Mr. Skinner smiled. “The old dog for the cold scent,” he suggested.
“You bet,” Cappy cackled triumphantly. “Skinner, my dear boy, what are we paying you?”
“Ten thousand a year, sir.”
“Not enough money. Hereafter pay yourself twelve thousand. Tut, tut. Not a peep out of you, sir, not a peep. If you do, Skinner, you’ll spoil the happiest day I’ve known in twenty years.”
CAPPY PULLS OFF A WEDDING
About a week later, Captain Matt Peasley was studying the weather chart at the Merchants’ Exchange when he heard behind him a propitiatory “Ahem! Hum-m-m! Harump-h-h-h!”—infallible evidence that Cappy Ricks was in the immediate offing, yearning for Matt to turn round in order that he might hail the boy and thus re-establish diplomatic relations. Matt, however, elected to be perverse and pay no attention to Cappy; instead, he moved closer to the chart and affected greater interest in it.
“Hello, you big, sulky boob!” Cappy snapped presently, unable to stand the silence any longer. “Come away from that weather chart. It’s blowing a fifty-mile nor’west gale off Point Reyes, and that’s all any shipping man cares to know to-day. You haven’t got any ships at sea!”
“No; but you have, sir,” Matt replied, unable longer to simulate indifference to Cappy’s presence. “The Tillicum is bucking into that gale this minute, wasting fuel oil and making about four miles an hour. I’m glad you’re paying for the oil. Where are you loading her?”
“At Hinch’s Mill, in Aberdeen, Grays Harbor; discharge at Honolulu and back with sugar.” Cappy came close to Matt and drew the latter’s great arm through his. “Say, Matt,” he queried plaintively, “are you still mad over that walloping I gave you?”
“Well-l, no. I think I’ve recovered. And I’m not willing to admit I was walloped. The best you got out of our little mix-up with the Tillicum was a lucky draw.”
“I’m still out a lot of money,” Cappy admitted. “You owe me eighteen thousand dollars on that charter I canceled on you, Matt, and you ought to pay it. Really, you ought.”
“That being tantamount to an admission on your part you cannot go into court with clean hands and force me to pay it,” Matt flashed back at him, “I’ll make you a proposition: You render me an accounting of the freight you collected on the cargo you stole from me, and I’ll render you an accounting for the freight on the cargo I stole from you; then we’ll get an insurance adjuster in and let him figure out, by general average, how much I would owe you if I had a conscience; then I’ll give you my note, due in one year, at six per cent. for whatever the amount may be.”
“Why not give me the cash?” Cappy pleaded. “You’ve got the money in bank.”
“I know; but I want to use it for a year.”