So Peter had things where he wanted them. “Who are those fellows?” he asked, and got the crowd arguing over names. Of course they didn’t argue very long before somebody mentioned “Nelse” Ackerman, who was venomously hated by the Reds because he had put up a hundred thousand dollars of the Anti-Goober fund. Peter pretended not to know about Nelse; and Jerry Rudd, a “blanket-stiff” whose head was still sore from being cracked open in a recent harvesters’ strike, remarked that by Jesus, if they’d put a few fellows like that in the trenches, there’d be some pacifists in Ameriky sure enough all right.
It seemed almost as if Joe Angell had come there to back up Peter’s purpose. “What we want,” said he, “is a few fellows to fight as hard for themselves as they fight for the capitalists.”
“Yes,” assented Henderson, grimly. “We’re all so good—we wait till our masters tell us we can kill.”
That was the end of the discussion; but it seemed quite enough to Peter. He watched his chance, and one by one he managed to slip his little notes into the coat-pockets of Joe Angell, Jerry Rudd, Henderson, and Gus, the sailor. And then Peter made his escape, trembling with excitement. The great dynamite conspiracy was on! “They must be got rid of!” he was whispering to himself. “They must be got rid of by any means! It’s my duty I’m doing.”
Peter had an appointment to meet Nell on a street corner at eleven o’clock that same night, and when she stepped off the street-car, Peter saw that she was carrying a suit-case. “Did you get your job done?” she asked quickly, and when Peter answered in the affirmative, she added: “Here’s your bomb!”
Peter’s jaw fell. He looked so frightened that she hastened to reassure him. It wouldn’t go off; it was only the makings of a bomb, three sticks of dynamite and some fuses and part of a clock. The dynamite was wrapped carefully, and there was no chance of its exploding—if he didn’t drop it! But Peter wasn’t much consoled. He had had no idea that Nell would go so far, or that he would actually have to handle dynamite. He wondered where and how she had got it, and wished to God he was out of this thing.
But it was too late now, of course. Said Nell: “You’ve got to get this suit-case into the headquarters, and you’ve got to get it there without anybody seeing you. They’ll be shut up pretty soon, won’t they?”
“We locked up when we left,” said Peter.
“And who has the key?”
“Grady, the secretary.”
“There’s no way you can get it?”
“I can get into the room,” said Peter, quickly. “There’s a fire escape, and the window isn’t tight. Some of us that know about it have got in that way when the place was locked.”
“All right,” said Nell. “We’ll wait a bit; we mustn’t take chances of anyone coming back.”