As soon as this had come about Trotter turned to Dave Darrin.
“Mister, we humble representatives of the third class are going to show you the only sign of appreciation within our power. We are going to invite you to stroll down the deck and visit us in our steerage. Your roommate is invited to join us.”
Dave and Dan promptly accepted, with becoming appreciation. All of the youngsters escorted Dave and Dan down the corridor to Midshipman Trotter’s room.
In the course of the next hour the youngsters told these new midshipmen much about the life at the Naval Academy that it would otherwise have taken the two plebes long to have found out for themselves.
They were initiated into much of the slang language that the older midshipmen use when conversing together. Many somewhat obscure points in the regulations were made clear to them.
Lest the reader may wonder why new fourth class men should tamely submit to hazing or “running,” when the regulations of the Naval Academy expressly prohibit these upper class sports, it may be explained that the midshipmen of the brigade have their own internal discipline.
A new man may very easily evade being hazed, if he insists upon it.
His first refusals will be met with challenges to fight. If he continues to refuse to be “hazed” or “run,” he will soon find himself ostracized by all of the upper class men. Then his own classmates will have to “cut” him, or they, too, will be “cut.” The man who is “cut” may usually as well resign from the Naval Academy at once. His continued stay there will become impossible when no other midshipman will recognize him except in discharge of official duties.
The new man at Annapolis, if he has any sense at all, will quietly and cheerfully submit to being “run.” This fate falls upon every new fourth class man, or nearly so. The only fourth class man who escapes bring “run” is the one who is considered as being beneath notice. Unhappy, indeed, is the plebe whom none of the youngsters above him will consent to haze. And frequent it happens that the most popular man in an upper class is one who, while in the fourth class, was the most unmercifully hazed.
Often a new man at the Naval Academy arrives with a firm resolution to resist all attempts at running or hazing. He considers himself as good as any of the upper class men, and is going to insist on uniformly good treatment from the upper class men.
If this be the new man’s frame of mind he is set down as being “ratey.”
But often the new man arrives with a conviction that he will have to submit to a certain amount of good-natured hazing by his class elders. Yet this man, from having been spoiled more or less at home, is “fresh.” In this case he is called only “touge.”
Hence it is a far more hopeful sign to be “touge” than to be “ratey.”
The new man who honestly tries to be neither “touge” nor “ratey,” and who has a sensible resolve to submit to tradition, is sometimes termed “almost sea-going.”