aint their houses here, an' most of 'em's got no houses."
"Why, man, I don't mean house-painting. It is portrait and landscape painting that I refer to," said Frank, laughing.
Joe shook his head gravely. "Never do, Mr Frank--"
"Stop! if you and I are to be companions in trouble, you must not call me Mister Frank, you must drop the mister."
"Then I won't go with 'e, sir, that's all about it," said Joe firmly.
"Very well, please yourself," said Frank, with a laugh; "but if painting is so hopeless, what would you advise?"
"The diggin's," answered Joe.
"I thought so," said Frank, shaking his head.
"Most men out of work rush to the diggings. Indeed, many men are fools enough to leave their work to go there, but I confess that I don't like the notion. It has always appeared to me such a pitiful thing to see men, who are fit for better things, go grubbing in the mud for gold."
"But what are men to do, Mr Frank, w'en they can't git no other work?
A quick and entertaining read—part morality play, part adventure, part travelog. A junior Moby Dick, in other words. How accurate the descriptions of the California gold fields is hard to say.