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Mate, then, a'n't he?"

"He is not a sailor at all."

"Ha'n't never ben to sea?"

Oh, the look of wide-mouthed astonishment which took possession of Youth's hitherto vacant features, at thus encountering a strong-looking man, in the prime of life, who had never been to sea, and a healthy, sturdy boy, whose parents did not mean that he ever should! He had no more to say; every faculty was, for at least an hour, devoted to the contemplation of these lusus naturæ, thus presented to his vision.

At last, the road, which had long been in a condition of ominous second-childhood, suddenly died a natural death at the foot of a steep hill, where a rail-fence presented itself as a barrier to farther progress. The bars were soon removed by Youth, who triumphantly announced, as Cha-os walked slowly through the opening thus presented, —

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"How far is it to the Light-house?" inquired Mysie, faintly.

"Ony 'bout four mild," was the discouraging reply, as Youth "loped" on in advance.

"Four mild!" and such miles! The only road, a faint track in the grass, now undiscernible in the gathering gloom, now on the slope of steep hills marked by deep gullies worn by the impetuous autumn rains, and down which the poor old shay" jerked along in a series of bumps and jolts threatening to demolish at once that patriarchal vehicle and the bones of its occupants.


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greeted Mysie's despairing eyes, and woke new hopes of warmth, rest, and shelter. But never did bewildering ignisfatuus retire more persistently from the pursuit of unwary traveller than did that Light-house from the occupants of that creaking "shay"; and it was not till total darkness had settled upon the earth that they reached its door, and discovered, by the lamplight streaming out, that Caleb stood in the entrance, awaiting their arrival.

As the chaise stopped, he came forward and lifted the stiff and weary forms of "the woman and child" to the ground, and delivered them to the guidance of the hostess.

The first aspect of affairs was somewhat discouraging,—the parlor into which they were ushered being without fire and but dimly lighted, the bedroom not yet prepared for toilet purposes, and the hostess, as she averred, entirely unprepared for company.

Left alone in the dreary parlor, Caleb subsided into moody silence, and Mysie into tears, upon which the Baron followed suit, and produced such a ludicrous state of affairs, that the sobs which had evoked his changed to an irrepressible laugh, in which all parties soon joined. This pleasant frame of mind was speedily encouraged and augmented, first, by water and towels ad libitum, and then by an introduction to the dining-room, in whose ample grate now roared a fire, of what our travellers were informed was peat,—an article supplying, in the absence of all other indigenous fuel, nearly every chimney upon the island.

A good cup of tea and a substantial supper prepared the trio to accept the invitation of the excellent Mr. F. (the chief keeper, and their host) to go up with him into the Light."

And now our travellers suddenly found that they had made a pilgrimage unawares. They had come to the island for sea-air and pebbles, to shoot ducks, see the Indians, and find out who Martha was, and had come to the Light-house, as the only "white" dwelling upon the

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"Don't you know? Haven't you come on purpose to see it?" asked the keeper, in astonishment,—and then proceeded to explain, that this is the famous Fresnel light, the identical structure exhibited at the great Exposition at Paris, bought there by an agent of the United States, and shipped by him to America.

Owing, however, to some inexplicable blunder, its arrival was not made known to the proper authorities,—and the papers which should have accompanied it being lost or not delivered, no one at the custom-house knew what the huge case contained. It was deposited in a bonded warehouse during the legal interval, but, never having been claimed, was then sold, still unexamined, to the highest bidder. He soon identified his purchase, and proceeded to make his own profit out of it, the consequence being that government at last discovered that the Fresnel light had been some two years in this country, and was then upon exhibition, if the President and cabinet would like

to take a peep. The particulars of the bargain which ensued did not transpire, but it resulted in the lantern being repacked and reshipped to Gay Head, its original destination.

