REH Word of the Week: bindlestiff

(artist unknown)

noun

1. hobo, especially one who carries his clothes or bedding in a bundle.

[origin: ca. 1897; origin unknown]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

Some day I’m going out on the Road—
I’ll pound the pavements, grab the blind baggage
And ride the brake beams.
I’ll sit in the jungles and talk with ‘boes and their gay cats.
I’ll hobnob with the grifters, the panhandlers and the bundlestiffs [sic.];
I’ll get their philosophy on things and then—
I’ll turn out things like Gorky, London and Tully…
Like Hell I will—they’ll haul me off a sand car
With a smashed skull and say, “The brakies are a tough gang
Along this road.”

[from “The Road to Freedom”; this is the complete poem as it appears in The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 357 and A Rhyme of Salem Town, p. 49]