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Still Another Blow Is
Aimed at Romance;
Days Are Numbered
Brave Tales That ?W?? Be Heard
No More ^hen Ocean Bea?
cons Become Automatic
By Arnold D. Prince *
Loodly the belli n the Old Tower rings,
Bidding1 us list to the warning it brings,
Sailor beware: wilor take care;
Danger is near thee. Beware ! ? Beware !
THIS is very effective when
sung in a deep bass in a cozj
parlor with the steam crack?
ing cheerily in the radiator.
But it doesn't give you the complete
picture. To get the real atmosphere
of the bell, or the siren, sending it?
far cry to the beleaguered sailor,
and of the dangers against which il
?ises its clarion voice, you must
visit one of the Old Towers in per?
son. Especially in these wintar?
days. The experience will not onlj
be illuminative and instructive, bul
you will come away from it with t
series of impressions which will last
you the rest of your life.
You are sitting, let us suppose, ir
the watch room of the lighthouse 01
Minot's Ledge in Massachusetts
Bay, which is an excellent place fo]
making observations, as it is what i?
known as a sea rock beacon and en
tirely surrounded by water. Becausi
of the heavy spray ice on the iron lad
der extending down the side of thi
wall from the door, you may hav<
been hauled aloft at the end of i
rope, like a beetle on a string, bu
as this is an everyday occurreno
these cold days with the hardy foil
who sound the siren and tend th
light, you dismiss it from you* mini
as an incident of no importance.
Keeper Is Unmoved
But as you are sitting there, th
strains of the old song runnin
through your mind, perhaps, an
basking in the peaceful ?tmospher
of your surroundings, somebody, s
it seems, suddenly hits the towe
with the Woolworth Building. Th
iron doors clang horribly, there is
fearful rending and grinding amon;
the steel supports, but you not
with amazement as you leap to you
feet in terror that the keeper of th
light seems to have noticed nothinj
Can the man suddenly have gor
deaf? you wonder.
You shake him by the shoulde
thinking to arouse him to his dange
"Something has hit us," you shrii
in his ear. "Better do something (
we'll be drowned," but he mere!
smiles back reassuringly.
"Must be takin' on a little sea," Y
ventures, in explanation of the coml
cr which has just tried to lift tl
building off its foundations. "Notl
in' to get excited about. There'
be bigger ones along presently."
And he's right There are. Wit
that peculiar coincidence which a
tends the feet of those who look fc
trouble, you find yourself in tr.
midst of a brisk nor'easter whic
gives you plenty of opportunities fc
getting the real sentiment of thi
stanch old song that thrilled you t
delightfully in the warm little fit
The blows gain in number and vo
ume and are acconiM?fed by a rusl
big and a moaning*flWKd which
in itself disconcerting. You begi
to recall stories you've -heard ar
read about lighthouses. You woi
der 1f, after all, altogether too mu<
fuss has not been made about tl
poor sailor and altogether too litt
Mid a?bout the people who tend tl
lights. You take a quick look out ?
'iHe window, but the view is not rea
Vision? of Starvation
A* far as eye can see, nothing bi
^g. livid line? of breakers greet tl
v'?on. The outlines of the Cohass
?bore, which looked so protecting
wer when you started out, have di
appeared entirely. It is beginning
wow harder, and as dusk comes <
tf* fiafch in the big lantern overhei
** ?et going. The conical ray seer
** poke a playful finger among tl
***thing, created combers, but to y<
<?l?e in nothing playful in the sit
The clanging and banging ha*
**ou* continuous now, and you a
?*"4hif It difficult to concentr?t
You remember that item which ap?
peared in the newspapers recently
about the fifteen persons who were
held starving for days in the gov?
ernment light at Belle Isle by a
' storm off the Newfoundland coast.
