“Going up!” sang Ensign Eph, with a grin.
Nor could Dan Dalzell help imitating the grin and calling out jovially:
“Let me out at the top floor, please!”
Having set the compressed air at work on the forward tanks, Jack Benson quickly shifted the wrench, and without a word, getting at work on the midship’s compartments. Then the stern tanks were emptied.
“May I come up, sir?” called Dan, his voice trembling with joy, at the foot of the stairs.
“Very good,” Eph sang back. “Room for only one, though,”
So Dan Dalzell hastily mounted the iron stairs until he found himself side by side with Eph Somers.
For a few seconds all was inky darkness on the other side of the thick plate glass of the conning tower. Then, all in a flash, Dalzell caught sight of the twinkling stars as the dripping conning tower rose above the top of the water.
“I have the honor to report that all’s well again, and that we’re on earth once more,” Dan announced, as he came down the steps into the little cabin.
“Attention, gentlemen,” called Lieutenant Jack Benson, as soon as the “Dodger” was once more under way, her sea-going gasoline engines now performing the work lately entrusted to the electric motors.
At the word “attention” the six midshipmen became rigidly erect, their hands dropping at their sides.
“Gentlemen,” continued Benson, “I realize that the late strain has been a severe one on us all. We of the ‘Dodger’ have been through the same sort of thing before. You midshipmen have not. If you feel, therefore, that you would prefer to have me head about and return to the Naval Academy I give you my word that I shall not think you weak-kneed for making the request.”
“Thank you, sir,” replied Dave Darrin, “but we belong to the United States Navy and we have no business to suffer with nerves. If our wish alone is to be consulted, we prefer to finish the cruise as we would any other tour of duty.”
Dave’s five comrades in the Brigade of Midshipmen loved him for that answer!
READY TO TRIM WEST POINT
“Have had an experience, sir, that we shall never forget, and one that we wouldn’t have missed!”
Thus spoke Dave Darrin the, following afternoon, as he saluted the young officers of the “Dodger” before going over the side as the boat lay alongside the wall of the basin.
To which the other midshipmen agreed.
“We have enjoyed having you aboard,” replied Lieutenant Jack Benson. “None of us will ever forget this cruise.”
Then the six midshipmen strode briskly along the walks until they reached Bancroft Hall.
It wasn’t long ere news of the adventure of the night before got whispered along the decks. Then Dave and Dan, Farley and Page, Jetson and Wolgast all had so much midshipman company that it was a relief when the evening study hours came around.