“I. W. W. They’ve got bombs in a suit-case! They’re starting off to blow somebody up tonight.”
“By God! What do you mean? Who?”
“I dunno yet. I only heard part of it, and I’ve got to go. They’re starting, I’ve got to follow them. I may lose them and it’ll be too late. You hear me, I’ve got to follow them!”
“I hear you. What do you want me to do?”
“I’ll phone you again the first chance I get. You have your men ready, a dozen of them! Have automobiles, so you can come quick. You get me?”
“I can’t talk any more, I may lose them, I haven’t a second! You be at your phone, and have your men ready—everything ready. You get me?”
“Yes, but listen, man! You sure you’re not mistaken?”
“Yes, yes, I’m sure!” cried Peter, his voice mounting in excitement. “They’ve got the dynamite, I tell you—everything! It’s a man named Nelse.”
“The man they’re going to kill. I’ve got to go now, you get ready. Good-bye!” And Peter hung up the receiver. He had got so excited over the part he was playing that he sprang up and ran out of the drug-store, as if he really had to catch up with some I. W. W. conspirators carrying a dynamite bomb!
But there was Nell, and they strolled down the street again. They came to a small park, and sat on one of the benches, because Peter’s legs would no longer hold him up. Nell walked about to make sure there was no one on any of the other benches; then she came back and rehearsed the next scene with Peter. They must go over it most carefully, because before long the time was coming when Peter wouldn’t have Nell to coach him, and must be prepared to stand on his own legs. Peter knew that, and his legs failed him. He wanted to back down, and declare that he couldn’t go ahead with it; he wanted to go to McGivney and confess everything. Nell divined what was going on in his soul, and wished to save him the humiliation of having it known. She sat close to him on the bench, and put her hand on his as she talked to him, and presently Peter felt a magic thrill stealing over him. He ventured to put his arm about Nell, to get still more of this delicious sensation; and Nell permitted the embraces, for the first time she even encouraged them. Peter was a hero now, he was undertaking a bold and desperate venture; he was going to put it thru like a man, and win Nell’s real admiration. “Our country’s at war!” she exclaimed. “And these devils are stopping it!”
So pretty soon Peter was ready to face the whole world; Peter was ready to go himself and blow up the king of American City with a dynamite bomb! In that mood he stayed thru the small hours of the morning, sitting on the bench clasping his girl in his arms, and wishing she would give a little more time to heeding his love-making, and less to making him recite his lessons.