This was the general sentiment among the first classmen. Darrin was the only real dissenter to the plan.
“Oh, well, go ahead and call the class together, if you like,” agreed Dave. “My main contention is that such a meeting will be superfluous. The action of the class has really been taken already.”
“Will you come to the meeting, Darry?” asked Fenwick.
“Really, I don’t know,” Dave answered thoughtfully. “My presence would do neither good nor harm. The action of the class has already been decided. In fact, it has been put into effect.”
“Then you won’t be there?” spoke up Farley.
“I don’t know. I’ll come, however, if it will please any of you especially.”
“Oh, bother you, Darry! We’re not going to beg your presence as a favor.”
At formation for dinner, when the brigade adjutant published the orders, every midshipman in the long ranks of the twelve companies waited eagerly to learn what had been done in the cases of the eight midshipmen. They were doomed to disappointment, however.
At brigade formation for supper notice of a meeting of the first class in Recreation Hall was duly published. There was rather an unwonted hush over the tables that night.
Immediately afterwards groups of midshipmen were seen strolling through the broad foyer of Bancroft Hall, and up the low steps into Recreation Hall. Yet it was some ten minutes before there was anything like a full gathering of the first class.
“Order!” rapped the class president Then, after glancing around:
“Is Mr. Clairy present?”
He was not.
“Where’s Darry?” buzzed several voices.
But Dave Darrin was not present either.
“Where is he?” several demanded of Dan.
“Blessed if I know,” Dan answered. “I wish I did, fellows.”
“Isn’t Darry going to attend?”
“I don’t know that, either.”
Midshipman Gosman now claimed the floor. He spoke a good deal as though he had been retained as advocate for the eight accused midshipmen. In a fiery speech Mr. Gosman recited that eight different members of the class had been falsely accused by Mr. Clairy.
“There are not eight liars in our class,” declared Midshipman Gosman, with very telling effect.
Then, after more fiery words aimed at Clairy, Mr. Gosman demanded:
“Why is not Mr. Clairy here to speak for himself? Let him who can answer this! Further, Mr. Clairy has been challenged to fight by some of those whom be accused. Now, sir and classmates, a midshipman may refuse to fight, but if he does he must submit his case to his class, and then be guided by the class decision as to whether he must fight or not. Mr. Clairy has not done this.”
“He’s a cur!” shouted a voice.
“I accept the remark,” bowed Mr. Gosman, “if I am permitted to express the class’s apology to all dogs for the comparison.”