Chapter 36

           "Comeon,I’llshowyoutherealdirt,"Brissendensaidtohim,oneeveninginJanuary. 

           TheyhaddinedtogetherinSanFrancisco,andwereattheFerryBuilding,returningtoOakland,whenthewhimcametohimtoshowMartinthe"realdirt." Heturnedandfledacrossthewater-front,ameagreshadowinaflappingovercoat,withMartinstrainingtokeepupwithhim. Atawholesaleliquorstoreheboughttwogallon-demijohnsofoldport,andwithoneineachhandboardedaMissionStreetcar,Martinathisheelsburdenedwithseveralquart-bottlesofwhiskey. 

           IfRuthcouldseemenow,washisthought,whilehewonderedastowhatconstitutedtherealdirt. 

           "Maybenobodywillbethere,"Brissendensaid,whentheydismountedandplungedofftotherightintotheheartoftheworking-classghetto,southofMarketStreet. "Inwhichcaseyou’llmisswhatyou’vebeenlookingforsolong." 

           "Andwhatthedeuceisthat?"Martinasked. 

           "Men,intelligentmen,andnotthegibberingnonentitiesIfoundyouconsortingwithinthattrader’sden. Youreadthebooksandyoufoundyourselfallalone. Well,I’mgoingtoshowyouto-nightsomeothermenwho’vereadthebooks,sothatyouwon’tbelonelyanymore." 

           "NotthatIbothermyheadabouttheireverlastingdiscussions,"hesaidattheendofablock. "I’mnotinterestedinbookphilosophy. Butyou’llfindthesefellowsintelligencesandnotbourgeoisswine. Butwatchout,they’lltalkanarmoffofyouonanysubjectunderthesun." 

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