“Tell him, Dave,” urged Dan.
“Prescott and Holmes won’t play on this year’s Army team,” stated Darrin.
“Whoop!” yelled Farley gleefully. “And that was what you’re looking so mighty solemn about? Cheer up, boy! It’s good news.”
“Great!” seconded Midshipman Page with enthusiasm.
“I tell you, fellows,” spoke Dave solemnly, “it takes all the joy out of the Army-Navy game.”
“Since when did winning kill joy?” demanded Farley aghast. “Why, with Prescott and Holmes out of it the Navy will get a fit of crowing that will last until after Christmas!”
“It makes the victory too cheap,” contended Darrin.
“A victory is a victory,” quoth Midshipman Page, “and the only fellow who can feel cheap about it is the fellow who doesn’t win. Cheer up, Davy. It’s all well enough to wallop a stray college, here and there, but the one victory that sinks in deep and does our hearts good is the one we carry away from the Army. Whoop! I could cry for joy.”
“But why won’t Prescott and Holmes play this year?” asked Farley, his face radiant with the satisfaction that the news had given him.
“Because the corps has sent Prescott to Coventry for something that I’m certain the dear old fellow never did,” Darrin replied.
“Lucky accident!” muttered Farley.
“But the corps will repent, when they find their football hope gone,” predicted Page, his face losing much of its hitherto joyous expression.
“No! No such luck,” rejoined Midshipman Darrin. “If the brigade, here, sent a fellow to Coventry for what they considered cause, do you mean to tell me that they’d take the fellow out of Coventry just to get a good player on the eleven?”
“No, of course, not,” Page admitted.
“Then do you imagine that the West Point men are any more lax in their views of corps honor?” pressed Dave.
“To be sure they are not—–they can’t be.”
“Then there’s only a chance in a thousand that Dick Prescott will, by any lucky accident, be restored to favor in the corps—–at least, in time to play on this year’s eleven. If he doesn’t play, Holmes simply won’t play. So that takes all the interest out of this year’s Army-navy game.”
“Not if the Navy wins,” contended Midshipman Page.
“Bosh, there’s neither profit nor honor in the Navy winning, unless it’s against the best men that the Army can put forth,” retorted Dave Darrin stubbornly. “By the great Dewey, I’m afraid nine tenths of my enthusiasm for the game this year has been killed by the miserable news that has come in.”
Within less than five minutes after the midshipmen had seated themselves around the scores of tables in the mess hall, the news had flown around that Prescott and Holmes were to be counted as out of the Army eleven for this year.
Here and there suppressed cheers greeted the announcement The bulk of the midshipmen, however, were much of Dave Darrin’s opinion that there was little glory in beating less than the best team that the Army could really put forth.