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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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Text for Page 150 [04-22-1862]

              135
	     A Ride to �Farenhold�s.�

[newspaper clipping continued: first column]
was slowly suppurating away.  The only hope was
in the critical surgical operation to which he refers.
On the 4th of April his friend Davis received a let-
ter scrawled in pencil by O�Brien announcing the
result:

  �I gave up the ghost, and told him to go ahead.  There
were about twelve surgeons to witness the operation.  All
my shoulder bone and a portion of my upper arm have
been taken away.  I nearly died.  My breath ceased, heart
ceased to beat, pulse stopped.  However, I got through.
I am not yet out of danger from the operation, but a worse
disease has set in.  I have got tetanus, or lock-jaw.  There
is a chance of my getting out of it, that�s all.  In case I 
don�t, good-by, old fellow, with all my love!  I don�t want
to make any legal document, but I desire that you and
Frank Wood should be my literary executors, because aft-
er I�m dead I may turn out a bigger man than when living.
I�d write more if I could, but I�m very weak.  Write to
me.  I may be alive.  Also get Wood to write.�

  Three of his friends started on the instant.  The

[newspaper clipping continued: second column]
trains failed to connect at Baltimore.  They tele-
graphed and received the reply,  �O�Brien is very
low.  He is glad you are coming.�  They hurried
on as soon as possible; but arrived too late.  On
Sunday morning, the 6th of April, O�Brien seemed a
little better, and sat up for a time on the side of his
bed.  A little nutriment was administered through
a syringe.  The Doctor asked if he would take a 
glass of sherry.  He said Yes.  While slowly sip-
ping it, he turned pale and fell back.  Cologne was
dashed in his face.  But it was too late.  His featu-
ures were set in death.  �So died,� writes his friend
Wood, �at the threshold of a grand career, a great
Poet and a brave Soldier�a man of such a kindly
and charming nature that he was beloved even by 
his enemies.�

[Gunn�s handwriting]
  �Nil nisi &c!�  This ex-methodist minis-
ter has obeyed the false axiom with a ven-
geance!   O�Brien was fortunate in his death;
he tended inevitably to a much less honorable
end.     And so Vale to him.
	�����������������������

[Gunn�s diary continued]
Thence to the doctors� house and beyond, in search
of Wallington and the 3rd Penn. cavalry.         Re-
ceived by his host, Major Bement, Wallington
being absent.    To adjacent rebel-camp, Hall
sketching it, cavalry exercising.        Wallington
returned.     A ride to a point on the York River
proposed and after some difficulty in accommoda-
ting Hall with a sufficiently meek horse we set
off.    The incidents are told in my Tribune letter
of next day, inserted over leaf.       In the house
described as Farenhote�s (Farenhold�s or Farn-
hold�s�I have seen it spelt all three ways; we
had to get it from the imperfect pronunciation of
the negroes) we met Lumley, the artist for the               
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