Peter hated to do anything like that. He had a vision of little Jennie lying on the sofa in hysterics as he had left her, and he dreaded the long emotional scene that would be necessary. However, it seemed that he must go thru with it; there was no better way that he could think of. Also, he must be quick, because in a couple of hours Sadie would be coming home from work, and it might be too late.
Peter hurried back to the Todd home, and there was white-faced little Jennie lying on the bed, still sobbing. One would think she might have used up her surplus stock of emotions; but no, there is never any limit to the emotions a woman can pour out. As soon as Peter had got fairly started on the humiliating confession that he had a wife, little Jennie sprang up from the bed with a terrified shriek, and confronted him with a face like the ghost of an escaped lunatic. Peter tried to explain that it wasn’t his fault, he had really expected to be free any day. But Jennie only clasped her hands to her forehead and screamed: “You have deceived me! You have betrayed me!” It was just like a scene in the movies, the bored little devil inside Peter was whispering.
He tried to take her hand and reason with her, but she sprang away from him, she rushed to the other side of the room and stood there, staring at him as if she were some wild thing that he had in a corner and was threatening to kill. She made so much noise that he was afraid that she would bring the neighbors in; he had to point out to her that if this matter became public he would be ruined forever as a witness, and thus she might be the means of sending Jim Goober to the gallows.
Thereupon Jennie fell silent, and it was possible for Peter to get in a word. He told her of the intrigues against him; the other side had sent somebody to him and offered him ten thousand dollars if he would sell out the Goober defense. Now, since he had refused, they were trying to blackmail him, using his wife. They had somehow come to suspect that he was involved in a love affair, and this was to be the means of ruining him.
Jennie still would not let Peter touch, her, but she consented to sit down quietly in a chair, and figure out what they were going to do. Whatever happened, she said, they must do no harm to the Goober case. Peter had done her a monstrous wrong in keeping the truth from her, but she would suffer the penalty, whatever it might be; she would never involve him.
Peter started to explain; perhaps it wasn’t so serious as she feared. He had been thinking things over; he knew where Pericles Priam, his old employer, was living, and Pericles was rich now, and Peter felt sure that he could borrow two hundred dollars, and there were places where little Jennie could go—there were ways to get out of this trouble—
But little Jennie stopped him. She was only a child in some ways, but in others she was a mature woman. She had strange fixed ideas, and when you ran into them it was like running into a stone wall. She would not hear of the idea Peter suggested; it would be murder.