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THE BANQUET HALL. The banquet was held in the large dining hall of Willard's Hotel on Thursday evening. Two rows of tables were extended length ways on either side of the room, with the head table at right angles at the further end of the hall. The only special arrangement of seats was at the head table, where the guests and past Presidents with their ladies were gathered. Otherwise, the ladies and gentlemen disposed themselves as was most agreeable to them. The floral decorations were tasteful, and the effect, when the doors were thrown open, was very pretty. A large floral horse car with horses, made altogether of white and colored immortelles, stood in the centre of the room and attracted much attention. During the discoursing of music, the delegates with their ladies, making a party of nearly two hundred and fifty, partook of the following
Potatoes a la Duchesse.
CUCUMBERS, OLIVES, CELERY, TOMATOES.
Margeaux. DIAMOND BACK TERRAPIN, a la Maryland.
FILET OF BEEF, a la Financiere. Saddle of Mutton, Jelly Sauce. Young Turkey, Chestnut Dressing. French Peas.
Baked Mashed Potatoes.
CHARLOTTE RUSSE AU CHARTREUSE, Champagne Jelly.
Neapolitan Ice Cream.
Mr. Holmes : I will call upon Mr. William Richardson, of Brooklyn, to ask the Divine blessing.
Mr. Richardson : We thank Thee, O Lord, for all Thy blessings ; for that wise providence and Thy grace with which Thou hast so continually surrounded our pathway. We thank Thee for Thy beneficence to this Association and its membership during the session now closing. O Lord, we especially thank Thee for Thy continued goodness to the officers of the companies which are members of this Association; that Thou hast kept all of us in life and in hope during the past year ; and in a good degree of health and strength. We thank Thee for the harmony of the session which has just come to a close. Grant Thy blessing, we beseech Thee, upon the presiding officer and the membership; and we pray Thee to be with us as we shall separate and go to our homes ; and that Thy grace and blessing may be with us all through the year to come. We entreat Thee, Lord, to remember with Thy blessing Thy servant, the President of the United States, his wife, and the officers of the Government. Grant that the Government may be conducted in Thy love and fear; and that this nation may be recognized the world over as a nation whose God is the Lord. We ask all these mercies for Jesus' sake, Amen.
"A WELCOME TO THE LADIES." RESPONDED TO BY THE RETIRING
PRESIDENT, MR. CHARLES B. HOLMES.
The President : The first toast of the evening is the following, to which I have been chosen to respond :
' A Welcome to the Ladies.”—“Oh woman, lovely woman, nature made you to temper man.
We had been brutes without you." PRESIDENT HOLMES: It is my grateful privilege, on behalf of the American Street-Railway Association, and in its name, to welcome you, one and all, to this festive gathering. It is here, more than in any other place, that we are able to renew and to strengthen those bonds of good will and helpfulness which have been so dear to us all in former years. We are glad to see you all, and to wel. come you all to this joyous scene ; and having partaken of this substantial and delicious repast, it is my privilege to introduce to you the speakers, whose glowing sentences shall feed our minds and thrill our hearts.
And for a moment I beg your indulgence while I emphasize, as well as I can,
this welcome to the ladies; for to-night, for the first time in the history of this Association, ladies have graced our gathering with their beauty and their presence. They have done, and are doing, more than any words of mine can tell, to add to the happiness of this occasion. In olden times people were wont to ride in omnibuses over rough pavements and jolted about, thought that they were comfortable; but when the street-car came, with its easier motion and its quicker speed, people all said, “How miserable we have been ; why didn't we think of this before ; how glad we all are now.” In former times we men have met and feasted and toasted, and we thought we were happy ; but to night our eyes are opened, and we discover that the old-time song was only a miserere, while to-night our song is a jubilate ; and it is such, because we have at last discovered the great truth of that which was spoken at the beginning of time by One Who never made a mistake, and Who said, “ It is not good for man to be alone.” [Applause.]
It is fitting and proper that this Association should be among the first to inaugurate this movement, this new departure of inviting the ladies to the banquet ; for there is no institution which comes so near to the fireside and to the home as that which we represent.
