It was fortunate that this was the day of Peter’s meeting with McGivney. He could really not have kept this wonderful secret to himself over night. He made excuses to the girls, and dodged thru the chicken-yard as before, and made his way to the American House. As he walked, Peter’s mind was working busily. He had really got his grip on the ladder of prosperity now; he must not fail to tighten it.
McGivney saw right away from Peter’s face that something had happened. “Well?” he inquired.
“I’ve got it!” exclaimed Peter.
“The name of the spy in the jail.”
“Christ! You don’t mean it!” cried the other.
“No doubt about it,” answered Peter.
“Who is he?”
Peter clenched his hands and summoned his resolution. “First,” he said, “you and me got to have an understanding. Mr. Guffey said I was to be paid, but he didn’t say how much, or when.”
“Oh, hell!” said McGivney. “If you’ve got the name of that spy, you don’t need to worry about your reward.”
“Well, that’s all right,” said Peter, “but I’d like to know what I’m to get and how I’m to get it.”
“How much do you want?” demanded the man with the face of a rat. Rat-like, he was retreating into a corner, his sharp black eyes watching his enemy. “How much?” he repeated.
Peter had tried his best to rise to this occasion. Was he not working for the greatest and richest concern in American City, the Traction Trust? Tens and hundreds of millions of dollars they were worth—he had no idea how much, but he knew they could afford to pay for his secret. “I think it ought to be worth two hundred dollars,” he said.
“Sure,” said McGivney, “that’s all right. We’ll pay you that.”
And straightway Peter’s heart sank. What a fool he had been! Why hadn’t he had more courage, and asked for five hundred dollars? He might even have asked a thousand, and made himself independent for life!
“Well,” said McGivney, “who’s the spy?”
Peter made an agonizing, effort, and summoned yet more nerve. “First, I got to know, when do I get that money?”
“Oh, good God!” said McGivney. “You give us the information, and you’ll get your money all right. What kind of cheap skates do you take us for?”
“Well, that’s all right,” said Peter. “But you know, Mr. Guffey didn’t give me any reason to think he loved me. I still can hardly use this wrist like I used to.”
“Well, he was trying to get some information out of you,” said McGivney. “He thought you were one of them dynamiters—how could you blame him? You give me the name of that spy, and I’ll see you get your money.”
But still Peter wouldn’t yield. He was afraid of the rat-faced McGivney, and his heart was thumping fast, but he stood his ground. “I think I ought to see that money,” he said, doggedly.