What Mr. London did so graphically for the poorest quarters of London a few years ago, he now does for the American underworld of the tramp and hobo, a territory in which his young Wanderlust led him far afield.
"It was destroyed in the great earthquake of 1887," I explained. "It was very old."
There was a pause. He was busy reconstructing in his old eyes the youthful vision of that fair temple by the sea.
"The stairway is still there," I aided him. "You can see it from all over the harbor. And you remember that little island on the right-hand side coming into the harbor?" I guess there must have been one there (I was prepared to shift it over to the left-hand side), for he nodded. "Gone," I said. "Seven fathoms of water there now."
I had gained a moment for breath. While he pondered on time's changes, I prepared the finishing touches of my story.
"You remember the custom-house at Bombay?"
He remembered it.
"Burned to the ground," I announced.
"Do you remember Jim Wan?" he came back at me. "Dead," I said; but who the devil Jim Wan was I hadn't the slightest idea.
I was on thin ice again.
"Do you remember Billy Harper, at Shanghai?
Working my way through Jack London. This one really held my attention.
It is the story of those with wings on their heals. with the desire of wander where there is to wander and see what there is to see.
The american hobo has, at least in theory, a choice but determines to live his life on the road, as a bum, riding the rails. a very interesting view of another lifestyle.