Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/126

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Just then there was a loud splash in the water.

"What's that?" exclaimed Hathaway. "It's O'Reilly," cried the watch; "he has thrown himself overboard."

"Man overboard," was instantly shouted, and brought the crew on deck. Four boats were lowered and searched the water for an hour. They found only O'Reilly's hat, though one of the crew, with a sailor's vivid imagination, swore that he had caught a glimpse of a drowning man's face, and knew it to be O'Reilly's. When Hathaway's boat came back from its fruitless quest, he found the second mate leaning over the side, and crying bitterly: "He's gone, poor fellow! here's his hat. The men have just picked it up. We'll never see him again."

Next morning there was grief on board the Gazelle. The flag at half-mast brought out the captain in a shore boat to learn the sad news. O'Reilly's wet hat lay on the hatch-way. Immediately afterward came the police boat with the Governor, and Convict Bowman ready to identify his prey. The unmistakable sincerity of the men's grief satisfied the officials. On the evening of the same day the Gazelle went to sea unmolested. As soon as they were well clear of the land, Hathaway said to the captain (I give his own story):

"'I guess I'll go below and get a cigar.' I went and hauled the step away, and there was O'Reilly all in a heap. I can see his face right before me now, white as chalk; eyes as black as night. He looked like a wild man.

"'What now?' says he, trembling all over.

"'Come out of that,' says I.

"' What do you mean?' says he.

"'Don't stop to ask questions, man,' says I; 'get out of that and come up; you're safe for this time. Land is almost out of sight.'

"He crawled out, and we went on deck together.

"'Now,' says I, 'go and shake hands with the captain.'

"I went to the side of the ship and stood there smoking, and pretending to be scanning the horizon. I saw the captain give one look at him, a kind of scared look. He