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T h e S t o r y o f
a P a t r i o t
- C h a p t e r 7 1
- THESE were days of world-agony, when people bought the newspapers several times every day, and when crowds gathered in front of bulletin boards, looking at the big maps with little flags, and speculating, were the Germans going to get to Paris, were they going to get to the Channel and put France out of the war? And then suddenly the Americans struck their first blow, and hurled the Germans back at Chateau-Thierry, and all America rose up with one shout of triumph!
You would think that was a poor time for pacifist agitation; but the members of the Anti-conscription League had so little discretion that they chose this precise moment to publish a pamphlet, describing the torturing of conscientious objectors in military prisons and training camps! Peter had been active in this organization from the beginning, and he had helped to write into the pamphlet a certain crucial phrase which McGivney had suggested. So now here were the pamphlets seized by the Federal government, and all the members of the Anti-conscription League under arrest, including Sadie Todd and little Ada Ruth and Donald Gordon! Peter was sorry about Sadie Todd, in spite of the fact that she had called him names. He couldn't be very sorry about Ada Ruth, because she was obviously a fanatic, bent on getting herself into trouble. As for Donald Gordon, if he hadn't learned his lesson from that whipping, he surely had nobody to blame but himself.
Peter was a member of this Anti-conscription League, so he pretended to be in hiding, and carried on a little comedy with Ada Ruth's cousin, an Englishwoman, who hid him out in her place in the country. Peter had an uncomfortable quarter of an hour when Donald Gordon was released on bail, because the Quaker boy insisted that the crucial phrase which had got them all into trouble had been stricken out of the manuscript before he handed it to Peter Gudge to take to the printer. But Peter insisted that Donald was mistaken, and apparently he succeeded in satisfying the others, and after they were all out on bail, he made bold to come out of his hiding place and to attend one or two protest meetings in private homes.
Then began a new adventure, in some ways the most startling of all. It had to do with another girl, and the beginning was in the home of Ada Ruth, where a few of the most uncompromising of the pacifists gathered to discuss the question of raising money to pay for their legal defense. To this meeting came Miriam Yankovich, pale from an operation for cancer of the breast, but with a heart and mind as Red as ever. Miriam had brought along a friend to help her, because she wasn't strong enough to walk; and it was this friend who started Peter on his new adventure.
Rosie Stern was her name, and she was a solid little Jewish working girl, with bold black eyes, and a mass of shining black hair, and flaming cheeks and a flashing smile. She was dressed as if she knew about her beauty, and really appreciated it; so Peter wasn't surprised when Miriam, introducing her, remarked that Rosie wasn't a Red and didn't like the Reds, but had just come to help her, and to see what a pacifist meeting was like. Perhaps Peter might help to make a Red out of her! And Peter was very glad indeed, for he was never more bored with the whining of pacifists than now when our boys were hurling the Germans back from the Marne and writing their names upon history's most imperishable pages.
Rosie was something new and unforeseen, and Peter went right after her, and presently he realized with delight that she was interested in him. Peter knew, of course, that he was superior to all this crowd, but he wasn't used to having the fact recognized, and as usual when a woman smiled upon him, the pressure of his self-esteem rose beyond the safety point. Rosie was one of those people who take the world as it is and get some fun out of it, so while the pacifist meeting went on, Peter sat over in the corner and told her in whispers his funny adventures with Pericles Priam and in the Temple of Jimjambo. Rosie could hardly repress her laughter, and her black eyes flashed, and before the evening was over their hands had touched several times. Then Peter offered to escort her and Miriam, and needless to say they took Miriam home first. The tenement streets were deserted at this late hour, so they found a chance for swift embraces, and Peter went home with his feet hardly touching the ground.
Rosie worked in a paper-box factory, and next evening Peter took her out to dinner, and their eager flirtation went on. But Rosie showed a tendency to retreat, and when Peter pressed her, she told him the reason. She had no use for Reds; she was sick of the jargon of the Reds, she would never love a Red. Look at Miriam Yankovich - what a wreck she had made of her life! She had been a handsome girl, she might have got a rich husband, but now she had had to be cut to pieces! And look at Sadie Todd, slaving herself to death, and Ada Ruth with her poems that made you tired. Rosie jeered at them all, and riddled them with the arrows of her wit, and of course Peter in his heart agreed with everything she said; yet Peter had to pretend to disagree, and that made Rosie cross and spoiled their fun, and they almost quarreled.
Under these circumstances, naturally it was hard for Peter not to give some hint of his true feeling. After he had spent all of his money on Rosie and a lot of his time and hadn't got anywhere, he decided to make some concession to her - he told her he would give up trying to make a Red out of her. Whereupon Rosie made a face at him. "Very kind indeed of you, Mr. Gudge! But how about my making a 'White' out of you?" And she went on to inform him that she wanted a fellow that could make money and take care of a girl. Peter answered that he was making money all right. Well, how was he making money, asked Rosie. Peter wouldn't tell, but he was making it, and he would prove it by taking her to the theater every night.
So the little duel went on, evening after evening. Peter got more and more crazy about this black-eyed beauty, and she got more and more coquettish, and more and more impatient with his radical leanings. Rosie's father had brought her as a baby from Kisheneff, but she was 100% American all the same, so she told him; those boys in khaki who were over there walloping the Huns were the boys for her, and she was waiting for one of them to come back. What was the matter with Peter that he wasn't doing his part? Was he a draft-dodger? Rosie had never had anything to do with slackers, and wasn't keen for the company of a man who couldn't give an account of himself. Only that day she had been reading in the paper about the atrocities committed by the Huns. How could any man with red blood in his veins sympathize with these pacifists and traitors? And if Peter didn't sympathize with them, why did he travel round with them and give them his moral support? When Peter made a feeble effort at repeating some of the pacifists' arguments, Rosie just said, "Oh, fudge! You've got too much sense to talk that kind of stuff to me." And Peter knew, of course, that he had too much sense, and it was hard to keep from letting Rosie see it. He had just lost one girl because of his Red entanglements. Was it up to him to lose another?
For a couple of weeks they sparred and fought. Rosie would let Peter kiss her, and Peter's head would be quite turned with desire. He decided that she was the most wonderful girl he had ever known; even Nell Doolin had nothing on her. But then once more she would pin Peter down on this business of his Redness, and would spurn him, and refuse to see him any more. At last Peter admitted to her that he had lost his sympathy with the Reds, she had converted him, and he despised them. So Rosie replied that she was delighted; they would go at once to see Miriam Yankovich, and Peter would tell her, and try to convert her also. Peter was then in a bad dilemma; he had to insist that Rosie should keep his conversion a secret. But Rosie became indignant, she set her lips and declared that a conversion that had to be kept secret was no conversion at all, it was simply a low sham, and Peter Gudge was a coward, and she was sick of him! So poor Peter went away, heartbroken and bewildered.