You remember, also, that a similar
experience was had by several per?
sons in the beacon off the coast oi
Wasn't the first Minot Light, or
the very spot where you are sitting
now, and every human being in ii
lost in a terrible gale a few year:
You take another look out of th<
window, hoping by this time th?
storm shows some signs of abating
but, on the contrary, it gives everj
indication of growing worse. Over
head the flying wrack of clouds ha?
become somber and threatening, am
to add to your discomfort the towe:
itself seems suddenly to have ac
quired an altogether unexplainabl?
inclination for jumping about an<
down in the waves. This, of course
is an optical illusion but, none th
less | terrifying. One minute th
structure, though more than eight;
feet high, is almost down to tn
lantern in the smother, and the nex
seems to be shooting high into th
air, like a captive balloon suddenl
released from its moorings.
"Guess I'll go up and have a loo
at the light," the keeper finally r?
You begin to'have a new respec
for the man and for all of his cal
ing. You realize that life in a ligh
house is something more than son
and sentiment, and by the tin:
three or four days have elapsed an
? you are still held a prisoner ?by tr
storm you are convinced of it. Yc
walk about the tiny circular stru?
ture like a caged animal, but g<
very little relief from the exercis
You can't read because of the noii
and you can't sleep because of tl
'fear that some time during the nigl
the building will disintegrate at
you will be drowned without knoT
ing it. Finally, on the fifth day
and this is making it easy, becau
frequently it takes much longer?tl
sea has grown calm enough for y<
the Winnipasocket, because she is
big enough to smash through. And
on the way back you might pick up
the gas buoy that was fouled in the
Martha's anchor chain off Quaran?
tine. And, oh, yes, Vineyard Point
reports being short of provisions
and unable to get the motor boat
through on account of the ice. You
might take 'em a supply after you've
You hear a lot of such stories
these days?stories that make you
thankful for a job on shore and
which cause you, as a layman, to
wonder what there is in the life that
So fascinates those who are engaged
in it. You know the pay of the
light keepers is comparatively small
that the days spent on the dreary
rocks or tossing lightships are
monotonous and trying almost be?
yond endurance, but still you rarely
hear of any one in the service quit?
"You not only never hear of theii
quitting," an official in charge oi
the Lighthouse Department ex
plains, "but many of them even re
fuse to take their shore leave. Don'
ask me what it is. I don't know
and I've been in the departmen'
twenty-six years and wouldn't leav<
it for any other in the world."
Tenders constantly are cominj
in and going out of the station whil?
the official is talking. All ar?
heavily coated with spray ice, an?
the crews, too, are fringed wit!
tiny icicles where the water strucl
and froze. Most of the boats ar
engaged in marking or renewing th
markings of wrecks which hav
s-hifted in the storms, or in replac
ing the giant gas buoys which hav
been hit by steamships feeling thei
way through the fogs and wintr;
But occasionally you hear o
some more serious mission, such a
having to rescue a light keeper cai
for use in handling bulky articles,
and it was supposed that this and
a heavy hawser which had been an?
chored to a seven-ton granite block
at the base of the rock, had weak?
ened the structure.
Watchers assembled on the Co
hasset shore but could do nothing
to assist the two keepers who were
in the tower. So high were the
waves that they frequently rose to
within seven feet of the top of the
lantern, and finally at 10 o'clock on
the. night of the third day they must
have gone even higher, for sud?
denly the flash disappeared entirely.
Evidently, however, the structure
still stood, for at 1 o'clock the next
morning the bell tolled violently
for a few minutes and then was
stilled forever. When dawn broke
no trace of the tower was to be
to make the trip back to shore by
boat, and you return to your flat,
perfectly content to spend the rest
of your life within easy reach of
something solidly aground like the
Brooklyn Bridge or the Municipal
You have had what you might
consider a trying and a disagreeable
experience, but you have gained a
graphic idea of what the kind of
weather New York and the Atlantic
seaboard have been having the last
few days means to the people who
are fighting to keep the sea lanes
safe for shipping.
