AT the close of the exercises in the audience room of the church, the large company proceeded to the church parlors, where a sumptuous dinner was in readiness, furnished by Mr. H. Blunt, of Boston, the well known and popular caterer. The tables were bountifully spread with hot oysters, meats, cold chickens and turkeys, bread, cake of various sorts, apples, pears, peaches, grapes, etc., ice creams, tea and coffee, and were decorated with elegant bouquets, supplied by the ladies of Weymouth.
Three hundred and forty hungry Bicknells sat down to this welcome repast, made doubly so by keen appetites, whetted by the long hours, and unusual exercise since the morning meal. After grace by the chaplain of the day, a busy scene presented itself, and what with swift flying tongues and active hands the next half hours work was a scene which the Bicknells of Old or New England never saw before, but which may be only a foretaste of the good things yet to be. The sound of many voices almost drowned the clatter of the dinner service, andBabel or Pentecost,there certainly was the gift of strange tongues, suddenly speaking one language in sympathy, in sentiment, and in song. Had not the president possessed full Bicknell stature and a pair of sound, clear lungs, there is doubt whether the dinner hour had not wasted the unspent day; but as the time approached for the departure to the old memorial places of Weymouth, order was restored, although there was the most perfect order before, and the announcement was made that the clock told the hour for retiring, without allowing the privilege of listening to toasts, speeches, songs and poems which had been prepared for the occasion. The president expressed what he knew were the deep regrets of all at the necessity of postponing the after-dinner repast, "the feast of reason and the flow of soul," but comforted all hearts a little by the statement that the unspoken words might yet greet them in print. The following letters were then read from absent invited guests and friends.