Peter was so frightened that he couldn’t eat any dinner, but wandered about the street talking to himself and screwing up his courage. He had to stop and look at the American flags, still waving from the buildings, and read the evening edition of the American City “Times,” in order to work up his patriotic fervor again. As he set out for the home of the little cripple who wrote pacifist poetry, he really felt like the soldier boys marching away to war.
Ada Ruth was there, and her mother, a dried-up old lady who knew nothing about all these dreadful world movements, but whose pleadings had no effect upon her inspired daughter; also Ada’s cousin, a lean old-maid school teacher, secretary of the Peoples’ Council; also Miriam Yankovitch, and Sadie Todd, and Donald Gordon. On the way Peter had met Tom Duggan, and the mournful poet revealed that he had composed a new poem about Mac in the “hole.” Immediately afterwards came Grady, the secretary, his pockets stuffed with his papers. Grady, a tall, dark-eyed, impulsive-tempered Irish boy, was what the Socialists called a “Jimmie Higgins,” that is, one of the fellows who did the hard and dreary work of the movement, who were always on hand no matter what happened, always ready to have some new responsibility put upon their shoulders. Grady had no use for the Socialists, being only interested in “industrial action,” but he was willing to be called a “Jimmie Higgins”; he had said that Peter was one too, and Peter had smiled to himself, thinking that a “Jimmie Higgins” was about the last thing in the world he ever would be. Peter was on the way to independence and prosperity, and it did not occur to him to reflect that he might be a “Jimmie Higgins” to the “Whites” instead of to the Reds!
Grady now pulled out his papers, and began to talk over with Donald Gordon the proceedings of the evening. He had had a telegram from the national headquarters of the I. W. W., promising support, and his thin, hungry face lighted up with pride as he showed this. Then he announced that “Bud” Connor was to be present—a well-known organizer, who had been up in the oil country with McCormick, and brought news that the workers there were on the verge of a big strike. Then came Mrs. Jennings, a poor, tormented little woman who was slowly dying of a cancer, and whose husband was suing her for divorce because she had given money to the I. W. W. With her, and helping her along, came “Andy” Adams, a big machinist, who had been kicked out of his lodge for talking too much “direct action.” He pulled from his pocket a copy of the “Evening Telegraph,” and read a few lines from an editorial, denouncing “direct action” as meaning dynamiting, which it didn’t, of course, and asking how long it would be before the friends of law and order in American City would use a little “direct action” of their own.