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Sow-Bui Locked Up forMonh With Lunatic?
The Poet John Boyle O'Reilly's
Daughter, Authoress and Traveler,
Tells of the
Scenes in the
?tjT AM CODTlncea th?t tole *om?n '?
I perfectly sane and I therefore di
?*' rect that she be discharged from
custody and allowed her freedom "
Judge Hubert F. Wagner, sitting In the
Supreme Court of New York City, deliv
ered this decision the other day, and Miss
Elisabeth Boyle O'Reilly, daughter of th?
famous Irish poet and patriot of Boston,
the late John Boyle O'Reilly, stepped
forth a free woman.
Miss O'Reilly had endured a year aad a
half of confinement in a private fhadhouse
In Massachusetts. Finally she was able
to make her escape and made her way to
New York City. She was piir/ued. ar?
rested and an effort made to lock her up
again in an asylum. After due considera?
tien Jud?.? Wagner decided Uuit Mitt
O'Reilly was sane and should
not be restrained of her liberty.
Elisabeth Boyle O'Reilly le a
woman of Intellectual achieve
ment, a graduate of Radcllffe .
College and an authoress -of es? '
tabllshed standing. She wrote
"Heroic Spain'' and is now en- ?
gaged In writing a book on "The
Cathedrals ot Europe" soon to
he published. Miss O'Reilly Is
a sister-in-law of Professor
Ernest Hocking, who holds a
chair of pilllosophy In Harvard
University, and she also has a
sister, Mary Boyle O'Reilly, who
lives in New York.
Anybody who has ever visltad
an insane asylum or has seen
the faces at the window of
a madhouse or has read Charles
? Read'* powerful novel "Hard Cash," deal
ing with the Insane, will wonder how a
sane person can be locked up for a year
and a half with lunatics and still retain
her balance of mind. But Elisabeth Boyle
O'Reilly has endured the ordeal and la
?till sane. Miss O'Reilly nan a ted her dis
tressing experiences In an interview as
"I had done war work abroad, and some
of my experiences seemed beyond belief
a? I told them to my friends In Boston,
who hid never heard the sound of shot
and shell nor seen Che miseries of a field
hotnltal. Particularly, I think, some of
AT experiences with German spies
aroused their incredulity?fend the first
thing ! knew I was In an automobile and
on my way to a private asylum In a Mas
sachusetts town near Boston.
"For eighteen long, miserable months I
was confined In that private madhouse.
"Fortunately. I bad read Charles Read's
stirring novel of madhouse life, and as I
drove up to the square gray house I re
called bis words, 'Chained sane among
the Insane! Who can palat the agonised
soul in a mental situation so ghastly?
Think ot it, men and women. It may be
your turn to-morrow.'
"I knew that I was sane, but that no
hedy would believe it. Tbe rery fa?\that
T ?ira? entering an asylum for diseased
minds was proof enough to doctors,
nurses, attendants, patients, visitors, to
ev#*?ybody, of course, ray mind was dis
eased. ? realised that tbe slightest un
usual gesture, peculiarity of voice, inclina
tion of the head, glance of the eye, eccen
tricity of word or action would be balled
as (be stigma of Insanity.
"I determined that whatever befell me
I would never lose my self-control. I
knew that if I did I would givo my Jailers
tbe opportunity fo register me as violently
?raty. I made a vow as I entered that
awful building that I would be eoel, coo
trolled. watchful. By kijaplng this tow 1
saved my sanity and perhaps saved my
"I was led into a large hall where ? big.
ferocious-looking woman met me, not as
a gentlewoman should be mot, but as a
keeper of a dog kennel would meet a hew
dog. Qlandng at the memorandum con
cerning my supposed delusion she looks?!
at me sharply and said, 'You thought yon
were being shadowed In Paris.* and tien.
with a sneer, added, ? am as crasy against
Roche spies as you are.*
"A loud guffaw greeted this cruel Joke
from a grodp of. ooarse-looklng, 111 man
nered men and women. They wen tbe at
"But while I realised what a contempti
ble thing tt wa? for tbe matron to take ad
vantage of a kelpie?? and supposedly
'?>4fblemlnded new arrival to make a Joke
t>n tho patlent'e supposed delusion, yet I
realised that here waa ray first test of my
own sanity and self-control. I
did not stare at her. I did not
resent the brutal jest. I mads
no comment I smiled very
faintly and bowed slightly with
dignity, realizing the wicked
irony of the situation.
"For the first two months I
lived tn a small room almost
like tho life of one of the Siam
ese twine. Not tor a moment
was I permitted to be alone. I
am a small woman, weighing
scarcely 130 pounds, and they
picked out for me as my keeper
a bilge nurse who weighed more
then 200. if t ventured to move
an inch from her sida she roared at me
with the voice of a bull, lb? made my
day? miserable by this close and coarse
"And th? night? were won?. The encr?.
moue nurse slept in a amali bed that
touched mina And she snored horribly.
