They turned into one of the swell Park Avenue churches; the Church of the Divine Compassion it was called, and it was very “high,” with candles and incense—althogh you could hardly smell the incense on this occasion for the scent of the Easter lilies and the ladies. Peter and his friend were escorted to one of the leather covered pews, and they heard the Rev. de Willoughby Stotterbridge, a famous pulpit orator, deliver one of those patriotic sermons which were quoted in the “Times” almost every Monday morning. The Rev. de Willoughby Stotterbridge quoted some Old Testament text about exterminating the enemies of the Lord, and he sang the triumph of American arms, and the overwhelming superiority of American munitions. He denounced the Bolsheviks and all other traitors, and called for their instant suppression; he didn’t say that he had actually been among the crowd which had horse-whipped the I. W. Ws. and smashed the printing presses and typewriters of the Socialists, but he made it unmistakably clear that that was what he wanted, and Peter’s bosom swelled with happy pride. It was something to a man to know that he was serving his country and keeping the old flag waving; but it was still more to know that he was enlisted in the service of the Almighty, that Heaven and all its hosts were on his side, and that everything he had done had the sanction of the Almighty’s divinely ordained minister, speaking in the Almighty’s holy temple, in the midst of stained-glass windows and brightly burning candles and the ravishing odor of incense, and of Easter lilies and of mignonette and lavender in the handkerchiefs of delicately gowned and exquisite ladies from Mount Olympus. This, to be sure, was mixing mythologies, but Peter’s education had been neglected in his youth, and Peter could not be blamed for taking the great ones of the earth as they were, and believing what they taught him.
The white robed choir marched out, and the music of “Onward Christian Soldiers” faded away, and Peter and his lady went out from the Church of the Divine Compassion, and strolled on the avenue again, and when they had sufficiently filled their nostrils with the sweet odors of snobbery, they turned into the park, where there were places of seclusion for young couples interested in each other. But alas, the fates which dogged Peter in his love-making had prepared an especially cruel prank that morning. At the entrance to the park, whom should Peter meet but Comrade Schnitzelmann, a fat little butcher who belonged to the “Bolshevik local” of American City. Peter tried to look the other way and hurry by, but Comrade Schnitzelmann would not have it so. He came rushing up with one pudgy hand stretched out, and a beaming smile on his rosy Teutonic countenance. “Ach, Comrade Gudge!” cried he. “Wie geht’s mit you dis morning?”
“Very well, thank you,” said Peter, coldly, and tried to hurry on.
But Comrade Schnitzelmann held onto his hand. “So! You been seeing dot Easter barade!” said he. “Vot you tink, hey? If we could get all de wage slaves to come und see dot barade, we make dem all Bolsheviks pretty quick! Hey, Comrade Gudge?”