Also he had a bit of genuine anxiety. He had told the truth when he said to Guffey that he didn’t know what a “Red” was; but since then he had been making in quiries, and now he knew. A “Red” was a fellow who sympathized with labor unions and with strikes; who wanted to murder the rich and divide their property, and believed that the quickest way to do the dividing was by means of dynamite. All “Reds” made bombs, and carried concealed weapons, and perhaps secret poisons—who could tell? And now Peter was going among them, he was going to become one of them! It was almost too interesting, for a fellow who aimed above everything to be comfortable. Something in him whispered, “Why not skip; get out of town and be done with it?” But then he thought of the rewards and honors that Guffey had promised him. Also there was the spirit of curiosity; he might skip at any time, but first he would like to know a bit more about being a “dick.”
He came to the number which had been given him, a tiny bungalow in a poor neighborhood, and rang the doorbell. It was answered by a girl, and at a glance Peter saw that it was the girl who had spoken to him. She did not wait for him to announce himself, but cried impulsively, “Mr. Gudge! Oh, I’m so glad you’ve come!” She added, “Comrade!”—just as if Peter were a well-known friend. And then, “But are you a comrade?”
“How do you mean?” asked Peter.
“You’re not a Socialist? Well, we’ll make one of you.” She brought him in and showed him to a chair, saying, “I know what they did to you; and you stood out against them! Oh, you were wonderful! Wonderful!”
Peter was at a loss what to say. There was in this girl’s voice a note of affection, as well as of admiration; and Peter in his hard life had had little experience with emotions of this sort. Peter had watched the gushings and excitements of girls who were seeking flirtations; but this girl’s attitude he felt at once was not flirtatious. Her voice tho soft, was just a trifle too solemn for a young girl; her deep-set, wistful grey eyes rested on Peter with the solicitude of a mother whose child has just escaped a danger.
She called: “Sadie, here’s Mr. Gudge.” And there entered another girl, older, taller, but thin and pale like her sister. Jennie and Sadie Todd were their names, Peter learned; the older was a stenographer, and supported the family. The two girls were in a state of intense concern. They started to question Peter about his experiences, but he had only talked for a minute or two before the elder went to the telephone. There were various people who must see Peter at once, important people who were to be notified as soon as he turned up. She spent some time at the phone, and the people she talked with must have phoned to others, because for the next hour or two there was a constant stream of visitors coming in, and Peter had to tell his story over and over again.