The meal, a mid-day dinner, was an excellent one. Few of the new men, however, had any notion of what it consisted.
Mess hall was left with almost the same amount of formality. In the short recreation period that followed the new men, painfully conscious that their caps were the only part of the uniform they wore, were hurried away by Midshipman Cranthorpe.
Now they were quickly assigned to the rooms that they would occupy during their first year at the Naval Academy.
The midshipmen are not roomed by classes. Instead, each is assigned to a company, and there are three companies to a division. Each division occupies a floor in Bancroft Hall. It is not called a “floor” but a “deck.” Dave and Dan were assigned to the armory wing of the lowest deck, on what was virtually the basement floor of Bancroft Hall, or would have been, but for the mess hall underneath.
As far as wood work went it was a handsome room. When it came to the matter of furniture it was plain enough. There was the main or study room. Off at either side was an alcove bedroom. There was also a closet in which stood a shower bath. The one window of the room looked over across the Academy grounds in the direction of Academic Hall.
A cadet petty officer from the first class briefly, crisply instructed them concerning the care of their room, and their duties within its walls.
What followed that afternoon put the heads of the new midshipmen in a whirl. Afterwards they had a confused recollection of having been marched to the tailor at the storekeeper’s, where they were measured for uniforms, all of which are made to order. They recalled receiving a thin, blue volume entitled “Regulations of the U.S. Naval Academy,” a book which they were advised by a first clansman instructor to “commit to memory.”
“In former days, in the old-time academy, there were something more than six hundred regulations,” dryly remarked the cadet petty officer in charge of them. “In the new up-to-date Naval Academy there are now more than one thousand regulations. You are all expected to appreciate this merciful decrease in the number of things you are required to remember.”
There were also two periods of drill, that afternoon, and what-not more.
Supper came as a merciful release. When the meal was over, while many of the upper class men remained outside in the warm June air, the plebes were ordered to go to their rooms and start in making themselves familiar with the thousand-and-more regulations.
“Thank goodness they give us some time for light reading,” muttered Dan Dalzell, as he stalked into his room, hung up his uniform cap and sank into a chair. “Whew! What a day this has been!”
“I’ve rather enjoyed it,” murmured Dave, as he sank into the chair on the opposite side of the study table.
“Huh! You have liberal ideas, then, about enjoyment. How many hundred rules are you going to commit to memory tonight?