The rasping sound from her open mouth
kept me awake. Twenty times a night I
would waken ber. nut she would shake
off my hand, fall off to sleep again and the
n.ucous sound? continued.
"Imagine a woman accustomed to tbe
refinement? of a good American home and
of a quiet scholar's life in Paris doomed
to thla constant companionship of a coarse
creature who could not be shaken off.
With her I must abare my meal?, my room
and even my scant allotment of oxygon to
breath, ?for tbe windows were never al
lowed to bo widely opened. If, wearied of
her perspiring balk, I moved further away
from her on the veranda or on tbe narrow
.tath where we walked, she would scream
at me, 'Come back here beside me or ?:
make you sorry for it ' ?
"The arrival of a new patient waa al
ways attended by silent mystery or som??
dreadful outbreak. For instance, there
was tbe impressive looking elderly man
who Bteppod majostloally from the auto
mobile ami walked beside a keeper ?p the
steps to the veranda. He even paused to
admire the view.
" '!? the gentleman In the gray suit a
physicianV I asked the nurse who brought
" 'No,' she answered. 'He is a New York
millionaire who has come up here tor a lit
"Yet the second night after his arrival
frightful sounds issued from his room tie
had a baok room aero*? the hall from mine.
Tbe eeund? waro as ef ? struggle of two
powerful persons There were several
hoarse shouts. A sound a? though someone
bad been foiled to the floor. Then sllen? ?
1 covered my head with the bed clothes and
lay there trembling.
"She ?prang u? t? the car and Sang her thin arms a bore her
head. 'Unel?.' sh? ?hrtakad. 'I must have my uncle 1 O my God 1
Call any usila'
"Th? ear spun swiftly around the drive and hack again to the?
?atranca. Still take girl steed up in the ?tar and ?creamed.
"'Tho?? pattale 1* she cried. 'Tho.? fmamm at the window*!,
O ?aaleI Und.! Und.?
Twehr? times the ear drove around the building? before the
girl's fear ?ul??id?d ??nough to permit her to be taken ?atto the
villa at ih? bach of the bava?? ia which I ?layed."
"Toward dawn the
sounds were repeat?*?!?
but this time a man's
voice was raited in feat*
dad entreaty. And
again there was the im
pact of e failing body.
And again an awesome
silence. There was a
week of this. Tly?ee
sounds wcurred by da*/
and by night from the
room In which the New
York' millionaire slept.
Then I heard It no
"? dan't hear the
millionaire ?any more,'
I said to th? nurse who
carried in my tray one
"'No,' she answered
with a grin, 'he's gone
to a quieter place.'
"'You don't mean he
la dead?' I asked.
"She ?hook her head.
Tho Worcester Insane
Asylum. I thought, snd
"Daring my confinement tho automobil??
that brought patients from the Newtown
station swung down the drive on? after
noon. A alight young girl,' fair-haired ami
with etqslsltely regular features, na?
wedged between a doctor apd a nurse. I
shall never forget the look In hor great
brown ere? as she lifted them to the Win
dows. I was staring from the window.
Kvery other pstlsat must have been look
ing from hla or hot window st sound of
the approaohlng ear. It vu our habit?
The girl must have had a flash of under
standing. Bbe sprang Op in the oar and
flung her thin arms above her head.
"'ITncIe!' ?h? shrieked. ? must have
my unc??! Oh. my Ood, call my uncle?'
"The ear spun swiftly around the drive
und hack again to the entrance. Still tho
??? ?? lni?ra?ttasa?! ?Oalar? Hrnnir*. lar.
Misa Eli r. bet h Boyle 0'Re.Uy;
Who Wan Shut Up in a Pri
vi? ta? Inaane Asylum.
girl stood up in
the car and
Statar, M?a? Mary screamed.
O'Reilly "Thtyse people 1 '
she cried. Those
tac?? at the windows! Oh, uncle, uncle''
"Twelve time? the car drove around the
buildings before the tzlrl's fear subsided
enough to permit her to be taken Into tho
villa at the back of the house In which I
stayed. I never knew what became of
her, but I hoard that she had died in a
"The nurse? wore, for the most part,
coarse, unimpressionable creatures. If
one came to us who was not Insensible
to the horrors about her she was soon
eliminated. Steel-nerved, hard-hearted,
cold-eyed women were the type that
chiefly survived the frequent changes in
the Institution. In the year and a half
that I was there 14" nurse? passed through
the funnel-like Institution The gentler,
kinder ones, who listened to our stories
?.real Britain Righi, Iwrre?.
vanished after a week or two. Some of
those who remained had nothing to recom
mend them save the fact that they were
willing to work In that purgatorial place
for M a week. I am describing these Jail
ers of ours that you may understand it
was an unusual ajase that caused one of
them to turn pale. Yet one of them did
when she told me
whose sobbing it
was that came to
cae if rom the room
that was separat
ed from mine by
thing!' said this
tende r ? hearted
nurse. 'She Is a
little, old. white
fa al red mother.
Her son brought
ber down here
from New Hamr>
Jshlre In his car.
