When Cappy could control his mirth he handed the money back to Matt.
“Oh, Matt, my dear young bandit,” he informed that amazed young man, “I’m human. I can’t take this money. It’s been worth a thousand dollars to have had this laugh and to know I’ve got a lad like you growing up in my employ. You’re worth a bonus, Matt; I’ll stand all the commission. Soak Hudner’s thousand away in the bank, Matt; or, better still—Here! Here; let’s figure, Matt: You had sixteen hundred saved up and you’ve loaned a thousand on that mortgage. Now you’ve made a thousand more. Better buy a good thousand-dollar municipal bond, Matt. That’s better than savings-bank interest, and you can always realize on the bond. I’ll buy the bond for you.”
“Thank you, sir,” Matt replied.
CAPPY PROVES HIMSELF A DESPOT
Cappy Ricks lay back in his swivel chair, his feet on his desk and his eyes closed. He was thinking deeply, for he had something to think about. Coming in from his club the night before he had observed that Florry was entertaining company in the billiard room, as the crash of pool balls testified. He had scarcely reached his room on the second floor, however, when the pool game came to an end and he heard voices in the drawing room, followed presently by a few random chords struck on the piano, and a resonant baritone was raised in the strangest song ever heard in that drawing room—a deep-sea chantey.
Cappy was no great shakes on music, but before he had listened to the first verse of Rolling Home he knew Captain Matt Peasley for the singer and suspected his daughter of faking the accompaniment. He listened at the head of the stairs and presently was treated to a rendition of a lilting little Swedish ballad, followed by one or two selections from the Grand Banks and the doleful song of the Ferocious Whale and the Five Brave Boys. Then he heard Florry laugh happily.
Cappy was thinking of the curious inflection in that laugh now. Once before he had heard it—when he courted Florry’s dead mother; and his old heart swelled a little with pain at the remembrance. He was wondering just what to do about that laugh when Matt was announced.
“Show him in,” said Cappy; and Matt Peasley entered.
“Sit down, Matt,” said Cappy kindly. “Yes, I sent for you. The Gualala will be in to-morrow and you’ve had a fine two-weeks’ vacation. What’s more, I think you’ve enjoyed it, Matt, and I’m glad you did; but now it’s time to get down to business again. I wanted to tell you that the skipper of the Gualala will expect you to be aboard at seven o’clock to-morrow morning.”
Matt studied the pattern of the office rug a minute and then faced Cappy bravely.
“I’m obliged to you, Mr. Ricks, more than I can say; but the fact of the matter is I’ve changed my mind about going to sea again. It’s a dog’s life, sir, and I’m tired of it.”