Peter went to the American House and met McGivney, and was put to work on a job that precisely suited his mood. The time had come for action, said the rat-faced man. The executive committee of the I. W. W. local had been drafting an appeal to the main organization for help, and the executive committee was to meet that evening; Peter was to get in touch with the secretary, Grady, and find out where this meeting was to be, and make the suggestion that all the membership be gathered, and other Reds also. The business men of the city were going to pull off their big stroke that night, said McGivney; the younger members of the Chamber of Commerce and the Merchants’ and Manufacturers’ Association had got together and worked out a secret plan, and all they wanted was to have the Reds collected in one place.
So Peter set out and found Shawn Grady, the young Irish boy who kept the membership lists and other papers of the organization, in a place so secret that not even Peter had been able to find them. Peter brought the latest news about the sufferings of Mac in the “hole,” and how Gus, the sailor, had joined Henderson in the hospital. He was so eloquent in his indignation that presently Grady told him about the meeting for that evening, and about the place, and Peter said they really ought to get some of their friends together, and work out some way to get their protest literature distributed quickly, because it was evident they could no longer use the mails. What was the use of resolutions of executive committees, when what was wanted was action by the entire membership? Grady said all right, they would notify the active members and sympathizers, and he gave Peter the job of telephoning and travelling about town getting word to a dozen people.
At six o’clock that evening Peter reported the results to McGivney, and then he got a shock. “You must go to that meeting yourself,” said the rat-faced man. “You mustn’t take any chance of their suspecting you.”
“But, my God!” cried Peter. “What’s going to happen there?”
“You don’t need to worry about that,” answered the other. “I’ll see that you’re protected.”
The gathering was to take place at the home of Ada Ruth, the poetess, and McGivney had Peter describe this home to him. Beyond the living-room was a hallway, and in this hallway was a big clothes closet. At the first alarm Peter must make for this place. He must get into the closet, and McGivney would be on hand, and they would pen Peter up and pretend to club him, but in reality would protect him from whatever happened to the rest. Peter’s knees began to tremble, and he denounced the idea indignantly; what would happen to him if anything were to happen to McGivney, or to his automobile, and were to fail to get there in time? McGivney declared that Peter need not worry—he was too valuable a man for them to take any chances with. McGivney would be there, and all Peter would have to do was to scream and raise a rumpus, and finally fall unconscious, and McGivney and Hammett and Cummings would carry him out to their automobile and take him away!