Before Brimmer could utter a word Darrin pounced upon him, seizing him by the collar and fairly dragging him into the alleyway.
Then, still gripping his astounded, dismayed foe, Darrin demanded:
“Tony, is this the fellow who paid you to drug my friend?
“The treacherous Greek has betrayed me!” was the thought that flashed instantly through Brimmer’s startled mind.
“Let go of my collar, Darrin!” he commanded loudly. “If this lying Greek has dared to say that I—”
“Shut up!” ordered Dave tersely.
Ever since coming to Annapolis he had tried to keep his temper in the background. But now, quivering in his righteous wrath, Darrin was once more the hot-headed, impulsive, generous Dave of old—a doer of deeds, and a thrasher of scoundrels.
“No, no, no!” protested Tony, shrilly and cunningly. “Mr. Brimmer, he no tell me—he no hire me—”
“Be silent, fellow!” commanded Dave Darrin hotly. “You’ve told the truth once. Don’t spoil it with a dozen lies! Brimmer, you dastard, you disgrace to the noble old uniform—”
By a quick, forceful twist Brimmer had freed himself from Dave’s frantic clutch.
It availed the plotter but little, however.
Quick as a flash Dave let drive with his right fist, landing a blow on the chest that sent Mr. Brimmer flat to the pavement of the alley.
“You coward! You—” screamed Brimmer, as he rose.
But no sooner was he on his feet than Dave planted a terrific blow over his left eye.
Down went Brimmer again, his eyes closed “until further notice.”
“Don’t try to get up!” warned Darrin, crouching over his enemy. “If you make a move upward, until I’m through talking, I’ll kick you clean over the town of Annapolis and far out into Chesapeake Bay. Brimmer, if you send me a challenge when we get back to Bancroft Hall, I won’t pay any attention to it until after the class has passed on the merits of the case. If you want to fight here and now I’ll let you up and we’ll settle it right off. But no formal fight, under decent auspices. You hear me? You understand?”
Brimmer made no reply.
“All right, then,” nodded Dave. “I understand that you don’t want to fight here. Don’t try to provoke me into a formal fight, at the Naval Academy, unless you are prepared to defend your side before a class committee. Now get up and take yourself away—you infamous hound!”
Tony, in the meantime, had swiftly vanished. The Greek’s change of front, in denying his charge against Brimmer, had been prompted by craft.
“Meester Brimmer, he pay me, now, not twenty dollars, but all the money he have, and all he can get,” chuckled the rascally Greek. “Otherwise, he be afraid I tell too much, and he get the double-queeck out of the Naval Acadeemy!”
Brimmer, boiling with helpless rage, got up and made off as quickly as he could. He would have fought, on the spot, but knew that with one eye closed, and giving him great pain, he would be but a football for the strenuous Darrin.