John Reid and Peter Fortune were now the only inmates of the house. This was the smallest number of persons hitherto left in the lighthouse. As four lightkeepers were to be the complement, it was intended that three should always be at the rock. Its present inmates, however, could hardly have been better selected for such a situation; Mr. Reid being a person possessed of the strictest notions of duty and habits of regularity from long service on board of a man-of-war, while Mr. Fortune had one of the most happy and contented dispositions imaginable.

[Tuesday, 13th Nov.]

From Saturday the 10th till Tuesday the 13th, the wind had been from N.E. blowing a heavy gale; but to-day, the weather having greatly moderated, Captain Taylor, who now commanded the Smeaton, sailed at two o'clock a.m. for the Bell Rock. At five the floating light was hailed and found to be all well. Being a fine moonlight morning, the seamen were changed from the one ship to the other. At eight, the Smeaton being off the rock, the boats were manned, and taking a supply of water, fuel, and other necessaries, landed at the western side, when Mr. Reid and Mr. Fortune were found in good health and spirits.

Mr. Reid stated that during the late gales, particularly on Friday, the 30th, the wind veering from S.E. to N.E., both he and Mr. Fortune sensibly felt the house tremble when particular seas struck, about the time of high-water; the former observing that it was a tremor of that sort which rather tended to convince him that everything about the building was sound, and reminded him of the effect produced when a good log of timber is struck sharply with a mallet; but, with every confidence in the stability of the building, he nevertheless confessed that, in so forlorn a situation, they were not insensible to those emotions which, he emphatically observed, 'made a man look back upon his former life.'

[1881 Friday, 1st Feb.]

The day, long wished for, on which the mariner was to see a light exhibited on the Bell Rock at length arrived. Captain Wilson, as usual, hoisted the float's lanterns to the topmast on the evening of the 1st of February; but the moment that the light appeared on the rock, the crew, giving three cheers, lowered them, and finally extinguished the lights.

Footnotes:

{2a} An error: Stevensons owned at this date the barony of Dolphingston in Haddingtonshire, Montgrennan in Ayrshire, and several other lesser places.

{3a} Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, at large.--[R. L. S.]

{4a} Fountainhall's Decisions, vol. i. pp. 56, 132, 186, 204, 368.- [R. L. S.]

{4b} Ibid. pp. 158, 299.--[R. L. S.]

{4c} Working farmer: Fr. laboureur.

{7a} This John Stevenson was not the only 'witness' of the name; other Stevensons were actually killed during the persecutions, in the Glen of Trool, on Pentland, etc.; and it is very possible that the author's own ancestor was one of the mounted party embodied by Muir of Caldwell, only a day too late for Pentland.

{7b} Wodrow Society's Select Biographies, vol. ii.- [R. L. S.]

{9a} Though the districts here named are those in which the name of Stevenson is most common, it is in point of fact far more wide- spread than the text indicates, and occurs from Dumfries and Berwickshire to Aberdeen and Orkney.

{12a} Mr. J. H. Stevenson is satisfied that these speculations as to a possible Norse, Highland, or French origin are vain. All we know about the engineer family is that it was sprung from a stock of Westland Whigs settled in the latter part of the seventeenth century in the parish of Neilston, as mentioned at the beginning of the next chapter. It may be noted that the Ayrshire parish of Stevenston, the lands of which are said to have received the name in the twelfth century, lies within thirteen miles south-west of this place. The lands of Stevenson in Lanarkshire first mentioned in the next century, in the Ragman Roll, lie within twenty miles east.

{54a} This is only a probable hypothesis; I have tried to identify my father's anecdote in my grandfather's diary, and may very well have been deceived.--[R.

Records of a Family of Engineers Page 89

Robert Louis Stevenson

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