“Feller Citizens! This ‘ere town’s bloomin’ like a new mown rose. I’ll bet anybody anything there ain’t another town in Ameriky what’s gone ahead like we hev in the past few months that’s jest past. (Applause.) If I do say it myself, we’re the mos’—eh—the mos’—eh—progressioning community in—in—this community. Our community hes put out a daily paper what’s a credit to—to—our community, especially the poetry; we’ve got a paper mill at Royal what makes paper fer New Yoruk; an’ now, to cap the climate, our community hes lighted our community with ’lectric lights fit fer Lundon, New Yoruk, Canada or—or—or—our community. (Laughter and cries of “Cut out the community, Peggy!”) No! Never, feller citizens, will I cut out a community what’s done so much fer our—our community. If I do say it myself, the eyes of the com—of the world is upon us, an’ I’m proud of the things that’s ben did by our feller citizens, with my full approval, in this ’ere—this ’ere—er—community!” (Cheers and a sandwich, which last offering was received by Mr. McNutt in his back hair as he turned to descend from the rostrum.)
Joe Wegg is reported to have said: “Neighbors, this electric plant is no plaything. It is going to give you all better light, at no more cost to you than kerosene. But it will do more than that: it will run machinery of all kinds better than steam will. You’ve seen electricity running the newspaper press, and the same current has operated the big paper mills at Royal. Here in this audience is a gentleman from Connecticut who has accepted my invitation to look over our village with a view to building a factory here, using the power I shall hereafter be able to furnish. I am in correspondence with two other manufacturers, whom I hope to induce to locate in Millville. (Enthusiastic cheers.) Job Fisher, who used to live at Malvern, is planning to start a lumber mill, to cut the pine just north of here; so you see we are about to arouse from our long sleep and have a great future before us if we keep wide awake. Another item of news merits your attention. Bartlett has sold sixty acres of his farm to Dr. Adam Matthews, for many years a prominent physician of Boston, who is going to build a good house on the land and become a citizen of Millville. We’ve always had to go to Huntingdon for a doctor, but now Dr. Matthews has promised to look after the health of the Millville people, although he has retired from city practice. More people will come here from time to time, attracted by our enterprise and the rugged beauty of our county; real estate will become more valuable, trade will prosper and every one of the old inhabitants will find opportunities to make money.” (Great applause.)
A general discussion followed concerning the “doin’s of Joe Wegg” and the prophecies he had made. Opinion seemed divided as to whether the promised “boom” was desirable for Millville or not. Some of the good villagers were averse to personal activity and feared the new order of things might disturb their comfort; in others a mild ambition had been awakened. But while they feasted at Mr. Merrick’s expense and gravely canvassed the situation, the newly installed electric lights suddenly failed. Darkness fell upon the assemblage and there was an awed hush until Sam Cotting lighted the old reliable kerosene lamps.