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RECORDS OF A FAMILY OF ENGINEERS - ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON


CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION: THE SURNAME OF STEVENSON

I.   DOMESTIC ANNALS
II.  THE SERVICE OF THE NORTHERN LIGHTS
III. THE BUILDING OF THE BELL ROCK






RECORDS OF
A FAMILY OF ENGINEERS





INTRODUCTION


THE SURNAME OF STEVENSON


FROM the thirteenth century onwards, the name, under the
various disguises of Stevinstoun, Stevensoun, Stevensonne,
Stenesone, and Stewinsoune, spread across Scotland from the
mouth of the Firth of Forth to the mouth of the Firth of
Clyde.  Four times at least it occurs as a place-name.  There
is a parish of Stevenston in Cunningham; a second place of the
name in the Barony of Bothwell in Lanark; a third on Lyne,
above Drochil Castle; the fourth on the Tyne, near Traprain
Law.  Stevenson of Stevenson (co.  Lanark) swore fealty to
Edward I in 1296, and the last of that family died after the
Restoration.  Stevensons of Hirdmanshiels, in Midlothian, rode
in the Bishops' Raid of Aberlady, served as jurors, stood bail
for neighbours - Hunter of Polwood, for instance - and became
extinct about the same period, or possibly earlier.  A
Stevenson of Luthrie and another of Pitroddie make their bows,
give their names, and vanish.  And by the year 1700 it does
not appear that any acre of Scots land was vested in any
Stevenson. (1)

(1) An error: Stevensons owned at this date the barony of
Dolphingston in Haddingtonshire, Montgrennan in Ayrshire, and
several other lesser places.

Here is, so far, a melancholy picture of backward
progress, and a family posting towards extinction.  But the
law (however administered, and I am bound to aver that, in
Scotland, `it couldna weel be waur') acts as a kind of dredge,
and with dispassionate impartiality brings up into the light
of day, and shows us for a moment, in the jury-box or on the
gallows, the creeping things of the past.  By these broken
glimpses we are able to trace the existence of many other and
more inglorious Stevensons, picking a private way through the
brawl that makes Scots history.  They were members of
Parliament for Peebles, Stirling, Pittenweem, Kilrenny, and
Inverurie.  We find them burgesses of Edinburgh; indwellers in
Biggar, Perth, and Dalkeith.  Thomas was the forester of
Newbattle Park, Gavin was a baker, John a maltman, Francis a
chirurgeon, and `Schir William' a priest.  In the feuds of
Humes and Heatleys, Cunninghams, Montgomeries, Mures,
Ogilvies, and Turnbulls, we find them inconspicuously
involved, and apparently getting rather better than they gave.
Schir William (reverend gentleman) was cruellie slaughtered on
the Links of Kincraig in 1582; James ('in the mill-town of
Roberton'), murdered in 1590; Archibald ('in Gallowfarren'),
killed with shots of pistols and hagbuts in 1608.  Three
violent deaths in about seventy years, against which we can
only put the case of Thomas, servant to Hume of Cowden Knowes,
who was arraigned with his two young masters for the death of
the Bastard of Mellerstanes in 1569.  John ('in Dalkeith')
stood sentry without Holyrood while the banded lords were
despatching Rizzio within.  William, at the ringing of Perth
bell, ran before Gowrie House `with ane sword, and, entering
to the yearde, saw George Craiggingilt with ane twa-handit
sword and utheris nychtbouris; at quilk time James Boig cryit
ower ane wynds, "Awa hame! ye will all be hangit" ' - a piece
of advice which William took, and immediately 'depairtit.'
John got a maid with child to him in Biggar, and seemingly
deserted her; she was hanged on the Castle Hill for
infanticide, June 1614; and Martin, elder in Dalkeith,
eternally disgraced the name by signing witness in a witch
trial, 1661.  These are two of our black sheep. (1)  Under the
Restoration, one Stevenson was a bailie in Edinburgh, and
another the lessee of the Canonmills.  There were at the same
period two physicians of the name in Edinburgh, one of whom,
Dr. Archibald, appears to have been a famous man in his day
and generation.  The Court had continual need of him; it was
he who reported, for instance, on the state of Rumbold; and he
was for some time in the enjoyment of a pension of a thousand
pounds Scots (about eighty pounds sterling) at a time when
five hundred pounds is described as 'an opulent future.'  I do
not know if I should be glad or sorry that he failed to keep
favour; but on 6th January 1682 (rather a cheerless New Year's
present) his pension was expunged. (2)  There need be no
doubt, at least, of my exultation at the fact that he was
knighted and recorded arms.  Not quite so genteel, but still
in public life, Hugh was Under-Clerk to the Privy Council, and
liked being so extremely.  I gather this from his conduct in
September 1681, when, with all the lords and their servants,
he took the woful and soul-destroying Test, swearing it 'word
by word upon his knees.'  And, behold! it was in vain, for
Hugh was turned out of his small post in 1684. (3)  Sir
Archibald and Hugh were both plainly inclined to be trimmers;
but there was one witness of the name of Stevenson who held
high the banner of the Covenant - John, 'Land-Labourer, (4) in
the parish of Daily, in Carrick,' that `eminently pious man.'
He seems to have been a poor sickly soul, and shows himself
disabled with scrofula, and prostrate and groaning aloud with
fever; but the enthusiasm of the martyr burned high within
him.

(1) Pitcairn's CRIMINAL TRIALS, at large. - [R. L. S.]
(2) Fountainhall's DECISIONS, vol. i. pp. 56, 132, 186,
204, 368.- [R. L. S.]
(3) IBID. pp. 158, 299. - [R. L. S.]
(4) Working farmer:  Fr. LABOUREUR.

`I was made to take joyfully the spoiling of my goods,
and with pleasure for His name's sake wandered in deserts and
in mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.  I lay four
months in the coldest season of the year in a haystack in my
father's garden, and a whole February in the open fields not
far from Camragen, and this I did without the least prejudice
from the night air; one night, when lying in the fields near
to the Carrick-Miln, I was all covered with snow in the
morning.  Many nights have I lain with pleasure in the
churchyard of Old Daily, and made a grave my pillow;
frequently have I resorted to the old walls about the glen,
near to Camragen, and there sweetly rested.'  The visible band
of God protected and directed him.  Dragoons were turned aside
from the bramble-bush where he lay hidden.  Miracles were
performed for his behoof.  `I got a horse and a woman to carry
the child, and came to the same mountain, where I wandered by
the mist before; it is commonly known by the name of
Kellsrhins: when we came to go up the mountain, there came on
a great rain, which we thought was the occasion of the child's
weeping, and she wept so bitterly, that all we could do could
not divert her from it, so that she was ready to burst.  When
we got to the top of the mountain, where the Lord had been
formerly kind to my soul in prayer, I looked round me for a
stone, and espying one, I went and brought it.  When the woman
with me saw me set down the stone, she smiled, and asked what
I was going to do with it.  I told her I was going to set it
up as my Ebenezer, because hitherto, and in that place, the
Lord had formerly helped, and I hoped would yet help.  The
rain still continuing, the child weeping bitterly, I went to
prayer, and no sooner did I cry to God, but the child gave
over weeping, and when we got up from prayer, the rain was
pouring down on every side, but in the way where we were to go
there fell not one drop; the place not rained on was as big as
an ordinary avenue.'  And so great a saint was the natural
butt of Satan's persecutions.  `I retired to the fields for
secret prayer about mid-night.  When I went to pray I was much
straitened, and could not get one request, but "Lord pity,"
"Lord help"; this I came over frequently; at length the terror
of Satan fell on me in a high degree, and all I could say even
then was - "Lord help."  I continued in the duty for some
time, notwithstanding of this terror.  At length I got up to
my feet, and the terror still increased; then the enemy took
me by the arm-pits, and seemed to lift me up by my arms.  I
saw a loch just before me, and I concluded he designed to
throw me there by force; and had he got leave to do so, it
might have brought a great reproach upon religion. (1)  But it
was otherwise ordered, and the cause of piety escaped that
danger. (2)

(1) This John Stevenson was not the only `witness' of the
name; other Stevensons were actually killed during the
persecutions, in the Glen of Trool, on Pentland, etc.; and it
is very possible that the author's own ancestor was one of the
mounted party embodied by Muir of Caldwell, only a day too
late for Pentland.
(2) Wodrow Society's SELECT BIOGRAPHIES, vol. ii.- [R. L.
S.]

On the whole, the Stevensons may be described as decent,
reputable folk, following honest trades - millers, maltsters,
and doctors, playing the character parts in the Waverley
Novels with propriety, if without distinction; and to an
orphan looking about him in the world for a potential
ancestry, offering a plain and quite unadorned refuge, equally
free from shame and glory.  John, the land-labourer, is the
one living and memorable figure, and he, alas! cannot possibly
be more near than a collateral.  It was on August 12, 1678,
that he heard Mr. John Welsh on the Craigdowhill, and `took
the heavens, earth, and sun in the firmament that was shining
on us, as also the ambassador who made the offer, and THE
CLERK WHO RAISED THE PSALMS, to witness that I did give myself
away to the Lord in a personal and perpetual covenant never to
be forgotten'; and already, in 1675, the birth of my direct
ascendant was registered in Glasgow.  So that I have been
pursuing ancestors too far down; and John the land-labourer is
debarred me, and I must relinquish from the trophies of my
house his RARE SOUL-STRENGTHENING AND COMFORTING CORDIAL.  It
is the same case with the Edinburgh bailie and the miller of
the Canonmills, worthy man! and with that public character,
Hugh the Under-Clerk, and, more than all, with Sir Archibald,
the physician, who recorded arms.  And I am reduced to a
family of inconspicuous maltsters in what was then the clean
and handsome little city on the Clyde.

The name has a certain air of being Norse.  But the story
of Scottish nomenclature is confounded by a continual process
of translation and half-translation from the Gaelic which in
olden days may have been sometimes reversed.  Roy becomes
Reid; Gow, Smith.  A great Highland clan uses the name of
Robertson; a sept in Appin that of Livingstone; Maclean in
Glencoe answers to Johnstone at Lockerby.  And we find such
hybrids as Macalexander for Macallister.  There is but one
rule to be deduced: that however uncompromisingly Saxon a name
may appear, you can never be sure it does not designate a
Celt.  My great-grandfather wrote the name STEVENSON but
pronounced it STEENSON, after the fashion of the immortal
minstrel in REDGAUNTLET; and this elision of a medial
consonant appears a Gaelic process; and, curiously enough, I
have come across no less than two Gaelic forms: JOHN
MACSTOPHANE CORDINERIUS IN CROSSRAGUEL, 1573, and WILLIAM
M'STEEN in Dunskeith (co.  Ross), 1605.  Stevenson, Steenson,
Macstophane, M'Steen: which is the original? which the
translation?  Or were these separate creations of the
patronymic, some English, some Gaelic?  The curiously compact
territory in which we find them seated - Ayr, Lanark, Peebles,
Stirling, Perth, Fife, and the Lothians - would seem to forbid
the supposition. (1)

(1) Though the districts here named are those in which
the name of Stevenson is most common, it is in point of fact
far more wide-spread than the text indicates, and occurs from
Dumfries and Berwickshire to Aberdeen and Orkney.

`STEVENSON - or according to tradition of one of the
proscribed of the clan MacGregor, who was born among the
willows or in a hill-side sheep-pen - "Son of my love," a
heraldic bar sinister, but history reveals a reason for the
birth among the willows far other than the sinister aspect of
the name': these are the dark words of Mr. Cosmo Innes; but
history or tradition, being interrogated, tells a somewhat
tangled tale.  The heir of Macgregor of Glenorchy, murdered
about 1858 by the Argyll Campbells, appears to have been the
original 'Son of my love'; and his more loyal clansmen took
the name to fight under.  It may be supposed the story of
their resistance became popular, and the name in some sort
identified with the idea of opposition to the Campbells.
Twice afterwards, on some renewed aggression, in 1502 and
1552, we find the Macgregors again banding themselves into a
sept of 'Sons of my love'; and when the great disaster fell on
them in 1603, the whole original legend reappears, and we have
the heir of Alaster of Glenstrae born 'among the willows' of a
fugitive mother, and the more loyal clansmen again rallying
under the name of Stevenson.  A story would not be told so
often unless it had some base in fact; nor (if there were no
bond at all between the Red Macgregors and the Stevensons)
would that extraneous and somewhat uncouth name be so much
repeated in the legends of the Children of the Mist.

But I am enabled, by my very lively and obliging
correspondent, Mr. George A. Macgregor Stevenson of New York,
to give an actual instance.  His grandfather, great-
grandfather, great-great-grandfather, and great-great-great-
grandfather, all used the names of Macgregor and Stevenson as
occasion served; being perhaps Macgregor by night and
Stevenson by day.  The great-great-great-grandfather was a
mighty man of his hands, marched with the clan in the 'Forty-
five, and returned with SPOLIA OPIMA in the shape of a sword,
which he had wrested from an officer in the retreat, and which
is in the possession of my correspondent to this day.  His
great-grandson (the grandfather of my correspondent), being
converted to Methodism by some wayside preacher, discarded in
a moment his name, his old nature, and his political
principles, and with the zeal of a proselyte sealed his
adherence to the Protestant Succession by baptising his next
son George.  This George became the publisher and editor of
the WESLEYAN TIMES.  His children were brought up in ignorance
of their Highland pedigree; and my correspondent was puzzled
to overhear his father speak of him as a true Macgregor, and
amazed to find, in rummaging about that peaceful and pious
house, the sword of the Hanoverian officer.  After he was
grown up and was better informed of his descent, `I frequently
asked my father,' he writes, `why he did not use the name of
Macgregor; his replies were significant, and give a picture of
the man: "It isn't a good METHODIST name.  You can use it, but
it will do you no GOOD."  Yet the old gentleman, by way of
pleasantry, used to announce himself to friends as "Colonel
Macgregor." '

Here, then, are certain Macgregors habitually using the
name of Stevenson, and at last, under the influence of
Methodism, adopting it entirely.  Doubtless a proscribed clan
could not be particular; they took a name as a man takes an
umbrella against a shower; as Rob Roy took Campbell, and his
son took Drummond.  But this case is different; Stevenson was
not taken and left - it was consistently adhered to.  It does
not in the least follow that all Stevensons are of the clan
Alpin; but it does follow that some may be.  And I cannot
conceal from myself the possibility that James Stevenson in
Glasgow, my first authentic ancestor, may have had a Highland
ALIAS upon his conscience and a claymore in his back parlour.

To one more tradition I may allude, that we are somehow
descended from a French barber-surgeon who came to St. Andrews
in the service of one of the Cardinal Beatons.  No details
were added.  But the very name of France was so detested in my
family for three generations, that I am tempted to suppose
there may be something in it. (1)

(1) Mr. J. H. Stevenson is satisfied that these
speculations as to a possible Norse, Highland, or French
origin are vain.  All we know about the engineer family is
that it was sprung from a stock of Westland Whigs settled in
the latter part of the seventeenth century in the parish of
Neilston, as mentioned at the beginning of the next chapter.
It may be noted that the Ayrshire parish of Stevenston, the
lands of which are said to have received the name in the
twelfth century, lies within thirteen miles south-west of this
place.  The lands of Stevenson in Lanarkshire first mentioned
in the next century, in the Ragman Roll, lie within twenty
miles east.


CHAPTER I
DOMESTIC ANNALS


IT is believed that in 1665, James Stevenson in Nether
Carsewell, parish of Neilston, county of Renfrew, and
presumably a tenant farmer, married one Jean Keir; and in
1675, without doubt, there was born to these two a son Robert,
possibly a maltster in Glasgow.  In 1710, Robert married, for
a second time, Elizabeth Cumming, and there was born to them,
in 1720, another Robert, certainly a maltster in Glasgow.  In
1742, Robert the second married Margaret Fulton (Margret, she
called herself), by whom he had ten children, among whom were
Hugh, born February 1749, and Alan, born June 1752.

With these two brothers my story begins.  Their deaths
were simultaneous; their lives unusually brief and full.
Tradition whispered me in childhood they were the owners of an
islet near St. Kitts; and it is certain they had risen to be
at the head of considerable interests in the West Indies,
which Hugh managed abroad and Alan at home, at an age when
others are still curveting a clerk's stool.  My kinsman, Mr.
Stevenson of Stirling, has heard his father mention that there
had been `something romantic' about Alan's marriage: and,
alas! he has forgotten what.  It was early at least.  His wife
was Jean, daughter of David Lillie, a builder in Glasgow, and
several times `Deacon of the Wrights': the date of the
marriage has not reached me; but on 8th June 1772, when
Robert, the only child of the union, was born, the husband and
father had scarce passed, or had not yet attained, his
twentieth year.  Here was a youth making haste to give
hostages to fortune.  But this early scene of prosperity in
love and business was on the point of closing.

There hung in the house of this young family, and
successively in those of my grandfather and father, an oil
painting of a ship of many tons burthen.  Doubtless the
brothers had an interest in the vessel; I was told she had
belonged to them outright; and the picture was preserved
through years of hardship, and remains to this day in the
possession of the family, the only memorial of my great-
grandsire Alan.  It was on this ship that he sailed on his
last adventure, summoned to the West Indies by Hugh.  An agent
had proved unfaithful on a serious scale; and it used to be
told me in my childhood how the brothers pursued him from one
island to another in an open boat, were exposed to the
pernicious dews of the tropics, and simultaneously struck
down.  The dates and places of their deaths (now before me)
would seem to indicate a more scattered and prolonged pursuit:
Hugh, on the 16th April 1774, in Tobago, within sight of
Trinidad; Alan, so late as 26th May, and so far away as `Santt
Kittes,' in the Leeward Islands - both, says the family Bible,
`of a fiver'(!).  The death of Hugh was probably announced by
Alan in a letter, to which we may refer the details of the
open boat and the dew.  Thus, at least, in something like the
course of post, both were called away, the one twenty-five,
the other twenty-two; their brief generation became extinct,
their short-lived house fell with them; and `in these lawless
parts and lawless times' - the words are my grandfather's -
their property was stolen or became involved.  Many years
later, I understand some small recovery to have been made; but
at the moment almost the whole means of the family seem to
have perished with the young merchants.  On the 27th April,
eleven days after Hugh Stevenson, twenty-nine before Alan,
died David Lillie, the Deacon of the Wrights; so that mother
and son were orphaned in one month.  Thus, from a few scraps
of paper bearing little beyond dates, we construct the
outlines of the tragedy that shadowed the cradle of Robert
Stevenson.

Jean Lillie was a young woman of strong sense, well
fitted to contend with poverty, and of a pious disposition,
which it is like that these misfortunes heated.  Like so many
other widowed Scots-women, she vowed her son should wag his
head in a pulpit; but her means were inadequate to her
ambition.  A charity school, and some time under a Mr.
M'Intyre, `a famous linguist,' were all she could afford in
the way of education to the would-be minister.  He learned no
Greek; in one place he mentions that the Orations of Cicero
were his highest book in Latin; in another that he had
'delighted' in Virgil and Horace; but his delight could never
have been scholarly.  This appears to have been the whole of
his training previous to an event which changed his own
destiny and moulded that of his descendants - the second
marriage of his mother.

There was a Merchant-Burgess of Edinburgh of the name of
Thomas Smith.  The Smith pedigree has been traced a little
more particularly than the Stevensons', with a similar dearth
of illustrious names.  One character seems to have appeared,
indeed, for a moment at the wings of history: a skipper of
Dundee who smuggled over some Jacobite big-wig at the time of
the 'Fifteen, and was afterwards drowned in Dundee harbour
while going on board his ship.  With this exception, the
generations of the Smiths present no conceivable interest even
to a descendant; and Thomas, of Edinburgh, was the first to
issue from respectable obscurity.  His father, a skipper out
of Broughty Ferry, was drowned at sea while Thomas was still
young.  He seems to have owned a ship or two - whalers, I
suppose, or coasters - and to have been a member of the Dundee
Trinity House, whatever that implies.  On his death the widow
remained in Broughty, and the son came to push his future in
Edinburgh.  There is a story told of him in the family which I
repeat here because I shall have to tell later on a similar,
but more perfectly authenticated, experience of his stepson,
Robert Stevenson.  Word reached Thomas that his mother was
unwell, and he prepared to leave for Broughty on the morrow.
It was between two and three in the morning, and the early
northern daylight was already clear, when he awoke and beheld
the curtains at the bed-foot drawn aside and his mother appear
in the interval, smile upon him for a moment, and then vanish.
The sequel is stereo-type; he took the time by his watch, and
arrived at Broughty to learn it was the very moment of her
death.  The incident is at least curious in having happened to
such a person - as the tale is being told of him.  In all
else, he appears as a man ardent, passionate, practical,
designed for affairs and prospering in them far beyond the
average.  He founded a solid business in lamps and oils, and
was the sole proprietor of a concern called the Greenside
Company's Works - `a multifarious concern it was,' writes my
cousin, Professor Swan, `of tinsmiths, coppersmiths, brass-
founders, blacksmiths, and japanners.'  He was also, it seems,
a shipowner and underwriter.  He built himself `a land' - Nos.
1 and 2 Baxter's Place, then no such unfashionable
neighbourhood - and died, leaving his only son in easy
circumstances, and giving to his three surviving daughters
portions of five thousand pounds and upwards.  There is no
standard of success in life; but in one of its meanings, this
is to succeed.

In what we know of his opinions, he makes a figure highly
characteristic of the time.  A high Tory and patriot, a
captain - so I find it in my notes - of Edinburgh Spearmen,
and on duty in the Castle during the Muir and Palmer troubles,
he bequeathed to his descendants a bloodless sword and a
somewhat violent tradition, both long preserved.  The judge
who sat on Muir and Palmer, the famous Braxfield, let fall
from the bench the OBITER DICTUM - `I never liked the French
all my days, but now I hate them.'  If Thomas Smith, the
Edinburgh Spearman, were in court, he must have been tempted
to applaud.  The people of that land were his abhorrence; he
loathed Buonaparte like Antichrist.  Towards the end he fell
into a kind of dotage; his family must entertain him with
games of tin soldiers, which he took a childish pleasure to
array and overset; but those who played with him must be upon
their guard, for if his side, which was always that of the
English against the French, should chance to be defeated,
there would be trouble in Baxter's Place.  For these opinions
he may almost be said to have suffered.  Baptised and brought
up in the Church of Scotland, he had, upon some conscientious
scruple, joined the communion of the Baptists.  Like other
Nonconformists, these were inclined to the Liberal side in
politics, and, at least in the beginning, regarded Buonaparte
as a deliverer.  From the time of his joining the Spearmen,
Thomas Smith became in consequence a bugbear to his brethren
in the faith.   `They that take the sword shall perish with
the sword,' they told him; they gave him `no rest'; `his
position became intolerable'; it was plain he must choose
between his political and his religious tenets; and in the
last years of his life, about 1812, he returned to the Church
of his fathers.

August 1786 was the date of his chief advancement, when,
having designed a system of oil lights to take the place of
the primitive coal fires before in use, he was dubbed engineer
to the newly-formed Board of Northern Lighthouses.  Not only
were his fortunes bettered by the appointment, but he was
introduced to a new and wider field for the exercise of his
abilities, and a new way of life highly agreeable to his
active constitution.  He seems to have rejoiced in the long
journeys, and to have combined them with the practice of field
sports.  `A tall, stout man coming ashore with his gun over
his arm' - so he was described to my father - the only
description that has come down to me by a light-keeper old in
the service.  Nor did this change come alone.  On the 9th July
of the same year, Thomas Smith had been left for the second
time a widower.  As he was still but thirty-three years old,
prospering in his affairs, newly advanced in the world, and
encumbered at the time with a family of children, five in
number, it was natural that he should entertain the notion of
another wife.  Expeditious in business, he was no less so in
his choice; and it was not later than June 1787 - for my
grandfather is described as still in his fifteenth year - that
he married the widow of Alan Stevenson.

The perilous experiment of bringing together two families
for once succeeded.  Mr. Smith's two eldest daughters, Jean
and Janet, fervent in piety, unwearied in kind deeds, were
well qualified both to appreciate and to attract the
stepmother; and her son, on the other hand, seems to have
found immediate favour in the eyes of Mr. Smith.  It is,
perhaps, easy to exaggerate the ready-made resemblances; the
tired woman must have done much to fashion girls who were
under ten; the man, lusty and opinionated, must have stamped a
strong impression on the boy of fifteen.  But the cleavage of
the family was too marked, the identity of character and
interest produced between the two men on the one hand, and the
three women on the other, was too complete to have been the
result of influence alone.  Particular bonds of union must
have pre-existed on each side.  And there is no doubt that the
man and the boy met with common ambitions, and a common bent,
to the practice of that which had not so long before acquired
the name of civil engineering.

For the profession which is now so thronged, famous, and
influential, was then a thing of yesterday.  My grandfather
had an anecdote of Smeaton, probably learned from John Clerk
of Eldin, their common friend.  Smeaton was asked by the Duke
of Argyll to visit the West Highland coast for a professional
purpose.  He refused, appalled, it seems, by the rough
travelling.  `You can recommend some other fit person?' asked
the Duke.  `No,' said Smeaton, `I'm sorry I can't.'  `What!'
cried the Duke, `a profession with only one man in it!  Pray,
who taught you?'  `Why,' said Smeaton, `I believe I may say I
was self-taught, an't please your grace.'  Smeaton, at the
date of Thomas Smith's third marriage, was yet living; and as
the one had grown to the new profession from his place at the
instrument-maker's, the other was beginning to enter it by the
way of his trade.  The engineer of to-day is confronted with a
library of acquired results; tables and formulae to the value
of folios full have been calculated and recorded; and the
student finds everywhere in front of him the footprints of the
pioneers.  In the eighteenth century the field was largely
unexplored; the engineer must read with his own eyes the face
of nature; he arose a volunteer, from the workshop or the
mill, to undertake works which were at once inventions and
adventures.  It was not a science then - it was a living art;
and it visibly grew under the eyes and between the hands of
its practitioners.

The charm of such an occupation was strongly felt by
stepfather and stepson.  It chanced that Thomas Smith was a
reformer; the superiority of his proposed lamp and reflectors
over open fires of coal secured his appointment; and no sooner
had he set his hand to the task than the interest of that
employment mastered him.  The vacant stage on which he was to
act, and where all had yet to be created - the greatness of
the difficulties, the smallness of the means intrusted him -
would rouse a man of his disposition like a call to battle.
The lad introduced by marriage under his roof was of a
character to sympathise; the public usefulness of the service
would appeal to his judgment, the perpetual need for fresh
expedients stimulate his ingenuity.  And there was another
attraction which, in the younger man at least, appealed to,
and perhaps first aroused, a profound and enduring sentiment
of romance: I mean the attraction of the life.  The seas into
which his labours carried the new engineer were still scarce
charted, the coasts still dark; his way on shore was often far
beyond the convenience of any road; the isles in which he must
sojourn were still partly savage.  He must toss much in boats;
he must often adventure on horseback by the dubious bridle-
track through unfrequented wildernesses; he must sometimes
plant his lighthouse in the very camp of wreckers; and he was
continually enforced to the vicissitudes of outdoor life.  The
joy of my grandfather in this career was strong as the love of
woman.  It lasted him through youth and manhood, it burned
strong in age, and at the approach of death his last yearning
was to renew these loved experiences.  What he felt himself he
continued to attribute to all around him.  And to this
supposed sentiment in others I find him continually, almost
pathetically, appealing; often in vain.

Snared by these interests, the boy seems to have become
almost at once the eager confidant and adviser of his new
connection; the Church, if he had ever entertained the
prospect very warmly, faded from his view; and at the age of
nineteen I find him already in a post of some authority,
superintending the construction of the lighthouse on the isle
of Little Cumbrae, in the Firth of Clyde.  The change of aim
seems to have caused or been accompanied by a change of
character.  It sounds absurd to couple the name of my
grandfather with the word indolence; but the lad who had been
destined from the cradle to the Church, and who had attained
the age of fifteen without acquiring more than a moderate
knowledge of Latin, was at least no unusual student.  And from
the day of his charge at Little Cumbrae he steps before us
what he remained until the end, a man of the most zealous
industry, greedy of occupation, greedy of knowledge, a stern
husband of time, a reader, a writer, unflagging in his task of
self-improvement.  Thenceforward his summers were spent
directing works and ruling workmen, now in uninhabited, now in
half-savage islands; his winters were set apart, first at the
Andersonian Institution, then at the University of Edinburgh
to improve himself in mathematics, chemistry, natural history,
agriculture, moral philosophy, and logic; a bearded student -
although no doubt scrupulously shaved.  I find one reference
to his years in class which will have a meaning for all who
have studied in Scottish Universities.  He mentions a
recommendation made by the professor of logic.  `The high-
school men,' he writes, `and BEARDED MEN LIKE MYSELF, were all
attention.'  If my grandfather were throughout life a thought
too studious of the art of getting on, much must be forgiven
to the bearded and belated student who looked across, with a
sense of difference, at `the high-school men.'  Here was a
gulf to be crossed; but already he could feel that he had made
a beginning, and that must have been a proud hour when he
devoted his earliest earnings to the repayment of the
charitable foundation in which he had received the rudiments
of knowledge.

In yet another way he followed the example of his father-
in-law, and from 1794 to 1807, when the affairs of the Bell
Rock made it necessary for him to resign, he served in
different corps of volunteers.  In the last of these he rose
to a position of distinction, no less than captain of the
Grenadier Company, and his colonel, in accepting his
resignation, entreated he would do them `the favour of
continuing as an honorary member of a corps which has been so
much indebted for your zeal and exertions.'

To very pious women the men of the house are apt to
appear worldly.  The wife, as she puts on her new bonnet
before church, is apt to sigh over that assiduity which
enabled her husband to pay the milliner's bill.  And in the
household of the Smiths and Stevensons the women were not only
extremely pious, but the men were in reality a trifle worldly.
Religious they both were; conscious, like all Scots, of the
fragility and unreality of that scene in which we play our
uncomprehended parts; like all Scots, realising daily and
hourly the sense of another will than ours and a perpetual
direction in the affairs of life.  But the current of their
endeavours flowed in a more obvious channel.  They had got on
so far; to get on further was their next ambition - to gather
wealth, to rise in society, to leave their descendants higher
than themselves, to be (in some sense) among the founders of
families.  Scott was in the same town nourishing similar
dreams.  But in the eyes of the women these dreams would be
foolish and idolatrous.

I have before me some volumes of old letters addressed to
Mrs. Smith and the two girls, her favourites, which depict in
a strong light their characters and the society in which they
moved.

`My very dear and much esteemed Friend,' writes one
correspondent, `this day being the anniversary of our
acquaintance, I feel inclined to address you; but where shall
I find words to express the fealings of a graitful HEART,
first to the Lord who graiciously inclined you on this day
last year to notice an afflicted Strainger providentially cast
in your way far from any Earthly friend? . . .  Methinks I
shall hear him say unto you, "Inasmuch as ye shewed kindness
to my afflicted handmaiden, ye did it unto me." '

This is to Jean; but the same afflicted lady wrote
indifferently to Jean, to Janet, and to Ms. Smith, whom she
calls `my Edinburgh mother.'  It is plain the three were as
one person, moving to acts of kindness, like the Graces,
inarmed.  Too much stress must not be laid on the style of
this correspondence; Clarinda survived, not far away, and may
have met the ladies on the Calton Hill; and many of the
writers appear, underneath the conventions of the period, to
be genuinely moved.  But what unpleasantly strikes a reader
is, that these devout unfortunates found a revenue in their
devotion.  It is everywhere the same tale; on the side of the
soft-hearted ladies, substantial acts of help; on the side of
the correspondents, affection, italics, texts, ecstasies, and
imperfect spelling.  When a midwife is recommended, not at all
for proficiency in her important art, but because she has `a
sister whom I [the correspondent] esteem and respect, and
[who] is a spiritual daughter of my Hond Father in the
Gosple,' the mask seems to be torn off, and the wages of
godliness appear too openly.  Capacity is a secondary matter
in a midwife, temper in a servant, affection in a daughter,
and the repetition of a shibboleth fulfils the law.  Common
decency is at times forgot in the same page with the most
sanctified advice and aspiration.  Thus I am introduced to a
correspondent who appears to have been at the time the
housekeeper at Invermay, and who writes to condole with my
grandmother in a season of distress.  For nearly half a sheet
she keeps to the point with an excellent discretion in
language then suddenly breaks out:

`It was fully my intention to have left this at
Martinmass, but the Lord fixes the bounds of our habitation.
I have had more need of patience in my situation here than in
any other, partly from the very violent, unsteady, deceitful
temper of the Mistress of the Family, and also from the state
of the house.  It was in a train of repair when I came here
two years ago, and is still in Confusion.  There is above six
Thousand Pounds' worth of Furniture come from London to be put
up when the rooms are completely finished; and then, woe be to
the Person who is Housekeeper at Invermay!'

And by the tail of the document, which is torn, I see she
goes on to ask the bereaved family to seek her a new place.
It is extraordinary that people should have been so deceived
in so careless an impostor; that a few sprinkled `God
willings' should have blinded them to the essence of this
venomous letter; and that they should have been at the pains
to bind it in with others (many of them highly touching) in
their memorial of harrowing days.  But the good ladies were
without guile and without suspicion; they were victims marked
for the axe, and the religious impostors snuffed up the wind
as they drew near.

I have referred above to my grandmother; it was no slip
of the pen: for by an extraordinary arrangement, in which it
is hard not to suspect the managing hand of a mother, Jean
Smith became the wife of Robert Stevenson.  Mrs. Smith had
failed in her design to make her son a minister, and she saw
him daily more immersed in business and worldly ambition.  One
thing remained that she might do: she might secure for him a
godly wife, that great means of sanctification; and she had
two under her hand, trained by herself, her dear friends and
daughters both in law and love - Jean and Janet.  Jean's
complexion was extremely pale, Janet's was florid; my
grandmother's nose was straight, my great-aunt's aquiline; but
by the sound of the voice, not even a son was able to
distinguish one from other.  The marriage of a man of twenty-
seven and a girl of twenty who have lived for twelve years as
brother and sister, is difficult to conceive.  It took place,
however, and thus in 1799 the family was still further
cemented by the union of a representative of the male or
worldly element with one of the female and devout.

This essential difference remained unbridged, yet never
diminished the strength of their relation.  My grandfather
pursued his design of advancing in the world with some measure
of success; rose to distinction in his calling, grew to be the
familiar of members of Parliament, judges of the Court of
Session, and `landed gentlemen'; learned a ready address, had
a flow of interesting conversation, and when he was referred
to as `a highly respectable BOURGEOIS,' resented the
description.  My grandmother remained to the end devout and
unambitious, occupied with her Bible, her children, and her
house; easily shocked, and associating largely with a clique
of godly parasites.  I do not know if she called in the
midwife already referred to; but the principle on which that
lady was recommended, she accepted fully.  The cook was a
godly woman, the butcher a Christian man, and the table
suffered.  The scene has been often described to me of my
grandfather sawing with darkened countenance at some
indissoluble joint - `Preserve me, my dear, what kind of a
reedy, stringy beast is this?' - of the joint removed, the
pudding substituted and uncovered; and of my grandmother's
anxious glance and hasty, deprecatory comment, `Just
mismanaged!'  Yet with the invincible obstinacy of soft
natures, she would adhere to the godly woman and the Christian
man, or find others of the same kidney to replace them.  One
of her confidants had once a narrow escape; an unwieldy old
woman, she had fallen from an outside stair in a close of the
Old Town; and my grandmother rejoiced to communicate the
providential circumstance that a baker had been passing
underneath with his bread upon his head.  `I would like to
know what kind of providence the baker thought it!' cried my
grandfather.

But the sally must have been unique.  In all else that I
have heard or read of him, so far from criticising, he was
doing his utmost to honour and even to emulate his wife's
pronounced opinions.  In the only letter which has come to my
hand of Thomas Smith's, I find him informing his wife that he
was `in time for afternoon church'; similar assurances or
cognate excuses abound in the correspondence of Robert
Stevenson; and it is comical and pretty to see the two
generations paying the same court to a female piety more
highly strung: Thomas Smith to the mother of Robert Stevenson
- Robert Stevenson to the daughter of Thomas Smith.  And if
for once my grandfather suffered himself to be hurried, by his
sense of humour and justice, into that remark about the case
of Providence and the Baker, I should be sorry for any of his
children who should have stumbled into the same attitude of
criticism.  In the apocalyptic style of the housekeeper of
Invermay, woe be to that person!  But there was no fear;
husband and sons all entertained for the pious, tender soul
the same chivalrous and moved affection.  I have spoken with
one who remembered her, and who had been the intimate and
equal of her sons, and I found this witness had been struck,
as I had been, with a sense of disproportion between the
warmth of the adoration felt and the nature of the woman,
whether as described or observed.  She diligently read and
marked her Bible; she was a tender nurse; she had a sense of
humour under strong control; she talked and found some
amusement at her (or rather at her husband's) dinner-parties.
It is conceivable that even my grandmother was amenable to the
seductions of dress; at least, I find her husband inquiring
anxiously about `the gowns from Glasgow,' and very careful to
describe the toilet of the Princess Charlotte, whom he had
seen in church `in a Pelisse and Bonnet of the same colour of
cloth as the Boys' Dress jackets, trimmed with blue satin
ribbons; the hat or Bonnet, Mr. Spittal said, was a Parisian
slouch, and had a plume of three white feathers.'  But all
this leaves a blank impression, and it is rather by reading
backward in these old musty letters, which have moved me now
to laughter and now to impatience, that I glean occasional
glimpses of how she seemed to her contemporaries, and trace
(at work in her queer world of godly and grateful parasites) a
mobile and responsive nature.  Fashion moulds us, and
particularly women, deeper than we sometimes think; but a
little while ago, and, in some circles, women stood or fell by
the degree of their appreciation of old pictures; in the early
years of the century (and surely with more reason) a character
like that of my grandmother warmed, charmed, and subdued, like
a strain of music, the hearts of the men of her own household.
And there is little doubt that Mrs. Smith, as she looked on at
the domestic life of her son and her stepdaughter, and
numbered the heads in their increasing nursery, must have
breathed fervent thanks to her Creator.

