Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/424

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It was the qualities of courage and endurance, prime essentials of the boxer, which made O'Reilly first dare the rebel's fate, and afterward bear the penalty with fortitude. But for the brave heart within him he would never have joined the Fenian ranks; but for it he would have despaired and died in a felon's cell.

He never hesitated to employ the ultimate argument if a needed lesson had to be given to some insolent bully. He would not seek what is euphemistically called a difficulty, on his own account; but when the rights of the weak needed a champion, most assuredly he never shunned one.

This healthy, natural man could not but love nature with a deep love, although the passion finds little expression in his poetry. On that subject Mr. Moseley again writes:

John Boyle O'Reilly was very close to Nature and to man. He was in thorough sympathy with all created things, and saw in them the manifestation of God's power. It is not difficult to imagine the pleasure which such a man experienced, and shared with others, from a life in the woods. To him every leaf was a thing of beauty, every tree a pillar in Nature's temple; in every raindrop»he saw a pearl from her jewel box, and their plashing was the music of her voice.

To illustrate to a certain extent this feature of his character, I can tell an incident which happened a number of years ago, but which is still fresh in my memory. We were in the habit, one summer, of going down Boston Harbor in our canoes almost every pleasant afternoon, and had found much enjoyment in the companionship, the respite from business, and the cool sea breezes at the entrance to the bay. It happened that I had been prevented from going for several days, when Boyle came to me one afternoon and insisted that I must drop everything and go with him that day, for he had something down there to show me,—something which I must see. Curious to see what had so aroused his enthusiasm, and anxious for the pleasure which such an expedition with him always brought, I started at once, and after a hard paddle down the harbor we reached one of the islands on which, under Boyle's guidance, we landed, and hauled our canoes upon the beach.

Mounting the barren clay bank with the impetuosity of a child, he shouted: " here it is, Ned! Look at it! And God put it there for me!" Following his outstretched hand I saw, growing alone upon, the