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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 312 pages of information about Jimmie Higgins.

V

He had been warned not to talk to anyone, so he told Lizzie that he had been kept late to make repairs on a motor-cycle.  And next morning he got up at the usual hour, to avoid exciting suspicion, and went and stared at the shop, which was locked up, with a policeman on guard.  He bought a copy of the Leesville Herald, and read the thrilling story of the German plot which had been unearthed in Leesville.  There were half a dozen conspirators under arrest, and more than a dozen bombs had been found, all destined to be set off in the Empire Shops.  Franz Heinrich von Holtz, who had blown up a bridge in Canada and put an infernal machine on board a big Atlantic liner, had been nailed at last!

Half an hour before time, Jimmie was waiting at the Post Office building, and when Comrade Dr. Service arrived, they went in and signed the bond.  Coming out again, the grim and forbidding doctor ordered Jimmie into his car, and oh, what a dressing-down he did give him!  He had Jimmie where he wanted him—­right over his knees—­and before he let him up he surely did make him burn!  The little machinist had been so cock-sure of himself; going ahead to end the war, by stopping the shipping of munitions, and paying no heed to warnings from men older and wiser than himself!  And now see what he had got himself in for—­arrested with a gang of fire-bugs and desperadoes, under the control and in the pay of a personal friend of the Kaiser!

Poor Jimmie couldn’t put up much of a defence:  he was cowed, for once.  He could only say that he had had no evil intention—­he had merely been agitating against the trade in munitions—­a wicked thing—­

“Wicked?” broke in the Comrade Doctor.  “The thing upon which the freedom of mankind depends!”

“W—­what?” exclaimed Jimmie; for these words sounded to him like sheer lunacy.

The other explained.  “A nation that means to destroy its neighbours sets to work and puts all its energies into making guns and shells.  The free peoples of the world won’t follow suit—­you can’t persuade them to do it, because they don’t believe in war, they can’t realize that their neighbours intend to make war.  So, when they are attacked their only chance for life is to go out into the open market and buy the means of defence.  And you propose to deprive them of that right—­to betray them, to throw them under the hoofs of the war-monster!  You, who call yourself a believer in justice, make yourself a tool of such a conspiracy!  You take German money—­”

“I never took no German money!” cried Jimmie, wildly.

“Didn’t Kumme pay you money?”

“But I worked in his shop—­I done my ten hours a day right straight!”

“And this fellow Jerry Coleman?  Hasn’t he given you money?”

“But that was for propaganda—­he was agent for Labour’s National Peace Council—­”

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