Page and Joyce strolled away, leaving Dave by himself to think matters over. As it happened, the two second classmen with whom Jetson had been talking had now left the sulky midshipman, who, at this moment, was coming down the walk in Dave’s direction.
“Good morning, Jetson,” nodded Dave pleasantly, though not too cordially.
Midshipman Jetson paused a moment, looked Darrin full in the eyes, and then passed on.
“Not promising material to work with, at first,” Dave told himself, laughingly.
There was no time for further thought, for it was within two or three minutes for the first formation for morning recitations. Dave ran back to his room, picked up a book and a writing pad.
“How have the fellows been treating you, chum?” asked Dalzell, looking up anxiously.
“To a most liberal dose of advice,” laughed Darrin.
“Do you wish I’d take some of the advice, old fellow?”
“I don’t know that I do,” Dan answered slowly and with unwonted gravity for him. “I’m not one of the padre’s star young men, and I don’t often discourse on morality. Yet I’m inclined to believe that, when a fellow goes contrary to the spirit of the crowd, and is satisfied that he is doing so from generous and manly motives, he is pretty likely to be pursuing the right course. After a fellow has made a real effort to listen to his conscience, I don’t believe he is ever wrong in following it.”
“Thank you, Danny boy. That’s always been the way it has struck me. I don’t want to do any injustice to Jetson—or to the class, either.”
“If you have to go to Coventry,” announced Dalzell, giving a final brushing to his hair and fitting on his cap, “I’m going with you.”
“But you don’t have to, Dan! A fellow’s roommate doesn’t have to observe a Coventry.”
“If it comes to Coventry,” muttered Dalzell, “I shall invite it by speaking to Jetson, too.”
Dave Darrin was aghast. He hadn’t contemplated dragging Dan into such a scrape.
“There’s formation now,” announced Dan.
Out in front of the entrance, and along the terrace the many sections were falling in. Dan had occasion to pass the now very unpopular Jetson.
“Good morning, Jetson,” was Dan’s greeting.
Jetson started slightly, then replied, with a sulky frown:
“Good morning, Dalzell.”
“Glad he’ll speak to me,” thought Dan with an inward grimace, “for I’m afraid that, before long, I’ll be in the way of feeling mighty lonely a good deal of the time.”
In another moment or two the sections were marching away, with the steady, rhythmic, tread peculiar to bodies of military in motion.
“I wonder how it is all going to come out?” sighed Dan, as he seated himself at his desk in the section room in the Academic Building.
“I wonder what sort of crazy or calculating grandstand play Darrin is trying to make just now?” pondered Midshipman Jetson, when informed of Dave’s action at the meeting.