“Do you care to go out this evening, Danny boy?” asked Dave Darrin, stepping into his chum’s room.
“I’m too excited and too tired,” confessed Ensign Dalzell. “The first thing I want is a hot bath, the second, pajamas, and the third, a long sleep.”
“Too bad,” sighed Dave. “I wanted an hour’s stroll along Broadway.”
“Don’t let my indolence keep you in,” urged Dalzell. “If you’re going out, then I can have the first hot bath, and be as long about it as I please. Then I’ll get into pajamas and ready for bed. By that time you’ll be in and we can say `good night’ to each other.”
“I feel a bit mean about quitting you,” Dave murmured.
“And I feel a whole lot meaner not to go out with you,” Dan promptly assured his chum. “So let’s compromise; you go out and I’ll stay in.”
“That sounds like a very odd compromise,” laughed Darrin. “On the whole, Dan, I believe I won’t go out.”
“If that’s the way you feel,” argued Dalzell, “then I’m going to change my mind and go out with you. I won’t be the means of keeping you from your stroll.”
“But you really don’t want to go out,” Dave objected.
“Candidly, I don’t care much about going out; I want that bath and I’m tired. Yet in the good old cause of friendship—–”
“Friendship doesn’t enter in, here,” Dave interposed. “Danny boy, you stay here in the hotel and have your bath, I’ll go out and pay my very slight respects to Broadway. Doubtless, by the time you’re in pajamas, I’ll be back, and with all my longing for wandering satisfied.”
“Then, if you really don’t mind—–”
“Not at all, old chap! So long! Back in a little while.”
Through the bathroom that connected their two rooms at the Allsordia Hotel, Dave Darrin stepped into his own apartment.
Having donned coat and top-coat, Darrin picked up his new derby hat and stepped to his room door. In another half minute he was going down on the elevator. Then he stepped into the street.
Dave Darrin was young, healthy, happy, reasonably good-looking. His top-coat and gray suit were well tailored. Yet, save for his erect, military carriage, there was nothing to distinguish him from the thousands of average well-dressed young men who thronged Broadway after dark on this evening in late March.
For perhaps fifteen blocks he strolled uptown. All that he saw on that gaily lighted main thoroughfare of New York was interesting. It was the same old evening crowd, on pleasure bent.
Then, crossing over to the east side of Broadway, Dave sauntered slowly back.
Laughing girls eyed the young naval officer as he passed. Drivers of taxicabs looked the young man over speculatively, as though wondering whether he might be inveigled into going on a, to them, profitable round of New York’s night sights. Human harpies, in the form of “confidence men”—–swindlers on the lookout for prey—–glanced but once at the young naval ensign, then looked away. Dave Darrin’s erect carriage, his clear steady eyes, his broad shoulders and evident physical mastery of himself made these swindlers hesitate at the thought of tackling him.