“Do you deliberately state that I informed upon you, or caused you to be informed upon?” demanded Dave Darrin.
“Yes, I do!
“Then you lie!” returned Darrin promptly.
With a suppressed yell Farley sprang at Darrin, and the latter struck out quickly.
ON THE FIELD OF THE CODE
Midshipman Farley had the bad judgment to stop that blow with the side of his neck.
Across the room he spun, going down in a heap, his head under the study table.
Dave Darrin looked on with a cool smile, while Farley lay there for an instant, then scrambled out and up onto his feet.
But two or three other new midshipmen sprang in between Dave and his accuser.
“We can’t have a fight here, Farley,” urged two or three in the same breath.
“Let me at the sneak!” sputtered Farley who was boiling over with rage.
“Yes; let him at me,” voiced Dave coolly, “and I’ll send him into the middle of next term!”
But three of the midshipmen clung to Farley, who furiously strove to fling them off.
“Let me at him!” insisted the accuser. “He struck me.”
“You struck at him first, and didn’t land,” replied one of the peacemakers. “You go on with a fight here, and you’ll bring the officer in charge down on us all. Farley, if you feel you’ve a grievance you are privileged to take recourse to the regular code in such matters.”
“The fellow has lied about me, and I’m ready to settle it with him now, or outside by appointment,” broke in Dave, speaking as coolly as before.
“He calls me ‘fellow’ and ‘liar,’” panted Farley, turning white. “Do you think I can stand that?
“You don’t have to,” replied one of those who held Farley back. “Send Darrin a challenge, in the regular way.”
“I will!” panted Midshipman Farley. “And I’ll hammer him all over and out of the meeting-place!”
“Then it’s settled for a challenge,” interposed Dan Dalzell. “That will suit us all right. We’ll be ready whenever the challenge comes. And now, to prevent getting a lot of decent fellows into a needless scrape, Darrin and I will withdraw.”
Dan took Dave by the arm, and both turned to leave the room.
“You—” began Farley hoarsely, when another midshipman clapped a hand over his mouth.
“Shut up Farley! Save all of your undoubted grit for the field, when you two meet.”
The door closed softly behind Darrin and Dalzell.
“Why didn’t you let me at the sneak?” bellowed Farley, released, now, from interfering hands.
“See here, Farley,” advised one of his friends, “cool down and keep your face in a restful attitude. Darrin behaved twice as well as you did. If you don’t look out you’ll lose the sympathy of the class. Just keep cool, and restrain your tongue from wagging until you’ve met Darrin. Don’t try to start the row again, this side of the field where you meet. If you do, you’ll get many a cold shoulder.”