Mr. Skinner bustled in with the mail.
“Skinner,” said Cappy plaintively, “what’s the best way to drive obstinate people south?”
“Head them north,” said Mr. Skinner.
“I’m doing it,” said Cappy dreamily.
MATT PEASLEY IN EXILE
From Cappy Ricks’ office Matt Peasley went to the rooms of the American Shipmaster’s Association, entered the telephone booth and called up Florence Ricks. From the instant he first laid eyes on her, Miss Florry had occupied practically all of Matt’s thoughts during every waking hour. He had assayed her and appraised her a hundred times and from every possible angle, and each time he decided that Florry was possessed of more than sufficient charm, good looks, sweetness and intelligence to suit the most exacting. Matt wasn’t ultra-exacting and she suited him, and the fact that she was the sole heir to millions was the least of the sailor’s considerations as he dropped his nickel down the slot. Neither did the identity of the young lady’s paternal ancestor constitute a problem, despite the recent interview with that variable individual. Matt regarded Cappy somewhat in the light of a mixed blessing; while he respected him he was a little bit afraid of him, and just at present he disliked him exceedingly. And lastly, his own social and economic status as second mate of the most wretched little steam schooner in the Blue Star Navigation Company’s fleet, failed to enter even remotely into Matt’s scheme of things.
The reason for this mental stand on his part was a perfectly simple and natural one. To begin, he was a stranger to caste other than that of decent manhood. The only rank he had ever known was that of a ship’s officer, and that was merely a condition of servitude. When ashore he regarded himself as the equal of any monarch under heaven and treated all men accordingly. Since he had never known any of the restrictions of polite conventions behind which society entrenches itself in the world occupied by such pampered pets of fortune as Miss Florence Ricks, Matt Peasley failed to see a single sound reason why he should not indulge a very natural desire for Cappy’s ewe lamb—for a singularly direct and forceful individual was Matthew. It was his creed to take what he could get away with, provided that in the taking he broke no moral, legal or ethical code; and if any thought of the apparent incongruity of a sailor’s aspiring to the hand of a millionaire shipowner’s daughter had occurred to him—which, by the way, it had not—he would doubtless have analyzed it thusly:
“There she is. Isn’t she a queen? I want her and there isn’t a single reason on earth why I shouldn’t have her, unless it be that she doesn’t want me. However, I’ll learn all about that when I get good and ready, and if I’m acceptable Cappy Ricks and one of his employees are going to have a warm debate—subject, matrimony. What do I care for him? He’s only her father, and I’ll bet he wasn’t half so well fixed as I am when he got married. I’ll just play the game like a white man, and if Cappy doesn’t like it he’ll have to get over it.”