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Life in a Lighthouse (Minots Ledge)

Life in a Lighthouse (Minots Ledge)

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Published by: Digital Scanning Inc on Jun 07, 2010
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06/07/2010

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This is an article on the Minot’s Ledge Light-house found in a collection of articles from
Cen-tury Magazine
dating from 18
83
to
1
894. Minot’sLedge Lighthouse was built 150 years ago and islocated in Scituate, Massachusetts. It is currentlyfor sale. To read more about the Town of Scituate,Massachusetts, please read
The History of Scituate Massachusetts
, available atwww.pdibrary.com
 
 Digital Scanning Inc
.
 
LIFE
IN
A
LIGHTHOUSE.
sand white tongues are licking the jagged out-savagely upon the tower, dashing tons
of
spraycropping
of
rock; they meet, pass over and un-high into the air above
it-,-the
shatteredder one another in their undulations, swish up remnants
of
the heaving mass that a momentand swash back again, separate into countless before struck the granite courses.
For
the seaminiature
whirlpools-and
then there
is
noth-
meets
its match in the lighthouse on Minot'sing left
of
the great wave
but
a circle
of
froth. Ledge. Yet the shattered wave has not spent
ENGRAVED
BY
F.
H.
WELI.INGTON.
IN
A
NORTHEASTER.
But it
is
in a northeasterly storm
that
the old its fury all in vain.
It,
too, can boast its mo-gray tower most grandly maintains its battle ment
of
triumph, for it has struck terror intowith the sea; for then the billows have
had
some
hearts-not
into those
of
the light-the broad expanse
of
storm-swept ocean over house-keepers, for throughout the shock
and
which to gather force. Long livid lines
of
confusion of the storm the vigil in the watch-breakers rush out from behind the threatful room
is
faithfully maintained;
but
in thestorm-clouds that lower upon the horizon, like keepers' dwellings on shore, between whichthe battalions
of
an army marshaled by the and Minot's Ledge gleam three miles
of
whitepowers
of
the air
and
the sea against the
water,-the
winding-sheet
of ships,-anxious
structure that man has reared in defiance
of
faces
at
the windows are watching throllghtheir prerogative.
Each
wave hurls itself the night for reassuring glimpses
of
the light,
 
LIFE
IN
A
LIGHTHOUSE.
which come only too fitfully when the tower is all
"buried
up " by the sea.Landing
on
Minot's
Ledge
is easy enough in thesummer time when the sea is smooth;
but
in winterthere is hardly a time when the ladder
that
runsfrom the foot
of
the tower to the door forty feetabove is
of
any service. Owing to the peculiar wash
of
the waves around the base,
it
is only
on
very rareoccasions
that
a
boat can
lie near the ladder with-out danger
of
being swamped or dashed to pieces.
In
summer, when it is too rough to
landby
theladder, visitors are hoisted up in a
chair;
but
spacein
the
tower being very contracted, the keepers limitthe furnishings
to
the very minimum,
and
in the fallthe chair is shipped to Cohasset, where
it
hibernates.When, last February, I landed
at
Minot's, or ratherwas hoisted into it, the steps could not be used. We
had
been
in
sight
of
the tower since we
had
put
outfrom Boston
Harbor;
had
seen it rising gray
and
grim in all its loneliness
out
of
the waves. As thelighthouse tender
Geranium,
a low, broad, blackside-wheel
craft-not
unlike a beetle in deliberate-ness
of
motion
and
looks,
but
nevertheless rejoicingin the title
U.
S.
L.
H.
S.-headed
for Minot's, andit
had
become apparent
to
the keepers
that
she wascreeping toward the tower, a figure appeared
at
thedoor, and, climbing half-way down the ladder,
hung
to a
rung
with one hand, and, with
an
ax in theother,
began
chopping
at
something white which
A
WINTER
LANDING.
rose from the sea to where
he
stood.
He
looked like a pygmy hanging there against theforty feet
of
granite up which the ladder ran.Soon afterward
he
ascended the
ladder
slowly,as
if
almost exhausted,
and
another
man
de-scended
and
took his place.
"The
ladder isheavily iced up,
and
they're
trying to clearit," said the captain
of
the
Geranium,
who
had
\ trained a spy-glass
on
the tower.Meanwhile the tender
had
been hove to
and
the
boat
lowered. Pulling to a spar-
buoy
some three hundred feet from thetower, we passed a line around it,and, paying out from the buoy, allowedthe boat to drift within hailing dis-tance
of
the keeper.
The
towerwas weather-streaked,
and
itsbase up to high-water markwas covered with agreenish black ooze.
ENGRAVED BY CHARLES
STATE.
Around the basethe sea was gur-gling. Occasion-ally a breakerswept threaten-ingly toward theboat,
and
themate in the stemwould haul
herinby
the cable to-ward the buoy,while the crew

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