At the earliest possible moment the three waited outside the door of the commandant’s office, after having sent in their cards and a message as to why they desired to see the commandant.
“Well, gentlemen,” began the commandant briskly, “I understand that you want to see me in reference to the last hazing outrage. What have you to say?”
“We come in behalf of two members of our own class, sir,” spoke up Farley.
“Hm! What do you expect to be able to say for Midshipmen Darrin and Dalzell? They do not attempt to deny the fact that they were present at the hazing, and that they were at least looking on when Lieutenant Preston entered the room.”
“May I inquire, sir,” replied Farley very respectfully, “whether either Mr. Darrin or Mr. Dalzell have stated that Mr. Darrin had just entered a protest against the hazing, and that they had made the protest just before Lieutenant Preston went into the room?”
“No; such a statement has not been made by either Mr. Darrin or Mr. Dalzell,” admitted the commandant. “Are you sure that Mr. Darrin did protest?”
“I can only say, sir,” replied Farley, “that I have been so informed. I also know, from Mr. Darrin’s own lips, that he has refused to inform you that he made such a protest.”
“Why?” shot out the commandant, eyeing Mr. Farley keenly.
“Because, sir, Mr. Darrin feels that he would be doing the baby act to enter such a defense.”
“And so has commissioned you to appear for him?”
“No, sir,” returned Farley almost hotly. “In fact, sir, I believe Mr. Darrin would be very angry if he knew what I am doing and saying at this moment. This committee, sir, was appointed by some forty members of the second class, sir, who are familiar with the facts. We have been sent to you, sir, by our classmates, who are frantic at the thought of losing the finest fellow in the class.”
“I thank you, gentlemen,” said the commandant, in a tone which signified the polite dismissal of the committee. “I will keep in mind what you have told me.”
The investigation was being carried on daily. All of the third class offenders were put on carpet more than once. At the next session with the youngsters the commandant questioned them as to the truth of the statement that Darrin had tried to protest against the hazing.
“Why, yes, sir,” Eaton admitted, “Mr. Darrin did say something against what we were doing.”
“As an upper classman, did Mr. Darrin order you to stop?”
“No, sir,” Eaton admitted; “he didn’t command us to stop.”
“What did Mr. Darrin say?”
“I can’t state with accuracy, now, sir, just what Mr. Darrin did say to us.”
“Did he disapprove of your acts?”
“Yes, sir. I am very certain that he made every third classman present feel uncomfortable.”
“Then whatever Mr. Darrin’s words were, they had the effect, if not the exact form, of a rebuke against your conduct?” pressed the commandant.