C h a p t e r 7 2
- THERE was only one way out of this plight for Peter, and that was for him to tell Rosie the truth. And why should he not do it? He was wild about her, and he knew that she was wild about him, and only one thing - his great secret - stood in the way of their perfect bliss. If he told her that great secret, he would be a hero of heroes in her eyes; he would be more wonderful even than the men who were driving back the Germans from the Marne and writing their names upon history's most imperishable pages! So why should he not tell?
He was in her room one evening, and his arms were about her, and she had almost but not quite yielded. "Please, please, Peter," she pleaded, "stop being one of those horrid Reds!" And Peter could stand it no longer. He told her that he really wasn't a Red, but a secret agent employed by the very biggest business men of American City to keep track of the Reds and bring their activities to naught. And when he told this, Rosie stared at him in consternation. She refused to believe him; when he insisted, she laughed at him, and finally became angry. It was a silly yarn, and did he imagine he could string her along like that?
So Peter, irritated, set out to convince her. He told her about Guffey and the American City Land & Investment Company; he told her about McGivney, and how he met McGivney regularly at Room 427 of the American House. He told her about his thirty dollars a week, and how it was soon to be increased to forty, and he would spend it all on her. And perhaps she might pretend to be converted by him, and become a Red also, and if she could satisfy McGivney that she was straight, he would pay her too, and it would be a lot better than working ten and a half hours a day in Isaac & Goldstein's paper box factory.
At last Peter succeeded in convincing the girl. She was subdued and frightened; she hadn't been prepared for anything like that, she said, and would have to have a little time to think it over. Peter then became worried in turn. He hoped she wouldn't mind, he said, and set to work to explain to her how important his work was, how it had the sanction of all the very best people in the city - not merely the great bankers and business men, but mayors and public officials and newspaper editors and college presidents, and great Park Avenue clergymen like the Rev. de Willoughby Stotterbridge of the Church of the Divine Compassion. And Rosie said that was all right, of course, but she was a little scared and would have to think it over. She brought the evening to an abrupt end, and Peter went home much disconcerted.
Perhaps an hour later there came a sharp tap on the door of his lodging-house room, and he went to the door, and found himself confronted by David Andrews, the lawyer, Donald Gordon, and John Durand, the labor giant, president of the Seamen's Union. They never even said, "Howdy do," but stalked into the room, and Durand shut the door behind him, and stood with his back to it, folded his arms and glared at Peter like the stone image of an Aztec chieftain. So before they said a word Peter knew what had happened. He knew that the jig was up for good this time; his career as savior of the nation was at an end. And again it was all on account of a woman - all because he hadn't taken Guffey's advice about winking!
But all other thoughts were driven from Peter's mind by one emotion, which was terror. His teeth began giving their imitation of an angry woodchuck, and his knees refused to hold him; he sat down on the edge of the bed, staring from one to another of these three stone Aztec faces. "Well, Gudge," said Andrews, at last, "so you're the spy we've been looking for all this time!"
Peter remembered Nell's injunction, "Stick it out, Peter! Stick it out!"
"Wh-wh-what do you mean, Mr. Andrews?"
"Forget it, Gudge," said Andrews. "We've just been talking with Rosie, and Rosie was our spy."
"She's been lying to you!" Peter cried.
But Andrews said: "Oh rubbish! We're not that easy! Miriam Yankovich was listening behind the door, and heard your talk."
So then Peter knew that the case was hopeless, and there was nothing left but to ascertain his fate. Had they come just to scold him and appeal to his conscience? Or did they plan to carry him away and strangle him and torture him to death? The latter was the terror that had been haunting Peter from the beginning of his career, and when gradually be made out that the three Aztecs did not intend violence, and that all they hoped for was to get him to admit how much he had told to his employers - then there was laughter inside Peter, and he broke down and wept tears of scalding shame, and said that it had all been because McCormick had told that cruel lie about him and little Jennie Todd. He had resisted the temptation for a year, but then he had been out of a job, and the Goober Defense Committee had refused him any work; he had actually been starving, and so at last he had accepted McGivney's offer to let him know about the seditious activities of the extreme Reds. But he had never reported anybody who hadn't really broken the law, and he had never told McGivney anything but the truth.
Then Andrews proceeded to examine him. Peter denied that he had ever reported anything about the Goober case. He denied most strenuously that he had ever had anything to do with the McCormick "frame-up." When they tried to pin him down on this case and that, he suddenly summoned his dignity and declared that Andrews had no right to cross-question him, he was a 100%, red-blooded American patriot, and had been saving his country and his God from German agents and Bolshevik traitors.
Donald Gordon almost went wild at that. "What you've been doing was to slip stuff into our pamphlet about conscientious objectors, so as to get us all indicted!"
"That's a lie!" cried Peter. "I never done nothing of the kind!"
"You know perfectly well you rubbed out those pencil marks that I drew through that sentence in the pamphlet."
"I never done it!" cried Peter, again and again.
And suddenly big John Durand clenched his hands, and his face became terrible with his pent-up rage. "You white-livered little sneak!" he hissed. "What we ought to do with you is to pull the lying tongue out of you!" He took a step forward, as if he really meant to do it.
But David Andrews interfered. He was a lawyer, and knew the difference between what he could do and what Guffey's men could do. "No, no, John," he said, "nothing like that. I guess we've got all we can get out of this fellow. We'll leave him to his own conscience and his Jingo God. Come on, Donald." And he took the white-faced Quaker boy with one hand, and the big labor giant with the other, and walked them out of the room, and Peter heard them tramping down the stairs of his lodging house, and he lay on his bed and buried his face in the pillows, and felt utterly wretched, because once more he had been made a fool of, and as usual it was a woman that had done it.
C h a p t e r 7 3
- PETER could see it all very clearly when he came to figure over the thing; he could see what a whooping jackass he had been. He might have known that it was up to him to be careful, at this time of all times, when he was suspected of having rubbed out Donald Gordon's pencil marks. They had picked out a girl whom Peter had never seen before, and she had come and posed as Miriam's friend, and had proceeded to take Peter by the nose and lead him to the edge of the precipice and shove him over. And now she would be laughing at him, telling all her friends about her triumph, and about Peter's thirty dollars a week that he would never see again.
