Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/334

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J. B. O'R. Presented with twenty roses, "one for each year of the sentence."

June 22.—Attended school exhibition—paddled up and down. In the evening Fr. Teeling came and stopped all night; a delightful evening's chat.

June 33.—Alone again—not a soul on the Point—raining and chilly—longing for home and the dear ones there—will start for Gloucester in the canoe on Tuesday morning and go home by rail.

God bless dear Domus Tranquilla and its occupants! May they all enjoy as charming and invigorating a stay in it as mine has been!

John Boyle O'Reilly.

It will be seen that he writes "June 21" as the date of his sentence, which is incorrect. The real date was July 9. I find similar chronological mistakes made by him on matters wherein men of prosaic minds would have been prosaically accurate. In regard, for instance, to the founding of the Papyrus Club, he makes a similar mistake when he dates his poem, "Alexander Young's Feast," as having been read "at Park's, where the club first met in 1870." The fact was, his memory was unreliable in the matter of dates, and such, to him, unimportant details. On this subject he once wrote to a friend in the following amusingly frank strain:

You grieve me about the biography. I am so tired of it, and it is such a hopelessly mixed biography, with every kind hand taking a whack at it. I read it in each new phase with a new sensation of horror and admiration. I will not send you any part of the Oriental story—and I lay upon you the Geasa (which is a spell from the remote darknesses held by all seers of the Gael) not to search for it elsewhere. And, as for your "necessary dates," all such things are unnecessary. Dates are only fit for clerks, and facts are the opposite of truths. Facts are mere pebbles; unrelated accretions of the insignificant.

If you want necessary truths—here, I am a man. I have written a poor little book of poems, and I have sent it out to be chopped into mince-meat.

Seriously, I do not like the biographical notice. I know how kindly your thought was, but if you had to read so many "stories of your life "that you yourself got mixed on the truth and the fabricated, you would hate it as I do.

In September, 1886, he wrote his "Three Graves," and