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by M. S. Wightman

IT MAY have been his unkempt appearance, or it may have been the slouch in his manner as he casually supervised the work of a gang of Filipino truckmen, perhaps it was a combination of the two which irritated White, the chief of the Lighthouse Service.

"Why do you hire such fellows?" he snapped, indicating with slight backward nod of his head the lanky American in dirty khaki.

Farley, the assistant purchasing agent, followed with his glance the direction of White's nod.

"Oh," he said, "partly because we need them and partly because this Bureau is a sort of charity organization. That particular one, Cropsey, was wished on us by the Governor-General's office. He's an ex-soldier, and not a bad sort. He's been here for a couple of months and hasn't gotten drunk yet."

White's blue eyes glinted.

"They don't wish any of them off on me," he said. "I'll have no beach-combers on my pay-roll, and I indicated as much to Calvin when he sent his first one down. He hasn't tried it since."

They were young men, as are most workers in those tropical islands where at forty a man usually begins to show unmistakable signs of wearing out; and they both gave an impression of self-reliance and absorbing interest in their work. But here the resemblance ended. Farley radiated a good nature which would make allowances; White demanded of others the machine-like efficiency which characterized his own work.

"And that's the reason you hold us up now and then in our supplies," he said. "You can't do good work with cheap tools."

Farley's reply was interrupted by the arrival of a motor-car, the panels of whose doors were emblazoned with the eagle-topped shield of the Government. The two men hurried toward it; and a certain deference in their manner told that the genial-faced man who descended was the Governor-General.

As White started to leave, the Governor detained him with a hand on his shoulder.

"I have just dropped in to pay a friendly morning call," he said. "Come up with us."

The three mounted the stairs to the offices, leaving Cropsey the only white man on the lower floor of the long concrete building in which the Government houses its supplies.

He watched them go, a faint flicker of resentment in his manner. They represented success, prosperity, an abundance of the good things of life; he failure—a man who was hanging to its outskirts, as it were, by the slender thread of a five-peso-a-day job. Take that from him today; tomorrow he would be a beach-comber. For while with five pesos a day a man can live in some comfort in Manila, eating the lukewarm chow served by Ah Sing in his dingy restaurant and sleeping in a cane-bottomed bed in a musty room of one of the walled city's rambling stone houses, he can hardly lay by enough for his hospital bills when the inevitable sickness strikes him.

But if Cropsey's wage had been multiplied tenfold he would at the end of the month have had little more to show for it. He was one of those men born never to possess anything more substantial than a roving spirit. Putting money into his pockets was like pouring water into a barrel with a hole in its bottom.

But there was something more than resentment in his manner this morning. There was a vague uneasiness, brought about by his consciousness of having violated the rule of his Bureau which admitted of no exceptions; and his sin was returning to plague him. With the purpose of saving an extra trip to the powder magazine at San Juan, he had hidden in the building a small box of dynamite to be shipped that afternoon, together with some steel rods, to the engineers at work on the Calao bridge. The box lay in an out-of-the-way corner, behind some bales of Manila hemp and straw-filled packing-cases.

While White and Farley had been nosing about the building, he had been in terror lest they should discover his infraction, which he knew would mean his summary dismissal. With a sigh of relief he had watched them mount the stairs.

Now he started for the box, intending to get rid of it at once; but suddenly he checked himself. The Governor-General had gone up with them; he would be coming down at any moment, for the Governor did not pay protracted calls.

Cropsey scowled as he moved over to the part of the building furthest away from the hidden box. A dull rage burned in his heart. He had the inefficient man's contempt of rules. He felt that he had been trying to save the Government time and money, and instead of receiving thanks for his zeal, he was in danger of losing his place. A man who is used to getting only rebuffs from fortune, becomes quick to see his grievances. He told himself that hereafter he would do his work and no more, absolutely no more. He almost wished that the box would catch on fire and blow the building with its occupants to Kingdom Come.

It was not in answer to Cropsey's wish, but because a brown longshoreman, coming in from the pier, some forty yards from the end of the building, had not tossed away his lighted cigarette until after he had passed through the opening near the hemp, that it began to smolder and a spark slowly to burn its way through the sacking to some of the loose straw which had fallen from the packing-cases.

The sound of the Governor's voice on the stairway caused Cropsey unconsciously to glance over his shoulder toward the hidden explosive. Tongues of flame were leaping upward from the cases, which crackled as merrily as a Christmas lire, and over the hemp bales a cloud of smoke was forming.

