Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/373

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CHAPTER XVIII.


Another Author's Reading, "A Philistine's Views" on Erotic Literature—Poem on the Pilgrim Fathers—Another, "From the Heights," for the Catholic University—Attacked by La Grippe—Hopes of another Canoe Cruise—Brave Words for the Negro and the Hebrew—"The Useless Ones," his Last Poem—Lecturing Tour to the Pacific Coast—Definition of Democracy—Views on the Catholic Congress—His Last Canoeing Paper and Last Editorials—A Characteristic Deed of Kindness—His Death.


THE presidential campaign of 1888 had disgusted O'Reilly with practical politics. On New Year's Eve he registered this good resolution in a letter to a friend in Washington:

I shall cease all political connections to-morrow; never again shall I excite myself over an election. My experience of the past four years, and the past four months particularly, has cured me.

During all his life he had instinctively avoided local political entanglements. His first experience of national politics brought him into contact with some professional managers, who acted after the manner of their kind and made the refined and sensitive poet utterly sick of the association. Thenceforth, more than ever, he shunned the field of political strife, and devoted himself to his professional and literary work.

The Author's Reading for the benefit of the International Copyright Association was given at the Boston Museum on the afternoon of March 7. Among those who took part were Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Samuel L. Clemens ("Mark Twain"), Charles Dudley Warner, Mrs. Julia Ward Howe, Richard Malcolm Johnston, F. Hopkinson Smith, John Boyle O'Reilly George W. Cable, and Col. Thomas Wentworth Higginson. O'Reilly's selections were:

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