When the Light Goes Out
Let us suppose you are at the
headquarters of the Third Light?
house Department on Sjitaten Island.
The telephone bell rings, and a
voice?the case is supposititious, but
will do for purposes of illustration?
reports to the superintendent:
"Briar Light is out. Wilson, the
keeper, was caught in the ice while
returning from town with provi?
sions, and his boat is being carried
out to sea. What ?hall we do?"
"Go ?fter him in a tender," crisp?
ly orders the superintendent. "Get
ried off by the ice?for the keepers
are supposed to go after their own
provisions in motor boats?and if
you happen to catch the men dur?
ing a lull they wjll tell you of some
of the more grave accidents that
have befallen workers in the ser?
When Miuot's Fell
The worst catastrophe, of course,
in the history of the American light?
house service was the destruction
of the first tower on Minot's Ledge.
This structure was completed in No?
vember, 1848, and in many ways
resembled the Eddystone light off
the coast, of England, which is the
most famous in the world. Built
on a dangerous ledge, which shows
for only about thirty feet at ex?
treme low tide, the beacon rose vir?
tually out of the water, as does the
one which is there now. Its posi?
tion was extremely precarious be?
cause of its exposure to the full
sweep of wind and water, but it
was correspondingly valuable to
shipping because, unlike some of
the lighthouses on shore, it was a
point which mariners could steer
by without the risk of running on
One night a sudden Btorm broke
and within two days had attained
such ferocity that it was seen the
old tower itself was in danger. The
head keeper had built a heavy iron
platform on one of the side walls
seen in the mountainous waters, but
the watchers knew what had hap?
pened when several articles of fur?
niture which had been in the watch
room drifted ashore. The bodies
of the men who died when the tower
fell were never recovered.
Nowadays lighthouses are built
much more securely than in those
days, and accidents such as befejl
the first Minot light are rarely re?
ported, but there are several which
at this season of the year are very
uncomfortable because of their ex?
posed and dangerous positions. One
of these is on Spectacle Reef at the
northern end of Lake Huron, which
for days past has been a hopeless
jumble of ice. Frequently ice will
press with such force against the
sides of the tower as to endanger
its existence, and on several occa?
sions it suffered considerable dam?
age from the pressure. Fortunately
for the keepers this station is
closed each year at the suspension
of navigation, and the men are
spared the ordeal of isolation with?
in the ice pack.
Recently it was reported the floe
had risen to the doorway of this
light, 23 feet above the lake, and
that it gave indications of going
still higher before the end of winter.
Another famous lighthouse.whlcn
is anything but comfortable at this
time of the year is Tillamook Rock,
on the Pacifie Coast. This great
pile is seventy-two miles south of
the mouth of the Columbia River,
and although the lantern is 132
feet above water it is not unusual
for the spray to rise higher than
the summit of the lighthouse itself.
"You hear a lot about how calm
the water is off the western side
of the continent," one of the men
in the New York service said, "but
occasionally, even out there, they
have their troubles, as was proved
by the experience some time ago
of the woman keeper of Ahgel
Light in San Franciscp Bay. Dur?
ing a fog something went wrong
with the machinery in the tower,
and the woman had to keep the
bell going by hand. She kept at it
for 20 hours and 35 minutes,
hitting the bell at regular inter?
vals with a hammer, and she did it
all over again two days later. This
time, another fog having come up
and the machinery still being out
of commission, she stood on the
platform all night and hit the bell
with the hammer until dawn."
"In the New York district," the
man went on, "we sometimes have
trouble with ice in such seasons as
this, although conditions now are by
no means what they were two years
ago.- Two years ago the ice was
very heavy indeed, and many light?
house keepers experienced consider?
able difficulty getting about in their
power boats when needing pro?
visions. I am talking, of course, of
the keepers of lights out in the
water, and not of Barnegat and
others, which are on land and can be
approached without a boat.
