“Do you worship the little blue-covered volume of regulations, Dave?” Dan demanded with a laugh.
“No; but I don’t propose to take any chances in my last year here. I don’t intend to lose my commission in the Navy just because I can’t control myself.”
Dan sniffed, but he silently got his parts of uniform out from between the sheets and hung up the articles where they belonged, in this going by the sense of feeling.
Then, all in the dark as they were, Midshipman Dave Darrin seized his chum and roommate by the shoulders.
“Danny boy,” he commanded firmly, “come over with an account of yourself! Why this mad prank tonight—–and what was it?”
SOME ONE PUSHES THE TUNGSTEN
You don’t have to know every blessed thing that I do, do you?” demanded Dan Dalzell, in an almost offended tone.
“No; and I have no right to know anything that you don’t tell me willingly. Are you ready to give me any explanation of tonight’s foolishness?
“Seeing that you kept awake for me, and were on hand to let me in, I suppose I’ll have to,” grumbled Dan.
“Dave, for the first time tonight, I struck my flag.”
“Struck to whom?”
“Oh—–a girl, of course,” grunted Dan.
“You? A girl?” repeated Dave in amazement.
“Yes; is it any crime for me to get acquainted with a girl, and to call on her at her home?”
“Certainly not. But, Dan, I didn’t believe that you ever felt a single flutter of the pulse when girls were around. I thought you were going to grow up into a cheerful, happy old bachelor.”
“So did I,” sighed Dan.
“And now you’ve gone and met your fate?”
“I’m not so sure about that,” Dalzell retorted moodily.
“Do you mean that you don’t stand any real show in front of the pair of bright eyes that have made you strike your colors?”
“I’m afraid I don’t.”
“Dan, is the game worth the candle,” argued Darrin.
“You’re mightily interested in Belle Meade, aren’t you?”
“Yes; but that’s different, Danny boy.”
“How is it different, I’d like to know?”
“Well, in the first place, there’s no guesswork in my case. Belle and I are engaged, and we feel perfectly sure each of the other. I’m so sure of Belle that I dream about her only in my leisure moments. I don’t ever let her face come between myself and the pages of a textbook. I am here at the Naval Academy working for a future that Belle is to share with me when the time comes, and so, in justice to her, I don’t let the thought of her get between myself and the duties that will lead to the career she is to share with me.”
“Humph!” commented Midshipman Dalzell.
“Above all, Dan, I’ve never Frenched it over the wall. I don’t take any disciplinary chances that can possibly shut me off from the career that Belle and I have planned. Belle Meade, Danny boy, would be the first to scold me if she knew that I had Frenched it over the wall in order to meet her.”