There was Donald Gordon, who was the son of a well-to-do business man, and had been to college, until he was expelled for taking the doctrines of Christianity too literally and expounding them too persistently on the college campus. There was a big, brawny lumber-jack from the North, Jim Henderson by name, who had been driven out of the camps for the same reason, and had appalling stories to tell of the cruelties and hardships of the life of a logger. There was a Swedish sailor by the name of Gus, who had visited every port in the world, and a young Jewish cigar-worker who had never been outside of American City, but had travelled even more widely in his mind.
The sixth man was the strangest character of all to Peter; a shy, dreamy fellow with eyes so full of pain and a face so altogether mournful that it hurt to look at him. Duggan was his name, and he was known in the movement as the “hobo poet.” He wrote verses, endless verses about the lives of society’s outcasts; he would get himself a pencil and paper and sit off in the corner of the cell by the hour, and the rest of the fellows, respecting his work, would talk in whispers so as not to disturb him. He wrote all the time while the others slept, it seemed to Peter. He wrote verses about the adventures of his fellow-prisoners, and presently he was writing verses about the jailers, and about other prisoners in this part of the jail. He would have moods of inspiration, and would make up topical verses as he went along; then again he would sink back into his despair, and say that life was hell, and making rhymes about it was childishness.