“No, sir. It’s a promise. McBride is a splendid little man and game to the core; but no good, game little man will ever stay on a deck if a good, game big man takes a notion to throw him overboard, and the man Peasley is both big and game, otherwise he would not defy us. Why, Skinner, that fellow wouldn’t pause at anything. Hasn’t he spent over a hundred dollars arguing with us by cable? Why, he’s a desperate character! Also, he would not threaten to throw his successor overboard if he didn’t know that he was fully capable of so doing. Paste that in your hat, Skinner. It isn’t done.” Skinner inclined his head respectfully. Cappy continued: “What I should have done was to have sent a good, game, big man—”
He paused, and his glance met Skinner’s wonderingly as a bright idea leaped into his cunning brain and crystallized into definite purpose. He sprang up, waved his skinny old arms, and kicked the waste-basket into a corner of the room.
“I have it, Skinner! I’ve solved the problem. Go back and ’tend to your lumber business and leave the man Peasley to me. I’ll tan that fellow’s hide and hang it on my fence, just as sure as George Washington crossed the Delaware River.”
Mr. Skinner, glad to be excused, promptly made his escape. When Cappy Ricks stripped for action, Mr. Skinner knew from long experience that there was going to be a fight or a foot race; that whenever the old gentleman set out to confound an enemy, the inevitable result was wailing and weeping and gnashing of teeth, in which doleful form of exercise Cappy Ricks had never been known to participate.
“Send in a boy!” Cappy ordered as the general manager withdrew.
The boy appeared. “Sonny,” said Cappy Ricks, “do you know All Hands And Feet?” The boy nodded and Cappy continued: “Well, you go down on the Embarcadero, like a good boy, and cruise from Folsom Street to Broadway Wharf Number Two until you find All Hands and Feet. Look in front of cigar stands and in the shipchandlery stores; and if you don’t find him in those places run over to the assembly rooms of Harbor Fifteen, Masters’ and Pilots’ Association, and see if he’s there, playing checkers. When you find him tell him Mr. Ricks wants to see him at once.”
ALL HANDS AND FEET TO THE RESCUE
Captain Ole Peterson was known to the coastwise trade as All Hands And Feet. He was a giant Swede whose feet resembled twin scow models and whose clenched fists, properly smoked and cured, might have passed anywhere for picnic hams. He was intelligent, competent and belligerent, with a broad face, slightly dished and plentifully scarred, while his wide flat nose had been stove in and shifted hard a-starboard. Cappy Ricks liked him, respected his ability and found him amusing as one finds an educated bear amusing. He had a reputation for being the undefeated rough and tumble champion of Sweden and the United States.