Yet this was to be a family unusually tried; it was not
for nothing that one of the godly women saluted Miss Janet
Smith as `a veteran in affliction'; and they were all before
middle life experienced in that form of service.  By the 1st
of January 1808, besides a pair of still-born twins, children
had been born and still survived to the young couple.  By the
11th two were gone; by the 28th a third had followed, and the
two others were still in danger.  In the letters of a former
nurserymaid - I give her name, Jean Mitchell, HONORIS CAUSA -
we are enabled to feel, even at this distance of time, some of
the bitterness of that month of bereavement.

`I have this day received,' she writes to Miss Janet,
`the melancholy news of my dear babys' deaths.  My heart is
like to break for my dear Mrs. Stevenson.  O may she be
supported on this trying occasion!  I hope her other three
babys will be spared to her.  O, Miss Smith, did I think when
I parted from my sweet babys that I never was to see them
more?'  `I received,' she begins her next, `the mournful news
of my dear Jessie's death.  I also received the hair of my
three sweet babys, which I will preserve as dear to their
memorys and as a token of Mr. and Mrs. Stevenson's friendship
and esteem.  At my leisure hours, when the children are in
bed, they occupy all my thoughts, I dream of them.  About two
weeks ago I dreamed that my sweet little Jessie came running
to me in her usual way, and I took her in my arms.  O my dear
babys, were mortal eyes permitted to see them in heaven, we
would not repine nor grieve for their loss.'

By the 29th of February, the Reverend John Campbell, a
man of obvious sense and human value, but hateful to the
present biographer, because he wrote so many letters and
conveyed so little information, summed up this first period of
affliction in a letter to Miss Smith: `Your dear sister but a
little while ago had a full nursery, and the dear blooming
creatures sitting around her table filled her breast with hope
that one day they should fill active stations in society and
become an ornament in the Church below.  But ah!'

Near a hundred years ago these little creatures ceased to
be, and for not much less a period the tears have been dried.
And to this day, looking in these stitched sheaves of letters,
we hear the sound of many soft-hearted women sobbing for the
lost.  Never was such a massacre of the innocents; teething
and chincough and scarlet fever and smallpox ran the round;
and little Lillies, and Smiths, and Stevensons fell like moths
about a candle; and nearly all the sympathetic correspondents
deplore and recall the little losses of their own.  `It is
impossible to describe the Heavnly looks of the Dear Babe the
three last days of his life,' writes Mrs. Laurie to Mrs.
Smith.  `Never - never, my dear aunt, could I wish to eface
the rememberance of this Dear Child.  Never, never, my dear
aunt!'  And so soon the memory of the dead and the dust of the
survivors are buried in one grave.

There was another death in 1812; it passes almost
unremarked; a single funeral seemed but a small event to these
`veterans in affliction'; and by 1816 the nursery was full
again.  Seven little hopefuls enlivened the house; some were
growing up; to the elder girl my grandfather already wrote
notes in current hand at the tail of his letters to his wife:
and to the elder boys he had begun to print, with laborious
care, sheets of childish gossip and pedantic applications.
Here, for instance, under date of 26th May 1816, is part of a
mythological account of London, with a moral for the three
gentlemen, `Messieurs Alan, Robert, and James Stevenson,' to
whom the document is addressed:

`There are many prisons here like Bridewell, for, like
other large towns, there are many bad men here as well as many
good men.  The natives of London are in general not so tall
and strong as the people of Edinburgh, because they have not
so much pure air, and instead of taking porridge they eat
cakes made with sugar and plums.  Here you have thousands of
carts to draw timber, thousands of coaches to take you to all
parts of the town, and thousands of boats to sail on the river
Thames.  But you must have money to pay, otherwise you can get
nothing.  Now the way to get money is, become clever men and
men of education, by being good scholars.'

From the same absence, he writes to his wife on a Sunday:

`It is now about eight o'clock with me, and I imagine you
to be busy with the young folks, hearing the questions
[ANGLICE, catechism], and indulging the boys with a chapter
from the large Bible, with their interrogations and your
answers in the soundest doctrine.  I hope James is getting his
verse as usual, and that Mary is not forgetting her little
HYMN.  While Jeannie will be reading Wotherspoon, or some
other suitable and instructive book, I presume our friend,
Aunt Mary, will have just arrived with the news of A THRONG
KIRK [a crowded church] and a great sermon.  You may mention,
with my compliments to my mother, that I was at St. Paul's to-
day, and attended a very excellent service with Mr. James
Lawrie.  The text was "Examine and see that ye be in the
faith." '

A twinkle of humour lights up this evocation of the
distant scene - the humour of happy men and happy homes.  Yet
it is penned upon the threshold of fresh sorrow.  James and
Mary - he of the verse and she of the hymn - did not much more
than survive to welcome their returning father.  On the 25th,
one of the godly women writes to Janet:

`My dearest beloved madam, when I last parted from you,
you was so affected with your affliction [you? or I?] could
think of nothing else.  But on Saturday, when I went to
inquire after your health, how was I startled to hear that
dear James was gone!  Ah, what is this?  My dear benefactors,
doing so much good to many, to the Lord, suddenly to be
deprived of their most valued comforts!  I was thrown into
great perplexity, could do nothing but murmur, why these
things were done to such a family.  I could not rest, but at
midnight, whether spoken [or not] it was presented to my mind
- "Those whom ye deplore are walking with me in white."  I
conclude from this the Lord saying to sweet Mrs. Stevenson: "I
gave them to be brought up for me: well done, good and
faithful! they are fully prepared, and now I must present them
to my father and your father, to my God and your God." '

It would be hard to lay on flattery with a more sure and
daring hand.  I quote it as a model of a letter of condolence;
be sure it would console.  Very different, perhaps quite as
welcome, is this from a lighthouse inspector to my
grandfather:

`In reading your letter the trickling tear ran down ray
cheeks in silent sorrow for your departed dear ones, my sweet
little friends.  Well do I remember, and you will call to
mind, their little innocent and interesting stories.  Often
have they come round me and taken me by the hand, but alas!  I
am no more destined to behold them.'

The child who is taken becomes canonised, and the looks
of the homeliest babe seem in the retrospect `heavenly the
three last days of his life.'  But it appears that James and
Mary had indeed been children more than usually engaging; a
record was preserved a long while in the family of their
remarks and `little innocent and interesting stories,' and the
blow and the blank were the more sensible.

Early the next month Robert Stevenson must proceed upon
his voyage of inspection, part by land, part by sea.  He left
his wife plunged in low spirits; the thought of his loss, and
still more of her concern, was continually present in his
mind, and he draws in his letters home an interesting picture
of his family relations:

`WINDYGATES INN, MONDAY (POSTMARK JULY 16TH)

`MY DEAREST JEANNIE, - While the people of the inn are
getting me a little bit of something to eat, I sit down to
tell you that I had a most excellent passage across the water,
and got to Wemyss at mid-day.  I hope the children will be
very good, and that Robert will take a course with you to
learn his Latin lessons daily; he may, however, read English
in company.  Let them have strawberries on Saturdays.'

`WESTHAVEN, 17TH JULY.

`I have been occupied to-day at the harbour of Newport,
opposite Dundee, and am this far on my way to Arbroath.  You
may tell the boys that I slept last night in Mr. Steadman's
tent.  I found my bed rather hard, but the lodgings were
otherwise extremely comfortable.  The encampment is on the
Fife side of the Tay, immediately opposite to Dundee.  From
the door of the tent you command the most beautiful view of
the Firth, both up and down, to a great extent.  At night all
was serene and still, the sky presented the most beautiful
appearance of bright stars, and the morning was ushered in
with the song of many little birds.'

`ABERDEEN, JULY 19TH.

`I hope, my dear, that you are going out of doors
regularly and taking much exercise.  I would have you to MAKE
THE MARKETS DAILY - and by all means to take a seat in the
coach once or twice in the week and see what is going on in
town.  [The family were at the sea-side.]  It will be good not
to be too great a stranger to the house.  It will be rather
painful at first, but as it is to be done, I would have you
not to be too strange to the house in town.

`Tell the boys that I fell in with a soldier - his name
is Henderson - who was twelve years with Lord Wellington and
other commanders.  He returned very lately with only
eightpence-halfpenny in his pocket, and found his father and
mother both in life, though they had never heard from him, nor
he from them.  He carried my great-coat and umbrella a few
miles.'

`FRASERBURGH, JULY 20th.

`Fraserburgh is the same dull place which [Auntie] Mary
and Jeannie found it.  As I am travelling along the coast
which they are acquainted with, you had better cause Robert
bring down the map from Edinburgh; and it will be a good
exercise in geography for the young folks to trace my course.
I hope they have entered upon the writing.  The library will
afford abundance of excellent books, which I wish you would
employ a little.  I hope you are doing me the favour to go
much out with the boys, which will do you much good and
prevent them from getting so very much overheated.'

[TO THE BOYS - PRINTED.]

`When I had last the pleasure of writing to you, your
dear little brother James and your sweet little sister Mary
were still with us.  But it has pleased God to remove them to
another and a better world, and we must submit to the will of
Providence.  I must, however, request of you to think
sometimes upon them, and to be very careful not to do anything
that will displease or vex your mother.  It is therefore
proper that you do not roamp [Scottish indeed] too much about,
and that you learn your lessons.'

`I went to Fraserburgh and visited Kinnaird Head
Lighthouse, which I found in good order.  All this time I
travelled upon good roads, and paid many a toll-man by the
way; but from Fraserburgh to Banff there is no toll-bars, and
the road is so bad that I had to walk up and down many a hill,
and for want of bridges the horses had to drag the chaise up
to the middle of the wheels in water.  At Banff I saw a large
ship of 300 tons lying on the sands upon her beam-ends, and a
wreck for want of a good harbour.  Captain Wilson - to whom I
beg my compliments - will show you a ship of 300 tons.  At the
towns of Macduff, Banff, and Portsoy, many of the houses are
built of marble, and the rocks on this part of the coast or
sea-side are marble.  But, my dear Boys, unless marble be
polished and dressed, it is a very coarse-looking stone, and
has no more beauty than common rock.  As a proof of this, ask
the favour of your mother to take you to Thomson's Marble
Works in South Leith, and you will see marble in all its
stages, and perhaps you may there find Portsoy marble!  The
use I wish to make of this is to tell you that, without
education, a man is just like a block of rough, unpolished
marble.  Notice, in proof of this, how much Mr. Neill and Mr.
M'Gregor [the tutor] know, and observe how little a man knows
who is not a good scholar.  On my way to Fochabers I passed
through many thousand acres of Fir timber, and saw many deer
running in these woods.'

[TO MRS. STEVENSON.]

`INVERNESS, JULY 21ST.

`I propose going to church in the afternoon, and as I
have breakfasted late, I shall afterwards take a walk, and
dine about six o'clock.  I do not know who is the clergyman
here, but I shall think of you all.  I travelled in the mail-
coach [from Banff] almost alone.  While it was daylight I kept
the top, and the passing along a country I had never before
seen was a considerable amusement.  But, my dear, you are all
much in my thoughts, and many are the objects which recall the
recollection of our tender and engaging children we have so
recently lost.  We must not, however, repine.  I could not for
a moment wish any change of circumstances in their case; and
in every comparative view of their state, I see the Lord's
goodness in removing them from an evil world to an abode of
bliss; and I must earnestly hope that you may be enabled to
take such a view of this affliction as to live in the happy
prospect of our all meeting again to part no more - and that
under such considerations you are getting up your spirits.  I
wish you would walk about, and by all means go to town, and do
not sit much at home.'

`INVERNESS, JULY 23RD.

`I am duly favoured with your much-valued letter, and I
am happy to find that you are so much with my mother, because
that sort of variety has a tendency to occupy the mind, and to
keep it from brooding too much upon one subject.  Sensibility
and tenderness are certainly two of the most interesting and
pleasing qualities of the mind.  These qualities are also none
of the least of the many endearingments of the female
character.  But if that kind of sympathy and pleasing
melancholy, which is familiar to us under distress, be much
indulged, it becomes habitual, and takes such a hold of the
mind as to absorb all the other affections, and unfit us for
the duties and proper enjoyments of life.  Resignation sinks
into a kind of peevish discontent.  I am far, however, from
thinking there is the least danger of this in your case, my
dear; for you have been on all occasions enabled to look upon
the fortunes of this life as under the direction of a higher
power, and have always preserved that propriety and
consistency of conduct in all circumstances which endears your
example to your family in particular, and to your friends.  I
am therefore, my dear, for you to go out much, and to go to
the house up-stairs [he means to go up-stairs in the house, to
visit the place of the dead children], and to put yourself in
the way of the visits of your friends.  I wish you would call
on the Miss Grays, and it would be a good thing upon a
Saturday to dine with my mother, and take Meggy and all the
family with you, and let them have their strawberries in town.
The tickets of one of the OLD-FASHIONED COACHES would take you
all up, and if the evening were good, they could all walk
down, excepting Meggy and little David.'

`INVERNESS, JULY 25TH, 11 P.M.

`Captain Wemyss, of Wemyss, has come to Inverness to go
the voyage with me, and as we are sleeping in a double-bedded
room, I must no longer transgress.  You must remember me the
best way you can to the children.'

`ON BOARD OF THE LIGHTHOUSE YACHT, JULY 29TH.

`I got to Cromarty yesterday about mid-day, and went to
church.  It happened to be the sacrament there, and I heard a
Mr. Smith at that place conclude the service with a very
suitable exhortation.  There seemed a great concourse of
people, but they had rather an unfortunate day for them at the
tent, as it rained a good deal.  After drinking tea at the
inn, Captain Wemyss accompanied me on board, and we sailed
about eight last night.  The wind at present being rather a
beating one, I think I shall have an opportunity of standing
into the bay of Wick, and leaving this letter to let you know
my progress and that I am well.'

`LIGHTHOUSE YACHT, STORNOWAY, AUGUST 4TH.

`To-day we had prayers on deck as usual when at sea.  I
read the 14th chapter, I think, of Job.  Captain Wemyss has
been in the habit of doing this on board his own ship,
agreeably to the Articles of War.  Our passage round the Cape
[Cape Wrath] was rather a cross one, and as the wind was
northerly, we had a pretty heavy sea, but upon the whole have
made a good passage, leaving many vessels behind us in Orkney.
I am quite well, my dear; and Captain Wemyss, who has much
spirit, and who is much given to observation, and a perfect
enthusiast in his profession, enlivens the voyage greatly.
Let me entreat you to move about much, and take a walk with
the boys to Leith.  I think they have still many places to see
there, and I wish you would indulge them in this respect.  Mr.
Scales is the best person I know for showing them the
sailcloth-weaving, etc., and he would have great pleasure in
undertaking this.  My dear, I trust soon to be with you, and
that through the goodness of God we shall meet all well.'

'There are two vessels lying here with emigrants for
America, each with eighty people on board, at all ages, from a
few days to upwards of sixty!  Their prospects must be very
forlorn to go with a slender purse for distant and unknown
countries.'

`LIGHTHOUSE YACHT, OFF GREENOCK, AUG. 18TH.

`It was after CHURCH-TIME before we got here, but we had
prayers upon deck on the way up the Clyde.  This has, upon the
whole, been a very good voyage, and Captain Wemyss, who enjoys
it much, has been an excellent companion; we met with
pleasure, and shall part with regret.'

Strange that, after his long experience, my grandfather
should have learned so little of the attitude and even the
dialect of the spiritually-minded; that after forty-four years
in a most religious circle, he could drop without sense of
incongruity from a period of accepted phrases to `trust his
wife was GETTING UP HER SPIRITS,' or think to reassure her as
to the character of Captain Wemyss by mentioning that he had
read prayers on the deck of his frigate `AGREEABLY TO THE
ARTICLES OF WAR'!  Yet there is no doubt - and it is one of
the most agreeable features of the kindly series - that he was
doing his best to please, and there is little doubt that he
succeeded.  Almost all my grandfather's private letters have
been destroyed.  This correspondence has not only been
preserved entire, but stitched up in the same covers with the
works of the godly women, the Reverend John Campbell, and the
painful Mrs. Ogle.  I did not think to mention the good dame,
but she comes in usefully as an example.  Amongst the
treasures of the ladies of my family, her letters have been
honoured with a volume to themselves.  I read about a half of
them myself; then handed over the task to one of stauncher
resolution, with orders to communicate any fact that should be
found to illuminate these pages.  Not one was found; it was
her only art to communicate by post second-rate sermons at
second-hand; and such, I take it, was the correspondence in
which my grandmother delighted.  If I am right, that of Robert
Stevenson, with his quaint smack of the contemporary `Sandford
and Merton,' his interest in the whole page of experience, his
perpetual quest, and fine scent of all that seems romantic to
a boy, his needless pomp of language, his excellent good
sense, his unfeigned, unstained, unwearied human kindliness,
would seem to her, in a comparison, dry and trivial and
worldly.  And if these letters were by an exception cherished
and preserved, it would be for one or both of two reasons -
because they dealt with and were bitter-sweet reminders of a
time of sorrow; or because she was pleased, perhaps touched,
by the writer's guileless efforts to seem spiritually-minded.

After this date there were two more births and two more
deaths, so that the number of the family remained unchanged;
in all five children survived to reach maturity and to outlive
their parents.


CHAPTER II
THE SERVICE OF THE NORTHERN LIGHTS
I


IT were hard to imagine a contrast more sharply defined
than that between the lives of the men and women of this
family: the one so chambered, so centred in the affections and
the sensibilities; the other so active, healthy, and
expeditious.  From May to November, Thomas Smith and Robert
Stevenson were on the mail, in the saddle, or at sea; and my
grandfather, in particular, seems to have been possessed with
a demon of activity in travel.  In 1802, by direction of the
Northern Lighthouse Board, he had visited the coast of England
from St. Bees, in Cumberland, and round by the Scilly Islands
to some place undecipherable by me; in all a distance of 2500
miles.  In 1806 I find him starting `on a tour round the south
coast of England, from the Humber to the Severn.'  Peace was
not long declared ere he found means to visit Holland, where
he was in time to see, in the navy-yard at Helvoetsluys,
`about twenty of Bonaparte's ENGLISH FLOTILLA lying in a state
of decay, the object of curiosity to Englishmen.'  By 1834 he
seems to have been acquainted with the coast of France from
Dieppe to Bordeaux; and a main part of his duty as Engineer to
the Board of Northern Lights was one round of dangerous and
laborious travel.

In 1786, when Thomas Smith first received the
appointment, the extended and formidable coast of Scotland was
lighted at a single point - the Isle of May, in the jaws of
the Firth of Forth, where, on a tower already a hundred and
fifty years old, an open coal-fire blazed in an iron chauffer.
The whole archipelago, thus nightly plunged in darkness, was
shunned by sea-going vessels, and the favourite courses were
north about Shetland and west about St. Kilda.  When the Board
met, four new lights formed the extent of their intentions -
Kinnaird Head, in Aberdeenshire, at the eastern elbow of the
coast; North Ronaldsay, in Orkney, to keep the north and guide
ships passing to the south'ard of Shetland; Island Glass, on
Harris, to mark the inner shore of the Hebrides and illuminate
the navigation of the Minch; and the Mull of Kintyre.  These
works were to be attempted against obstacles, material and
financial, that might have staggered the most bold.  Smith had
no ship at his command till 1791; the roads in those
outlandish quarters where his business lay were scarce
passable when they existed, and the tower on the Mull of
Kintyre stood eleven months unlighted while the apparatus
toiled and foundered by the way among rocks and mosses.  Not
only had towers to be built and apparatus transplanted; the
supply of oil must be maintained, and the men fed, in the same
inaccessible and distant scenes; a whole service, with its
routine and hierarchy, had to be called out of nothing; and a
new trade (that of lightkeeper) to be taught, recruited, and
organised.  The funds of the Board were at the first laughably
inadequate.  They embarked on their career on a loan of twelve
hundred pounds, and their income in 1789, after relief by a
fresh Act of Parliament, amounted to less than three hundred.
It must be supposed that the thoughts of Thomas Smith, in
these early years, were sometimes coloured with despair; and
since he built and lighted one tower after another, and
created and bequeathed to his successors the elements of an
excellent administration, it may be conceded that he was not
after all an unfortunate choice for a first engineer.

War added fresh complications.  In 1794 Smith came `very
near to be taken' by a French squadron.  In 1813 Robert
Stevenson was cruising about the neighbourhood of Cape Wrath
in the immediate fear of Commodore Rogers.  The men, and
especially the sailors, of the lighthouse service must be
protected by a medal and ticket from the brutal activity of
the press-gang.  And the zeal of volunteer patriots was at
times embarrassing.

`I set off on foot,' writes my grandfather, `for
Marazion, a town at the head of Mount's Bay, where I was in
hopes of getting a boat to freight.  I had just got that
length, and was making the necessary inquiry, when a young
man, accompanied by several idle-looking fellows, came up to
me, and in a hasty tone said, "Sir, in the king's name I seize
your person and papers."  To which I replied that I should be
glad to see his authority, and know the reason of an address
so abrupt.  He told me the want of time prevented his taking
regular steps, but that it would be necessary for me to return
to Penzance, as I was suspected of being a French spy.  I
proposed to submit my papers to the nearest Justice of Peace,
who was immediately applied to, and came to the inn where I
was.  He seemed to be greatly agitated, and quite at a loss
how to proceed.  The complaint preferred against me was "that
I had examined the Longships Lighthouse with the most minute
attention, and was no less particular in my inquiries at the
keepers of the lighthouse regarding the sunk rocks lying off
the Land's End, with the sets of the currents and tides along
the coast: that I seemed particularly to regret the situation
of the rocks called the Seven Stones, and the loss of a beacon
which the Trinity Board had caused to be fixed on the Wolf
Rock; that I had taken notes of the bearings of several sunk
rocks, and a drawing of the lighthouse, and of Cape Cornwall.
Further, that I had refused the honour of Lord Edgecombe's
invitation to dinner, offering as an apology that I had some
particular business on hand." '

My grandfather produced in answer his credentials and
letter of credit; but the justice, after perusing them, `very
gravely observed that they were "musty bits of paper," ' and
proposed to maintain the arrest.  Some more enlightened
magistrates at Penzance relieved him of suspicion and left him
at liberty to pursue his journey, - `which I did with so much
eagerness,' he adds, `that I gave the two coal lights on the
Lizard only a very transient look.'

Lighthouse operations in Scotland differed essentially in
character from those in England.  The English coast is in
comparison a habitable, homely place, well supplied with
towns; the Scottish presents hundreds of miles of savage
islands and desolate moors.  The Parliamentary committee of
1834, profoundly ignorant of this distinction, insisted with
my grandfather that the work at the various stations should be
let out on contract `in the neighbourhood,' where sheep and
deer, and gulls and cormorants, and a few ragged gillies,
perhaps crouching in a bee-hive house, made up the only
neighbours.  In such situations repairs and improvements could
only be overtaken by collecting (as my grandfather expressed
it) a few `lads,' placing them under charge of a foreman, and
despatching them about the coast as occasion served.  The
particular danger of these seas increased the difficulty.  The
course of the lighthouse tender lies amid iron-bound coasts,
among tide-races, the whirlpools of the Pentland Firth, flocks
of islands, flocks of reefs, many of them uncharted.  The aid
of steam was not yet.  At first in random coasting sloop, and
afterwards in the cutter belonging to the service, the
engineer must ply and run amongst these multiplied dangers,
and sometimes late into the stormy autumn.  For pages together
my grandfather's diary preserves a record of these rude
experiences; of hard winds and rough seas; and of `the try-
sail and storm-jib, those old friends which I never like to
see.'  They do not tempt to quotation, but it was the man's
element, in which he lived, and delighted to live, and some
specimen must be presented.  On Friday, September 10th, 1830,
the REGENT lying in Lerwick Bay, we have this entry: `The gale
increases, with continued rain.'  On the morrow, Saturday,
11th, the weather appeared to moderate, and they put to sea,
only to be driven by evening into Levenswick.  There they lay,
`rolling much,' with both anchors ahead and the square yard on
deck, till the morning of Saturday, 18th.  Saturday and Sunday
they were plying to the southward with a `strong breeze and a
heavy sea,' and on Sunday evening anchored in Otterswick.
`Monday, 20th, it blows so fresh that we have no communication
with the shore.  We see Mr. Rome on the beach, but we cannot
communicate with him.  It blows "mere fire," as the sailors
express it.'  And for three days more the diary goes on with
tales of davits unshipped, high seas, strong gales from the
southward, and the ship driven to refuge in Kirkwall or Deer
Sound.  I have many a passage before me to transcribe, in
which my grandfather draws himself as a man of minute and
anxious exactitude about details.  It must not be forgotten
that these voyages in the tender were the particular pleasure
and reward of his existence; that he had in him a reserve of
romance which carried him delightedly over these hardships and
perils; that to him it was `great gain' to be eight nights and
seven days in the savage bay of Levenswick - to read a book in
the much agitated cabin - to go on deck and hear the gale
scream in his ears, and see the landscape dark with rain and
the ship plunge at her two anchors - and to turn in at night
and wake again at morning, in his narrow berth, to the
glamorous and continued voices of the gale.

His perils and escapes were beyond counting.  I shall
only refer to two: the first, because of the impression made
upon himself; the second, from the incidental picture it
presents of the north islanders.  On the 9th October 1794 he
took passage from Orkney in the sloop ELIZABETH of Stromness.
She made a fair passage till within view of Kinnaird Head,
where, as she was becalmed some three miles in the offing, and
wind seemed to threaten from the south-east, the captain
landed him, to continue his journey more expeditiously ashore.
A gale immediately followed, and the ELIZABETH was driven back
to Orkney and lost with all hands.  The second escape I have
been in the habit of hearing related by an eye-witness, my own
father, from the earliest days of childhood.  On a September
night, the REGENT lay in the Pentland Firth in a fog and a
violent and windless swell.  It was still dark, when they were
alarmed by the sound of breakers, and an anchor was
immediately let go.  The peep of dawn discovered them swinging
in desperate proximity to the Isle of Swona (1) and the surf
bursting close under their stern.  There was in this place a
hamlet of the inhabitants, fisher-folk and wreckers; their
huts stood close about the head of the beach.  All slept; the
doors were closed, and there was no smoke, and the anxious
watchers on board ship seemed to contemplate a village of the
dead.  It was thought possible to launch a boat and tow the
REGENT from her place of danger; and with this view a signal
of distress was made and a gun fired with a red-hot poker from
the galley.  Its detonation awoke the sleepers.  Door after
door was opened, and in the grey light of the morning fisher
after fisher was seen to come forth, yawning and stretching
himself, nightcap on head.  Fisher after fisher, I wrote, and
my pen tripped; for it should rather stand wrecker after
wrecker.  There was no emotion, no animation, it scarce seemed
any interest; not a hand was raised; but all callously awaited
the harvest of the sea, and their children stood by their side
and waited also.  To the end of his life, my father remembered
that amphitheatre of placid spectators on the beach; and with
a special and natural animosity, the boys of his own age.  But
presently a light air sprang up, and filled the sails, and
fainted, and filled them again; and little by little the
REGENT fetched way against the swell, and clawed off shore
into the turbulent firth.


(1) This is only a probable hypothesis; I have tried to
identify my father's anecdote in my grandfather's diary, and
may very well have been deceived. - [R. L. S.]

The purpose of these voyages was to effect a landing on
open beaches or among shelving rocks, not for persons only,
but for coals and food, and the fragile furniture of light-
rooms.  It was often impossible.  In 1831 I find my
grandfather `hovering for a week' about the Pentland Skerries
for a chance to land; and it was almost always difficult.
Much knack and enterprise were early developed among the
seamen of the service; their management of boats is to this
day a matter of admiration; and I find my grandfather in his
diary depicting the nature of their excellence in one happily
descriptive phrase, when he remarks that Captain Soutar had
landed `the small stores and nine casks of oil WITH ALL THE
ACTIVITY OF A SMUGGLER.'  And it was one thing to land,
another to get on board again.  I have here a passage from the
diary, where it seems to have been touch-and-go.  `I landed at
Tarbetness, on the eastern side of the point, in a MERE GALE
OR BLAST OF WIND from west-south-west, at 2 p.m.  It blew so
fresh that the captain, in a kind of despair, went off to the
ship, leaving myself and the steward ashore.  While I was in
the light-room, I felt it shaking and waving, not with the
tremor of the Bell Rock, but with the WAVING OF A TREE!  This
the light-keepers seemed to be quite familiar to, the
principal keeper remarking that "it was very pleasant,"
perhaps meaning interesting or curious.  The captain worked
the vessel into smooth water with admirable dexterity, and I
got on board again about 6 p.m. from the other side of the
point.'  But not even the dexterity of Soutar could prevail
always; and my grandfather must at times have been left in
strange berths and with but rude provision.  I may instance
the case of my father, who was storm-bound three days upon an
islet, sleeping in the uncemented and unchimneyed houses of
the islanders, and subsisting on a diet of nettle-soup and
lobsters.

The name of Soutar has twice escaped my pen, and I feel I
owe him a vignette.  Soutar first attracted notice as mate of
a praam at the Bell Rock, and rose gradually to be captain of
the REGENT.  He was active, admirably skilled in his trade,
and a man incapable of fear.  Once, in London, he fell among a
gang of confidence-men, naturally deceived by his rusticity
and his prodigious accent.  They plied him with drink - a
hopeless enterprise, for Soutar could not be made drunk; they
proposed cards, and Soutar would not play.  At last, one of
them, regarding him with a formidable countenance, inquired if
he were not frightened?  `I'm no' very easy fleyed,' replied
the captain.  And the rooks withdrew after some easier pigeon.
So many perils shared, and the partial familiarity of so many
voyages, had given this man a stronghold in my grandfather's
estimation; and there is no doubt but he had the art to court
and please him with much hypocritical skill.  He usually dined
on Sundays in the cabin.  He used to come down daily after
dinner for a glass of port or whisky, often in his full rig of
sou'-wester, oilskins, and long boots; and I have often heard
it described how insinuatingly he carried himself on these
appearances, artfully combining the extreme of deference with
a blunt and seamanlike demeanour.  My father and uncles, with
the devilish penetration of the boy, were far from being
deceived; and my father, indeed, was favoured with an object-
lesson not to be mistaken.  He had crept one rainy night into
an apple-barrel on deck, and from this place of ambush
overheard Soutar and a comrade conversing in their oilskins.
The smooth sycophant of the cabin had wholly disappeared, and
the boy listened with wonder to a vulgar and truculent
ruffian.  Of Soutar, I may say TANTUM VIDI, having met him in
the Leith docks now more than thirty years ago, when he
abounded in the praises of my grandfather, encouraged me (in
the most admirable manner) to pursue his footprints, and left
impressed for ever on my memory the image of his own
Bardolphian nose.  He died not long after.

The engineer was not only exposed to the hazards of the
sea; he must often ford his way by land to remote and scarce
accessible places, beyond reach of the mail or the post-
chaise, beyond even the tracery of the bridle-path, and guided
by natives across bog and heather.  Up to 1807 my grand-father
seems to have travelled much on horseback; but he then gave up
the idea - `such,' he writes with characteristic emphasis and
capital letters, `is the Plague of Baiting.'  He was a good
pedestrian; at the age of fifty-eight I find him covering
seventeen miles over the moors of the Mackay country in less
than seven hours, and that is not bad travelling for a
scramble.  The piece of country traversed was already a
familiar track, being that between Loch Eriboll and Cape
Wrath; and I think I can scarce do better than reproduce from
the diary some traits of his first visit.  The tender lay in
Loch Eriboll; by five in the morning they sat down to
breakfast on board; by six they were ashore - my grandfather,
Mr. Slight an assistant, and Soutar of the jolly nose, and had
been taken in charge by two young gentlemen of the
neighbourhood and a pair of gillies.  About noon they reached
the Kyle of Durness and passed the ferry.  By half-past three
they were at Cape Wrath - not yet known by the emphatic
abbreviation of `The Cape' - and beheld upon all sides of them
unfrequented shores, an expanse of desert moor, and the high-
piled Western Ocean.  The site of the tower was chosen.
Perhaps it is by inheritance of blood, but I know few things
more inspiriting than this location of a lighthouse in a
designated space of heather and air, through which the sea-
birds are still flying.  By 9 p.m. the return journey had
brought them again to the shores of the Kyle.  The night was
dirty, and as the sea was high and the ferry-boat small,
Soutar and Mr. Stevenson were left on the far side, while the
rest of the party embarked and were received into the
darkness.  They made, in fact, a safe though an alarming
passage; but the ferryman refused to repeat the adventure; and
my grand-father and the captain long paced the beach,
impatient for their turn to pass, and tormented with rising
anxiety as to the fate of their companions.  At length they
sought the shelter of a shepherd's house.  `We had miserable
up-putting,' the diary continues, `and on both sides of the
ferry much anxiety of mind.  Our beds were clean straw, and
but for the circumstance of the boat, I should have slept as
soundly as ever I did after a walk through moss and mire of
sixteen hours.'

To go round the lights, even to-day, is to visit past
centuries.  The tide of tourists that flows yearly in
Scotland, vulgarising all where it approaches, is still
defined by certain barriers.  It will be long ere there is a
hotel at Sumburgh or a hydropathic at Cape Wrath; it will be
long ere any CHAR-A-BANC, laden with tourists, shall drive up
to Barra Head or Monach, the Island of the Monks.  They are
farther from London than St. Petersburg, and except for the
towers, sounding and shining all night with fog-bells and the
radiance of the light-room, glittering by day with the trivial
brightness of white paint, these island and moorland stations
seem inaccessible to the civilisation of to-day, and even to
the end of my grandfather's career the isolation was far
greater.  There ran no post at all in the Long Island; from
the light-house on Barra Head a boat must be sent for letters
as far as Tobermory, between sixty and seventy miles of open
sea; and the posts of Shetland, which had surprised Sir Walter
Scott in 1814, were still unimproved in 1833, when my
grandfather reported on the subject.  The group contained at
the time a population of 30,000 souls, and enjoyed a trade
which had increased in twenty years seven-fold, to between
three and four thousand tons.  Yet the mails were despatched
and received by chance coasting vessels at the rate of a penny
a letter; six and eight weeks often elapsed between
opportunities, and when a mail was to be made up, sometimes at
a moment's notice, the bellman was sent hastily through the
streets of Lerwick.  Between Shetland and Orkney, only seventy
miles apart, there was `no trade communication whatever.'

Such was the state of affairs, only sixty years ago, with
the three largest clusters of the Scottish Archipelago; and
forty-seven years earlier, when Thomas Smith began his rounds,
or forty-two, when Robert Stevenson became conjoined with him
in these excursions, the barbarism was deep, the people sunk
in superstition, the circumstances of their life perhaps
unique in history.  Lerwick and Kirkwall, like Guam or the Bay
of Islands, were but barbarous ports where whalers called to
take up and to return experienced seamen.  On the outlying
islands the clergy lived isolated, thinking other thoughts,
dwelling in a different country from their parishioners, like
missionaries in the South Seas.  My grandfather's unrivalled
treasury of anecdote was never written down; it embellished
his talk while he yet was, and died with him when he died; and
such as have been preserved relate principally to the islands
of Ronaldsay and Sanday, two of the Orkney group.  These
bordered on one of the water-highways of civilisation; a great
fleet passed annually in their view, and of the shipwrecks of
the world they were the scene and cause of a proportion wholly
incommensurable to their size.  In one year, 1798, my
grandfather found the remains of no fewer than five vessels on
the isle of Sanday, which is scarcely twelve miles long.

`Hardly a year passed,' he writes, `without instances of
this kind; for, owing to the projecting points of this
strangely formed island, the lowness and whiteness of its
eastern shores, and the wonderful manner in which the scanty
patches of land are intersected with lakes and pools of water,
it becomes, even in daylight, a deception, and has often been
fatally mistaken for an open sea.  It had even become
proverbial with some of the inhabitants to observe that "if
wrecks were to happen, they might as well be sent to the poor
isle of Sanday as anywhere else."  On this and the
neighbouring islands the inhabitants had certainly had their
share of wrecked goods, for the eye is presented with these
melancholy remains in almost every form.  For example,
although quarries are to be met with generally in these
islands, and the stones are very suitable for building dykes
(ANGLICE, walls), yet instances occur of the land being
enclosed, even to a considerable extent, with ship-timbers.
The author has actually seen a park (ANGLICE, meadow) paled
round chiefly with cedar-wood and mahogany from the wreck of a
Honduras-built ship; and in one island, after the wreck of a
ship laden with wine, the inhabitants have been known to take
claret to their barley-meal porridge.  On complaining to one
of the pilots of the badness of his boat's sails, he replied
to the author with some degree of pleasantry, "Had it been His
will that you came na' here wi' your lights, we might 'a' had
better sails to our boats, and more o' other things."  It may
further be mentioned that when some of Lord Dundas's farms are
to be let in these islands a competition takes place for the
lease, and it is BONA FIDE understood that a much higher rent
is paid than the lands would otherwise give were it not for
the chance of making considerably by the agency and advantages
attending shipwrecks on the shores of the respective farms.'

