Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/133

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95
HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES.

ten minutes ago, he was calling him everything that he could lay his tongue to. It is four months to-morrow since you left us, and I hope and trust that you are quietly settled down in Yankee town[1] Since you left we have not seen the spout of a sperm whale, which makes the time naturally hang rather heavy. For pastime I have taken the rigging off from my little vessel, and am going to rig her again, and have also made about half a dozen canes. By the way, I was looking at your cane yesterday, and I must shortly polish it, and if I am unfortunate enough not to meet you again, I shall certainly send it to your father as I promised you. The tress of hair is also safe, and if I do not see you again I will do with it as I told you I would. The old man has made his schooner for Jimmy, and has got her all rigged, and the sails on. Mariano, Mr. Joseph, John Vitrene, Bill Malay, and the boy Andrew are each building a vessel; but I have seen none yet equal to the one that poor Carpenter built, and which I have in my possession. No doubt you often think of the night that we lost him, and of the narrow escape that you had but a short time after, and I have been thankful a great many times that I did not leave the boat, for if I had you certainly would have perished. Now as it is about time to shorten sail for the night, I will bid you good-night and go on deck. Long. 38 deg. 50 min. W., lat. 33 deg. 20 min. S.

Saturday, December 18 . . . . I often think of you and ask myself if there is any doubt about your safety, and while others think there is, Paterson, for instance, I think there is no doubt, old boy, but you are on Yankee soil, and, with the help of God, I will soon be with you; and I hope the time is not far hence when some of your old friends from Australia will be with you, enjoying freedom instead of bondage. Bondage, do I call it! Worse than bondage, for the slave in bondage has no one to scorn him but his master, while those gentlemen are suffering the scorn of a whole nation, and what is it for? Just for upholding their rights. God bless them! and may the time soon arrive when they will have a helping hand to assist them in escaping.[2] There goes eight bells.

Sunday, January 30, 1870.— Another week has passed away, and the shades of evening are once more gathered over us. It is my dog watch below, and I have been reading the Bible, and playing hymn tunes on the flutina; and now, as I have a few leisure moments before going on duty, I will improve them in writing to you, hoping that, by and by, when you come to peruse these pages, you may be interested, for I know that you will want to know some of the proceedings of your

  1. O'Reilly had then been just two days in the "Yankee town" of Philadelphia.
  2. O'Reilly and Hathaway had even then planned, among their other aircastles, the one which they were to carry out successfully seven years later—of rescuing the other forlorn captives in Australia.