After the officers had been duly installed in their positions, the petty offices were given to those having the highest number of marks among the crew. It was certainly democratic for the late third lieutenant to become captain of the foretop, and for a second master to become coxswain of the professors’ barge; but these young gentlemen, though disappointed, submitted with a good grace to their misfortune.
The student having the highest number of marks among the crew was allowed to have the first choice of berths in the steerage; the one having the next highest number had the second choice, and so on, until all the numbers had been appropriated. At the conclusion of the reorganization, Mr. Lowington made a speech, “comforting the mourners,” and reminding all the students that, on the 1st of October, there would be another distribution of the places of honor. He hoped those who had failed to attain what they aspired to reach would not be discouraged, for, after all, they had been gaining knowledge, and thus the real end of the school had been reached.
“How about the mutiny?” said Wilton to the new third lieutenant, when both were off duty in the evening.
“It won’t pay just now,” replied Shuffles, with great good humor.
“I suppose not,” sneered Wilton, who had not even won a petty office. “What would Lowington say if he knew the third lieutenant talked of getting up a mutiny on board?”
“What would he say?” repeated Shuffles, who was as much surprised at the high rank he had gained as his companion had been.
“Yes; what would he say if I should tell him of it?”
“He would say you were a mean pup for telling tales out of school; at least, he ought to say so, and I think he would. Lowington is a pretty good fellow, after all.”
“No doubt he is, now you are third lieutenant.”
“You needn’t snuff at it, Wilton. If you want a place, why don’t you sail in, and get one. Just look out for your marks; that’s all you have to do.”
“Marks! I thought a fellow seventeen years old was not to be put up or put down by marks,” said Wilton, bitterly.
“That depends somewhat upon whether you get in or out,” laughed Shuffles.
“I suppose you and Paul Kendall will be fast friends now,” added the discontented student.
“Kendall behaves very well, and has treated me first rate since I went into the cabin.”
“I suppose if I want to run away, you will stop me now.”
“If you are going to do that, you musn’t tell me of it, now I’m an officer,” replied Shuffles, as he turned on his heel, and walked aft.
Wilton was disgusted, and felt that he had lost his best friend, now that Shuffles had worked his way into the cabin.
“I would like leave of absence for to-morrow, Mr. Pelham,” said Wilton, as he touched his cap to the first lieutenant of the Young America, on the day before the Fourth of July.