“We’ll have a show-down, Gudge, right here,” the head detective continued. “You tell us all this stuff about Angell—his talk with Jerry Rudd, and his pockets stuffed with bombs and all the rest of it—and he denies every word of it.”
“But, m-m-my God! Mr. Guffey,” gasped Peter. “Of course he’ll deny it!” Peter could hardly believe his ears—that they were taking seriously the denial of a dynamiter, and quoting it to him!
“Yes, Gudge,” responded Guffey, “but you might as well know the truth now as later—Angell is one of our men; we’ve had him planted on these `wobblies’ for the last year.”
The bottom fell out of Peter’s world; Peter went tumbling heels over head—down, down into infinite abysses of horror and despair. Joe Angell was a secret agent like himself! The Blue-eyed Angell, who talked dynamite and assassination at a hundred radical gatherings, who shocked the boldest revolutionists by his reckless language—Angell a spy, and Peter had proceeded to plant a “frame-up” on him!
It was all up with Peter. He would go back into the hole! He would be tortured for the balance of his days! In his ears rang the shrieks of ten thousand lost souls and the clang of ten thousand trumpets of doom; and yet, in the midst of all the noise and confusion, Peter managed somehow to hear the voice of Nell, whispering over and over again: “Stick it out, Peter; stick it out!”
He flung out his hands and started toward his accuser. “Mr. Guffey, as God is my witness, I don’t know a thing about it but what I’ve told you. That’s what happened, and if Joe Angell tells you anything different he’s lying.”
“But why should he lie?”
“I don’t know why; I don’t know anything about it!”
Here was where Peter reaped the advantage of his lifelong training as an intriguer. In the midst of all his fright and his despair, Peter’s subconscious mind was working, thinking of schemes. “Maybe Angell was framing something up on you! Maybe he was fixing some plan of his own, and I come along and spoiled it; I sprung it too soon. But I tell you it’s straight goods I’ve given you.” And Peter’s very anguish gave him the vehemence to check Guffey’s certainty. As he rushed on, Peter could read in the eyes of the detective that he wasn’t really as sure as he talked.
“Did you see that suit-case?” he demanded.
“No, I didn’t see no suit-case!” answered Peter. “I don’t even know if there was a suit-case. I only know I heard Joe Angell say `suit-case,’ and I heard him say `dynamite.’”
“Did you see anybody writing anything in the place?”
“No, I didn’t,” said Peter. “But I seen Henderson sitting at the table working at some papers he had in his pocket, and I seen him tear something up and throw it into the trash-basket.” Peter saw the others look at one another, and he knew that he was beginning to make headway.