Care United States Marshal,
Congratulations on splendid voyage. You busted record. Lindquist, in the John A. Logan, did it in eighty-four days in the spring of ninety-four. Draw draft and pay off crew, render report of voyage, place second mate in charge, and proceed immediately to Seattle to get your master’s ticket. Will telegraph Seattle inspectors requesting waive further probation as first mate and issue license if you pass examination in order that you may accept captaincy of Retriever. Skinner, my manager, had you arrested. Would never have done it myself. I come from Thomaston, Maine, and I knew your people. Would never have sent the Swede had I known which tribe of Peasley you belonged to—though, if he had licked you, no more than you deserved. I want no more of your impudence, Matt.
Alden P. Ricks.
* * * * * *
For a week business droned along in Cappy Ricks’ office as usual, interrupted at last by the receipt of a telegram from Matt Peasley to Cappy. It was sent from Seattle and read:
“Have now legal right to be called
captain. Rejoin ship
tomorrow. Wire orders. Thank you.”
“God bless the lad!” Cappy murmured happily. “I’ll bet he’s going to make me a skookum skipper. Still, I think he’s pretty young and sadly in need of training; so I’ll have to take some of the conceit out of him. I’m going to proceed to break his young heart; and if he yells murder I’ll fire him! On the contrary, if he’s one of Ethan’s tribe—well, the Peasleys always did their duty; I’ll say that for them. I hope he stands the acid.”
Whereupon Cappy Ricks squared round to his desk and wrote:
San Francisco, July 5, 19—.
Captain Matthew Peasley,
Master Barkentine Retriever,
Glad you have legal right to be called captain. Sorry I have not. Proceed to Weatherby’s mill, at Cosmopolis, and load for Antofagasta, Chile. Remember speed synonymous with dividends in shipping business.
Blue Star Navigation Company.
When Cappy signed his telegrams with the company name it was always a sure indication he had discharged his cargo of sentiment and gotten down to business once more.
“A little creosoted piling now and then is bully for the best of men,” he cackled. “For a month of Sundays that man Peasley will curse me as far as he can smell the Retriever. Oh, well! Every dog must have his day—and I’m a wise old dog. I’ll teach that Matt boy some respect for his owners before I’m through with him!”
THE CAMPAIGN OPENS