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The mad hermit of Lacompte Marsh, pt 2.

Joined
Oct 2, 2004
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Nodding yes with great enthusiasim, he surprisingly handed me his knife for examination. It was heavy in my hand, solid feeling. The knife had been well cared for, and honed very sharp. The blade had a mild patina of a light grey color. On the base of the blade was the IXL stamp, a real English example of good cutlery. The stag had that buttery yellow color it gets only from years of carrying. He watched me closely the whole time I carefully admired his knife, and not wanting to push things too far gave it back to him without too much delay. Once back in his hand it seemed alot smaller than in mine.

I showed him the stag Hen and Rooster stockman grandad had given me my last birthday and he examined it nodding in approval, saying how the Germans made some nice knives even though they had gave him hell in the North atlantic.

He dumped some of the tea into the steaming water and in short order we had our drink in a couple of battered tin cups. The day had taken an odd direction and I felt like Alice after she fell down the rabit hole. Nothing was as it seemed with this man who had such a bad reputation. As we sat he and I talked about the books on the shelf. It became obvious that he was well read and educated, and as he spoke another thing happened. His voice had changed a bit while we were talking, and a faint English accent had come out. I was still a bit nervous and took out my Misouri Meersham pipe I had started smoking that summer and was reaching for the pouch of Prince Albert in the back pocket of my jeans when he stopped me, saying "Here, have some decent tobacco." On the table was a flat tin of tobacco, and it was my first experiance with Dunhills 965. There was an acrid smokey taste to it that was not unpleasent. We talked, smoked and the storm moved off and the rain let up. It was still dripping from the edge of the roof, but the thunder had moved off to the east and it was clearing. The sultry heat had left and it was still very warm but not bad. Tyrone was anxious to be off, but I was almost reluctant to leave. The conversation was interesting and the mad hermit was anything but, as I was finding out.

Before I could think better of it, I asked him "Who ARE you?"

His eyes sort of lost focus for a moment as he looked off someplace I could'nt see, and he seemed to be someplace else, then he said "Just someone looking to be left alone for a while."

The tea finished, and the weather clearing, we made our parting while thanking him for sheltering us. Suddenly he was the gruff hermit again telling us to go on and get out of his hair and leave him in peace. Tyrone and I shoved off in the skiff and as we poled out to the deeper channels where we could use the motor I looked back once. He was standing in the door watching us go, and as we poled off he raised a hand in a gesture of parting. He seemed sad. That was the last I ever saw of him.

We made our way home without futher incident only to find both grandad and Jackson in a angrey temper. Highly PO'ed at us, both Tyrones dad and grandad let us both know we were'nt too big for a trip to the woodshed for going off in such a bonehead manor with no attention to the weather. That scared me more than anything, grandad used a strong belt to hold up his pants!

With the Lady Anne back in order the weeks passed, crab traps hauled, work was to be done in the sorting shed watching the peelers to become soft shells and rushed to the packing house on ice.

Sometimes it takes a while to miss something. Gradually that summer, the people in town slowly realized that nobody had seen the mad hermit of the marsh. Usually he came to town once a week. When I had a few hours one afternoon I took a skiff back to the marsh. It took me a while to find the right way again, but after a few wrong turns I found myself at the familiar shack again. There was a deserted air about it.

Inside it was completely empty. The books, can goods on the shelves were gone. Everything had been removed and it was like nobody had ever been there at all. I looked around at the empty shack and wondered if it had been some sort of halicination. Even the tin can hobo stove was gone. But then I saw a dark little pile of ash on one of the stones where the tin can stove had been. A pile of ash where somebody had knocked out a pipe. I took a pinch of it in thumb and forfinger and smelled a familiar smell of an English tobacco.

Nobody in Cambridge ever saw or heard from the hermit again. He had vanished like a puff of pipe smoke in a stiff wind. As the years past I would wonder sometimes just who the enigma of a man was, that had earned the name The mad hermit of Lacompte Marsh.
 
Lord you spin a wonderful tale. Thank you.
 
about time you posted part II.
What's with the serial novel business, who the hell do you think you are, Charles Dickens?:D

seriously, great writing.
 
Sir, if you ever write a book, will you sell a copy to an Englishman?

I've read Mr Michener's "Chesapeake," which is a good collection of
yarns but, you just leave him standing. Thank you for some fine
reading. :)
 
about time you posted part II.
What's with the serial novel business, who the hell do you think you are, Charles Dickens?:D

seriously, great writing.

