Nor is it wholly doubtful that Dan’s was the best plan, in the long run, for a peaceful life among a lot of spirited young men.
MIDSHIPMAN HENKEL DOES SOME THINKING
“Busy” asked Midshipman Henkel, of the fourth class, stepping into the room which Farley and Page shared.
The release bell had just sounded, giving all of the young men a brief interval of freedom before taps.
“Not especially,” laughed Farley, as he finished stacking his books and papers neatly.
It was about a week after the night of Dan’s fight with Midshipman Quimby.
“Let me get a good look at your face, Farley, under the light,” continued Henkel. “Why, it looks almost natural again. My, but it was a rough pounding that fellow, Darrin, gave it!”
“Yes,” nodded Farley, flushing.
“Let me see; isn’t it about time that you squared matters up with Darrin?” went on Midshipman Henkel.
“How? What do you mean?” demanded Farley, while Page, too, looked on with interest.
“Well, first of all, Darrin gets the whole bunch of us ragged by the watchman. The when you object, he pounds your face at his own sweet will.”
“What are you trying to do?” laughed Farley. “Are you trying to fan up the embers of my wrath against Darrin?”
“Such embers shouldn’t need much fanning,” retorted Mr. Henkel coolly. “Surely, you are not going to let the dead dog lie?”
“Darrin and I fought the matter out, and he had the good fortune to win the appeal to force,” replied Plebe Farley stiffly. “I don’t associate with him now, and don’t expect to, later on, if we both graduate into the Navy.”
“That satisfies your notions of honor, does it, with regard to a man who not only injured you, but pounded your face to a fearful pulp?”
Henkel’s tone as he put the question, was one of bitter irony.
“Do you know,” demanded Farley, rising, his face now flushing painfully, “I don’t wholly like your tone.”
“Forget it, then,” begged Henkel. “I don’t mean to be offensive to you, Farley. I haven’t the least thought in the world like that. But I take this whole Darrin business so bitterly to heart that I suppose I am unable to comprehend how you can be so meek about it.”
“Meek?” cried Farley. “What do you mean by that word?”
“Well, see here,” went on Henkel coaxingly, “are we men of spirit, or are we not? We fellows devise a little outing in the town of Annapolis. It’s harmless enough, though it happens to be against the rules in the little blue book. We are indiscreet enough to let Darrin in on the trick, and he pipes the whole lay off to some one. Result—we are ‘ragged’ and fifty ‘dems.’ apiece. When you accuse Darrin of his mean work he gives you the lie. True, you show spirit enough to fight him for it, but the fight turns out to be simply more amusement for him. Now, I’ve been thinking over this thing and I can’t rest until the mean work is squared. But I find you, who suffered further indignities under Darrin’s fists, quite content to let the matter rest. That’s why I am astonished, and why I say so frankly.”