“Yes,” Dave answered steadily.
“Old fellow, we all hope to see you come back to yourself at the meeting,” went on Farley earnestly, resting a hand on Dave’s blue sleeve.
“Meaning that I should desert my convictions and bow to the class?”
“Yes; if you put it that way. Darry, old friend, don’t feel that you know more than the entire brigade.”
“I don’t,” Dave answered.
“Then you’ll drop the line of talk you started the other night?”
“Darry, old friend!”
“I haven’t changed my mind. Then, if I changed my attitude, wouldn’t I be acting a false part?”
“Don’t be, a prig, Darry!”
“Be a knave instead, eh?”
“Darry, you ought to have been born a Puritan!”
“I’m glad I wasn’t,” Dave smiled.
“And are you enjoying yourself?”
“No,” Dave answered seriously. “I’m not. Neither is Jetson. It is likely that the class may do a great injustice to us both.”
“Why are you so struck on a fellow like Jetson?” pursued the other midshipman.
“I’m not,” Dave rejoined. “But I think, if he could be awakened, he has qualities that would make us all like him.”
“And you’re going to throw yourself away on such thankless missionary work, Darry?”
“Not at all. I’m acting on my best lights, as I see them for myself.”
“I’m sorry,” sighed Farley honestly.
“And so am I. Don’t believe that I enjoy the situation that has been created.”
“That you’ve created for yourself, you mean!”
“I see that you can’t or you won’t, understand it, Farley.”
“I wish I could understand it!” quivered Farley, who felt far more unhappy than he was willing that Dave should see. In the end, Farley returned to his own room, pondering deeply and trying to think out some plan of speech or of action that would save Midshipman Dave Darrin from the class anger that seemed certain to come.
After supper and just before study time was due, Dave went to Jetson’s door and knocked. As he entered he found Warner, the other midshipman quartered there, as well as Jetson.
“Good evening, gentlemen,” began Dave, after he had stepped into the room and closed the door.
“Good evening, Darrin,” responded Warner, while Jetson merely scowled and picked up a book.
“Warner,” went on Dave, “I came here to have a brief talk with Mr. Jetson. Would it be asking too much to ask you to step outside—unless Mr. Jetson feels that he would prefer that you remain?”
“Mr. Jetson prefers that Mr. Warner remain, and that Mr. Darrin take himself away with great expedition,” broke in Jetson decisively.
But Warner thought differently, and, with a murmured “certainly, Darrin,” he left the room.
“I won’t ask you to take a seat, Mr. Darrin,” said Jetson, “because I’ll be candid enough to say that I hope you won’t remain long.”