For thirty years the “Times” had been standing for law and order against all the forces of red riot and revolution; for thirty years the “Times” had been declaring that labor leaders and walking delegates and Socialists and Anarchists were all one and the same thing, and all placed their reliance fundamentally upon one instrument, the dynamite bomb. Here at last the “Times” was vindicated, this was the “Times” great day! They had made the most of it, not merely on the front page, but on two other pages, with pictures of all the conspicuous conspirators, including Peter, and pictures of the I. W. W. headquarters, and the suit-case, and the sticks of dynamite and the fuses and the clock; also of the “studio” in which the Reds had been trapped, and of Nikitin, the Russian anarchist who owned this den. Also there were columns of speculation about the case, signed statements and interviews with leading clergymen and bankers, the president of the Chamber of Commerce and the secretary of the Real Estate Exchange. Also there was a two-column, double-leaded editorial, pointing out how the “Times” had been saying this for thirty years, and not failing to connect up the case with the Goober case, and the Lackman case, and the case of three pacifist clergymen who had been arrested several days before for attempting to read the Sermon on the Mount at a public meeting.
And Peter knew that he, Peter Gudge, had done all this! The forces of law and order owed it all to one obscure little secret service agent! Peter would get no credit, of course; the Chief of Police and the district attorney were issuing solemn statements, taking the honors to themselves, and with never one hint that they owed anything to the secret service department of the Traction Trust. That was necessary, of course; for the sake of appearances it had to be pretended that the public authorities were doing the work, exercising their legal functions in due and regular form. It would never do to have the mob suspect that these activities were being financed and directed by the big business interests of the city. But all the same, it made Peter sore! He and McGivney and the rest of Guffey’s men had a contempt for the public officials, whom they regarded as “pikers”; the officials had very little money to spend, and very little power. If you really wanted to get anything done in America, you didn’t go to any public official, you went to the big men of affairs, the ones who had the “stuff,” and were used to doing things quickly and efficiently. It was the same in this business of spying as in everything else.
Now and then Peter would realize how close he had come to ghastly ruin. He would have qualms of terror, picturing himself shut up in the hole, and Guffey proceeding to torture the truth out of him. But he was able to calm these fears. He was sure this dynamite conspiracy would prove too big a temptation for the authorities; it would sweep them away in spite of themselves. They would have to go thru with it, they would have to stand by Peter.