Late in November, 1888, a furious tempest raged over Massachusetts Bay, and three vessels were driven ashore on the beach of Hull, where was O'Reilly's summer residence. Fifteen brave fishermen of the village put out through the boiling surf, and, laboring for half a day, rescued twenty-eight lives. The Hull Yacht Club gave a dinner at the Parker House, Boston, on December 22, having for its guests Mayor-elect Hart, John Boyle O'Reilly, Commodore B. W. Crowninshield, Captain Joshua James of the Hull life-saving crew, and Mr. Taylor Harrington. Speeches laudatory of the heroes were made, Commodore Rice especially eulogizing them as a type of "Anglo-Saxon courage." O'Reilly responding to the toast, "The Heroes of Hull," praised the English life-saving service and those of other European countries, but claimed the first place for that of the United States. "The Massachusetts Humane Society," he said, "has now five stations on Nantasket Beach, and every one of those stations is in charge of one brave and devoted man—one man who assisted at the saving of over 130 lives—the gallant man
Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/370
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JOHN BOYLE O'REILLY.
Tom calls his brother the "mad b," so that if our letters were found they would not know who was meant. But lately we are not very cautious—let them find them if they like—they cannot give us any more. Harrington, of the Sixty-first, and I will receive our sentence on the same day. He's an old soldier and was taken for desertion . . . . They told those poor cowardly hounds who did inform, that Chambers and I were going to give evidence against them—so as to frighten them into giving evidence against us. This has been done by officers and gentlemen! Well, even if we never see home or friends again, we are ten thousand times happier than any such hounds can ever be. When we go to our prisons and all suspense is over, we will be quite happy. Never fret for me, whatever I get. Please God, in a few years I will be released and even if prevented from coming to Ireland will be happy yet. And if not, God's holy will be done. Pray for me and for us all., It would grieve you to hear the poor fellows here talking. At night they knock on the wall as a signal to each other to pray together for their country's freedom. Men, who a few months ago were careless, thoughtless soldiers, are now changed into true, firm patriots, however humble. They never speak on any other subject, and all are perfectly happy to suffer for old Ireland.