Caught in the Ice
"Two years ago the light on
Green's Reef, which is three miles off
the coast in Long Island Sound,
failed to flash, and investigation dis?
closed that Frank Thompson, the as?
sistant keeper, had been caught in
an ice floe while returning with food
supplies. Thompson and William F.
Rhodes, the keeper, had rowed to
the mainland, where the latter took
Mrs. Katie Walker, who lived on
Robins Reef for nearly fifty years,
turning the station over to her son
only recently. Invariably the women
have been willing to take their
share of the hardships, the same as
the men, and when, in response to
signals of "We are, starving," a gov?
ernment ship visited the Triangle
Lighthouse, in the Gulf of Mexico,
three years ago, the rescuers found
two women among the little group
which had kept a beacon flashing
while waiting for succor. Among
the fifteen persons living on the ice
invested station at Belle Isle, who
recently narrowly escaped starva?
tion, several are women, wives of
the men stationed there.
But as the talk proceeds, and the
! men in their rough storm coats
! I drift in and out of the Staten Island
depot, you hear many predictions
that soon there will be a change in
! i the service which will mean the ex
; ' tinction of the hardy breed of light
I i house tenders. The invention of self
; ; ten%ing lights, which burn for six
? months or more without attention,
is responsible for these predictions
?this and the growing popularity of
giant gas buoys and lightships as
The light?wuse shown in the center is on Roamer Shoals
and is considered effective because it is directly in the
path of shipping. On the other hand, Boston Light
(upper comer) and Barnegat (in the lower corner)
are regarded as obsolete because they are iyishore and
several miles from the track of shipping. The two light- ,
ships shown are looked upon as more efficient than
a train to Bridgeport on official busi?
ness, instructing Thompson to be
back on duty in time to get the light
"The assistant keeper tried to fol?
low instructions, but after he had
rowed a short distance off shore the
ice closed in and he could not get
away. Some one reported his pre?
dicament to headquarters and a
tender was sent out, but Thompson
was pretty far gone from the cold
by the time they got him. He had
drifted'far out toward sea, and, not
being dressed warmly, suffered a
great deal from the bitter wind.
Then, too, the boat was in constant
danger of being crushed, and this
did not help the situation any.
"Thompson was able to take up his
duties after a while, and is now at
Barnegat, where he was transferred
from Green's Reef."
Now, as at all other times, the
cardinal rule among the keepers
both of the lighthouses and the
lightships is to "keep the light go?
ing," and you hear stirring old
yarns of the way they manage to
do it. Women figure in these tales
almost as prominently as the men,
and no symposium in lighthouse lore
is complete which does not produce
at least one story about Ida Lewis,
late keeper for thirty-two years in
the Lime Rock Light in Newport
Harbor. Among the other things
they will tell you is that she saved
at least thirteen persons from
drowning during her long period o?
Another famous woman light
ender in the New York district was
the means of outlining channels and
marking off dangerous spots along
Barnegat to Go
"A bill is to be introduced in Con?
gress soon," one of the men asserts,
"for the placing of a lightship off
Barnegat. If the appropriation for
the lightship is granted Barnegat
will become even more obsolete than
it is now. The fact that Barnegat
throws a beam which can be seen
for nineteen miles means nothing,
because no light, however power?
ful, is any good in a fog. The trouble
with Barnegat is that it is too far in?
land, and by the time a ship could
pick its light up in a fog the ship
would be aground.
"A lightship well off the coast in
deep water would give shipping
something really safe to steer by,
and would make it unnecessary to
keep the light at Barnegat going.
"The same is true ' of Absecon
Light, at Atlantic Cit?, which, as
every sailor knows, has long had no
other than a decorative value; of
the Fire Island Light, of Navesink
and other giant beams which are al?
most entirely ignored by shipping
as steering points.
"Ships coming into New York
steer for Ambrose Lightship, and
when they get into.the channel pro?
ceed along the path marked out by
"So hundreds of famous old light!
