Also, Peter thought it was fun to tell Gerald Leslie about his adventures with the Holy Rollers, into whose church he had drifted during his search for a job. Peter had taken up with this sect, and learned the art of “talking in tongues,” and how to fall over the back of your chair in convulsions of celestial glory. Peter had gained the confidence of the Rev. Gamaliel Lunk, and had been secretly employed by him to carry on a propaganda among the congregation to obtain a raise in salary for the underpaid convulsionist. But certain things which Peter had learned had caused him to go over to the faction of Shoemaker Smithers, who was trying to persuade the congregation that he could roll harder and faster than the Rev. Gamaliel. Peter had only held this latter job a few days before he had been fired for stealing the fried doughnut.
All these things and more Peter told; thinking that he was safe now, under the protection of authority. But after he had spent about two months in the hospital, he was summoned one day into the office, and there stood Guffey, glowering at him in a black fury. “You damned fool!” were Guffey’s first words.
Peter’s knees went weak and his teeth began to chatter again. “Wh-wh-what?” he cried.
“Didn’t I tell you to hold your mouth?” And Guffey looked as if he were going to twist Peter’s wrist again.
“Mr. Guffey, I ain’t told a soul! I ain’t said one word about the Goober case, not one word!”
Peter rushed on, pouring out protests. But Guffey cut him short. “Shut up, you nut! Maybe you didn’t talk about the Goober case, but you talked about yourself. Didn’t you tell somebody you’d worked with that fellow Kalandra?”
“And you knew the police were after him, and after you, too?”
“And you said you’d been arrested selling fake patent medicines?”
“Christ almighty!” cried Guffey. “And what kind of a witness do you think you’ll make?”
“But,” cried Peter in despair, “I didn’t tell anybody that would matter. I only—”
“What do you know what would matter?” roared the detective, adding a stream of furious oaths. “The Goober people have got spies on us; they’ve got somebody right here in this jail. Anyhow, they’ve found out about you and your record. You’ve gone and ruined us with your blabbing mouth!”
“My Lord!” whispered Peter, his voice dying away.
“Look at yourself on a witness-stand! Look at what they’ll do to you before a jury! Traveling over the country, swindling people with patent medicines—and getting in jail for it! Working for that hell-blasted scoundrel Kalandra—” and Guffey added some dreadful words, descriptive of the loathsome vices of which the Chief Magistrian had been accused. “And you mixed up in that kind of thing!”