FOR an instant Cropsey gazed at the fire incredulously; and then, without a word, he began running through the building toward the blaze. His only feeling was one of resentment against the length of the unpartitioned floor.

Some one who had seen the fire at the same moment raised the cry. Almost abreast of Cropsey, Farley, followed by the Governor, raced to turn the water into the hose, while White hurried to the pier to Summon the fire-launch.

With a sudden gasp, as the hot air filled his lungs, Cropsey hurled himself across the smoldering hemp bales; before him lay the deadly box; its sides were smoking. Stooping quickly, he lifted it in his arms, and began cautiously to make his way between the burning packing-cases.

The end of his solitary upper garment, a loose military coat, brushing against one of the cases, took fire. As the flame smote his skin, he staggered; but in an instant he had caught himself and moved forward with jerky steps, like a mechanical toy, to the sea now only a few paces distant.

Through his bloodshot eyes he caught sight of White running toward him down the roadway.

"Get back, you fool!" he shrieked in a high, sobbing voice.

Something in his tone checked White, whose legs, against the volition of his brain, moved him backward.

A moment more and Cropsey felt beneath his feet the rocks which formed the retaining-wall of the sea. Down them he staggered until the water came about his knees. Then carefully laying the box in a crevice of the rocks, he plunged head-foremost into the sea. The awful searing of his back ceased, but the salt water stung him cruelly.

White, hurrying forward to the man's assistance, saw as he clambered down the rocks the box which lay harmless enough beneath the quiet water; and his practised eye recognized it for what it was. Rut he did not pause.

"Here!" he said bending down and stretching out one hand while the other clung to a projecting ledge. "Take hold!"

Cropsey seized the hand and was drawn upward.

When they reached the roadway the blaze was out, and Filipino laborers were gingerly rolling the still smoking hemp bales across the concrete floor to the open air where a barefooted tao played a stream of water upon them.

The Governor and Farley, who had seen the incident without comprehending its meaning, met the pair as they approached the building. Cropsey stood facing them, hatless, begrimed and dirty; but no one realized that he had actually been on fire.

"Are you hurt?" inquired the Governor solicitously.

The feeling of resentment welled up in Cropsey intensified in its bitterness. His back was a live coal, his lungs a glowing bellows, and this man was asking him if he was hurt. He shook his head sullenly.

"Well, then, tell us why in the name of all that is reasonable you rushed headlong into that fire?"

To Cropsey the world had suddenly taken on the blur of a spinning top. He clenched his hands in his effort to maintain his footing; but still he did not answer.

"I'll tell you why," White cut in crisply. "To get a box of dynamite. Perhaps he will tell us what it was doing there."

The Governor's ruddy cheeks paled slightly and he drew a step nearer the foreman.

"You did that?" he asked, a new note of respect in his voice.

Cropsey made no reply. Instead, he fell forward limply, as his legs crumpled under him, into the Governor's arms which automatically opened to receive him.

Beneath his hands the Governor felt the man's bare skin.

"Get me my car quick, and here, Farley, you help me!" he shouted; and as, a moment later, the car shot forward with the unconscious man supported between them, he called to White, "Telephone them I am coming!"

As they raced through the level streets, the Governor turned a puzzled look on the man resting against his shoulder.

"Where did you get him?" he asked Farley in a low voice.

And when Farley told him that the man had come with a note from Calvin asking that he be given work, the Governor made no comment but his arm closed more protectingly around Cropsey.

As usual, White did his work thoroughly. Everything was in readiness to receive and succor the stricken man.

The Governor waited until the surgeon had made his report, pacing noiselessly up and down the long corridor of the men's private ward, his head bent as if in thought. And if the white-capped nurses, who flitted quietly in and out of the rooms, were surprised to see the highest representative of the United States in all the East, awaiting news of one of her lowliest citizens, they gave no hint of it in their manner.

FOR days Cropsey lingered in that borderland which separates death from life; and at first it seemed impossible that he should not pass across it. But as is so often the case with those to whom life has the least value, he clung tenaciously to it. In the second week it became evident that he would get well, although he would have a long period of convalescence in the hospital.

It was during this period that the Governor dropped in to see him occasionally, making little friendly calls as a man does on his equal.

And during this period, a change seemed to come over Cropsey. It was as if the fire, passing through his system, had burned out the resentment which hitherto he had felt toward life. And with this change he realized the enormity of his offense.

