“But you had liberty to stroll in town.”
“Yes; but I’m guilty in not remembering to remind you of your plain duty.”
Lieutenant Adams had not in the least enjoyed ordering Dan to place himself on report. The officer had simply done his duty. To the average civilian it may seem that Dan Dalzell had done nothing very wrong in taking a walk when he found the purpose of his call frustrated; but discipline, when it imposes certain restrictions on a man, cannot allow the man himself to be the judge of whether he may break the restrictions. If the man himself is to be the judge then discipline ceases to exist.
“So I’ve got to stick myself on pap, and accept a liberal handful of demerits, all on account of a girl?” grumbled Dan, as the chums turned into the road leading to Bancroft Hall.”
“That is largely because you couldn’t get the girl out of your head,” Dave rejoined. “Didn’t I tell you, Danny, that you hadn’t head enough to give any of your attention to the other sex?”
“It’s tough to get those demerits, though,” contended Dan. “I imagine there’ll be a large allowance of them, and in his fourth year a fellow can’t receive many demerits without having to get out of the Academy. One or two more such scrapes, and I’ll soon be a civilian, instead of an officer in the Navy!”
“See here, Dan; I’ll offer an explanation that you can make truthfully. Just state, when you’re called up, that you and I were absorbed talking football, and that you really forgot to turn in the right direction while your mind was so full of Navy football. That may help some.”
“Yes; it will—–not!”
Dan Dalzell passed into the outer room of the officer in charge, picked up a blank and filled it out with the report against himself.
Dave was waiting outside as Dan came out from the disagreeable duty of reporting himself.
“Hang the girls!” Dalzell muttered again disgustedly.
DAN’S EYES JOLT HIS WITS
Dan Dalzell, on the point of stepping out of Bancroft Hall, wheeled like a flash, and bounded back against Farley, Jetson and Page.
“Don’t look!” whispered Dan hoarsely. “Duck!”
“What on earth is the matter?” demanded Midshipman Darrin, eyeing his chum sharply.
“I—–I don’t know what it is,” muttered Dan, after he had backed his friends some feet from the entrance.
“What does it look like?” asked Farley.
“Something like a messenger boy,” returned Dan.
“Surely, you’re not afraid of a messenger boy with a telegram,” laughed Darrin. “Little chance that the message is for you, at any rate.”
“But—–it’s got a Naval uniform on, I tell you,” warned Dan.
“No; you hadn’t told us. What is it—–another midshipman?”
“Not by a jugful!” Dan sputtered. “It’s wearing an officer’s uniform.”