To Him Who Waits
The Hermit of the Hudson was hustling about his cave with unusual animation.
The cave was on or in the top of a little spur of the Catskills that had strayed down to the
river's edge, and, not having a ferry ticket, had to stop there. The bijou mountains were
densely wooded and were infested by ferocious squirrels and woodpeckers that forever
menaced the summer transients. Like a badly sewn strip of white braid, a macadamized
road ran between the green skirt of the hills and the foamy lace of the river's edge. A dim
path wound from the comfortable road up a rocky height to the hermit's cave. One mile
upstream was the Viewpoint Inn, to which summer folk from the city came; leaving cool,
electric-fanned apartments that they might be driven about in burning sunshine,
shrieking, in gasoline launches, by spindle-legged Modreds bearing the blankest of
Train your lorgnette upon the hermit and let your eye receive the personal touch that shall
endear you to the hero.
A man of forty, judging him fairly, with long hair curling at the ends, dramatic eyes, and
a forked brown beard like those that were imposed upon the West some years ago by self-
appointed "divine healers" who succeeded the grasshopper crop. His outward vesture
appeared to be kind of gunny-sacking cut and made into a garment that would have made
the fortune of a London tailor. His long, well-shaped fingers, delicate nose, and poise of
manner raised him high above the class of hermits who fear water and bury money in
oyster-cans in their caves in spots indicated by rude crosses chipped in the stone wall
The hermit's home was not altogether a cave. The cave was an addition to the hermitage,
which was a rude hut made of poles daubed with clay and covered with the best quality
of rust-proof zinc roofing.
In the house proper there were stone slabs for seats, a rustic bookcase made of unplaned
poplar planks, and a table formed of a wooden slab laid across two upright pieces of
granite--something between the furniture of a Druid temple and that of a Broadway
beefsteak dungeon. Hung against the walls were skins of wild animals purchased in the
vicinity of Eighth Street and University Place, New York.
The rear of the cabin merged into the cave. There the hermit cooked his meals on a rude
stone hearth. With infinite patience and an old axe he had chopped natural shelves in the
rocky walls. On them stood his stores of flour, bacon, lard, talcum-powder, kerosene,
baking- powder, soda-mint tablets, pepper, salt, and Olivo-Cremo Emulsion for chaps
and roughness of the hands and face.
The hermit had hermited there for ten years. He was an asset of the Viewpoint Inn. To its
guests he was second in interest only to the Mysterious Echo in the Haunted Glen. And