“I am afraid the girl is not likely to feel complimented.”
“So,” pursued Dave, “while Danny is really interested in a girl, but is uneasily unable to make up his mind, the girl is pretty sure to grow tired of him and take up with the more positive rival.”
“Poor Dan is not likely to have a bride early in life,” sighed Belle.
“Oh, yes; one very excellent bride for a Naval officer to have.”
“What is that?”
“His commission. Dan, if he keeps away from too interesting girls, will have some years in which to fit himself splendidly in his profession. By that time he’ll be all the better equipped for taking care of a wife.”
“I wonder,” pondered Belle, “what kind of wife Dan will finally choose.”
“He won’t have anything to do with the choosing,” laughed Darrin. “One of these days some woman will choose him, and then Dan will be anchored for life. It is even very likely that he’ll imagine that he selected his wife from among womankind, but he won’t have much to say about it.”
“You seem to think Dan is only half witted,” Belle remarked.
“Only where women are concerned, Belle. In everything else he’s a most capable young American. He’s going to be a fine Naval officer.”
In another hour Belle had changed her mind. She had seen all of the Academy grounds that she cared about for a while, and now proposed that they slip out through the Maryland Avenue gate for a walk through the shaded, sweet scented streets of Annapolis. As Darrin had town liberty the plan pleased him.
Strolling slowly the young people at last neared State Circle.
“I thought midshipmen didn’t tell fibs,” suddenly remarked Belle.
“They’re not supposed to,” Dave replied.
“But you said Dan was at the ball game.”
“Look there!” Belle exclaimed dramatically.
DAN STEERS ON THE ROCKS AGAIN
Just entering Wiegard’s were Midshipman Dalzell and a very pretty young woman.
Dan had not caught sight of his approaching friends.
“Why, that fellow told me he was going to see if he couldn’t be the mascot for a winning score to-day,” Dave exclaimed.
“But he didn’t say that the score was to be won in a ball game, did he?” Belle queried demurely.
“Now I think of it, he didn’t mention ball,” Darrin admitted. “But I thought it was the game down on the Academy athletic field.”
“No; it was very different kind of game,” Belle smiled. “Dave, you’ll find that Dan is incurable. He’s going to keep on trying with women until-----”
“Until he lands one?” questioned Dave.
“No; until one lands him. Dave, I wonder if it would be too terribly prying if we were to turn into Wiegard’s too?”
“I don’t see any reason why it should be,” Darrin answered. “Mr. Wiegard conducts a public confectioner’s place. It’s the approved place for any midshipman to take a young lady for ice cream. Do you feel that you’d like some ice cream?”