Peter spent a good part of the night getting up the story that he was to tell McGivney next morning. He wouldn't mention Rosie Stern, of course; he would say that the Reds had trailed him to Room 427, and it must be they had a spy in Guffey's office. Peter repeated this story quite solemnly, and again realized too late that he had made a fool of himself. It wasn't twenty-four hours before every Red in American City knew the true, inside history of the unveiling of Peter Gudge as a spy of the Traction Trust. The story occupied a couple of pages in that week's issue of the "Clarion," and included Peter's picture, and an account of the part that Peter had played in various frame-ups. It was nearly all true, and the fact that it was guess-work on Donald Gordon's part did not make it any the better for Peter. Of course McGivney and Guffey and all his men read the story, and knew Peter for the whooping jackass that Peter knew himself.
"You go and get yourself a job with a pick and shovel," said McGivney, and Peter sorrowfully took his departure. He had only a few dollars in his pocket, and these did not last very long, and he had got down to his last nickel, and was confronting the wolf of starvation again, when McGivney came to his lodging house room with a new proposition. There was one job left, and Peter might take it if he thought he could stand the gaff.
It was the job of state's witness. Peter had been all thru the Red movement, he knew all these pacifists and Socialists and Syndicalists and I. W. Ws. who were now in jail. In some cases the evidence of the government was far from satisfactory; so Peter might have his salary back again, if he were willing to take the witness stand and tell what he was told to tell, and if he could manage to sit in a courtroom without falling in love with some of the lady jurors, or some of the lady spies of the defense. These deadly shafts of sarcasm Peter did not even feel, because he was so frightened by the proposition which McGivney put up to him. To come out into the open and face the blinding glare of the Red hate! To place himself, the ant, between the smashing fists of the battling giants!
Yes, it might seem dangerous, said McGivney, for a cowardly little whelp like himself; but then a good many men had had the nerve to do it, and none of them had died yet. McGivney himself did not pretend to care very much whether Peter did it or not; he put the matter up to him on Guffey's orders. The job was worth forty dollars a week, and he might take it or leave it.
And there sat Peter, with only a nickel and a couple of pennies in his pocket, and the rent for his room two weeks over-due, and his landlady lying in wait in the hallway like an Indian with a tomahawk. Peter objected, what about all those bad things in his early record, Pericles Priam and the Temple of Jimjambo, which had ruined him as a witness in the Goober case. McGivney answered dryly that he couldn't let himself out with that excuse; he was invited to pose as a reformed "wobbly," and the more crimes and rascalities he had in his record, the more convinced the jury would be that he had been a real "wobbly."
Peter asked, just when would he be expected to appear? And McGivney answered, the very next week. They were trying seventeen of the "wobblies" on a conspiracy charge, and Peter would be expected to take the stand and tell how he had heard them advocate violence, and heard them boast of having set fire to barns and wheat fields, and how they had put phosphorus bombs into haystacks, and copper nails into fruit trees, and spikes into sawmill logs, and emery powder into engine bearings. Peter needn't worry about what he would have to say, McGivney would tell him everything, and would see him thoroughly posted, and he would find himself a hero in the newspapers, which would make clear that he had done everything from the very highest possible motives of 100% Americanism, and that no soldier in the war had been performing a more dangerous service.
To Peter it seemed they might say that without troubling their conscience very much. But McGivney went on to declare that he needn't be afraid; it was no part of Guffey's program to give the Reds the satisfaction of putting his star witness out of business. Peter would be kept in a safe place, and would always have a body-guard. While he was in the city, giving his testimony, they would put him up at the Hotel de Soto.
And that of course settled it. Here was poor Peter, with only a nickel and two coppers in his pocket, and before him stood a chariot of fire with magic steeds, and all he had to do was to step in, and be whirled away to Mount Olympus. Peter stepped in!
C h a p t e r 7 4
- MCGIVNEY took him to Guffey's office, and Guffey wasted no time upon preliminaries, but turned to his desk, and took out a long typewritten document, a complete account of what the prosecution meant to prove against the seventeen I. W. Ws. First, Peter told what he himself had seen and heard - not very much, but a beginning, a hook to hang his story upon. The I. W. W. hall was the meeting place for the casual and homeless labor of the country, the "bindle-stiffs" who took the hardest of the world's hard knocks, and sometimes returned them. There was no kind of injustice these fellows hadn't experienced, and now and then they had given blow for blow. Also there were loose talkers among them, who worked off their feelings by threats of vengeance upon their enemies. Now and then a real criminal came along, and now and then a paid inciter, a Peter Gudge or a Joe Angell. Peter told the worst that he had heard, and all he knew about the arrested men, and Guffey wrote it all down, and then proceeded to build upon it. This fellow Alf Guinness had had a row with a farmer in Wheatland County; there had been a barn burned nearby, and Guffey would furnish an automobile and a couple of detectives to travel with Peter, and they would visit the scene of that fire and the nearby village, and familiarize themselves with the locality, and Peter would testify how he had been with Guinness when he and a half dozen of the defendants had set fire to that barn.
Peter hadn't intended anything quite so serious as that, but Guffey was so business-like, and took it all so much as a matter of course, that Peter was afraid to show the white feather. After all, this was war-time; hundreds of men were giving up their lives every day in the Argonne, and why shouldn't Peter take a little risk in order to put out of business his country's most dangerous enemies?
So Peter and his two detectives blew themselves to a joy ride in the country. And then Peter was brought back and made comfortable in a room on the twelfth floor of the Hotel de Soto, where he diligently studied the typewritten documents which McGivney brought him, and thoroughly learned the story he was to tell. There was always one of Guffey's men walking up and down in the hallway outside with a gun on his hip, and they brought Peter three meals a day, not forgetting a bottle of beer and a package of cigarettes. Twice a day Peter read in the newspapers about the heroic deeds of our boys over there, and also about the latest bomb plots which had been discovered all over the country, and about various trials under the espionage act.
Also, Peter had the thrill of reading about himself in a real newspaper. Hitherto he had been featured in labor papers, and Socialist papers like the "Clarion," which did not count; but now the American City "Times" came out with a long story of how the district attorney's office had "planted" a secret agent with the I. W. W., and how this man, whose name was Peter Gudge, had been working as one of them for the past two years, and was going to reveal the whole story of I. W. W. infamy on the witness stand.
