Peter would go away from these meetings with McGivney with his head full of visions, and would concentrate all his faculties upon the collecting of information. He and Jennie and Sadie talked about the case incessantly, and Jennie and Sadie would tell freely everything they had heard outside. Others would come in—young McCormick, and Miriam Yankovitch, and Miss Nebbins, the secretary to Andrews, and they would tell what they had learned and what they suspected, and what the defense was hoping to find out. They got hold of a cousin of the man who had taken the photograph on the roof; they were working on him, to get him to persuade the photographer to tell the truth. Next day Donald Gordon would come in, cast down with despair, because it had been learned that one of the most valuable witnesses of the defense, a groceryman, had once pleaded guilty to selling spoilt cheese! Thus every evening, before he went to sleep, Peter would jot down notes, and sew them up inside his jacket, and once a week he would go to the meeting with McGivney, and the two would argue and bargain over the value of Peter’s news.
It had become a fascinating game, and Peter would never have tired of it, but for the fact that he had to stay all day in the house with little Jennie. A honeymoon is all right for a few weeks, but no man can stand it forever. Little Jennie apparently never tired of being kissed, and never seemed satisfied that Peter thoroughly loved her. A man got thru with his love-making after awhile, but a woman, it appeared, never knew how to drop the subject; she was always looking before and after, and figuring consequences and responsibilities, her duty and her reputation and all the rest of it. Which, of course, was a bore.
Jennie was unhappy because she was deceiving Sadie; she wanted to tell Sadie, and yet somehow it was easier to go on concealing than admit that one had concealed. Peter didn’t see why Sadie had to be told at all; he didn’t see why things couldn’t stay just as they were, and why he and his sweetheart couldn’t have some fun now and then, instead of always being sentimental, always having agonies over the class war, to say nothing of the world war, and the prospects of America becoming involved in it.
This did not mean that Peter was hard and feelingless. No, when Peter clasped trembling little Jennie in his arms he was very deeply moved; he had a real sense of what a gentle and good little soul she was. He would have been glad to help her—but what could he do about it? The situation was such that he could not plead with her, he could not try to change her; he had to give himself up to all her crazy whims and pretend to agree with her. Little Jennie was by her weakness marked for destruction, and what good would it do for him to go to destruction along with her?