Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/218

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

surely will before long, the revulsion of feeling will in itself be so deep a joy that whole years of suffering will be swallowed up.

I grieve to hear of your declining health. Dear Tom, a stout heart keeps a man healthy. Bear up; remember you have a hearty welcome in the home of one friend, I might say of very many,— and now, at the eleventh hour, do not despond nor sink. You must come to us, rugged and strong; come a boy, to begin the world anew, and to work out your manly way in the New World.

I know that if I were to write news it would break the prison rules and nullify my letter, and I must confine myself to mere words, but believe me, there is a heart behind every sentence.

I do not believe you will be long a prisoner, but, long or short, husband your health for the time of delivery. When you write me, I trust in God you will tell me you are gaining strength. I wish I might write you a newspaper full.

Sincerely yours,
J. B. O'Reilly.

578 Washington Street, Boston, U. S. A.

This letter was indorsed:

To the Governor of Woking Prison:

Sir: I respectfully beg that this letter be handed to the person to whom it is addressed. His health may be affected by despondency which a friendly message may arrest or dispel. I have tried to avoid breaking your rules or discipline.


J. B. O'Reilly.

On the 27th of August, 1877, Mr. John O'Kane, a scholarly gentleman who had been assistant editor of the Pilot for some years, died of pneumonia, at the age of forty years. He left one son, Daniel P. O'Kane, whom Mr. O'Reilly took into the office and made his confidential clerk. "Dan"—it seems impossible to speak of him save by the familiar name by which he was known and loved—was an amiable, kindly youth, warmly devoted to his chief and dearly loved in return. The fatal seeds of consumption were in his system, and developed such alarming symptoms in the year 1890 that he was forced to give up his work on the Pilot and go to the Boston City Hospital for treatment. His declining health was the cause of heartfelt grief to O'Reilly. While the latter was away on his lecturing tour on the