Dan left Bancroft Hall quite certain that his chum would not be along for at least an hour.
At the gate Dan made his report of liberty, then kept on up Maryland Avenue.
As he turned into State Circle he slowed up a trifle, glancing in through the door at Wiegard’s.
“Too many upper class men in there for me,” decided Dan, so turning he made his was way through the State Capitol grounds, and on into Main Street.
Here he strolled more slowly, passing, here and there, a member of his class, though none with whom he was particularly intimate.
“I’m thirsty,” decided Dalzell. “I don’t believe I want any of the hot drinks. There’s Tony’s. I’ll drop in and get a bottle of soda lemonade.”
Tony saw the fourth classman coming, and a peculiar smile crossed his lips. On the occasion on which Brimmer had pointed out the chums to the Greek the latter had understood that it was Dan who was to be the principal victim.
“Good afternoon, Tony!” was Dan’s greeting, as he stepped into the shop. “Merry Christmas.”
“Thank you, sare, good frien’,” was Tony’s reply. Then the Greek turned briefly, to hide a grin.
“Crowd seems to have left you, Tony,” said Dan sympathetically.
“Save their money to buy present for girls,” guessed the Greek.
“Tony, have you a small bottle of lemon soda that’s good and cold?”
“Oh, yes, sare.”
“Then I want it.”
Tony fumbled among bottles clinking in ice under the counter. At last he found what he wanted and held the bottle up to the capping machine. Then the Greek did something unusual. Instead of emptying the bottle into a glass on the counter he performed that service underneath the counter. Next he held the glass up full of bright, cold liquid filled with bubble and sparkle.
“It makes me thirstier to look at this,” muttered Dan, picking up the glass. “I’ll get it down as soon as I can.”
He sipped the last out of the glass, put do a coin to pay for it, and stood, for a moment, chatting with Tony.
“Excuse me, sare,” broke in the Greek, suddenly. “I hear ma wife call me.”
Opening a door behind him Tony stepped into a hallway.
The short December afternoon was drawing to a close. Standing in the shop Dan saw that the light in the street was growing less.
“I’ll walk a little further down the street,” thought Dan. “Then I’ll turn back, and keep on toward State Circle, and look for Dave.”
As he took the first step away from the store Dalzell noticed a slight feeling of dizziness.
After a moment this passed off, but soon it came on again, heavier than before.
“What ails me?” wondered the astonished midshipman. “It can’t be that I’m turning sick, for I’ve been feeling fine all along.”
He tried the effect of will power, holding himself as erect as he could and trying to walk slowly in a straight line.