“I’d have done as much for any man in the brigade,” Dave answered frankly.
“Just the same it has touched me—touched me deeply.”
“I’m glad of that, Jetson,” Dave answered heartily. “And now I hope that we can bury the hatchet and be friends, as men in the brigade should always be.”
“But why do you want to be friends with a fellow like me?”
“Because I want to know the real Jetson—not the one that you present outside of a sulky exterior. Jetson, I know there’s gold in you, and I want to see it brought to the surface. I want your friendship because—well, it may be a selfish reason, but I think it’s worth having.”
“That’s a funny notion to take,” laughed Midshipman Jetson uneasily. “I have never been conceited enough to fancy that my friendship was worth having.”
“Let yourself out and be natural, man!”
Then indeed did Dave Darrin plunge into his subject. There was a lot to be said, but Dave said it briefly, tersely, candidly. Jetson listened with a flushing face, it is true, but at last he stopped and held out his hand.
“Will you take it, Darrin?”
“With all my heart!”
There was chance for but little more talk, as now the slowly moving midshipmen were close to the entrance to Bancroft Hall.
“You’ll be at the class meeting this evening, won’t you?” asked Dave Darrin.
“You may be very sure that I shall!”
Then they entered the lobby of Bancroft Hall, parting and going their different ways.
In Darrin’s eyes there was a strange flash as he turned down the “deck” on which he lived. But Dan, still absorbed in study, did not pay especial heed to his roommate.
Immediately after supper in the mess-hall, Dalzell caught his chum’s arm.
“Let’s get in early at the meeting, David, little giant. I’m afraid there’s big trouble brewing, and we must both be on hand early. We may have some chance to talk a bit before the meeting is called to order.”
“I don’t believe I shall care to talk any, Danny boy, before the president raps.”
“Don’t be too stubborn, Davy! Your future will very likely be at stake to-night. Your most dependable friends will be on hand and under arms for you. Back ’em up!”
At least half of the class was gathered when the chums entered. Darrin looked about him, then took a seat. He watched the door until he saw Midshipman Jetson enter.
Rap, rap, rap! went the gavel at last.
“Gentlemen,” announced the president, “there is some unfinished business before the meeting. At the last class meeting a motion was made and seconded that Midshipman Jetson be sent to Coventry. Any remarks that may be offered on that resolution will be in order now.”
Dave Darrin was on his feet in an instant. Three or four men hissed, but Dave appeared not to notice.
“Mr. President,” Dave began in a slow, steady voice, “this motion more closely affects Mr. Jetson than it does any other member of the class. I understand that Mr. Jetson has a few remarks to make.”