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CHAPTER I.

THE SHIPWRECK.

THE rocky ledge runs far into the sea,

And on its outer point, some miles away, The Lighthouse lifts its massive masonry,

A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day.

Like the great giant Cristopher it stands

Upon the brink of the tempestuous wave, Wading far out among the rocks and sands

The night o'ertaken mariner to save.

“Sail on!” it says; "sail on ye stately ships !

And with your floating bridge the ocean span;
Be mine to guard this light from all eclipse,
Be yours to bring man nearer unto man!”

LONGFELLOW.

N the New England coast are many how they fret the smooth waters, and some, more treacherous yet, lie calm and still beneath the surface till the ill-fated ship strikes heavily upon their sharp points. Many a brave vessel has gone to pieces on these rocks; and on one island, a long time ago, there was a wreck from which only one man and his wife were saved. They lived here a short time before they could get off, and gave their own name to the island. It would not be so comfortable there as on Robinson Crusoe's island, for there are no cocoa-nut trees or sugar plantations to feast upon.

little islands about a mile or so from the shore. One of these is

in a specially dangerous position. Great ledges of rocks run far out under the sea. Some of them are visible at low tide, and some even rise high and bare and lonely above the surface of the water. Others reveal their presence only by the white breakers that mark

[graphic]

There is not a tree on the island now, although it is evident that they formerly grew there. From the shore it looks very barren, but if you go there in the sweet month of June, you will find the whole island fragrant with white clover and vernal grass, the blue flags lifting up their bright flowers to the light, and the gay scarlet pimpernel opening its tiny cup to the rays of the blessed sun above. As you glide into the cove over the smooth summer sea, you will look far down into the clear water and see it wonderfully beautiful with sea weeds of all colors growing on the hidden rocks beneath.

This dangerous coast lies directly in the great thoroughfare of commerce, and more than one ship has been wrecked on its sunken ledges. For this reason a light-house was long ago placed on the island to warn sailors of the danger, and to guide them on their way over these rough seas.

· At the time my story begins, Ephraim Wright had the charge of the light-house, a warm-hearted, kindly man, but shy and silent. He loved this quiet, almost solitary work of tending the lamp, and watching that it shone brightly through the night. Yet he was not all alone, for he had a faithful wife who willingly shared his hard life and tried to give all the little comforts of home to their rude dwelling

A very happy woman she would have been in her hard-working life, if she had only had some dear little children to nestle in her arms, and run tottling after her steps; but for some wise reason this blessing was denied her.

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