Before, he had thought of the Governor-General with a vague feeling of contempt, as a man whom good luck had put into a position which he, Cropsey, could have filled much more ably had the same good luck put him in it. Now he realized that it was the Governor's strength and character which had raised him above his fellows, and the knowledge humbled him; he felt his own unworthiness.

He spoke of it one afternoon, haltingly, as he sat in a wheel-chair on the balcony outside his room, overlooking the green terraces studded with flowering shrubs which surrounded the hospital, trying inadequately to find words to express his humiliation.

The Governor listened without interruption until Cropsey had finished. Then placing his hand on the patient's knee, he said:

"Well, whatever mistakes you made you atoned for later. Suppose we call it quits all around."

And on his way out later, he stopped at the chief surgeon's office.

"Will Cropsey ever be good for anything again?" he asked.

"He will get over the effects of the fire all right, Governor," answered the surgeon. "The trouble with him is he has shot his constitution to pieces like so many of these fellows over here. I am treating him now for chronic malaria. That is what he will have to watch out for, the fever. But with light work and good food, in a place where he doesn't have to tax his strength too much, he ought to last a long time."

The next morning Calvin was instructed to keep his eyes open for such a billet as the surgeon had described.

Cropsey was able, with the aid of a cane, to walk about the hospital when Calvin reported that he had found a place for him—keeper of the lighthouse at Bago reef.

"Of course it is a place of great responsibility, sir, for all the ships from Hongkong and the north depend on that light," said the secretary. "But he would have a native assistant to do the heavy work. He would only have to see that the light was kept burning. Do you think you could trust him?"

The Governor hesitated for a moment, and then said as if thinking aloud:

"Yes, I believe we can. At any rate, I am going to chance it." A quizzical smile flashed over his face, and he added, "Do you know, I have an idea White won't be much pleased."

"I have the same idea, sir," Calvin laughed. "I think you will have to settle it with him yourself."

"It is a very important place, Governor," said White quietly when the Governor mentioned the matter to him.

"Yes, I know', but I believe he will measure up to it. He has received his baptism of fire, remember."

White lifted his level eyes to the Governor's.

"Of course, if you say put him on, I shall do it, but you will make me break one rule I have always observed—never to hire a man with a slouch in him."

The Governor drew meditatively at his cigar.

"Slouch or no slouch, the man did something I confess I should not have had the courage to do—run for that dynamite instead of away from it."

"But if he hadn't put it there in the first place, he wouldn't have had to get it out. It took sand, I'll admit, but it was a sort of impulse, a flash in the pan. If it came to an emergency, like sticking to his post if anything happened to the light—of course I may be doing him an injustice—but honestly I don't believe he would do it. I distrust these fellows who think they know it all and won't live up to the rules."

The Governor rose and held out his hand.

"You put him on; I'll take the responsibility."

It was a part of White's code, once he had employed Cropsey, to treat him with absolute fairness. He might harbor a grudge against him personally, but he judged his work as impartially as if the ex-soldier had been his own selection.

And for a time the new keeper's unfamiliarity with the routine of his office tried White's patience. But he did not show it in the long, carefully worded letters he wrote Cropsey, minutely explaining the errors in his reports and asking for their correction.

Cropsey, on his sand spit, received these letters, several at a time when the weekly mail-boat put in at Bago, and a barefooted boatman in cotton drawers and a wide straw hat paddled out to the lighthouse with the mail. He spent hours poring over them, trying to fix each detail in his mind. But secretly they amused him. All this listing of tomatoes and bacon consumed, of gallons of oil burned, of the hours he spent at his work seemed so unnecessary.

The thing was so simple, merely to keep the light burning from evening until morning, at all hazards, no matter what happened, so that the steamers whose smoke from time to time curled upward for half an hour against the distant horizon, might shun the reef athwart, on which, for all the peacefulness of the blue water, lay destruction for any which might chance upon it.

And Cropsey was contented. He had found bis niche; just to sit at the door of his bungalow, sweeping the sea with his glasses for passing ships and feeling that he was master of the squat tower on his left, and so responsible for their safety, gave him a sense of importance and of usefulness in the world. He came to know the regular boats and to speak of them to Fabian, his assistant, affectionately, almost as if they had been persons; but be did not envy those upon them their journeyings. He had found that the jostling of the crowd meant the multiplication of life's problems.

