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Storm At The Signal Station, Mt Washingtion

Storm At The Signal Station, Mt Washingtion image
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Notieing that the sides of the suinmit were strewed with boards, beanis, and debris of all sorts, my guide explaiued that what I saw was the result of the great January gale, whicli had demolished the large shed used as au engine-house, scattering the loose fragments far and vvide. I begged liim to give me his recollection oi' it. "Duving the forenoon preceeding the gale we observed nothing very unusual; but the clouds kept sinking and sinking until the summit was quite above them. Late in the afternoon my comrade, Seargent M - - , came to where I was lying abed sick, and said, there is going to be the deuce to pay, so I guess l'll inak.e everything smig.' "By nine in the evening the wind uul increased to one luindred miles an ïour, with heavy sleet. At midnight ;he velocity of the storm was one mndred and twenty miles, and the exjosed thermometer recorded twenty'our degiees below zero. With stove red, we could hardly get it above freezïng inside the house. Water f roze within three feet of the tire - in fact, where you are now sitting. At this time the noise outside was deafening. About one o'clock the wind rose to one hundred and lifty niles. It was now blowing a hurricane. The wind, gathering up all the oose ice of the inountain, dashed it igainst the house with one continued roar. I lay wondering how long the building would stand this, wlien all at once came a crash. M shouted to me to get up; but I had tumbied out in a hurry on hearing the glass go. You seo I was dresscd, to keep myself warm in bed. "Our united efforts were hardly equal to closing the storm shutten from the inside, but we linally succeeded, tliough the liglits went out when the wind came In, and we worked in t! e dark." He rose to show me liow the bhutters,of thick oak, were first seeured by an i ron bar, and secoidy by strong vvooden buttons l'unily screvved in the window-franie. "We had scarcely done this," resumí d Doyle, "and were shivering over the lire, when n heavy gust of wind again buist open the shutters, as easily as if they had never been fastened at all. We sprang to our feet. After a hard tussle we again seeured the windows, by nailing a cleat to the Moor, tgainst which one end of a board was flxed, usingthe other end as a lever. You understand?" I nodded. "Well, even then it was all we could do to force the the shutters back into place. But we did it. We had to do it. "The rest of the night was passed in momentary expectation that the building would be blown into TuckermaVs, and we with it. At four o'clock in the morning the wind registered one hundred and eighty-six miles. It had shifted then from east to northeast. From this time it steadily feil to ten miles, at nine o'clock. This wan the biggest blow ever experienced on the mountain." "Suppose the house had gone, and the hotel stood fast, could you have effected an entrance into the hotel ?" I asked. "We could not have faced the gale." "jSTot for a hundred feet ? not in a matter of life and death ?" "Impossible. ïhe wind would have lifted us from our feet like bags of vvool. We would have been dashed against the rocks, and siuashed like egg-shells," was the quiet reply. "And so for some hours you expeoted to be swept into eternity ?" "We did what we could. Each wrapped himself in blankets and quilts, binding these tightly around him with ropes, to which were attached bars oí iron. so that if the house went by the board we might stand a chance - a slim one - of anchoring somewhere, somehow." Somewhere, indeed! When, on the following morning, I busied myself getting ready to go down the mountain, I heard aprofound sigh, followed by some half-audible words, proceeding from the adjoining room. Tnese words rang in my ears all that dar:


Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat