“I’ll tell him that, too, if you wish it.”
“Dave, you won’t even mention my name to Dan in connection with any topic so silly.”
“All right, Belle. All I want is my sailing orders. I know how to follow them.”
“You’re teasing me,” Miss Meade went on, pouting. “I don’t mean to be curious, but I noticed that Dan appears to be quite attentive to the young lady, and I was wondering whether Dan had met his fate—–that’s all.”
“I don’t know,” smiled Midshipman Darrin, “and I doubt if Dan does, either. He’s just the kind of fellow who might ignore girls for three years, then be ardently attentive to one for three days—–and forget all about her in a week.”
“Is Dan such a flirt as that?” Belle demanded, looking horrified.
“Dan—–a flirt!” chuckled Dave. “I shall have to tell that to some of the fellows; it will amuse them. No; I wouldn’t call Dan a flirt. He’s anything but that. Dan will either remain a bachelor until he’s past forty, or else some day he’ll marry suddenly after having known the girl at least twenty-four hours. Dan hasn’t much judgment where girls are concerned.”
“He appears to be able to tell a pretty girl when he sees one,” argued Belle Meade, turning again to survey Dan’s companion.
Belle, with the sharp eyes and keen intuition of her sex, was quite justified in believing that Midshipman Dalzell realized fully the charms of the girl with whom he was talking.
Miss Catharine Atterly was the only daughter of wealthy parents, though her father had started life as a poor boy. Daniel Atterly, however, had been shrewd enough to know the advantages of a better education than he had been able to absorb in his boyhood. Miss Catharine, therefore, had been trained in some of the most expensive, if not the best, schools in the country. She was a buxom, healthy girl, full of the joy of living, yet able to conceal her enthusiasm under the polish that she had acquired in the schools she had attended. Miss Atterly, on coming to Annapolis, had conceived a considerable liking for the Naval uniform, and had attracted Dan to her side within the last three days. And Dan had felt his heart beating faster when nearing this pretty young creature.
Now, he was endeavoring to display himself to the best advantage before her eyes.
“You midshipmen have a very graceful knack of being charmingly attentive to the ladies,” Miss Atterly suggested coyly.
“We receive a little bit of training in social performance, if that is what you mean, Miss Atterly,” Dan replied.
“And that enables you to be most delightfully attentive to every girl that comes along?”
“I don’t know,” Midshipman Dalzell replied slowly. “I haven’t had much experience.”
Miss Atterly laughed as though she felt certain that she knew better.
“Do you say that to every girl?” she asked.