Saturday, April 14, 2007

the lighthouse keeper

Highland Light, Cape Cod

"He spoke of the anxiety and sense of responsibility which he felt in cold and stormy nights in the winter; when he knew that many a poor fellow was depending on him, and his lamps burned dimly, the oil being chilled."

Henry David Thoreau, writing about the keeper of the Highland Light, on one of his visits to Cape Cod in the 1850's.

Thoreau wrote that the oil provided to the keepers at this time by the government was low grade 'summer oil', entirely unsuitable for freezing temperatures and causing the keepers additional difficulties and anxiety during cold weather. No doubt this situation led to more lives lost than necessary...

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