“No excuse!” said Cappy fiercely. “Son, all you’ve got to buy is the wedding ring and the license, and some clothes. I’m stuck for the wedding expenses and you don’t have to furnish a home. My house is big enough for three, isn’t it?”
“But this thing of living with your wife’s relations—” Matt began mischievously, until he saw the pain and the loneliness in Cappy’s kind old eyes. “Oh, well,” he hastened to add, “pull it off to suit yourself; but don’t waste any time.”
“In-fer-nal young scoundrel!” Cappy cried happily. “We’ve waited too long already.”
Florry was a June bride, and the proudest and happiest man present, not excepting the groom, was old Cappy Ricks. He looked fully two inches taller as he walked up the church aisle, with Florry on his arm, and handed her over to Matt Peasley, waiting at the altar. And when the ceremony was over, and Matt had entered the waiting limousine with his bride, Cappy Ricks stood on the church steps among a dozen of his young friends from the wholesale lumber and shipping trade and made a brief oration.
“Take a good look at him, boys,” he said proudly. “You fresh young fellows will have to tangle with him one of these bright days; and when you do he’ll make hell look like a summer holiday to you. See if he doesn’t!”
Later, when Matt and Florry, about to leave on their honeymoon, were saying good-bye, Matt put his huge arm round Cappy and gave him a filial hug. Cappy’s eyes filled with tears.
“I guess we understand each other, sonny,” he said haltingly. “I’ve wanted a son like you, Matt. Had a boy once—little chap—just seven when he died—might have been big like you. I was the runt of the Ricks’ tribe, you know—all the other boys over six feet—and his mother’s people—same stock. I—I—”
Matt patted his shoulder. Truly he understood.
A SHIP FORGOTTEN
The Blue Star Navigation Company’s big steam schooner Amelia Ricks, northbound to load lumber at Aberdeen in command of a skipper who revered his berth to such an extent that he thought only of pleasing Mr. Skinner by making fast time, thus failing to take into consideration a two-mile current setting shoreward, had come to grief. Her skipper had cut a corner once too often and started overland with her right across the toe of Point Gorda. Her wireless brought two tugs hastening up from San Francisco; but, before they could haul her off at high tide, the jagged reef had chewed her bottom to rags, and in a submerged condition she was towed back to port and kicked into the dry dock at Hunters Point.
Cappy Ricks, feverishly excited over the affair, was very anxious to get a report on the condition of the vessel as soon as possible. He had planned to hire a launch and proceed to Hunters Point for a personal appraisal of the damage to the Amelia Ricks, but the northwest trades were blowing half a gale that day and had kicked up just sufficient sea to warn Cappy that seasickness would be his portion if he essayed to brave it in a launch. It occurred to him, therefore, to stay in the office and send somebody in whose knowledge of ships he had profound confidence. He got Matt Peasley on the phone at once.