“Well, Miss Preston doesn’t know but what I had regular leave tonight,” Danny replied.
“Miss Preston?” repeated Dave his interest taking a new tack. “I don’t believe I know her.”
“I guess you don’t,” Dan replied. “She’s new in Annapolis. Visiting her uncle and aunt, you know. And her mother’s with her.”
“Are your intentions serious in this, Danny?” Darrin went on.
“Blessed if I know,” Dalzell answered candidly. “She’s a mighty fine girl, is May Preston. I don’t suppose I’ll ever be lucky enough to win the regard of such a really fine girl.”
“Then you aren’t engaged?”
“Hang it, man! This evening is only the second time that I’ve met Miss Preston.”
“And you’ve risked your commission to meet a girl for the second time?” Dave demanded almost unbelievingly.
“I haven’t risked it much,” Dan answered. “I’m in safe, now, and ready to face any discipline officer.”
“But wouldn’t this matter wait until November, when you’re pretty sure to have the privilege of town leave again?” pressed Midshipman Darrin.
“By November a girl like Miss Preston might be married to some one else,” retorted Dan Dalzell.
“It was a fool risk to take, Dan!”
“If you look at it that way.”
“Will you promise me not to take the risk again, Danny boy?”
“It’s a serious affair, then, so far as you are concerned,” grinned Dave, though in the dark Dan could not see his face. “For your sake, Danny, I hope Miss Preston is as much interested in you as you certainly are in her.”
“Are you going to lecture me?”
“Not tonight, Dan.”
“Then I’m going to get in between sheets. It’s chilly here in the room.”
“Duck!” whispered Dave with sudden energy.
Footsteps could be heard coming down the corridor. It was a noise like a discipline officer.
Three doors above that of the room occupied by our midshipman friends were opened, one after the other. Then a hand rested on the knob of the door to Dave and Dan’s room. The door was opened, and the rays of a pocket electric light flashed into the room.
Dan lay on one side, an arm thrown out of bed, his breathing regular but a trifle loud. Dave Darrin had again found recourse to a snore.
In an instant the door closed. Any discipline officer ought to be satisfied with what this one had seen.
“Safe!” chuckled Dalzell.
“An awfully close squeak,” whispered Dave across the intervening room.
“What if he had started his rounds ten minutes earlier?”
“He didn’t, though,” replied Dan contentedly.
Now another set of footsteps passed hurriedly along the “deck” outside.
“What’s that?” questioned a voice sharply. “You say that you saw some one entering a room from the upper end of the terrace?”