This plan had the double advantage that not merely would it save Peter’s prestige and reputation, among the Reds, it would ruin McCormick, who was one of the hardest workers for the defense, and one of the most dangerous Reds in American City, as well as being a personal enemy of Peter’s. McGivney pulled some of his secret wires, and the American City “Times,” in the course of its accounts of the case, mentioned a rumor that the defense proposed to put on the stand a man who claimed to have been tortured in the city jail, in an effort to make him give false testimony against Goober; the prosecution had investigated this man’s record and discovered that only recently he had seduced a young girl, and she had killed herself because of his refusal to marry her. Peter took this copy of the American City “Times” to the office of David Andrews, and insisted upon seeing the lawyer before he went to court; he laid the item on the desk, and declared that there was his finish as a witness in the Goober case. “It’s a cowardly, dirty lie!” he declared. “And the man responsible for circulating it is Pat McCormick.”
Such are the burdens that fall upon the shoulders of lawyers in hard-fought criminal trials! Poor Andrews did his best to patch things up; he pleaded with Peter—if the story was false, Peter ought to be glad of a chance to answer his slanderers. The defense would put witnesses on the stand to deny it. They would produce Sadie Todd to deny it.
“But Sadie told me she suspected me!”
“Yes,” said Andrews, “but she told me recently she wasn’t sure.”
“Much good that’ll do me!” retorted Peter. “They’ll ask me if anybody ever accused me, and who, and I’ll have to say McCormick, and if they put him on the stand, will he deny that he accused me?”
Peter flew into a rage against McCormick; a fine sort of radical he was, pretending to be devoted to the cause, and having no better sense than to repeat a cruel slander against a comrade! Here Peter had been working on this case for nearly six months, working for barely enough to keep body and soul together, and now they expected him to go on the and have a story like that brought out in the papers, and have the prosecution hiring witnesses to prove him a villain. “No, sir!” said Peter. “I’m thru with this case right now. You put McCormick on the witness stand and let him save Goober’s life. You can’t use me, I’m out!” And shutting his ears to the lawyer’s pleading, he stormed out of the office, and over to the office of the Goober Defense Committee, where he repeated the same scene.
Thus Peter was done with the Goober case, and mighty glad of it he was. He was tired of the strain, he needed a rest and a little pleasure. He had his pockets stuffed with money, and a good fat bank account, and proposed to take things easy for the first time in his hard and lonely life.