Peter hadn’t intended anything quite so serious as that, but Guffey was so business-like, and took it all so much as a matter of course, that Peter was afraid to show the white feather. After all, this was war-time; hundreds of men were giving up their lives every day in the Argonne, and why shouldn’t Peter take a little risk in order to put out of business his country’s most dangerous enemies?
So Peter and his two detectives blew themselves to a joy ride in the country. And then Peter was brought back and made comfortable in a room on the twelfth floor of the Hotel de Soto, where he diligently studied the typewritten documents which McGivney brought him, and thoroughly learned the story he was to tell. There was always one of Guffey’s men walking up and down in the hallway outside with a gun on his hip, and they brought Peter three meals a day, not forgetting a bottle of beer and a package of cigarettes. Twice a day Peter read in the newspapers about the heroic deeds of our boys over there, and also about the latest bomb plots which had been discovered all over the country, and about various trials under the espionage act.
Also, Peter had the thrill of reading about himself in a real newspaper. Hitherto he had been featured in labor papers, and Socialist papers like the “Clarion,” which did not count; but now the American City “Times” came out with a long story of how the district attorney’s office had “planted” a secret agent with the I. W. W., and how this man, whose name was Peter Gudge, had been working as one of them for the past two years, and was going to reveal the whole story of I. W. W. infamy on the witness stand.
Two days before the trial Peter was escorted by McGivney and another detective to the district attorney’s office, and spent the best part of the day in conference with Mr. Burchard and his deputy, Mr. Stannard, who were to try the case. McGivney had told Peter that the district attorney was not in the secret, he really believed that Peter’s story was all true; but Peter suspected that this was camouflage, to save Mr. Burchard’s face, and to protect him in case Peter ever tried to “throw him down.” Peter noticed that whenever he left any gap in his story, the district attorney and the deputy told him to fill it, and he managed to guess what to fill it with.