The people of North Ronaldsay still spoke Norse, or,
rather, mixed it with their English.  The walls of their huts
were built to a great thickness of rounded stones from the
sea-beach; the roof flagged, loaded with earth, and perforated
by a single hole for the escape of smoke.  The grass grew
beautifully green on the flat house-top, where the family
would assemble with their dogs and cats, as on a pastoral
lawn; there were no windows, and in my grandfather's
expression, `there was really no demonstration of a house
unless it were the diminutive door.'  He once landed on
Ronaldsay with two friends.  The inhabitants crowded and
pressed so much upon the strangers that the bailiff, or
resident factor of the island, blew with his ox-horn, calling
out to the natives to stand off and let the gentlemen come
forward to the laird; upon which one of the islanders, as
spokesman, called out, "God ha'e us, man! thou needsna mak'
sic a noise.  It's no' every day we ha'e THREE HATTED MEN on
our isle." '  When the Surveyor of Taxes came (for the first
time, perhaps) to Sanday, and began in the King's name to
complain of the unconscionable swarms of dogs, and to menace
the inhabitants with taxation, it chanced that my grandfather
and his friend, Dr. Patrick Neill, were received by an old
lady in a Ronaldsay hut.  Her hut, which was similar to the
model described, stood on a Ness, or point of land jutting
into the sea.  They were made welcome in the firelit cellar,
placed `in CASEY or straw-worked chairs, after the Norwegian
fashion, with arms, and a canopy overhead,' and given milk in
a wooden dish.  These hospitalities attended to, the old lady
turned at once to Dr. Neill, whom she took for the Surveyor of
Taxes.  `Sir,' said she, `gin ye'll tell the King that I canna
keep the Ness free o' the Bangers (sheep) without twa hun's,
and twa guid hun's too, he'll pass me threa the tax on dugs.'

This familiar confidence, these traits of engaging
simplicity, are characters of a secluded people.  Mankind -
and, above all, islanders - come very swiftly to a bearing,
and find very readily, upon one convention or another, a
tolerable corporate life.  The danger is to those from
without, who have not grown up from childhood in the islands,
but appear suddenly in that narrow horizon, life-sized
apparitions.  For these no bond of humanity exists, no feeling
of kinship is awakened by their peril; they will assist at a
shipwreck, like the fisher-folk of Lunga, as spectators, and
when the fatal scene is over, and the beach strewn with dead
bodies, they will fence their fields with mahogany, and, after
a decent grace, sup claret to their porridge.  It is not
wickedness: it is scarce evil; it is only, in its highest
power, the sense of isolation and the wise disinterestedness
of feeble and poor races.  Think how many viking ships had
sailed by these islands in the past, how many vikings had
landed, and raised turmoil, and broken up the barrows of the
dead, and carried off the wines of the living; and blame them,
if you are able, for that belief (which may be called one of
the parables of the devil's gospel) that a man rescued from
the sea will prove the bane of his deliverer.  It might be
thought that my grandfather, coming there unknown, and upon an
employment so hateful to the inhabitants, must have run the
hazard of his life.  But this were to misunderstand.  He came
franked by the laird and the clergyman; he was the King's
officer; the work was `opened with prayer by the Rev. Walter
Trail, minister of the parish'; God and the King had decided
it, and the people of these pious islands bowed their heads.
There landed, indeed, in North Ronaldsay, during the last
decade of the eighteenth century, a traveller whose life seems
really to have been imperilled.  A very little man of a
swarthy complexion, he came ashore, exhausted and unshaved,
from a long boat passage, and lay down to sleep in the home of
the parish schoolmaster.  But he had been seen landing.  The
inhabitants had identified him for a Pict, as, by some
singular confusion of name, they called the dark and dwarfish
aboriginal people of the land.  Immediately the obscure
ferment of a race-hatred, grown into a superstition, began to
work in their bosoms, and they crowded about the house and the
room-door with fearful whisperings.  For some time the
schoolmaster held them at bay, and at last despatched a
messenger to call my grand-father.  He came: he found the
islanders beside themselves at this unwelcome resurrection of
the dead and the detested; he was shown, as adminicular of
testimony, the traveller's uncouth and thick-soled boots; he
argued, and finding argument unavailing, consented to enter
the room and examine with his own eyes the sleeping Pict.  One
glance was sufficient: the man was now a missionary, but he
had been before that an Edinburgh shopkeeper with whom my
grandfather had dealt.  He came forth again with this report,
and the folk of the island, wholly relieved, dispersed to
their own houses.  They were timid as sheep and ignorant as
limpets; that was all.  But the Lord deliver us from the
tender mercies of a frightened flock!

I will give two more instances of their superstition.
When Sir Walter Scott visited the Stones of Stennis, my
grandfather put in his pocket a hundred-foot line, which he
unfortunately lost.

`Some years afterwards,' he writes, `one of my assistants
on a visit to the Stones of Stennis took shelter from a storm
in a cottage close by the lake; and seeing a box-measuring-
line in the bole or sole of the cottage window, he asked the
woman where she got this well-known professional appendage.
She said: "O sir, ane of the bairns fand it lang syne at the
Stanes; and when drawing it out we took fright, and thinking
it had belanged to the fairies, we threw it into the bole, and
it has layen there ever since." '

This is for the one; the last shall be a sketch by the
master hand of Scott himself:

`At the village of Stromness, on the Orkney main island,
called Pomona, lived, in 1814, an aged dame called Bessie
Millie, who helped out her subsistence by selling favourable
winds to mariners.  He was a venturous master of a vessel who
left the roadstead of Stromness without paying his offering to
propitiate Bessie Millie!  Her fee was extremely moderate,
being exactly sixpence, for which she boiled her kettle and
gave the bark the advantage of her prayers, for she disclaimed
all unlawful acts.  The wind thus petitioned for was sure, she
said, to arrive, though occasionally the mariners had to wait
some time for it.  The woman's dwelling and appearance were
not unbecoming her pretensions.  Her house, which was on the
brow of the steep hill on which Stromness is founded, was only
accessible by a series of dirty and precipitous lanes, and for
exposure might have been the abode of Eolus himself, in whose
commodities the inhabitant dealt.  She herself was, as she
told us, nearly one hundred years old, withered and dried up
like a mummy.  A clay-coloured kerchief, folded round her
neck, corresponded in colour to her corpse-like complexion.
Two light blue eyes that gleamed with a lustre like that of
insanity, an utterance of astonishing rapidity, a nose and
chin that almost met together, and a ghastly expression of
cunning, gave her the effect of Hecate.  Such was Bessie
Millie, to whom the mariners paid a sort of tribute with a
feeling between jest and earnest.'


II


From about the beginning of the century up to 1807 Robert
Stevenson was in partnership with Thomas Smith.  In the last-
named year the partnership was dissolved; Thomas Smith
returning to his business, and my grandfather becoming sole
engineer to the Board of Northern Lights.

I must try, by excerpts from his diary and
correspondence, to convey to the reader some idea of the
ardency and thoroughness with which he threw himself into the
largest and least of his multifarious engagements in this
service.  But first I must say a word or two upon the life of
lightkeepers, and the temptations to which they are more
particularly exposed.  The lightkeeper occupies a position
apart among men.  In sea-towers the complement has always been
three since the deplorable business in the Eddystone, when one
keeper died, and the survivor, signalling in vain for relief,
was compelled to live for days with the dead body.  These
usually pass their time by the pleasant human expedient of
quarrelling; and sometimes, I am assured, not one of the three
is on speaking terms with any other.  On shore stations, which
on the Scottish coast are sometimes hardly less isolated, the
usual number is two, a principal and an assistant.  The
principal is dissatisfied with the assistant, or perhaps the
assistant keeps pigeons, and the principal wants the water
from the roof.  Their wives and families are with them, living
cheek by jowl.  The children quarrel; Jockie hits Jimsie in
the eye, and the mothers make haste to mingle in the
dissension.  Perhaps there is trouble about a broken dish;
perhaps Mrs. Assistant is more highly born than Mrs. Principal
and gives herself airs; and the men are drawn in and the
servants presently follow.  `Church privileges have been
denied the keeper's and the assistant's servants,' I read in
one case, and the eminently Scots periphrasis means neither
more nor less than excommunication, `on account of the
discordant and quarrelsome state of the families.  The cause,
when inquired into, proves to be TITTLE-TATTLE on both sides.'
The tender comes round; the foremen and artificers go from
station to station; the gossip flies through the whole system
of the service, and the stories, disfigured and exaggerated,
return to their own birthplace with the returning tender.  The
English Board was apparently shocked by the picture of these
dissensions.  `When the Trinity House can,' I find my
grandfather writing at Beachy Head, in 1834, `they do not
appoint two keepers, they disagree so ill.  A man who has a
family is assisted by his family; and in this way, to my
experience and present observation, the business is very much
neglected.  One keeper is, in my view, a bad system.  This
day's visit to an English lighthouse convinces me of this, as
the lightkeeper was walking on a staff with the gout, and the
business performed by one of his daughters, a girl of thirteen
or fourteen years of age.'  This man received a hundred a
year!  It shows a different reading of human nature, perhaps
typical of Scotland and England, that I find in my
grandfather's diary the following pregnant entry: `THE
LIGHTKEEPERS, AGREEING ILL, KEEP ONE ANOTHER TO THEIR DUTY.'
But the Scottish system was not alone founded on this cynical
opinion.  The dignity and the comfort of the northern
lightkeeper were both attended to.  He had a uniform to `raise
him in his own estimation, and in that of his neighbour, which
is of consequence to a person of trust.  The keepers,' my
grandfather goes on, in another place, `are attended to in all
the detail of accommodation in the best style as shipmasters;
and this is believed to have a sensible effect upon their
conduct, and to regulate their general habits as members of
society.'  He notes, with the same dip of ink, that `the
brasses were not clean, and the persons of the keepers not
TRIG'; and thus we find him writing to a culprit: `I have to
complain that you are not cleanly in your person, and that
your manner of speech is ungentle, and rather inclines to
rudeness.  You must therefore take a different view of your
duties as a lightkeeper.'  A high ideal for the service
appears in these expressions, and will be more amply
illustrated further on.  But even the Scottish lightkeeper was
frail.  During the unbroken solitude of the winter months,
when inspection is scarce possible, it must seem a vain toil
to polish the brass hand-rail of the stair, or to keep an
unrewarded vigil in the light-room; and the keepers are
habitually tempted to the beginnings of sloth, and must
unremittingly resist.  He who temporises with his conscience
is already lost.  I must tell here an anecdote that
illustrates the difficulties of inspection.  In the days of my
uncle David and my father there was a station which they
regarded with jealousy.  The two engineers compared notes and
were agreed.  The tower was always clean, but seemed always to
bear traces of a hasty cleansing, as though the keepers had
been suddenly forewarned.  On inquiry, it proved that such was
the case, and that a wandering fiddler was the unfailing
harbinger of the engineer.  At last my father was storm-stayed
one Sunday in a port at the other side of the island.  The
visit was quite overdue, and as he walked across upon the
Monday morning he promised himself that he should at last take
the keepers unprepared.  They were both waiting for him in
uniform at the gate; the fiddler had been there on Saturday!

My grandfather, as will appear from the following
extracts, was much a martinet, and had a habit of expressing
himself on paper with an almost startling emphasis.
Personally, with his powerful voice, sanguine countenance, and
eccentric and original locutions, he was well qualified to
inspire a salutary terror in the service.

`I find that the keepers have, by some means or another,
got into the way of cleaning too much with rotten-stone and
oil.  I take the principal keeper to TASK on this subject, and
make him bring a clean towel and clean one of the brazen
frames, which leaves the towel in an odious state.  This towel
I put up in a sheet of paper, seal, and take with me to
confront Mr. Murdoch, who has just left the station.'  `This
letter' - a stern enumeration of complaints - `to lie a week
on the light-room book-place, and to be put in the Inspector's
hands when he comes round.'  `It is the most painful thing
that can occur for me to have a correspondence of this kind
with any of the keepers; and when I come to the Lighthouse,
instead of having the satisfaction to meet them with
approbation, it is distressing when one is obliged to put on a
most angry countenance and demeanour; but from such culpable
negligence as you have shown there is no avoiding it.  I hold
it as a fixed maxim that, when a man or a family put on a
slovenly appearance in their houses, stairs, and lanterns, I
always find their reflectors, burners, windows, and light in
general, ill attended to; and, therefore, I must insist on
cleanliness throughout.'  `I find you very deficient in the
duty of the high tower.  You thus place your appointment as
Principal Keeper in jeopardy; and I think it necessary, as an
old servant of the Board, to put you upon your guard once for
all at this time.  I call upon you to recollect what was
formerly and is now said to you.  The state of the backs of
the reflectors at the high tower was disgraceful, as I pointed
out to you on the spot.  They were as if spitten upon, and
greasy finger-marks upon the back straps.  I demand an
explanation of this state of things.'  `The cause of the
Commissioners dismissing you is expressed in the minute; and
it must be a matter of regret to you that you have been so
much engaged in smuggling, and also that the Reports relative
to the cleanliness of the Lighthouse, upon being referred to,
rather added to their unfavourable opinion.'  `I do not go
into the dwelling-house, but severely chide the lightkeepers
for the disagreement that seems to subsist among them.'  `The
families of the two lightkeepers here agree very ill.  I have
effected a reconciliation for the present.'  `Things are in a
very HUMDRUM state here.  There is no painting, and in and out
of doors no taste or tidiness displayed.  Robert's wife GREETS
and M'Gregor's scolds; and Robert is so down-hearted that he
says he is unfit for duty.  I told him that if he was to mind
wives' quarrels, and to take them up, the only way was for him
and M'Gregor to go down to the point like Sir G. Grant and
Lord Somerset.'  `I cannot say that I have experienced a more
unpleasant meeting than that of the lighthouse folks this
morning, or ever saw a stronger example of unfeeling barbarity
than the conduct which the -s exhibited.  These two cold-
hearted persons, not contented with having driven the daughter
of the poor nervous woman from her father's house, BOTH kept
POUNCING at her, lest she should forget her great misfortune.
Write me of their conduct.  Do not make any communication of
the state of these families at Kinnaird Head, as this would be
like TALE-BEARING.'

There is the great word out.  Tales and Tale-bearing,
always with the emphatic capitals, run continually in his
correspondence.  I will give but two instances:-

`Write to David [one of the lightkeepers] and caution him
to be more prudent how he expresses himself.  Let him attend
his duty to the Lighthouse and his family concerns, and give
less heed to Tale-bearers.'  `I have not your last letter at
hand to quote its date; but, if I recollect, it contains some
kind of tales, which nonsense I wish you would lay aside, and
notice only the concerns of your family and the important
charge committed to you.'

Apparently, however, my grandfather was not himself
inaccessible to the Tale-bearer, as the following indicates:

`In walking along with Mr. - , I explain to him that I
should be under the necessity of looking more closely into the
business here from his conduct at Buddonness, which had given
an instance of weakness in the Moral principle which had
staggered my opinion of him.  His answer was, "That will be
with regard to the lass?"  I told him I was to enter no
farther with him upon the subject.'  `Mr. Miller appears to be
master and man.  I am sorry about this foolish fellow.  Had I
known his train, I should not, as I did, have rather forced
him into the service.  Upon finding the windows in the state
they were, I turned upon Mr. Watt, and especially upon Mr.
Stewart.  The latter did not appear for a length of time to
have visited the light-room.  On asking the cause - did Mr.
Watt and him (SIC) disagree; he said no; but he had got very
bad usage from the assistant, "who was a very obstreperous
man."  I could not bring Mr. Watt to put in language his
objections to Miller; all I could get was that, he being your
friend, and saying he was unwell, he did not like to complain
or to push the man; that the man seemed to have no liking to
anything like work; that he was unruly; that, being an
educated man, he despised them.  I was, however, determined to
have out of these UNWILLING witnesses the language alluded to.
I fixed upon Mr. Stewart as chief; he hedged.  My curiosity
increased, and I urged.  Then he said, "What would I think,
just exactly, of Mr. Watt being called an Old B-?"  You may
judge of my surprise.  There was not another word uttered.
This was quite enough, as coming from a person I should have
calculated upon quite different behaviour from.  It spoke a
volume of the man's mind and want of principle.'  `Object to
the keeper keeping a Bull-Terrier dog of ferocious appearance.
It is dangerous, as we land at all times of the night.'  `Have
only to complain of the storehouse floor being spotted with
oil.  Give orders for this being instantly rectified, so that
on my return to-morrow I may see things in good order.'  `The
furniture of both houses wants much rubbing.  Mrs. -'s carpets
are absurd beyond anything I have seen.  I want her to turn
the fenders up with the bottom to the fireplace: the carpets,
when not likely to be in use, folded up and laid as a
hearthrug partly under the fender.'

My grandfather was king in the service to his finger-
tips.  All should go in his way, from the principal
lightkeeper's coat to the assistant's fender, from the gravel
in the garden-walks to the bad smell in the kitchen, or the
oil-spots on the store-room floor.  It might be thought there
was nothing more calculated to awake men's resentment, and yet
his rule was not more thorough than it was beneficent.  His
thought for the keepers was continual, and it did not end with
their lives.  He tried to manage their successions; he thought
no pains too great to arrange between a widow and a son who
had succeeded his father; he was often harassed and perplexed
by tales of hardship; and I find him writing, almost in
despair, of their improvident habits and the destitution that
awaited their families upon a death.  `The house being
completely furnished, they come into possession without
necessaries, and they go out NAKED.  The insurance seems to
have failed, and what next is to be tried?'  While they lived
he wrote behind their backs to arrange for the education of
their children, or to get them other situations if they seemed
unsuitable for the Northern Lights.  When he was at a
lighthouse on a Sunday he held prayers and heard the children
read.  When a keeper was sick, he lent him his horse and sent
him mutton and brandy from the ship.  `The assistant's wife
having been this morning confined, there was sent ashore a
bottle of sherry and a few rusks - a practice which I have
always observed in this service,' he writes.  They dwelt, many
of them, in uninhabited isles or desert forelands, totally cut
off from shops.  Many of them were, besides, fallen into a
rustic dishabitude of life, so that even when they visited a
city they could scarce be trusted with their own affairs, as
(for example) he who carried home to his children, thinking
they were oranges, a bag of lemons.  And my grandfather seems
to have acted, at least in his early years, as a kind of
gratuitous agent for the service.  Thus I find him writing to
a keeper in 1806, when his mind was already preoccupied with
arrangements for the Bell Rock: `I am much afraid I stand very
unfavourably with you as a man of promise, as I was to send
several things of which I believe I have more than once got
the memorandum.  All I can say is that in this respect you are
not singular.  This makes me no better; but really I have been
driven about beyond all example in my past experience, and
have been essentially obliged to neglect my own urgent
affairs.'  No servant of the Northern Lights came to Edinburgh
but he was entertained at Baxter's Place to breakfast.  There,
at his own table, my grandfather sat down delightedly with his
broad-spoken, homespun officers.  His whole relation to the
service was, in fact, patriarchal; and I believe I may say
that throughout its ranks he was adored.  I have spoken with
many who knew him; I was his grandson, and their words may
have very well been words of flattery; but there was one thing
that could not be affected, and that was the look and light
that came into their faces at the name of Robert Stevenson.

In the early part of the century the foreman builder was
a young man of the name of George Peebles, a native of
Anstruther.  My grandfather had placed in him a very high
degree of confidence, and he was already designated to be
foreman at the Bell Rock, when, on Christmas-day 1806, on his
way home from Orkney, he was lost in the schooner TRAVELLER.
The tale of the loss of the TRAVELLER is almost a replica of
that of the ELIZABETH of Stromness; like the ELIZABETH she
came as far as Kinnaird Head, was then surprised by a storm,
driven back to Orkney, and bilged and sank on the island of
Flotta.  It seems it was about the dusk of the day when the
ship struck, and many of the crew and passengers were drowned.
About the same hour, my grandfather was in his office at the
writing-table; and the room beginning to darken, he laid down
his pen and fell asleep.  In a dream he saw the door open and
George Peebles come in, `reeling to and fro, and staggering
like a drunken man,' with water streaming from his head and
body to the floor.  There it gathered into a wave which,
sweeping forward, submerged my grandfather.  Well, no matter
how deep; versions vary; and at last he awoke, and behold it
was a dream!  But it may be conceived how profoundly the
impression was written even on the mind of a man averse from
such ideas, when the news came of the wreck on Flotta and the
death of George.

George's vouchers and accounts had perished with himself;
and it appeared he was in debt to the Commissioners.  But my
grandfather wrote to Orkney twice, collected evidence of his
disbursements, and proved him to be seventy pounds ahead.
With this sum, he applied to George's brothers, and had it
apportioned between their mother and themselves.  He
approached the Board and got an annuity of 5 pounds bestowed
on the widow Peebles; and we find him writing her a long
letter of explanation and advice, and pressing on her the duty
of making a will.  That he should thus act executor was no
singular instance.  But besides this we are able to assist at
some of the stages of a rather touching experiment; no less
than an attempt to secure Charles Peebles heir to George's
favour.  He is despatched, under the character of `a fine
young man'; recommended to gentlemen for `advice, as he's a
stranger in your place, and indeed to this kind of charge,
this being his first outset as Foreman'; and for a long while
after, the letter-book, in the midst of that thrilling first
year of the Bell Rock, is encumbered with pages of instruction
and encouragement.  The nature of a bill, and the precautions
that are to be observed about discounting it, are expounded at
length and with clearness.  `You are not, I hope, neglecting,
Charles, to work the harbour at spring-tides; and see that you
pay the greatest attention to get the well so as to supply the
keeper with water, for he is a very helpless fellow, and so
unfond of hard work that I fear he could do ill to keep
himself in water by going to the other side for it.' - `With
regard to spirits, Charles, I see very little occasion for
it.'  These abrupt apostrophes sound to me like the voice of
an awakened conscience; but they would seem to have
reverberated in vain in the ears of Charles.  There was
trouble in Pladda, his scene of operations; his men ran away
from him, there was at least a talk of calling in the Sheriff.
`I fear,' writes my grandfather, `you have been too indulgent,
and I am sorry to add that men do not answer to be too well
treated, a circumstance which I have experienced, and which
you will learn as you go on in business.'  I wonder, was not
Charles Peebles himself a case in point?  Either death, at
least, or disappointment and discharge, must have ended his
service in the Northern Lights; and in later correspondence I
look in vain for any mention of his name - Charles, I mean,
not Peebles: for as late as 1839 my grandfather is patiently
writing to another of the family: `I am sorry you took the
trouble of applying to me about your son, as it lies quite out
of my way to forward his views in the line of his profession
as a Draper.'


III


A professional life of Robert Stevenson has been already
given to the world by his son David, and to that I would refer
those interested in such matters.  But my own design, which is
to represent the man, would be very ill carried out if I
suffered myself or my reader to forget that he was, first of
all and last of all, an engineer.  His chief claim to the
style of a mechanical inventor is on account of the Jib or
Balance Crane of the Bell Rock, which are beautiful
contrivances.  But the great merit of this engineer was not in
the field of engines.  He was above all things a projector of
works in the face of nature, and a modifier of nature itself.
A road to be made, a tower to be built, a harbour to be
constructed, a river to be trained and guided in its channel -
these were the problems with which his mind was continually
occupied; and for these and similar ends he travelled the
world for more than half a century, like an artist, note-book
in hand.

He once stood and looked on at the emptying of a certain
oil-tube; he did so watch in hand, and accurately timed the
operation; and in so doing offered the perfect type of his
profession.  The fact acquired might never be of use: it was
acquired: another link in the world's huge chain of processes
was brought down to figures and placed at the service of the
engineer.  `The very term mensuration sounds ENGINEER-LIKE,' I
find him writing; and in truth what the engineer most properly
deals with is that which can be measured, weighed, and
numbered.  The time of any operation in hours and minutes, its
cost in pounds, shillings, and pence, the strain upon a given
point in foot-pounds - these are his conquests, with which he
must continually furnish his mind, and which, after he has
acquired them, he must continually apply and exercise.  They
must be not only entries in note-books, to be hurriedly
consulted; in the actor's phrase, he must be STALE in them; in
a word of my grandfather's, they must be `fixed in the mind
like the ten fingers and ten toes.'

These are the certainties of the engineer; so far he
finds a solid footing and clear views.  But the province of
formulas and constants is restricted.  Even the mechanical
engineer comes at last to an end of his figures, and must
stand up, a practical man, face to face with the discrepancies
of nature and the hiatuses of theory.  After the machine is
finished, and the steam turned on, the next is to drive it;
and experience and an exquisite sympathy must teach him where
a weight should be applied or a nut loosened.  With the civil
engineer, more properly so called (if anything can be proper
with this awkward coinage), the obligation starts with the
beginning.  He is always the practical man.  The rains, the
winds and the waves, the complexity and the fitfulness of
nature, are always before him.  He has to deal with the
unpredictable, with those forces (in Smeaton's phrase) that
`are subject to no calculation'; and still he must predict,
still calculate them, at his peril.  His work is not yet in
being, and he must foresee its influence: how it shall deflect
the tide, exaggerate the waves, dam back the rain-water, or
attract the thunderbolt.  He visits a piece of sea-board; and
from the inclination and soil of the beach, from the weeds and
shell-fish, from the configuration of the coast and the depth
of soundings outside, he must deduce what magnitude of waves
is to be looked for.  He visits a river, its summer water
babbling on shallows; and he must not only read, in a thousand
indications, the measure of winter freshets, but be able to
predict the violence of occasional great floods.  Nay, and
more; he must not only consider that which is, but that which
may be.  Thus I find my grandfather writing, in a report on
the North Esk Bridge: `A less waterway might have sufficed,
but the VALLEYS MAY COME TO BE MELIORATED BY DRAINAGE.'  One
field drained after another through all that confluence of
vales, and we come to a time when they shall precipitate by so
much a more copious and transient flood, as the gush of the
flowing drain-pipe is superior to the leakage of a peat.

It is plain there is here but a restricted use for
formulas.  In this sort of practice, the engineer has need of
some transcendental sense.  Smeaton, the pioneer, bade him
obey his `feelings'; my father, that `power of estimating
obscure forces which supplies a coefficient of its own to
every rule.'  The rules must be everywhere indeed; but they
must everywhere be modified by this transcendental
coefficient, everywhere bent to the impression of the trained
eye and the FEELINGS of the engineer.  A sentiment of physical
laws and of the scale of nature, which shall have been strong
in the beginning and progressively fortified by observation,
must be his guide in the last recourse.  I had the most
opportunity to observe my father.  He would pass hours on the
beach, brooding over the waves, counting them, noting their
least deflection, noting when they broke.  On Tweedside, or by
Lyne or Manor, we have spent together whole afternoons; to me,
at the time, extremely wearisome; to him, as I am now sorry to
think, bitterly mortifying.  The river was to me a pretty and
various spectacle; I could not see - I could not be made to
see - it otherwise.  To my father it was a chequer-board of
lively forces, which he traced from pool to shallow with
minute appreciation and enduring interest.  'That bank was
being under-cut,' he might say.  `Why?  Suppose you were to
put a groin out here, would not the FILUM FLUMINIS be cast
abruptly off across the channel? and where would it impinge
upon the other shore? and what would be the result?  Or
suppose you were to blast that boulder, what would happen?
Follow it - use the eyes God has given you - can you not see
that a great deal of land would be reclaimed upon this side?'
It was to me like school in holidays; but to him, until I had
worn him out with my invincible triviality, a delight.  Thus
he pored over the engineer's voluminous handy-book of nature;
thus must, too, have pored my grand-father and uncles.

But it is of the essence of this knowledge, or this knack
of mind, to be largely incommunicable.  `It cannot be imparted
to another,' says my father.  The verbal casting-net is thrown
in vain over these evanescent, inferential relations. Hence
the insignificance of much engineering literature.  So far as
the science can be reduced to formulas or diagrams, the book
is to the point; so far as the art depends on intimate study
of the ways of nature, the author's words will too often be
found vapid.  This fact - that engineering looks one way, and
literature another - was what my grand-father overlooked.  All
his life long, his pen was in his hand, piling up a treasury
of knowledge, preparing himself against all possible
contingencies.  Scarce anything fell under his notice but he
perceived in it some relation to his work, and chronicled it
in the pages of his journal in his always lucid, but sometimes
inexact and wordy, style.  The Travelling Diary (so he called
it) was kept in fascicles of ruled paper, which were at last
bound up, rudely indexed, and put by for future reference.
Such volumes as have reached me contain a surprising medley:
the whole details of his employment in the Northern Lights and
his general practice; the whole biography of an enthusiastic
engineer.  Much of it is useful and curious; much merely
otiose; and much can only be described as an attempt to impart
that which cannot be imparted in words.  Of such are his
repeated and heroic descriptions of reefs; monuments of
misdirected literary energy, which leave upon the mind of the
reader no effect but that of a multiplicity of words and the
suggested vignette of a lusty old gentleman scrambling among
tangle.  It is to be remembered that he came to engineering
while yet it was in the egg and without a library, and that he
saw the bounds of that profession widen daily.  He saw iron
ships, steamers, and the locomotive engine, introduced.  He
lived to travel from Glasgow to Edinburgh in the inside of a
forenoon, and to remember that he himself had `often been
twelve hours upon the journey, and his grand-father (Lillie)
two days'!  The profession was still but in its second
generation, and had already broken down the barriers of time
and space.  Who should set a limit to its future
encroachments?  And hence, with a kind of sanguine pedantry,
he pursued his design of `keeping up with the day' and posting
himself and his family on every mortal subject.  Of this
unpractical idealism we shall meet with many instances; there
was not a trade, and scarce an accomplishment, but he thought
it should form part of the outfit of an engineer; and not
content with keeping an encyclopaedic diary himself, he would
fain have set all his sons to work continuing and extending
it.  They were more happily inspired.  My father's engineering
pocket-book was not a bulky volume; with its store of pregnant
notes and vital formulas, it served him through life, and was
not yet filled when he came to die.  As for Robert Stevenson
and the Travelling Diary, I should be ungrateful to complain,
for it has supplied me with many lively traits for this and
subsequent chapters; but I must still remember much of the
period of my study there as a sojourn in the Valley of the
Shadow.

The duty of the engineer is twofold - to design the work,
and to see the work done.  We have seen already something of
the vociferous thoroughness of the man, upon the cleaning of
lamps and the polishing of reflectors.  In building, in road-
making, in the construction of bridges, in every detail and
byway of his employments, he pursued the same ideal.
Perfection (with a capital P and violently under-scored) was
his design.  A crack for a penknife, the waste of `six-and-
thirty shillings,' `the loss of a day or a tide,' in each of
these he saw and was revolted by the finger of the sloven; and
to spirits intense as his, and immersed in vital undertakings,
the slovenly is the dishonest, and wasted time is instantly
translated into lives endangered.  On this consistent idealism
there is but one thing that now and then trenches with a touch
of incongruity, and that is his love of the picturesque.  As
when he laid out a road on Hogarth's line of beauty; bade a
foreman be careful, in quarrying, not `to disfigure the
island'; or regretted in a report that `the great stone,
called the DEVIL IN THE HOLE, was blasted or broken down to
make road-metal, and for other purposes of the work.'



CHAPTER III
THE BUILDING OF THE BELL ROCK



OFF the mouths of the Tay and the Forth, thirteen miles
from Fifeness, eleven from Arbroath, and fourteen from the Red
Head of Angus, lies the Inchcape or Bell Rock.  It extends to
a length of about fourteen hundred feet, but the part of it
discovered at low water to not more than four hundred and
twenty-seven.  At a little more than half-flood in fine
weather the seamless ocean joins over the reef, and at high-
water springs it is buried sixteen feet.  As the tide goes
down, the higher reaches of the rock are seen to be clothed by
CONFERVA RUPESTRIS as by a sward of grass; upon the more
exposed edges, where the currents are most swift and the
breach of the sea heaviest, Baderlock or Henware flourishes;
and the great Tangle grows at the depth of several fathoms
with luxuriance.  Before man arrived, and introduced into the
silence of the sea the smoke and clangour of a blacksmith's
shop, it was a favourite resting-place of seals.  The crab and
lobster haunt in the crevices; and limpets, mussels, and the
white buckie abound.

According to a tradition, a bell had been once hung upon
this rock by an abbot of Arbroath, (1) `and being taken down
by a sea-pirate, a year thereafter he perished upon the same
rock, with ship and goods, in the righteous judgment of God.'
From the days of the abbot and the sea-pirate no man had set
foot upon the Inchcape, save fishers from the neighbouring
coast, or perhaps - for a moment, before the surges swallowed
them - the unfortunate victims of shipwreck.  The fishers
approached the rock with an extreme timidity; but their
harvest appears to have been great, and the adventure no more
perilous than lucrative.  In 1800, on the occasion of my
grandfather's first landing, and during the two or three hours
which the ebb-tide and the smooth water allowed them to pass
upon its shelves, his crew collected upwards of two
hundredweight of old metal: pieces of a kedge anchor and a
cabin stove, crowbars, a hinge and lock of a door, a ship's
marking-iron, a piece of a ship's caboose, a soldier's
bayonet, a cannon ball, several pieces of money, a shoe-
buckle, and the like.  Such were the spoils of the Bell Rock.

(1) This is, of course, the tradition commemorated by
Southey in his ballad of `The Inchcape Bell.'  Whether true or
not, it points to the fact that from the infancy of Scottish
navigation, the seafaring mind had been fully alive to the
perils of this reef.  Repeated attempts had been made to mark
the place with beacons, but all efforts were unavailing (one
such beacon having been carried away within eight days of its
erection) until Robert Stevenson conceived and carried out the
idea of the stone tower.  But the number of vessels actually
lost upon the reef was as nothing to those that were cast away
in fruitless efforts to avoid it.  Placed right in the fairway
of two navigations, and one of these the entrance to the only
harbour of refuge between the Downs and the Moray Firth, it
breathed abroad along the whole coast an atmosphere of terror
and perplexity; and no ship sailed that part of the North Sea
at night, but what the ears of those on board would be
strained to catch the roaring of the seas on the Bell Rock.

From 1794 onward, the mind of my grandfather had been
exercised with the idea of a light upon this formidable
danger.  To build a tower on a sea rock, eleven miles from
shore, and barely uncovered at low water of neaps, appeared a
fascinating enterprise.  It was something yet unattempted,
unessayed; and even now, after it has been lighted for more
than eighty years, it is still an exploit that has never been
repeated. (1)  My grandfather was, besides, but a young man,
of an experience comparatively restricted, and a reputation
confined to Scotland; and when he prepared his first models,
and exhibited them in Merchants' Hall, he can hardly be
acquitted of audacity.  John Clerk of Eldin stood his friend
from the beginning, kept the key of the model room, to which
he carried `eminent strangers,' and found words of counsel and
encouragement beyond price.  `Mr. Clerk had been personally
known to Smeaton, and used occasionally to speak of him to
me,' says my grandfather; and again: `I felt regret that I had
not the opportunity of a greater range of practice to fit me
for such an undertaking; but I was fortified by an expression
of my friend Mr. Clerk in one of our conversations. "This
work," said he, "is unique, and can be little forwarded by
experience of ordinary masonic operations.  In this case
Smeaton's `Narrative' must be the text-book, and energy and
perseverance the pratique." '

(1) The particular event which concentrated Mr.
Stevenson's attention on the problem of the Bell Rock was the
memorable gale of December 1799, when, among many other
vessels, H.M.S. YORK, a seventy-four-gun ship, went down with
all hands on board.  Shortly after this disaster Mr. Stevenson
made a careful survey, and prepared his models for a stone
tower, the idea of which was at first received with pretty
general scepticism, Smeaton's Eddystone tower could not be
cited as affording a parallel, for there the rock is not
submerged even at high-water, while the problem of the Bell
Rock was to build a tower of masonry on a sunken reef far
distant from land, covered at every tide to a depth of twelve
feet or more, and having thirty-two fathoms' depth of water
within a mile of its eastern edge.

A Bill for the work was introduced into Parliament and
lost in the Lords in 1802-3.  John Rennie was afterwards, at
my grandfather's suggestion, called in council, with the style
of chief engineer.  The precise meaning attached to these
words by any of the parties appears irrecoverable.  Chief
engineer should have full authority, full responsibility, and
a proper share of the emoluments; and there were none of these
for Rennie.  I find in an appendix a paper which resumes the
controversy on this subject; and it will be enough to say here
that Rennie did not design the Bell Rock, that he did not
execute it, and that he was not paid for it. (1)  From so much
of the correspondence as has come down to me, the acquaintance
of this man, eleven years his senior, and already famous,
appears to have been both useful and agreeable to Robert
Stevenson.  It is amusing to find my grandfather seeking high
and low for a brace of pistols which his colleague had lost by
the way between Aberdeen and Edinburgh; and writing to Messrs.
Dollond, `I have not thought it necessary to trouble Mr.
Rennie with this order, but I BEG YOU WILL SEE TO GET TWO
MINUTES OF HIM AS HE PASSES YOUR DOOR' - a proposal calculated
rather from the latitude of Edinburgh than from London, even
in 1807.  It is pretty, too, to observe with what affectionate
regard Smeaton was held in mind by his immediate successors.
`Poor old fellow,' writes Rennie to Stevenson, `I hope he will
now and then take a peep at us, and inspire you with fortitude
and courage to brave all difficulties and dangers to
accomplish a work which will, if successful, immortalise you
in the annals of fame.'  The style might be bettered, but the
sentiment is charming.

(1) The grounds for the rejection of the Bill by the
House of Lords in 1802-3 had been that the extent of coast
over which dues were proposed to be levied would be too great.
Before going to Parliament again, the Board of Northern
Lights, desiring to obtain support and corroboration for Mr.
Stevenson's views, consulted first Telford, who was unable to
give the matter his attention, and then (on Stevenson's
suggestion) Rennie, who concurred in affirming the
practicability of a stone tower, and supported the Bill when
it came again before Parliament in 1806.  Rennie was
afterwards appointed by the Commissioners as advising
engineer, whom Stevenson might consult in cases of emergency.
It seems certain that the title of chief engineer had in this
instance no more meaning than the above.  Rennie, in point of
fact, proposed certain modifications in Stevenson's plans,
which the latter did not accept; nevertheless Rennie continued
to take a kindly interest in the work, and the two engineers
remained in friendly correspondence during its progress.  The
official view taken by the Board as to the quarter in which
lay both the merit and the responsibility of the work may be
gathered from a minute of the Commissioners at their first
meeting held after Stevenson died; in which they record their
regret `at the death of this zealous, faithful, and able
officer, TO WHOM IS DUE THE HONOUR OF CONCEIVING AND EXECUTING
THE BELL ROCK LIGHTHOUSE.'  The matter is briefly summed up in
the LIFE of Robert Stevenson by his son David Stevenson (A. &
C. Black, 1878), and fully discussed, on the basis of official
facts and figures, by the same writer in a letter to the CIVIL
ENGINEERS' AND ARCHITECTS' JOURNAL, 1862.

