“Good!” yelled several.
“Mr. President and classmates,” continued the angry orator, “I believe we are all of one mind, and I believe that I can express the unanimous sentiment of the first class.”
“You bet you can!”
“Mr. President, I take it upon myself to move that the first class should, and hereby does, send Mr. Clairy to Coventry for all time to come!”
“Second the motion!” cried several voices.
Then a diversion was created.
One of the big doors opened and a midshipman stepped into the room, closing the door.
That midshipman was Dave Darrin. Every first classman in the room felt certain that Darrin had entered for the express purpose of saying something of consequence.
MIDSHIPMAN DARRIN HAS THE FLOOR
But Dave did not speak at first. Advancing only a short distance into the hall he stood with arms folded, his face well-nigh expressionless.
For a moment the class president glanced at Darrin, then at the assemblage.
“Gentlemen,” announced the class president, “you have heard the motion, that Mr. Clairy be sent to Coventry for all time to come. The motion has been duly seconded. Remarks are in order.”
It was Dave who had spoken. All eyes were turned in his direction at once.
“Mr. Darrin,” announced the chair. “Mr. President, and classmates, I, for one, shall vote against the motion.”
An angry clamor rose, followed by calls of, “Question! Put the motion!”
“Do any of you know,” Darrin continued, “why Mr. Clairy is not here this evening?”
“He’s afraid to come!”
“Did any of you note that Mr. Clairy was not at supper?”
“The hound hadn’t any appetite,” jeered Fenwick angrily.
“You have observed, of course, that Mr. Clairy was not here at the meeting?”
“He didn’t dare come!” cried several voices.
“If you have any explanation to make, Mr. Darrin, let us have it,” urged the chair.
“Mr. President and classmates,” Midshipman Darrin continued, “all along I have felt that there must be some explanation to match Mr. Clairy’s most extraordinary conduct. I now offer you the explanation. The officer in charge sent for me, to impart some information that I am requested to repeat before this meeting.”
“Go on!” cried several curious voices when Dave paused for a moment.
“Fellows, I hate to tell you the news, and you will all be extremely sorry to hear it. You will be glad, however, that you did not pass the motion now before the class. Mr. President, I have to report, at the request of the officer in charge, the facts in Mr. Clairy’s case.
“From the peculiar nature of the case both the superintendent and the commandant of midshipmen were convinced that there was something radically wrong with Mr. Clairy.”