Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/202

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I had arranged with our men that I would have the traps in position on the road at a quarter to eight, and would remain so, the nearest one being within five minutes run of the prison, until 9 o'clock a.m. Being ahead of my time, I drove slowly along the Rockingham road, and Desmond, coming up shortly after, drove by me. Coming to a shaded part of the road, we halted, and having divided the hats and coats, three of each to each trap, I commenced to drive back to Fremantle, Desmond following; time, five minutes to eight. A few moments after, I saw three men in the prison dress wheel round and march down the Rockingham road. Driving up to them, I found the men were Wilson, Cranston, and Harrington. I directed them to pass on and get into the trap with Desmond and drive away. Desmond wheeled his horses around and they were only seated and ready to start when the other three came in sight, and on driving up to them I found one man carrying a spade, and another a large tin kerosene can. As soon as I came near enough to be recognized, he who carried the spade flung it with him into the bush, and the holder of the kerosene can bestowed a strong kick upon it in good football fashion. I found the men were Darragh, Hogan, and Hassett. I now had all the men I wanted, and felt glad. My horses got restive and refused to wheel around. Darragh caught one by the head, but he jibed and kicked so I was afraid he would break the harness. I told Darragh to let him go, and, whipping both of them up smartly, they started fairly together, and when I got them on a wider part of the road they wheeled around nicely. I now drove back and took up my men. Desmond was already well out of sight, and King shortly after rode up and told me all was quiet when he left.

With regard to the method or plan of communication between the prisoners themselves, it may be well to state that their good conduct and length of imprisonment had entitled them to the rank of constable, which enabled them to communicate with each other with greater ease and freedom than the other prisoners. Wilson and Harrington worked in the same party at the construction of harbor works in Fremantle. Hogan was a painter by trade, and on the morning of the escape was employed painting the house of Mr. Fauntleroy, outside the prison walls. Cranston was employed in the stores, and as messenger occasionally. Darragh was clerk and attendant to the Church of England chaplain, and enjoyed considerable facilities for communicating with the other prisoners, and on the morning of the escape took Hassett with him to plant potatoes in the garden of Mr. Broomhole, the clerk of works for the convict department.

After breakfast on the morning of the 17th of April, all the political prisoners were engaged outside the prison wall. Cranston passed out as if going on a message, and, having overtaken the warder who was