Peter got his morning “Times,” and found a whole page about the whipping of the Reds, portraying the job as a patriotic duty heroically performed; and that naturally cheered Peter up considerably. He turned to the editorial page, and read a two column “leader” that was one whoop of exultation. It served still more to cure Peter’s ache of conscience; and when he read on and found a series of interviews with leading citizens, giving cordial endorsement to the acts of the “vigilantes,” Peter became ashamed of his weakness, and glad that he had not revealed it to anyone. Peter was trying his best to become a real “he-man,” a 100% red-blooded American, and he had the “Times” twice each day, morning and evening, to guide, sustain and inspire him.
Peter had been told by McGivney to fix himself up and pose as one of the martyrs of the night’s affair, and this appealed to his sense of humor. He cut off the hair from a part of his head, and stuck some raw cotton on top, and plastered it over with surgical tape. He stuck another big wad of surgical tape across his forehead, and a criss-cross of it on his cheek, and tied up his wrist in an excellent imitation of a sprain. Thus rigged out he repaired to the American House, and McGivney rewarded him with a hearty laugh, and then proceeded to give some instructions which, entirely restored Peter’s usual freshness of soul. Peter was going up on Mount Olympus again!
The rat-faced man explained in detail. There was a lady of great wealth—indeed, she was said to be several times a millionaire—who was an openly avowed Red, a pacifist of the most malignant variety. Since the arrest of young Lackman she had come forward and put up funds to finance the “People’s Council,” and the “Anti-Conscription League,” and all the other activities which for the sake of convenience were described by the term “pro-German.” The only trouble was this lady was so extremely wealthy it was hard to do anything to her. Her husband was a director in a couple of Nelse Ackerman’s banks, and had other powerful connections. The husband was a violent, anti-Socialist, and a buyer of liberty bonds; he quarrelled with his wife, but nevertheless he did not want to see her in jail, and this made an embarrassing situation for the police and the district attorney’s office, and even for the Federal authorities, who naturally did not want to trouble one of the courtiers of the king of American City. “But something’s got to be done,” said McGivney. “This camouflaged German propaganda can’t go on.” So Peter was to try to draw Mrs. Godd into some kind of “overt action.”
“Mrs. Godd?” said Peter. It seemed to him a singular coincidence that one of the dwellers on Mount Olympus should bear that name. The great lady lived on a hilltop out in the suburbs, not so far from the hilltop of Nelse Ackerman. One of the adventures looked forward to by Reds and pacifists in distress was to make a pilgrimage to this palace and obtain some long, green plasters to put over their wounds. Now was the time at all times for Peter to go, said McGivney. Peter had many wounds to be plastered, and Mrs. Godd would be indignant at the proceedings of last night, and would no doubt express herself without restraint.