I broke it up partly because I did not want to make too long a post. Being new this computer stuff I did not want to go over alot of bites or something, I've heard people complain about long posts.
 
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Sir, if you ever write a book, will you sell a copy to an Englishman?

I've read Mr Michener's "Chesapeake," which is a good collection of
yarns but, you just leave him standing. Thank you for some fine
reading. :)

I'll give you a copy free if I ever do decide to write a book. I have nothing at all against an Englishmen, even if a certain member of my family (by the name of Uncle Pat) got me to unkowingly contribute to the I. R. A. on my 18th birthday! But thats another story.:D
 
I have nothing at all against an Englishmen, even if a certain member of my family (by the name of Uncle Pat) got me to unkowingly contribute to the I. R. A. on my 18th birthday! But thats another story.:D

Wow, I'm already now looking forward to read that story, jackknife. :D

Lucky you're such a slow writer on the computer, because I'm a slow reader... (he, he, he)

/ Karl
 
More great stuff, JK! The hermit shows just how simple a man can live while still being a man of class. An interesting mystery, indeed. I think we may have to raise a glass to this gentleman of the marsh.
 
More great stuff, JK! The hermit shows just how simple a man can live while still being a man of class. An interesting mystery, indeed. I think we may have to raise a glass to this gentleman of the marsh.

Here, here.. toddies held high all around in memory to this gentleman of the marsh!..:)
 
Your little tale managed to totally capture my imagination! For a couple of minutes i was with you in that marsh. I smelt and felt it and i sat down with your hermit, even though i've never seen a marsh or a hermit in the real before. We ran out of marshes and hermits centuries ago, over here in Belgium...

(Did you ever tell this story to Carl Hiaasen? The mad hermit of Lacompte Marsh reminds me a lot of a character called Skink, in Hiaasen's "Stormy Weather")
 
zeppos,
Greetings my friend and Welcome to the forums!:)

Since you are new here I thought I would encourage you to check out all of jacknife's threads. He is our neighborhood literary genius and as you can see from the sample you just read, he has an uncanny ability to to make the written word come alive. Better than watching a movie if you ask me! If you enjoyed the "The mad hermit of Lacompte Marsh, pt.1 & pt.2", then I suggest you use the "search" option on this forum and plug in jacknife to enjoy his other wonderful short stories.:thumbup:

Blessings,
Anthony
 
Man oh man! My week was so busy I just now got to read part 1 and part 2.

What a great pleasure to escape into the mysterious pipe smoke of the marsh with jackknife and Tyrone...reminds me of earlier days reading Jack London.

Thanks again. :)
 
Another great one JK keep them coming. As you can see we all enjoy your posts greatly.
 
Michener?
London?

Man, you guys are putting me in too exalted a company. I'm just a retired machinist waxing nostalgic on past times. Heck, I don't even have any college education!

I guess of late I've just been looking backward a bit.
 
zeppos,
Greetings my friend and Welcome to the forums!:)

Since you are new here I thought I would encourage you to check out all of jacknife's threads. He is our neighborhood literary genius and as you can see from the sample you just read, he has an uncanny ability to to make the written word come alive. Better than watching a movie if you ask me! If you enjoyed the "The mad hermit of Lacompte Marsh, pt.1 & pt.2", then I suggest you use the "search" option on this forum and plug in jacknife to enjoy his other wonderful short stories.:thumbup:

Blessings,
Anthony

Thank you. I'll certainly look for more of Jacknife's literary musings!
 
Ha, not a bad story. Now here's the deal. Back when I gun hunted oh I was probably 16 or 17 and it was a Thanksgiving day so it had to be 70 or 71. The year folks! Anyways hunting over in Poags Hole near Canseraga NY. Long story short got way lost big time. Just me. Almost was shot by another fella hunting and ended up at some beaver ponds on top of a hermits roof. He built his hut into a bank. Walked right out on the roof. No kiddin. Not a bad sort either. I had walked to almost Stony Brook State park in all of about 5.5hrs. I ended up by the White Horse bar on top of Dansville Hill. Well west of it anyways. Hitched back to Poags Hole. Group I was hunting with were pissed to say the least! The hermit gave me some cider and doughnuts.

The fella's land we were hunting Lou Scott owned the campgrounds down near Poags Hole and a bunch of ponds. This story kind of reminded me of that. keepem sharp
 
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