Cappy started slightly, hesitated a fraction of a second, and replied that he had no objection whatsoever.
“Very well, sir,” Matt replied. “Will you please have Mr. Skinner prepare the charter parties right away, sign them, and send them over to my office for my signature? I can’t wait to sign them now. And about the captain—I suppose you’ll want to put in your own skipper, of course. Who is he?”
“Have you any objection to inserting a clause in the charter party stipulating that, if for any reason Captain Grant proves objectionable to the charterers, I may take command of the vessel myself? As charterer I will have a very vital interest in the vessel and I might feel called on to protect that interest personally.”
“Matt,” said Cappy earnestly, “I’ll trust you in preference to most men with any ship of mine. Still, Grant is a very able man.”
“He might be too slow for me, Mr. Ricks. I prefer to have a spare anchor in case of necessity.”
“Well, have it your own way,” Cappy acquiesced, and summoned Mr. Skinner to prepare the charter parties, while Matt went back to his own office and gave instructions that he was not to be called to the telephone.
Something told him that Kelton would be ringing up before the day was over to accept his price on the Tillicum, and he did not want to be placed in the position of having to give a yes or no answer until he had seen Cappy Ricks’ charter parties, with Cappy’s signature attached. He would then close up his deal with Morrow & Company, after which he would sign Cappy’s charter parties and turn two copies over to Cappy. In this way he would be enabled to play safe and save his face in case any hitch occurred at the last minute.
The charter parties, duly signed and in triplicate, arrived from Cappy Ricks in the morning’s mail, with a request from Cappy for Matt to append his signature to two copies and return them to the Blue Star Navigation Company. Matt, after first assuring himself that the instrument was in order, called up Kelton, who informed him that he would accept Matt’s offer for a year’s charter of the Tillicum. Within half an hour Matt had his charter parties ready for Kelton’s signature and the deal was closed; whereupon Matt signed the charter party Cappy Ricks had sent him and handed it to Cappy, together with a check for nine thousand dollars—one half the monthly rental of the Tillicum.
Cappy whistled softly through his teeth as he handed the documents to Mr. Skinner and instructed him to put the Tillicum in commission at once.