Two days before the trial Peter was escorted by McGivney and another detective to the district attorney's office, and spent the best part of the day in conference with Mr. Burchard and his deputy, Mr. Stannard, who were to try the case. McGivney had told Peter that the district attorney was not in the secret, he really believed that Peter's story was all true; but Peter suspected that this was camouflage, to save Mr. Burchard's face, and to protect him in case Peter ever tried to "throw him down." Peter noticed that whenever he left any gap in his story, the district attorney and the deputy told him to fill it, and he managed to guess what to fill it with.
Henry Clay Burchard came from the far South, and followed a style of oratory long since gone out of date. He wore his heavy black hair a little long, and when he mounted the platform he would pull out the tremulo stop, stretching out his hands and saying in tones of quivering emotion: "The ladies, God bless them!" Also he would say: "I am a friend of the common man. My heart beats with sympathy for those who constitute the real backbone of America, the toilers of the shop and farm." And then all the banqueters of the Chamber of Commerce and the Merchants' and Manufacturers' Association would applaud, and would send their checks to the campaign fund of this friend of the common man. Mr. Burchard's deputy, Mr. Stannard, was a legal fox who told his chief what to do and how to do it; a dried-up little man who looked like a bookworm, and sat boring you thru with his keen eyes, watching for your weak points and preparing to pierce you thru with one of his legal rapiers. He would be quite friendly about it - he would joke with you in the noon hour, assuming that you would of course understand it was all in the line of business, and no harm meant.
C h a p t e r 7 5
- THE two men heard Peter's story and changed it a little, and then heard him over again and pronounced him all right, and Peter went back to his hotel room and waited in trepidation for his hour in the limelight. When they took him to court his knees were shaking, but also he had a thrill of real importance, for they had provided him with a body-guard of four big huskies; also he saw two "bulls" whom he recognized in the hallway outside the court-room, and many others scattered thru the audience. The place was packed with Red sympathizers, but they had all been searched before they were allowed to enter, and were being watched every moment during the trial.
When Peter stepped into the witness box he felt as Tom Duggan and Donald Gordon must have felt that night when the white glare from thirty or forty automobiles was beating upon them. Peter felt the concentrated Red hate of two or three hundred spectators, and now and then their pent-up fury would break restraint; there would be a murmur of protest, or perhaps a wave of sneering laughter, and the bailiff would bang on the table with his wooden mallet, and the judge would half rise from his seat, and declare that if that happened again he would order the court-room cleared.
Not far in front of Peter at a long table sat the seventeen defendants, looking like trapped rats, and every one of their thirty-four rat eyes were fixed upon Peter's face, and never moved from it. Peter only glanced that way once; they bared their rats' teeth at him, and he quickly looked in another direction. But there also he saw a face that brought him no comfort; there sat Mrs. Godd, in her immaculate white chiffons, her wide-open blue eyes fixed upon his face, her expression full of grief and reproach. "Oh, Mr. Gudge!" she seemed to be saying. "How can you? Mr. Gudge, is this Peace. . . justice. . . Truth. . . Law?" And Peter realized with a pang that he had cut himself off forever from Mount Olympus, and from the porch chair with the soft silken pillows! He turned away toward the box where sat the twelve jurymen and women. One old lady gave him a benevolent smile, and a young farmer gave him a sly wink, so Peter knew that he had friends in that quarter - and after all, they were the ones who really counted in this trial. Mrs. Godd was as helpless as any "wobbly," in the presence of this august court.
Peter told his story, and then came his cross-questioning, and who should rise and start the job but David Andrews, suave and humorous and deadly. Peter had always been afraid of Andrews, and now he winced. Nobody had told him he was to face an ordeal like this! Nobody had told him that Andrews would be allowed to question him about every detail of these crimes which he said he had witnessed, and about all the conversations that had taken place, and who else was present, and what else had been said, and how he had come to be there, and what he had done afterwards, and what he had had to eat for breakfast that morning. Only two things saved Peter, first the constant rapid-fire of objections which Stannard kept making, to give Peter time to think; and second, the cyclone-cellar which Stannard had provided for him in advance. "You can always fail to remember," the deputy had said; "nobody can punish you for forgetting something." So Peter would repeat the minute details of a conversation in which Alf Guinness had told of burning down the barn, but he didn't remember who else had heard the conversation, and he didn't remember what else had been said, nor what was the date of the conversation.
Then came the blessed hour of noon, with a chance for Peter to get fixed up again before the court resumed at two. He was questioned again by Stannard, who patched up all the gaps in his testimony, and then again he failed to remember things, and so avoided the traps which Andrews set for his feet. He was told that he had "done fine," and was escorted back to the Hotel de Soto in triumph, and there for a week he stayed while the defense made a feeble effort to answer his testimony. Peter read in the papers the long speeches in which the district attorney and the deputy acclaimed him as a patriot, protecting his country from its "enemies within;" also he read a brief reference to the "tirade" of David Andrews, who had called him a "rat" and a "slinking Judas." Peter didn't mind that, of course - it was all part of the game, and the calling of names is a pretty sure sign of impotence.
Less easy to accept placidly, however, was something which came to Peter that same day - a letter from Mrs. Godd! It wasn't written to him, but he saw Hammett and another of the "bulls" chuckling together, and he asked what was the joke, and they told him that Mrs. Godd had somehow found out about Guffey, and had written him a letter full of insults, and Guffey was furious. Peter asked what was in it, and they told him, and later on when he insisted, they brought it and showed it to him, and Peter was furious too. On very expensive stationery with a stately crest at the top, the mother of Mount Olympus had written in a large, bland, girlish hand her opinion of "under cover" men and those who hired them:
"You sit like a big spider and weave a net to catch men and destroy them. You destroy alike your victims and your tools. The poor boy, Peter Gudge, whom you sent to my home - my heart bleeds when I think of him, and what you have put him up to! A wretched, feeble-minded victim of greed, who ought to be sent to a hospital for deformed souls, you have taken him and taught him a piece of villainy to recite, so that he may send a group of sincere idealists to prison."
That was enough! Peter put down the letter - he would not dignify such stuff by reading it. He realized that he would have to put his mind on the problem of Mrs. Godd once more. One woman like that, in her position of power, was more dangerous than all the seventeen "wobblies" who had been haled before the court. Peter inquired, and learned that Guffey had already been to see Nelse Ackerman about it, and Mr. Ackerman had been to see Mr. Godd, and Mr. Godd had been to see Mrs. Godd. Also the "Times" had an editorial referring to the "nest of Bolshevism" upon Mount Olympus, and all Mrs. Godd's friends were staying away from her luncheon-parties - so she was being made to suffer for her insolence to Peter Gudge!