Smeaton was, indeed, the patron saint of the Bell Rock.
Undeterred by the sinister fate of Winstanley, he had tackled
and solved the problem of the Eddystone; but his solution had
not been in all respects perfect.  It remained for my grand-
father to outdo him in daring, by applying to a tidal rock
those principles which had been already justified by the
success of the Eddystone, and to perfect the model by more
than one exemplary departure.  Smeaton had adopted in his
floors the principle of the arch; each therefore exercised an
outward thrust upon the walls, which must be met and combated
by embedded chains.  My grandfather's flooring-stones, on the
other hand, were flat, made part of the outer wall, and were
keyed and dovetailed into a central stone, so as to bind the
work together and be positive elements of strength.  In 1703
Winstanley still thought it possible to erect his strange
pagoda, with its open gallery, its florid scrolls and
candlesticks: like a rich man's folly for an ornamental water
in a park.  Smeaton followed; then Stevenson in his turn
corrected such flaws as were left in Smeaton's design; and
with his improvements, it is not too much to say the model was
made perfect.  Smeaton and Stevenson had between them evolved
and finished the sea-tower.  No subsequent builder has
departed in anything essential from the principles of their
design.  It remains, and it seems to us as though it must
remain for ever, an ideal attained.  Every stone in the
building, it may interest the reader to know, my grandfather
had himself cut out in the model; and the manner in which the
courses were fitted, joggled, trenailed, wedged, and the bond
broken, is intricate as a puzzle and beautiful by ingenuity.

In 1806 a second Bill passed both Houses, and the
preliminary works were at once begun.  The same year the Navy
had taken a great harvest of prizes in the North Sea, one of
which, a Prussian fishing dogger, flat-bottomed and rounded at
the stem and stern, was purchased to be a floating lightship,
and re-named the PHAROS.  By July 1807 she was overhauled,
rigged for her new purpose, and turned into the lee of the
Isle of May.  `It was proposed that the whole party should
meet in her and pass the night; but she rolled from side to
side in so extraordinary a manner, that even the most seahardy
fled.  It was humorously observed of this vessel that she was
in danger of making a round turn and appearing with her keel
uppermost; and that she would even turn a half-penny if laid
upon deck.'  By two o'clock on the morning of the 15th July
this purgatorial vessel was moored by the Bell Rock.

A sloop of forty tons had been in the meantime built at
Leith, and named the SMEATON; by the 7th of August my
grandfather set sail in her -

`carrying with him Mr. Peter Logan, foreman builder, and
five artificers selected from their having been somewhat
accustomed to the sea, the writer being aware of the
distressing trial which the floating light would necessarily
inflict upon landsmen from her rolling motion.  Here he
remained till the 10th, and, as the weather was favourable, a
landing was effected daily, when the workmen were employed in
cutting the large seaweed from the sites of the lighthouse and
beacon, which were respectively traced with pickaxes upon the
rock.  In the meantime the crew of the SMEATON was employed in
laying down the several sets of moorings within about half a
mile of the rock for the convenience of vessels.  The
artificers, having, fortunately, experienced moderate weather,
returned to the workyard of Arbroath with a good report of
their treatment afloat; when their comrades ashore began to
feel some anxiety to see a place of which they had heard so
much, and to change the constant operations with the iron and
mallet in the process of hewing for an occasional tide's work
on the rock, which they figured to themselves as a state of
comparative ease and comfort.'

I am now for many pages to let my grandfather speak for
himself, and tell in his own words the story of his capital
achievement.  The tall quarto of 533 pages from which the
following narrative has been dug out is practically unknown to
the general reader, yet good judges have perceived its merit,
and it has been named (with flattering wit) `The Romance of
Stone and Lime' and `The Robinson Crusoe of Civil
Engineering.'  The tower was but four years in the building;
it took Robert Stevenson, in the midst of his many avocations,
no less than fourteen to prepare the ACCOUNT.  The title-page
is a solid piece of literature of upwards of a hundred words;
the table of contents runs to thirteen pages; and the
dedication (to that revered monarch, George IV) must have cost
him no little study and correspondence.  Walter Scott was
called in council, and offered one miscorrection which still
blots the page.  In spite of all this pondering and filing,
there remain pages not easy to construe, and inconsistencies
not easy to explain away.  I have sought to make these
disappear, and to lighten a little the baggage with which my
grandfather marches; here and there I have rejointed and
rearranged a sentence, always with his own words, and all with
a reverent and faithful hand; and I offer here to the reader
the true Monument of Robert Stevenson with a little of the
moss removed from the inscription, and the Portrait of the
artist with some superfluous canvas cut away.


I - OPERATIONS OF 1807


[Sunday, 16th Aug.]

Everything being arranged for sailing to the rock on
Saturday the 15th, the vessel might have proceeded on the
Sunday; but understanding that this would not be so agreeable
to the artificers it was deferred until Monday.  Here we
cannot help observing that the men allotted for the operations
at the rock seemed to enter upon the undertaking with a degree
of consideration which fully marked their opinion as to the
hazardous nature of the undertaking on which they were about
to enter.  They went in a body to church on Sunday, and
whether it was in the ordinary course, or designed for the
occasion, the writer is not certain, but the service was, in
many respects, suitable to their circumstances.

[Monday, 17th Aug.]

The tide happening to fall late in the evening of Monday
the 17th, the party, counting twenty-four in number, embarked
on board of the SMEATON about ten o'clock p.m., and sailed
from Arbroath with a gentle breeze at west.  Our ship's
colours having been flying all day in compliment to the
commencement of the work, the other vessels in the harbour
also saluted, which made a very gay appearance.  A number of
the friends and acquaintances of those on board having been
thus collected, the piers, though at a late hour, were
perfectly crowded, and just as the SMEATON cleared the
harbour, all on board united in giving three hearty cheers,
which were returned by those on shore in such good earnest,
that, in the still of the evening, the sound must have been
heard in all parts of the town, re-echoing from the walls and
lofty turrets of the venerable Abbey of Aberbrothwick.  The
writer felt much satisfaction at the manner of this parting
scene, though he must own that the present rejoicing was, on
his part, mingled with occasional reflections upon the
responsibility of his situation, which extended to the safety
of all who should be engaged in this perilous work.  With such
sensations he retired to his cabin; but as the artificers were
rather inclined to move about the deck than to remain in their
confined berths below, his repose was transient, and the
vessel being small every motion was necessarily heard.  Some
who were musically inclined occasionally sung; but he listened
with peculiar pleasure to the sailor at the helm, who hummed
over Dibdin's characteristic air:-

`They say there's a Providence sits up aloft,
To keep watch for the life of poor Jack.'

[Tuesday, 18th Aug.]

The weather had been very gentle all night, and, about
four in the morning of the 18th, the SMEATON anchored.
Agreeably to an arranged plan of operations, all hands were
called at five o'clock a.m., just as the highest part of the
Bell Rock began to show its sable head among the light
breakers, which occasionally whitened with the foaming sea.
The two boats belonging to the floating light attended the
SMEATON, to carry the artificers to the rock, as her boat
could only accommodate about six or eight sitters.  Every one
was more eager than his neighbour to leap into the boats and
it required a good deal of management on the part of the
coxswains to get men unaccustomed to a boat to take their
places for rowing and at the same time trimming her properly.
The landing-master and foreman went into one boat, while the
writer took charge of another, and steered it to and from the
rock.  This became the more necessary in the early stages of
the work, as places could not be spared for more than two, or
at most three seamen to each boat, who were always stationed,
one at the bow, to use the boat-hook in fending or pushing
off, and the other at the aftermost oar, to give the proper
time in rowing, while the middle oars were double-banked, and
rowed by the artificers.

As the weather was extremely fine, with light airs of
wind from the east, we landed without difficulty upon the
central part of the rock at half-past five, but the water had
not yet sufficiently left it for commencing the work.  This
interval, however, did not pass unoccupied.  The first and
last of all the principal operations at the Bell Rock were
accompanied by three hearty cheers from all hands, and, on
occasions like the present, the steward of the ship attended,
when each man was regaled with a glass of rum.  As the water
left the rock about six, some began to bore the holes for the
great bats or holdfasts, for fixing the beams of the Beacon-
house, while the smith was fully attended in laying out the
site of his forge, upon a somewhat sheltered spot of the rock,
which also recommended itself from the vicinity of a pool of
water for tempering his irons.  These preliminary steps
occupied about an hour, and as nothing further could be done
during this tide towards fixing the forge, the workmen
gratified their curiosity by roaming about the rock, which
they investigated with great eagerness till the tide
overflowed it.  Those who had been sick picked dulse (FUCUS
PALMATUS), which they ate with much seeming appetite; others
were more intent upon collecting limpets for bait, to enjoy
the amusement of fishing when they returned on board of the
vessel.  Indeed, none came away empty-handed, as everything
found upon the Bell Rock was considered valuable, being
connected with some interesting association.  Several coins,
and numerous bits of shipwrecked iron, were picked up, of
almost every description; and, in particular, a marking-iron
lettered JAMES - a circumstance of which it was thought proper
to give notice to the public, as it might lead to the
knowledge of some unfortunate shipwreck, perhaps unheard of
till this simple occurrence led to the discovery.  When the
rock began to be overflowed, the landing-master arranged the
crews of the respective boats, appointing twelve persons to
each.  According to a rule which the writer had laid down to
himself, he was always the last person who left the rock.

In a short time the Bell Rock was laid completely under
water, and the weather being extremely fine, the sea was so
smooth that its place could not be pointed out from the
appearance of the surface - a circumstance which sufficiently
demonstrates the dangerous nature of this rock, even during
the day, and in the smoothest and calmest state of the sea.
During the interval between the morning and the evening tides,
the artificers were variously employed in fishing and reading;
others were busy in drying and adjusting their wet clothes,
and one or two amused their companions with the violin and
German flute.

About seven in the evening the signal bell for landing on
the rock was again rung, when every man was at his quarters.
In this service it was thought more appropriate to use the
bell than to PIPE to quarters, as the use of this instrument
is less known to the mechanic than the sound of the bell.  The
landing, as in the morning, was at the eastern harbour.
During this tide the seaweed was pretty well cleared from the
site of the operations, and also from the tracks leading to
the different landing-places; for walking upon the rugged
surface of the Bell Rock, when covered with seaweed, was found
to be extremely difficult and even dangerous.  Every hand that
could possibly be occupied now employed in assisting the smith
to fit up the apparatus for his forge.  At 9 p.m. the boats
returned to the tender, after other two hours' work, in the
same order as formerly - perhaps as much gratified with the
success that attended the work of this day as with any other
in the whole course of the operations.  Although it could not
he said that the fatigues of this day had been great, yet all
on board retired early to rest.  The sea being calm, and no
movement on deck, it was pretty generally remarked in the
morning that the bell awakened the greater number on board
from their first sleep; and though this observation was not
altogether applicable to the writer himself, yet he was not a
little pleased to find that thirty people could all at once
become so reconciled to a night's quarters within a few
hundred paces of the Bell Rock.

[Wednesday, 19th Aug.]

Being extremely anxious at this time to get forward with
fixing the smith's forge, on which the progress of the work at
present depended, the writer requested that he might be called
at daybreak to learn the landing-master's opinion of the
weather from the appearance of the rising sun, a criterion by
which experienced seamen can generally judge pretty accurately
of the state of the weather for the following day.  About five
o'clock, on coming upon deck, the sun's upper limb or disc had
just begun to appear as if rising from the ocean, and in less
than a minute he was seen in the fullest splendour; but after
a short interval he was enveloped in a soft cloudy sky, which
was considered emblematical of fine weather.  His rays had not
yet sufficiently dispelled the clouds which hid the land from
view, and the Bell Rock being still overflowed, the whole was
one expanse of water.  This scene in itself was highly
gratifying; and, when the morning bell was tolled, we were
gratified with the happy forebodings of good weather and the
expectation of having both a morning and an evening tide's
work on the rock.

The boat which the writer steered happened to be the last
which approached the rock at this tide; and, in standing up in
the stern, while at some distance, to see how the leading boat
entered the creek, he was astonished to observe something in
the form of a human figure, in a reclining posture, upon one
of the ledges of the rock.  He immediately steered the boat
through a narrow entrance to the eastern harbour, with a
thousand unpleasant sensations in his mind.  He thought a
vessel or boat must have been wrecked upon the rock during the
night; and it seemed probable that the rock might be strewed
with dead bodies, a spectacle which could not fail to deter
the artificers from returning so freely to their work.  In the
midst of these reveries the boat took the ground at an
improper landing-place; but, without waiting to push her off,
he leapt upon the rock, and making his way hastily to the spot
which had privately given him alarm, he had the satisfaction
to ascertain that he had only been deceived by the peculiar
situation and aspect of the smith's anvil and block, which
very completely represented the appearance of a lifeless body
upon the rock.  The writer carefully suppressed his feelings,
the simple mention of which might have had a bad effect upon
the artificers, and his haste passed for an anxiety to examine
the apparatus of the smith's forge, left in an unfinished
state at evening tide.

In the course of this morning's work two or three
apparently distant peals of thunder were heard, and the
atmosphere suddenly became thick and foggy.  But as the
SMEATON, our present tender, was moored at no great distance
from the rock, the crew on board continued blowing with a
horn, and occasionally fired a musket, so that the boats got
to the ship without difficulty.

[Thursday, 20th Aug.]

The wind this morning inclined from the north-east, and
the sky had a heavy and cloudy appearance, but the sea was
smooth, though there was an undulating motion on, the surface,
which indicated easterly winds, and occasioned a slight surf
upon the rock.  But the boats found no difficulty in landing
at the western creek at half-past seven, and, after a good
tide's work, left it again about a quarter from eleven.  In
the evening the artificers landed at half-past seven, and
continued till half-past eight, having completed the fixing of
the smith's forge, his vice, and a wooden board or bench,
which were also batted to a ledge of the rock, to the great
joy of all, under a salute of three hearty cheers.  From an
oversight on the part of the smith, who had neglected to bring
his tinder-box and matches from the vessel, the work was
prevented from being continued for at least an hour longer.

The smith's shop was, of course, in OPEN SPACE: the large
bellows were carried to and from the rock every tide, for the
serviceable condition of which, together with the tinder-box,
fuel, and embers of the former fire, the smith was held
responsible.  Those who have been placed in situations to feel
the inconveniency and want of this useful artisan, will be
able to appreciate his value in a case like the present.  It
often happened, to our annoyance and disappointment, in the
early state of the work, when the smith was in the middle of a
FAVOURITE HEAT in making some useful article, or in sharpening
the tools, after the flood-tide had obliged the pickmen to
strike work, a sea would come rolling over the rocks, dash out
the fire, and endanger his indispensable implement, the
bellows.  If the sea was smooth, while the smith often stood
at work knee-deep in water, the tide rose by imperceptible
degrees, first cooling the exterior of the fireplace, or
hearth, and then quietly blackening and extinguishing the fire
from below.  The writer has frequently been amused at the
perplexing anxiety of the blacksmith when coaxing his fire and
endeavouring to avert the effects of the rising tide.

[Friday, 21st Aug.]

Everything connected with the forge being now completed,
the artificers found no want of sharp tools, and the work went
forward with great alacrity and spirit.  It was also alleged
that the rock had a more habitable appearance from the volumes
of smoke which ascended from the smith's shop and the busy
noise of his anvil, the operations of the masons, the
movements of the boats, and shipping at a distance - all
contributed to give life and activity to the scene.  This
noise and traffic had, however, the effect of almost
completely banishing the herd of seals which had hitherto
frequented the rock as a resting-place during the period of
low water.  The rock seemed to be peculiarly adapted to their
habits, for, excepting two or three days at neap-tides, a part
of it always dries at low water - at least, during the summer
season - and as there was good fishing-ground in the
neighbourhood, without a human being to disturb or molest
them, it had become a very favourite residence of these
amphibious animals, the writer having occasionally counted
from fifty to sixty playing about the rock at a time.  But
when they came to be disturbed every tide, and their seclusion
was broken in upon by the kindling of great fires, together
with the beating of hammers and picks during low water, after
hovering about for a time, they changed their place, and
seldom more than one or two were to be seen about the rock
upon the more detached outlayers which dry partially, whence
they seemed to look with that sort of curiosity which is
observable in these animals when following a boat.

[Saturday, 22nd Aug.]

Hitherto the artificers had remained on board the
SMEATON, which was made fast to one of the mooring buoys at a
distance only of about a quarter of a mile from the rock, and,
of course, a very great conveniency to the work.  Being so
near, the seamen could never be mistaken as to the progress of
the tide, or state of the sea upon the rock, nor could the
boats be much at a loss to pull on board of the vessel during
fog, or even in very rough weather; as she could be cast loose
from her moorings at pleasure, and brought to the lee side of
the rock.  But the SMEATON being only about forty register
tons, her accommodations were extremely limited.  It may,
therefore, be easily imagined that an addition of twenty-four
persons to her own crew must have rendered the situation of
those on board rather uncomfortable.  The only place for the
men's hammocks on board being in the hold, they were
unavoidably much crowded: and if the weather had required the
hatches to be fastened down, so great a number of men could
not possibly have been accommodated.  To add to this evil, the
CO-BOOSE or cooking-place being upon deck, it would not have
been possible to have cooked for so large a company in the
event of bad weather.

The stock of water was now getting short, and some
necessaries being also wanted for the floating light, the
SMEATON was despatched for Arbroath; and the writer, with the
artificers at the same time shifted their quarters from her to
the floating light.

Although the rock barely made its appearance at this
period of the tides till eight o'clock, yet, having now a full
mile to row from the floating light to the rock, instead of
about a quarter of a mile from the moorings of the SMEATON, it
was necessary to be earlier astir, and to form different
arrangements; breakfast was accordingly served up at seven
o'clock this morning.  From the excessive motion of the
floating light, the writer had looked forward rather with
anxiety to the removal of the workmen to this ship.  Some
among them, who had been congratulating themselves upon having
become sea-hardy while on board the SMEATON, had a complete
relapse upon returning to the floating light.  This was the
case with the writer.  From the spacious and convenient
berthage of the floating light, the exchange to the artificers
was, in this respect, much for the better.  The boats were
also commodious, measuring sixteen feet in length on the keel,
so that, in fine weather, their complement of sitters was
sixteen persons for each, with which, however, they were
rather crowded, but she could not stow two boats of larger
dimensions.  When there was what is called a breeze of wind,
and a swell in the sea, the proper number for each boat could
not, with propriety, be rated at more than twelve persons.

When the tide-bell rung the boats were hoisted out, and
two active seamen were employed to keep them from receiving
damage alongside.  The floating light being very buoyant, was
so quick in her motions that when those who were about to step
from her gunwale into a boat, placed themselves upon a cleat
or step on the ship's side, with the man or rail ropes in
their hands, they had often to wait for some time till a
favourable opportunity occurred for stepping into the boat.
While in this situation, with the vessel rolling from side to
side, watching the proper time for letting go the man-ropes,
it required the greatest dexterity and presence of mind to
leap into the boats.  One who was rather awkward would often
wait a considerable period in this position: at one time his
side of the ship would be so depressed that he would touch the
boat to which he belonged, while the next sea would elevate
him so much that he would see his comrades in the boat on the
opposite side of the ship, his friends in the one boat calling
to him to `Jump,' while those in the boat on the other side,
as he came again and again into their view, would jocosely
say, `Are you there yet?  You seem to enjoy a swing.'  In this
situation it was common to see a person upon each side of the
ship for a length of time, waiting to quit his hold.

On leaving the rock to-day a trial of seamanship was
proposed amongst the rowers, for by this time the artificers
had become tolerably expert in this exercise.  By inadvertency
some of the oars provided had been made of fir instead of ash,
and although a considerable stock had been laid in, the
workmen, being at first awkward in the art, were constantly
breaking their oars; indeed it was no uncommon thing to see
the broken blades of a pair of oars floating astern, in the
course of a passage from the rock to the vessel.  The men,
upon the whole, had but little work to perform in the course
of a day; for though they exerted themselves extremely hard
while on the rock, yet, in the early state of the operations,
this could not be continued for more than three or four hours
at a time, and as their rations were large - consisting of one
pound and a half of beef, one pound of ship biscuit, eight
ounces oatmeal, two ounces barley, two ounces butter, three
quarts of small beer, with vegetables and salt - they got into
excellent spirits when free of sea-sickness.  The rowing of
the boats against each other became a favourite amusement,
which was rather a fortunate circumstance, as it must have
been attended with much inconvenience had it been found
necessary to employ a sufficient number of sailors for this
purpose.  The writer, therefore, encouraged the spirit of
emulation, and the speed of their respective boats became a
favourite topic.  Premiums for boat-races were instituted,
which were contended for with great eagerness, and the
respective crews kept their stations in the boats with as much
precision as they kept their beds on board of the ship.  With
these and other pastimes, when the weather was favourable, the
time passed away among the inmates of the forecastle and waist
of the ship.  The writer looks back with interest upon the
hours of solitude which he spent in this lonely ship with his
small library.

This being the first Saturday that the artificers were
afloat, all hands were served with a glass of rum and water at
night, to drink the sailors' favourite toast of `Wives and
Sweethearts.'  It was customary, upon these occasions, for the
seamen and artificers to collect in the galley, when the
musical instruments were put in requisition: for, according to
invariable practice, every man must play a tune, sing a song,
or tell a story.

[Sunday, 23rd Aug.]

Having, on the previous evening, arranged matters with
the landing-master as to the business of the day, the signal
was rung for all hands at half-past seven this morning.  In
the early state of the spring-tides the artificers went to the
rock before breakfast, but as the tides fell later in the day,
it became necessary to take this meal before leaving the ship.
At eight o'clock all hands were assembled on the quarter-deck
for prayers, a solemnity which was gone through in as orderly
a manner as circumstances would admit.  When the weather
permitted, the flags of the ship were hung up as an awning or
screen, forming the quarter-deck into a distinct compartment;
the pendant was also hoisted at the mainmast, and a large
ensign flag was displayed over the stern; and lastly, the
ship's companion, or top of the staircase, was covered with
the FLAG PROPER of the Lighthouse Service, on which the Bible
was laid.  A particular toll of the bell called all hands to
the quarter-deck, when the writer read a chapter of the Bible,
and, the whole ship's company being uncovered, he also read
the impressive prayer composed by the Reverend Dr. Brunton,
one of the ministers of Edinburgh.

Upon concluding this service, which was attended with
becoming reverence and attention, all on board retired to
their respective berths to breakfast, and, at half-past nine,
the bell again rung for the artificers to take their stations
in their respective boats.  Some demur having been evinced on
board about the propriety of working on Sunday, which had
hitherto been touched upon as delicately as possible, all
hands being called aft, the writer, from the quarter-deck,
stated generally the nature of the service, expressing his
hopes that every man would feel himself called upon to
consider the erection of a lighthouse on the Bell Rock, in
every point of view, as a work of necessity and mercy.  He
knew that scruples had existed with some, and these had,
indeed, been fairly and candidly urged before leaving the
shore; but it was expected that, after having seen the
critical nature of the rock, and the necessity of the measure,
every man would now be satisfied of the propriety of embracing
all opportunities of landing on the rock when the state of the
weather would permit.  The writer further took them to witness
that it did not proceed from want of respect for the
appointments and established forms of religion that he had
himself adopted the resolution of attending the Bell Rock
works on the Sunday; but, as he hoped, from a conviction that
it was his bounden duty, on the strictest principles of
morality.  At the same time it was intimated that, if any were
of a different opinion, they should be perfectly at liberty to
hold their sentiments without the imputation of contumacy or
disobedience; the only difference would be in regard to the
pay.

Upon stating this much, he stepped into his boat,
requesting all who were so disposed to follow him.  The
sailors, from their habits, found no scruple on this subject,
and all of the artificers, though a little tardy, also
embarked, excepting four of the masons, who, from the
beginning, mentioned that they would decline working on
Sundays.  It may here be noticed that throughout the whole of
the operations it was observable that the men wrought, if
possible, with more keenness upon the Sundays than at other
times from an impression that they were engaged in a work of
imperious necessity, which required every possible exertion.
On returning to the floating light, after finishing the tide's
work, the boats were received by the part of the ship's crew
left on board with the usual attention of handing ropes to the
boats and helping the artificers on board; but the four masons
who had absented themselves from the work did not appear upon
deck.

[Monday, 24th Aug.]

The boats left the floating light at a quarter-past nine
o'clock this morning, and the work began at three-quarters
past nine; but as the neap-tides were approaching the working
time at the rock became gradually shorter, and it was now with
difficulty that two and a half hours' work could be got.  But
so keenly had the workmen entered into the spirit of the
beacon-house operations, that they continued to bore the holes
in the rock till some of them were knee-deep in water.

The operations at this time were entirely directed to the
erection of the beacon, in which every man felt an equal
interest, as at this critical period the slightest casualty to
any of the boats at the rock might have been fatal to himself
individually, while it was perhaps peculiar to the writer more
immediately to feel for the safety of the whole.  Each log or
upright beam of the beacon was to be fixed to the rock by two
strong and massive bats or stanchions of iron.  These bats,
for the fixture of the principal and diagonal beams and
bracing chains, required fifty-four holes, each measuring two
inches in diameter and eighteen inches in depth.  There had
already been so considerable a progress made in boring and
excavating the holes that the writer's hopes of getting the
beacon erected this year began to be more and more confirmed,
although it was now advancing towards what was considered the
latter end of the proper working season at the Bell Rock.  The
foreman joiner, Mr. Francis Watt, was accordingly appointed to
attend at the rock to-day, when the necessary levels were
taken for the step or seat of each particular beam of the
beacon, that they might be cut to their respective lengths, to
suit the inequalities of the rock; several of the stanchions
were also tried into their places, and other necessary
observations made, to prevent mistakes on the application of
the apparatus, and to facilitate the operations when the beams
came to be set up, which would require to be done in the
course of a single tide.

[Tuesday, 25th Aug.]

We had now experienced an almost unvaried tract of light
airs of easterly wind, with clear weather in the fore-part of
the day and fog in the evenings.  To-day, however, it sensibly
changed; when the wind came to the south-west, and blew a
fresh breeze.  At nine a.m. the bell rung, and the boats were
hoisted out, and though the artificers were now pretty well
accustomed to tripping up and down the sides of the floating
light, yet it required more seamanship this morning than
usual.  It therefore afforded some merriment to those who had
got fairly seated in their respective boats to see the
difficulties which attended their companions, and the
hesitating manner in which they quitted hold of the man-ropes
in leaving the ship.  The passage to the rock was tedious, and
the boats did not reach it till half-past ten.

It being now the period of neap-tides, the water only
partially left the rock, and some of the men who were boring
on the lower ledges of the site of the beacon stood knee-deep
in water.  The situation of the smith to-day was particularly
disagreeable, but his services were at all times
indispensable.  As the tide did not leave the site of the
forge, he stood in the water, and as there was some roughness
on the surface it was with considerable difficulty that, with
the assistance of the sailors, he was enabled to preserve
alive his fire; and, while his feet were immersed in water,
his face was not only scorched but continually exposed to
volumes of smoke, accompanied with sparks from the fire, which
were occasionally set up owing to the strength and direction
of the wind.

[Wednesday, 26th Aug.]

The wind had shifted this morning to N.N.W., with rain,
and was blowing what sailors call a fresh breeze.  To speak,
perhaps, somewhat more intelligibly to the general reader, the
wind was such that a fishing-boat could just carry full sail.
But as it was of importance, specially in the outset of the
business, to keep up the spirit of enterprise for landing on
all practicable occasions, the writer, after consulting with
the landing-master, ordered the bell to be rung for embarking,
and at half-past eleven the boats reached the rock, and left
it again at a quarter-past twelve, without, however, being
able to do much work, as the smith could not be set to work
from the smallness of the ebb and the strong breach of sea,
which lashed with great force among the bars of the forge.

Just as we were about to leave the rock the wind shifted
to the S.W., and, from a fresh gale, it became what seamen
term a hard gale, or such as would have required the fisherman
to take in two or three reefs in his sail.  It is a curious
fact that the respective tides of ebb and flood are apparent
upon the shore about an hour and a half sooner than at the
distance of three or four miles in the offing.  But what seems
chiefly interesting here is that the tides around this small
sunken rock should follow exactly the same laws as on the
extensive shores of the mainland.  When the boats left the
Bell Rock to-day it was overflowed by the flood-tide, but the
floating light did not swing round to the flood-tide for more
than an hour afterwards.  Under this disadvantage the boats
had to struggle with the ebb-tide and a hard gale of wind, so
that it was with the greatest difficulty that they reached the
floating light.  Had this gale happened in spring-tides when
the current was strong we must have been driven to sea in a
very helpless condition.

The boat which the writer steered was considerably behind
the other, one of the masons having unluckily broken his oar.
Our prospect of getting on board, of course, became doubtful,
and our situation was rather perilous, as the boat shipped so
much sea that it occupied two of the artificers to bale and
clear her of water.  When the oar gave way we were about half
a mile from the ship, but, being fortunately to windward, we
got into the wake of the floating light, at about 250 fathoms
astern, just as the landing-master's boat reached the vessel.
He immediately streamed or floated a life-buoy astern, with a
line which was always in readiness, and by means of this
useful implement the boat was towed alongside of the floating
light, where, from her rolling motion, it required no small
management to get safely on board, as the men were much worn
out with their exertions in pulling from the rock.  On the
present occasion the crews of both boats were completely
drenched with spray, and those who sat upon the bottom of the
boats to bale them were sometimes pretty deep in the water
before it could be cleared out.  After getting on board, all
hands were allowed an extra dram, and, having shifted and got
a warm and comfortable dinner, the affair, it is believed, was
little more thought of.

[Thursday, 27th Aug.]

The tides were now in that state which sailors term the
dead of the neap, and it was not expected that any part of the
rock would be seen above water to-day; at any rate, it was
obvious, from the experience of yesterday, that no work could
be done upon it, and therefore the artificers were not
required to land.  The wind was at west, with light breezes,
and fine clear weather; and as it was an object with the
writer to know the actual state of the Bell Rock at neap-
tides, he got one of the boats manned, and, being accompanied
by the landing-master, went to it at a quarter-past twelve.
The parts of the rock that appeared above water being very
trifling, were covered by every wave, so that no landing was
made.  Upon trying the depth of water with a boathook,
particularly on the sites of the lighthouse and beacon, on the
former, at low water, the depth was found to be three feet,
and on the central parts of the latter it was ascertained to
be two feet eight inches.  Having made these remarks, the boat
returned to the ship at two p.m., and the weather being good,
the artificers were found amusing themselves with fishing.
The SMEATON came from Arbroath this afternoon, and made fast
to her moorings, having brought letters and newspapers, with
parcels of clean linen, etc., for the workmen, who were also
made happy by the arrival of three of their comrades from the
workyard ashore.  From these men they not only received all
the news of the workyard, but seemed themselves to enjoy great
pleasure in communicating whatever they considered to be
interesting with regard to the rock.  Some also got letters
from their friends at a distance, the postage of which for the
men afloat was always free, so that they corresponded the more
readily.

The site of the building having already been carefully
traced out with the pick-axe, the artificers this day
commenced the excavation of the rock for the foundation or
first course of the lighthouse.  Four men only were employed
at this work, while twelve continued at the site of the
beacon-house, at which every possible opportunity was
embraced, till this essential art of the operations should be
completed.

[Wednesday, 2nd Sept.]

The floating light's bell rung this morning at half-past
four o'clock, as a signal for the boats to be got ready, and
the landing took place at half-past five.  In passing the
SMEATON at her moorings near the rock, her boat followed with
eight additional artificers who had come from Arbroath with
her at last trip, but there being no room for them in the
floating light's boats, they had continued on board.  The
weather did not look very promising in the morning, the wind
blowing pretty fresh from W.S.W.: and had it not been that the
writer calculated upon having a vessel so much at command, in
all probability he would not have ventured to land.  The
SMEATON rode at what sailors call a SALVAGEE, with a cross-
head made fast to the floating buoy.  This kind of attachment
was found to be more convenient than the mode of passing the
hawser through the ring of the buoy when the vessel was to be
made fast.  She had then only to be steered very close to the
buoy, when the salvagee was laid hold of with a boat-hook, and
the BITE of the hawser thrown over the cross-head.  But the
salvagee, by this method, was always left at the buoy, and
was, of course, more liable to chafe and wear than a hawser
passed through the ring, which could be wattled with canvas,
and shifted at pleasure.  The salvagee and cross method is,
however, much practised; but the experience of this morning
showed it to be very unsuitable for vessels riding in an
exposed situation for any length of time.

Soon after the artificers landed they commenced work; but
the wind coming to blow hard, the SMEATON'S boat and crew, who
had brought their complement of eight men to the rock, went
off to examine her riding ropes, and see that they were in
proper order.  The boat had no sooner reached the vessel than
she went adrift, carrying the boat along with her.  By the
time that she was got round to make a tack towards the rock,
she had drifted at least three miles to leeward, with the
praam-boat astern; and, having both the wind and a tide
against her, the writer perceived, with no little anxiety,
that she could not possibly return to the rock till long after
its being overflowed; for, owing to the anomaly of the tides
formerly noticed, the Bell Rock is completely under water when
the ebb abates to the offing.

In this perilous predicament, indeed, he found himself
placed between hope and despair - but certainly the latter was
by much the most predominant feeling of his mind - situate
upon a sunken rock in the middle of the ocean, which, in the
progress of the flood-tide, was to be laid under water to the
depth of at least twelve feet in a stormy sea.  There were
this morning thirty-two persons in all upon the rock, with
only two boats, whose complement, even in good weather, did
not exceed twenty-four sitters; but to row to the floating
light with so much wind, and in so heavy a sea, a complement
of eight men for each boat was as much as could, with
propriety, be attempted, so that, in this way, about one-half
of our number was unprovided for.  Under these circumstances,
had the writer ventured to despatch one of the boats in
expectation of either working the SMEATON sooner up towards
the rock, or in hopes of getting her boat brought to our
assistance, this must have given an immediate alarm to the
artificers, each of whom would have insisted upon taking to
his own boat, and leaving the eight artificers belonging to
the SMEATON to their chance.  Of course a scuffle might have
ensued, and it is hard to say, in the ardour of men contending
for life, where it might have ended.  It has even been hinted
to the writer that a party of the PICKMEN were determined to
keep exclusively to their own boat against all hazards.

The unfortunate circumstance of the SMEATON and her boat
having drifted was, for a considerable time, only known to the
writer and to the landing-master, who removed to the farther
point of the rock, where he kept his eye steadily upon the
progress of the vessel.  While the artificers were at work,
chiefly in sitting or kneeling postures, excavating the rock,
or boring with the jumpers, and while their numerous hammers,
with the sound of the smith's anvil, continued, the situation
of things did not appear so awful.  In this state of suspense,
with almost certain destruction at hand, the water began to
rise upon those who were at work on the lower parts of the
sites of the beacon and lighthouse.  From the run of sea upon
the rock, the forge fire was also sooner extinguished this
morning than usual, and the volumes of smoke having ceased,
objects in every direction became visible from all parts of
the rock.  After having had about three `hours' work, the men
began, pretty generally, to make towards their respective
boats for their jackets and stockings, when, to their
astonishment, instead of three, they found only two boats, the
third being adrift with the SMEATON.  Not a word was uttered
by any one, but all appeared to be silently calculating their
numbers, and looking to each other with evident marks of
perplexity depicted in their countenances.  The landing-
master, conceiving that blame might be attached to him for
allowing the boat to leave the rock, still kept at a distance.
At this critical moment the author was standing upon an
elevated part of Smith's Ledge, where he endeavoured to mark
the progress of the SMEATON, not a little surprised that her
crew did not cut the praam adrift, which greatly retarded her
way, and amazed that some effort was not making to bring at
least the boat, and attempt our relief.  The workmen looked
steadfastly upon the writer, and turned occasionally towards
the vessel, still far to leeward. (1)  All this passed in the
most perfect silence, and the melancholy solemnity of the
group made an impression never to be effaced from his mind.

(1) `Nothing was said, but I was LOOKED OUT OF
COUNTENANCE,' he says in a letter.

The writer had all along been considering of various
schemes - providing the men could be kept under command -
which might be put in practice for the general safety, in
hopes that the SMEATON might be able to pick up the boats to
leeward, when they were obliged to leave the rock.  He was,
accordingly, about to address the artificers on the perilous
nature of their circumstances, and to propose that all hands
should unstrip their upper clothing when the higher parts of
the rock were laid under water; that the seamen should remove
every unnecessary weight and encumbrance from the boats; that
a specified number of men should go into each boat, and that
the remainder should hang by the gunwales, while the boats
were to be rowed gently towards the SMEATON, as the course to
the PHAROS, or floating light, lay rather to windward of the
rock.  But when he attempted to speak his mouth was so parched
that his tongue refused utterance, and he now learned by
experience that the saliva is as necessary as the tongue
itself for speech.  He turned to one of the pools on the rock
and lapped a little water, which produced immediate relief.
But what was his happiness, when on rising from this
unpleasant beverage, some one called out, `A boat! a boat!'
and, on looking around, at no great distance, a large boat was
seen through the haze making towards the rock.  This at once
enlivened and rejoiced every heart.  The timeous visitor
proved to be James Spink, the Bell Rock pilot, who had come
express from Arbroath with letters.  Spink had for some time
seen the SMEATON, and had even supposed, from the state of the
weather, that all hands were on board of her till he
approached more nearly and observed people upon the rock; but
not supposing that the assistance of his boat was necessary to
carry the artificers off the rock, he anchored on the lee-side
and began to fish, waiting, as usual, till the letters were
sent for, as the pilot-boat was too large and unwieldy for
approaching the rock when there was any roughness or run of
the sea at the entrance of the landing creeks.

