect of temper that some of you others don’t possess in quite the same degree. Is it fair to ruin any man because he has the misfortune to have a fit of sulks? That’s why I won’t heed the class action if it cuts Jetson. I’ll bow to him whenever I meet him. I’ll talk to him if he’ll let me.”
“But he won’t,” insisted Farley triumphantly. “No such sulky fellow as Jetson will let you make up to him.”
“If he refuses,” Dave contended, “then I can’t help it. But I won’t be a party to ruining the man. It would be far more to the purpose if the fellows would help the fellow to see that his sulkiness is his worst barrier here. Then a good student and naturally honorable fellow would develop into a capable Naval officer.
“That’s the kind of talk for the padre” (chaplain), sniffed Farley.
“Glad you mentioned the padre,” Dave retorted. “He’s just the man to settle the case. Farley, I’ll go with you to the padre at any time. You state one side of the case, and I’ll state the other. If the padre doesn’t back me, then I’ll retract all I’ve said in open class meeting, and abide by whatever action the class may take.”
“Oh, bother the padre!” snorted Farley angrily.
“All right, then,” answered Dave good-humoredly. “If the class has a matter of ethics and morals that it doesn’t dare submit to an expert in morals, then the class action is weak and wrong.”
“There’s no use talking to you, I’m afraid,” sighed Farley ruefully. “But if you—”
Here the call to study interrupted further discussion. Farley, shaking his head gravely, left the room, followed by Page, who was shaking his head with equal force.
“If you think you’re all right, David, little giant, go ahead,” remarked Dalzell as he passed to his study desk.
“I think I’m right,” Dave answered. “If not, I can be made to see the light. I don’t claim to know everything, but what I’ve done I did in an effort to see and do the right thing.”
When release from study came Dalzell expected to see several members of the class drop in. To his astonishment the minutes sped by without any knock at the door.
“You’ve gotten yourself in badly, Dave,” Dan remarked at last. “The fellows don’t even think it worth while to come here and remonstrate with you.”