"A hospital for deformed souls," indeed! Peter was so upset that his joy in life was not restored even by the news that the jury had found the defendants guilty on the first ballot. He told McGivney that the strain of this trial had been too much for his nerves, and they must take care of him; so an automobile was provided, and Peter was taken to a secret hiding place in the country to recuperate.
Hammett went with him, and Hammett was a first-class gunman, and Peter stayed close by him; in the evening he stayed up in the second story of the farm-house, lest perchance one of the "wobblies" should take too literally the testimony Peter had given concerning their habit of shooting at their enemies out of the darkness. Peter knew how they all must hate him; he read in the paper how the judge summoned the guilty men before him and sentenced them, incidentally forcing them to listen to a scathing address, which was published in full in the "Times." The law provided a penalty of from one to fourteen years, and the judge sentenced sixteen of them to fourteen years, and one to ten years, thus tempering justice with mercy.
Then one day McGivney sent an automobile, and Peter was brought to Guffey's office, and a new plan was unfolded to him. They had arrested another bunch of "wobblies" in the neighboring city of Eldorado, and Peter was wanted there to repeat his testimony. It happened that he knew one of the accused men, and that would be sufficient to get his testimony in - his prize stuff about the burning barns and the phosphorus bombs. He would be taken care of just as thoroughly by the district attorney's office of Eldorado County; or better yet, Guffey would write to his friend Steve Ellman, who did the detective work for the Home and Fireside Association, the big business organization of that city.
Peter hemmed and hawed. This was a pretty hard and dangerous kind of work, it really played the devil with a man's nerves, sitting up there in the hotel room all day, with nothing to do but smoke cigarettes and imagine the "wobblies" throwing bombs at you. Also, it wouldn't last very long; it ought to be better paid. Guffey answered that Peter needn't worry about the job's lasting; if he cared to give this testimony, he might have a joy ride from one end of the country to the other, and everywhere he would live on the fat of the land, and be a hero in the newspapers.
But still Peter hemmed and hawed. He had learned from the American City "Times" how valuable a witness he was, and he ventured to demand his price, even from the terrible Guffey; he stuck it out, in spite of Guffey's frowns, and the upshot was that Guffey said, All right, if Peter would take the trip he might have seventy-five dollars a week and expenses, and Guffey would guarantee to keep him busy for not less than six months.
C h a p t e r 7 6
- SO Peter went to Eldorado, and helped to send eleven men to the penitentiary for periods varying from three to fourteen years. Then he went to Flagland, and testified in three different trials, and added seven more scalps to his belt. By this time he got to realize that the worst the Reds could do was to make faces at him and show the teeth of trapped rats. He learned to take his profession more easily, and would sometimes venture to go out for an evening's pleasure without his guards. When he was hidden in the country he would take long walks. regardless of the thousands of blood-thirsty Reds on his trail.
It was while Peter was testifying in Flagland that a magic word was flashed from Europe, and the whole city went mad with joy. Everyone, from babies to old men, turned out on the streets and waved flags and banged tin cans and shouted for peace with victory. When it was learned that the newspapers had fooled them, they waited three days, and then turned out and went thru the same performance again. Peter was a bit worried at first, for fear the coming of peace might end his job of saving the country; but presently he realized that there was no need for concern, the smashing of the Reds was going on just the same.
They had some raids on the Socialists while Peter was in Flagland, and the detectives told him he might come along for the fun of it. So Peter armed himself with a black-jack and a revolver, and helped to rush the Socialist headquarters. The war was over, but Peter felt just as military as if it were still going on; when he got the little Jewish organizer of the local pent up in a corner behind his desk and proceeded to crack him over the head, Peter understood exactly how our boys had felt in the Argonne. When he discovered the thrill of dancing on typewriter keys with his boots, he even understood how the Huns had felt.
The detectives were joined by a bunch of college boys, who took to that kind of thing with glee. Having got their blood up, they decided they might as well clean out the Red movement entirely, so they rushed a place called the "International Book-Shop," kept by a Hawaiian. The proprietor dodged into the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant next door, and put on an apron; but no one had ever seen a Chinaman with a black mustache, so they fell on him and broke several of the Chinaman's sauce-pans over his head. They took the contents of the "International Book-Shop" into the back yard and started a bon-fire with it, and detectives and college boys on a lark joined hands and danced an imitation of the Hawaiian hula-hula around the blaze.
So Peter lived a merry life for several months. He had one or two journeys for nothing, because an obstinate judge refused to admit that anything that any I. W. W. had ever said or done anywhere within the last ten years was proper testimony to be introduced against a particular I. W. W. on trial. But most judges were willing to co-operate with the big business men in ridding the country of the Red menace, and Peter's total of scalps amounted to over a hundred before his time was up, and Guffey sent him his last cheek and turned him loose.
That was in the city of Richport, and Peter having in an inside pocket something over a thousand dollars in savings, felt that he had earned a good time. He went for a stroll on the Gay White Way of the city, and in front of a moving picture palace a golden-haired girl smiled at him. This was still in the days of two and three-fourths per cent beer, and Peter invited her into a saloon to have a glass, and when he opened his eyes again it was dark, and he had a splitting headache, and he groped around and discovered that he was lying in a dark corner of an alleyway. Terror gripped his heart, and he clapped his hand to the inside pocket where his wallet had been, and there was nothing but horrible emptiness. So Peter was ruined once again, and as usual it was a woman that had done it!
Peter went to the police-station, but they never found the woman, or if they did, they divided with her and not with Peter. He threw himself on the mercy of the sergeant at the desk, and succeeded in convincing the sergeant that he, Peter, was a part of the machinery of his country's defense, and the sergeant agreed to stand sponsor for ten words to Guffey. So Peter sat himself down with a pencil and paper, and figured over it, and managed to get it into ten words, as follows: "Woman again broke any old job any pay wire fare." And it appeared that Guffey must have sat himself down with a pencil and paper and figured over it also, for the answer came back in ten words, as follows: "Idiot have wired secretary chamber commerce will give you ticket."
So Peter repaired forthwith to the stately offices of the Chamber of Commerce, and the hustling, efficient young business-man secretary sent his clerk to buy Peter a ticket and put him on the train. In a time of need like that Peter realized what it meant to have the backing of a great and powerful organization, with stately offices and money on hand for all emergencies, even when they arose by telegraph. He took a new vow of sobriety and decency, so that he might always have these forces of law and order on his side.
