Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/143

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105
HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES.

tenance, its wonderful light and life. His eyes had the depth, and fire, and mobile color of glowing carbuncle.

For the rest, he had the rich brown complexion, so familiar in after years, a small black mustache, only half concealing his finely cut mouth, and revealing a set of perfectly white, regular teeth.

His form was slight, but erect and soldier like. He carried his head well raised, and a little thrown back. He was a man whom not one would pass without a second glance.

His lecture was successful, and he immediately received invitations to repeat it in Providence, Salem, Lawrence, and other towns. Precarious as were his means of support at this time, he never parted with his independence, as the following characteristic letter will show. It is dated:

Boston, February 23, 1870.

Colonel John O'Mahony:

Dear Sir: I am sorry that your letter has remained unanswered until now. I was absent from Boston and did not receive it. Will you, in returning this check for ten pounds to the Ladies' Committee in Ireland, express my deep gratitude for their thoughtful kindness? Of course, I cannot accept it. There are many in Ireland—many who suffer from the loss of their bread-winners in the old cause—they want it; let them have it. It is enough—more than enough—for me to know that I have been remembered in Ireland, and that still, in the old land, the spirit of our cause and the energies of our people are living and acting. I remain, dear Colonel,

Very truly yours,

J. Boyle O'Reilly.

Less than two months later, we find him writing in this cheerful strain to his aunt, in Preston, England:

"Boston Pilot" Office,

Franklin Street, Boston, April 5, 1870.

My own dear Aunt: How happy I was made by seeing your letter. I am truly glad that you and Willy and Uncle are so well. I was thinking of you when I was in Liverpool. I dared not go to Preston. It is strange how I love Preston—I felt it then, and I feel it now.

I am a very fortunate fellow to pull clear through. I am likely to