How to be a Hermit [NOOK Book]


All was excitement that June morning among the clams of Jones's Island
(pronounced, by your leave, in two good healthy syllables, thus:
Jone'-zez). Softies by the bushel dug themselves deeper into the
shoreward mud, and whimpering little ...
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How to be a Hermit

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All was excitement that June morning among the clams of Jones's Island
(pronounced, by your leave, in two good healthy syllables, thus:
Jone'-zez). Softies by the bushel dug themselves deeper into the
shoreward mud, and whimpering little quahogs out in their watery beds
clung closer to their mothers as they heard the dread news relayed by
their kinsfolk of Seaman's Neck, Black Banks Channel, Johnson's Flats
and High Hill Crick. To say that uneasiness pervaded the community would
be putting it far too mildly. Those clams were scared plumb out of a
week's growth; which, as the clam flies, is a lot of growth. In a word,
panic reigned, if not pandemonium.

And well it might, for the scouts along the meadows, the deep water
observers and the liaison officers on the sandbars had forwarded marine
intelligence of no mean importance. As one clam they reported the swift
approach by rowboat across Great South Bay of a sinister stranger, by
every sign a very devil for chowder, raging and roaring in the throes of
starvation and flying the strange device, "Jones's Island or Bust!" Yes,
downright terror gripped even the hardest of the clams. "He ought to be
here at any moment!" shuddered a visiting cherry-stone.

And see! Even now the hellish bark rounds Hawkins's Point, splashes its
desperate way through the shallows and crashes into Savage's Dock with a
sickening thud, hurling the oarsman from his position amidships to a
point which may be defined as galley-west. Dizzily the skipper regains
his feet, and as he rises to the general view his singular and touching
appearance sends thrills of relief up and down the calcareous shells of
the bivalves still on watch. Dame Rumor is wrong again! Here is no demon
with murder in his heart. Here is no devil incarnate. For there in the
full sunshine, the cynosure of every clam, he weeps, the stranger weeps.
Anon, he sneezes, and again his eyes drip blinding tears. 'Tis plain
some nobler grief than the want of a square meal is bothering this chap.
All told, it was pretty pathetic.

The sorrowful newcomer seemed, truly, a man distrait, as he stood there
sniffling and snorting into his red bandanna, uttering violent and
wicked words, shaking his free fist at nothing in particular and
behaving generally as one bereft of all earthly solace and the greater
part of the cerebellum. (But don't get too much worked up about this,
dear reader; it turns out in a minute that it was only me, arriving at
Jones's Island with my rose cold.) Ever and again he moved as though to
cast himself and his afflictions into a low tide puddle, always he drew
back in time. Then, extracting a small compass from his pocket, he made
a few rapid calculations and, tossing a stray lock from a thoughtful
brow, began running due South. And as he ran, he wept; and weeping,

Some furlongs on his way, about where he would catch sight of something
blue and wonderful between the beach hills, he was heard to shout,
"_Thalassa! Thalassa!_" which is as much as to say in plain English,
"The sea!" and repeat. "_Eureka!_" he cried
next--"_Excelsior!_"--"_Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres!_" So,
naturally, the clams, after thinking it over, decided that he was
perfectly harmless. Each happy shellfish, according to his individual
lights, sank back into a sort of nervous lethargy or went about his own
or his neighbor's business, forgetting as best he could the horrid
threat of a clambake. "I told you there was not the slightest danger,"
squizzed the visiting cherry-stone. "He's only another goof come to look
at the ocean--probably a typical New Yorker," he added, tapping his
forehead significantly. Whereupon he and the other clams, like the
solitary horseman in novels, only rather more clammily, disappeared
from the picture. I'm afraid I had ruined their day.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940013761841
  • Publisher: WDS Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/14/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 889,581
  • File size: 5 KB

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 2, 2012

    Five for the book in general, zero for this edition. Horrible fo

    Five for the book in general, zero for this edition. Horrible formatting. It looks as though it was pasted in from an old DOS word processor file. B&N acknowledges but has not offered a fix.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Highly Recommended - you must check it out!!

    Will Cuppy was a great humorist. This is not his best book or his funniest, but it is as close as he ever came to writing autobiography. It provides fascinating glimpses into his life during the 1920s, when he was still an obscure and impecunious book reviewer.

    The New York Times said that Cuppy was known as the hermit of Jones Beach "because he used to retire to a shack there to brood from time to time." In fact, he brooded there full-time from 1921 to 1929, which should qualify him as an expert. A hermit, said Cuppy, "is simply a person to whom civilization has failed to adjust itself." This book provides all you will need to know, including recipes, housekeeping tips, important information about the history of spinach, and full particulars on "living from can to mouth"— "new, novel and palatable ways of opening tin cans." Advice to cooks: "When you smell it burning, it's done." I hesitate to recommend his recipes, except in emergencies, but his "Cuppy Plan of Motionless Housekeeping" has promise!

    He tells how to discourage visitors and how to hide private food stashes from them. He discusses whether a hermit should keep pets, such as fish or clams, concluding in the negative. Pet fish wound one's vanity past bearing with their complete lack of response. And "the appearance of the clam is all against it for anything approaching intimate relations. For what becomes of high romance when you can't tell whether the small exposed portion of the other party is its foot or its face?"

    A book of philosophical reflections on housekeeping and etiquette, sardine sandwiches, canned corn, cabbages and beans. The humor is subtle and probably not for everyone, but must reading for Cuppy fans.

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