The Hermit of Arpoador

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Mr. Pedro Joaquim Lambert, 49 years old, born in Jardim Botânico, the solitary man has been living for close to 5 years in the middle of the rocks on Copacabana. Mr Lambert, as the photo shows, lives alone in this grotto surrounded by objects that serve to maintain his existence; some baskets, fish hooks, a net and his only companion, a little dog. 

One of humanity’s primordial scenes reproduces itself today – a man living in a cave.

Copacabana is where the primitive man appears. In a hidden spot on the penninsula, in which the Nossa Senhora da Copacabana Chapel was erected, Pedro Joaquim Lambert – a  strong, perfect example of a caboclo, somewhere around 45 years old – spends his days calmly fishing.

This creature is a privileged spirit, who never changes, who doesn’t educate himself and faces existence through a rose-colored prism, contemplating nature in the immensity of the seas, enjoying the ocean’s always impressive show, whether at rest or in upheaval.

From rock to rock, jumping, he passes through the vast dominion that no one disputes with him. And, when the night comes, after having contemplated the starry sky mirrored in the calm water of the ocean, he goes to bed on the fine, snowy sand, that extends itself like a carpet under a natural vault of an immense suspended slab, forming the roof of his habitation, in a den where only the murmur of the waves sweetly breaking on the rocks comes!

It’s a perfect grotto, sheltering from bad weather; it is there that for five years, unworried and happy, Lambert lives, after having been discharged from the army, where he served for ten years, in the 39th infantry battalion.

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Lambert is always content; in his retreat there’s everything he needs and for company he only has a small yellow dog. From fishing he gets the resources he needs to maintain himself.

And his biggest pleasure consists, he says, of contemplating the constantly new wonderful things in the immense frame that surrounds him; hearing the delicious concert of the surges that caress him to sleep.

Such is the man that we visited in the pictoresque place in Copacabana, abandoned by those that should take care of those who have served the country, since Lambert fought with courage in Canudos, and chose that retreat to, away from ungrateful men, spend rest of the days that remain to him in this valley.

Revista da Semana
May 28, 1905


It seems he was actually living in Arpoador. See this image from 1905, where the church mentioned at the start of the article was located. Based on the development of Copacabana in the early 1900s, I would suppose his style of life would have been encroached upon quite soon (that is, within 5-7 years) after this article came out. Another thing to keep in mind is he was likely at the end of his life, since he had already surpassed Brazil’s general life expectancy around the early part of the 20th century.

See also: The Hermit of Grumari


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