And he was off again. All the tales that he told were not necessarily true. But that did not detract from their thrill. Moran’s audience grew as he talked. And he talked until he and Tyler had to run all the way to the Northwestern station for the last train that would get them on the Station before shore leave expired. Moran, on leaving, shook hands like a presidential candidate.
“I never met up with a finer bunch of ladies,” he assured them, again and again. “Sure I’m comin’ back again. Ask me. I’ve had a elegant time. Elegant. I never met a finer bunch of ladies.”
They did not talk much in the train, he and Tyler. It was a sleepy lot of boys that that train carried back to the Great Central Naval Station. Tyler was undressed and in his hammock even before Moran, the expert. He would not have to woo sleep to-night. Finally Moran, too, had swung himself up to his precarious nest and relaxed with a tired, happy grunt.
Quiet again brooded over the great dim barracks. Tyler felt himself slipping off to sleep, deliciously. She would be there next Saturday. Her first name, she had said, was Myrtle. An awful pretty name for a girl. Just about the prettiest he had ever heard. Her folks invited jackies to dinner at the house nearly every Sunday. Maybe, if they gave him thirty-six hours’ leave next time—
“Hey, Sweetheart!” sounded in a hissing whisper from Moran’s hammock.
“Say, was that four steps and then turn-turn, or four and two steps t’ the side? I kinda forgot.”
“O, shut up!” growled Monicker, from the other side. “Let a fellow sleep, can’t you! What do you think this is? A boarding school!”
“Shut up yourself!” retorted Tyler, happily. “It’s four steps, and two to the right and two to the left, and four again, and turn two, turn two.”
“I was pretty sure,” said Moran, humbly. And relaxed again.
Quiet settled down upon the great room. There were only the sounds of deep regular breathing, with an occasional grunt or sigh. The normal sleep sounds of very tired boys.