“If I fall asleep Rhona may get through without us—something will happen!”
It must have been past midnight. There was no sign of Rhona. Each new face that emerged from the jail entrance was that of a stranger. Again an overwhelming fear swept Myra. She touched Joe’s arm.
“Joe! Joe!” she whispered.
He did not answer; his hand moved a little and dropped. How soundly he slept! She smiled then, and sat forward, determined to be a brave woman.
Then glancing through the netting she spied Blondy and his friends laughing together. She saw the evil monkey eyes. At once she was back sharply in Great Jones Street, trembling with outrage and humiliation. She tried to keep her eyes from him, and again and again looked at him and loathed him.
“If,” she thought, “he is here, perhaps the time has come.”
Again she searched the new faces, and gave a little cry of joy. There was Rhona, pale, quiet, her arm in the hand of the policeman who had made the arrest.
Myra turned to Joe.
“Joe! Wake up!”
He stirred a little.
“Joe! Joe! Wake up!”
He gave a great start and opened his eyes.
“What is it?” he cried. “Do they want union cards?”
“Joe,” she exclaimed, “Rhona’s here.”
“Rhona?” He sat upright; he was a wofully sleepy man. “Rhona?” Then he gazed about him and saw Myra.
“Oh, Myra!” He laughed sweetly. “How good it is to see you!”
She paled a little at the words.
“Joe,” she whispered, “we’re in the court. Rhona’s waiting for us.”
Then he understood.
“And I’ve been sleeping, and you let me sleep?” He laughed softly. “What a good soul you are! Rhona! Come, quick!”
They arose, Joe rubbing his eyes, and stepped forward. Myra felt stiff and sore. Then Joe spoke in a low voice to the gate-keeper, the gate opened, and they entered in.
Rhona had spent the evening in the women’s cell, which was one of three in a row. The other two were for men. The window was high up, and a narrow bench ran around the walls. Sprawled on this were from thirty to forty women; the air was nauseating, and the place smelled to heaven. Outside the bars of the door officers lounged in the lighted hall waiting the signal to fetch their prisoners. Now and then the door opened, a policeman entered, picked his woman, seized upon her, and pulled her along without speaking to her. It was as if the prisoners were dumb wild beasts.
For a while Rhona sat almost doubled up, feeling that she would never get warm. Her body would be still a minute, and then a racking spasm took her and her teeth chattered. A purple-faced woman beside her leaned forward.
“Bad business on the street a night like this, ain’t it? Here, I’ll rub your hands.”