It was the morning of the fifteenth of June, a gala day in the history of the town. The fifth anniversary of the laying of the corner stone of the Town Hall and the library was to be commemorated by a grand banquet given in the Town Hall, and was to be graced by many distinguished guests, among them the Hon. Quincy Adams Sawyer and wife, and Mrs. Ella Chessman. After the banquet, which was to take place in the evening, there was to be an open-air concert given, followed by a grand display of fireworks. During the feast, the citizens were to be admitted to the galleries, so that they could see the guests and listen to the speeches.
About ten o’clock the visiting party started off to view the sights of the town. Under the leadership of the town officers they turned their steps first towards the new library. On entering this handsome building, they observed hung over the balcony, facing them, a large oil painting of a beautiful dark-haired, dark-eyed woman, dressed in satin and velvet and ermine, and having a coronet upon her head. Underneath was a tablet bearing an inscription.
“An admirable portrait,” said Quincy to his wife. “Can you read the tablet, dear? I fear I shall really have to see Dr. Tillotson about my eyes.”
Alice smiled at the allusion, and directing her gaze upon it, read without the slightest hesitation: “Linda Putnam, once a resident of this town, now Countess of Sussex, and donor of this library building, which is named in honor of her father, Charles Chessman, only brother of Robert Chessman.”
[Illustration: Alice recovers her sight (act IV.)]
During the evening festivities the Town Hall was brilliantly lighted, and every seat in the galleries and coigns of vantage were occupied. The guests at the banquet numbered fully sixty. A Boston caterer, with a corps of trained waiters, had charge of the dinner. During its progress the Cottonton Brass Band performed at intervals. They were stationed in Putnam Square, and the music was not an oppressive and disturbing element, as it often is at close range on such occasions.