Strout evidently thought that a further discussion of the matter might work to his still greater disadvantage, for he leaned over and spoke to one of his adherents, who rose and said:
“Mister Moderator, this discussion has taken a personal nature, in which I am not disposed to indulge. I don’t think that anything will be gained by such accusations and comparisons. It strikes me that the last speaker is trying to give tit for tat because his candidate lost at the last election; but I am one of those who believe that criminations and recriminations avail nothing, and I move that we proceed to vote at once.”
“Second the motion!” screamed Abner Stiles from the settee on which he had assumed a standing posture.
The vote was taken. Those in favor of Obadiah Strout being called upon to stand up first, they numbered exactly one hundred and one. Then those in favor of Wallace Stackpole were called upon to rise, and they numbered two hundred and eighty-four; several citizens having put in an appearance at one o’clock who had not attended the morning session.
The next matter was the election of the Board of Selectmen; and the old board was elected by acclamation without a division. The meeting then adjourned without day.
The five minutes past six train, express from Boston, arrived on time, and at twenty minutes of eight, Mr. Quincy Adams Sawyer entered the private dining-room in the Eagle Hotel. There he found gathered Mr. Tobias Smith, Mr. Wallace Stackpole, Mr. Ezekiel Pettengill, Mr. Sylvester Chisholm, and the Board of Selectmen, making the party of eight which Quincy had mentioned. It was eleven o’clock before the dinner party broke up, and during that time Quincy had heard from one or another of the party a full account of the doings at the town meeting.
It is needless to say that he was satisfied with the results, but he said nothing to indicate that fact in the presence of the Board of Selectmen. They were the first to leave, and then there was an opportunity for mutual congratulations by the remaining members of the party. To these four should be added Mr. Parsons, the proprietor, upon whose face rested a broad smile when he presented his bill for the day’s expenses, and the sum was paid by Quincy.
“We had a very pleasant time,” remarked Mr. Parsons to Mr. Sawyer as he bade him good evening.
“I am delighted to hear it,” said Quincy, “and I regret very much that my business in the city prevented my being here to enjoy it.”
On the way home with Ezekiel they went over the events of the day again together, and Ezekiel told him many little points, that for obvious reasons had been omitted at the dinner party.
Quincy was driven directly to Mrs. Hawkins’s boarding house, for he had explained his programme to Ezekiel. He turned up his coat collar and pulled his hat down over his eyes, as he was admitted; and, although Mrs. Hawkins’s eyes were naturally sharp, she did not recognize the late comer, who proceeded upstairs to his room, which Mrs. Hawkins informed him was right opposite the head of the stairs, and there was a light burning in the room and a good warm fire, and if he needed anything, if he would just call to her inside of the next ten minutes, she would get it for him.