C h a p t e r 7 7
- PETER was duly scolded, and put to work as an "office man" at his old salary of twenty dollars a week. It was his duty to consult with Guffey's many "operatives," to tell them everything he knew about this individual Red or that organization of Reds. He would use his inside knowledge of personalities and doctrines and movements to help in framing up testimony, and in setting traps for too ardent agitators. He could no longer pose as a Red himself, but sometimes there were cases where he could do detective work without being recognized; when, for example, there was a question of fixing a juror, or of investigating the members of a panel.
The I. W. Ws. had been put out of business in American City, but the Socialists were still active, in spite of prosecutions and convictions. Also there was a new peril looming up; the returned soldiers were coming back, and a lot of them were dissatisfied, presuming to complain of their treatment in the army, and of the lack of good jobs at home, and even of the peace treaty which the President was arranging in Paris. They had fought to make the world safe for democracy, and here, they said, it had been made safe for the profiteers. This was plain Bolshevism, and in its most dangerous form, because these fellows had learned to use guns, and couldn't very well be expected to become pacifists right off the bat.
There had been a great labor shortage during the war, and some of the more powerful unions had taken the general rise in prices as an excuse for demanding higher wages. This naturally had made the members of the Chamber of Commerce and the Merchants' and Manufacturers' Association indignant, and now they saw their chance to use these returned soldiers to smash strikes and to break the organizations of the labor men. They proceeded to organize the soldiers for this purpose; in American City the Chamber of Commerce contributed twenty-five thousand dollars to furnish the club-rooms for them, and when the trolley men went on strike the cars were run by returned soldiers in uniform.
There was one veteran, a fellow by the name of Sydney, who objected to this program. He was publishing a paper, the "Veteran's Friend," and began to use the paper to protest against his comrades acting as what he called "scabs." The secretary of the Merchants' and Manufacturers' Association sent for him and gave him a straight talking to, but he went right ahead with his campaign, and so Guffey's office was assigned the task of shutting him up. Peter, while he could not take an active part in the job, was the one who guided it behind the scenes. They proceeded to plant spies in Sydney's office, and they had so many that it was really a joke; they used to laugh and say that they trod on one another's toes. Sydney was poor, and had not enough money to run his paper, so he accepted any volunteer labor that came along. And Guffey sent him plenty of volunteers - no less than seven operatives - one keeping Sydney's books, another helping with his mailing, two more helping to raise funds among the labor unions, others dropping in every day or two to advise him. Nevertheless Sydney went right ahead with his program of denouncing the Merchants' and Manufacturers' Association, and denouncing the government for its failure to provide farms and jobs for the veterans.
One of Guffey's "under cover operatives" - that was the technical term for the Peter Gudges and Joe Angells - was a man by the name of Jonas. This Jonas called himself a "philosophic anarchist," and posed as the reddest Red in American City; it was his habit to rise up in radical meetings and question the speaker, and try to tempt him to justify violence and insurrection and "mass-action." If he repudiated these ideas, then Jonas would denounce him as a "mollycoddle," a "pink tea Socialist," a "labor faker." Other people in the audience would applaud, and so Guffey's men would find out who were the real Red sympathizers.
Peter had long suspected Jonas, and now he was sent to meet him in Room 427 of the American House, and together they framed up a job on Sydney. Jonas wrote a letter, supposed to come from a German "comrade," giving the names of some papers in Europe to which the editor should send sample copies of his magazine. This letter was mailed to Sydney, and next morning Jonas wandered into the office, and Sydney showed him the letter, and Jonas told him that these were labor papers, and the editors would no doubt be interested to know of the feelings of American soldiers since the war. Sydney sat down to write a letter, and Jonas stood by his side and told him what to write: "To my erstwhile enemies in arms I send fraternal greetings, and welcome you as brothers in the new co-operative commonwealth which is to be" - and so on, the usual Internationalist patter, which all these agitators were spouting day and night, and which ran off the ends of their pens automatically. Sydney mailed these letters, and the sample copies of the magazine, and Guffey's office tipped off the postoffice authorities, who held up the letters. The book-keeper, one of Guffey's operatives, went to the Federal attorney and made affidavit that Sydney had been carrying on a conspiracy with the enemy in war-time, and a warrant was issued, and the offices of the magazine were raided, the subscription-lists confiscated, and everything in the rooms dumped out into the middle of the floor.
So there was a little job all Peter's own; except that Jonas, the scoundrel, claimed it for his, and tried to deprive Peter of the credit! So Peter was glad when the Federal authorities looked the case over and said it was a bum job, and they wouldn't monkey with it. However, the evidence was turned over to District-attorney Burchard, who wasn't quite so fastidious, and his agents made another raid, and smashed up the office again, and threw the returned soldier into jail. The judge fixed the bail at fifteen thousand dollars, and the American City "Times" published the story with scare-headlines all the way across the front page - how the editor of the "Veteran's Friend" had been caught conspiring with the enemy, and here was a photographic copy of his treasonable letter, and a copy of the letter of the mysterious German conspirator with whom he had been in relations! They spent more than a year trying that editor, and although he was out on bail, Guffey saw to it that he could not get a job anywhere in American City; his paper was smashed and his family near to starvation.
C h a p t e r 7 8
- PETER had now been working faithfully for six or eight months, and all that time he religiously carried out his promise to Guffey and did not wink at a woman. But that is an unnatural life for a man, and Peter was lonely, his dreams were haunted by the faces of Nell Doolin and Rosie Stern, and even of little Jennie Todd. One day another face came back to him, the face of Miss Frisbie, the little manicurist who had spurned him because he was a Red. Now suddenly Peter realized that he was no longer a Red! On the contrary, he was a hero, his picture had been published in the American City "Times," and no doubt Miss Frisbie had seen it. Miss Frisbie was a good girl, a straight girl, and surely all right for him to know!
So Peter went to the manicure parlor, and sure enough, there was the little golden-haired lady; and sure enough, she had read all about him, she had been dreaming that some day she might meet him again - and so Peter invited her to go to a picture show. On the way home they became very chummy, and before a week went by it was as if they had been friends for life. When Peter asked Miss Frisbie if he might kiss her, she answered coyly that he might, but after he had kissed her a few times she explained to him that she was a self-supporting woman, alone and defenseless in the world, and she had nobody to speak for her but herself; she must tell him that she had always been a respectable woman, and that she wanted him to know that before he kissed her any more. And Peter thought it over and decided that he had sowed his full share of wild oats in this life; he was ready to settle down, and the next time he saw Miss Frisbie he told her so, and before the evening was by they were engaged.