While hearing this little history, the party were breathlessly climbing three steep iron staircases, the last of which ended at a trap-door, giving admittance to the clock-room, where the keeper generally sits; from here another ladder-like staircase leads up into the lantern. Arrived at the top, the Baron screamed with delight at the gorgeous spectacle before


The lamp (into the four concentric wicks of which a continual and superabundant supply of oil is forced by a species of clock-work, causing a flame of dazzling brilliancy) is surrounded by a revolving cover, about eight feet high by four or five in diameter, and in shape like the hand-glasses with which gardeners cover tender plants, or the shades which one sees over fancy clocks and articles of bijouterie. This cover is composed of over six hundred pieces of glass, arranged in a complicated and scientific system of lenses and prisms, very difficult to comprehend, but very beautiful in the result; for every ray of light from that brilliant flame is shivered into a thousand glittering arrows, reflected, refracted, tinted with all the rainbow hues, and finally projected through the clear plate-glass windows of the lantern with all the force and brilliancy of a hundred rays. If any one cares to understand more clearly the why and the how, let him either go and see for himself or read about it in Brande's Encyclopædia. Mysie and the Baron were content to bask ignorantly in the glittering, everchanging, ever-flowing flood of light, dreaming of Fairy Land, and careless of philosophy. Only so much heed did they give to the outer world as always to place themselves upon the landward side of the lantern, lest unwittingly their forms should hide one ray of the blessed light from those for whose good it was put there.

Caleb, meanwhile, sat with his host in the clock-room, smoking many a meerschaum, and listening to the keeper's talk about his beautiful charge,- a pet as well as a duty with him, obviously.

With the same fond pride with which a mother affects to complain of the care she lavishes upon her darling child would the old man speak of the time necessary to keep his six hundred lenses clear and spotless, each one being rubbed daily with softest doeskin saturated with rouge, to keep the windows of the lantern free from constantly accumulating saline incrustations, of the care with which the

lamp, when burning, must be watched, lest intrusive fly or miller should drown in the great reservoir of oil and be drawn into the air-passages. This duty, and the necessity of winding up the "clock" (which forces the oil up into the wick) every half-hour, require a constant watch to be kept through the night, which is divided between the chief and two assistant keepers.

The morning after their arrival, our travellers, strong with the vigor of the young day, set forth to explore the cliffs, bidding adieu to original Youth, who, standing ready to depart, beside his horse, was carolling the following ditty in glorification of his native town:

"Ga'ed Light is out o' sight,

Menemshee Crik is sandy, Holmes's Hole's a pooty place, An' Oldtown Pint's onhandy." (Oldtown being synonymous with Edgartown, the rival seaport.)

Leaving this young patriot to his national anthem, a walk of a few hundred feet through deep sword-edged grass brought our explorers to the edge of a cliff, down which they gazed with awehushed breath. Below them, at a depth of a hundred and fifty feet, the thunderous waves beat upon the foot of the cliff over whose brink they peered, and which, stern and impassive as it had stood for ages, frowned back with the mute strength of endurance upon the furious, eager waves, which now and again dashed themselves fiercely against its front, only to be flung back shattered into a thousand glittering fragments.

The cliffs themselves are very curious and beautiful, being composed of red and black ochre, the largest cliff showing the one color on its northern and the other on its southern face. The forms are various,

some showing a sheer descent, with no vestige of earth or vegetation, their faces seamed with scars won in the elemental war which they have so long withstood. In other spots the cliff has been rent into sharp pinnacles, varied and beautiful in hue.

One spot, in particular, which became Mysie's favorite resort, was at once singular and beautiful in its conformation. About three feet above the water's edge lay a level plateau, its floor of loose, sandy, black conglomerate, abounding in sparkling bits of quartz and sulphate of iron; beneath this lay a bed of beautifully marbled and variegated clay, its edge showing all along the black border of the plateau like the brilliant wreath with which a brunette binds her dusky hair. Blocks of this clay, fallen upon the beach, and wet with every flowing wave, lay glistening in the sunlight and looking like

"Castile soap, mamma," suggested the Baron, as Mysie was describing the scene in his presence, and hesitated for a simile.

