Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/203

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165
HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES.

marching the working party in which Wilson and Harrington worked, showed him a key, and told him he had been sent to take Wilson and Harrington to move some furniture in the Governor's house, which was the nearest point to where they expected to meet me. The warder told Wilson and Harrington to go with Cranston, and they marched off. Darragh took Hassett, as if going to work, in the same direction, and was joined by Hogan, who made an excuse for temporary absence to the warder who had charge of him. Both parties met at the Rockingham road.

I now drove on, letting King fall behind, and in half an hour was close behind Desmond. We held on without accident or incident until we reached the Rocking Hotel, when Somers, the proprietor, who knew me, called out to know what time the Georgette was expected to be at the timber jetty. I told him the Georgette was at the jetty in Fremantle when I left, but I did not know when she would be at Rockingham. At 10.30 a.m. we made the beach and got aboard the whale-boat. The men had been instructed to stow themselves in the smallest possible space., so as not to interfere with the men at the oars, and in a few moments all was ready and the word was given to shove off. Under the powerful strokes of the whalemen the boat had made two miles out to sea before the mounted police, who had promptly taken the alarm, had arrived at the spot to recover the horses and wagons used in the escape.

In the mean time the wind and sea had arisen, the boat's course was dead to windward, and the ship invisible below the horizon. Presently the wind changed a little and the crew hoisted a small sail. They soon sighted the ship and were fast overhauling her when a squall struck them, carrying away their mast and sail. They pulled wearily ahead for two hours longer; then set the jib on an oar. The heavily laden, boat continually shipped seas over the stern, keeping the men engaged in baling her out. So they worked all through the stormy night, hungry, tired, and soaking wet. At daylight they sighted the ship again and tried to signal her, but in vain. Fortunately for themselves, as it proved, their little boat was not visible in the waste of waters, for the Government steamer Georgette came presently out of Fremantle harbor, steering straight for the Catalpa. The men in the boat took in the small jib which they had hoisted and again resumed their work at the oars. The Georgette was seen to go out to the Catalpa,