Moreover, to Matt’s practiced eye, this individual seemed to savor of a Down-Easter. He was just the sort of man one might expect to bear the name of Matthew Peasley; so the captain mounted the stairs and sought the proprietor, from whom he purchased the picture in question for the trifling sum of fifty cents. Then he bore it away to the Retriever, scrawled his autograph across the old gentleman’s hip and mailed the picture to Cappy Ricks.
Peace at last!
Mr. Skinner entered Cappy Ricks’ office bearing an envelope marked “Photo. Do not crush or bend!” From the announcement in the upper right-hand corner the general manager deduced that the photograph was from Matt Peasley.
“Well, here’s Captain Peasley’s picture, Mr. Ricks,” he announced.
“Ah! Splendid. Prompt, isn’t he?” Cappy tore open the envelope, drew forth the photograph, scrutinized it carefully and then laid it face down on his desk, while he got out his spectacles, cleaned them carefully, adjusted them and gazed at the photograph once more.
“Ahem! Hu-m-m-m! Harump-h-h-h! Well, Skinner, life is certainly full of glad surprises,” he announced presently, and added—“particularly where that man Peasley is concerned. I never did see the beat of that fellow.”
“May I see his photograph, sir?” Mr. Skinner pleaded.
“Certainly,” and Cappy passed it to the general manager, who glanced once at it and smiled down whimsically at Cappy.
“Yes, I agree with you, Mr. Ricks,” he said. “Of all the surprises that man Peasley has handed us, this is the greatest.”
Cappy nodded and smiled a little prescient smile. “Skinner,” he said, “send in a stenographer. I’m going to send him a telegram.”
He did. Matt Peasley blinked when he got it, and for the first time since he had commenced exchanging telegrams and cablegrams with the peculiar Mr. Ricks he was thoroughly non-plussed—so much so, in fact, that he called his right bower, Michael J. Murphy, into consultation.
“Mike,” he said, and handed the mate the telegram, “what in the world do you suppose the old duffer means by that?”
Mr. Murphy read:
“Matt, I always knew you were young,
but I had no suspicion you
were a child in arms until I received your photograph.”
“Serves you right,” the mate declared. “I told you to send the photo of an old man.”
“But I did, Mike. I sent him a picture of an old pappy-guy sort of man, with long, mutton-chop whiskers, glasses and an old-fashioned collar as tall as the taffrail.”
“It beats my time then what he’s driving at, Captain Matt. But then one can never tell what Cappy Ricks is up to. I’ve heard he’s a great hand to have his little joke, so I daresay that telegram is meant for sarcasm.”