Records of a Family of Engineers

By Robert Louis

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...Transcribed from the 1912 Chatto & Windus edition by David Price, email
ccx074@pglaf.org. Additional proofing...

Page 1

...Raid of Aberlady,
served as jurors, stood bail for neighbours--Hunter of Polwood, for
instance--and became extinct about...

Page 2

...black
sheep. {3a} Under the Restoration, one Stevenson was a bailie in
Edinburgh, and another the...

Page 3

...the
glen, near to Camragen, and there sweetly rested.' The visible band of
God protected and...

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... But it was otherwise
ordered, and the cause of piety escaped that danger. {7b}

On the...

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...1605.
Stevenson, Steenson, Macstophane, M'Steen: which is the original? which
the translation? Or were these separate...

Page 6

...sealed his adherence to the
Protestant Succession by baptising his next son George. This George
became...

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...born February 1749, and Alan,
born June 1752.

With these two brothers my story begins. Their...

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...course of post, both were called away, the
one twenty-five, the other twenty-two; their brief generation...

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...his death the widow remained in
Broughty, and the son came to push his future in...

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...of
tin soldiers, which he took a childish pleasure to array and overset; but
those who played...

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...Mr. Smith's two eldest daughters, Jean and Janet, fervent in
piety, unwearied in kind deeds, were...

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...between
the hands of its practitioners.

The charm of such an occupation was strongly felt by stepfather...

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...lad who had
been destined from the cradle to the Church, and who had attained the...

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...were; conscious, like all Scots, of the fragility and unreality
of that scene in which we...

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...has 'a sister whom I [the
correspondent] esteem and respect, and [who] is a spiritual daughter...

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...Jean Smith became the wife of Robert
Stevenson. Mrs. Smith had failed in her design...

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...to communicate the providential circumstance that a
baker had been passing underneath with his bread upon...

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...moved
me now to laughter and now to impatience, that I glean occasional
glimpses of how she...

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...leisure
hours, when the children are in bed, they occupy all my...

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...May 1816, is part of a mythological account of London, with
a moral for the three...

Page 21

... James and Mary--he of the verse and she of the
hymn--did not much more than...

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...was preserved a long while in the family of
their remarks and 'little innocent and interesting...

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...little birds.'

...

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... I hope you are doing me the favour to go
much...

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...As a
proof of this, ask the favour of your mother to...

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...them from an evil world to an abode of bliss; and I must
...

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... therefore, my dear, for you to go out much, and to go to the...

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...letter to let you
know my progress and that I am well.'

...

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...up the Clyde. This has, upon the whole, been a
very...

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...two more deaths, so that
the number of the family remained unchanged; in all five children
survived...

Page 31

...outlandish quarters where his business lay were
scarce passable when they existed, and the tower on...

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...as I was suspected of being a French spy. I proposed to
...

Page 33

...placing them under charge of a foreman, and
despatching them about the coast as occasion served....

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...plunge at her two anchors--and to
turn in at night and wake again at morning, in...

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...animosity, the boys of his own age. But presently a light air
sprang up, and...

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...be captain of the _Regent_. He was active,
admirably skilled in his trade, and a...

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...fifty-eight I find him covering seventeen miles over the moors of
the Mackay country in less...

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...ere any _char-a-banc_, laden with tourists, shall drive up to Barra
Head or Monach, the Island...

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...In one year,
1798, my grandfather found the remains of no fewer than five vessels on
the...

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...it is _bona fide_ understood that a much higher rent
is paid...

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...another, a tolerable corporate life. The danger is to
those from without, who have not...

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...and the detested; he was shown, as adminicular
of testimony, the traveller's uncouth and thick-soled boots;...

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... some time for it. The woman's dwelling and appearance were not
...

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...pigeons, and the principal
wants the water from the roof. Their wives and families are...

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...same dip of ink, that 'the brasses were not clean, and
the persons of the keepers...

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... This towel I put up in a sheet of paper,
seal,...

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...the Lighthouse, upon being
referred to, rather added to their unfavourable opinion.'...

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...lay aside, and notice only the concerns of
your family and the...

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...my surprise. There was
not another word uttered. This was...

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...a keeper
was sick, he lent him his horse and sent him mutton and brandy from...

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...Stromness; like the _Elizabeth_ she came as far as
Kinnaird Head, was then surprised by a...

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...pay the greatest attention to
get the well so as to supply the keeper with water,...

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...for more than half a century,
like an artist, note-book in hand.

He once stood and looked...

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...of the coast and the depth of
soundings outside, he must deduce what magnitude of waves...

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...what would happen? Follow it--use the eyes God has
given you--can you not see that...

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...had 'often been twelve
hours upon the journey, and his grand-father (Lillie) two days'! The
profession...

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...BUILDING OF THE BELL ROCK


Off the mouths of the Tay and the Forth, thirteen miles...

