Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/89

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55
HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES.
I looked at him and waited. He said again in the same mysterious manner: "Mate, what's your sentence?"

Millbank, which O'Reilly in his "Moondyne" calls "a hideous hive of order and commonplace severity, where the flooding sunlight is a derision," was more terrible to a man of his nature, in its grim regularity, than the old-fashioned dungeon. It was pulled down in 1875.

On the expiration of their term of solitary confinement, in April, 1867, O'Reilly, Sergeant McCarthy, and Corporal Chambers were sent to work with common criminals in the prison brickyards at Chatham. They were chained together, as before, and marched through the streets for the delectation of the populace. At Chatham they occupied cells known as "end cells," which receive ventilation from the hall only, where the sanitary arrangements of the prison are situated. The ordinary cells are ventilated from the outside.

Here O'Reilly and two others attempted to escape, and, being recaptured, were put on bread and water for a month, and, after that, chained together and sent to Portsmouth. They were put into gangs, with the worst wretches, to do the hardest of work. They had to wheel brick for machines. Each machine will make a great many in an hour, and their time and numbers were so arranged that from morning till night they could rest only when the machine did. In Portsmouth he again attempted to escape; but failed, and got thirty days more on bread and water.

He and his companions were next removed in chains to Dartmoor—a place that has associations with American history. There, on April 6, 1815, occurred the infamous massacre of American prisoners, shot down by their guards because of an imaginary plot to break jail. Dartmoor is the worst of all the English prisons. Only a man of the strongest constitution can hope to survive the rigorous climate and unremitting hard labor of the dreary prison, planted in the middle of the bleak Devonshire moor. Two of the Irish convicts died of the hardships and cruelties there