Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/396

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no chloral. The supposition is that he had taken some of her other sleeping medicines which did contain that drug, and that he was ignorant of the quantity of the latter which might be taken with safety. The bottles in the medicine closet were found disturbed. Part of the medicine which Dr. Litchfield had ordered for Mrs. O'Reilly was not put up by him, but was some which was already in the house. In prescribing its use Dr. Litchfield said: "Use that medicine which you have, or which I saw at your house when I called yesterday."

The fatal error doubtless occurred when Mr. O'Reilly went to the closet to get the medicine for his wife.

The sad news reached Boston early on Sunday morning, and was bulletined in front of the newspaper offices and announced at the services in some of the Catholic churches of the city, awaking profound sorrow wherever it was received.

Mrs. O' Reilly was prostrated with grief and was removed with her younger daughters to the home of her mother. The eldest daughter, with her uncle, Mr. Murphy, accompanied the body of her father on the steamer to Boston, whence, early in the afternoon, the remains were borne to his late home in Charlestown.

It is the simplest of truths to say that the death of no private citizen in America, or perhaps in the world, could have caused such genuine and widespread grief as followed that of John Boyle O'Reilly. The sorrow was not confined to people of his own race or faith. Americans of every race appreciated the patriotic spirit of this adopted citizen, and recognized that in his death the country had lost not only a man of rare genius, but a leader whose counsels were as wise as his loyalty was fervent and unfaltering.

During the days and weeks following his death, messages of sympathy and regret came pouring in, literally in thousands. Cardinal Gibbons, the head of the Catholic Church in America, said, on hearing the news:

It is a public calamity—not only a loss to the country, but a loss to the Church, and to humanity in general.