Peter Gudge often went along on these hunting parties. Peter, curiously enough, discovered in himself the same “complex” as the balked soldier boys. Peter had been reading war news for five years, but had missed the fighting; and now he discovered that he liked to fight. What had kept him from liking to fight in the past was the danger of getting hurt; but now that there was no such danger, he could enjoy it. In past times people had called him a coward, and he had heard it so often that he had come to believe it; but now he realized that it was not true, he was just as brave as anybody else in the crowd.
The truth was that Peter had not had a happy time in his youth, he had never learned, like the younger members of the Chamber of Commerce and the Merchants’ and Manufacturers’ Association, to knock a little white ball about a field with various shapes and sizes of clubs. Peter was like a business man who has missed his boyhood, and then in later years finds the need of recreation, and takes up some form of sport by the orders of his physician. It became Peter’s, form of sport to stick an automatic revolver in his hip-pocket, and take a blackjack in his hand, and rush into a room where thirty or forty Russians or “Sheenies” of all ages and lengths of beard were struggling to learn the intricacies of English spelling. Peter would give a yell, and see this crowd leap and scurry hither and thither, and chase them about and take a whack at a head wherever he saw one, and jump into a crowd who were bunched together like sheep, trying to hide their heads, and pound them over the exposed parts of their anatomy until they scattered into the open again. He liked to get a lot of them started downstairs and send them tumbling heels over head; or if he could get them going out a window, that was more exhilarating yet, and he would yell and whoop at them. He learned some of their cries—outlandish gibberish it was—and he would curse them in their own language. He had a streak of the monkey in him, and as he got to know these people better he would imitate their antics and their gestures of horror, and set a whole room full of the “bulls” laughing to split their sides. There was a famous “movie” comedian with big feet, and Peter would imitate this man, and waddle up to some wretched sweat-shop worker and boot him in the trousers’ seat, or step on his toes, or maybe spit in his eye. So he became extremely popular among the “bulls,” and they would insist on his going everywhere with them.
Later on, when the government set to work to break up the Communist Party and the Communist Labor Party, Peter’s popularity and prestige increased still more. For now, instead of just raiding and smashing, the police and detectives would round up the prisoners and arrest them by hundreds, and carry them off and put them thru “examinations.” And Peter was always needed for this; his special knowledge