At the back of the terrace, which, in its widest part, measured some fifty feet, rose suddenly and sharply the pinnacled cliffs, some snowy white, some black, some deep red, and others a cold gray. At either hand they extended quite down to the water's edge, so that, seated upon the plateau, nothing met the eye but ocean, sky, and cliffs; no work of man struck a discordant note in the grand harmony of these three simple, mighty elements of creation.

Mysie sometimes took a book here with her, but it was not a place to read in; the scene crushed and dwarfed human thoughts and words to nothingness; and to repeat to the ocean himself what had been said of him by the loftiest even of poets seemed tame and impertinent.

These cliffs extend about a mile along the shore, and then suddenly give place to a broad sandy beach, behind which lies a level, desolate moor, treeless, shrubless, and barren of all vegetation, save coarse grass and weeds, and a profusion of stunted dog-roses, which, in their season, must throw a rare and singular charm over their sterile home.

The beach, though smooth and even, is not flat, like those of Nantasket, Nahant, and Newport, but shelves rapidly

down; and there is a belief among the islanders, that a short distance out it terminates suddenly at the brow of a submarine precipice, beyond which are no soundings.

Owing to the sharp declivity of the beach, the rollers break with great force, and the surf is very high. At one point is grouped a cluster of rocks, half in the water, half on the beach, among which, as the tide comes in, the waves break with furious force, dashing high over the outermost barrier, and then plunging and leaping forward, like a troop of wild horses, their white manes flung high in air, as they leap forward over one and another of the obstacles in their path.

Perched upon the crest of one of these half-submerged rocks, watching the mad waves fling themselves exhausted at her feet, it was Mysie's delight to sit, enjoying the half danger of her position, and retreating only when the waters had many times closed behind her throne, leaving, in their momentary absence, but a wet and slippery path back to the beach.

Along this beach, too, lay the road to Squipnocket, a pond famed for its immense flocks of wild geese and ducks,— fame shared by Menemshee Creek and Pond, as well as several others of similar aboriginal titles.

To these repaired, almost daily, Caleb, accompanied by one or another of his host's five sons; and the result of their efforts with the gun was no inconsiderable addition to the table at Ga'ed Light.

But greatest of all the wonders at the Head are the Fossil Cliffs.

A short time after the arrival of our travellers, their hostess inquired if they had yet found any fossils. Mysie frankly confessed that they did not know there were any to find, which was evidently as great a surprise to Mrs. F. as their ignorance of the Fresnel light had been to her husband. She at once offered the services of her daughter Clarissa as guide and assistant, and gave glowing accounts

The offer

of the treasures to be found. was gladly accepted; and Clarissa, a merry little romp, about twelve years old, soon made her appearance, armed with a pickaxe, hoe, and basket.

Thus laden, and in the teeth of a shrewd northeast wind, the little barefooted pioneer led the way directly over the brow of a cliff, which, had Mysie been alone, she would have pronounced entirely impracticable. Now, however, fired with a lofty emulation, she silently followed her guide, grasping, however, at every shrub and protection with somewhat convulsive energy.

"Here's a good place," announced Clarissa, pausing where a shelf of gravelly rock afforded tolerable foothold. "Professor Hitchcock told father that in here were strata of the tertiary formation, and there's where we get the fossils."

"But how do you come at the tertiary formation through all this sand and gravel?" asked Mysie, aghast at the prospect.

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Oh, dig; that's why I brought the pick and hoe; we must dig a hole about a foot deep, and then we shall come to the stuff that has the fossils in it. You may have the hoe, and I'll take the pick, 'cause that's the hardest."

"Then let me have it; I am stronger than you," exclaimed Mysie, suddenly roused to enthusiasm at the idea of 'picking" her way into the tertiary formation of the earth, and exhuming its fossilized remains.


