“It’s a mighty good thing that Darrin is going to be dropped out of Annapolis,” growled Henkel to himself. “He’s altogether too slick in playing a dirty trick on people and then swinging them around so that they’ll fawn upon him. When Farley first came here he was a fellow of spirit. But he’s been going bad for some time, and now he’s come out straight and clean for grease-mark!”
Saturday afternoon proved a dull time for Dave Darrin. The heavy pile of demerits opposite his name prevented his getting leave even to stroll out into the town of Annapolis. Dan could have gone, but would not leave his chum.
Sunday morning there was chapel, but Dave, usually attentive, heard hardly a word of the discourse. Sunday afternoon he turned doggedly to his books. Dan, who was getting along better, and who just now, stood three sections higher than Dave in math., went visiting among the members of his class.
Sunday evening all the cadets were again busy at their studies until 9.30. As early as the regulations allowed Dave turned down his bed, undressed and got into it, feeling utterly “blue.”
“It’s no use,” he told himself, as he lay awake, thinking, thinking, thinking. “Some one has it in for me, of course. But Dan and I together can’t find out who the rascal is. He may try nothing against me again, for weeks, but sooner or later he’ll turn another demerit trick against me. Before January I shall be home again, looking for some sort of job.”
Before eight o’clock the following morning the class, after muster, broke into sections which marched away to recitation in math.
Dan Dalzell was now section leader of one group. Dave marched in the ranks of a much lower section.
This morning the section with which Dave marched was one man short. Not until the members had taken their seats, or places at the blackboards, did Darrin give heed enough to note that it was Farley who was absent.
The section leader, however, had reported that Mr. Farley was absent by permission of the head of the Department of Mathematics, “for purposes of study.” Unusual as this excuse was the instructor had accepted it without making any inquiry.
If Farley was in his room for purposes of study, then what kind of “study” could it be?
For at that precise moment, Midshipman Farley was standing close to a tiny crack between the edge of his room door and the jamb. He was “peeking” out attentively.
Curiously enough Midshipman Page, Farley’s roommate, had also been excused from attending section work. At this moment Mr. Page sat tilted back in his chair, with his feet resting across the corner of the study table.
A most unmilitary pose for Mr. Page, to be sure. Yet what need was there to fear report with roommate Farley thus industriously standing by the door?
So Mr. Page hummed softly to himself and stared out of the window.