All over the country the Red trains were moving eastward, loaded with “wobblies” and communists, pacifists and anarchists, and a hundred other varieties of Bolsheviks. They got a shipload together and started them off for Russia—the “Red Ark” it was called, and the Red soap-boxers set tip a terrific uproar, and one Red clergyman compared the “Red Ark” to the Mayflower! Also there was some Red official in Washington, who made a fuss and cancelled a whole block of deportation orders, including some of Peter’s own cases. This, naturally, was exasperating to Peter and his wife; and on top of it came another incident that was still more humiliating.
There was a “pink” mass meeting held in American City, to protest against the deportations. Guffey said they would quite probably raid the meeting, and Peter must go along, so as to point out the Reds to the bulls. The work was in charge of a police detective by the name of Garrity, head of what was called the “Bomb Squad”; but this man didn’t know very much, so he had the habit of coming to Peter for advice. Now he had the whole responsibility of this meeting, and he asked Peter to come up on the platform with him, and Peter went. Here was a vast audience—all the Red fury which had been pent up for many months, breaking loose in a whirlwind of excitement. Here were orators, well dressed and apparently respectable men, not in any way to be distinguished from the born rulers of the country, coming forward on the platform and uttering the most treasonable sentences, denouncing the government, denouncing the blockade against Russia, praising the Bolshevik government of Russia, declaring that the people who went away in the “Soviet Ark” were fortunate, because they were escaping from a land of tyranny into a land of freedom. At every few sentences the orator would be stopped by a storm of applause that broke from the audience.
And what was a poor Irish Catholic police detective to make of a proposition like that? Here stood an orator declaring: “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundations on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.” And Garrity turned to Peter. “What do you think of that?” he said, his good-natured Irish face blank with dismay.
Peter thought it was the limit. Peter knew that thousands of men all over America had been sent to prison for saying things less dangerous than that. Peter had read many sets of instructions from the office of the Attorney-General of the United States, and knew officially that that was precisely the thing you were never under any circumstances permitted to say, or to write, or even to think. So Peter said to Garrity: “That fellow’s gone