“Just awful, isn’t it?” demanded Midshipman Dalzell.
“Awful?” muttered Darrin uneasily. “Why that doesn’t begin to describe it. If any upper class man should see that paper—”
“He won’t see this copy,” proclaimed Dan, beginning to tear the offending issue of the “Blade” into small bits.
In the parlance of Annapolis the newspaper from a midshipman’s home town is known as the “Bazoo.” Now, the “Bazoo” has an average inclination to print very flattering remarks about the local representative at Annapolis. While the home editor always means this as pleasant service, the detection of flattering articles by any upper class man at Annapolis always means unpleasant times for the poor plebe who has been thus honored in the columns of the “Bazoo.”
The torn bits of the Gridley “Blade” were carefully disposed of, but Dave still shivered. Through a clipping agency, or in some other mysterious way, upper class men frequently get hold of the “Bazoo.”
Four days passed, and nothing happened out of the usual.
On the evening of the fifth day, just after the release bell had rung, there was a brief knock at the door. Then that barrier flew open.
Midshipmen Jones, Hulburt and Heath of the second class filed gravely into the room, followed by Midshipmen Healy, Brooks, Denton, Trotter and Paulson of the third class.
Dave and Dan quickly rose to their feet, standing at attention facing their visitors.
With a tragic air, as if he were an executioner present in his official capacity, Youngster Paulson held out a folded newspaper.
“Mister,” he ordered Darrin, “receive this foul sheet. Unfold it, mister. Now, mister, what depraved sheet do you hold in your hands?”
“The Gridley ‘Blade’, sir,” replied Darrin, his face crimsoning.
“Pardon me, sir—the Gridley ‘Bazoo.’”
“Have you seen another copy of the ‘Bazoo’ lately, mister?”
“Yes, sir,” admitted Dave, his face growing still redder.
“Ah! He saw it—and still he did not die of shame!” murmured Second Class Man Jones.
“Shocking depravity!” groaned Midshipman Hurlburt.
“Since you have already scanned the ‘Bazoo,’” resumed Midshipman Paulson, “you will have no difficulty in finding the page, mister, on which the editor of the ‘Bazoo’ sings his silly praise of you. Turn to that page, mister.”
Dave further unfolded the paper, coming to the page on which the fearful article was printed. As he glanced at it Dave saw that the article had been marked in blue pencil, and many of the paragraphs numbered.
“Since you admit having read the ‘Bazoo’s’ infamous article, mister,” continued Midshipman Paulson, “tell us whether any of the scurrilous charges therein are true?”
“The quotation from the official report, sir, being correct as a copy, is bound to be true—”