Peter’s two policemen backed him against the wall and proceeded to go thru his pockets, producing the shameful contents—a soiled rag, and two cigarette butts picked up on the street, and a broken pipe, and a watch which had once cost a dollar, but was now out of order, and too badly damaged to be pawned. That was all they had any right to find, so far as Peter knew. But there came forth one thing more—the printed circular which Peter had thrust into his pocket. The policeman who pulled it out took a glance at it, and then cried, “Good God!” He stared at Peter, then he stared at the other policeman and handed him the paper.
At that moment the man not in uniform entered the room. “Mr. Guffey!” cried the policeman. “See this!” The man took the paper, and glanced at it, and Peter, watching with bewildered and fascinated eyes, saw a most terrifying sight. It was as if the man went suddenly out of his mind. He glared at Peter, and under his black eyebrows the big staring eyes seemed ready to jump out of his head.
“Aha!” he exclaimed; and then, “So I’ve got you!” The hand that held the paper was trembling, and the other hand reached out like a great claw, and fastened itself in the neck of Peter’s coat, and drew it together until Peter was squeezed tight. “You threw that bomb!” hissed the man.
“Wh-what?” gasped Peter, his voice almost fainting. “B-b-bomb?”
“Out with it!” cried the man, and his face came close to Peter’s, his teeth gleaming as if he were going to bite off Peter’s nose. “Out with it! Quick! Who helped you?”
“My G-God!” said Peter. “I d-dunno what you mean.”
“You dare lie to me?” roared the man; and he shook Peter as if he meant to jar his teeth out. “No nonsense now! Who helped you make that bomb?”
Peter’s voice rose to a scream of terror: “I never saw no bomb! I dunno what you’re talkin’ about!”
“You, come this way,” said the man, and started suddenly toward the door. It might have been more convenient if he had turned Peter around, and got him by the back of his coat-collar; but he evidently held Peter’s physical being as a thing too slight for consideration—he just kept his grip in the bosom of Peter’s jacket, and half lifted him and half shoved him back out of the room, and down a long passage to the back part of the building. And all the time he was hissing into Peter’s face: “I’ll have it out of you! Don’t think you can lie to me! Make up your mind to it, you’re going to come thru!”
The man opened a door. It was some kind of storeroom, and he walked Peter inside and slammed the door behind him. “Now, out with it!” he said. The man thrust into his pocket the printed circular, or whatever it was—Peter never saw it again, and never found out what was printed on it. With his free hand the man grabbed one of Peter’s hands, or rather one finger of Peter’s hand, and bent it suddenly backward with terrible violence. “Oh!” screamed Peter. “Stop!” And then, with a wild shriek, “You’ll break it.”