“My!” murmured Dan enthusiastically. “Won’t I quiver with glee the first time I see you being called for twelve-inch freshness!”
Yet, despite their wordy encounters, the two remained, as always, the best and most loyal of friends.
For an hour and a half the two youngsters roamed about Annapolis, taking many interested looks at quaint old buildings that had stood since long before the Revolutionary War.
At last they turned back to the hotel, for, as Dalzell suggested, they needed a long night’s sleep as a good preparation for going before the Naval surgeons on the next day.
Five minutes after they had turned out the gas Dave Darrin was soundly, blissfully asleep.
In another bed in the same room Dan Dalzell tossed for fully half an hour ere sleep caught his eyelids and pinned them down. In his slumber, however, Dan dreamed that he was confronting the superintendent of the Naval Academy and a group of officers, to whom he was expounding the fact that he was right and they were wrong. What the argument was about Dan didn’t see clearly, in his dream, but he had the satisfaction of making the superintendent and most of the Naval officers with him feel like a lot of justly-rebuked landsmen.
THE FIRST DAY AT THE NAVAL ACADEMY
A few minutes before nine o’clock, the next morning, Dave and Dan were strolling through Lover’s Lane, not far from the administration building at the United States Naval Academy.
Their instructions bade them report at 9.15. Dan was for going in at once and “calling on” the aide to the superintendent. But this Dave vetoed, holding that the best thing for them to do was to stick to the very letter of their orders.
So, as they waited, the young men got a glimpse of the imposing piles of buildings that compose the newer Naval Academy. Especially did handsome, big, white Bancroft Hall enchain their admiration. This structure is one of the noblest in the country. In it are the midshipmen’s mess, the midshipmen’s barracks for a thousand young men, numerous offices and a huge recreation hall.
“That’s a swell hotel where they’re going to put us up for four years, isn’t it?” demanded Dan.
“I fancy that we’ll find it something more—or less—than a hotel, before we’re through it,” was Dave’s prophetic reply.
As, at this time in the morning, all of the enrolled midshipmen were away at one form or another of drill or instruction, the central grounds were so empty of human life that the onlooker could form no idea of the immense, throbbing activity that was going on here among the hundreds of midshipmen on duty.
“Here’s some of our kind,” spoke Dan, at last, as he espied more than a dozen young men, in citizen’s dress, strolling along under the trees.
“I guess they’re candidates, fast enough,” nodded Darrin, after briefly looking at the approaching group.