Records of a Family of Engineers eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 200 pages of information about Records of a Family of Engineers.

On Monday, the 5th, the yacht again visited the rock, when Mr. Slight and the artificers returned with her to the workyard, where a number of things were still to prepare connected with the temporary fitting up of the accommodation for the lightkeepers.  Mr. John Reid and Peter Fortune were now the only inmates of the house.  This was the smallest number of persons hitherto left in the lighthouse.  As four lightkeepers were to be the complement, it was intended that three should always be at the rock.  Its present inmates, however, could hardly have been better selected for such a situation; Mr. Reid being a person possessed of the strictest notions of duty and habits of regularity from long service on board of a man-of-war, while Mr. Fortune had one of the most happy and contented dispositions imaginable.

[Tuesday, 13th Nov.]

From Saturday the 10th till Tuesday the 13th, the wind had been from N.E. blowing a heavy gale; but to-day, the weather having greatly moderated, Captain Taylor, who now commanded the Smeaton, sailed at two o’clock a.m. for the Bell Rock.  At five the floating light was hailed and found to be all well.  Being a fine moonlight morning, the seamen were changed from the one ship to the other.  At eight, the Smeaton being off the rock, the boats were manned, and taking a supply of water, fuel, and other necessaries, landed at the western side, when Mr. Reid and Mr. Fortune were found in good health and spirits.

Mr. Reid stated that during the late gales, particularly on Friday, the 30th, the wind veering from S.E. to N.E., both he and Mr. Fortune sensibly felt the house tremble when particular seas struck, about the time of high-water; the former observing that it was a tremor of that sort which rather tended to convince him that everything about the building was sound, and reminded him of the effect produced when a good log of timber is struck sharply with a mallet; but, with every confidence in the stability of the building, he nevertheless confessed that, in so forlorn a situation, they were not insensible to those emotions which, he emphatically observed, ‘made a man look back upon his former life.’

[1881 Friday, 1st Feb.]

The day, long wished for, on which the mariner was to see a light exhibited on the Bell Rock at length arrived.  Captain Wilson, as usual, hoisted the float’s lanterns to the topmast on the evening of the 1st of February; but the moment that the light appeared on the rock, the crew, giving three cheers, lowered them, and finally extinguished the lights.

Footnotes: 

{2a} An error:  Stevensons owned at this date the barony of Dolphingston in Haddingtonshire, Montgrennan in Ayrshire, and several other lesser places.

{3a} Pitcairn’s Criminal Trials, at large.—­[R.  L. S.]

{4a} Fountainhall’s Decisions, vol. i. pp. 56, 132, 186, 204, 368.- [R.  L. S.]

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Records of a Family of Engineers from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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