“Darry looks as though he had just got back from a funeral,” remarked one member of the third class to another youngster.
“I don’t blame him,” replied the one so addressed.
“But he’s all the more sure of winning over the Army this year.”
“I don’t believe either of you youngsters know Darrin as well as I do,” broke in a second classman. “What I’m afraid of is, if Prescott and Holmes don’t play with the soldiers, then Darry will lose interest in the game to such a degree that even Army dubs will be able to take his shoestrings away from him. Danny doesn’t enjoy fighting fourth-raters. It’s the big game that he enjoys going after. Why, I’m told that he had simply set his heart on pushing Prescott and Holmes all the way across Franklin Field this year.”
Readers who are anxious to know why Dick Prescott, one of the finest of American youths, had been sent to Coventry by his comrades at the United States Military Academy, will find it all set forth in the concluding volume of the West Point Series, entitled "Dick Prescott’s Fourth Year At West Point."
Strangely enough, the first effect of this news from West Point was to send the Navy eleven somewhat “to the bad.” That is to say, Dave Darrin, despite his best endeavors, seemed to go stale from the first hour when he knew that he was not to meet Dick Prescott on the gridiron.
“Mr. Darrin, what ails you?” demanded coach kindly, at the end of the second practice game after that.
“I don’t know, sir.”
“You must brace up.”
“You seem to have lost all ambition. No; I won’t just say that. But you appear, Mr. Darrin, either to have lost some of your snap or ambition, or else you have gone unaccountably stale.”
“I realize my defects, sir, and I am trying very, very hard to overcome them.”
“Are you ill at ease over any of your studies?” persisted coach.
“No, sir; it seems to me that the fourth year studies are the easiest in the whole course.”
“They are not, Mr. Darrin. But you have had the advantage of three hard years spent in learning how to study, and so your present course appears rather easy to you. Are you sleeping well?”
“Splendid appetite, sir.”
“Hm! I shall soon have a chance to satisfy myself on that point, Mr. Darrin. The day after to-morrow the team goes to training table. Have you any idea, Mr. Darrin, what is causing you to make a poorer showing?”
“I have had one very great disappointment, sir. But I’d hate to think that a thing like that could send me stale.”
“Oh, a disappointment?”
“Yes, sir,” Dave went on frankly. “You see, sir, I have been looking forward, most eagerly, to meeting Prescott and downing him with the tricks that Jetson, Dalzell and I have been getting up.”