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LXXX. THE COMPASS, THE LIGHT-HOUSE AND THE LIFE-BOAT.
1. The compass is of great value to the sailor, as it guides him over the wide ocean when there is nothing else to show him which way to go. In the compass, and forming a part of it, is a needle which has been made magnetic by being rubbed with a magnet.
2. This needle always points to the north. And when we know which way north is we know that south is directly opposite, and that if we face the north the east will be at our right hand and the west at our left.
3. These are called the four points of the compass. It is said that the use of the compass was first known to the Chinese many hundred years ago. It was unknown to the Greeks and Romans, and was not used in Europe till the twelfth century.
4. Its first use was to guide travelers in their journeys by land. It is now often called the mariner's compass, because so much used by sailors.
5. The light-house, on the sea-coast, or on some rock far from shore, is to warn ships from rocks, shoals and other dangers, and also for the purpose of lighting or guiding them into a harbor or port. It is usually a tall building with a large lantern at the top, in which a bright light is kept burning during the night.
6. These lights are not all alike; they are purposely made different that sailors may know one light-house from another. Some burn steadily, some flash, and others rotate so as to be visible only part of the time. Formerly fires were lighted on the tops of towers or on high hills. These fires were called beacons.
7. In ancient times there was a light-house built on a rock called Pharos, near the coast of Egypt. It was very
high, and had a large mirror of bright metal to reflect the light. After this, for a long period, with the ancients a light-house was called a Pharos.
8. There was another called the Colossus of Rhodes. It was in the form of a huge man, and the lamp was placed in its right hand. It stood at the entrance of the harbor of Rhodes. The Eddystone is the best known light-house of our times. It is built on a rock near the coast of Cornwall, England, where the sea is often very rough.
9. It is the third light-house that has been built there. The first was erected nearly two hundred years ago; and although it was thought to be very strong, it was quite swept away by a great storm about four years after it was finished. The next was built much stronger than the first; but after standing securely against several severe tempests it was finally destroyed by fire.
10. The light-house now standing was erected by Mr. Smeaton. The lower part is made to fit into the rock itself, and all the blocks of stone are so fitted together that they appear like a solid mass of rock.
11. There are also two famous light-houses near the coast of Scotland, one of which is known as the Bell Rock light-house. In 1873 there were six hundred and twenty light-houses on the coasts of the United States, including the Atlantic, Pacific, gulf and lake coasts.
12. The life-boat is so built that it will float on a very rough sea, and will even right itself if upset. Its sides are hollow, and it is very light.
13. Life-boats are kept at various places along the coasts, and there are always companies of brave men ready to go out and save the sailors who may be shipwrecked. It is the duty of the government to do all that is possible for the protection of our ships and the brave men who sail on them.
1. Alone in the dreary, pitiless street,
Hungry and shivering, and nowhere to go;
2. Just over the way there's a flood of light,
Are carolling songs in rapture there.
3. O, what shall I do when the night comes down
When the beautiful children their prayers have said,
4. No father, no mother, no sister- not one
In all the world loves me! e'en the little dogs run
5. And a host of white-robed, nameless things,
And a voice like the carol of some wild-bird
Till my heart and spirit are all aflame;
6 And tells me of such unbounded love,
And bids me come up to their home above;
They look at me with their soft, sweet, blue eyes;
And, away from the hunger and storm so wild,
LXXXII. THE DISCONTENTED PENDULUM.
1. An old clock that had stood for fifty years in a farmer's kitchen without giving its owner any cause of complaint, early one summer's morning, before the family was stirring, suddenly stopped.
2. Upon this the dial-plate (if we may credit the fable) changed countenance with alarm; the hands made a vain effort to continue their course; the wheels remained motionless with surprise; the weights hung speechless; each member felt disposed to lay the blame on the others.
3. At length the dial instituted an inquiry as to the cause of the stagnation, when hands, wheels, weights, with one voice, protested their innocence. But now a
faint tick was heard below from the pendulum, who thus spoke:
4. "I confess myself to be the sole cause of the present stoppage, and I am willing, for the general satisfaction, to assign my reasons. The truth is, that I am tired of ticking."
5. Upon hearing this the old clock became so enraged that it was on the very point of striking.
5. "Lazy wire!" exclaimed the dial-plate, holding up its hands.
7. "Very good!” replied the pendulum; "it is vastly easy for you, Mistress Dial, who have always, as every body knows, set yourself up above me-it is vastly easy for you, I say, to accuse other people of laziness! You, who have had nothing to do all the days of your life but to stare people in the face and to amuse yourself with watching all that goes on in the kitchen! Think, I beseech you, how you would like to be shut up for life in this dark closet, and to wag backwards and forwards year after year, as I do."
8. "As to that," said the dial, "is there not a window in your house for you to look through?"
9. "For all that," resumed the pendulum, "it is very dark here, and, although there is a window, I dare not stop, even for an instant, to look out of it. Besides, I am really tired of my way of life; and, if you wish, I will tell you how I took this disgust at my employment. I happened this morning to be calculating how many times I should have to tick in the course of only the next twenty-four hours; perhaps some of you can give me the exact sum.'
10. The minute-hand, being quick at figures, replied, "Eighty-six thousand four hundred times."
11. "Exactly so," replied the pendulum. "Well, I appeal to you all, if the very thought of this was not