“The Rogue’s March.”
BRIMMER MAKES A NEW FRIEND
“Darrin, I hope you don’t hold me in any way responsible for that fellow Henkel’s actions.
“Why should I?” asked Dave, turning and looking into the eyes of Midshipman Brimmer.
“I know that, for a while, there was hard feeling between us,” continued Brimmer seriously. “It took me a long time to get it out of my stubborn head that you were the one responsible for having our crowd ragged by the watchman the night of the spread in Annapolis. Even after Farley changed his mind it took me a long time to believe that he was right.”
“I forgot that whole matter long ago,” replied Darrin.
“Then will you accept my tardy apology, and let us be friends?” urged Brimmer, holding out his hand.
It was not Dave Darrin’s way to hold a grudge forever. He extended his own hand to take Brimmer’s.
“And I hope you’ll let me know you better,” continued Brimmer, turning to Dan Dalzell.
“Most people who know me at all think they know me too well,” laughed Dan, but he held out his hand.
Perhaps, in other walks of life, the chums might have been more wary about accepting Brimmer’s suddenly proffered friendship, as they stood in the open air just after dinner one November day. The weather was so fine and mild that it seemed a shame to be cooped up between walls. Back in the High School days, for instance, Dave and Dan would have been more cautious in accepting such an offer of friendship. But at the U.S. Naval Academy the atmosphere is wholly different. The midshipmen are ranked as gentlemen, and all are so taken on trust unless they betray themselves as dishonorable. Ninety-nine per cent of the young men are earnest, honest and wholly aboveboard.
After that, during the next two or three weeks, Brimmer cultivated the acquaintance of Darrin and Dalzell at every possible opportunity. Often, in the evening, he came hastening to their room for a short visit after the release bell had sounded at 9.30. When he called, Brimmer always remained until the warning call just before taps.
“It took you a long while to find out that Dave Darrin is white enough to shake hands with,” laughed Farley, one day.
“As I remember, it took you quite a little while, also, to find it out,” laughed Brimmer. “I admit that I am slow at forming my friendships. But there’s no mistake about Darrin, when you get to know him. He’s about the finest fellow in the class.”
“He certainly is,” nodded Farley heartily.
Being shorn of the long list of unjustly-given demerits that had stood against his name, Darrin was now in the first conduct grade. So was Dan. That gave to both considerable in the way of privileges. On Saturdays and Sundays, for instance, they were at liberty to accept invitations to call on or dine at the houses of officers and their families. This privilege, while pleasant to possess, amounted to little, for Dave and Dan had been too busy over their studies to have any opportunity to attract social notice.