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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 270 pages of information about Cappy Ricks.

“I accept it, sir,” Matt exclaimed, overjoyed.  “What is it?”

“That you stick in her at least six months.”

“I will if I live and she floats that long, sir.  Thank you.  Please have a second mate and an ambulance waiting for me at Meiggs Wharf on Monday.  I’ll touch in there on my way up river to discharge what’s left of your skipper.”

CHAPTER XXX

MR. SKINNER HEARS A LECTURE

Down in the offices of the Blue Star Navigation Company Cappy Ricks, having summoned Mr. Skinner, sat peering whimsically at the general manager over the rims of his spectacles.  “Well, Skinner, my dear boy,” he announced presently, “sure enough there was something wrong with the Quickstep, and now I know what it is; she has had the wrong master.  When he hustles to catch a tide or to get to sea Saturday night or Sunday morning he drives his mates and tries to make them do longshoremen’s work.  When he bullied a weak mate into doing that, there was nobody to pay exclusive attention to the slingloads as they came into the ship, and naturally accidents resulted.  When strong second mates refused he fired them, and after firing them he cornered them in his cabin, held them foul and beat them.  You see, Skinner, this skookum skipper of yours didn’t realize that with two slingloads of shingles a minute dropping into the ship he had to have a man on the job to watch the loading and do nothing else; and because he didn’t realize the error of his way, Skinner, he and Matt Peasley have pulled off that little skin-glove contest, and now Kjellin looks like a barrel of cement that’s been dropped out the window of a six-story building.  Hum!  Ahem!  Harump-h-h-h!  Call up the attorney for that man Jacobsen that’s suing the Quickstep, and tell him to come down here with his man and we’ll settle the case out of court.  His charge lies against Kjellin for assault and battery, but after all, Skinner, I dare say we are in a measure responsible for our servants.  I’ll give the attorney about twenty-five dollars for his fee, and er—­the man Jacobsen—­let me see, Skinner, he had a broken nose, did he not?”

“Yes, sir.”

“We’ll pay his doctor bill and his wages as second mate since Kjellin fired him, and give him a hundred dollars extra.”

“How about Kjellin’s hospital bill?”

“I disclaim responsibility, Skinner.  Did he settle up with the cashier for his last voyage?”

“Yes, Mr. Ricks.”

“Then send him a wireless and tell him he’s fired.  Also, Skinner, my boy, see that an ambulance is waiting for him at Meiggs Wharf when he arrives on the Quickstep on Monday.  We’ll show him we’re not entirely heartless.  Make it clear, however, that this office will not be responsible for the ambulance fee.  Matt will bring the vessel down without a second mate, I dare say.  He’ll stand a watch himself.  Better call up Harbor 15 and see if there isn’t a second mate out of a job hanging round there, and tell him to join the ship at Meiggs Wharf.”

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