Then Peter went to see Guffey, and seated himself on the edge of the chair alongside Guffey's desk, and twisted his hat in his hands, and flushed very red, and began to stammer out his confession. He expected to be received with a gale of ridicule; he was immensely relieved when Guffey said that if Peter had really found a good girl and wanted to marry her, he, Guffey, was for it. There was nothing like the influence of a good woman, and Guffey much preferred his operatives should be married men, living a settled and respectable life. They could be trusted then, and sometimes when a woman operative was needed, they had a partner ready to hand. If Peter had got married long ago, he might have had a good sum of money in the bank by now.
Peter ventured to point out that twenty dollars a week was not exactly a marrying salary, in the face of the present high cost of living. Guffey answered that that was true, and he would raise Peter to thirty dollars right away - only first he demanded the right to talk to Peter's fiancée, and judge for himself whether she was worthy. Peter was delighted, and Miss Frisbie had a private and confidential interview with Peter's boss. But afterwards Peter wasn't quite so delighted, for he realized what Guffey had done. Peter's future wife had been told all about Peter's weakness, and how Peter's boss looked to her to take care of her husband and make him walk the chalkline. So a week after Peter had entered the holy bonds of matrimony, when he and Mrs. Gudge had their first little family tiff, Peter suddenly discovered who was going to be top dog in that family. He was shown his place once for all, and he took it, - alongside that husband who described his domestic arrangements by saying that he and his wife got along beautifully together, they had come to an arrangement by which he was to have his way on all major issues, and she was to have her way on all minor issues, and so far no major issues had arisen.
But really it was a very good thing; for Gladys Frisbie Gudge was an excellent manager, and set to work making herself a nest as busily as any female beaver. She still hung on to her manicurist job, for she had figured it out that the Red movement must be just about destroyed by now, and pretty soon Peter might find himself without work. In the evenings she took to house-hunting, and during her noon hour, without consulting Peter she selected the furniture and the wall-paper, and pretty nearly bought out the stock of a five-and-ten-cent store to equip the beaver's nest.
Gladys Frisbie Gudge was a diligent reader of the fashion magazines, and kept herself right up to the minute with the styles; also she had got herself a book on etiquette, and learned it by heart from cover to cover, and now she took Peter in hand and taught it to him. Why must he always be a "Jimmie Higgins" of the "Whites?" Why should he not acquire the vocabulary of an educated man, the arts and graces of the well-to-do? Gladys knew that it is these subtleties which determine your salary in the long run; so every Sunday morning she would dress him up with a new brown derby and a new pair of brown kid gloves, and take him to the Church of the Divine Compassion, and they would listen to the patriotic sermon of the Rev. de Willoughby Stotterbridge, and Gladys would bow her head in prayer, and out of the corner of her eye would get points on costumes from the lady in the next pew. And afterwards they would join the Sunday parade, and Gladys would point out to Peter the marks of what she called "gentility." In the evenings they would go walking, and she would stop in front of the big shop-windows, or take him into the hotel lobbies where the rich could be seen free of charge. Peter would be hungry, and would want to go to a cheap restaurant and fill himself up with honest grub; but Gladys, who had the appetite of a bird, would insist on marching him into the dining-room of the Hotel de Soto and making a meal upon a cup of broth and some bread and butter - just in order that they might gaze upon a scene of elegance and see bow "genteel" people ate their food.
C h a p t e r 7 9
- AND just as ardently as Gladys Frisbie Gudge adored the rich, so ardently did she object to the poor. If you pinned her down to it, she would admit that there had to be poor; there could not be gentility, except on the basis of a large class of ungentility. The poor were all right in their place; what Gladys objected to was their presuming to try to get out of their place, or to criticise their betters. She had a word by which she summed up everything that she despised in the world, and that word was "common;" she used it to describe the sort of people she declined to meet, and she used it in correcting Peter's manners and his taste in hats. To be "common" was to be damned; and when Gladys saw people who were indubitably and inescapably "common," presuming to set themselves up and form standards of their own, she took it as a personal affront, she became vindictive and implacable towards them. Each and every one of them became to her a personal enemy, an enemy to something far more precious than her person, an enemy to the thing she aspired to become, to her ideal.
Peter had once been like that himself, but now he was so comfortable, he had a tendency to become lazy and easy-going. It was well, therefore, that he had Gladys to jack him up, and keep him on his job. Gladys at first did not meet any Reds face to face, she knew them only by the stories that Peter brought home to her when his day's work was done. But each new group that he was hounding became to Gladys an assemblage of incarnate fiends, and while she sat polishing the finger-nails of stout society ladies who were too sleepy to talk, Gladys' busy mind would be working over schemes to foil these fiends.
Sometimes her ideas were quite wonderful. She had a woman's intuition, the knowledge of human foibles, all the intricate subtleties of the emotional life; she would bring to Peter a program for the undoing of some young radical, as complete as if she had known the man or woman all her life. Peter took her ideas to McGivney, and then to Guffey, and the result was that her talents were recognized, and by the lever of a generous salary she was pried loose from the manicure parlor. Guffey sent her to make the acquaintance of the servants in the household of a certain rich man who was continually making contributions to the Direct Primary Association and other semi-Red organizations, and who was believed to have a scandal in his private life. So successful was Gladys at this job that presently Guffey set her at the still more delicate task of visiting rich ladies, and impressing upon them the seriousness of the Red peril, and persuading them to meet the continually increasing expenses of Guffey's office.
Just now was a busy time in the anti-Red campaign. For nearly two years, ever since the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, there had been gradually developing a split in the Socialist movement, and the "under-cover" operatives of the Traction Trust, as well as those of the district attorney's office and of the Federal government, had been working diligently to widen this split and develop dissensions in the organization. There were some Socialists who believed in politics, and were prepared to devote their lives to the slow and tedious job of building up a party. There were others who were impatient, looking for a short cut, a general strike or a mass insurrection of the workers which would put an end to the slavery of capitalism. The whole game of politics was rotten, these would argue; a politician could find more ways to fool the workers in a minute than the workers could thwart in a year. They pointed to the German Socialists, those betrayers of internationalism. There were people who called themselves Socialists right here in American City who wanted to draw the movement into the same kind of trap!
This debate was not conducted in the realm of abstractions; the two wings of the movement would attack one another with bitterness. The "politicians" would denounce the "impossibilists," calling them "anarchists;" and the other side, thus goaded, would accuse their enemies of being in the hire of the government. Peter would supply McGivney with bits of scandal which the "under cover" men would start going among the "left-wingers;" and in the course of the long wrangles in the local these accusations would come out. Herbert Ashton would mention them with his biting sarcasm, or "Shorty" Gunton would shout them in one of his tirades - "hurling them into his opponents teeth," as he phrased it.
