Gus, the sailor, spoke up, his broad, good-natured face wearing a grin which showed where three of his front teeth had been knocked out with a belaying pin. It was exactly the same with the seamen, he declared. They never saw the ship-owners, they didn’t know even the names of the people who were getting the profit of their toil, but they had a crazy loyalty to their ship, Some old tanker would be sent out to sea on purpose to be sunk, so that the owners might get the insurance. But the poor A. Bs. would love that old tub so that they would go down to the bottom with her—or perhaps they would save her, to the owners great disgust!
Thus, for hours on end, Peter had to sit listening to this ding donging about the wrongs of the poor and the crimes of the rich. Here he had been sentenced for fifteen days and nights to listen to Socialist wrangles! Every one of these fellows had a different idea of how he wanted the world to be run, and every one had a different idea of how to bring about the change. Life was an endless struggle between the haves and the have-nots, and the question of how the have-nots were to turn out the haves was called “tactics.” When you talked about “tactics” you used long technical terms which made your conversation unintelligible to a plain, ordinary mortal. It seemed to Peter that every time he fell asleep it was to the music of proletariat and surplus value and unearned increment, possibilism and impossibilism, political action, direct action, mass action, and the perpetual circle of Syndicalist-Anarchist, Anarchist-Communist, Communist-Socialist and Socialist-Syndicalist.
In company such as this Peter’s education for the role of detective was completed by force, as it were. He listened to everything, and while he did not dare make any notes, he stored away treasures in his mind, and when he came out of the jail he was able to give McGivney a pretty complete picture of the various radical organizations in American City, and the attitude of each one toward the war.
Peter found that McGivney’s device had worked perfectly. Peter was now a martyr and a hero; his position as one of the “left wingers” was definitely established, and anyone who ventured to say a word against him would be indignantly rebuked. As a matter of fact, no one desired to say much. Pat McCormick, Peter’s enemy, was out on an organizing trip among the oil workers.
Duggan had apparently taken a fancy to Peter, and took him to meet some of his friends, who lived in an old, deserted warehouse, which happened to have skylights in the roof; this constituted each room a “studio,” and various radicals rented the rooms, and lived here a sort of picnic existence which Peter learned was called “Bohemian.” They were young people, most of them, with one or two old fellows, derelicts; they wore flannel shirts, and soft ties, or no ties at all, and their fingers