“He’s trying to pile some of us up with so many demerits that we won’t be able to graduate.”
“Oh, well,” argued Page, “Fenwick has hit it. We can’t fight such a lying hound. All we can do is to get the class out and send the fellow to Coventry.”
“What do you imagine it all means, Darry?” questioned Fenwick.
Dave’s wrath had had time to simmer down, and he was cooler now.
“I wish I knew what to think, fellows,” Dave answered slowly. “Clairy has never shown signs of doing such things before.”
“He has always been a sulk, and never had a real friend in the class,” broke in Farley.
“He has always been quiet and reticent,” Dave admitted. “But we never before had any real grievance against Mr. Clairy.”
“We have a grievance now, all right!” glowered Page. “Coventry, swift and tight, is the only answer to the situation.”
“Let’s not be in too much haste, fellows,” Darrin urged.
“You—–you give such advice as that?” gasped Midshipman Dalzell. “Why, Davy, the fellow went for you in fearful shape. He insulted you outrageously.”
“I know he did,” Darrin responded. “That’s why I believe in going slowly in the matter.”
“Now, why?” hissed Page. “Why on earth—–why?”
“Clairy must have had some motive behind his attack,” Dave urged.
“It couldn’t have been a good motive, anyway,” broke in another midshipman hotly.
“Never mind that part of it, just now,” Dave Darrin retorted. “Fellows, I, for one, don’t like to go after Mr. Clairy too hastily while we’re all in doubt about the cause of it.”
“We don’t need to know the cause,” stormed indignant Farley. “We know the results, and that’s enough for us. I favor calling a class meeting to-morrow night.”
“We can do just as much, and act just as intelligently, if we hold the class-meeting off for two or three nights,” Midshipman Darrin maintained.
“Now, why on earth should we bold off that long?” insisted Fenwick. “We know, now, that Mr. Clairy has insulted eight members of our class. We know that he has lied about them, and that the case is so bad as to require instant attention. All I’m sorry for is that it’s too late to hold the class meeting within the next five minutes.”
Dave found even his own roommate opposed to delay in dealing with the preposterous case of the outrageous Mr. Clairy.
Yet such was Darrin’s ascendency over his classmates in matters of ethics and policy, that he was able, before taps, to bring the rest around to his wish for a waiting programme for two or three days.
“There’ll be some explanation of this,” Dave urged, when he had gotten his comrades into a somewhat more reasonable frame of mind.
“The explanation will have to be sought with fists,” grumbled Fenwick. “And there are eight of us, while Clairy has only two eyes that can be blackened.”