The most likely was Pat McCormick. “Mac,” with his grim, set face and his silent, secretive habits, fitted perfectly to Peter’s conception of a dynamiter. Also “Mac” was Peter’s personal enemy; “Mac” had just returned from his organizing trip in the oil fields, and had been denouncing Peter and gossiping about him in the various radical groups. “Mac” was the most dangerous Red of them all! He must surely be one of the dynamiters!
Another likely one was Joe Angell, whom Peter had met at a recent gathering of Ada Ruth’s “Anti-conscription League.” People made jokes about this chap’s name because he looked the part, with his bright blue eyes that seemed to have come out of heaven, and his bright golden hair, and even the memory of dimples in his cheeks. But when Joe opened his lips, you discovered that he was an angel from the nether regions. He was the boldest and most defiant of all the Reds that Peter had yet come upon. He had laughed at Ada Ruth and her sentimental literary attitude toward the subject of the draft. It wasn’t writing poems and passing resolutions that was wanted; it wasn’t even men who would refuse to put on the uniform, but men who would take the guns that were offered to them, and drill themselves, and at the proper time face about and use the guns in the other direction. Agitating and organizing were all right in their place, but now, when the government dared challenge the workers and force them into the army, it was men of action that were needed in the radical movement.
Joe Angell had been up in the lumber country, and could tell what was the mood of the real workers, the “huskies” of the timberlands. Those fellows weren’t doing any more talking; they had their secret committees that were ready to take charge of things as soon as they had put the capitalists and their governments out of business. Meantime, if there was a sheriff or prosecuting attorney that got too gay, they would “bump him off.” This was a favorite phrase of “Blue-eyed Angell.” He would use it every half hour or so as he told about his adventures. “Yes,” he would say; “he got gay, but we bumped him off all right.”
So Nell and Peter settled down to work out the details of their “frame-up” on Joe Angell and Pat McCormick. Peter must get a bunch of them together and get them to talking about bombs and killing people; and then he must slip a note into the pockets of all who showed interest, calling them to meet for a real conspiracy. Nell would write the notes, so that no one could fasten the job onto Peter. She pulled out a pencil and a little pad from her handbag, and began: “If you really believe in a bold stroke for the workers’ rights, meet me—” And then she stopped. “Where?”
“In the studios,” put in Peter.
And Nell wrote, “In the studios. Is that enough?”
“Room 17.” Peter knew that this was the room of Nikitin, a Russian painter who called himself an Anarchist.