Upon this fortunate change of circumstances, sixteen of
the artificers were sent, at two trips, in one of the boats,
with instructions for Spink to proceed with them to the
floating light.  This being accomplished, the remaining
sixteen followed in the two boats belonging to the service of
the rock.  Every one felt the most perfect happiness at
leaving the Bell Rock this morning, though a very hard and
even dangerous passage to the floating light still awaited us,
as the wind by this time had increased to a pretty hard gale,
accompanied with a considerable swell of sea.  Every one was
as completely drenched in water as if he had been dragged
astern of the boats.  The writer, in particular, being at the
helm, found, on getting on board, that his face and ears were
completely coated with a thin film of salt from the sea spray,
which broke constantly over the bows of the boat.  After much
baling of water and severe work at the oars, the three boats
reached the floating light, where some new difficulties
occurred in getting on board in safety, owing partly to the
exhausted state of the men, and partly to the violent rolling
of the vessel.

As the tide flowed, it was expected that the SMEATON
would have got to windward; but, seeing that all was safe,
after tacking for several hours and making little progress,
she bore away for Arbroath, with the praam-boat.  As there was
now too much wind for the pilot-boat to return to Arbroath,
she was made fast astern of the floating light, and the crew
remained on board till next day, when the weather moderated.
There can be very little doubt that the appearance of James
Spink with his boat on this critical occasion was the means of
preventing the loss of lives at the rock this morning.  When
these circumstances, some years afterwards, came to the
knowledge of the Board, a small pension was ordered to our
faithful pilot, then in his seventieth year; and he still
continues to wear the uniform clothes and badge of the
Lighthouse service.  Spink is a remarkably strong man, whose
TOUT ENSEMBLE is highly characteristic of a North-country
fisherman.  He usually dresses in a PE-JACKET, cut after a
particular fashion, and wears a large, flat, blue bonnet.  A
striking likeness of Spink in his pilot-dress, with the badge
or insignia on his left arm which is characteristic of the
boatmen in the service of the Northern Lights, has been taken
by Howe, and is in the writer's possession.

[Thursday, 3rd Sept.]

The bell rung this morning at five o'clock, but the
writer must acknowledge, from the circumstances of yesterday,
that its sound was extremely unwelcome.  This appears also to
have been the feelings of the artificers, for when they came
to be mustered, out of twenty-six, only eight, besides the
foreman and seamen, appeared upon deck to accompany the writer
to the rock.  Such are the baneful effects of anything like
misfortune or accident connected with a work of this
description.  The use of argument to persuade the men to
embark in cases of this kind would have been out of place, as
it is not only discomfort, or even the risk of the loss of a
limb, but life itself that becomes the question.  The boats,
notwithstanding the thinness of our ranks, left the vessel at
half-past five.  The rough weather of yesterday having proved
but a summer's gale, the wind came to-day in gentle breezes;
yet, the atmosphere being cloudy, it a not a very favourable
appearance.  The boats reached the rock at six a.m., and the
eight artificers who landed were employed in clearing out the
bat-holes for the beacon-house, and had a very prosperous tide
of four hours' work, being the longest yet experienced by half
an hour.

The boats left the rock again at ten o'clock, and the
weather having cleared up as we drew near the vessel, the
eighteen artificers who had remained on board were observed
upon deck, but as the boats approached they sought their way
below, being quite ashamed of their conduct.  This was the
only instance of refusal to go to the rock which occurred
during the whole progress of the work, excepting that of the
four men who declined working upon Sunday, a case which the
writer did not conceive to be at all analogous to the present.
It may here be mentioned, much to the credit of these four
men, that they stood foremost in embarking for the rock this
morning.

[Saturday, 5th Sept.]

It was fortunate that a landing was not attempted this
evening, for at eight o'clock the wind shifted to E.S.E., and
at ten it had become a hard gale, when fifty fathoms of the
floating light's hempen cable were veered out.  The gale still
increasing, the ship rolled and laboured excessively, and at
midnight eighty fathoms of cable were veered out; while the
sea continued to strike the vessel with a degree of force
which had not before been experienced.

[Sunday, 6th Sept.]

During the last night there was little rest on board of
the PHAROS, and daylight, though anxiously wished for, brought
no relief, as the gale continued with unabated violence.  The
sea struck so hard upon the vessel's bows that it rose in
great quantities, or in `green seas,' as the sailors termed
it, which were carried by the wind as far aft as the quarter-
deck, and not infrequently over the stern of the ship
altogether.  It fell occasionally so heavily on the skylight
of the writer's cabin, though so far aft as to be within five
feet of the helm, that the glass was broken to pieces before
the dead-light could be got into its place, so that the water
poured down in great quantities.  In shutting out the water,
the admission of light was prevented, and in the morning all
continued in the most comfortless state of darkness.  About
ten o'clock a.m. the wind shifted to N.E., and blew, if
possible, harder than before, and it was accompanied by a much
heavier swell of sea.  In the course of the gale, the part of
the cable in the hause-hole had been so often shifted that
nearly the whole length of one of her hempen cables, of 120
fathoms, had been veered out, besides the chain-moorings.  The
cable, for its preservation, was also carefully served or
wattled with pieces of canvas round the windlass, and with
leather well greased in the hause-hole.  In this state things
remained during the whole day, every sea which struck the
vessel - and the seas followed each other in close succession
- causing her to shake, and all on board occasionally to
tremble.  At each of these strokes of the sea the rolling and
pitching of the vessel ceased for a time, and her motion was
felt as if she had either broke adrift before the wind or were
in the act of sinking; but, when another sea came, she ranged
up against it with great force, and this became the regular
intimation of our being still riding at anchor.

About eleven o'clock, the writer with some difficulty got
out of bed, but, in attempting to dress, he was thrown twice
upon the floor at the opposite end of the cabin.  In an
undressed state he made shift to get about half-way up the
companion-stairs, with an intention to observe the state of
the sea and of the ship upon deck; but he no sooner looked
over the companion than a heavy sea struck the vessel, which
fell on the quarter-deck, and rushed downstairs in the
officers' cabin in so considerable a quantity that it was
found necessary to lift one of the scuttles in the floor, to
let the water into the limbers of the ship, as it dashed from
side to side in such a manner as to run into the lower tier of
beds.  Having been foiled in this attempt, and being
completely wetted, he again got below and went to bed.  In
this state of the weather the seamen had to move about the
necessary or indispensable duties of the ship with the most
cautious use both of hands and feet, while it required all the
art of the landsman to keep within the precincts of his bed.
The writer even found himself so much tossed about that it
became necessary, in some measure, to shut himself in bed, in
order to avoid being thrown upon the floor.  Indeed, such was
the motion of the ship that it seemed wholly impracticable to
remain in any other than a lying posture.  On deck the most
stormy aspect presented itself, while below all was wet and
comfortless.

About two o'clock p.m. a great alarm was given
throughout the ship from the effects of a very heavy sea which
struck her, and almost filled the waist, pouring down into the
berths below, through every chink and crevice of the hatches
and skylights.  From the motion of the vessel being thus
suddenly deadened or checked, and from the flowing in of the
water above, it is believed there was not an individual on
board who did not think, at the moment, that the vessel had
foundered, and was in the act of sinking.  The writer could
withstand this no longer, and as soon as she again began to
range to the sea he determined to make another effort to get
upon deck.  In the first instance, however, he groped his way
in darkness from his own cabin through the berths of the
officers, where all was quietness.  He next entered the galley
and other compartments occupied by the artificers.  Here also
all was shut up in darkness, the fire having been drowned out
in the early part of the gale.  Several of the artificers were
employed in prayer, repeating psalms and other devotional
exercises in a full tone of voice; others protesting that, if
they should fortunately get once more on shore, no one should
ever see them afloat again.  With the assistance of the
landing-master, the writer made his way, holding on step by
step, among the numerous impediments which lay in the way.
Such was the creaking noise of the bulk-heads or partitions,
the dashing of the water, and the whistling noise of the
winds, that it was hardly possible to break in upon such a
confusion of sounds.  In one or two instances, anxious and
repeated inquiries were made by the artificers as to the state
of things upon deck, to which the captain made the usual
answer, that it could not blow long in this way, and that we
must soon have better weather.  The next berth in succession,
moving forward in the ship, was that allotted for the seamen.
Here the scene was considerably different.  Having reached the
middle of this darksome berth without its inmates being aware
of any intrusion, the writer had the consolation of remarking
that, although they talked of bad weather and the cross
accidents of the sea, yet the conversation was carried on in
that sort of tone and manner which bespoke an ease and
composure of mind highly creditable to them and pleasing to
him.  The writer immediately accosted the seamen about the
state of the ship.  To these inquiries they replied that the
vessel being light, and having but little hold of the water,
no top-rigging, with excellent ground-tackle, and everything
being fresh and new, they felt perfect confidence in their
situation.

It being impossible to open any of the hatches in the
fore part of the ship in communicating with the deck, the
watch was changed by passing through the several berths to the
companion-stair leading to the quarter-deck.  The writer,
therefore, made the best of his way aft, and, on a second
attempt to look out, he succeeded, and saw indeed an
astonishing sight.  The sea or waves appeared to be ten or
fifteen feet in height of unbroken water, and every
approaching billow seemed as if it would overwhelm our vessel,
but she continued to rise upon the waves and to fall between
the seas in a very wonderful manner.  It seemed to be only
those seas which caught her in the act of rising which struck
her with so much violence and threw such quantities of water
aft.  On deck there was only one solitary individual looking
out, to give the alarm in the event of the ship breaking from
her moorings.  The seaman on watch continued only two hours;
he who kept watch at this time was a tall, slender man of a
black complexion; he had no greatcoat nor over-all of any
kind, but was simply dressed in his ordinary jacket and
trousers; his hat was tied under his chin with a napkin, and
he stood aft the foremast, to which he had lashed himself with
a gasket or small rope round his waist, to prevent his falling
upon deck or being washed overboard.  When the writer looked
up, he appeared to smile, which afforded a further symptom of
the confidence of the crew in their ship.  This person on
watch was as completely wetted as if he had been drawn through
the sea, which was given as a reason for his not putting on a
greatcoat, that he might wet as few of his clothes as
possible, and have a dry shift when he went below.  Upon deck
everything that was movable was out of sight, having either
been stowed below, previous to the gale, or been washed
overboard.  Some trifling parts of the quarter boards were
damaged by the breach of the sea; and one of the boats upon
deck was about one-third full of water, the oyle-hole or drain
having been accidently stopped up, and part of her gunwale had
received considerable injury.  These observations were hastily
made, and not without occasionally shutting the companion, to
avoid being wetted by the successive seas which broke over the
bows and fell upon different parts of the deck according to
the impetus with which the waves struck the vessel.  By this
time it was about three o'clock in the afternoon, and the
gale, which had now continued with unabated force for twenty-
seven hours, had not the least appearance of going off.

In the dismal prospect of undergoing another night like
the last, and being in imminent hazard of parting from our
cable, the writer thought it necessary to advise with the
master and officers of the ship as to the probable event of
the vessel's drifting from her moorings.  They severally gave
it as their opinion that we had now every chance of riding out
the gale, which, in all probability, could not continue with
the same fury many hours longer; and that even if she should
part from her anchor, the storm-sails had been laid to hand,
and could be bent in a very short time.  They further stated
that from the direction of the wind being N.E., she would sail
up the Firth of Forth to Leith Roads.  But if this should
appear doubtful, after passing the Island and Light of May, it
might be advisable at once to steer for Tyningham Sands, on
the western side of Dunbar, and there run the vessel ashore.
If this should happen at the time of high-water, or during the
ebbing of the tide, they were of opinion, from the flatness
and strength of the floating light, that no danger would
attend her taking the ground, even with a very heavy sea.  The
writer, seeing the confidence which these gentlemen possessed
with regard to the situation of things, found himself as much
relieved with this conversation as he had previously been with
the seeming indifference of the forecastle men, and the smile
of the watch upon deck, though literally lashed to the
foremast.  From this time he felt himself almost perfectly at
ease; at any rate, he was entirely resigned to the ultimate
result.

About six o'clock in the evening the ship's company was
heard moving upon deck, which on the present occasion was
rather the cause of alarm.  The writer accordingly rang his
bell to know what was the matter, when he was informed by the
steward that the weather looked considerably better, and that
the men upon deck were endeavouring to ship the smoke-funnel
of the galley that the people might get some meat.  This was a
more favourable account than had been anticipated.  During the
last twenty-one hours he himself had not only had nothing to
eat, but he had almost never passed a thought on the subject.
Upon the mention of a change of weather, he sent the steward
to learn how the artificers felt, and on his return he stated
that they now seemed to be all very happy, since the cook had
begun to light the galley-fire and make preparations for the
suet-pudding of Sunday, which was the only dish to be
attempted for the mess, from the ease with which it could both
be cooked and served up.

The principal change felt upon the ship as the wind
abated was her increased rolling motion, but the pitching was
much diminished, and now hardly any sea came farther aft than
the foremast: but she rolled so extremely hard as frequently
to dip and take in water over the gunwales and rails in the
waist.  By nine o'clock all hands had been refreshed by the
exertions of the cook and steward, and were happy in the
prospect of the worst of the gale being over.  The usual
complement of men was also now set on watch, and more
quietness was experienced throughout the ship.  Although the
previous night had been a very restless one, it had not the
effect of inducing repose in the writer's berth on the
succeeding night; for having been so much tossed about in bed
during the last thirty hours, he found no easy spot to turn
to, and his body was all sore to the touch, which ill accorded
with the unyielding materials with which his bed-place was
surrounded.

[Monday, 7th Sept.]

This morning, about eight o'clock, the writer was
agreeably surprised to see the scuttle of his cabin sky-light
removed, and the bright rays of the sun admitted.  Although
the ship continued to roll excessively, and the sea was still
running very high, yet the ordinary business on board seemed
to be going forward on deck.  It was impossible to steady a
telescope, so as to look minutely at the progress of the waves
and trace their breach upon the Bell Rock; but the height to
which the cross-running waves rose in sprays when they met
each other was truly grand, and the continued roar and noise
of the sea was very perceptible to the ear.  To estimate the
height of the sprays at forty or fifty feet would surely be
within the mark.  Those of the workmen who were not much
afflicted with sea-sickness, came upon deck, and the wetness
below being dried up, the cabins were again brought into a
habitable state.  Every one seemed to meet as if after a long
absence, congratulating his neighbour upon the return of good
weather.  Little could be said as to the comfort of the
vessel, but after riding out such a gale, no one felt the
least doubt or hesitation as to the safety and good condition
of her moorings.  The master and mate were extremely anxious,
however, to heave in the hempen cable, and see the state of
the clinch or iron ring of the chain-cable.  But the vessel
rolled at such a rate that the seamen could not possibly keep
their feet at the windlass nor work the hand-spikes, though it
had been several times attempted since the gale took off.

About twelve noon, however, the vessel's motion was
observed to be considerably less, and the sailors were enabled
to walk upon deck with some degree of freedom.  But, to the
astonishment of every one, it was soon discovered that the
floating light was adrift!  The windlass was instantly manned,
and the men soon gave out that there was no strain upon the
cable.  The mizzen sail, which was bent for the occasional
purpose of making the vessel ride more easily to the tide, was
immediately set, and the other sails were also hoisted in a
short time, when, in no small consternation, we bore away
about one mile to the south-westward of the former station,
and there let go the best bower anchor and cable in twenty
fathoms water, to ride until the swell of the sea should fall,
when it might be practicable to grapple for the moorings, and
find a better anchorage for the ship.

[Tuesday, 15th Sept.]

This morning, at five a.m., the bell rung as a signal for
landing upon the rock, a sound which, after a lapse of ten
days, it is believed was welcomed by every one on board.
There being a heavy breach of sea at the eastern creek, we
landed, though not without difficulty, on the western side,
every one seeming more eager than another to get upon the
rock; and never did hungry men sit down to a hearty meal with
more appetite than the artificers began to pick the dulse from
the rocks.  This marine plant had the effect of reviving the
sickly, and seemed to be no less relished by those who were
more hardy.

While the water was ebbing, and the men were roaming in
quest of their favourite morsel, the writer was examining the
effects of the storm upon the forge and loose apparatus left
upon the rock.  Six large blocks of granite which had been
landed, by way of experiment, on the 1st instant, were now
removed from their places and, by the force of the sea, thrown
over a rising ledge into a hole at the distance of twelve or
fifteen paces from the place on which they had been landed.
This was a pretty good evidence both of the violence of the
storm and the agitation of the sea upon the rock.  The safety
of the smith's forge was always an object of essential regard.
The ash-pan of the hearth or fireplace, with its weighty cast-
iron back, had been washed from their places of supposed
security; the chains of attachment had been broken, and these
ponderous articles were found at a very considerable distance
in a hole on the western side of the rock; while the tools and
picks of the Aberdeen masons were scattered about in every
direction.  It is, however, remarkable that not a single
article was ultimately lost.

This being the night on which the floating light was
advertised to be lighted, it was accordingly exhibited, to the
great joy of every one.

[Wednesday, 16th Sept.]

The writer was made happy to-day by the return of the
Lighthouse yacht from a voyage to the Northern Lighthouses.
Having immediately removed on board of this fine vessel of
eighty-one tons register, the artificers gladly followed; for,
though they found themselves more pinched for accommodation on
board of the yacht, and still more so in the SMEATON, yet they
greatly preferred either of these to the PHAROS, or floating
light, on account of her rolling motion, though in all
respects fitted up for their conveniency.

The writer called them to the quarter-deck and informed
them that, having been one mouth afloat, in terms of their
agreement they were now at liberty to return to the workyard
at Arbroath if they preferred this to continuing at the Bell
Rock.  But they replied that, in the prospect of soon getting
the beacon erected upon the rock, and having made a change
from the floating light, they were now perfectly reconciled to
their situation, and would remain afloat till the end of the
working season.

[Thursday, 17th Sept.]

The wind was at N.E. this morning, and though they were
only light airs, yet there was a pretty heavy swell coming
ashore upon the rock.  The boats landed at half-past seven
o'clock a.m., at the creek on the southern side of the rock,
marked Port Hamilton.  But as one of the boats was in the act
of entering this creek, the seaman at the bow-oar, who had
just entered the service, having inadvertently expressed some
fear from a heavy sea which came rolling towards the boat, and
one of the artificers having at the same time looked round and
missed a stroke with his oar, such a preponderance was thus
given to the rowers upon the opposite side that when the wave
struck the boat it threw her upon a ledge of shelving rocks,
where the water left her, and she having KANTED to seaward,
the next wave completely filled her with water.  After making
considerable efforts the boat was again got afloat in the
proper track of the creek, so that we landed without any other
accident than a complete ducking.  There being no possibility
of getting a shift of clothes, the artificers began with all
speed to work, so as to bring themselves into heat, while the
writer and his assistants kept as much as possible in motion.
Having remained more than an hour upon the rock, the boats
left it at half-past nine; and, after getting on board, the
writer recommended to the artificers, as the best mode of
getting into a state of comfort, to strip off their wet
clothes and go to bed for an hour or two.  No further
inconveniency was felt, and no one seemed to complain of the
affection called `catching cold.'

[Friday, 18th Sept.]

An important occurrence connected with the operations of
this season was the arrival of the SMEATON at four p.m.,
having in tow the six principal beams of the beacon-house,
together with all the stanchions and other work on board for
fixing it on the rock.  The mooring of the floating light was
a great point gained, but in the erection of the beacon at
this late period of the season new difficulties presented
themselves.  The success of such an undertaking at any season
was precarious, because a single day of bad weather occurring
before the necessary fixtures could be made might sweep the
whole apparatus from the rock.  Notwithstanding these
difficulties, the writer had determined to make the trial,
although he could almost have wished, upon looking at the
state of the clouds and the direction of the wind, that the
apparatus for the beacon had been still in the workyard.

[Saturday, 19th Sept.]

The main beams of the beacon were made up in two separate
rafts, fixed with bars and bolts of iron.  One of these rafts,
not being immediately wanted, was left astern of the floating
light, and the other was kept in tow by the SMEATON, at the
buoy nearest to the rock.  The Lighthouse yacht rode at
another buoy with all hands on board that could possibly be
spared out of the floating light.  The party of artificers and
seamen which landed on the rock counted altogether forty in
number.  At half-past eight o'clock a derrick, or mast of
thirty feet in height, was erected and properly supported with
guy-ropes, for suspending the block for raising the first
principal beam of the beacon; and a winch machine was also
bolted down to the rock for working the purchase-tackle.

Upon raising the derrick, all hands on the rock
spontaneously gave three hearty cheers, as a favourable omen
of our future exertions in pointing out more permanently the
position of the rock.  Even to this single spar of timber,
could it be preserved, a drowning man might lay hold.  When
the SMEATON drifted on the 2nd of this month such a spar would
have been sufficient to save us till she could have come to
our relief.

[Sunday, 20th Sept.]

The wind this morning was variable, but the weather
continued extremely favourable for the operations throughout
the whole day.  At six a.m. the boats were in motion, and the
raft, consisting of four of the six principal beams of the
beacon-house, each measuring about sixteen inches square, and
fifty feet in length, was towed to the rock, where it was
anchored, that it might ground upon it as the water ebbed.
The sailors and artificers, including all hands, to-day
counted no fewer than fifty-two, being perhaps the greatest
number of persons ever collected upon the Bell Rock.  It was
early in the tide when the boats reached the rock, and the men
worked a considerable time up to their middle in water, every
one being more eager than his neighbour to be useful.  Even
the four artificers who had hitherto declined working on
Sunday were to-day most zealous in their exertions.  They had
indeed become so convinced of the precarious nature and
necessity of the work that they never afterwards absented
themselves from the rock on Sunday when a landing was
practicable.

Having made fast a piece of very good new line, at about
two-thirds from the lower end of one of the beams, the
purchase-tackle of the derrick was hooked into the turns of
the line, and it was speedily raised by the number of men on
the rock and the power of the winch tackle.  When this log was
lifted to a sufficient height, its foot, or lower end, was
STEPPED into the spot which had been previously prepared for
it.  Two of the great iron stanchions were then set in their
respective holes on each side of the beam, when a rope was
passed round them and the beam, to prevent it from slipping
till it could be more permanently fixed.  The derrick, or
upright spar used for carrying the tackle to raise the first
beam, was placed in such a position as to become useful for
supporting the upper end of it, which now became, in its turn,
the prop of the tackle for raising the second beam.  The whole
difficulty of this operation was in the raising and propping
of the first beam, which became a convenient derrick for
raising the second, these again a pair of shears for lifting
the third, and the shears a triangle for raising the fourth.
Having thus got four of the six principal beams set on end, it
required a considerable degree of trouble to get their upper
ends to fit.  Here they formed the apex of a cone, and were
all together mortised into a large piece of beechwood, and
secured, for the present, with ropes, in a temporary manner.
During the short period of one tide all that could further be
done for their security was to put a single screw-bolt through
the great kneed bats or stanchions on each side of the beams,
and screw the nut home.

In this manner these four principal beams were erected,
and left in a pretty secure state.  The men had commenced
while there was about two or three feet of water upon the side
of the beacon, and as the sea was smooth they continued the
work equally long during flood-tide.  Two of the boats being
left at the rock to take off the joiners, who were busily
employed on the upper parts till two o'clock p.m., this tide's
work may be said to have continued for about seven hours,
which was the longest that had hitherto been got upon the rock
by at least three hours.

When the first boats left the rock with the artificers
employed on the lower part of the work during the flood-tide,
the beacon had quite a novel appearance.  The beams erected
formed a common base of about thirty-three feet, meeting at
the top, which was about forty-five feet above the rock, and
here half a dozen of the artificers were still at work.  After
clearing the rock the boats made a stop, when three hearty
cheers were given, which were returned with equal goodwill by
those upon the beacon, from the personal interest which every
one felt in the prosperity of this work, so intimately
connected with his safety.

All hands having returned to their respective ships, they
got a shift of dry clothes and some refreshment.  Being
Sunday, they were afterwards convened by signal on board of
the Lighthouse yacht, when prayers were read; for every heart
upon this occasion felt gladness, and every mind was disposed
to be thankful for the happy and successful termination of the
operations of this day.

[Monday, 21st Sept.]

The remaining two principal beams were erected in the
course of this tide, which, with the assistance of those set
up yesterday, was found to be a very simple operation.

The six principal beams of the beacon were thus secured,
at least in a temporary manner, in the course of two tides, or
in the short space of about eleven hours and a half.  Such is
the progress that may be made when active hands and willing
minds set properly to work in operations of this kind.

[Tuesday 22nd, Sept.]

Having now got the weighty part of this work over, and
being thereby relieved of the difficulty both of landing and
victualling such a number of men, the SMEATON could now be
spared, and she was accordingly despatched to Arbroath for a
supply of water and provisions, and carried with her six of
the artificers who could best be spared.

[Wednesday, 23rd Sept.]

In going out of the eastern harbour, the boat which the
writer steered shipped a sea, that filled her about one-third
with water.  She had also been hid for a short time, by the
waves breaking upon the rock, from the sight of the crew of
the preceding boat, who were much alarmed for our safety,
imagining for a time that she had gone down.

The SMEATON returned from Arbroath this afternoon, but
there was so much sea that she could not be made fast to her
moorings, and the vessel was obliged to return to Arbroath
without being able either to deliver the provisions or take
the artificers on board.  The Lighthouse yacht was also soon
obliged to follow her example, as the sea was breaking heavily
over her bows.  After getting two reefs in the mainsail, and
the third or storm-jib set, the wind being S.W., she bent to
windward, though blowing a hard gale, and got into St. Andrews
Bay, where we passed the night under the lee of Fifeness.

[Thursday, 24th Sept.]

At two o'clock this morning we were in St. Andrews Bay,
standing off and on shore, with strong gales of wind at S.W.;
at seven we were off the entrance of the Tay; at eight stood
towards the rock, and at ten passed to leeward of it, but
could not attempt a landing.  The beacon, however, appeared to
remain in good order, and by six p.m. the vessel had again
beaten up to St. Andrews Bay, and got into somewhat smoother
water for the night.

[Friday, 25th Sept.]

At seven o'clock bore away for the Bell Rock, but finding
a heavy sea running on it were unable to land.  The writer,
however, had the satisfaction to observe, with his telescope,
that everything about the beacon appeared entire: and although
the sea had a most frightful appearance, yet it was the
opinion of every one that, since the erection of the beacon,
the Bell Rock was divested of many of its terrors, and had it
been possible to have got the boats hoisted out and manned, it
might have even been found practicable to land.  At six it
blew so hard that it was found necessary to strike the topmast
and take in a third reef of the mainsail, and under this low
canvas we soon reached St. Andrews Bay, and got again under
the lee of the land for the night.  The artificers, being sea-
hardy, were quite reconciled to their quarters on board of the
Lighthouse yacht; but it is believed that hardly any
consideration would have induced them again to take up their
abode in the floating light.

[Saturday, 26th Sept.]

At daylight the yacht steered towards the Bell Rock, and
at eight a.m. made fast to her moorings; at ten, all hands, to
the amount of thirty, landed, when the writer had the
happiness to find that the beacon had withstood the violence
of the gale and the heavy breach of sea, everything being
found in the same state in which it had been left on the 21st.
The artificers were now enabled to work upon the rock
throughout the whole day, both at low and high water, but it
required the strictest attention to the state of the weather,
in case of their being overtaken with a gale, which might
prevent the possibility of getting them off the rock.

Two somewhat memorable circumstances in the annals of the
Bell Rock attended the operations of this day: one was the
removal of Mr. James Dove, the foreman smith, with his
apparatus, from the rock to the upper part of the beacon,
where the forge was now erected on a temporary platform, laid
on the cross beams or upper framing.  The other was the
artificers having dined for the first time upon the rock,
their dinner being cooked on board of the yacht, and sent to
them by one of the boats.  But what afforded the greatest
happiness and relief was the removal of the large bellows,
which had all along been a source of much trouble and
perplexity, by their hampering and incommoding the boat which
carried the smiths and their apparatus.

[Saturday, 3rd Oct.]

The wind being west to-day, the weather was very
favourable for operations at the rock, and during the morning
and evening tides, with the aid of torchlight, the masons had
seven hours' work upon the site of the building.  The smiths
and joiners, who landed at half-past six a.m., did not leave
the rock till a quarter-past eleven p.m., having been at work,
with little intermission, for sixteen hours and three-
quarters.  When the water left the rock, they were employed at
the lower parts of the beacon, and as the tide rose or fell,
they shifted the place of their operations.  From these
exertions, the fixing and securing of the beacon made rapid
advancement, as the men were now landed in the morning and
remained throughout the day.  But, as a sudden change of
weather might have prevented their being taken off at the
proper time of tide, a quantity of bread and water was always
kept on the beacon.

During this period of working at the beacon all the day,
and often a great part of the night, the writer was much on
board of the tender; but, while the masons could work on the
rock, and frequently also while it was covered by the tide, he
remained on the beacon; especially during the night, as he
made a point of being on the rock to the latest hour, and was
generally the last person who stepped into the boat.  He had
laid this down as part of his plan of procedure; and in this
way had acquired, in the course of the first season, a pretty
complete knowledge and experience of what could actually be
done at the Bell Rock, under all circumstances of the weather.
By this means also his assistants, and the artificers and
mariners, got into a systematic habit of proceeding at the
commencement of the work, which, it is believed, continued
throughout the whole of the operations.

[Sunday, 4th Oct.]

The external part of the beacon was now finished, with
its supports and bracing-chains, and whatever else was
considered necessary for its stability in so far as the season
would permit; and although much was still wanting to complete
this fabric, yet it was in such a state that it could be left
without much fear of the consequences of a storm.  The
painting of the upper part was nearly finished this afternoon;
and the SMEATON had brought off a quantity of brushwood and
other articles, for the purpose of heating or charring the
lower part of the principal beams, before being laid over with
successive coats of boiling pitch, to the height of from eight
to twelve feet, or as high as the rise of spring-tides.  A
small flagstaff having also been erected to-day, a flag was
displayed for the first time from the beacon, by which its
perspective effect was greatly improved.  On this, as on all
like occasions at the Bell Rock, three hearty cheers were
given; and the steward served out a dram of rum to all hands,
while the Lighthouse yacht, SMEATON, and floating light,
hoisted their colours in compliment to the erection.

[Monday, 5th Oct.]

In the afternoon, and just as the tide's work was over,
Mr. John Rennie, engineer, accompanied by his son Mr. George,
on their way to the harbour works of Fraserburgh, in
Aberdeenshire, paid a visit to the Bell Rock, in a boat from
Arbroath.  It being then too late in the tide for landing,
they remained on board of the Lighthouse yacht all night, when
the writer, who had now been secluded from society for several
weeks, enjoyed much of Mr. Rennie's interesting conversation,
both on general topics, and professionally upon the progress
of the Bell Rock works, on which he was consulted as chief
engineer.

[Tuesday, 6th Oct.]

The artificers landed this morning at nine, after which
one of the boats returned to the ship for the writer and
Messrs. Rennie, who, upon landing, were saluted with a display
of the colours from the beacon and by three cheers from the
workmen.  Everything was now in a prepared state for leaving
the rock, and giving up the works afloat for this season,
excepting some small articles, which would still occupy the
smiths and joiners for a few days longer.  They accordingly
shifted on board of the SMEATON, while the yacht left the rock
for Arbroath, with Messrs. Rennie, the writer, and the
remainder of the artificers.  But, before taking leave, the
steward served out a farewell glass, when three hearty cheers
were given, and an earnest wish expressed that everything, in
the spring of 1808, might be found in the same state of good
order as it was now about to be left.



II - OPERATIONS OF 1808


[Monday, 29th Feb.]

The writer sailed from Arbroath at one a.m. in the
Lighthouse yacht.  At seven the floating light was hailed, and
all on board found to be well.  The crew were observed to have
a very healthy-like appearance, and looked better than at the
close of the works upon the rock.  They seemed only to regret
one thing, which was the secession of their cook, Thomas
Elliot - not on account of his professional skill, but for his
facetious and curious manner.  Elliot had something peculiar
in his history, and was reported by his comrades to have seen
better days.  He was, however, happy with his situation on
board of the floating light, and, having a taste for music,
dancing, and acting plays, he contributed much to the
amusement of the ship's company in their dreary abode during
the winter months.  He had also recommended himself to their
notice as a good shipkeeper, for as it did not answer Elliot
to go often ashore, he had always given up his turn of leave
to his neighbours.  At his own desire he was at length paid
off, when he had a considerable balance of wages to receive,
which he said would be sufficient to carry him to the West
Indies, and he accordingly took leave of the Lighthouse
service.

[Tuesday, 1st March]

At daybreak the Lighthouse yacht, attended by a boat from
the floating light, again stood towards the Bell Rock.  The
weather felt extremely cold this morning, the thermometer
being at 34 degrees, with the wind at east, accompanied by
occasional showers of snow, and the marine barometer indicated
29.80.  At half-past seven the sea ran with such force upon
the rock that it seemed doubtful if a landing could be
effected.  At half-past eight, when it was fairly above water,
the writer took his place in the floating light's boat with
the artificers, while the yacht's boat followed, according to
the general rule of having two boats afloat in landing
expeditions of this kind, that, in case of accident to one
boat, the other might assist.  In several unsuccessful
attempts the boats were beat back by the breach of the sea
upon the rock.  On the eastern side it separated into two
distinct waves, which came with a sweep round to the western
side, where they met; and at the instance of their confluence
the water rose in spray to a considerable height.  Watching
what the sailors term a SMOOTH, we caught a favourable
opportunity, and in a very dexterous manner the boats were
rowed between the two seas, and made a favourable landing at
the western creek.

At the latter end of last season, as was formerly
noticed, the beacon was painted white, and from the bleaching
of the weather and the sprays of the sea the upper parts were
kept clean; but within the range of the tide the principal
beams were observed to be thickly coated with a green stuff,
the CONFERVA of botanists.  Notwithstanding the intrusion of
these works, which had formerly banished the numerous seals
that played about the rock, they were now seen in great
numbers, having been in an almost undisturbed state for six
months.  It had now also, for the first time, got some
inhabitants of the feathered tribe: in particular the scarth
or cormorant, and the large herring-gull, had made the beacon
a resting-place, from its vicinity to their fishing-grounds.
About a dozen of these birds had rested upon the cross-beams,
which, in some places, were coated with their dung; and their
flight, as the boats approached, was a very unlooked-for
indication of life and habitation on the Bell Rock, conveying
the momentary idea of the conversion of this fatal rock, from
being a terror to the mariner, into a residence of man and a
safeguard to shipping.

Upon narrowly examining the great iron stanchions with
which the beams were fixed to the rock, the writer had the
satisfaction of finding that there was not the least
appearance of working or shifting at any of the joints or
places of connection; and, excepting the loosening of the
bracing-chains, everything was found in the same entire state
in which it had been left in the month of October.  This, in
the estimation of the writer, was a matter of no small
importance to the future success of the work.  He from that
moment saw the practicability and propriety of fitting up the
beacon, not only as a place of refuge in case of accident to
the boats in landing, but as a residence for the artificers
during the working months.

While upon the top of the beacon the writer was reminded
by the landing-master that the sea was running high, and that
it would be necessary to set off while the rock afforded
anything like shelter to the boats, which by this time had
been made fast by a long line to the beacon, and rode with
much agitation, each requiring two men with boat-hooks to keep
them from striking each other, or from ranging up against the
beacon.  But even under these circumstances the greatest
confidence was felt by every one, from the security afforded
by this temporary erection.  For, supposing the wind had
suddenly increased to a gale, and that it had been found
unadvisable to go into the boats; or, supposing they had
drifted or sprung a leak from striking upon the rocks; in any
of these possible and not at all improbable cases, those who
might thus have been left upon the rock had now something to
lay hold of, and, though occupying this dreary habitation of
the sea-gull and the cormorant, affording only bread and
water, yet LIFE, would be preserved, and the mind would still
be supported by the hope of being ultimately relieved.

[Wednesday, 25th May]

On the 25th of May the writer embarked at Arbroath, on
board of the SIR JOSEPH BANKS, for the Bell Rock, accompanied
by Mr. Logan senior, foreman builder, with twelve masons and
two smiths, together with thirteen seamen, including the
master, mate, and steward.

[Thursday, 26th May]

Mr. James Wilson, now commander of the PHAROS, floating
light, and landing-master, in the room of Mr. Sinclair, who
had left the service, came into the writer's cabin this
morning at six o'clock, and intimated that there was a good
appearance of landing on the rock.  Everything being arranged,
both boats proceeded in company, and at eight a.m. they
reached the rock.  The lighthouse colours were immediately
hoisted upon the flagstaff of the beacon, a compliment which
was duly returned by the tender and floating light, when three
hearty cheers were given, and a glass of rum was served out to
all hands to drink success to the operations of 1808.

[Friday, 27th May]

This morning the wind was at east, blowing a fresh gale,
the weather being hazy, with a considerable breach of sea
setting in upon the rock.  The morning bell was therefore
rung, in some doubt as to the practicability of making a
landing.  After allowing the rock to get fully up, or to be
sufficiently left by the tide, that the boats might have some
shelter from the range of the sea, they proceeded at 8 a.m.,
and upon the whole made a pretty good landing; and after two
hours and three-quarters' work returned to the ship in safety.