There were no white people in Bago, the village eight miles away at the head of the bay. Sometimes the villagers came over to the lighthouse, and in solemn procession climbed the winding stair to the light, where they stood silent while Cropsey proudly explained its mechanism. The presidente, a wrinkled little man with an olive face, who wore gaiters with elastic in their sides and a suit of dingy black clothes, always came with them. He seemed to have taken a great fancy to Cropsey, and always begged him to come to Bago and accept his hospitality.

Cropsey had been two months at the lighthouse before he paid his first visit to the village; but after that he went frequently, dining with the presidente and returning to his station before sunset. For on this point his instructions had been explicit—he must always be at his post when the light was burning.

It was this rule which led him to refuse the invitation of the presidente to attend the supper and baile in honor of the presidente's ninth child. The little man took the refusal to heart.

"Is it because I am a Filipino that you don't come, señor?" he asked.

"No, it is the light, señor presidente. I must be here when it is burning."

"But from my house, from the bay, you can always see the light. And Fabian will be here to watch it."

And when Cropsey still declined, the native's shoulders drooped.

"I had hoped you would be padrino," he said slowly.

"I will be padrino, even though I do not come," answered Cropsey.

But the man's disappointment troubled him as he returned to his house. He felt that the native would never understand why he declined to come; it would seem to him almost a betrayal of his friendship. As the presidente had said, he would always be in sight of the lighthouse; nothing could happen in his absence. It was not as if it were the typhoon season when his return might be cut off by a storm.

The next morning he decided he would go. It would be the only time; he would make the presidente understand that.

As he got into his boat that evening, he felt vaguely depressed. He regretted his decision. He glanced upward over his shoulder at the light, which, with the precise movements of a clock, was flashing its warning through the gathering darkness; and impulsively he crossed to the tower and hastily climbed the stairs. Everything was in order; it looked as he had seen it look a thousand times before.

With a shamefaced laugh at his nervousness, he returned to his boat and set off for Bago.

But he did not stay long at the christening; his uneasiness came back. He was impatient to be again with the light which, as he walked down to the water, he saw flashing across the bay.

THE full moon which had risen enabled Cropsey to see his sand spit long before he reached it; and suddenly as he raised his eyes to glance again at the lighthouse, he paused, his dripping paddle held suspended in the air. In the protected waters back of the reef a small steamer rode at anchor. For a time he could not place the ship; none stopped at that anchorage, except—then it came to him. The steamer was the lighthouse tender But Butuan, on which Inspector Morissey traveled. He had come while the keeper was absent from his post.

Feverishly he returned to his paddling his gasps of effort drowning the gurgle of the water as it fell away from the prow of his boat. One hope sustained him: perhaps the inspector had not gone ashore that night. It was long past midnight; the steamer might have just arrived.

But as he neared his sand spit, he saw launch drawn up on the shore.

He finished his journey slowly. This then was the end. He would lose his place branded as untrustworthy; and with this record and his burned-out body, he would not find another. No, he would drop into that crowd of derelicts for whom even this problem of making a living had proved in soluble, shuffling through what remained to him of life an outcast and a pariah. And the Governor would learn that he had betrayed his trust; he only hoped that he would never again be called on to meet those friendly gray eyes.

He looked down at the water. A slight shifting of position, a moment's struggle and then oblivion. The ripples where the water broke over his hand on the paddle were soft and its warmth pleasant to the skin. It would close over him caressingly.

But something stirred in Cropsey, some feeling, some instinct, which had caused him that other time to run for the dynamite. With a dogged sweep of his paddle, he drove his banca ashore beside the launch.

Morissey was reading beside a small wicker table, over which an unshaded lamp threw a glaring light. He glanced up as Cropsey entered, but although he had never seen the keeper before, he neither rose nor introduced himself.

"I hope you had a pleasant evening," he said, drawing the comers of his straight lips down into a mocking smile.

Cropsey's heart sank. He read no mercy in the hard face before him.

"You're Inspector Morissey, I suppose." he replied, shuffling across the room to a chair on the other side of the table.

"Yes. I hope my visit hasn't inconvenienced you."

"My absence doesn't seem to have inconvenienced you much," flared back the keeper, stung by the other's insolence.

"Your absence," returned Morissey imperturbably. "I was coming to that. I suppose you can explain it."

Cropsey's anger cooled as quickly as it had risen.

