“I’ll go downstairs to the cigar stand and shake you the dice, one flop, to see whether you go into business for yourself or come to work for me,” Cappy pleaded.
Matt came to him and placed his great hands on the old man’s shoulders.
“You’re the finest man I ever knew, Mr. Ricks,” he said, “and you’re the meanest man I ever knew, so I’ll not shake dice with you. You’re too fond of having your own way—”
“Yes, and you’re the same, blast you!” Cappy shrilled, losing his temper entirely. “Wait till you’re my age. There won’t be any standing you at all. Get out!”
A GIFT FROM THE GODS
The barkentine Retriever, lumber laden from Astoria to San Francisco, lay under the lee of Point Reyes in a dead calm. It was a beautiful, moonlit night, with the sea as smooth as a fishpond, and Captain Michael J. Murphy, albeit a trifle surprised at his proximity to the California coast—the result of three days and nights of thick fog, which had suddenly lifted—was not particularly worried. At eight o’clock he turned in, after warning the mate to call him in case the Retriever should drift inshore.
“Never fear, sir,” the mate replied. “We’ll have a puff of wind about daylight at the latest, and the current sets north and south here rather than toward the beach.”
For two hours after Captain Murphy had retired the Retriever rose and fell gently on the slightest swell, her booms and yards swinging idly amidships, her sails and cordage slatting listlessly as the vessel rolled.
Suddenly the lookout shouted: “Steamer on the port bow!” and the mate, following the direction indicated, made out the red and green sidelights and the single white light at the short masthead of the approaching vessel.
“Tug,” he announced to the man at the wheel. “Good enough! The lookout at Point Reyes reported us, and the owners have sent a tug out to snake us in.”
The mate’s prognostication was correct in some particulars, for in about half an hour the tug steamed slowly alongside the Retriever and hailed her.
“Ahoy! Retriever, of the Blue Star, Astoria for San Francisco.”
“Sea Fox, of the Red Stack Line. Is Captain Murphy on deck?”
“No, but I’ll send for him,” the mate shouted, and forthwith sent a man below to rout out the skipper. When Murphy came on deck and hailed the tug he nearly fainted at the information that came floating across the water.
“Murphy, this is Matt Peasley speaking.”
“Not Matt Peasley that used to command this old box—”
“Don’t speak disrespectfully of my first command, Mike—”
“And you’re only a tug captain—a dirty, thieving, piratical towboat man, holding up every honest skipper that pokes his nose into San Francisco Bay. Matt, I’m ashamed of you. How are you anyhow?”