As to dancing, fourth class men do not, by tradition, attend any of the midshipmen’s hops, which are reserved for upper class men.
Neither is a plebe midshipman expected to be seen escorting young ladies. In fact, the plebe has no social pleasures within the academy walls.
Outside, however, it is different. If the fourth class men are acquainted with young ladies in the town of Annapolis they may visit them on Saturday afternoons when so invited.
Here, again, Dave and Dan found no delight. For they became acquainted with none of the girls of Annapolis.
They could, however, on Saturday afternoon secure permission to go into the town. Any change outside of the Academy walls now became welcome, though our young midshipmen had no other form of pleasure than merely to stroll through the streets of the town and occasionally regale themselves with a dish of ice-cream or a glass of soda at Wiegard’s.
Brimmer, one Saturday afternoon, when strolling through the town, discovered a new little shop on Main Street.
This was a little store that had just been fitted up. Some fruit was displayed for sale, though the main business of the place appeared to be the dispensing of various temperance drinks.
On the sign over the door the proprietor’s first name was given as “Tony.” The second name was an unpronounceable Greek one.
Being thirsty Brimmer stepped inside.
“Are you Tony?” he asked of the swarthy young man behind the counter.
“Yes, sare,” grinned Tony. “What you drink?”
Brimmer looked over the stock, selected a bottle of ginger ale and paid for it.
“Business good?” asked the midshipman.
“No, sare; ver’ bad,” replied Tony sadly.
“Oh, well, it will pick up by-and-by.”
“I hope so, sare. But when I come here I think maybe the midsheepmen come see me offen. You, sare, first midsheepman who came here.”
“You have a neat little place,” continued Brimmer. “And this ginger ale,” holding up his glass, “is good. You’ll have trade enough by-and-by.”
“You tell other midsheepmen they come here, sare?” asked Tony hopefully.
“Why, yes; I think perhaps I can send you a bit of trade,” replied Brimmer. The young man’s father was a politician, and a prosperous one. The son had learned the wisdom of making friends wherever he could, since there could be no telling when a friend anywhere might be useful.
“You come with me, sare,” urged Tony, taking a gentle hold on Brimmer’s arm, and leading him to the rear of the store.
Tony threw open a door, revealing a rear room in which were three tables.
“Maybe midsheepmen like play cards, sometimes,” suggested Tony, with a grin.
“Great!” cried Brimmer. “Yes; sometimes the fellows do like to know a quiet little place where they can have a good game without a discipline officer butting in. Good enough; I’ll tell some of the fellows about this place; but you must keep it quiet, and not let anyone else into that room.”