“Jack Ibbetts, one of the night keepers in the jail.”
“I know him,” said the other. “But what put that notion into your head?”
“He’s a cousin of the Todd sisters.”
“Who are the Todd sisters?”
“Jennie Todd is my girl,” said Peter.
“Girl!” echoed the other; he stared at Peter, and a grin spread over his face. “You got a girl in two weeks? I didn’t know you had it in you!”
It was a doubtful compliment, but Peter’s smile was no less expansive, and showed all his crooked teeth. “I got her all right,” he said, “and she blabbed it out the first thing—that Ibbetts was her cousin. And then she was scared, because Andrews, the lawyer, had made her and her sister swear they wouldn’t mention his name to a soul. So you see, they’re using him for a spy—there ain’t a particle of doubt about it.”
“Good God!” said McGivney, and there was genuine dismay in his tone. “Who’d think it possible? Why, Ibbetts is as decent a fellow as ever you talked to—and him a Red, and a traitor at that! You know, that’s what makes it the devil trying to handle these Reds—you never can tell who they’ll get; you never know who to trust. How, d’you suppose they manage it?”
“I dunno,” said Peter. “There’s a sucker born every minute, you know!”
“Well, anyhow, I see you ain’t one of ’em,” said the rat-faced man, as he watched Peter take the roll of bills from the bed and tuck them away in an inside pocket.
Peter was warned by the rat-faced man that he must be careful how he spent any of that money. Nothing would be more certain to bring suspicion on him than to have it whispered about that he was “in funds.” He must be able to show how he had come honestly by everything he had. And Peter agreed to that; he would hide the money away in a safe place until he was thru with his job.
Then he in turn proceeded to warn McGivney. If they were to fire Ibbetts from his job, it would certainly cause talk, and might direct suspicion against Peter. McGivney answered with a smile that he wasn’t born yesterday. They would “promote” Jack Ibbetts, giving him some job where he couldn’t get any news about the Goober case; then, after a bit, they would catch him up on some mistake, or get him into some trouble, and fire him.
At this meeting, and at later meetings, Peter and the rat-faced man talked out every aspect of the Goober case, which was becoming more and more complicated, and bigger as a public issue. New people were continually being involved, and new problems continually arising; it was more fascinating than a game of chess. McGivney had spoken the literal truth when he said that the big business interests of American City had put up a million dollars to hang Goober and his crowd. At the very beginning there had been offered seventeen thousand dollars in rewards for information, and these