"There ain't no excuse, if you mean business took me. I just went over for a minute to a christening at the presidente's. I was padrino to his baby; he seemed to think it was unfriendly when I said I wouldn't go. Everything was all right. It's a fine night, and I could see the light every minute I was away."

"Well," said Morissey, rising and stretching himself with a yawn, "you'll have a chance to put it in writing in the morning, and I'll give it to the chief. Maybe he can see the connection between baptizing a baby and running a lighthouse. I confess I can't."

He moved over to the doorway, but on its threshold he paused.

"You might send a letter along to the Governor-General at the same time. I understand he is a friend of yours." There was open mockery in his tone.

Cropsey sprang to his feet and rushed toward the inspector, his eyes blazing.

"You leave the Governor out of this. Do you hear? I ain't asking favors, i guess I can take my medicine—you just leave him out!"

Morissey stepped backward before this unexpected outburst. For a moment he stared at Cropsey incredulously.

"Do you mean you are not going to put up a whine to the Governor?" he asked in a changed tone.

"Yes. What's he got to do with it?"

Without replying, Morissey paced two or three times up and down the room, his hands clasped behind him, his head bent in thought. Now and then he shot a curious look at Cropsey who was leaning against the door-jamb, his glance resting on the floor. At length he approached the keeper.

"Look here," he said, "I shall have to report your absence, but I will tell White it was the first time—I talked with Fabian before you came—and everything seems to be in capital shape. I will mention that, too. You write out whatever you want to say. Make it as strong as you can." Pie hesitated as he saw the look in Cropsey's eyes. "Don't count too much on it. White is strong for keeping on the job. Maybe he will let you off this lime, but frankly I doubt it. Good night!"

Cropsey limply shook the outstretched hand, and without comment dragged his tired body to the lighthouse. The staccato explosions of the engine in Morissey's launch sounded like pistol-shots in his brain, as he sank wearily on the steps.

TWO weeks later Morissey finished his cruise and reported to White in Manila.

"That's a queer specimen you have down there," he said, as White looked up from the papers in Cropsey's case. "He ought to have whined, but he didn't; and when I taunted him with his pull with the Governor, he nearly murdered me. If you fire him, honestly, I don't believe he will put up a howl."

White laid the papers carefully on the table and swung his chair around, so that through the open window his glance rested on the blue waters of the bay and the distant slope of Mariveles rising behind them, Morissey's report had caused him a distinct feeling of regret.

In the months that Cropsey had been at Bago, White's feeling toward him had changed. It had gradually been borne in upon him that the keeper was taking pride in his work and was honestly trying to carry out his duties; and if a man is sincere in his work, the work is apt to take care of itself. The irregularities in his reports had grown less and less frequent. White had come to feel that Bago was no longer one of his problems. To dismiss Cropsey would be to open it again.

But the invariable punishment for absence from duty was dismissal. He told himself he would have to let the keeper go, but he also told himself there was no hurry —the matter could rest until tomorrow. He turned briskly and rose from his chair.

"Come on," he said, "let's go up to the club and have a bite of lunch. There are one or two points I want to dear up before I take action."

"I don't think he would do it again." said the inspector, stretching himself lazily.

"Oh, I suppose we will have to let him out," White answered indifferently, as they started for the door.

Morissey smiled, but made no comment. The papers were still lying on White's desk when the inspector entered the next morning.

"Do you know," said the chief, "I have been trying to find a man for that Bago place, and to save my soul I can't think of one I would be willing to trust with it. Confound that fellow! He has put us in a hole."

"Why not let Cropsey stay on for a time?" ventured Morissey, turning to the window to conceal his grin.

White tapped the edge of his desk with a pencil.

"But that—" The strident noise of his telephone-bell interrupted him. "Yes, this is White!"

Morissey, watching the face of his chief, knew from its growing tenseness that he was receiving news of importance. He caught the words, "Bago—Cropsey—cholera, you say! Yes, I'll go at once! Thank you."

White snapped the receiver on its hook and sprang to his feet.

"Can the Butuan put to sea in an hour, Bob?" he asked.

"Yes, something the matter with Cropsey?"

"I don't know. That was the Executive Secretary. He had a wire from the presidente at Bago. Said they have had cholera at the lighthouse, and Cropsey needs help. The message wasn't very clear. I'll get a doctor and meet you on board at noon."

