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The Hermit of Lake Megantic

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Many men, and women, too, have smothered sorrow and disappointment in the daily grind of a hustling, bustling life, either business or social, while others have turned their backs to the world and all it offered and found peace amid Nature's kindly offerings.

It is a noticeable fact that a man who makes the latter decision almost invariably goes to a lake-shore retreat. There he finds the solitude his wounded spirit craves and at the same time an allurement that tends to hold him to his decision...

A coldly worded letter, a few hasty words, a broken troth, and Hollis Grant** left the city of Quebec where he had lived since childhood. A young man of exemplary character, belonging to a highly esteemed family, he rightfully held a position enviable to many less fortunate men. Yet he turned his back upon his native city, his home and friends, his career, and went to the lonely shore of Lake Megantic where upwards of fifty years were spent in solitude.

Fifty years a hermit, a recluse, without the touch of a woman's hand or the loving solicitude of mother, sister, wife, yet through it all there shone a kindly, genial presence, its only defect being a noticeable aversion toward women. Then, after a quiet, hardy life, as clean and transparent as the waters of regal Megantic (right), Hollis Grant lay down beside the boat he loved, his "lady of the tides", looked up into the blue canopy of heaven; closed his eyes -- and a star fell.

The site known as the home of the hermit shows little today of the fifty years sojourn during which time the man, who is still remembered by many as tall, thin, grey-haired, of gentle mien, and in every way one of Nature's gentlemen, toiled, studied, communed with the "little life around him" before he passed along the Last Trail.

The shacks, built of stones and driftwood, resembled the nests of some gigantic bird; and in records made by local people emphasis is laid upon the love he always showed for his boat beside which he lay when found cold in death.

Tourists seeking souvenirs, people searching for money supposed to be hidden in or near the shacks, have done their part in effacing the signs of the abode of Lake Megantic's hermit, while the elements have cleared from the spot signs of human life. Yet in the hearts of many residents of Megantic there will ever remain a loyal remembrance of one who lived on the lake shore for fifty years.

**(Author's note: the name of the hermit is fictitious. In the history of Lake Megantic by Mr. J. P. Jones of that place, which was deposited in the Dominion Archives at Ottawa in 1922, a record of the man's life is to be found.)

Source:
Bertha Weston Price, Legends of Our Lakes and Rivers, Lennoxville, 1937, 31-33.