They had all known him as a shiftless, worthless creature. From the time he first entered Redwood Camp, carrying his entire effects in a red handkerchief on the end of a long-handled shovel, until he lazily drifted out of it on a plank in the terrible inundation of '56, they never expected anything better of him. In a community of strong men with sullen virtues and charmingly fascinating vices, he was tolerated as possessing neither-not even rising by any dominant human weakness or ludicrous quality to the importance of a butt. In the dramatis personae of Redwood Camp he was a simple "super"-who had only passive, speechless roles in those fierce dramas that were sometimes unrolled beneath its green-curtained pines.
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