“Oh, save me! Save me!” she screamed.
“Hush. Keep still and we’ll get you out,” commanded Peggy, doing her utmost to keep free of the wildly thrashing arms, while holding on to the girl’s coat with all the strength of desperation. It would have gone ill with the girl and Peggy, however, had not help come from the bridge where the Jackies had acted as such men invariably do: promptly and without fuss. In far less time than seemed possible, two of them, with ropes firmly bound about their bodies, were in the water, while two more pulled them and their struggling charges to safety, and two more in the perfect order of their discipline drew Peggy and Durand from their perilous situation, and just then Mrs. Harold’s party came rushing up, she and Polly white with terror.
“Peggy, Peggy, my little girl! If anything had happened to you,” cried Mrs. Harold, gathering her into her arms.
“But there hasn’t. Not a single thing, Little Mother. I’m not hurt a bit, and only a little wet and that won’t hurt me because my clothes are so thick.” But the girl’s voice shook and she trembled in spite of her words, for the last few minutes had taxed both strength and courage.
Meantime the boys had gathered about Durand, but boy-like made light of the episode though down in their hearts they knew it had required pluck and steady nerve to do as he had done, and their admiration found expression in hauling off their reefers to force them upon him, or in giving him a clip upon the back and telling him he was “all right,” and to “come on back to Bancroft for a rub-down after his bath.” But no one underrated the courage of either and they were hurried home to be cared for, though it was many hours before Mrs. Harold could throw off the horror of what might have happened, and Peggy was a heroine for many a day to her intense annoyance.
A DOMESTIC EPISODE
In spite of the scare all had received the previous Saturday, the New Year’s eve hop was thoroughly enjoyed, for neither Durand nor Peggy was the worse for the experience, and the old year was danced out upon light, happy toes, only one shadow resting upon the joyous evening.
For over a year, there had been an officer stationed at the Academy who had been a source of discord among his fellow-officers, and a martinet with the midshipmen. He was small, petty, unjust, and not above resorting to methods despised by his confreres. He was loathed by the midshipmen because they could never count upon what they termed “a square deal,” and consequently never knew just where they stood.
There were several who seemed to have incurred his especial animosity, and Durand in particular he hated: hated because the boy’s quick wits invariably got him out of the scrapes which his mischievous spirit prompted, and “Gumshoes,” as the boys had dubbed the officer, owing to his habit of sneaking about “looking for trouble,” was not clever enough to catch him.