The wives and the little ones are every day committed to our care, and lives and limbs more precious than gold are turned over to us for transportation. It is evident, then, that we should be among the first to inaugurate this movement. We are glad to-night, not only because we are favored with the light which shines from woman's eyes, a sweeter and a holier light than ever fell from stars ; we are glad to-night, not only because we have the privilege of gazing upon those beauteous colors which come and go in woman's cheek, not rivaled by the rose or the lily in their best estate ; we are glad to-night, not only because, when over man's life there sweep great billows and round him roar great storms, woman has ever come, and with her still, soft voice, and with that sublime authority which was committed unto her by the Creator of the universe, of the heavens and earth, has said, peace, be still ! and no peace has ever fallen upon the wild waves of Galilee more real and more sweet and more precious than the peace which follows her decree ; we are glad to-night, not only because in the firmament of man's life woman comes with the light of her love greater and grander than that of the sun in the midst of the firmament ; we are glad to-night, not only because when dark night settles over man's life woman comes and pours upon him the gentle light of her presence and her love, which is better and purer and brighter than ever fell from the satellites of the heavens, lighting his footsteps through the dark valley; but we are glad to-night, with a deep and satisfying gladness, because of that high and holy and noble philosophy which woman has ever borne with her from the beginning of time until this very hour [Applause). When Napoleon first marched with his mighty armies up and down the continent of Europe, he left in his pathway the greatest desolation ; empires ruined, cities destroyed; hearth-stones desecrated; weeping mothers and fatherless children ; a blighted land; and on every highway and field and hillside a vast cemetery where were buried the unnumbered and the unnamed dead. The flag of France was the flag of Napoleon, and the flag of Napoleon was the ensign of deepest ambition and most selfish greed. Not one of those campaigns, which the world has been wont to call great, was born out of woman's prayer, or woman's hope or woman's love.
Over yonder capitol there floats a flag which is dear to every American heart, whether it is found in the great city or the quiet country place; on the vast plains of the West, or in any foreign land, or upon the high seas. Whenever an American eye falls upon that flag it cheers his heart and makes him glad ; for that flag is the hope of the nation ; it is the inspiration of patriotism ; it is the ensign of liberty and justice ; and right here, under the Star Spangled Banner, do we welcome you to-night. Oh, ladies ! because from the beginning of history till this very hour you have always borne, wherever your feet have trod, a nobler and holier ensign than ever floated over the cohorts of Napoleon, than ever rose at Austerlitz or fell at Waterloo ; a grander and holier ensign even than our own beloved American flag. For, my brethren, if you and I had eyes to see and ears to hear, it would be our privilege to look far up in the bright blue sky, far up above the dust of the market places, far up above the din and discord of greed and selfish strife, and there behold woman's ensign-an ensign of spotless white and dazzling brightness, and on its waving, graceful folds, we might read on the one side an inscription in letters of living light, "A Service of Love ;” and on the other side the inscription in letters more crimson than our own heart's blood, the burning motto, A Love of Service." [Applause.] When you and I shall have spiritual insight enough to grasp her high philosophy, and walk along those mountain tops where she so softly speeds, we shall then be able, with even-handed justice, to deal with employee, with patron and with capital. We shall be able then to find that high and holy harmony of life which never will be found in the dust of the market place, nor in the roar of fierce strife for wealth ; then our motto will be, not love of gold, but " love of service.” I thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for your kind attention. [Applause.]
RESPONDED TO BY MR. WILLIAM B. WEBB.
The President : The next toast is :
Washington-Name revered by every true American. Fair City; guardian of our liberty and honor; crown jewels of the Republic."
I call upon Mr. William B. Webb, of Washington, to respond: MR. Webb: Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen-I need not I am sure in this presence, and amid these surroundings, tell you that you are heartily welcome to the Capital City. The earnest expressions of friendship and good fellowship that have greeted you are, I know, sincere and heartfelt, and nothing that I can say can add in any way to the assurance of that sincerity. Words of welcome are of little value unless accompanied by actions that attest their sin. cerity; and real, sincere hospitality needs no words to make it acceptable. The people of this city are always happy to welcome their fellow citizens whencesoever they come, or upon whatsoever call of pleasure or usefulness they become our guests. I need not say that that welcome is most sincerely tendered to men