Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/173

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135
HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES.

of the business quarter, destroying eighty-five million dollars' worth of property. The large granite building owned and occupied by the Pilot, on Franklin Street, was entirely consumed. As soon as possible, new quarters were taken on Cornhill, in the building of Rand & Avery, which, by a strange fatality, was also burned to the ground eleven days later. Nothing daunted, the Pilot resumed business again at No. 360 Washington Street. A little impatience was excusable in it when called upon to announce, early in the following June, that the paper had been burnt out for the third time on May 30. "When a fire comes to Boston nowadays," it said, "it comes looking round all the corners for its old friend the Pilot. It is evident that the fire has a rare appreciation of a good newspaper and a good companion to pass a brilliant hour Nevertheless, we do not want to appear too light-hearted on this occasion: it might lead people to think that a fire was not of much account anyway. Of course we are used to being burnt out, and it does not affect us much after the first mouthful of smoke and cinders. But when it comes to three times in seven months, we protest. We are not salamanders; the oldest phoenix of them all would get sick of such a gaudy dissipation. For the remainder of our lives in Boston we want the fire to let us severely alone." The Pilot's stock was totally destroyed in this last fire, and though it was well insured the loss was hard to bear, following the greater preceding calamities. By these Mr. Donahoe had been made poorer to the extent of $350,000, a loss which, with other reverses, ultimately brought on financial failure. The friends of the paper showed their timely good feeling by doing their utmost for it in its hour of adversity; some old subscribers paying arrears of fifteen years or more, others subscribing for ten years in advance, and a few requesting to have their names put down as subscribers "for life."

O'Reilly's "Wail of Two Cities" (Chicago and Boston) appeared in the number of the Pilot issued immediately after the great fire of November 9, 1872.