Rosie was something new and unforeseen, and Peter went right after her, and presently he realized with delight that she was interested in him. Peter knew, of course, that he was superior to all this crowd, but he wasn’t used to having the fact recognized, and as usual when a woman smiled upon him, the pressure of his self-esteem rose beyond the safety point. Rosie was one of those people who take the world as it is and get some fun out of it, so while the pacifist meeting went on, Peter sat over in the corner and told her in whispers his funny adventures with Pericles Priam and in the Temple of Jimjambo. Rosie could hardly repress her laughter, and her black eyes flashed, and before the evening was over their hands had touched several times. Then Peter offered to escort her and Miriam, and needless to say they took Miriam home first. The tenement streets were deserted at this late hour, so they found a chance for swift embraces, and Peter went home with his feet hardly touching the ground.
Rosie worked in a paper-box factory, and next evening Peter took her out to dinner, and their eager flirtation went on. But Rosie showed a tendency to retreat, and when Peter pressed her, she told him the reason. She had no use for Reds; she was sick of the jargon of the Reds, she would never love a Red. Look at Miriam Yankovich—what a wreck she had made of her life! She had been a handsome girl, she might have got a rich husband, but now she had had to be cut to pieces! And look at Sadie Todd, slaving herself to death, and Ada Ruth with her poems that made you tired. Rosie jeered at them all, and riddled them with the arrows of her wit, and of course Peter in his heart agreed with everything she said; yet Peter had to pretend to disagree, and that made Rosie cross and spoiled their fun, and they almost quarreled.
Under these circumstances, naturally it was hard for Peter not to give some hint of his true feeling. After he had spent all of his money on Rosie and a lot of his time and hadn’t got anywhere, he decided to make some concession to her—he told her he would give up trying to make a Red out of her. Whereupon Rosie made a face at him. “Very kind indeed of you, Mr. Gudge! But how about my making a `White’ out of you?” And she went on to inform him that she wanted a fellow that could make money and take care of a girl. Peter answered that he was making money all right. Well, how was he making money, asked Rosie. Peter wouldn’t tell, but he was making it, and he would prove it by taking her to the theater every night.
So the little duel went on, evening after evening. Peter got more and more crazy about this black-eyed beauty, and she got more and more coquettish, and more and more impatient with his radical leanings. Rosie’s father had brought her as a baby from Kisheneff, but she was 100% American all the same, so she told him; those boys in khaki who were over there walloping the Huns were the boys for her, and