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- Cappy Ricks - 1/56 -


or The Subjugation of Matt Peasley

by Peter B. Kyne


As exemplified in the persons of my good friends,

Captain Ralph E. Peasley, of Jonesport, Maine,

Who skippered the first five-masted schooner ever built, brought her, on that first voyage, through the worst typhoon that ever blew, and upon arriving at the Yang Tse Kiang River for the first time in his adventurous career, decided he could not trust a Chinese pilot and established a record by sailing her up himself!

Captain I. N. Hibberd, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,

Sometime master of the American clipper ship, Cyrus Wakefield, who, at the age of twenty-five, broke three world's records in one voyage: San Francisco to Liverpool and back, eight months and two days; Liverpool to San Francisco, one hundred days; from the equator to San Francisco, eleven days. The clipper ship is gone but the skipper remains, an undefeated champion.

Captain William P. Cantey, of San Francisco, California,

Sometime mate of the brig Galilee, who, with his naked hands, convinced in thirty-five minutes nine larger men than himself of the incontrovertible fact that you cannot keep a good man down.


As exemplified in the persons of my good friends,

John H. Rossiter, Manager of W. R. Grace & Co., of San Francisco.

Edwin A. Christenson, President of the Sudden & Christenson S.S. Line, of San Francisco.

John R. Hanify, President of the John R. Hanify Company, of San Francisco.


As exemplified in the person of my good friend,

Augustus J. ("Gus") Russell, California Manager for the Portland Lumber Company, and my personal representative, without salary, in the wholesale lumber trade, ever since I abandoned lumber for literature.


As exemplified in the persons of my good friends,

Messrs. E. B. Smith, Oscar J. Beyfuss, and Allan Hayes.

This volume is dedicated, without charge for the advertising but with profound appreciation of the part they have made in making this book possible. With the author they must bear an equal burden of whatever of praise or censure shall entail.


I. Master of Many Ships and Skipper of None II. The Man from Blue Water III. Under the Blue Star Flag IV. Bad News from Cape Town V. Matt Peasley Assumes Office VI. Wordy War at a Dollar a Word VII. Cappy Ricks Makes Bad Medicine VIII. All Hands and Feet to the Rescue IX. Mr. Murphy Advises Preparedness X. The Battle of Table Bay XI. Mr. Skinner Receives a Telegram XII. The Campaign Opens XIII. An Old Friend Returns and Cappy Leads Another Ace XIV. Insult Added to Injury XV. Rumors of War XVI. War! XVII. Cappy Forces an Armistice XVIII. The War is Renewed XIX. Capp Seeks Peace XX. Peace at Last! XXI. Matt Peasley Meets a Talkative Stranger XXII. Face to Face XXIII. Business and-- XXIV. The Clean Up XXV. Cappy Proves Himself a Despot XXVI. Matt Peasley in Exile XXVII. Promotion XXVIII. Cappy Has a Heart XXIX. Nature Takes Her Course XXX. Mr. Skinner Hears a Lecture XXXI. Internal Combustion XXXII. Skinner Proposes--and Cappy Ricks Disposes XXXIII. Cappy's Plans Demolished XXXIV. A Gift From the Gods XXXV. A Dirty Yankee Trick XXXVI. Cappy Forbids the Bans--Yet XXXVII. Matt Peasley Becomes a Shipowner XXXVIII. Working Capital XXXIX. Easy Money XL. The Cataclysm XLI. When Pain and Anguish Wring the Brow XLII. Unexpected Developments XLIII. Cappy Plans a Knock-out XLIV. Skinner Develops into a Human Being XLV. Cappy Pulls Off a Wedding XLVI. A Ship Forgotten XLVII. The Tail Goes with the Hide XLVIII. Victory



A psychologist would have termed Alden P. Ricks an individualist, but his associates in the wholesale lumber and shipping trade of the Pacific Coast proclaimed him a character.

In his youth he had made one voyage round Cape Horn as a cabin boy, his subsequent nautical experience having been confined to the presidency of the Blue Star Navigation Company and occasional voyages as a first-cabin passenger. Notwithstanding this apparent lack of salt-water wisdom, however, his intimate knowledge of ships and the men who go down to the sea in them, together with his very distinct personality, had conduced to provide him with a courtesy title in his old age.

It is more than probable that, had Alden P. Ricks been a large, commanding person possessed of the dignity the average citizen associates with men of equal financial rating, the Street would have called him Captain Ricks. Had he lacked these characteristics, but borne nevertheless even a remote resemblance to a retired mariner, his world would have hailed him as Old Cap Ricks; but since he was what he was--a dapper, precise, shrewd, lovable little old man with mild, paternal blue eyes, a keen sense of humor and a Henry Clay collar, which latter, together with a silk top hat, had distinguished him on 'Change for forty years--it was inevitable that along the Embarcadero and up California Street he should bear the distinguishing appellation of Cappy. In any other line of human endeavor he would have been called Pappy--he was that type of man.

Cappy Ricks had so much money, amassed in the wholesale lumber and shipping business, that he had to engage some very expensive men to take care of it for him. He owned the majority of the stock of the Ricks Lumber and Logging Company, with sawmills and timberlands in California, Oregon and Washington; his young men had to sell a million feet of lumber daily in order to keep pace with the output, while the vessels of the Blue Star Navigation Company, also controlled by Cappy, freighted it. There were thirty-odd vessels in the Blue Star fleet--windjammers and steam schooners; and Cappy was registered as managing owner of every one.

Following that point in his career when the young fellows on the Street, discovering that he was a true-blue sport, had commenced to fraternize with him and call him Cappy, the old gentleman ceased to devote his attention to the details of his business. He was just beginning to enjoy life; so he shifted the real work of his multifarious interests to the capable shoulders of a Mr. John P. Skinner, who fitted into his niche in the business as naturally as the kernel of a healthy walnut fits its shell. Mr. Skinner was a man still on the sunny side of middle life, smart, capable, cold-blooded, a little bumptious, and, like the late Julius Caesar, ambitious.

No sooner had Cappy commenced to take life easy than Skinner commenced to dominate the business. He attended an efficiency congress and came home with a collection of newfangled ideas that eliminated from the

Cappy Ricks - 1/56

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