“Sailed from San Pedro at noon yesterday.”
“Where is the Quickstep?”
“Sailed from Eureka to load shingles last night.”
“Good. Wireless the master of the Florence to provide himself with a new second mate. That will give him time to wireless ahead and have one waiting for him when the vessel touches in to discharge passengers from the south. Tell him to inform Peasley he isn’t fired, but just transferred. Attend to it, Skinner.”
While Mr. Skinner departed to carry out Cappy’s order, the old gentleman called up Harbor 15, Masters’ and Pilots’ Association, and asked for the secretary.
“Ricks of the Blue Star speaking,” he announced crisply. “Been furnishing many second mates to the Quickstep lately?”
“Why, yes, Mr. Ricks. Kjellin wires for a new second mate quite frequently. They don’t seem to stay with him more than a voyage or two. He’s quite a driver, you know, Mr. Ricks.”
“I know,” Cappy replied grimly. “The next time he wires in to have a second mate join the ship when he touches in here, you might be good enough to call me up. I have a skookum young second mate in the Florence Ricks that I’m training for a captain, and I want to switch him in on the Humboldt Bay run for the sake of the experience. And, of course, you know how it is with masters—they like to think they’re selecting their own mates, and always resent any interference from their owners. And if you do ask them to take a certain mate they’re apt to suspect he’s a spy from the office, and—well, you understand. I’d prefer to have this lad I have in mind go aboard as if you had sent him.”
“I understand, Mr. Ricks. I’ll let you know the first time Kjellin wires in.”
CAPPY HAS A HEART
“Well, Matt,” said Cappy Ricks, cheerfully, as he shook hands with the late second mate of the Florence Ricks. “We don’t see much of each other now that you’re a mate. But don’t worry, you’ll be a master again, and then you’ll be dropping in here a couple of times a month pestering me for a lot of things for your ship that you could probably get along without. You’re looking fit, my boy.”
“I’m feeling fit, sir,” Matt replied, grinning.
“I’m glad to hear it,” was Cappy’s grim reply. “Hum! Harump-h-h-h! Let me see now. You’ve had your course in the Mendocino dog-holes, and that’s over. I hope you learned something. You’ve run for seven months from all the Washington and Oregon ports to Southern California, and—er—that’s very nice. But you haven’t been over Humboldt Bar yet, have you?”