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...appeared a fascinating enterprise. It was something yet
unattempted, unessayed; and even now, after it...

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... It
is pretty, too, to observe with what affectionate regard Smeaton was held
in mind by...

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...be a
floating lightship, and re-named the _Pharos_. By July 1807 she was
overhauled, rigged for...

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...himself, and tell
in his own words the story of his capital achievement. The tall...

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...to their circumstances.

...

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...four in the
morning of the 18th, the _Smeaton_ anchored. Agreeably to an arranged
plan of...

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...sick picked dulse (_Fucus palmatus_), which they ate with much
seeming appetite; others were more intent...

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...this day as with any other in the whole course of
the operations. Although it...

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...He immediately
steered the boat through a narrow entrance to the eastern harbour, with a
thousand unpleasant...

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...all, under a salute of three hearty cheers.
From an oversight on the part of the...

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...habits, for, excepting two or three days at neap-tides, a part of
it always dries at...

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...so large a company in the event of
bad weather.

The stock of water was now getting...

Page 70

...would touch the boat to which he belonged,
while the next sea would elevate him so...

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...which he spent in this lonely ship with his
small library.

This being the first Saturday that...

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...of the service, expressing his hopes that every man would feel
himself called upon to consider...

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...left the floating light at a quarter-past nine o'clock this
morning, and the work began at...

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...the fore-part of the day and fog in the
evenings. To-day, however, it sensibly changed;...

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...do much work, as the
smith could not be set to work from the smallness of...

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...before it could be cleared out. After getting
on board, all hands were allowed an...

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...artificers this day commenced the excavation of the
rock for the foundation or first course of...

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...order. The boat had no sooner
reached the vessel than she went adrift, carrying the...

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...numerous
hammers, with the sound of the smith's anvil, continued, the situation of
things did not appear...

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...floating light, lay rather to windward of the rock. But when he
attempted to speak...

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...the men, and partly to the violent rolling of the
vessel.

As the tide flowed, it was...

Page 82

...ranks, left the vessel at
half-past five. The rough weather of yesterday having proved but...

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... The sea struck so hard upon the
vessel's bows that it rose in great quantities,...

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...the limbers of the ship, as
it dashed from side to side in such a manner...

Page 85

...whistling
noise of the winds, that it was hardly possible to break in upon such a
confusion...

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...the foremast,
to which he had lashed himself with a gasket or small rope round his
waist,...

Page 87

...of the tide, they were of
opinion, from the flatness and strength of the floating light,...

Page 88

...hours,
he found no easy spot to turn to, and his body was all sore to...

Page 89

...the men soon gave out that there was no strain upon
the cable. The mizzen...

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...of supposed
security; the chains of attachment had been broken, and these ponderous
articles were found at...

Page 91

...this creek, the seaman at the bow-oar, who had
just entered the service, having inadvertently expressed...

Page 92

...of the wind, that the apparatus for
the beacon had been still in the workyard.

...

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...hands, to-day counted no fewer than
fifty-two, being perhaps the greatest number of persons ever collected
upon...

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...left in a
pretty secure state. The men had commenced while there was about two...

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... ...

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...towards the rock, and at ten passed
to leeward of it, but could not attempt a...

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...whole day, both at low and high water, but it required the strictest
attention to the...

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...frequently also while it was
covered by the tide, he remained on the beacon; especially during...

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... [Monday,...

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...be well.
The crew were observed to have a very healthy-like appearance, and looked
better than at...

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...the water rose in spray to a considerable height. Watching
what the sailors term a...

Page 102

...with much agitation, each requiring two men with
boat-hooks to keep them from striking each other,...

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... ...

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...its parts, it still appeared to be
necessary to excavate to the average depth of fourteen...

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... [Sunday, 29th May]

The wind was from the S.W. to-day, and the...

Page 106

...foundation a second time of
this rubbish. The circumstance of ballasting a ship at the...

Page 107

...and seamen a
dram and a biscuit, and coffee was prepared by the steward for the
cabins....

Page 108

...one above the other, upon the beacon, while the anvils
thundered with the rebounding noise of...

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...The water, at the same time, often
rushed with great force up the rudder-case, and, forcing...

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... ...

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... [Monday, 13th June]

From the difficulties attending the landing on the rock, owing to the
breach...

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...on board of the vessels to-night than had
occurred on any previous occasion, owing to a...

Page 113

...picks
and continued at work for two hours and a half, some of the sailors being
at...

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...was prepared
in the course of the following day, as the stone-cutters relieved each
other, and worked...

Page 115

...and pronounced the following benediction: 'May the great
Architect of the Universe complete and bless this...

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... ...

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...the ring, the chain got suddenly disentangled
at the bottom, and this large buoy, measuring about...

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...but, as no materials could be got upon
the rock this morning, they were employed in...

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... ...

