You would think that was a poor time for pacifist agitation; but the members of the Anti-conscription League had so little discretion that they chose this precise moment to publish a pamphlet, describing the torturing of conscientious objectors in military prisons and training camps! Peter had been active in this organization from the beginning, and he had helped to write into the pamphlet a certain crucial phrase which McGivney had suggested. So now here were the pamphlets seized by the Federal government, and all the members of the Anti-conscription League under arrest, including Sadie Todd and little Ada Ruth and Donald Gordon! Peter was sorry about Sadie Todd, in spite of the fact that she had called him names. He couldn’t be very sorry about Ada Ruth, because she was obviously a fanatic, bent on getting herself into trouble. As for Donald Gordon, if he hadn’t learned his lesson from that whipping, he surely had nobody to blame but himself.
Peter was a member of this Anti-conscription League, so he pretended to be in hiding, and carried on a little comedy with Ada Ruth’s cousin, an Englishwoman, who hid him out in her place in the country. Peter had an uncomfortable quarter of an hour when Donald Gordon was released on bail, because the Quaker boy insisted that the crucial phrase which had got them all into trouble had been stricken out of the manuscript before he handed it to Peter Gudge to take to the printer. But Peter insisted that Donald was mistaken, and apparently he succeeded in satisfying the others, and after they were all out on bail, he made bold to come out of his hiding place and to attend one or two protest meetings in private homes.
Then began a new adventure, in some ways the most startling of all. It had to do with another girl, and the beginning was in the home of Ada Ruth, where a few of the most uncompromising of the pacifists gathered to discuss the question of raising money to pay for their legal defense. To this meeting came Miriam Yankovich, pale from an operation for cancer of the breast, but with a heart and mind as Red as ever. Miriam had brought along a friend to help her, because she wasn’t strong enough to walk; and it was this friend who started Peter on his new adventure.
Rosie Stern was her name, and she was a solid little Jewish working girl, with bold black eyes, and a mass of shining black hair, and flaming cheeks and a flashing smile. She was dressed as if she knew about her beauty, and really appreciated it; so Peter wasn’t surprised when Miriam, introducing her, remarked that Rosie wasn’t a Red and didn’t like the Reds, but had just come to help her, and to see what a pacifist meeting was like. Perhaps Peter might help to make a Red out of her! And Peter was very glad indeed, for he was never more bored with the whining of pacifists than now when our boys were hurling the Germans back from the Marne and writing their names upon history’s most imperishable pages.