Seizing the pickaxe, she aimed a mighty blow at the clay and gravel conglomerate before her; but the instrument, falling wide of its intended mark, struck upon a rock, and sent such a jarring thrill up both her arms and such a tingle to her fingers' ends as suddenly quenched her antiquarian zeal, and reminded her of a frightful account she once read of a convent of nuns captured by some brutal potentate, who forced them to mend his highways by breaking stones upon them with very heavy hammers; and the historian mentioned, as a

common occurrence, that, when any sister dislocated her shoulder, one of her comrades would set it, and the sufferer would then resume her labors.

Mysie, having this warning before her eyes, and being doubtful of Clarissa's surgical abilities, concluded to postpone her researches, and proposed to her companion to fill the basket with shells and pebbles from the beach, to which cowardly proposition Clarissa yielded but a reluc

tant consent.

The next day, however, Mr. F. and Caleb, learning the result of the fossilsearch, offered to apply their more efficient skill and strength to a new attempt in the same direction; and, with high hopes for the result, Mysie, still accompanied by Clarissa, proceeded to another portion of the cliffs, where a low, wedgeshaped promontory, shadowed by beetling crags, was, as Mr. F. confidently stated, "sure for teeth."

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The pickaxe, in the sinewy arms of its owner, soon dislodged great cakes of the upper deposit and laid bare a stratum of olive-green clay, which was announced to be a fossil-bed. Lumps of this clay being broken off and crumbled up, proved indeed rich in deposit. They found sharks' teeth, the edges still sharply serrated, firmly set in pieces of the jawbone,—whales' teeth, vertebræ of various species, fragments of bone, great and small, several species of shell-fish, among which chiefly abounded a kind called quahaug, —and many nondescript fragments, not easily classified. One of these was a little bone closely resembling the tibia of a child's leg, and may have belonged to some antediluvian infant lost at sea, (if Noah's ancestors were mariners,) or perhaps drowned in the Deluge,-for Mr. F. quoted an eminent geologist who has visited the Vineyard, and who supposed these remains to have been brought here by that mighty Flood-tide. Another savant, however, supposes the island to have been thrown up from the sea by volcanic action; and that the fossils, now imbedded in cliffs a hundred feet high, were once deposited upon the bed of

the ocean. There is certainly a great amount of conglomerate, which has evidently been fused by intense heat; and masses of rock, sea-pebbles, sand, and iron-ore are now as firmly integrated as a piece of granite.

However, the fossils came; here they certainly are; many of them perfect in form, and light and porous to the eye, but all hard and heavy as stone to the touch. Teeth, which are considered the most valuable of all the remains, are sometimes found as wide as a man's hand, and weighing several pounds; but Mysie was quite content with the more insignificant weight of those which filled her basket, especially when an immense reticu lated paving-stone was added, which Mr. F. pronounced to be a whale's vertebra. She then was induced to trust the precious collection to Caleb's care, the more willingly that the ascent of the cliff's was now to be attempted. This was easily and quickly accomplished by Mr. F. and his little son, by going to the right spot before beginning to climb; but Mysie declaring that the ascent was quite practicable where they were, Caleb and Clarissa felt bound in honor to accompany her. For some distance, all went very well, the face of the cliff presenting slight inequalities of surface, which answered for foot- and hand-holds, and not being very steep; but suddenly Mysie, the leader of the group, arriving within about three feet of the top, found the rock above her so smooth as to give no possible foothold by which she might reach the strong, coarse grass which nodded tauntingly to her over the brink.

Clinging closely to the face of the cliff, she turned her head to announce to Caleb that she could not go on, and, in turning, looked down. Before this she had felt no fear, only perplexity; but the sight of those cruel rocks below,— the hollow booming of the waves, as they lashed the foot of the cliff,- the consciousness that a fall of a hundred feet awaited her, should she let go her hold, --all this struck terror to Mysie's heart; and while a heavy, confused noise came

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