“If you stay off I guess I will,” replied Dalzell. “If the nine doesn’t need you then it doesn’t need me.”
“But I thought you wanted to play.”
“Not unless you and I could be the battery, David, little giant. I’d like to catch your pitching, but I don’t want to stop any other fellow’s pitching.”
So far the nine had gone on without them. Realizing how much Dan wanted to play with the Navy team in this, their last year, Dave changed his mind, and both joined. A very creditable showing was made after their entrance into the nine. That year the Navy captured more than half the games played, though the Navy was fated to lose to the Army by a score of four to three. This game is described in detail in “Dick Prescott’s Fourth Year At West Point.”
With the approach of graduation time Dave’s heart was gladdened by the arrival in Annapolis of Belle Meade and her mother, who stopped at the Maryland House. Dave saw them on the only days when it was possible—–that is to say, on Saturdays and Sundays. He had many glimpses of his sweetheart, however, at other times, for Belle, filled with the fascination of Naval life, came often with her mother to watch the outdoor drills.
When Dave saw her at such times, however, he was obliged to act as though he did not. Not by look or sign could he convey any intimation that he was doing anything but pay the strictest heed to duty.
Then came the Saturday before examination. Dave Darrin, released after dinner, would gladly have hurried away from the Academy grounds to visit his sweetheart in town, but Belle willed it otherwise.
“These are your last days here, Dave,” whispered Belle, as she and her handsome midshipman strolled about. “If I’m to share your life with you, I may as well begin by sharing the Naval Academy with you to-day.”
“Shall we go over to the field and watch the ball game when it starts?” Darrin asked.
“Not unless you very especially wish to,” Miss Meade replied. “I’d rather have you to myself than to share your attention with a ball game.”
So, though Midshipman Dave was interested in the outcome of the game, he decided to wait for the score when it had been made.
“Where’s Dan to-day?” Belle inquired.
“Over at the ball game.”
“No; the brigade is with him, or he’s with the brigade,” laughed Darrin.
“Then he’s not there with a girl?”
“Oh, no; I think Danny’s second experience has made him a bit skeptical about girls.”
“And how are you, on that point, Mr. Darrin?” teased Belle, gazing up at him mirthfully.
“You know my sentiments, as to myself, Belle. As for Dan—–well, I think it beyond doubt that he will do well to wait for several years before he allows himself to be interested in any girls.”
“Well, because Danny’s judgment is bad in that direction. And he’s pretty sure to be beaten out by any determined rival. You see, when Danny gets interested in a girl, he doesn’t really know whether he wants her. From a girl’s point of view what do you think of that failing, Belle?”