In the afternoon the wind considerably increased, and, as
a pretty heavy sea was still running, the tender rode very
hard, when Mr. Taylor, the commander, found it necessary to
take in the bowsprit, and strike the fore and main topmasts,
that she might ride more easily.  After consulting about the
state of the weather, it was resolved to leave the artificers
on board this evening, and carry only the smiths to the rock,
as the sharpening of the irons was rather behind, from their
being so much broken and blunted by the hard and tough nature
of the rock, which became much more compact and hard as the
depth of excavation was increased.  Besides avoiding the risk
of encumbering the boats with a number of men who had not yet
got the full command of the oar in a breach of sea, the writer
had another motive for leaving them behind.  He wanted to
examine the site of the building without interruption, and to
take the comparative levels of the different inequalities of
its area; and as it would have been painful to have seen men
standing idle upon the Bell Rock, where all moved with
activity, it was judged better to leave them on board.  The
boats landed at half-past seven p.m., and the landing-master,
with the seamen, was employed during this tide in cutting the
seaweeds from the several paths leading to the landing-places,
to render walking more safe, for, from the slippery state of
the surface of the rock, many severe tumbles had taken place.
In the meantime the writer took the necessary levels, and
having carefully examined the site of the building and
considered all its parts, it still appeared to be necessary to
excavate to the average depth of fourteen inches over the
whole area of the foundation.

[Saturday, 28th May]

The wind still continued from the eastward with a heavy
swell; and to-day it was accompanied with foggy weather and
occasional showers of rain.  Notwithstanding this, such was
the confidence which the erection of the beacon had inspired
that the boats landed the artificers on the rock under very
unpromising circumstances, at half-past eight, and they
continued at work till half-past eleven, being a period of
three hours, which was considered a great tide's work in the
present low state of the foundation.  Three of the masons on
board were so afflicted with sea-sickness that they had not
been able to take any food for almost three days, and they
were literally assisted into the boats this morning by their
companions.  It was, however, not a little surprising to see
how speedily these men revived upon landing on the rock and
eating a little dulse.  Two of them afterwards assisted the
sailors in collecting the chips of stone and carrying them out
of the way of the pickmen; but the third complained of a pain
in his head, and was still unable to do anything.  Instead of
returning to the tender with the boats, these three men
remained on the beacon all day, and had their victuals sent to
them along with the smiths'.  From Mr. Dove, the foreman
smith, they had much sympathy, for he preferred remaining on
the beacon at all hazards, to be himself relieved from the
malady of sea-sickness.  The wind continuing high, with a
heavy sea, and the tide falling late, it was not judged proper
to land the artificers this evening, but in the twilight the
boats were sent to fetch the people on board who had been left
on the rock.

[Sunday, 29th May]

The wind was from the S.W. to-day, and the signal-bell
rung, as usual, about an hour before the period for landing on
the rock.  The writer was rather surprised, however, to hear
the landing-master repeatedly call, `All hands for the rock!'
and, coming on deck, he was disappointed to find the seamen
only in the boats.  Upon inquiry, it appeared that some
misunderstanding had taken place about the wages of the
artificers for Sundays.  They had preferred wages for seven
days statedly to the former mode of allowing a day for each
tide's work on Sunday, as they did not like the appearance of
working for double or even treble wages on Sunday, and would
rather have it understood that their work on that day arose
more from the urgency of the case than with a view to
emolument.  This having been judged creditable to their
religious feelings, and readily adjusted to their wish, the
boats proceeded to the rock, and the work commenced at nine
a.m.

[Monday, 30th May]

Mr. Francis Watt commenced, with five joiners, to fit up
a temporary platform upon the beacon, about twenty-five feet
above the highest part of the rock.  This platform was to be
used as the site of the smith's forge, after the beacon should
be fitted up as a barrack; and here also the mortar was to be
mixed and prepared for the building, and it was accordingly
termed the Mortar Gallery.

The landing-master's crew completed the discharging from
the SMEATON of her cargo of the cast-iron rails and timber.
It must not here be omitted to notice that the SMEATON took in
ballast from the Bell Rock, consisting of the shivers or chips
of stone produced by the workmen in preparing the site of the
building, which were now accumulating in great quantities on
the rock.  These the boats loaded, after discharging the iron.
The object in carrying off these chips, besides ballasting the
vessel, was to get them permanently out of the way, as they
were apt to shift about from place to place with every gale of
wind; and it often required a considerable time to clear the
foundation a second time of this rubbish.  The circumstance of
ballasting a ship at the Bell Rock afforded great
entertainment, especially to the sailors; and it was perhaps
with truth remarked that the SMEATON was the first vessel that
had ever taken on board ballast at the Bell Rock.  Mr. Pool,
the commander of this vessel, afterwards acquainted the writer
that, when the ballast was landed upon the quay at Leith, many
persons carried away specimens of it, as part of a cargo from
the Bell Rock; when he added, that such was the interest
excited, from the number of specimens carried away, that some
of his friends suggested that he should have sent the whole to
the Cross of Edinburgh, where each piece might have sold for a
penny.

[Tuesday, 31st May]

In the evening the boats went to the rock, and brought
the joiners and smiths, and their sickly companions, on board
of the tender.  These also brought with them two baskets full
of fish, which they had caught at high-water from the beacon,
reporting, at the same time, to their comrades, that the fish
were swimming in such numbers over the rock at high-water that
it was completely hid from their sight, and nothing seen but
the movement of thousands of fish.  They were almost
exclusively of the species called the podlie, or young coal-
fish.  This discovery, made for the first time to-day by the
workmen, was considered fortunate, as an additional
circumstance likely to produce an inclination among the
artificers to take up their residence in the beacon, when it
came to be fitted up as a barrack.

[Tuesday, 7th June]

At three o'clock in the morning the ship's bell was rung
as the signal for landing at the rock.  When the landing was
to be made before breakfast, it was customary to give each of
the artificers and seamen a dram and a biscuit, and coffee was
prepared by the steward for the cabins.  Exactly at four
o'clock the whole party landed from three boats, including one
of those belonging to the floating light, with a part of that
ship's crew, which always attended the works in moderate
weather.  The landing-master's boat, called the SEAMAN, but
more commonly called the LIFEBOAT, took the lead.  The next
boat, called the MASON, was generally steered by the writer;
while the floating light's boat, PHAROS, was under the
management of the boatswain of that ship.

Having now so considerable a party of workmen and sailors
on the rock, it may be proper here to notice how their labours
were directed.  Preparations having been made last month for
the erection of a second forge upon the beacon, the smiths
commenced their operations both upon the lower and higher
platforms.  They were employed in sharpening the picks and
irons for the masons, and in making bats and other apparatus
of various descriptions connected with the fitting of the
railways.  The landing-master's crew were occupied in
assisting the millwrights in laying the railways to hand.
Sailors, of all other descriptions of men, are the most
accommodating in the use of their hands.  They worked freely
with the boring-irons, and assisted in all the operations of
the railways, acting by turns as boatmen, seamen, and
artificers.  We had no such character on the Bell Rock as the
common labourer.  All the operations of this department were
cheerfully undertaken by the seamen, who, both on the rock and
on shipboard, were the inseparable companions of every work
connected with the erection of the Bell Rock Lighthouse.  It
will naturally be supposed that about twenty-five masons,
occupied with their picks in executing and preparing the
foundation of the lighthouse, in the course of a tide of about
three hours, would make a considerable impression upon an area
even of forty-two feet in diameter.  But in proportion as the
foundation was deepened, the rock was found to be much more
hard and difficult to work, while the baling and pumping of
water became much more troublesome.  A joiner was kept almost
constantly employed in fitting the picks to their handles,
which, as well as the points to the irons, were very
frequently broken.

The Bell Rock this morning presented by far the most busy
and active appearance it had exhibited since the erection of
the principal beams of the beacon.  The surface of the rock
was crowded with men, the two forges flaming, the one above
the other, upon the beacon, while the anvils thundered with
the rebounding noise of their wooden supports, and formed a
curious contrast with the occasional clamour of the surges.
The wind was westerly, and the weather being extremely
agreeable, as soon after breakfast as the tide had
sufficiently overflowed the rock to float the boats over it,
the smiths, with a number of the artificers, returned to the
beacon, carrying their fishing-tackle along with them.  In the
course of the forenoon, the beacon exhibited a still more
extraordinary appearance than the rock had done in the
morning.  The sea being smooth, it seemed to be afloat upon
the water, with a number of men supporting themselves in all
the variety of attitude and position: while, from the upper
part of this wooden house, the volumes of smoke which ascended
from the forges gave the whole a very curious and fanciful
appearance.

In the course of this tide it was observed that a heavy
swell was setting in from the eastward, and the appearance of
the sky indicated a change of weather, while the wind was
shifting about.  The barometer also had fallen from 30 in. to
29.6.  It was, therefore, judged prudent to shift the vessel
to the S.W. or more distant buoy.  Her bowsprit was also soon
afterwards taken in, the topmasts struck, and everything made
SNUG, as seamen term it, for a gale.  During the course of the
night the wind increased and shifted to the eastward, when the
vessel rolled very hard, and the sea often broke over her bows
with great force.

[Wednesday, 8th June]

Although the motion of the tender was much less than that
of the floating light - at least, in regard to the rolling
motion - yet she SENDED, or pitched, much.  Being also of a
very handsome build, and what seamen term very CLEAN AFT, the
sea often struck the counter with such force that the writer,
who possessed the aftermost cabin, being unaccustomed to this
new vessel, could not divest himself of uneasiness; for when
her stern fell into the sea, it struck with so much violence
as to be more like the resistance of a rock than the sea.  The
water, at the same time, often rushed with great force up the
rudder-case, and, forcing up the valve of the water-closet,
the floor of his cabin was at times laid under water.  The
gale continued to increase, and the vessel rolled and pitched
in such a manner that the hawser by which the tender was made
fast to the buoy snapped, and she went adrift.  In the act of
swinging round to the wind she shipped a very heavy sea, which
greatly alarmed the artificers, who imagined that we had got
upon the rock; but this, from the direction of the wind, was
impossible.  The writer, however, sprung upon deck, where he
found the sailors busily employed in rigging out the bowsprit
and in setting sail.  From the easterly direction of the wind,
it was considered most advisable to steer for the Firth of
Forth, and there wait a change of weather.  At two p.m. we
accordingly passed the Isle of May, at six anchored in Leith
Roads, and at eight the writer landed, when he came in upon
his friends, who were not a little surprised at his unexpected
appearance, which gave an instantaneous alarm for the safety
of things at the Bell Rock.

[Thursday, 9th June]

The wind still continued to blow very hard at E. by N.,
and the SIR JOSEPH BANKS rode heavily, and even drifted with
both anchors ahead, in Leith Roads.  The artificers did not
attempt to leave the ship last night; but there being upwards
of fifty people on board, and the decks greatly lumbered with
the two large boats, they were in a very crowded and impatient
state on board.  But to-day they got ashore, and amused
themselves by walking about the streets of Edinburgh, some in
very humble apparel, from having only the worst of their
jackets with them, which, though quite suitable for their
work, were hardly fit for public inspection, being not only
tattered, but greatly stained with the red colour of the rock.

[Friday, 10th June]

To-day the wind was at S.E., with light breezes and foggy
weather.  At six a.m. the writer again embarked for the Bell
Rock, when the vessel immediately sailed.  At eleven p.m.,
there being no wind, the kedge-anchor was LET GO off
Anstruther, one of the numerous towns on the coast of Fife,
where we waited the return of the tide.

[Saturday, 11th June]

At six a.m. the SIR JOSEPH got under weigh, and at eleven
was again made fast to the southern buoy at the Bell Rock.
Though it was now late in the tide, the writer, being anxious
to ascertain the state of things after the gale, landed with
the artificers to the number of forty-four.  Everything was
found in an entire state; but, as the tide was nearly gone,
only half an hour's work had been got when the site of the
building was overflowed.  In the evening the boats again
landed at nine, and after a good tide's work of three hours
with torchlight, the work was left off at midnight.  To the
distant shipping the appearance of things under night on the
Bell Rock, when the work was going forward, must have been
very remarkable, especially to those who were strangers to the
operations.  Mr. John Reid, principal lightkeeper, who also
acted as master of the floating light during the working
months at the rock, described the appearance of numerous
lights situated so low in the water, when seen at the distance
of two or three miles, as putting him in mind of Milton's
description of the fiends in the lower regions, adding, `for
it seems greatly to surpass Will-o'-the-Wisp, or any of those
earthly spectres of which we have so often heard.'

[Monday, 13th June]

From the difficulties attending the landing on the rock,
owing to the breach of sea which had for days past been around
it, the artificers showed some backwardness at getting into
the boats this morning; but after a little explanation this
was got over.  It was always observable that for some time
after anything like danger had occurred at the rock, the
workmen became much more cautious, and on some occasions their
timidity was rather troublesome.  It fortunately happened,
however, that along with the writer's assistants and the
sailors there were also some of the artificers themselves who
felt no such scruples, and in this way these difficulties were
the more easily surmounted.  In matters where life is in
danger it becomes necessary to treat even unfounded prejudices
with tenderness, as an accident, under certain circumstances,
would not only have been particularly painful to those giving
directions, but have proved highly detrimental to the work,
especially in the early stages of its advancement.

At four o'clock fifty-eight persons landed; but the tides
being extremely languid, the water only left the higher parts
of the rock, and no work could be done at the site of the
building.  A third forge was, however, put in operation during
a short time, for the greater conveniency of sharpening the
picks and irons, and for purposes connected with the
preparations for fixing the railways on the rock.  The weather
towards the evening became thick and foggy, and there was
hardly a breath of wind to ruffle the surface of the water.
Had it not, therefore, been for the noise from the anvils of
the smiths who had been left on the beacon throughout the day,
which afforded a guide for the boats, a landing could not have
been attempted this evening, especially with such a company of
artificers.  This circumstance confirmed the writer's opinion
with regard to the propriety of connecting large bells to be
rung with machinery in the lighthouse, to be tolled day and
night during the continuance of foggy weather.

[Thursday, 23rd June]

The boats landed this evening, when the artificers had
again two hours' work.  The weather still continuing very
thick and foggy, more difficulty was experienced in getting on
board of the vessels to-night than had occurred on any
previous occasion, owing to a light breeze of wind which
carried the sound of the bell, and the other signals made on
board of the vessels, away from the rock.  Having fortunately
made out the position of the sloop SMEATON at the N.E. buoy -
to which we were much assisted by the barking of the ship's
dog, - we parted with the SMEATON'S boat, when the boats of
the tender took a fresh departure for that vessel, which lay
about half a mile to the south-westward.  Yet such is the very
deceiving state of the tides, that, although there was a small
binnacle and compass in the landing-master's boat, we had,
nevertheless, passed the SIR JOSEPH a good way, when,
fortunately, one of the sailors catched the sound of a
blowing-horn.  The only fire-arms on board were a pair of
swivels of one-inch calibre; but it is quite surprising how
much the sound is lost in foggy weather, as the report was
heard but at a very short distance.  The sound from the
explosion of gunpowder is so instantaneous that the effect of
the small guns was not so good as either the blowing of a horn
or the tolling of a bell, which afforded a more constant and
steady direction for the pilot.

[Wednesday, 6th July]

Landed on the rock with the three boats belonging to the
tender at five p.m., and began immediately to bale the water
out of the foundation-pit with a number of buckets, while the
pumps were also kept in action with relays of artificers and
seamen.  The work commenced upon the higher parts of the
foundation as the water left them, but it was now pretty
generally reduced to a level.  About twenty men could be
conveniently employed at each pump, and it is quite
astonishing in how short a time so great a body of water could
be drawn off.  The water in the foundation-pit at this time
measured about two feet in depth, on an area of forty-two feet
in diameter, and yet it was drawn off in the course of about
half an hour.  After this the artificers commenced with their
picks and continued at work for two hours and a half, some of
the sailors being at the same time busily employed in clearing
the foundation of chips and in conveying the irons to and from
the smiths on the beacon, where they were sharped.  At eight
o'clock the sea broke in upon us and overflowed the
foundation-pit, when the boats returned to the tender.

[Thursday, 7th July]

The landing-master's bell rung this morning about four
o'clock, and at half-past five, the foundation being cleared,
the work commenced on the site of the building.  But from the
moment of landing, the squad of joiners and millwrights was at
work upon the higher parts of the rock in laying the railways,
while the anvils of the smith resounded on the beacon, and
such columns of smoke ascended from the forges that they were
often mistaken by strangers at a distance for a ship on fire.
After continuing three hours at work the foundation of the
building was again overflowed, and the boats returned to the
ship at half-past eight o'clock. the masons and pickmen had,
at this period, a pretty long day on board of the tender, but
the smiths and joiners were kept constantly at work upon the
beacon, the stability and great conveniency of which had now
been so fully shown that no doubt remained as to the propriety
of fitting it up as a barrack.  The workmen were accordingly
employed, during the period of high-water, in making
preparations for this purpose.

The foundation-pit now assumed the appearance of a great
platform, and the late tides had been so favourable that it
became apparent that the first course, consisting of a few
irregular and detached stones for making up certain
inequalities in the interior parts of the site of the
building, might be laid in the course of the present spring-
tides.  Having been enabled to-day to get the dimensions of
the foundation, or first stone, accurately taken, a mould was
made of its figure, when the writer left the rock, after the
tide's work of this morning, in a fast rowing-boat for
Arbroath; and, upon landing, two men were immediately set to
work upon one of the blocks from Mylnefield quarry, which was
prepared in the course of the following day, as the stone-
cutters relieved each other, and worked both night and day, so
that it was sent off in one of the stone-lighters without
delay.

[Saturday, 9th July]

The site of the foundation-stone was very difficult to
work, from its depth in the rock; but being now nearly
prepared, it formed a very agreeable kind of pastime at high-
water for all hands to land the stone itself upon the rock.
The landing-master's crew and artificers accordingly entered
with great spirit into this operation.  The stone was placed
upon the deck of the HEDDERWICK praam-boat, which had just
been brought from Leith, and was decorated with colours for
the occasion.  Flags were also displayed from the shipping in
the offing, and upon the beacon.  Here the writer took his
station with the greater part of the artificers, who supported
themselves in every possible position while the boats towed
the praam from her moorings and brought her immediately over
the site of the building, where her grappling anchors were let
go.  The stone was then lifted off the deck by a tackle hooked
into a Lewis bat inserted into it, when it was gently lowered
into the water and grounded on the site of the building,
amidst the cheering acclamations of about sixty persons.

[Sunday, 10th July]

At eleven o'clock the foundation-stone was laid to hand.
It was of a square form, containing about twenty cubic feet,
and had the figures, or date, of 1808 simply cut upon it with
a chisel.  A derrick, or spar of timber, having been erected
at the edge of the hole and guyed with ropes, the stone was
then hooked to the tackle and lowered into its place, when the
writer, attended by his assistants - Mr.  Peter Logan, Mr.
Francis Watt, and Mr. James Wilson, - applied the square, the
level, and the mallet, and pronounced the following
benediction: `May the great Architect of the Universe complete
and bless this building,' on which three hearty cheers were
given, and success to the future operations was drunk with the
greatest enthusiasm.

[Tuesday, 26th July]

The wind being at S.E. this evening, we had a pretty
heavy swell of sea upon the rock, and some difficulty attended
our getting off in safety, as the boats got aground in the
creek and were in danger of being upset.  Upon extinguishing
the torchlights, about twelve in number, the darkness of the
night seemed quite horrible; the water being also much charged
with the phosphorescent appearance which is familiar to every
one on shipboard, the waves, as they dashed upon the rock,
were in some degree like so much liquid flame.  The scene,
upon the whole, was truly awful!

[Wednesday, 27th July]

In leaving the rock this evening everything, after the
torches were extinguished, had the same dismal appearance as
last night, but so perfectly acquainted were the landing-
master and his crew with the position of things at the rock,
that comparatively little inconveniency was experienced on
these occasions when the weather was moderate; such is the
effect of habit, even in the most unpleasant situations.  If,
for example, it had been proposed to a person accustomed to a
city life, at once to take up his quarters off a sunken reef
and land upon it in boats at all hours of the night, the
proposition must have appeared quite impracticable and
extravagant; but this practice coming progressively upon the
artificers, it was ultimately undertaken with the greatest
alacrity.  Notwithstanding this, however, it must be
acknowledged that it was not till after much labour and peril,
and many an anxious hour, that the writer is enabled to state
that the site of the Bell Rock Lighthouse is fully prepared
for the first entire course of the building.

[Friday, 12th Aug.]

The artificers landed this morning at half-past ten, and
after an hour and a half's work eight stones were laid, which
completed the first entire course of the building, consisting
of 123 blocks, the last of which was laid with three hearty
cheers.

[Saturday, 10th Sept.]

Landed at nine a.m., and by a quarter-past twelve noon
twenty-three stones had been laid.  The works being now
somewhat elevated by the lower courses, we got quit of the
very serious inconvenience of pumping water to clear the
foundation-pit.  This gave much facility to the operations,
and was noticed with expressions of as much happiness by the
artificers as the seamen had shown when relieved of the
continual trouble of carrying the smith's bellows off the rock
prior to the erection of the beacon.

[Wednesday, 21st Sept.]

Mr. Thomas Macurich, mate of the SMEATON, and James
Scott, one of the crew, a young man about eighteen years of
age, immediately went into their boat to make fast a hawser to
the ring in the top of the floating buoy of the moorings, and
were forthwith to proceed to land their cargo, so much wanted,
at the rock.  The tides at this period were very strong, and
the mooring-chain, when sweeping the ground, had caught hold
of a rock or piece of wreck by which the chain was so
shortened that when the tide flowed the buoy got almost under
water, and little more than the ring appeared at the surface.
When Macurich and Scott were in the act of making the hawser
fast to the ring, the chain got suddenly disentangled at the
bottom, and this large buoy, measuring about seven feet in
height and three feet in diameter at the middle, tapering to
both ends, being what seamen term a NUN-BUOY, vaulted or
sprung up with such force that it upset the boat, which
instantly filled with water.  Mr. Macurich, with much
exertion, succeeded in getting hold of the boat's gunwale,
still above the surface of the water, and by this means was
saved; but the young man Scott was unfortunately drowned.  He
had in all probability been struck about the head by the ring
of the buoy, for although surrounded with the oars and the
thwarts of the boat which floated near him, yet he seemed
entirely to want the power of availing himself of such
assistance, and appeared to be quite insensible, while Pool,
the master of the SMEATON, called loudly to him; and before
assistance could be got from the tender, he was carried away
by the strength of the current and disappeared.

The young man Scott was a great favourite in the service,
having had something uncommonly mild and complaisant in his
manner; and his loss was therefore universally regretted.  The
circumstances of his case were also peculiarly distressing to
his mother, as her husband, who was a seaman, had for three
years past been confined to a French prison, and the deceased
was the chief support of the family.  In order in some measure
to make up the loss to the poor woman for the monthly aliment
regularly allowed her by her late son, it was suggested that a
younger boy, a brother of the deceased, might be taken into
the service.  This appeared to be rather a delicate
proposition, but it was left to the landing-master to arrange
according to circumstances; such was the resignation, and at
the same time the spirit, of the poor woman, that she readily
accepted the proposal, and in a few days the younger Scott was
actually afloat in the place of his brother.  On representing
this distressing case to the Board, the Commissioners were
pleased to grant an annuity of 5 pounds to Scott's mother.

The SMEATON, not having been made fast to the buoy, had,
with the ebb-tide, drifted to leeward a considerable way
eastward of the rock, and could not, till the return of the
flood-tide, be worked up to her moorings, so that the present
tide was lost, notwithstanding all exertions which had been
made both ashore and afloat with this cargo.  The artificers
landed at six a.m.; but, as no materials could be got upon the
rock this morning, they were employed in boring trenail holes
and in various other operations, and after four hours' work
they returned on board the tender.  When the SMEATON got up to
her moorings, the landing-master's crew immediately began to
unload her.  There being too much wind for towing the praams
in the usual way, they were warped to the rock in the most
laborious manner by their windlasses, with successive
grapplings and hawsers laid out for this purpose.  At six p.m.
the artificers landed, and continued at work till half-past
ten, when the remaining seventeen stones were laid which
completed the third entire course, or fourth of the
lighthouse, with which the building operations were closed for
the season.


III - OPERATIONS OF 1809



[Wednesday, 24th May]

The last night was the first that the writer, had passed
in his old quarters on board of the floating light for about
twelve months, when the weather was so fine and the sea so
smooth that even here he felt but little or no motion,
excepting at the turn of the tide, when the vessel gets into
what the seamen term the TROUGH OF THE SEA.  At six a.m. Mr.
Watt, who conducted the operations of the railways and beacon-
house, had landed with nine artificers.  At half-past one p.m.
Mr. Peter Logan had also landed with fifteen masons, and
immediately proceeded to set up the crane.  The sheer-crane or
apparatus for lifting the stones out of the praam-boats at the
eastern creek had been already erected, and the railways now
formed about two-thirds of an entire circle round the
building: some progress had likewise been made with the reach
towards the western landing-place.  The floors being laid, the
beacon now assumed the appearance of a habitation.  The
SMEATON was at her moorings, with the FERNIE praam-boat
astern, for which she was laying down moorings, and the tender
being also at her station, the Bell Rock had again put on its
former busy aspect.

[Wednesday, 31st May]

The landing-master's bell, often no very favourite sound,
rung at six this morning; but on this occasion, it is
believed, it was gladly received by all on board, as the
welcome signal of the return of better weather.  The masons
laid thirteen stones to-day, which the seamen had landed,
together with other building materials.  During these twenty-
four hours the wind was from the south, blowing fresh breezes,
accompanied with showers of snow.  In the morning the snow
showers were so thick that it was with difficulty the landing-
master, who always steered the leading boat, could make his
way to the rock through the drift.  But at the Bell Rock
neither snow nor rain, nor fog nor wind, retarded the progress
of the work, if unaccompanied by a heavy swell or breach of
the sea.

The weather during the months of April and May had been
uncommonly boisterous, and so cold that the thermometer seldom
exceeded 40 degrees, while the barometer was generally about
29.50.  We had not only hail and sleet, but the snow on the
last day of May lay on the decks and rigging of the ship to
the depth of about three inches; and, although now entering
upon the month of June, the length of the day was the chief
indication of summer.  Yet such is the effect of habit, and
such was the expertness of the landing-master's crew, that,
even in this description of weather, seldom a tide's work was
lost.  Such was the ardour and zeal of the heads of the
several departments at the rock, including Mr. Peter Logan,
foreman builder, Mr. Francis Watt, foreman millwright, and
Captain Wilson, landing-master, that it was on no occasion
necessary to address them, excepting in the way of precaution
or restraint.  Under these circumstances, however, the writer
not unfrequently felt considerable anxiety, of which this
day's experience will afford an example.

[Thursday, 1st June]

This morning, at a quarter-past eight, the artificers
were landed as usual, and, after three hours and three-
quarters' work, five stones were laid, the greater part of
this tide having been taken up in completing the boring and
trenailing of the stones formerly laid.  At noon the writer,
with the seamen and artificers, proceeded to the tender,
leaving on the beacon the joiners, and several of those who
were troubled with sea-sickness - among whom was Mr. Logan,
who remained with Mr. Watt - counting altogether eleven
persons.  During the first and middle parts of these twenty-
four hours the wind was from the east, blowing what the seamen
term `fresh breezes'; but in the afternoon it shifted to
E.N.E., accompanied with so heavy a swell of sea that the
SMEATON and tender struck their topmasts, launched in their
bolt-sprits, and `made all snug' for a gale.  At four p.m. the
SMEATON was obliged to slip her moorings, and passed the
tender, drifting before the wind, with only the foresail set.
In passing, Mr. Pool hailed that he must run for the Firth of
Forth to prevent the vessel from `riding under.'

On board of the tender the writer's chief concern was
about the eleven men left upon the beacon.  Directions were
accordingly given that everything about the vessel should be
put in the best possible state, to present as little
resistance to the wind as possible, that she might have the
better chance of riding out the gale.  Among these
preparations the best bower cable was bent, so as to have a
second anchor in readiness in case the mooring-hawser should
give way, that every means might be used for keeping the
vessel within sight of the prisoners on the beacon, and
thereby keep them in as good spirits as possible.  From the
same motive the boats were kept afloat that they might be less
in fear of the vessel leaving her station.  The landing-master
had, however, repeatedly expressed his anxiety for the safety
of the boats, and wished much to have them hoisted on board.
At seven p.m. one of the boats, as he feared, was unluckily
filled with sea from a wave breaking into her, and it was with
great difficulty that she could be baled out and got on board,
with the loss of her oars, rudder, and loose thwarts.  Such
was the motion of the ship that in taking this boat on board
her gunwale was stove in, and she otherwise received
considerable damage.  Night approached, but it was still found
quite impossible to go near the rock.  Consulting, therefore,
the safety of the second boat, she also was hoisted on board
of the tender.

At this time the cabins of the beacon were only partially
covered, and had neither been provided with bedding nor a
proper fireplace, while the stock of provisions was but
slender.  In these uncomfortable circumstances the people on
the beacon were left for the night, nor was the situation of
those on board of the tender much better.  The rolling and
pitching motion of the ship was excessive; and, excepting to
those who had been accustomed to a residence in the floating
light, it seemed quite intolerable.  Nothing was heard but the
hissing of the winds and the creaking of the bulkheads or
partitions of the ship; the night was, therefore, spent in the
most unpleasant reflections upon the condition of the people
on the beacon, especially in the prospect of the tender being
driven from her moorings.  But, even in such a case, it
afforded some consolation that the stability of the fabric was
never doubted, and that the boats of the floating light were
at no great distance, and ready to render the people on the
rock the earliest assistance which the weather would permit.
The writer's cabin being in the sternmost part of the ship,
which had what sailors term a good entry, or was sharp built,
the sea, as before noticed, struck her counter with so much
violence that the water, with a rushing noise, continually
forced its way up the rudder-case, lifted the valve of the
water-closet, and overran the cabin floor.  In these
circumstances daylight was eagerly looked for, and hailed with
delight, as well by those afloat as by the artificers upon the
rock.

[Friday, 2nd June]

In the course of the night the writer held repeated
conversations with the officer on watch, who reported that the
weather continued much in the same state, and that the
barometer still indicated 29.20 inches.  At six a.m. the
landing-master considered the weather to have somewhat
moderated; and, from certain appearances of the sky, he was of
opinion that a change for the better would soon take place.
He accordingly proposed to attempt a landing at low-water, and
either get the people off the rock, or at least ascertain what
state they were in.  At nine a.m. he left the vessel with a
boat well manned, carrying with him a supply of cooked
provisions and a tea-kettle full of mulled port wine for the
people on the beacon, who had not had any regular diet for
about thirty hours, while they were exposed during that
period, in a great measure, both to the winds and the sprays
of the sea.  The boat having succeeded in landing, she
returned at eleven a.m. with the artificers, who had got off
with considerable difficulty, and who were heartily welcomed
by all on board.

Upon inquiry it appeared that three of the stones last
laid upon the building had been partially lifted from their
beds by the force of the sea, and were now held only by the
trenails, and that the cast-iron sheer-crane had again been
thrown down and completely broken.  With regard to the beacon,
the sea at high-water had lifted part of the mortar gallery or
lowest floor, and washed away all the lime-casks and other
movable articles from it; but the principal parts of this
fabric had sustained no damage.  On pressing Messrs. Logan and
Watt on the situation of things in the course of the night,
Mr. Logan emphatically said: `That the beacon had an ILL-
FAURED (1) TWIST when the sea broke upon it at high-water, but
that they were not very apprehensive of danger.'  On inquiring
as to how they spent the night, it appeared that they had made
shift to keep a small fire burning, and by means of some old
sails defended themselves pretty well from the sea sprays.

(1) Ill-formed - ugly. - [R. L. S.]

It was particularly mentioned that by the exertions of
James Glen, one of the joiners, a number of articles were
saved from being washed off the mortar gallery.  Glen was also
very useful in keeping up the spirits of the forlorn party.
In the early part of life he had undergone many curious
adventures at sea, which he now recounted somewhat after the
manner of the tales of the ARABIAN NIGHTS.  When one observed
that the beacon was a most comfortless lodging, Glen would
presently introduce some of his exploits and hardships, in
comparison with which the state of things at the beacon bore
an aspect of comfort and happiness.  Looking to their slender
stock of provisions, and their perilous and uncertain chance
of speedy relief, he would launch out into an account of one
of his expeditions in the North Sea, when the vessel, being
much disabled in a storm, was driven before the wind with the
loss of almost all their provisions; and the ship being much
infested with rats, the crew hunted these vermin with great
eagerness to help their scanty allowance.  By such means Glen
had the address to make his companions, in some measure,
satisfied, or at least passive, with regard to their miserable
prospects upon this half-tide rock in the middle of the ocean.
This incident is noticed, more particularly, to show the
effects of such a happy turn of mind, even under the most
distressing and ill-fated circumstances.

[Saturday, 17th June]

At eight a.m. the artificers and sailors, forty-five in
number, landed on the rock, and after four hours' work seven
stones were laid.  The remainder of this tide, from the
threatening appearance of the weather, was occupied in
trenailing and making all things as secure as possible.  At
twelve noon the rock and building were again overflowed, when
the masons and seamen went on board of the tender, but Mr.
Watt, with his squad of ten men, remained on the beacon
throughout the day.  As it blew fresh from the N.W. in the
evening, it was found impracticable either to land the
building artificers or to take the artificers off the beacon,
and they were accordingly left there all night, but in
circumstances very different from those of the 1st of this
month.  The house, being now in a more complete state, was
provided with bedding, and they spent the night pretty well,
though they complained of having been much disturbed at the
time of high-water by the shaking and tremulous motion of
their house and by the plashing noise of the sea upon mortar
gallery.  Here James Glen's versatile powers were again at
work in cheering up those who seemed to be alarmed, and in
securing everything as far as possible.  On this occasion he
had only to recall to the recollections of some of them the
former night which they had spent on the beacon, the wind and
sea being then much higher, and their habitation in a far less
comfortable state.

The wind still continuing to blow fresh from the N.W., at
five p.m. the writer caused a signal to be made from the
tender for the SMEATON AND PATRIOT to slip their moorings,
when they ran for Lunan Bay, an anchorage on the east side of
the Redhead.  Those on board of the tender spent but a very
rough night, and perhaps slept less soundly than their
companions on the beacon, especially as the wind was at N.W.,
which caused the vessel to ride with her stern towards the
Bell Rock; so that, in the event of anything giving way, she
could hardly have escaped being stranded upon it.

[Sunday, 18th June]

The weather having moderated to-day, the wind shifted to
the westward.  At a quarter-past nine a.m. the artificers
landed from the tender and had the pleasure to find their
friends who had been left on the rock quite hearty, alleging
that the beacon was the preferable quarters of the two.

[Saturday, 24th June]

Mr. Peter Logan, the foreman builder, and his squad,
twenty-one in number, landed this morning at three o'clock,
and continued at work four hours and a quarter, and after
laying seventeen stones returned to the tender.  At six a.m.
Mr. Francis Watt and his squad of twelve men landed, and
proceeded with their respective operations at the beacon and
railways, and were left on the rock during the whole day
without the necessity of having any communication with the
tender, the kitchen of the beacon-house being now fitted up.
It was to-day, also, that Peter Fortune - a most obliging and
well-known character in the Lighthouse service - was removed
from the tender to the beacon as cook and steward, with a
stock of provisions as ample as his limited store-room would
admit.

When as many stones were built as comprised this day's
work, the demand for mortar was proportionally increased, and
the task of the mortar-makers on these occasions was both
laborious and severe.  This operation was chiefly performed by
John Watt - a strong, active quarrier by profession, - who was
a perfect character in his way, and extremely zealous in his
department.  While the operations of the mortar-makers
continued, the forge upon the gallery was not generally in
use; but, as the working hours of the builders extended with
the height of the building, the forge could not be so long
wanted, and then a sad confusion often ensued upon the
circumscribed floor of the mortar gallery, as the operations
of Watt and his assistants trenched greatly upon those of the
smiths.  Under these circumstances the boundary of the smiths
was much circumscribed, and they were personally annoyed,
especially in blowy weather, with the dust of the lime in its
powdered state.  The mortar-makers, on the other hand, were
often not a little distressed with the heat of the fire and
the sparks elicited on the anvil, and not unaptly complained
that they were placed between the `devil and the deep sea.'

[Sunday, 25th June]

The work being now about ten feet in height, admitted of
a rope-ladder being distended (1) between the beacon and the
building.  By this `Jacob's Ladder,' as the seamen termed it,
a communication was kept up with the beacon while the rock was
considerably under water.  One end of it being furnished with
tackle-blocks, was fixed to the beams of the beacon, at the
level of the mortar gallery, while the further end was
connected with the upper course of the building by means of
two Lewis bats which were lifted from course to course as the
work advanced.  In the same manner a rope furnished with a
travelling pulley was distended for the purpose of
transporting the mortar-buckets, and other light articles
between the beacon and the building, which also proved a great
conveniency to the work.  At this period the rope-ladder and
tackle for the mortar had a descent from the beacon to the
building; by and by they were on a level, and towards the end
of the season, when the solid part had attained its full
height, the ascent was from the mortar gallery to the
building.

(1) This is an incurable illusion of my grandfather's; he
always writes `distended' for `extended.' - [R. L. S.]