She ara? heavily
drugged, and the
effect of the drug
is beginning to
wear off '
invisible, was like
a lost soul pro
b er Luciferean
tate. Though lit
tle and weak her,
voice seemed ab
normal; and It
con tin untisi y
"'What can J
doT Help me ont
of here! Help
me out of her? I'
"When she had
and everyone else
her voice would
trail away Into a
series of moans.
Then would come
a brief quiet
"For five months
I had to endure
neighbor. ft ? r
voice grew faint
er at tbe last.
One night after
?he had sobbed
herself into quiet
hnd t sat quiver
lng with terror
and sympathy I
beard heavy foot
step? in tbe ball.
Voice? of several
thouih they were.
reached my ears. I heard doors open and
close and feet descending the stairs. 1
heard a door downstairs slam snd heard
feet moving slowly across the veranda. 1
stared from my window. The night was
inky-black, 1?a? through the darkness t
saw something moving slowly and heard
the faint crunching of ?ravel as by wheels.
" "The little mother was quiet last
night,' I remarked to the women who
brought my breskfnst next morning
? 'She Is gone,' she answered.
"'Where has she goneT* I Inquired
"'Never you mind. Bee thet torn dont
go where ah? has, that's all.' I never got
an? further information about my nn
"At the back on the same floor with
me they placed a woman who literally
howled all night. She wore out a nursi
s week. No nurse could stand mors than
?even dar? of her, but wa, who ware so
unfortunate aa to be Imprisoned on tho
same floor had to endbrc the s lee p?br eas
ing howls for live months.
"The Crazy Girl," by Jeanniot.
"She would howl for a time and then
there would be a short pause From a
man across the hall would come oaths
that seemed to be flung at heaven. Fror ?
the larger houae at the rear came s shri".
air-piercing treble. Then the voices Wi
Joined in a fearful sym'phony. ? ??
heard three voices, four, five unittd ?
fearful all-night din. I have never !?*.
anything thet could be compared with It
The sounds were unnatural, eniui I
sounds, but pervading them waa soin?
thing like devilish Intent.
"Another of the patients, a younger ?
used to delight in mimicking me. P<
of light figure and nervous temperan ? ?
I walk lightly Sad briskly. When ? starte ?
on my walks I would hear shrieke uf
laughter from the attendants on the ver
anda and the patients on the grounds.
Looking behind me I would see this wo
man tormentor hurrying up the path after
me, walking with my gait, lifting her head
as I lift mine.
"Trivial means were resorted to appar
ently to exasperate me. I was only per
mitted one napkin a week. If this were
soiled the first dar of the week I had to
use it the remaining six day?, t? one in
whom neatness ts Inbred this is an offense.
The nurses discovered this. One ?oi the
coarser kind contrived to spill cocoa on it
the first morning ot the week. I asked her
to be careful. After that she Would fling
the door open, swagger into my room, drop
the tray on the table with a bang that
Jostled the -dish?? and spilled m?re Cocoa
and slam the door as she went oat. I,
"I real I ted there was no hope for me
from my friend? nor relatives. The let
ters I wrote were never shswered. How
could I escape ? I planned a long Urna. '
burled a cloak under the Antumn leaves
and weighted it down by branches. I hid
a muff in the same way, and a pair'of
orarahoes and a hat. Then one afternoon
I wandered out, gothered them all up, and
slipped into them In the gathering dusk.
I mad? my war ? not to the nearest sta
tion, but the farthest one, knowing that
was the last st which they would look for
me. Five minute? after I reached the sta
tion I boarded a train to Boston. At the
station I passed the superintendent. He
was doing police duty there as a volunteer
while the police were on strike. Wrapped
In my two cloak? Ida wearing a heavy veil
I passed htm unrecognised. I took s train
te Providence and thence to New York.
"I had been in New York but ? short
while and wa? putting the flnlahlng
touches on my hook. 'The Cathedral? of
Rvrop?.' which Harpers have accepted,
when my sister, Mary Doyle O'Reilly, had
ma arrested es s lost person My rela
? res assembled In court and asked my
mmltmsnt to the psychopathic weird of
Dellevue. My attorney, Mr. Foster, senior
member of the firm of Foster ?ft Cutler,
put his foot on the rail and said: ? protest.
Your Honor. If you will release her Into
our custody we will take her to our own
"Judge Robert F. Wagner permitted mc
to go on perol?- In my lawyer's custody
Two months later he released? me finally,
eouvlncfad that I was sane. 1 am finish.?r
my book which I wrote while la durance
as a mad woman snd am preparing for
other literary work.
"Before closing thia awful chapter of
my life, let mc ssy that I have relsted the
nhlef Incidents of my relatives' horrtbl?
mlsteke for? the benefit of others who
may be threatened by e similar fste.
"Th? greatest peril Is the reiterai?
statement, You are Insana.' The brain
mar reel before this sngceetton. The rea
son may fell st last before It. I ballere
there ?should be legislation which would
require a public hearing of otery perso?
charged with insanity"