Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/422

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So much for his creed; his Christian charity was as boundless as the universe. He was absolutely devoid of sectarian prejudice. The eloquent Methodist clergyman, Rev. Louis A. Banks, of Boston, justly said of him:

With unfeigned sympathy and love, I, a Protestant, with the charity with which I myself hope to be judged, would say of my brother Catholic, his heart was Christian.

His religion was expressed in deeds rather than in words. He forgave his enemies; he was the brother of all the poor and oppressed; he devoted his talents to the service of humanity; he preached and practiced the gospel of kindness.

The courtesy which won the hearts of strangers at their first meeting with him was not a garment put on for the occasion. It clothed his everyday life; it was as much a part of him as his breath or his blood. A Scotch lady living in Boston tells the following anecdote:

Going down a public street, one day, I saw a distinguished-looking man, to whom, as he passed, two laborers working on the roadway touched their hats. He returned the courtesy by lifting his own and bowing gracefully. The act, little enough in itself, was an uncommon one in democratic America. When the gentleman had passed by, I stopped and asked one of the laborers who he was. He answered: "There goes the first gentleman in America, John Boyle O'Reilly,— God bless him!"

He was the ideal comrade for an outdoor holiday. His friend Moseley says:

There is nothing which so brings out the true character of a man as freedom from all social restraints and conventionalities, such as is found in a canoe voyage. There his brilliancy, his intellectuality, the finer qualities or accomplishments, count as nothing compared with a ready, unselfish spirit, a willingness to do his full share of the drudgery of camp life, to cut the wood, draw the water, and scrub the kettle; and in this was found one of Boyle O'Reilly's greatest charms as a companion. He was far from being a shirk: he always wanted to do the whole thing. He insisted that I should have the sheltered corner of the tent, the daintiest bit of meat, or the pleasant side of the camp fire. It was this, more than anything else, that made our cruises so pleasant to us both, and in which we were so congenial. While his