[Friday, 30th June]

The artificers landed on the rock this morning at a
quarter-past six, and remained at work five hours.  The
cooking apparatus being now in full operation, all hands had
breakfast on the beacon at the usual hour, and remained there
throughout the day.  The crane upon the building had to be
raised to-day from the eighth to the ninth course, an
operation which now required all the strength that could be
mustered for working the guy-tackles; for as the top of the
crane was at this time about thirty-five feet above the rock,
it became much more unmanageable.  While the beam was in the
act of swinging round from one guy to another, a great strain
was suddenly brought upon the opposite tackle, with the end of
which the artificers had very improperly neglected to take a
turn round some stationary object, which would have given them
the complete command of the tackle.  Owing to this simple
omission, the crane got a preponderancy to one side, and fell
upon the building with a terrible crash.  The surrounding
artificers immediately flew in every direction to get out of
its way; but Michael Wishart, the principal builder, having
unluckily stumbled upon one of the uncut trenails, fell upon
his back.  His body fortunately got between the movable beam
and the upright shaft of the crane, and was thus saved; but
his feet got entangled with the wheels of the crane and were
severely injured.  Wishart, being a robust young man, endured
his misfortune with wonderful firmness; he was laid upon one
of the narrow framed beds of the beacon and despatched in a
boat to the tender, where the writer was when this accident
happened, not a little alarmed on missing the crane from the
top of the building, and at the same time seeing a boat rowing
towards the vessel with great speed.  When the boat came
alongside with poor Wishart, stretched upon a bed covered with
blankets, a moment of great anxiety followed, which was,
however, much relieved when, on stepping into the boat, he was
accosted by Wishart, though in a feeble voice, and with an
aspect pale as death from excessive bleeding.  Directions
having been immediately given to the coxswain to apply to Mr.
Kennedy at the workyard to procure the best surgical aid, the
boat was sent off without delay to Arbroath.  The writer then
landed at the rock, when the crane was in a very short time
got into its place and again put in a working state.

[Monday, 3rd July]

The writer having come to Arbroath with the yacht, had an
opportunity of visiting Michael Wishart, the artificer who had
met with so severe an accident at the rock on the 30th ult.,
and had the pleasure to find him in a state of recovery.  From
Dr. Stevenson's account, under whose charge he had been
placed, hopes were entertained that amputation would not be
necessary, as his patient still kept free of fever or any
appearance of mortification; and Wishart expressed a hope that
he might, at least, be ultimately capable of keeping the light
at the Bell Rock, as it was not now likely that he would
assist further in building the house.

[Saturday, 8th July]

It was remarked to-day, with no small demonstration of
joy, that the tide, being neap, did not, for the first time,
overflow the building at high-water.  Flags were accordingly
hoisted on the beacon-house, and crane on the top of the
building, which were repeated from the floating light,
Lighthouse yacht, tender, SMEATON, PATRIOT, and the two
praams.  A salute of three guns was also fired from the yacht
at high-water, when, all the artificers being collected on the
top of the building, three cheers were given in testimony of
this important circumstance.  A glass of rum was then served
out to all hands on the rock and on board of the respective
ships.

[Sunday, 16th July]

Besides laying, boring, trenailing, wedging, and grouting
thirty-two stones, several other operations were proceeded
with on the rock at low-water, when some of the artificers
were employed at the railways, and at high-water at the
beacon-house.  The seamen having prepared a quantity of
tarpaulin, or cloth laid over with successive coats of hot
tar, the joiners had just completed the covering of the roof
with it.  This sort of covering was lighter and more easily
managed than sheet-lead in such a situation.  As a further
defence against the weather the whole exterior of this
temporary residence was painted with three coats of white-lead
paint.  Between the timber framing of the habitable part of
the beacon the interstices were to be stuffed with moss, as a
light substance that would resist dampness and check sifting
winds; the whole interior was then to be lined with green
baize cloth, so that both without and within the cabins were
to have a very comfortable appearance.

Although the building artificers generally remained on
the rock throughout the day, and the millwrights, joiners, and
smiths, while their number was considerable, remained also
during the night, yet the tender had hitherto been considered
as their night quarters.  But the wind having in the course of
the day shifted to the N.W., and as the passage to the tender,
in the boats, was likely to be attended with difficulty, the
whole of the artificers, with Mr. Logan, the foreman,
preferred remaining all night on the beacon, which had of late
become the solitary abode of George-Forsyth, a jobbing
upholsterer, who had been employed in lining the beacon-house
with cloth and in fitting up the bedding.  Forsyth was a tall,
thin, and rather loose-made man, who had an utter aversion at
climbing upon the trap-ladders of the beacon, but especially
at the process of boating, and the motion of the ship, which
he said `was death itself.'  He therefore pertinaciously
insisted with the landing-master in being left upon the
beacon, with a small black dog as his only companion.  The
writer, however, felt some delicacy in leaving a single
individual upon the rock, who must have been so very helpless
in case of accident.  This fabric had, from the beginning,
been rather intended by the writer to guard against accident
from the loss or damage of a boat, and as a place for making
mortar, a smith's shop, and a store for tools during the
working months, than as permanent quarters; nor was it at all
meant to be possessed until tile joiner-work was completely
finished, and his own cabin, and that for the foreman, in
readiness, when it was still to be left to the choice of the
artificers to occupy the tender or the beacon.  He, however,
considered Forsyth's partiality and confidence in the latter
as rather a fortunate occurrence.

[Wednesday, 19th July]

The whole of the artificers, twenty-three in number, now
removed of their own accord from the tender, to lodge in the
beacon, together with Peter Fortune, a person singularly
adapted for a residence of this kind, both from the urbanity
of his manners and the versatility of his talents.  Fortune,
in his person, was of small stature, and rather corpulent.
Besides being a good Scots cook, he had acted both as groom
and house-servant; he had been a soldier, a sutler, a writer's
clerk, and an apothecary, from which he possessed the art of
writing and suggesting recipes, and had hence, also, perhaps,
acquired a turn for making collections in natural history.
But in his practice in surgery on the Bell Rock, for which he
received an annual fee of three guineas, he is supposed to
have been rather partial to the use of the lancet.  In short,
Peter was the FACTOTUM of the beacon-house, where he
ostensibly acted in the several capacities of cook, steward,
surgeon, and barber, and kept a statement of the rations or
expenditure of the provisions with the strictest integrity.

In the present important state of the building, when it
had just attained the height of sixteen feet, and the upper
courses, and especially the imperfect one, were in the wash of
the heaviest seas, an express boat arrived at the rock with a
letter from Mr. Kennedy, of the workyard, stating that in
consequence of the intended expedition to Walcheren, an
embargo had been laid on shipping at all the ports of Great
Britain: that both the SMEATON and PATRIOT were detained at
Arbroath, and that but for the proper view which Mr. Ramsey,
the port officer, had taken of his orders, neither the express
boat nor one which had been sent with provisions and
necessaries for the floating light would have been permitted
to leave the harbour.  The writer set off without delay for
Arbroath, and on landing used every possible means with the
official people, but their orders were deemed so peremptory
that even boats were not permitted to sail from any port upon
the coast.  In the meantime, the collector of the Customs at
Montrose applied to the Board at Edinburgh, but could, of
himself, grant no relief to the Bell Rock shipping.

At this critical period Mr. Adam Duff, then Sheriff of
Forfarshire, now of the county of Edinburgh, and EX OFFICIO
one of the Commissioners of the Northern Lighthouses, happened
to be at Arbroath.  Mr. Duff took an immediate interest in
representing the circumstances of the case to the Board of
Customs at Edinburgh.  But such were the doubts entertained on
the subject that, on having previously received the appeal
from the collector at Montrose, the case had been submitted to
the consideration of the Lords of the Treasury, whose decision
was now waited for.

In this state of things the writer felt particularly
desirous to get the thirteenth course finished, that the
building might be in a more secure state in the event of bad
weather.  An opportunity was therefore embraced on the 25th,
in sailing with provisions for the floating light, to carry
the necessary stones to the rock for this purpose, which were
landed and built on the 26th and 27th.  But so closely was the
watch kept up that a Custom-house officer was always placed on
board of the SMEATON and PATRIOT while they were afloat, till
the embargo was especially removed from the lighthouse
vessels.  The artificers at the Bell Rock had been reduced to
fifteen, who were regularly supplied with provisions, along
with the crew of the floating light, mainly through the port
officer's liberal interpretation of his orders.

[Tuesday, 1st Aug.]

There being a considerable swell and breach of sea upon
the rock yesterday, the stones could not be got landed till
the day following, when the wind shifted to the southward and
the weather improved.  But to-day no less than seventy-eight
blocks of stone were landed, of which forty were built, which
completed the fourteenth and part of the fifteenth courses.
The number of workmen now resident in the beacon-house was
augmented to twenty-four, including the landing-master's crew
from the tender and the boat's crew from the floating light,
who assisted at landing the stones.  Those daily at work upon
the rock at this period amounted to forty-six.  A cabin had
been laid out for the writer on the beacon, but his apartment
had been the last which was finished, and he had not yet taken
possession of it; for though he generally spent the greater
part of the day, at this time, upon the rock, yet he always
slept on board of the tender.

[Friday, 11th Aug.]

The wind was at S. E. on the 11th, and there was so very
heavy a swell of sea upon the rock that no boat could approach
it.

[Saturday, 12th Aug.]

The gale still continuing from the S.E., the sea broke
with great violence both upon the building and the beacon.
The former being twenty-three feet in height, the upper part
of the crane erected on it having been lifted from course to
course as the building advanced, was now about thirty-six feet
above the rock.  From observations made on the rise of the sea
by this crane, the artificers were enabled to estimate its
height to be about fifty feet above the rock, while the sprays
fell with a most alarming noise upon their cabins.  At low-
water, in the evening, a signal was made from the beacon, at
the earnest desire of some of the artificers, for the boats to
come to the rock; and although this could not be effected
without considerable hazard, it was, however, accomplished,
when twelve of their number, being much afraid, applied to the
foreman to be relieved, and went on board of the tender.  But
the remaining fourteen continued on the rock, with Mr. Peter
Logan, the foreman builder.  Although this rule of allowing an
option to every man either to remain on the rock or return to
the tender was strictly adhered to, yet, as it would have been
extremely inconvenient to have the men parcelled out in this
manner, it became necessary to embrace the first opportunity
of sending those who had left the beacon to the workyard, with
as little appearance of intention as possible, lest it should
hurt their feelings, or prevent others from acting according
to their wishes, either in landing on the rock or remaining on
the beacon.

[Tuesday, 15th Aug.]

The wind had fortunately shifted to the S.W. this
morning, and though a considerable breach was still upon the
rock, yet the landing-master's crew were enabled to get one
praam-boat, lightly loaded with five stones, brought in safety
to the western creek; these stones were immediately laid by
the artificers, who gladly embraced the return of good weather
to proceed with their operations.  The writer had this day
taken possession of his cabin in the beacon-house.  It was
small, but commodious, and was found particularly convenient
in coarse and blowing weather, instead of being obliged to
make a passage to the tender in an open boat at all times,
both during the day and the night, which was often attended
with much difficulty and danger.

[Saturday, 19th Aug.]

For some days past the weather had been occasionally so
thick and foggy that no small difficulty was experienced in
going even between the rock and the tender, though quite at
hand.  But the floating light's boat lost her way so far in
returning on board that the first land she made, after rowing
all night, was Fifeness, a distance of about fourteen miles.
The weather having cleared in the morning, the crew stood off
again for the floating light, and got on board in a half-
famished and much exhausted state, having been constantly
rowing for about sixteen hours.

[Sunday, 20th Aug.]

The weather being very favourable to-day, fifty-three
stones were landed, and the builders were not a little
gratified in having built the twenty-second course, consisting
of fifty-one stones, being the first course which had been
completed in one day.  This, as a matter of course, produced
three hearty cheers.  At twelve noon prayers were read for the
first time on the Bell Rock; those present, counting thirty,
were crowded into the upper apartment of the beacon, where the
writer took a central position, while two of the artificers,
joining hands, supported the Bible.

[Friday, 25th Aug.]

To-day the artificers laid forty-five stones, which
completed the twenty-fourth course, reckoning above the first
entire one, and the twenty-sixth above the rock.  This
finished the solid part of the building, and terminated the
height of the outward casing of granite, which is thirty-one
feet six inches above the rock or site of the foundation-
stone, and about seventeen feet above high-water of spring-
tides.  Being a particular crisis in the progress of the
lighthouse, the landing and laying of the last stone for the
season was observed with the usual ceremonies.

From observations often made by the writer, in so far as
such can be ascertained, it appears that no wave in the open
seas, in an unbroken state, rises more than from seven to nine
feet above the general surface of the ocean.  The Bell Rock
Lighthouse may therefore now be considered at from eight to
ten feet above the height of the waves; and, although the
sprays and heavy seas have often been observed, in the present
state of the building, to rise to the height of fifty feet,
and fall with a tremendous noise on the beacon-house, yet such
seas were not likely to make any impression on a mass of solid
masonry, containing about 1400 tons,

[Wednesday, 30th Aug.]

The whole of the artificers left the rock at mid-day,
when the tender made sail for Arbroath, which she reached
about six p.m.  The vessel being decorated with colours, and
having fired a salute of three guns on approaching the
harbour, the workyard artificers, with a multitude of people,
assembled at the harbour, when mutual cheering and
congratulations took place between those afloat and those on
the quays.  The tender had now, with little exception, been
six months on the station at the Bell Rock, and during the
last four months few of the squad of builders had been ashore.
In particular, Mr. Peter Logan, the foreman, and Mr. Robert
Selkirk, principal builder, had never once left the rock.  The
artificers, having made good wages during their stay, like
seamen upon a return voyage, were extremely happy, and spent
the evening with much innocent mirth and jollity.

In reflecting upon the state of the matters at the Bell
Rock during the working months, when the writer was much with
the artificers, nothing can equal the happy manner in which
these excellent workmen spent their time.  They always went
from Arbroath to their arduous task cheering and they
generally returned in the same hearty state.  While at the
rock, between the tides, they amused themselves in reading,
fishing, music, playing cards, draughts, etc., or in sporting
with one another.  In the workyard at Arbroath the young men
were almost, without exception, employed in the evening at
school, in writing and arithmetic, and not a few were learning
architectural drawing, for which they had every convenience
and facility, and were, in a very obliging manner, assisted in
their studies by Mr. David Logan, clerk of the works.  It
therefore affords the most pleasing reflections to look back
upon the pursuits of about sixty individuals who for years
conducted themselves, on all occasions, in a sober and
rational manner.



IV - OPERATIONS OF 1810



[Thursday, 10th May]

The wind had shifted to-day to W.N.W., when the writer,
with considerable difficulty, was enabled to land upon the
rock for the first time this season, at ten a.m.  Upon
examining the state of the building, and apparatus in general,
he had the satisfaction to find everything in good order.  The
mortar in all the joints was perfectly entire.  The building,
now thirty feet in height, was thickly coated with FUCI to the
height of about fifteen feet, calculating from the rock: on
the eastern side, indeed, the growth of seaweed was observable
to the full height of thirty feet, and even on the top or
upper bed of the last-laid course, especially towards the
eastern side, it had germinated, so as to render walking upon
it somewhat difficult.

The beacon-house was in a perfectly sound state, and
apparently just as it had been left in the month of November.
But the tides being neap, the lower parts, particularly where
the beams rested on the rock, could not now be seen.  The
floor of the mortar gallery having been already laid down by
Mr. Watt and his men on a former visit, was merely soaked with
the sprays; but the joisting-beams which supported it had, in
the course of the winter, been covered with a fine downy
conferva produced by the range of the sea.  They were also a
good deal whitened with the mute of the cormorant and other
sea-fowls, which had roosted upon the beacon in winter.  Upon
ascending to the apartments, it was found that the motion of
the sea had thrown open the door of the cook-house: this was
only shut with a single latch, that in case of shipwreck at
the Bell Rock the mariner might find ready access to the
shelter of this forlorn habitation, where a supply of
provisions was kept; and being within two miles and a half of
the floating light, a signal could readily be observed, when a
boat might be sent to his relief as the weather permitted.  An
arrangement for this purpose formed one of the instructions on
board of the floating light, but happily no instance occurred
for putting it in practice.  The hearth or fireplace of the
cook-house was built of brick in as secure a manner as
possible, to prevent accident from fire; but some of the
plaster-work had shaken loose, from its damp state and the
tremulous motion of the beacon in stormy weather.  The writer
next ascended to the floor which was occupied by the cabins of
himself and his assistants, which were in tolerably good
order, having only a damp and musty smell.  The barrack for
the artificers, over all, was next visited; it had now a very
dreary and deserted appearance when its former thronged state
was recollected.  In some parts the water had come through the
boarding, and had discoloured the lining of green cloth, but
it was, nevertheless, in a good habitable condition.  While
the seamen were employed in landing a stock of provisions, a
few of the artificers set to work with great eagerness to
sweep and clean the several apartments.  The exterior of the
beacon was, in the meantime, examined, and found in perfect
order.  The painting, though it had a somewhat blanched
appearance, adhered firmly both on the sides and roof, and
only two or three panes of glass were broken in the cupola,
which had either been blown out by the force of the wind, or
perhaps broken by sea-fowl.

Having on this occasion continued upon the building and
beacon a considerable time after the tide had begun to flow,
the artificers were occupied in removing the forge from the
top of the building, to which the gangway or wooden bridge
gave great facility; and, although it stretched or had a span
of forty-two feet, its construction was extremely simple,
while the road-way was perfectly firm and steady.  In
returning from this visit to the rock every one was pretty
well soused in spray before reaching the tender at two o'clock
p.m., where things awaited the landing party in as comfortable
a way as such a situation would admit.

[Friday, 11th May]

The wind was still easterly, accompanied with rather a
heavy swell of sea for the operations in hand.  A landing was,
however, made this morning, when the artificers were
immediately employed in scraping the seaweed off the upper
course of the building, in order to apply the moulds of the
first course of the staircase, that the joggle-holes might be
marked off in the upper course of the solid.  This was also
necessary previously to the writer's fixing the position of
the entrance door, which was regulated chiefly by the
appearance of the growth of the seaweed on the building,
indicating the direction of the heaviest seas, on the opposite
side of which the door was placed.  The landing-master's crew
succeeded in towing into the creek on the western side of the
rock the praam-boat with the balance-crane, which had now been
on board of the praam for five days.  The several pieces of
this machine, having been conveyed along the railways upon the
waggons to a position immediately under the bridge, were
elevated to its level, or thirty feet above the rock, in the
following manner.  A chain-tackle was suspended over a pulley
from the cross-beam connecting the tops of the kingposts of
the bridge, which was worked by a winch-machine with wheel,
pinion, and barrel, round which last the chain was wound.
This apparatus was placed on the beacon side of the bridge, at
the distance of about twelve feet from the cross-beam and
pulley in the middle of the bridge.  Immediately under the
cross-beam a hatch was formed in the roadway of the bridge,
measuring seven feet in length and five feet in breadth, made
to shut with folding boards like a double door, through which
stones and other articles were raised; the folding doors were
then let down, and the stone or load was gently lowered upon a
waggon which was wheeled on railway trucks towards the
lighthouse.  In this manner the several castings of the
balance-crane were got up to the top of the solid of the
building.

The several apartments of the beacon-house having been
cleaned out and supplied with bedding, a sufficient stock of
provisions was put into the store, when Peter Fortune,
formerly noticed, lighted his fire in the beacon for the first
time this season.  Sixteen artificers at the same time mounted
to their barrack-room, and all the foremen of the works also
took possession of their cabin, all heartily rejoiced at
getting rid of the trouble of boating and the sickly motion of
the tender.

[Saturday, 12th May]

The wind was at E.N.E., blowing so fresh, and accompanied
with so much sea, that no stones could be landed to-day.  The
people on the rock, however, were busily employed in screwing
together the balance-crane, cutting out the joggle-holes in
the upper course, and preparing all things for commencing the
building operations.

[Sunday, 13th May]

The weather still continues boisterous, although the
barometer has all the while stood at about 30 inches.  Towards
evening the wind blew so fresh at E. by S. that the boats both
of the SMEATON and tender were obliged to be hoisted in, and
it was feared that the SMEATON would have to slip her
moorings.  The people on the rock were seen busily employed,
and had the balance-crane apparently ready for use, but no
communication could be had with them to-day.

[Monday, 14th May]

The wind continued to blow so fresh, and the SMEATON rode
so heavily with her cargo, that at noon a signal was made for
her getting under weigh, when she stood towards Arbroath; and
on board of the tender we are still without any communication
with the people on the rock, where the sea was seen breaking
over the top of the building in great sprays, and raging with
much agitation among the beams of the beacon.

[Thursday, 17th May]

The wind, in the course of the day, had shifted from
north to west; the sea being also considerably less, a boat
landed on the rock at six p.m., for the first time since the
11th, with the provisions and water brought off by the
PATRIOT.  The inhabitants of the beacon were all well, but
tired above measure for want of employment, as the balance-
crane and apparatus was all in readiness.  Under these
circumstances they felt no less desirous of the return of good
weather than those afloat, who were continually tossed with
the agitation of the sea.  The writer, in particular, felt
himself almost as much fatigued and worn-out as he had been at
any period since the commencement of the work.  The very
backward state of the weather at so advanced a period of the
season unavoidably created some alarm, lest he should be
overtaken with bad weather at a late period of the season,
with the building operations in an unfinished state.  These
apprehensions were, no doubt, rather increased by the
inconveniences of his situation afloat, as the tender rolled
and pitched excessively at times.  This being also his first
off-set for the season, every bone of his body felt sore with
preserving a sitting posture while he endeavoured to pass away
the time in reading; as for writing, it was wholly
impracticable.  He had several times entertained thoughts of
leaving the station for a few days and going into Arbroath
with the tender till the weather should improve; but as the
artificers had been landed on the rock he was averse to this
at the commencement of the season, knowing also that he would
be equally uneasy in every situation till the first cargo was
landed: and he therefore resolved to continue at his post
until this should be effected.

[Friday, 18th May]

The wind being now N.W., the sea was considerably run
down, and this morning at five o'clock the landing-master's
crew, thirteen in number, left the tender; and having now no
detention with the landing of artificers, they proceeded to
unmoor the HEDDERWICK praam-boat, and towed her alongside of
the SMEATON: and in the course of the day twenty-three blocks
of stone, three casks of pozzolano, three of sand, three of
lime, and one of Roman cement, together with three bundles of
trenails and three of wedges, were all landed on the rock and
raised the top of the building by means of the tackle
suspended from the cross-beam on the middle of the bridge.
The stones were then moved along the bridge on the waggon to
the building within reach of the balance-crane, with which
they were laid in their respective places on the building.
The masons immediately thereafter proceeded to bore the
trenail-holes into the course below, and otherwise to complete
the one in hand.  When the first stone was to be suspended by
the balance-crane, the bell on the beacon was rung, and all
the artificers and seamen were collected on the building.
Three hearty cheers were given while it was lowered into its
place, and the steward served round a glass of rum, when
success was drunk to the further progress of the building.

[Sunday, 20th May]

The wind was southerly to-day, but there was much less
sea than yesterday, and the landing-master's crew were enabled
to discharge and land twenty-three pieces of stone and other
articles for the work.  The artificers had completed the
laying of the twenty-seventh or first course of the staircase
this morning, and in the evening they finished the boring,
trenailing, wedging, and grouting it with mortar.  At twelve
o'clock noon the beacon-house bell was rung, and all hands
were collected on the top of the building, where prayers were
read for the first time on the lighthouse, which forcibly
struck every one, and had, upon the whole, a very impressive
effect.

From the hazardous situation of the beacon-house with
regard to fire, being composed wholly of timber, there was no
small risk from accident: and on this account one of the most
steady of the artificers was appointed to see that the fire of
the cooking-house, and the lights in general, were carefully
extinguished at stated hours.

[Monday, 4th June]

This being the birthday of our much-revered Sovereign
King George III, now in the fiftieth year of his reign, the
shipping of the Lighthouse service were this morning decorated
with colours according to the taste of their respective
captains.  Flags were also hoisted upon the beacon-house and
balance-crane on the top of the building.  At twelve noon a
salute was fired from the tender, when the King's health was
drunk, with all the honours, both on the rock and on board of
the shipping.

[Tuesday, 5th June]

As the lighthouse advanced in height, the cubical
contents of the stones were less, but they had to be raised to
a greater height; and the walls, being thinner, were less
commodious for the necessary machinery and the artificers
employed, which considerably retarded the work.  Inconvenience
was also occasionally experienced from the men dropping their
coats, hats, mallets, and other tools, at high-water, which
were carried away by the tide; and the danger to the people
themselves was now greatly increased.  Had any of them fallen
from the beacon or building at high-water, while the landing-
master's crew were generally engaged with the craft at a
distance, it must have rendered the accident doubly painful to
those on the rock, who at this time had no boat, and
consequently no means of rendering immediate and prompt
assistance.  In such cases it would have been too late to have
got a boat by signal from the tender.  A small boat, which
could be lowered at pleasure, was therefore suspended by a
pair of davits projected from the cook-house, the keel being
about thirty feet from the rock.  This boat, with its tackle
was put under the charge of James Glen, of whose exertions on
the beacon mention has already been made, and who, having in
early life been a seaman, was also very expert in the
management of a boat.  A life-buoy was likewise suspended from
the bridge, to which a coil of line two hundred fathoms in
length was attached, which could be let out to a person
falling into the water, or to the people in the boat, should
they not be able to work her with the oars.

[Tuesday, 7th June]

To-day twelve stones were landed on the rock, being the
remainder of the PATRIOT'S cargo; and the artificers built the
thirty-ninth course, consisting of fourteen stones.  The Bell
Rock works had now a very busy appearance, as the lighthouse
was daily getting more into form.  Besides the artificers and
their cook, the writer and his servant were also lodged on the
beacon, counting in all twenty-nine; and at low-water the
landing-master's crew, consisting of from twelve to fifteen
seamen, were employed in transporting the building materials,
working the landing apparatus on the rock, and dragging the
stone waggons along the railways.

[Friday, 8th June]

In the course of this day the weather varied much.  In
the morning it was calm, in the middle part of the day there
were light airs of wind from the south, and in the evening
fresh breezes from the east.  The barometer in the writer's
cabin in the beacon-house oscillated from 30 inches to 30.42,
and the weather was extremely pleasant.  This, in any
situation, forms one of the chief comforts of life; but, as
may easily be conceived, it was doubly so to people stuck, as
it were, upon a pinnacle in the middle of the ocean.

[Sunday, 10th June]

One of the praam-boats had been brought to the rock with
eleven stones, notwithstanding the perplexity which attended
the getting of those formerly landed taken up to the building.
Mr. Peter Logan, the foreman builder, interposed, and
prevented this cargo from being delivered; but the landing-
master's crew were exceedingly averse to this arrangement,
from an idea that "ill luck" would in future attend the praam,
her cargo, and those who navigated her, from thus reversing
her voyage.  It may be noticed that this was the first
instance of a praam-boat having been sent from the Bell Rock
with any part of her cargo on board, and was considered so
uncommon an occurrence that it became a topic of conversation
among the seamen and artificers.

[Tuesday, 12th June]

To-day the stones formerly sent from the rock were safely
landed, notwithstanding the augury of the seamen in
consequence of their being sent away two days before.

[Thursday, 14th June]

To-day twenty-seven stones and eleven joggle-pieces were
landed, part of which consisted of the forty-seventh course,
forming the storeroom floor.  The builders were at work this
morning by four o'clock, in the hopes of being able to
accomplish the laying of the eighteen stones of this course.
But at eight o'clock in the evening they had still two to lay,
and as the stones of this course were very unwieldy, being six
feet in length, they required much precaution and care both in
lifting and laying them.  It was only on the writer's
suggestion to Mr. Logan that the artificers were induced to
leave off, as they had intended to complete this floor before
going to bed.  The two remaining stones were, however, laid in
their places without mortar when the bell on the beacon was
rung, and, all hands being collected on the top of the
building, three hearty cheers were given on covering the first
apartment.  The steward then served out a dram to each, when
the whole retired to their barrack much fatigued, but with the
anticipation of the most perfect repose even in the
"hurricane-house," amidst the dashing seas on the Bell Rock.

While the workmen were at breakfast and dinner it was the
writer's usual practice to spend his time on the walls of the
building, which, notwithstanding the narrowness of the track,
nevertheless formed his principal walk when the rock was under
water.  But this afternoon he had his writing-desk set upon
the storeroom floor, when he wrote to Mrs. Stevenson -
certainly the first letter dated from the Bell Rock LIGHTHOUSE
- giving a detail of the fortunate progress of the work with
an assurance that the lighthouse would soon be completed at
the rate at which it now proceeded; and, the PATRIOT having
sailed for Arbroath in the evening, he felt no small degree of
pleasure in despatching this communication to his family.

The weather still continuing favourable for the
operations at the rock, the work proceeded with much energy,
through the exertions both of the seamen and artificers.  For
the more speedy and effectual working of the several tackles
in raising the materials as the building advanced in height,
and there being a great extent of railway to attend to, which
required constant repairs, two additional millwrights were
added to the complement on the rock, which, including the
writer, now counted thirty-one in all.  So crowded was the
men's barrack that the beds were ranged five tier in height,
allowing only about one foot eight inches for each bed.  The
artificers commenced this morning at five o'clock, and, in the
course of the day, they laid the forty-eighth and forty-ninth
courses, consisting each of sixteen blocks.  From the
favourable state of the weather, and the regular manner in
which the work now proceeded, the artificers had generally
from four to seven extra hours' work, which, including their
stated wages of 3s. 4d., yielded them from 5s. 4d. to about
6s. 10d. per day besides their board; even the postage of
their letters was paid while they were at the Bell Rock.  In
these advantages the foremen also shared, having about double
the pay and amount of premiums of the artificers.  The seamen
being less out of their element in the Bell Rock operations
than the landsmen, their premiums consisted in a slump sum
payable at the end of the season, which extended from three to
ten guineas.

As the laying of the floors was somewhat tedious, the
landing-master and his crew had got considerably beforehand
with the building artificers in bringing materials faster to
the rock than they could be built.  The seamen having,
therefore, some spare time, were occasionally employed during
fine weather in dredging or grappling for the several mushroom
anchors and mooring-chains which had been lost in the vicinity
of the Bell Rock during the progress of the work by the
breaking loose and drifting of the floating buoys.  To
encourage their exertions in this search, five guineas were
offered as a premium for each set they should find; and, after
much patient application, they succeeded to-day in hooking one
of these lost anchors with its chain.

It was a general remark at the Bell Rock, as before
noticed, that fish were never plenty in its neighbourhood
excepting in good weather.  Indeed, the seamen used to
speculate about the state of the weather from their success in
fishing.  When the fish disappeared at the rock, it was
considered a sure indication that a gale was not far off, as
the fish seemed to seek shelter in deeper water from the
roughness of the sea during these changes in the weather.  At
this time the rock, at high-water, was completely covered with
podlies, or the fry of the coal-fish, about six or eight
inches in length.  The artificers sometimes occupied half an
hour after breakfast and dinner in catching these little
fishes, but were more frequently supplied from the boats of
the tender.

[Saturday, 16th June]

The landing-master having this day discharged the SMEATON
and loaded the HEDDERWICK AND DICKIE praam-boats with nineteen
stones, they were towed to their respective moorings, when
Captain Wilson, in consequence of the heavy swell of sea, came
in his boat to the beacon-house to consult with the writer as
to the propriety of venturing the loaded praam-boats with
their cargoes to the rock while so much sea was running.
After some dubiety expressed on the subject, in which the
ardent mind of the landing-master suggested many arguments in
favour of his being able to convey the praams in perfect
safety, it was acceded to.  In bad weather, and especially on
occasions of difficulty like the present, Mr. Wilson, who was
an extremely active seaman, measuring about five feet three
inches in height, of a robust habit, generally dressed himself
in what he called a MONKEY JACKET, made of thick duffle cloth,
with a pair of Dutchman's petticoat trousers, reaching only to
his knees, where they were met with a pair of long water-tight
boots; with this dress, his glazed hat, and his small brass
speaking trumpet in his hand, he bade defiance to the weather.
When he made his appearance in this most suitable attire for
the service his crew seemed to possess additional life, never
failing to use their utmost exertions when the captain put on
his STORM RIGGING.  They had this morning commenced loading
the praam-boats at four o'clock, and proceeded to tow them
into the eastern landing-place, which was accomplished with
much dexterity, though not without the risk of being thrown,
by the force of the sea, on certain projecting ledges of the
rock.  In such a case the loss even of a single stone would
have greatly retarded the work.  For the greater safety in
entering the creek it was necessary to put out several warps
and guy-ropes to guide the boats into its narrow and intricate
entrance; and it frequently happened that the sea made a clean
breach over the praams, which not only washed their decks, but
completely drenched the crew in water.

[Sunday, 17th June]

It was fortunate, in the present state of the weather,
that the fiftieth course was in a sheltered spot, within the
reach of the tackle of the winch-machine upon the bridge; a
few stones were stowed upon the bridge itself, and the
remainder upon the building, which kept the artificers at
work.  The stowing of the materials upon the rock was the
department of Alexander Brebner, mason, who spared no pains in
attending to the safety of the stones, and who, in the present
state of the work, when the stones were landed faster than
could be built, generally worked till the water rose to his
middle.  At one o'clock to-day the bell rung for prayers, and
all hands were collected into the upper barrack-room of the
beacon-house, when the usual service was performed.

The wind blew very hard in the course of last night from
N.E., and to-day the sea ran so high that no boat could
approach the rock.  During the dinner-hour, when the writer
was going to the top of the building as usual, but just as he
had entered the door and was about to ascend the ladder, a
great noise was heard overhead, and in an instant he was
soused in water from a sea which had most unexpectedly come
over the walls, though now about fifty-eight feet in height.
On making his retreat he found himself completely whitened by
the lime, which had mixed with the water while dashing down
through the different floors; and, as nearly as he could
guess, a quantity equal to about a hogshead had come over the
walls, and now streamed out at the door.  After having shifted
himself, he again sat down in his cabin, the sea continuing to
run so high that the builders did not resume their operations
on the walls this afternoon.  The incident just noticed did
not create more surprise in the mind of the writer than the
sublime appearance of the waves as they rolled majestically
over the rock.  This scene he greatly enjoyed while sitting at
his cabin window; each wave approached the beacon like a vast
scroll unfolding; and in passing discharged a quantity of air,
which he not only distinctly felt, but was even sufficient to
lift the leaves of a book which lay before him.  These waves
might be ten or twelve feet in height, and about 250 feet in
length, their smaller end being towards the north, where the
water was deep, and they were opened or cut through by the
interposition of the building and beacon.  The gradual manner
in which the sea, upon these occasions, is observed to become
calm or to subside, is a very remarkable feature of this
phenomenon.  For example, when a gale is succeeded by a calm,
every third or fourth wave forms one of these great seas,
which occur in spaces of from three to five minutes, as noted
by the writer's watch; but in the course of the next tide they
become less frequent, and take off so as to occur only in ten
or fifteen minutes; and, singular enough, at the third tide
after such gales, the writer has remarked that only one or two
of these great waves appear in the course of the whole tide.

[Tuesday, 19th June]

The 19th was a very unpleasant and disagreeable day, both
for the seamen and artificers, as it rained throughout with
little intermission from four a.m. till eleven p.m.,
accompanied with thunder and lightning, during which period
the work nevertheless continued unremittingly, and the
builders laid the fifty-first and fifty-second courses.  This
state of weather was no less severe upon the mortar-makers,
who required to temper or prepare the mortar of a thicker or
thinner consistency, in some measure, according to the state
of the weather.  From the elevated position of the building,
the mortar gallery on the beacon was now much lower, and the
lime-buckets were made to traverse upon a rope distended
between it and the building.  On occasions like the present,
however, there was often a difference of opinion between the
builders and the mortar-makers.  John Watt, who had the
principal charge of the mortar, was a most active worker, but,
being somewhat of an irascible temper, the builders
occasionally amused themselves at his expense; for while he
was eagerly at work with his large iron-shod pestle in the
mortar-tub, they often sent down contradictory orders, some
crying, `Make it a little stiffer, or thicker, John,' while
others called out to make it `thinner,' to which he generally
returned very speedy and sharp replies, so that these
conversations at times were rather amusing.

During wet weather the situation of the artificers on the
top of the building was extremely disagreeable; for although
their work did not require great exertion, yet, as each man
had his particular part to perform, either in working the
crane or in laying the stones, it required the closest
application and attention, not only on the part of Mr. Peter
Logan, the foreman, who was constantly on the walls, but also
of the chief workmen.  Robert Selkirk, the principal builder,
for example, had every stone to lay in its place.  David
Cumming, a mason, had the charge of working the tackle of the
balance-weight, and James Scott, also a mason, took charge of
the purchase with which the stones were laid; while the
pointing the joints of the walls with cement was intrusted to
William Reid and William Kennedy, who stood upon a scaffold
suspended over the walls in rather a frightful manner.  The
least act of carelessness or inattention on the part of any of
these men might have been fatal, not only to themselves, but
also to the surrounding workmen, especially if any accident
had happened to the crane itself, while the material damage or
loss of a single stone would have put an entire stop to the
operations until another could have been brought from
Arbroath.  The artificers, having wrought seven and a half
hours of extra time to-day, had 3s. 9d. of extra pay, while
the foremen had 7s. 6d. over and above their stated pay and
board.  Although, therefore, the work was both hazardous and
fatiguing, yet, the encouragement being considerable, they
were always very cheerful, and perfectly reconciled to the
confinement and other disadvantages of the place.

During fine weather, and while the nights were short, the
duty on board of the floating light was literally nothing but
a waiting on, and therefore one of her boats, with a crew of
five men, daily attended the rock, but always returned to the
vessel at night.  The carpenter, however, was one of those who
was left on board of the ship, as he also acted in the
capacity of assistant lightkeeper, being, besides, a person
who was apt to feel discontent and to be averse to changing
his quarters, especially to work with the millwrights and
joiners at the rock, who often, for hours together, wrought
knee-deep, and not unfrequently up to the middle, in water.
Mr. Watt having about this time made a requisition for another
hand, the carpenter was ordered to attend the rock in the
floating light's boat.  This he did with great reluctance, and
found so much fault that he soon got into discredit with his
messmates.  On this occasion he left the Lighthouse service,
and went as a sailor in a vessel bound for America - a step
which, it is believed, he soon regretted, as, in the course of
things, he would, in all probability, have accompanied Mr.
John Reid, the principal lightkeeper of the floating light, to
the Bell Rock Lighthouse as his principal assistant.  The
writer had a wish to be of service to this man, as he was one
of those who came off to the floating light in the month of
September 1807, while she was riding at single anchor after
the severe gale of the 7th, at a time when it was hardly
possible to make up this vessel's crew; but the crossness of
his manner prevented his reaping the benefit of such
intentions.