?land lights, that is?are already
obsolete and are retained onlj
"Recently?or, to be more exact
before the war?the government
made much progress in perfecting
lights which needed no keepers.
Many of these keeperles? beacons
were placed along the coast of
Alaska and afterward at points
much further south.
"England also has experimented
along this line and has one light?
ship which needs no keepers and is
visited only at intervals by the men
who keep the lights in order.
"In New York City the Light?
house Department is now complet?
ing the placing of twenty lights
burning acetylene gas in the Hud?
son River. These beacons need at?
tention only about once every six
months and could be made to burn
even longer without recharging by
reducing the length of the flashes.
"It is this invention which will,
ultimately, help do away with the
need of keepers constantly on duty
at the lighthouses and place the serv?
ice on an almost exclusively me?
chanical basis. One thing still to
be invented is an appliance for keep?
ing bells or sirens going automati?
cally, and then the change from the
old to the new system will be rapid.
"During the war experiments
along -this line had to be halted in
the general effort to beat the en?
emy, but now that the fighting is
over I predict much progress will
T\0 THE women of Boston have the
most pleasing voices in Ammtea?
Is it only in eastern Massachusetts
that feminine speech approaches per?
The affirmative answer comes from
the woman who teaches spoken English
at Smith College, which is at North?
ampton, far enough west in the state
so that it cannot be suggested she
is rooting for home talent.
The voice of Smith College is bring
heard just now in an appeal for a
$4,000,000 endowment fund. Mrs.
Thomas Louden, of the faculty, speaks
up to say that all college girJs should
have musical voices?and yet, alas, to?,
There may be a girlish voice out in
Wisconsin, say, or Colorado that sounds
like music |o your cars. In some lo?
cality?the old home town, perhaps
every feminine sound may seem beau?
tiful to you.
Imagine the outraged Kansas culture
when word reaches its coeducational
colleges that the girls out there tend
Boston's pretensions to being the
hub of the, universe are harmless
enough, but when women's voices ar*
challenged?ah, that is different.
Probably the only community th?t
will not protest against assumption of
vocal superiority is New York City.
Native Manhattanese and Brooklynese
have few rivals in unlnvely speech.
Such residents of the world metrop?
olis as come from somewhere, whi!?
admitting that New York women can
scarcely contend for first honors in n
vocal contest, are loath to yield the
distinction to Boston femininity, pre?
ferring to pick runners-up elsewhere.
The Voice Beautiful
By a speaking voice that js musical,
Mrs. Louden means one that "has pure
tone supported by proper breath con?
trol." She holds that "a speaking voice
can be made and should h?! mode es
beautiful es a singmg voice, whether
used conversationally or from a plat?
form before a large assemblage."
From her experience in training young
women to speak weil Mrs. Louden finds.
among girls from all parts of the coun?
try that those who live in and around
Boston have the most pleasing voices.
"The girls from certain other parts
of New England and from Pennsylvania
and the Middle West," ehe says, "may
be said to have the most unmusical
qualities of tone, especially as a resu't
of the 'burr' sound, and the 'flat a.'
which, overflatted, leads to strong
"There is the mistaken feeling among
many Americans, and in many Ameri?
can schools, that the V is neglected un
less expressed by that hard, constricted
sound which comes from shutting the
voice into the throat by the tongue. No
distinction is made between a good 'r
and a bad 'r.' The result is an un?
musical, throaty tone."
Mrs. Louden says the worst defects in
the speaking voice aro "burr," which
relates to the "r," nasality and indis?
Among the women's colleges of the
country it is recognized that at Smith
great emphasis is placed on the speak?
ing voice. According to Mrs. Louden.
"the aim is te create a standard of
spoken English so that no girl who got?
r>ut of college will lack a well-modulated
voice, free from the defects of harshnes?,
nasality and throatiness that charac?
terize so much of the Americas