“Arrested!” exclaimed Peter. “Good Lord!” He had a sudden swift vision of himself shut up in a cell with those Reds, and forced to listen to “hard luck stories.”
“Well,” said Hammett, “we’re arresting all the Reds, and if we skip you, they’ll be suspicious. You better go somewhere right away and get caught.”
Peter saw the wisdom of this, and after a little thought he chose the home of Miriam Yankovitch. She was a real Red, and didn’t like him; but if he was arrested in her home, she would have to like him, and it would tend to make him “solid” with the “left wingers.” He gave the address to Hammett, and added, “You better come as soon as you can, because she may kick me out of the house.”
“That’s all right,” replied the other, with a laugh. “Tell her the police are after you, and ask her to hide you.”
So Peter hurried over to the Jewish quarter of the city, and knocked on a door in the top story of a tenement house. The door was opened by a stout woman with her sleeves rolled up and her arms covered with soap-suds. Yes, Miriam was in. She was out of a job just now, said Mrs. Yankovitch. They had fired her because she talked Socialism. Miriam entered the room, giving the unexpected visitor a cold stare that said as plain as words: “Jennie Todd!”
But this changed at once when Peter told her that he had been to I. W. W. headquarters and found the police in charge. They had made a raid, and claimed to have discovered some kind of plot; fortunately Peter had seen the crowd outside, and had got away. Miriam took him into an inside room and asked him a hundred questions which he could not answer. He knew nothing, except that he had been to a meeting at headquarters the night before, and this morning he had gone there to get a book, and had seen the crowd and run.
Half an hour later came a bang on the door, and Peter dived under the bed. The door was burst open, and he heard angry voices commanding, and vehement protests from Miriam and her mother. To judge from the sounds, the men began throwing the furniture this way and that; suddenly a hand came under the bed, and Peter was grabbed by the ankle, and hauled forth to confront four policemen in uniform.
It was an awkward situation, because apparently these policemen hadn’t been told that Peter was a spy; the boobs thought they were getting a real dynamiter! One grabbed each of Peter’s wrists, and another kept him and Miriam covered with a revolver, while the fourth proceeded to go thru his pockets, looking for bombs. When they didn’t find any, they seemed vexed, and shook him and hustled him about, and made clear they would be glad of some pretext to batter in his head. Peter was careful not to give them such a pretext; he was frightened and humble, and kept declaring that he didn’t know anything, he hadn’t done any harm.