The one thing which unfailingly strikes terror to the heart of the white man in the Philippines is Asiatic cholera. Its loathsomeness, the suddenness with which it strikes its victims, the flame-like rapidity with which it spreads, give it an air of mysteriousness which adds to its horror. What he eats, the very air he breathes seem charged with a subtle menace.

WHEN Cropsey, ten days after Morissey's departure, entered the nipa house on the other side of the tower, in which Fabian lived with his wife and two children, he had expected to find one of them ailing of a mild complaint. Fabian had said merely that the niño was sick, when he requested Cropsey to come.

But a glance at the gasping child and Cropsey had recognized the malady of which he had seen strong men die overnight. It had cholera.

The mother, round-eyed and passive, squatted on the floor behind the low bed. Behind her, beside a half-emptied rice-pot, stood the other child, its little stomach protruding like an inflated balloon from its short white shirt. It had eaten from the same vessel as its brother. Fabian entering after Cropsey, had paused near the door.

The eyes of all were fixed on the white man. In their trouble they had instinctively turned to him for assistance.

Cropsey gave some hurried instructions to the woman—in his heart he realized their inadequacy and then, turning away, he beckoned to Fabian, who followed him across the sand spit to his bungalow. Here Cropsey wrote a hurried letter to White telling him of the cholera and suggesting that he send a man to Bago to take charge of the light, in case his services should be needed.

"Here," he said to Fabian, "you take this to Bago and post it. Then you come back with Gonzales, the medico, quick. But be sure to post the letter—there's a boat tomorrow. And ask the presidente to come back with you; he can send a man to Taypay with a telegram."

The resentfulness, which since Morissey's visit Cropsey's face had worn, was gone. In the depths of his eyes one might have seen a vague look of terror; but his step, as he again entered Fabian's house, was resolute.

Fabian reached Bago as night was falling—in the bottom of the banca which a fishing-boat had picked up as it drifted aimlessly about the bay; and Cropsey's letter was in the pocket of his camisa when they buried him the next morning, without waiting for the presidente to return from a few days' visit to Taypay.

At about the same hour Cropsey and the woman were spading two narrow graves in the sand back of the lighthouse.

Through his glasses later he watched the mail-boat depart for Manila. In a week, he told himself, she would return with a man to relieve him, and he could get away. He would not wait for his dismissal. He was weary. He stretched his hand against a post to support himself, as a slight dizziness shook him.

He was alone when the mail-boat returned. He had difficulty in making out her lines. His sight was becoming blurred; he had to blink before he looked at objects. Three days and nights he had watched beside the woman, stealing away only to attend the light, and to snatch such food as he could find fit to eat without cooking. And then—of her house he had made her funeral pyre.

With the woman gone, his duties had become less exacting; but he found them more difficult to perform. The walk between his bungalow and the tower became a journey, which at last he ceased to make, living in the lighthouse and saving his strength for the torturing climb of the stairs.

He had long since ceased to wonder why Fabian had not come back with the presidente. Only one idea filled his mind—to keep the light burning until the white ship coming from the south turned in at Bago Bay.

Now that white ship was here. He watched her cut her way leisurely through the blue-gray waters to the distant village; and then for hours he waited for the boat which would bring his relief.

When at last he realized that none was coming, he gave a mirthless laugh and sank down in the doorway of the tower, his head resting on its sill. They expected him to do the job alone; they refused to help him.

Here the presidente found him. He could make little of Cropsey's mutterings. He shook his head when he saw the burned house. There was an air of desolation about the place.

He took the keeper by the arm.

"Come with me, señor," he said.

But Cropsey shook him off with feeble curses, raving incoherently something about "being no quitter."

When the Butuan, under forced draft, rounded the point to the south, the sun was shining brightly; and White and Morissey, standing on the bridge, eagerly focussed their glasses on the lighthouse.

Presently an exclamation broke from Morissey.

"My God! The light's flashing!"

The presidente met them on the beach.

"The door is locked, señor," he said, "and all day yesterday the light burned."

White forced the door and ran hurriedly up the stairs; but something by the light drove him back.

As he passed to the fresh air outside, he met the doctor.

"I don't think you will be needed," he said.

Two hundred yards out across the rippling water, the Butuan rode at anchor. From her stern, snapping in the brisk breeze, flew the flag of his country.

For a full minute White gazed at it fixedly. Then, turning, he raised his glance to the light; and suddenly lifting his hat, he placed it against his breast, and bowed his head reverently.