Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/162

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campaigns in the Papal Brigade. Returning to Ireland he joined the Twenty-fourth Infantry, and immediately began organizing a revolutionary movement. He was doing sentry duty at the Royal Hospital, Dublin, in December, 1866, when he received timely warning that a guard had arrived at the picket room to arrest him. O'Reilly tells the picturesque sequel as follows:

"Private Hassett walked off his post, and, shouldering his rifle, proceeded confidently through the streets of Dublin, in which a soldier with arms is never questioned. It was ten o'clock at night, and it so happened that Hassett knew of a certain meeting of organizers and other 'boys on their keepin,' which was being held that evening. Thither he bent his steps, reached the house, and, knowing how it was done, gained admission. The rebels sat in council up stairs: faces grew dark, teeth were set close, and revolvers grasped when they heard the steady stamp on the stairs, and the 'ground arms,' at their door. A moment after, the door opened and the man in scarlet walked into the room—all there knew him well. With full equipments, knapsack, rifle, and bayonet, and sixty rounds of ammunition, Hassett had deserted from his post, and walked straight into the ranks of rebellion. He was quickly divested of his military accoutrements; scouts went out to a neighboring clothing store, and soon returned with every requisite for a fullfledged 'civilian.' The red coat was voted to the fire, and the belt and arms were stored away with a religious hope in the coming fight for an Irish Republic. The next evening one more was added to the group of strangely dressed men who smoked and drank their 'pots o' porter' in a certain house in Thomas Street. The new-comer was closely shaven and had the appearance of a muscular Methodist minister. The men there were all deserters, and the last arrival was Hassett. Vainly watching for the coming fight, the poor fellows lived in mysterious misery for several weeks. It is hard to realize here now the feeling that was rife in Dublin then. At last one of the deserters was recognized in the streets by the military informer,— Private Foley, of the