"Shorty" Gunton was a tramp printer, a wandering agitator who was all for direct action, and didn't care a hang who knew it. "Violence?" he would say. "How many thousand years shall we submit to the violence of capitalist governments, and never have the right to reply?" And then again he would say, "Violence? Yes, of course we must repudiate violence - until we get enough of it!" Peter had listened to "Shorty's" railings at the "compromisers" and the "political traders," and had thought him one of the most dangerous men in American City. But later on, after the episode of Joe Angell had opened Peter's eyes, he decided that "Shorty" must also be a secret agent like himself.
Peter was never told definitely, but he picked up a fact here and there, and fitted them together, and before long his suspicion had become certainty. The "left wing" Socialists split off from the party, and called a convention of their own, and this convention in turn split up, one part forming the Communist Party, and another part forming the Communist Labor Party. While these two conventions were in session, McGivney came to Peter, and said that the Federal government had a man on the platform committee of the Communist Party, and they wanted to write in some phrases that would make membership in that party in itself a crime, so that everybody who held a membership card could be sent to prison without further evidence. These phrases must be in the orthodox Communist lingo, and this was where Peter's specialized knowledge was needed.
So Peter wrote the phrases, and a couple of days later he read in the newspapers an account of the convention proceedings. The platform committee had reported, and "Shorty" Gunton had submitted a minority report, and had made a fiery speech in the convention, with the result that his minority report was carried by a narrow margin. This minority report contained all the phrases that Peter had written. A couple of months later, when the government had its case ready, and the wholesale raids upon the Communists took place, "Shorty" Gunton was arrested, but a few days later he made a dramatic escape by sawing his way thru the roof of the jail!
C h a p t e r 8 0
- THE I. W. W. had bobbed up again in American City, and had ventured to open another headquarters. Peter did not dare go to the place himself, but he coached a couple of young fellows whom McGivney brought to him, teaching them the Red lingo, and how to worm their way into the movement. Before long one of them was secretary of the local; and Peter, directing their activities. received reports twice a week of everything the "wobblies" were planning and doing. Peter and Gladys were figuring out another bomb conspiracy to direct attention to these dangerous men, when one day Peter picked up the morning paper and discovered that a kind Providence had delivered the enemy into his hands.
Up in the lumber country of the far Northwest, in a little town called Centralia, the "wobblies" had had their headquarters raided and smashed, just as in American City. They had got themselves another meeting-place, and again the members of the Chamber of Commerce and the Merchants' and Manufacturers' Association had held a secret meeting and resolved to wipe them out. The "wobblies" had appealed to the authorities for protection, and when protection was refused, they had printed a leaflet appealing to the public. But the business men went ahead with their plans. They arranged for a parade of returned soldiers on the anniversary of Armistice Day, and they diverted this parade out of its path so that it would pass in front of the I. W. W. headquarters. Some of the more ardent members carried ropes, symbolic of what they meant to do; and they brought the parade to a halt in front of the headquarters, and set up a yell and started to rush the hall. They battered in the door, and had pushed their way half thru it when the "wobblies" opened fire from inside, killing several of the paraders.
Then, of course, the mob flew into a frenzy of fury. They beat the men in the hall, some of them into insensibility; they flung them into jail, and battered and tortured them, and took one of them out of jail and carried him away in an automobile, and after they had mutilated him as Shawn Grady had been mutilated, they hanged him from a bridge. Of course they saw to it that the newspaper stories which went out from Centralia that night were the right kind of stories; and next morning all America read how a group of "wobblies" had armed themselves with rifles, and concealed themselves on the roof of the I. W. W. headquarters, and deliberately and in cold blood had opened fire upon a peaceful parade of unarmed war veterans.
Of course the country went wild, and the Guffeys and McGivneys and Gudges all over the United States realized that their chance had come. Peter instructed the secretary of the I. W. W. local of American City to call a meeting for that evening, to adopt a resolution declaring the press stories from Centralia to be lies. At the same time another of Guffey's men, an ex-army officer still wearing his, uniform, caused a meeting of the American Legion to be summoned; he made a furious address to the boys, and at nine o'clock that night some two-score of them set out, armed with big monkey-wrenches from their automobiles, and raided the I. W. W. headquarters, and battered the members over the head with the monkey-wrenches, causing several to leap from the window and break their legs. Next morning the incident was reported in the American City "Times" with shouts of glee, and District-attorney Burchard issued a public statement to the effect that no effort would be made to punish the soldier boys; the "wobblies" had wanted "direct action," and they had got it, and it would be assumed that they were satisfied.
Then the members of the American Legion, encouraged by this applause, and instigated by Guffey's ex-army officer, proceeded to invade and wreck every radical meeting-place in the city. They smashed the "Clarion" office and the Socialist Party headquarters again, and confiscated more tons of literature. They wrecked a couple of book-stores, and then, breaking up into small groups, they inspected all the news-stands in the city, and wherever they found Red magazines like the Nation or the New Republic, they tore up the copies and threatened the agents with arrest. They invaded the rooms of a literary society called the Ruskin Club, frequented mostly by amiable old ladies, and sent some of these elderly dames into hysterics. They discovered the "Russian Peoples' Club," which had hitherto been overlooked because it was an educational organization. But of course no Russian could be trusted these days - all of them were Bolsheviks, or on the way to becoming Bolsheviks, which was the same thing; so Guffey organized a raid on this building, and some two hundred Russians were clubbed and thrown downstairs or out of windows, and an elderly teacher of mathematics had his skull cracked, and a teacher of music had some teeth knocked out.
There were several million young Americans who had been put into military uniform, and had guns put into their hands, and been put thru target practice and bayonet drill, and then had not seen any fighting. These fellows were, as the phrase has it, "spoiling for a fight;" and here was their chance. It was just as much fun as trench warfare, and had the advantage of not being dangerous. When the raiding parties came back, there were no missing members, and no casualties to be telegraphed to heartbroken parents. Some fool women got together and tried to organize a procession to protest against the blockade of Russia; the raiders fell upon these women, and wrecked their banners, and tore their clothing to bits, and the police hustled what was left of them off to jail. It happened that a well-known "sporting man," that is to say a race-track frequenter, came along wearing a red necktie, and the raiders, taking him for a Bolshevik, fell upon him and pretty nearly mauled the life out of him. After that there was protest from people who thought it unwise to break too many laws while defending law and order, so the district attorney's office arranged to take on the young soldier boys as deputy sheriffs, and give them all badges, legal and proper.