“I hope you had a mighty pleasant leave, sir,” replied Dave, returning the handclasp.
“Passably pleasant, passably, mister,” returned Midshipman Trotter. “But see here, mister, what’s this about you and your class that I’ve heard?
“Nothing, so far as I know, sir,” replied Dave, scanning the youngster’s face closely.
“It must be more than nothing,” returned Trotter. “I understand that more than half of your class are furious with you over something that happened last night. I’ve heard you called a sneak, mister, though I don’t believe that for a single minute. But I’ve heard mutterings to the effect that your class will send you to coventry for excessive zeal in greasing, to the detriment of your classmates. What about it all, mister?”
Dave Darrin gazed at the youngster with eyes full of wonder.
“What about it?” repeated Dave. “That’s the very thing I’d like to know, sir, for this is the very first word I’ve heard of it.”
Nor could Midshipman Trotter doubt that Dave Darrin had answered in all sincerity.
“Well, you certainly must be innocent, mister, if you’re as puzzled as all this,” replied the youngster. “Then it must be that malicious mischief is brewing against you in some quarter. Take my advice, mister, and find out what it all means.”
“Thank you. I most certainly will, sir,” replied Dave, his eyes flashing.
DAVE PASSES THE LIE
Dalzell looked up wonderingly as Darrin marched swiftly into their room.
“Danny boy, have you heard any talk against me today?” demanded Dave.
“Do I look as though I had been fighting?” queried Dan promptly.
“I’ve just heard, from Trotter, that a good many of the fellows in our class are scorching me, and talking of sending me to coventry. Will you—”
“I sure will,” broke in Dan, dropping his book, rising and snatching at his cap. “I’ll be back as soon as I’ve heard something, or have settled with the fellow who says it.”
Dan was out of the room like a flash.
Dave sat down heavily in his chair, his brow wrinkling as he tried to imagine what it all meant.
“It must all be a mistake that Trotter has made,” argued Dave with himself. “Of course, Trotter might be stringing me, but I don’t believe he would do that. Now, to be sure, I came near to having words with Farley last night, but that wouldn’t be the basis for any action by the fourth class. That, if anything, would be wholly a personal matter. Then what am I accused of doing? It must be some fierce sort of lie when the fellows talk of taking it up as a class matter.”
For ten minutes more Dave puzzled and pondered over the problem. Then the door flew open and Dan bolted hastily in.
“You haven’t been hitting anyone have you? asked Dave, noticing the flushed, angry face of his chum.