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Father Damien - Robert Louis Stevenson

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FATHER DAMIEN

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE REVEREND DR. HYDE OF HONOLULU

SYDNEY,
FEBRUARY 25, 1890.

Sir, - It may probably occur to you that we have met, and visited,
and conversed; on my side, with interest.  You may remember that
you have done me several courtesies, for which I was prepared to be
grateful.  But there are duties which come before gratitude, and
offences which justly divide friends, far more acquaintances.  Your
letter to the Reverend H. B. Gage is a document which, in my sight,
if you had filled me with bread when I was starving, if you had sat
up to nurse my father when he lay a-dying, would yet absolve me
from the bonds of gratitude.  You know enough, doubtless, of the
process of canonisation to be aware that, a hundred years after the
death of Damien, there will appear a man charged with the painful
office of the DEVIL'S ADVOCATE.  After that noble brother of mine,
and of all frail clay, shall have lain a century at rest, one shall
accuse, one defend him.  The circumstance is unusual that the
devil's advocate should be a volunteer, should be a member of a
sect immediately rival, and should make haste to take upon himself
his ugly office ere the bones are cold; unusual, and of a taste
which I shall leave my readers free to qualify; unusual, and to me
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