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3. One by one Willie filled the lamps with oil, turned up the wicks, and lit them from the light with which he had provided himself. The broad light from the lamps flashed its streaming radiance' far out over the dark waters—a guiding star to whatever ships might be abroad upon the seas that night.
4. Willie's task was done, but as he again descended to the lower rooms of the lighthouse, his legs shook beneath him. The strain of strength and nerve to one so small and frail of body had been very severe, and now that his task was over Willie felt as if every bit of strength had gone out of him. But there was the feeling in his heart, too, that he had done all he could, that God had answered his prayers, and given him just as much strength and skill as were necessary for the work which had fallen to him to do. He sat down in the little sitting-room of the lighthouse to await his father's return, very earnestly hoping that nothing had happened to him which would prevent his reaching home before the oil in the lamps was exhausted.
5. The plan of the wreckers for such the men were who had waylaid Kenneth Mayne—had thus completely miscarried. They had seen the lighthouse keeper in Rowanfells, while they were lounging in company at the door of the village inn, knew
1 Radiance, brightness.
2 Wreckers, men who, by false lights and other means, cause ships to be wrecked that they may plunder the cargoes.
that his comrade was absent from his duties, and quickly laid their plans. They left the village together, waited in ambush for Kenneth Mayne as he made his way home, and attacked him in the manner we have described.
6. As soon as it grew dark, the conspirators proceeded to a long, rugged reef, that stretched out from the land far into the sea, almost covered by the water at high tide, but lifting a jagged, sawlike ledge above the surface at low water. Here the men raised a lamp, suspending it from a tripod ? of poles, and arranging it in such a manner that it slowly turned round, showing now a bright side, now a dark, towards the sea, and thus resembling at a distance the lamps of the real lighthouse.
7. But they had hardly lit their false beacon, when they saw the lighthouse itself flash forth its strong bright blaze. Their plans for turning some unfortunate ship to its destruction upon the cruel reef, and securing a rich prize from the wreck, were thus upset. They knew of the presence of the lighthouse keeper's son, but had never for a moment thought that the 'wee cripple, as they called him, would have strength and spirit enough to manage the lamps.
8. But baffled in their designs, and enraged as they were, the wreckers were not so blinded by
Ambush, hiding. 2 Tripod, three poles arranged like the legs of a three-legged stool,
anger as not to perceive that it would answer no purpose of theirs to allow the lighthouse keeper to remain all night as they had left him. It might only increase the chance of their detection in their attempted crime, or if anything happened to Mayne through a night's exposure, aggravate the case against them, if their deed ever did come to light. So they judged it safest to return to where they had left Mayne, and release him ; this therefore they did.
9. Long before Kenneth Mayne reached the lighthouse, of course he saw that the lamps were alight, and when he did reach home, and heard Willie's story, his joy and pride in his little lame son, who had that night so bravely done his duty -as bravely as though he had double his actual strength—could hardly find expression in words.
• Thank God, my son !' he said, 'thank God, that you have this night done your duty so bravely and so well!'
THE VILLAGE CHURCHYARD.
1. THE churchyard of our village
Was a pleasant spot of green,
Assembled there, were seen
2. The elders in sage converse,
The youths in pleasant chat ;
And talked of this and that.
3. And words of goodly counsel
Were often spoken there,
Its pleasure and its care.
4. And a returning wanderer
Would tell of where he'd been, And brave things he'd accomplished,
And gallant sights he'd seen.
5. And while we sat and listened
In breathless silence there,
When we should do and dare.
6. And wandering thro' the wide world
Full many a time since then,
That old churchyard again.
7. And when my life is ended,
And joys and griefs are past,
May I find rest at last!
CHASED BY A PIRATE.
1. ‘TWENTY years ago, I was master of the ship Benbow, sailing from Hull. She would be thought a small ship now-a-days, being but of three hundred and ten tons burden, but she was large for those days, and was one of the fastest ships that ever sailed. Well that she was so, my dear children, or I should not be here to-day.
2. I was in the West India trade, and having taken in about one-third of a cargo at a windward island, that is, one lying farthest to the east, was running down to a leeward island, about six hundred miles, to fill up my ship. One-third of the cargo just made a perfect set of ballast for a very heavy wind, so that my ship could not have been in a condition to sail faster. And this, too, was a mercy,' said the good old man, piously, 'as you will soon see; for had she been fully laden or in light ballast, we should have been overtaken and lost.
3. ‘At that time there were a great many pirates in the West Indian seas. They were merciless creatures, and killed all whom they captured.'
What did they want to kill them for?' I said. It didn't make them any richer.'