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...of this tide having been taken up in completing
the boring and trenailing of the stones...

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...of the beacon were only partially covered, and
had neither been provided with bedding nor a...

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...he
left the vessel with a boat well manned, carrying with him a supply of
cooked provisions...

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...all their
provisions; and the ship being much infested with rats, the crew hunted
these vermin with...

Page 124

...slip their moorings, when they ran for Lunan Bay, an
anchorage on the east side of...

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...extremely
zealous in his department. While the operations of the mortar-makers
continued, the forge upon the...

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... ...

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...then landed at the rock, when the crane was in a very short time
got into...

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... [Sunday, 16th July]

Besides laying, boring, trenailing, wedging, and grouting thirty-two
stones, several...

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...possessed until tile joiner-work was completely
finished, and his own cabin, and that for the foreman,...

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...for
Arbroath, and on landing used every possible means with the official
people, but their orders were...

Page 131

...augmented to twenty-four, including the landing-master's
crew from the tender and the boat's crew from the...

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...every man
either to remain on the rock or return to the tender was strictly adhered
to,...

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... ...

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... ...

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...shifted to-day to W.N.W., when the writer, with considerable
difficulty, was enabled to land upon the...

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...assistants, which were in tolerably good
order, having only a damp and musty smell. The...

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...on the
building, indicating the direction of the heaviest seas, on the opposite
side of which the...

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...in the upper course, and preparing all
things for commencing the building operations.

...

Page 139

...these circumstances they felt no
less desirous of the return of good weather than those afloat,...

Page 140

...they were laid in their respective places on the building. The
masons immediately thereafter proceeded...

Page 141

...balance-crane on the top of the building. At twelve
noon a salute was fired from...

Page 142

... [Tuesday, 7th June]

To-day twelve stones were landed...

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...sent
from the Bell Rock with any part of her cargo on board, and was
considered so...

Page 144

...he wrote to Mrs.
Stevenson--certainly the first letter dated from the Bell Rock
_Lighthouse_--giving a detail of...

Page 145

...they succeeded to-day in
hooking one of these lost anchors with its chain.

It was a general...

Page 146

...the captain put on
his _storm rigging_. They had this morning commenced loading the
praam-boats at...

Page 147

...with the
water while dashing down through the different floors; and, as nearly as
he could guess,...

Page 148

...mortar-makers, who required to
temper or prepare the mortar of a thicker or thinner consistency, in...

Page 149

...the encouragement being considerable, they were always
very cheerful, and perfectly reconciled to the confinement and...

Page 150

...the stones being lighter, they were more speedily lifted
from the hold of the stone vessel...

Page 151

...of the tender, at the same time ordering
the boat instantly to quit the beacon. ...

Page 152

...2 oz. barley; 2
oz. butter; 3 quarts beer; vegetables and salt...

Page 153

... He replied that he had
read the paper, but was not satisfied, as it held...

Page 154

... 22_nd_ _June_ 1810, _eight o'clock p.m._

'DEAR SIR,--A discontented and mutinous...

Page 155

...those
of the provision store. To-day it blew fresh breezes; but the seamen
nevertheless landed twenty-eight...

Page 156

...the beacon, produced a
temporary tremulous motion throughout the whole fabric, which to a
stranger must have...

Page 157

...one were reduced to a single book, the
Sacred Volume--whether considered for the striking diversity of...

Page 158

...the impressed man is generally liberated. But in Dall's case
this was peremptorily refused, and...

Page 159

...the rock, marked 'James Craw's Horse.' On looking
towards the direction from whence the sound...

Page 160

...that great quantities of water had
come over the walls--now eighty feet in height--and had run...

Page 161

...was
strongly impressed with a desire of visiting the spot. But on inquiring
for the writer...

Page 162

...and that of James Craw, the Bell
Rock carter, with ribbons; even his faithful and trusty...

Page 163

...day of great interest at
the Bell Rock. 'That it might lose none of its...

Page 164

...by means of the able assistance of those who now
surrounded him. He then took...

Page 165

...and
seamen, who severally expressed the satisfaction they had experienced in
acting under them; after which the...

Page 166

...and to-day
it was 29.50, with the wind at N.E., which, in the course of this...

Page 167

...floor of the smith's, or mortar gallery, was now completely
burst up by the force of...

Page 168

...mournful silence.'

...

Page 169

...render the house habitable.

...

Page 170

...height upon the building, with the wind at
S.S.E. But, after watching till low-water, and...

Page 171

... [Tuesday, 30th Oct.]

On reaching the rock it was found that a...

Page 172

...over the whole of the low-water works on the rock, the
beacon, and lighthouse, and being...

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... ...

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... ...

Page 175

...Repeated attempts had been
made to mark the place with beacons, but all efforts were unavailing...

Page 176

...Rennie continued to take a kindly interest in the work, and
the two engineers remained in...