She did not again ask Peter to tell her; but she let him talk, and tactfully guided the conversation, and before long she knew that Peter was intimate with a great many of the most desperate Reds, and likewise that he knew all about the insides of the Goober case, and about the great men of American City who had put up a million dollars for the purpose of hanging Goober, and about the various ways in which this money had been spent and wires had been pulled to secure a conviction. Nell put two and two together, and before long she figured out that the total was four; she suddenly confronted Peter with this total, and Peter was dumb with consternation, and broke down and confessed everything, and told Nell all about his schemes and his achievements and his adventures—omitting only little Jennie and the grass widow.
He told about the sums he had been making and was expecting to make; he told about Lackman, and showed Nell the newspaper with pictures of the young millionaire and his school. “What a handsome fellow!” said Nell. “It’s a shame!”
“How do you mean?” asked Peter, a little puzzled. Could it be that Nell had any sympathy for these Reds?
“I mean,” she answered, “that he’d have been worth more to you than all the rest put together.”
Nell was a woman, and her mind ran to the, practical aspect of things. “Look here, Peter,” she said, “you’ve been letting those `dicks’ work you. They’re getting the swag, and just giving you tips. What you need is somebody to take care of you.”
Peter’s heart leaped. “Will you do it?” he cried.
“I’ve got Ted on my hands,” said the girl. “He’d cut my throat, and yours too, if he knew I was here. But I’ll try to get myself free, and then maybe—I won’t promise, but I’ll think over your problem, Peter, and I’ll certainly try to help, so that McGivney and Guffey and those fellows can’t play you for a sucker any longer.”
She must have time to think it over, she said, and to make inquiries about the people involved—some of whom apparently she knew. She would meet Peter again the next day, and in a more private place than here. She named a spot in the city park which would be easy to find, and yet sufficiently remote for a quiet conference.