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people are aware, it is now usual to have two men at least in all lighthouses, and such was the custom in the case of Inverkaldy Lighthouse at the date of this story; but Kenneth Mayne's comrade had fallen ill only a day or two before the events about to be narrated happened, and another man had not yet been sent in his place.

3. Willie Mayne was a slight, delicate-looking boy, with a pale face and fair blue eyes. He had been delicate ever since his mother's death, which happened when he was only two years old. He was also a little lame, the result of an accident. Altogether he was the very reverse of the person you would have willingly chosen to leave in charge of a lighthouse at night.

4. Kenneth Mayne rowed himself to the mainland, fastened his boat to the little wooden jetty which had been built for the use of the lighthouse keepers, and set off for Rowanfells, the nearest village. Having purchased a small can of oil, sufficient to serve him until he should be able to get a larger supply conveyed to the lighthouse, he started on his way homeward again. The road he was pursuing led along the shore: on one hand was the sea, and a line of steep and lofty cliffs on the other.

5. Mayne was proceeding at a rapid pace, carrying his can on his shoulder, and had reached a break in the cliffs made by a narrow ravine,' when

· Ravine, a narrow valley apparently formed by a rending or cleaving of the rocks. [See cleft, third line on next page.]

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he was suddenly attacked by three men, who leaped out upon him from their concealment in the cleft of the rocks. Stunned by a blow on the head from a heavy bludgeon, he fell to the ground; his assailants were upon him in a moment, and in a few minutes had him gagged and bound hand and foot. They then carried him a little way up the ravine, and left him, still unconscious, behind a rock, lying with his back against the wall of the cliff.

6. Willie Mayne expected his father to be home at six o'clock. When that hour arrived without him he became a little anxious. Another hour passed, and still Willie could see no signs of his father as he stood on the small wooden landing built out from the rocky little islet,' on which the lighthouse was situated, and directed his gaze to the shore. He was growing every minute more anxious and distressed in mind. What had become of his father? Was it an accident of any kind that had prevented him being back at the expected hour?

7. It was now growing dark, and with the approach of night Willie's fears and anxieties increased greatly. The lamps would have to be lit, and who was to do it? Could he possibly manage it? The boy knew his own weakness of body and nerve only too well, and he feared terribly in his heart that he was not equal to the task of kindling the lamps. 8. He waited on the landing, gazing towards the

Islet, a little island.

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shore, in the direction in which his father must approach, until it was nearly dark. Then he entered the house again, and mounted the narrow winding stairs to the room where the cans of oil for the lamps were kept. Willie felt that at all hazards he must make the effort to fill his father's place to-night. If the lamps remained unlit no one could tell what might happen. Ships were constantly passing up and down that part of the coast, the captains of which look to the Inverkaldy Lighthouse both as a warning and a guiding beacon.

9. Willie knelt down upon the floor. 'O God,' he prayed, 'give me strength and skill for what I have to do, that the ships may not miss the lights and be driven on the rocks, and the people be lost. Keep my dear father from danger, and bring him safe home again, for Christ's sake. Amen.'

10. On examination, Willie found that there was still some oil remaining in one of the cans, enough to last some hours. He took the can, and began climbing the staircase again, until he reached the small chamber at the top of the lighthouse, which contained the lamps. Willie could not nearly reach to the lamps, standing on the ground. He set the can of oil down on the floor, and descended to one of the lower rooms, returning with a chair and a wooden stool. But even when standing on the stool and the chair, the little fellow could not yet reach his object.

II. Again descending the long and steep stairs, which in itself was a hard and painful task to the boy on account of his lameness, he returned with a couple of thick books, and placing these on top of the stool, he climbed upon the whole pile, and now found that he could reach the lamps.

12. Willie had seen his father kindle the lights more than once, though from the difficulty he had in climbing up to the top of the lighthouse he was not often with his father at such times. Still he understood enough about the matter to pour the oil into the lamps, and to trim and ignite 1 the wicks. He had just poured a portion of the oil into the first lamp, lifting the large can with some difficulty, when the support beneath his feet suddenly gave way, and he fell heavily to the ground, striking his face against the sharp edge of the can.

· Ignite, set on fire.

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A LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER FOR A

NIGHT.
PART II.

1

1. FOR a few minutes Willie was quite stunned by his fall, and lay white and motionless on the floor, a thin stream of blood welling up from his forehead. The chair had been standing rather unevenly on the floor, which Willie had not noticed. In leaning forward a little, as he had to do to reach the lamps, he had disturbed his balance, and hence the accident.

2. But Willie's swoon was not a deep one, and presently his consciousness returned. He rose, set the chair, the stool, and the books in their former position, this time taking care to arrange the pile quite evenly, and again raised himself upon theni. The blood was still flowing freely from his forehead, but Willie heeded it not. His whole mind and energies were engrossed in his task. His one object was to get it quickly and successfully accomplished. Through the windows he saw that the night had turned out a very dark one, not a single star was shining in the black sky; and Willie knew that on such a night the danger to the ships, if there were no lights to guide them while passing that dangerous part of the coast, would be greatly increased.

1 Welling, flowing.

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