[Friday, 22nd June]

The building operations had for some time proceeded more
slowly, from the higher parts of the lighthouse requiring much
longer time than an equal tonnage of the lower courses.  The
duty of the landing-master's crew had, upon the whole, been
easy of late; for though the work was occasionally irregular,
yet the stones being lighter, they were more speedily lifted
from the hold of the stone vessel to the deck of the praam-
boat, and again to the waggons on the railway, after which
they came properly under the charge of the foreman builder.
It is, however, a strange, though not an uncommon, feature in
the human character, that, when people have least to complain
of, they are most apt to become dissatisfied, as was now the
case with the seamen employed in the Bell Rock service about
their rations of beer.  Indeed, ever since the carpenter of
the floating light, formerly noticed, had been brought to the
rock, expressions of discontent had been manifested upon
various occasions.  This being represented to the writer, he
sent for Captain Wilson, the landing-master, and Mr. Taylor,
commander of the tender, with whom he talked over the subject.
They stated that they considered the daily allowance of the
seamen in every respect ample, and that, the work being now
much lighter than formerly, they had no just ground for
complaint; Mr. Taylor adding that, if those who now complained
`were even to be fed upon soft bread and turkeys, they would
not think themselves right.'  At twelve noon the work of the
landing-master's crew was completed for the day; but at four
o'clock, while the rock was under water, those on the beacon
were surprised by the arrival of a boat from the tender
without any signal having been made from the beacon.  It
brought the following note to the writer from the landing-
master's crew:-


`SIR JOSEPH BANKS TENDER.

`SIR, - We are informed by our masters that our allowance
is to be as before, and it is not sufficient to serve us, for
we have been at work since four o'clock this morning, and we
have come on board to dinner, and there is no beer for us
before tomorrow morning, to which a sufficient answer is
required before we go from the beacon; and we are, Sir, your
most obedient servants.'


On reading this, the writer returned a verbal message,
intimating that an answer would be sent on board of the
tender, at the same time ordering the boat instantly to quit
the beacon.  He then addressed the following note to the
landing-master:-


`BEACON-HOUSE, 22ND JUNE 1810,
FIVE O'CLOCK P.M.

`SIR, - I have just now received a letter purporting to
be from the landing-master's crew and seamen on board of the
SIR JOSEPH BANKS, though without either date or signature; in
answer to which I enclose a statement of the daily allowance
of provisions for the seamen in this service, which you will
post up in the ship's galley, and at seven o'clock this
evening I will come on board to inquire into this unexpected
and most unnecessary demand for an additional allowance of
beer.  In the enclosed you will not find any alteration from
the original statement, fixed in the galley at the beginning
of the season.  I have, however, judged this mode of giving
your people an answer preferable to that of conversing with
them on the beacon.  - I am, Sir, your most obedient servant,
ROBERT STEVENSON.

`To CAPTAIN WILSON.'

`BEACON HOUSE, 22ND JUNE 1810. - Schedule of the daily
allowance of provisions to be served out on board of the SIR
JOSEPH BANKS tender: "1.5 lb. beef; 1 lb. bread; 8 oz.
oatmeal; 2 oz. barley; 2 oz. butter; 3 quarts beer; vegetables
and salt no stated allowance.  When the seamen are employed in
unloading the SMEATON and PATRIOT, a draught of beer is, as
formerly, to be allowed from the stock of these vessels.
Further, in wet and stormy weather, or when the work commences
very early in the morning, or continues till a late hour at
night, a glass of spirits will also be served out to the crew
as heretofore, on the requisition of the landing-master."
ROBERT STEVENSON.'


On writing this letter and schedule, a signal was made on
the beacon for the landing-master's boat, which immediately
came to the rock, and the schedule was afterwards stuck up in
the tender's galley.  When sufficient time had been allowed to
the crew to consider of their conduct, a second signal was
made for a boat, and at seven o'clock the writer left the Bell
Rock, after a residence of four successive weeks in the
beacon-house.  The first thing which occupied his attention on
board of the tender was to look round upon the lighthouse,
which he saw, with some degree of emotion and surprise, now
vying in height with the beacon-house; for although he had
often viewed it from the extremity of the western railway on
the rock, yet the scene, upon the whole, seemed far more
interesting from the tender's moorings at the distance of
about half a mile.

The SMEATON having just arrived at her moorings with a
cargo, a signal was made for Captain Pool to come on board of
the tender, that he might be at hand to remove from the
service any of those who might persist in their discontented
conduct.  One of the two principal leaders in this affair, the
master of one of the praam-boats, who had also steered the
boat which brought the letter to the beacon, was first called
upon deck, and asked if he had read the statement fixed up in
the galley this afternoon, and whether he was satisfied with
it.  He replied that he had read the paper, but was not
satisfied, as it held out no alteration in the allowance, on
which he was immediately ordered into the SMEATON'S boat.  The
next man called had but lately entered the service, and, being
also interrogated as to his resolution, he declared himself to
be of the same mind with the praam-master, and was also
forthwith ordered into the boat.  The writer, without calling
any more of the seamen, went forward to the gangway, where
they were collected and listening to what was passing upon
deck.  He addressed them at the hatchway, and stated that two
of their companions had just been dismissed the service and
sent on board of the SMEATON to be conveyed to Arbroath.  He
therefore wished each man to consider for himself how far it
would be proper, by any unreasonableness of conduct, to place
themselves in a similar situation, especially as they were
aware that it was optional in him either to dismiss them or
send them on board a man-of-war.  It might appear that much
inconveniency would be felt at the rock by a change of hands
at this critical period, by checking for a time the progress
of a building so intimately connected with the best interests
of navigation; yet this would be but of a temporary nature,
while the injury to themselves might be irreparable.  It was
now therefore, required of any man who, in this disgraceful
manner, chose to leave the service, that he should instantly
make his appearance on deck while the SMEATON'S boat was
alongside.  But those below having expressed themselves
satisfied with their situation-viz., William Brown, George
Gibb, Alexander Scott, John Dick, Robert Couper, Alexander
Shephard, James Grieve, David Carey, William Pearson, Stuart
Eaton, Alexander Lawrence, and John Spink - were accordingly
considered as having returned to their duty.  This disposition
to mutiny, which had so strongly manifested itself, being now
happily suppressed, Captain Pool got orders to proceed for
Arbroath Bay, and land the two men he had on board, and to
deliver the following letter at the office of the workyard:-


'ON BOARD OF THE TENDER OFF THE BELL ROCK,
22ND JUNE 1810, EIGHT O'CLOCK P.M.

`DEAR SIR, - A discontented and mutinous spirit having
manifested itself of late among the landing-master's crew,
they struck work to-day and demanded an additional allowance
of beer, and I have found it necessary to dismiss D-d and M-e,
who are now sent on shore with the SMEATON.  You will
therefore be so good as to pay them their wages, including
this day only.  Nothing can be more unreasonable than the
conduct of the seamen on this occasion, as the landing-
master's crew not only had their allowance on board of the
tender, but, in the course of this day, they had drawn no
fewer than twenty-four quart pots of beer from the stock of
the PATRIOT while unloading her.  - I remain, yours truly,
ROBERT STEVENSON.

`To Mr. LACHLAN KENNEDY,
Bell Rock Office, Arbroath.'


On despatching this letter to Mr. Kennedy, the writer
returned to the beacon about nine o'clock, where this
afternoon's business had produced many conjectures, especially
when the SMEATON got under weigh, instead of proceeding to
land her cargo.  The bell on the beacon being rung, the
artificers were assembled on the bridge, when the affair was
explained to them.  He, at the same time, congratulated them
upon the first appearance of mutiny being happily set at rest
by the dismissal of its two principal abettors.

[Sunday, 24th June]

At the rock the landing of the materials and the building
operations of the light-room store went on successfully, and
in a way similar to those of the provision store.  To-day it
blew fresh breezes; but the seamen nevertheless landed twenty-
eight stones, and the artificers built the fifty-eighth and
fifty-ninth courses.  The works were visited by Mr. Murdoch,
junior, from Messrs. Boulton and Watt's works of Soho.  He
landed just as the bell rung for prayers, after which the
writer enjoyed much pleasure from his very intelligent
conversation; and, having been almost the only stranger he had
seen for some weeks, he parted with him, after a short
interview, with much regret.

[Thursday, 28th June]

Last night the wind had shifted to north-east, and,
blowing fresh, was accompanied with a heavy surf upon the
rock.  Towards high-water it had a very grand and wonderful
appearance.  Waves of considerable magnitude rose as high as
the solid or level of the entrance-door, which, being open to
the south-west, was fortunately to the leeward; but on the
windward side the sprays flew like lightning up the sloping
sides of the building; and although the walls were now
elevated sixty-four feet above the rock, and about fifty-two
feet from high-water mark, yet the artificers were
nevertheless wetted, and occasionally interrupted, in their
operations on the top of the walls.  These appearances were,
in a great measure, new at the Bell Rock, there having till of
late been no building to conduct the seas, or object to
compare with them.  Although, from the description of the
Eddystone Lighthouse, the mind was prepared for such effects,
yet they were not expected to the present extent in the summer
season; the sea being most awful to-day, whether observed from
the beacon or the building.  To windward, the sprays fell from
the height above noticed in the most wonderful cascades, and
streamed down the walls of the building in froth as white as
snow.  To leeward of the lighthouse the collision or meeting
of the waves produced a pure white kind of DRIFT; it rose
about thirty feet in height, like a fine downy mist, which, in
its fall, fell upon the face and hands more like a dry powder
than a liquid substance.  The effect of these seas, as they
raged among the beams and dashed upon the higher parts of the
beacon, produced a temporary tremulous motion throughout the
whole fabric, which to a stranger must have been frightful.

[Sunday, 1st July]

The writer had now been at the Bell Rock since the latter
end of May, or about six weeks, during four of which he had
been a constant inhabitant of the beacon without having been
once off the rock.  After witnessing the laying of the sixty-
seventh or second course of the bedroom apartment, he left the
rock with the tender and went ashore, as some arrangements
were to be made for the future conduct of the works at
Arbroath, which were soon to be brought to a close; the
landing-master's crew having, in the meantime, shifted on
board of the PATRIOT.  In leaving the rock, the writer kept
his eyes fixed upon the lighthouse, which had recently got
into the form of a house, having several tiers or stories of
windows.  Nor was he unmindful of his habitation in the beacon
- now far overtopped by the masonry, - where he had spent
several weeks in a kind of active retirement, making practical
experiment of the fewness of the positive wants of man.  His
cabin measured not more than four feet three inches in breadth
on the floor; and though, from the oblique direction of the
beams of the beacon, it widened towards the top, yet it did
not admit of the full extension of his arms when he stood on
the floor; while its length was little more than sufficient
for suspending a cot-bed during the night, calculated for
being triced up to the roof through the day, which left free
room for the admission of occasional visitants.  His folding
table was attached with hinges, immediately under the small
window of the apartment, and his books, barometer,
thermometer, portmanteau, and two or three camp-stools, formed
the bulk of his movables.  His diet being plain, the
paraphernalia of the table were proportionally simple; though
everything had the appearance of comfort, and even of
neatness, the walls being covered with green cloth formed into
panels with red tape, and his bed festooned with curtains of
yellow cotton-stuff.  If, in speculating upon the abstract
wants of man in such a state of exclusion, one were reduced to
a single book, the Sacred Volume - whether considered for the
striking diversity of its story, the morality of its doctrine,
or the important truths of its gospel - would have proved by
far the greatest treasure.

[Monday, 2nd July]

In walking over the workyard at Arbroath this morning,
the writer found that the stones of the course immediately
under the cornice were all in hand, and that a week's work
would now finish the whole, while the intermediate courses lay
ready numbered and marked for shipping to the rock.  Among
other subjects which had occupied his attention to-day was a
visit from some of the relations of George Dall, a young man
who had been impressed near Dundee in the month of February
last; a dispute had arisen between the magistrates of that
burgh and the Regulating Officer as to his right of impressing
Dall, who was BONA FIDE one of the protected seamen in the
Bell Rock service.  In the meantime, the poor lad was
detained, and ultimately committed to the prison of Dundee, to
remain until the question should be tried before the Court of
Session.  His friends were naturally very desirous to have him
relieved upon bail.  But, as this was only to be done by the
judgment of the Court, all that could be said was that his pay
and allowances should be continued in the same manner as if he
had been upon the sick-list.  The circumstances of Dall's case
were briefly these:- He had gone to see some of his friends in
the neighbourhood of Dundee, in winter, while the works were
suspended, having got leave of absence from Mr. Taylor, who
commanded the Bell Rock tender, and had in his possession one
of the Protection Medals.  Unfortunately, however, for Dall,
the Regulating Officer thought proper to disregard these
documents, as, according to the strict and literal
interpretation of the Admiralty regulations, a seaman does not
stand protected unless he is actually on board of his ship, or
in a boat belonging to her, or has the Admiralty protection in
his possession.  This order of the Board, however, cannot be
rigidly followed in practice; and therefore, when the matter
is satisfactorily stated to the Regulating Officer, the
impressed man is generally liberated.  But in Dall's case this
was peremptorily refused, and he was retained at the instance
of the magistrates.  The writer having brought the matter
under the consideration of the Commissioners of the Northern
Lighthouses, they authorised it to be tried on the part of the
Lighthouse Board, as one of extreme hardship.  The Court, upon
the first hearing, ordered Dall to be liberated from prison;
and the proceedings never went further.

[Wednesday, 4th July]

Being now within twelve courses of being ready for
building the cornice, measures were taken for getting the
stones of it and the parapet-wall of the light-room brought
from Edinburgh, where, as before noticed, they had been
prepared and were in readiness for shipping.  The honour of
conveying the upper part of the lighthouse, and of landing the
last stone of the building on the rock, was considered to
belong to Captain Pool of the SMEATON, who had been longer in
the service than the master of the PATRIOT.  The SMEATON was,
therefore, now partly loaded with old iron, consisting of
broken railways and other lumber which had been lying about
the rock.  After landing these at Arbroath, she took on board
James Craw, with his horse and cart, which could now be spared
at the workyard, to be employed in carting the stones from
Edinburgh to Leith.  Alexander Davidson and William Kennedy,
two careful masons, were also sent to take charge of the
loading of the stones at Greenside, and stowing them on board
of the vessel at Leith.  The writer also went on board, with a
view to call at the Bell Rock and to take his passage up the
Firth of Forth.  The wind, however, coming to blow very fresh
from the eastward, with thick and foggy weather, it became
necessary to reef the mainsail and set the second jib.  When
in the act of making a tack towards the tender, the sailors
who worked the head-sheets were, all of a sudden, alarmed with
the sound of the smith's hammer and anvil on the beacon, and
had just time to put the ship about to save her from running
ashore on the northwestern point of the rock, marked `James
Craw's Horse.'  On looking towards the direction from whence
the sound came, the building and beacon-house were seen, with
consternation, while the ship was hailed by those on the rock,
who were no less confounded at seeing the near approach of the
SMEATON; and, just as the vessel cleared the danger, the smith
and those in the mortar gallery made signs in token of their
happiness at our fortunate escape.  From this occurrence the
writer had an experimental proof of the utility of the large
bells which were in preparation to be rung by the machinery of
the revolving light; for, had it not been the sound of the
smith's anvil, the SMEATON, in all probability, would have
been wrecked upon the rock.  In case the vessel had struck,
those on board might have been safe, having now the beacon-
house, as a place of refuge; but the vessel, which was going
at a great velocity, must have suffered severely, and it was
more than probable that the horse would have been drowned,
there being no means of getting him out of the vessel.  Of
this valuable animal and his master we shall take an
opportunity of saying more in another place.

[Thursday, 5th July]

The weather cleared up in the course of the night, but
the wind shifted to the N.E. and blew very fresh.  From the
force of the wind, being now the period of spring-tides, a
very heavy swell was experienced at the rock.  At two o'clock
on the following morning the people on the beacon were in a
state of great alarm about their safety, as the sea had broke
up part of the floor of the mortar gallery!, which was thus
cleared of the lime-casks and other buoyant articles; and, the
alarm-bell being rung, all hands were called to render what
assistance was in their power for the safety of themselves and
the materials.  At this time some would willingly have left
the beacon and gone into the building: the sea, however, ran
so high that there was no passage along the bridge of
communication, and, when the interior of the lighthouse came
to be examined in the morning, it appeared that great
quantities of water had come over the walls - now eighty feet
in height - and had run down through the several apartments
and out at the entrance door.

The upper course of the lighthouse at the workyard of
Arbroath was completed on the 6th, and the whole of the stones
were, therefore, now ready for being shipped to the rock.
From the present state of the works it was impossible that the
two squads of artificers at Arbroath and the Bell Rock could
meet together at this period; and as in public works of this
kind, which had continued for a series of years, it is not
customary to allow the men to separate without what is termed
a "finishing-pint," five guineas were for this purpose placed
at the disposal of Mr. David Logan, clerk of works.  With this
sum the stone-cutters at Arbroath had a merry meeting in their
barrack, collected their sweethearts and friends, and
concluded their labours with a dance.  It was remarked,
however, that their happiness on this occasion was not without
alloy.  The consideration of parting and leaving a steady and
regular employment, to go in quest of work and mix with other
society, after having been harmoniously lodged for years
together in one large "guildhall or barrack," was rather
painful.

[Friday, 6th July]

While the writer was at Edinburgh he was fortunate enough
to meet with Mrs. Dickson, only daughter of the late
celebrated Mr. Smeaton, whose works at the Eddystone
Lighthouse had been of such essential consequence to the
operations at the Bell Rock.  Even her own elegant
accomplishments are identified with her father's work, she
having herself made the drawing of the vignette on the title-
page of the NARRATIVE OF THE EDDYSTONE LIGHTHOUSE.  Every
admirer of the works of that singularly eminent man must also
feel an obligation to her for the very comprehensive and
distinct account given of his life, which is attached to his
reports, published, in three volumes quarto, by the Society of
Civil Engineers.  Mrs. Dickson, being at this time returning
from a tour to the Hebrides and Western Highlands of Scotland,
had heard of the Bell Rock works, and from their similarity to
those of the Eddystone was strongly impressed with a desire of
visiting the spot.  But on inquiring for the writer at
Edinburgh, and finding from him that the upper part of the
lighthouse, consisting of nine courses, might be seen in the
immediate vicinity, and also that one of the vessels which, in
compliment to her father's memory, had been named the SMEATON,
might also now be seen in Leith, she considered herself
extremely fortunate; and having first visited the works at
Greenside, she afterwards went to Leith to see the SMEATON,
then loading for the Bell Rock.  On stepping on board, Mrs.
Dickson seemed to be quite overcome with so many concurrent
circumstances, tending in a peculiar manner to revive and
enliven the memory of her departed father, and, on leaving the
vessel, she would not be restrained from presenting the crew
with a piece of money.  The SMEATON had been named
spontaneously, from a sense of the obligation which a public
work of the description of the Bell Rock owed to the labours
and abilities of Mr. Smeaton.  The writer certainly never
could have anticipated the satisfaction which he this day felt
in witnessing the pleasure it afforded to the only
representative of this great man's family.

[Friday, 20th July]

The gale from the N.E. still continued so strong,
accompanied with a heavy sea, that the PATRIOT could not
approach her moorings; and although the tender still kept her
station, no landing was made to-day at the rock.  At high-
water it was remarked that the spray rose to the height of
about sixty feet upon the building.  The SMEATON now lay in
Leith loaded, but, the wind and weather being so unfavourable
for her getting down the Firth, she did not sail till this
afternoon.  It may be here proper to notice that the loading
of the centre of the light-room floor, or last principal stone
of the building, did not fail, when put on board, to excite an
interest among those connected with the work.  When the stone
was laid upon the cart to be conveyed to Leith, the seamen
fixed an ensign-staff and flag into the circular hole in the
centre of the stone, and decorated their own hats, and that of
James Craw, the Bell Rock carter, with ribbons; even his
faithful and trusty horse Brassey was ornamented with bows and
streamers of various colours.  The masons also provided
themselves with new aprons, and in this manner the cart was
attended in its progress to the ship.  When the cart came
opposite the Trinity House of Leith, the officer of that
corporation made his appearance dressed in his uniform, with
his staff of office; and when it reached the harbour, the
shipping in the different tiers where the SMEATON lay hoisted
their colours, manifesting by these trifling ceremonies the
interest with which the progress of this work was regarded by
the public, as ultimately tending to afford safety and
protection to the mariner.  The wind had fortunately shifted
to the S.W., and about five o'clock this afternoon the SMEATON
reached the Bell Rock.

[Friday, 27th July]

The artificers had finished the laying of the balcony
course, excepting the centre-stone of the light-room floor,
which, like the centres of the other floors, could not be laid
in its place till after the removal of the foot and shaft of
the balance-crane.  During the dinner-hour, when the men were
off work the writer generally took some exercise by walking
round the walls when the rock was under water; but to-day his
boundary was greatly enlarged, for, instead of the narrow wall
as a path, he felt no small degree of pleasure in walking
round the balcony and passing out and in at the space allotted
for the light-room door.  In the labours of this day both the
artificers and seamen felt their work to be extremely easy
compared with what it had been for some days past.

[Sunday, 29th July]

Captain Wilson and his crew had made preparations for
landing the last stone, and, as may well be supposed, this was
a day of great interest at the Bell Rock.  `That it might lose
none of its honours,' as he expressed himself, the HEDDERWICK
praam-boat, with which the first stone of the building had
been landed, was appointed also to carry the last.  At seven
o'clock this evening the seamen hoisted three flags upon the
HEDDERWICK, when the colours of the DICKIE praam-boat, tender,
SMEATON, floating light, beacon-house, and lighthouse were
also displayed; and, the weather being remarkably fine, the
whole presented a very gay appearance, and, in connection with
the associations excited, the effect was very pleasing.  The
praam which carried the stone was towed by the seamen in
gallant style to the rock, and, on its arrival, cheers were
given as a finale to the landing department.

[Monday, 30th July]

The ninetieth or last course of the building having been
laid to-day, which brought the masonry to the height of one
hundred and two feet six inches, the lintel of the light-room
door, being the finishing-stone of the exterior walls, was
laid with due formality by the writer, who, at the same time,
pronounced the following benediction: "May the Great Architect
of the Universe, under whose blessing this perilous work has
prospered, preserve it as a guide to the mariner."

[Friday, 3rd Aug.]

At three p.m., the necessary preparations having been
made, the artificers commenced the completing of the floors of
the several apartments, and at seven o'clock the centre-stone
of the light-room floor was laid, which may be held as
finishing the masonry of this important national edifice.
After going through the usual ceremonies observed by the
brotherhood on occasions of this kind, the writer, addressing
himself to the artificers and seamen who were present, briefly
alluded to the utility of the undertaking as a monument of the
wealth of British commerce, erected through the spirited
measures of the Commissioners of the Northern Lighthouses by
means of the able assistance of those who now surrounded him.
He then took an opportunity of stating that toward those
connected with this arduous work he would ever retain the most
heartfelt regard in all their interests.

[Saturday, 4th Aug.]

When the bell was rung as usual on the beacon this
morning, every one seemed as if he were at a loss what to make
of himself.  At this period the artificers at the rock
consisted of eighteen masons, two joiners, one millwright, one
smith, and one mortar-maker, besides Messrs. Peter Logan and
Francis Watt, foremen, counting in all twenty-five; and
matters were arranged for proceeding to Arbroath this
afternoon with all hands.  The SIR JOSEPH BANKS tender had by
this time been afloat, with little intermission, for six
months, during greater part of which the artificers had been
almost constantly off at the rock, and were now much in want
of necessaries of almost every description.  Not a few had
lost different articles of clothing, which had dropped into
the sea from the beacon and building.  Some wanted jackets;
others, from want of hats, wore nightcaps; each was, in fact,
more or less curtailed in his wardrobe, and it must be
confessed that at best the party were but in a very tattered
condition.  This morning was occupied in removing the
artificers and their bedding on board of the tender; and
although their personal luggage was easily shifted, the boats
had, nevertheless, many articles to remove from the beacon-
house, and were consequently employed in this service till
eleven a.m.  All hands being collected and just ready to
embark, as the water had nearly overflowed the rock, the
writer, in taking leave, after alluding to the harmony which
had ever marked the conduct of those employed on the Bell
Rock, took occasion to compliment the great zeal, attention,
and abilities of Mr. Peter Logan and Mr. Francis Watt,
foremen; Captain James Wilson, landing-master; and Captain
David Taylor, commander of the tender, who, in their several
departments, had so faithfully discharged the duties assigned
to them, often under circumstances the most difficult and
trying.  The health of these gentlemen was drunk with much
warmth of feeling by the artificers and seamen, who severally
expressed the satisfaction they had experienced in acting
under them; after which the whole party left the rock.

In sailing past the floating light mutual compliments
were made by a display of flags between that vessel and the
tender; and at five p.m. the latter vessel entered the harbour
of Arbroath, where the party were heartily welcomed by a
numerous company of spectators, who had collected to see the
artificers arrive after so long an absence from the port.  In
the evening the writer invited the foremen and captains of the
service, together with Mr. David Logan, clerk of works at
Arbroath, and Mr. Lachlan Kennedy, engineer's clerk and book-
keeper, and some of their friends, to the principal inn, where
the evening was spent very happily; and after `His Majesty's
Health' and `The Commissioners of the Northern Lighthouses'
had been given, `Stability to the Bell Rock Lighthouse' was
hailed as a standing toast in the Lighthouse service.

[Sunday, 5th Aug.]

The author has formerly noticed the uniformly decent and
orderly deportment of the artificers who were employed at the
Bell Rock Lighthouse, and to-day, it is believed, they very
generally attended church, no doubt with grateful hearts for
the narrow escapes from personal danger which all of them had
more or less experienced during their residence at the rock.

[Tuesday, 14th Aug.]

The SMEATON sailed to-day at one p.m., having on board
sixteen artificers, with Mr. Peter Logan, together with a
supply of provisions and necessaries, who left the harbour
pleased and happy to find themselves once more afloat in the
Bell Rock service.  At seven o'clock the tender was made fast
to her moorings, when the artificers landed on the rock and
took possession of their old quarters in the beacon-house,
with feelings very different from those of 1807, when the
works commenced.

The barometer for some days past had been falling from
29.90, and to-day it was 29.50, with the wind at N.E., which,
in the course of this day, increased to a strong gale
accompanied with a sea which broke with great violence upon
the rock.  At twelve noon the tender rode very heavily at her
moorings, when her chain broke at about ten fathoms from the
ships bows. The kedge-anchor was immediately let go, to hold
her till the floating buoy and broken chain should be got on
board.  But while this was in operation the hawser of the
kedge was chafed through on the rocky bottom and parted, when
the vessel was again adrift.  Most fortunately, however, she
cast off with her head from the rock, and narrowly cleared it,
when she sailed up the Firth of Forth to wait the return of
better weather.  The artificers were thus left upon the rock
with so heavy a sea running that it was ascertained to have
risen to a height of eighty feet on the building.  Under such
perilous circumstances it would be difficult to describe the
feelings of those who, at this time, were cooped up in the
beacon in so forlorn a situation, with the sea not only raging
under them, but occasionally falling from a great height upon
the roof of their temporary lodging, without even the
attending vessel in view to afford the least gleam of hope in
the event of any accident.  It is true that they now had the
masonry of the lighthouse to resort to, which, no doubt,
lessened the actual danger of their situation; but the
building was still without a roof, and the deadlights, or
storm-shutters, not being yet fitted, the windows of the lower
story were stove in and broken, and at high-water the sea ran
in considerable quantities out at the entrance door.

[Thursday, 16th Aug.]

The gale continues with unabated violence to-day, and the
sprays rise to a still greater height, having been carried
over the masonry of the building, or about ninety feet above
the level of the sea.  At four o'clock this morning it was
breaking into the cook's berth, when he rang the alarm-bell,
and all hands turned out to attend to their personal safety.
The floor of the smith's, or mortar gallery, was now
completely burst up by the force of the sea, when the whole of
the deals and the remaining articles upon the floor were swept
away, such as the cast-iron mortar-tubs, the iron hearth of
the forge, the smith's bellows, and even his anvil were thrown
down upon the rock.  Before the tide rose to its full height
to-day some of the artificers passed along the bridge into the
lighthouse, to observe the effects of the sea upon it, and
they reported that they had felt a slight tremulous motion in
the building when great seas struck it in a certain direction,
about high-water mark.  On this occasion the sprays were again
observed to wet the balcony, and even to come over the parapet
wall into the interior of the light-room.

[Thursday, 23rd Aug.]

The wind being at W.S.W., and the weather more moderate,
both the tender and the SMEATON got to their moorings on the
23rd, when all hands were employed in transporting the sash-
frames from on board of the SMEATON to the rock.  In the act
of setting up one of these frames upon the bridge, it was
unguardedly suffered to lose its balance, and in saving it
from damage Captain Wilson met with a severe bruise in the
groin, on the seat of a gun-shot wound received in the early
part of his life.  This accident laid him aside for several
days.

[Monday, 27th Aug.]

The sash-frames of the light-room, eight in number, and
weighing each 254 pounds, having been got safely up to the top
of the building, were ranged on the balcony in the order in
which they were numbered for their places on the top of the
parapet-wall; and the balance-crane, that useful machine
having now lifted all the heavier articles, was unscrewed and
lowered, to use the landing-master's phrase, `in mournful
silence.'

[Sunday, 2nd Sept.]

The steps of the stair being landed, and all the
weightier articles of the light-room got up to the balcony,
the wooden bridge was now to be removed, as it had a very
powerful effect upon the beacon when a heavy sea struck it,
and could not possibly have withstood the storms of a winter.
Everything having been cleared from the bridge, and nothing
left but the two principal beams with their horizontal braces,
James Glen, at high-water, proceeded with a saw to cut through
the beams at the end next the beacon, which likewise
disengaged their opposite extremity, inserted a few inches
into the building.  The frame was then gently lowered into the
water, and floated off to the SMEATON to be towed to Arbroath,
to be applied as part of the materials in the erection of the
lightkeepers' houses.  After the removal of the bridge, the
aspect of things at the rock was much altered.  The beacon-
house and building had both a naked look to those accustomed
to their former appearance; a curious optical deception was
also remarked, by which the lighthouse seemed to incline from
the perpendicular towards the beacon.  The horizontal rope-
ladder before noticed was again stretched to preserve the
communication, and the artificers were once more obliged to
practise the awkward and straddling manner of their passage
between them during 1809.

At twelve noon the bell rung for prayers, after which the
artificers went to dinner, when the writer passed along the
rope-ladder to the lighthouse, and went through the several
apartments, which were now cleared of lumber.  In the
afternoon all hands were summoned to the interior of the
house, when he had the satisfaction of laying the upper step
of the stair, or last stone of the building.  This ceremony
concluded with three cheers, the sound of which had a very
loud and strange effect within the walls of the lighthouse.
At six o'clock Mr. Peter Logan and eleven of the artificers
embarked with the writer for Arbroath, leaving Mr. James Glen
with the special charge of the beacon and railways, Mr. Robert
Selkirk with the building, with a few artificers to fit the
temporary windows to render the house habitable.

[Sunday, 14th Oct.]

On returning from his voyage to the Northern Lighthouses,
the writer landed at the Bell Rock on Sunday, the 14th of
October, and had the pleasure to find, from the very
favourable state of the weather, that the artificers had been
enabled to make great progress with the fitting-up of the
light-room.

[Friday, 19th Oct.]

The light-room work had proceeded, as usual, to-day under
the direction of Mr. Dove, assisted in the plumber-work by Mr.
John Gibson, and in the brazier-work by Mr. Joseph Fraser;
while Mr. James Slight, with the joiners, were fitting up the
storm-shuttters of the windows.  In these several departments
the artificers were at work till seven o'clock p.m., and it
being then dark, Mr. Dove gave orders to drop work in the
light-room; and all hands proceeded from thence to the beacon-
house, when Charles Henderson, smith, and Henry Dickson,
brazier, left the work together.  Being both young men, who
had been for several weeks upon the rock, they had become
familiar, and even playful, on the most difficult parts about
the beacon and building.  This evening they were trying to
outrun each other in descending from the light-room, when
Henderson led the way; but they were in conversation with each
other till they came to the rope-ladder distended between the
entrance-door of the lighthouse and the beacon.  Dickson, on
reaching the cook-room, was surprised at not seeing his
companion, and inquired hastily for Henderson.  Upon which the
cook replied, `Was he before you upon the rope-ladder?'
Dickson answered, `Yes; and I thought I heard something fall.'
Upon this the alarm was given, and links were immediately
lighted, with which the artificers descended on the legs of
the beacon, as near the surface of the water as possible, it
being then about full tide, and the sea breaking to a
considerable height upon the building, with the wind at S.S.E.
But, after watching till low-water, and searching in every
direction upon the rock, it appeared that poor Henderson must
have unfortunately fallen through the rope-ladder, and been
washed into the deep water.

The deceased had passed along this rope-ladder many
hundred times, both by day and night, and the operations in
which he was employed being nearly finished, he was about to
leave the rock when this melancholy catastrophe took place.
The unfortunate loss of Henderson cast a deep gloom upon the
minds of all who were at the rock, and it required some
management on the part of those who had charge to induce the
people to remain patiently at their work; as the weather now
became more boisterous, and the nights long, they found their
habitation extremely cheerless, while the winds were howling
about their ears, and the waves lashing with fury against the
beams of their insulated habitation.

[Tuesday, 23rd Oct.]

The wind had shifted in the night to N.W., and blew a
fresh gale, while the sea broke with violence upon the rock.
It was found impossible to land, but the writer, from the
boat, hailed Mr. Dove, and directed the ball to be immediately
fixed.  The necessary preparations were accordingly made,
while the vessel made short tacks on the southern side of the
rock, in comparatively smooth water.  At noon Mr. Dove,
assisted by Mr. James Slight, Mr. Robert Selkirk, Mr. James
Glen, and Mr. John Gibson, plumber, with considerable
difficulty, from the boisterous state of the weather, got the
gilded ball screwed on, measuring two feet in diameter, and
forming the principal ventilator at the upper extremity of the
cupola of the light-room.  At Mr. Hamilton's desire, a salute
of seven guns was fired on this occasion, and, all hands being
called to the quarter-deck, `Stability to the Bell Rock
Lighthouse' was not forgotten.

[Tuesday, 30th Oct.]

On reaching the rock it was found that a very heavy sea
still ran upon it; but the writer having been disappointed on
two former occasions, and, as the erection of the house might
now be considered complete, there being nothing wanted
externally, excepting some of the storm-shutters for the
defence of the windows, he was the more anxious at this time
to inspect it.  Two well-manned boats were therefore ordered
to be in attendance; and, after some difficulty, the wind
being at N.N.E., they got safely into the western creek,
though not without encountering plentiful sprays.  It would
have been impossible to have attempted a landing to-day, under
any other circumstances than with boats perfectly adapted to
the purpose, and with seamen who knew every ledge of the rock,
and even the length of the sea-weeds at each particular spot,
so as to dip their oars into the water accordingly, and
thereby prevent them from getting entangled.  But what was of
no less consequence to the safety of the party, Captain
Wilson, who always steered the boat, had a perfect knowledge
of the set of the different waves, while the crew never
shifted their eyes from observing his motions, and the
strictest silence was preserved by every individual except
himself.

On entering the house, the writer had the pleasure to
find it in a somewhat habitable condition, the lower
apartments being closed in with temporary windows, and fitted
with proper storm-shutters.  The lowest apartment at the head
of the staircase was occupied with water, fuel, and
provisions, put up in a temporary way until the house could be
furnished with proper utensils.  The second, or light-room
store, was at present much encumbered with various tools and
apparatus for the use of the workmen.  The kitchen immediately
over this had, as yet, been supplied only with a common ship's
caboose and plate-iron funnel, while the necessary cooking
utensils had been taken from the beacon.  The bedroom was for
the present used as the joiners' workshop, and the strangers'
room, immediately under the light-room, was occupied by the
artificers, the beds being ranged in tiers, as was done in the
barrack of the beacon.  The light-room, though unprovided with
its machinery, being now covered over with the cupola, glazed
and painted, had a very complete and cleanly appearance.  The
balcony was only as yet fitted with a temporary rail,
consisting of a few iron stanchions, connected with ropes; and
in this state it was necessary to leave it during the winter.

Having gone over the whole of the low-water works on the
rock, the beacon, and lighthouse, and being satisfied that
only the most untoward accident in the landing of the
machinery could prevent the exhibition of the light in the
course of the winter, Mr. John Reid, formerly of the floating
light, was now put in charge of the lighthouse as principal
keeper; Mr. James Slight had charge of the operations of the
artificers, while Mr. James Dove and the smiths, having
finished the frame of the light-room, left the rock for the
present.  With these arrangements the writer bade adieu to the
works for the season.  At eleven a.m. the tide was far
advanced; and there being now little or no shelter for the
boats at the rock, they had to be pulled through the breach of
sea, which came on board in great quantities, and it was with
extreme difficulty that they could be kept in the proper
direction of the landing-creek.  On this occasion he may be
permitted to look back with gratitude on the many escapes made
in the course of this arduous undertaking, now brought so near
to a successful conclusion.

[Monday, 5th Nov.]

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.





End Project Gutenberg Etext of Records of a Family of Engineers





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