“I mean to break it! mean to break every bone in your body! I’ll tear your finger-nails out; I’ll tear the eyes out of your head, if I have to! You tell me who helped you make that bomb!”
Peter broke out in a storm of agonized protest; he had never heard of any bomb, he didn’t know what the man was talking about; he writhed and twisted and doubled himself over backward, trying to evade the frightful pain of that pressure on his finger.
“You’re lying!” insisted Guffey. “I know you’re lying. You’re one of that crowd.”
“What crowd? Ouch! I dunno what you mean!”
“You’re one of them Reds, aint you?”
“Reds? What are Reds?”
“You want to tell me you don’t know what a Red is? Aint you been giving out them circulars on the street?”
“I never seen the circular!” repeated Peter. “I never seen a word in it; I dunno what it is.”
“You try to stuff me with that?”
“Some woman gimme that circular on the street! Ouch! Stop! Jesus! I tell you I never looked at the circular!”
“You dare go on lying?” shouted the man, with fresh access of rage. “And when I seen you with them Reds? I know about your plots, I’m going to get it out of you.” He grabbed Peter’s wrist and began to twist it, and Peter half turned over in the effort to save himself, and shrieked again, in more piercing tones, “I dunno! I dunno!”
“What’s them fellows done for you that you protect them?” demanded the other. “What good’ll it do you if we hang you and let them escape?”
But Peter only screamed and wept the louder.
“They’ll have time to get out of town,” persisted the other. “If you speak quick we can nab them all, and then I’ll let you go. You understand, we won’t do a thing to you, if you’ll come thru and tell us who put you up to this. We know it wasn’t you that planned it; it’s the big fellows we want.”
He began to wheedle and coax Peter; but then, when Peter answered again with his provoking “I dunno,” he would give another twist to Peter’s wrist, and Peter would yell, almost incoherent with terror and pain—but still declaring that he could tell nothing, he knew nothing about any bomb.
So at last Guffey wearied of this futile inquisition; or perhaps it occurred to him that this was too public a place for the prosecution of a “third degree”—there might be some one listening outside the door. He stopped twisting Peter’s wrist, and tilted back Peter’s head so that Peter’s frightened eyes were staring into his.
“Now, young fellow,” he said, “look here. I got no time for you just now, but you’re going to jail, you’re my prisoner, and make up your mind to it, sooner or later I’m going to get it out of you. It may take a day, or it may take a month, but you’re going to tell me about this bomb plot, and who printed this here circular opposed to Preparedness, and all about these Reds you work with. I’m telling you now—so you think it over; and meantime, you hold your mouth, don’t say a word to a living soul, or if you do I’ll tear your tongue out of your throat.”