Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/379

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HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES.

no longer be foremost in the mind of this great Irishman:

When Irish-Americans look across the ocean to a redeemed and prosperous Ireland, expressing the genius of her people as of old, her rivers humming with industry, her bays white with shipping, her emigration stopped, and her homes comfortable and happy, then the Pilot may turn its whole attention to the interests of the greater Ireland on this continent.

Little did he foresee what the New Year was to bring to him., Could he have foreseen all, he would have grieved most for the fallacy of these hopeful words about his beloved country:

The future fights for Parnell and Gladstone. The world applauds them. They enter the New Year with greater confidence of success than ever.

In December, the epidemic known as "la grippe," attacked O'Reilly and all his household. He, his wife, his four children, and two servants were all prostrated at once, and unable to leave their beds. "I never was so sick in my life," he wrote to his friend Moseley; "nor have I seen so much dangerous illness in my house before. So don't laugh at 'la grippe,' but fear it, and pray that it may not seize you or yours."

Mr. Moseley had several times admired a handsome blackthorn cane which General Collins had brought to O'Reilly from Ireland. The latter once said to him, in his inimitable, quaint way, "Ned, that stick has a story; it has done murder in a good cause. Some day I will write you its history." He never wrote the history, but he sent the cane to his friend, with the following letter:

Before I was knocked out (by la grippe) I tried to get the right kind of a blackthorn for you, but I could not satisfy myself. I had four sticks myself, all beauties, but three of them had been formally given to me as personal presents by friends. The fourth was my own private stick— one that dear Collins brought from Ireland, which he gave me, not as a personal present, hut just a stick to keep or give away as I chose. I chose to keep it; and I sent if to a jeweler and had the band of silver put on and the stick varnished. But when I failed to get you a proper stick, to last all your life, I said, "I will give him my own