“You skipped upstairs like a sick woman,” Cappy reflected. “I’ll bet a hat you telephoned that son of a sea cook to be sure and throw himself in my way to-morrow, so I’ll invite him out to dinner. And you’re complaining of a headache now so you’ll have a good excuse to cancel that dinner engagement to-morrow night so as to eat at home with your daddy and his guest. Poor old father! He’s such a dub! I’ll bet myself a four-bit cigar I eat breakfast alone to-morrow morning.”
And it was even so. Florry sent down word that she was too indisposed to breakfast with her father, and the old man drove chuckling to his office. That afternoon Matt Peasley, in an endeavor to invade the floor of the Merchants’ Exchange, to which he had no right, was apprehended by the doorkeeper and asked to show his credentials.
“Oh, I’m Captain Peasley, of the Blue Star Navigation Company,” he replied lightly, and was granted admittance as the courtesy accorded all sea captains. He knew Cappy Ricks always spent an hour on ’Change after luncheon at the Commercial Club. When Cappy met him, however, the old man was mean enough to pay not the slightest attention to Matt; so after waiting round for three-quarters of an hour longer, the latter left the Exchange and walked down California Street, where he posted himself in the shelter of a corner half a block south of No. 258, where the Blue Star Navigation Company had its offices. From this vantage point presently he spied Cappy trotting home from the Merchants’ Exchange; whereupon Matt strolled leisurely up the street and met him. And in order that Cappy should realize whom he was meeting Matt bumped into the schemer and then begged his pardon profusely.
“Don’t mention it, Matt,” the old rascal protested. “You shook up a flock of ideas in my head and jarred one loose. If you haven’t anything on to-night, my boy, better come out to the house and have dinner with me. I’m all alone and I want company.”
“Thank you, sir,” Matt replied enthusiastically; “I’ll be glad to come.”
“You bet you will,” Cappy thought. Aloud he said: “At six-thirty.”
“Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.” And Matt Peasley was off like a tin-canned dog to slick himself up for the party, while Cappy entered the elevator chuckling. “If I ever find the sour-souled philosopher who said you can’t mix business and sentiment without resultant chaos,” he soliloquized, “I’ll boil the kill-joy in oil.”
NATURE TAKES HER COURSE
The big steam schooner Quickstep was lying at the Los Medanos dock when Matt Peasley reported for duty. The captain was not aboard, but the first mate received him kindly and explained that Captain Kjellin had gone down to San Francisco by train for a little social relaxation and to bring back funds to pay off the longshoremen.
Early on Monday morning the crew and a large force of stevedores commenced to discharge the vessel. Two winches were kept busy, the first mate being in charge of the work up forward and Matt superintending that aft. The shingles were loaded in huge rope cargo nets, snatched out of the ship and swung overside onto flat cars, which were shunted off into the drying yard as soon as loaded.