The limitations of my subject as implied in my promise did not once occur to me. The whole history of the town seemed back of me, and I had vague visions at the moment of the references I should be able to make to eminent citizens of the past; to the great captains of industry in the way of ship-building, who had laid the foundations of the town's prosperity; to the leaders of public thought, and, in the purely intellectual line, to those two famous daughters of the town, Maria Gowen Brooks and Lydia Maria Child, who years before had shed a permanent literary flavor over the place.
Surely there was an embarrassment of riches in the way of material for such a talk.
It was not until after many weeks, and when the date assigned me was growing near, that I sat myself seriously to the task of preparation.
Then the truth first dawned upon me. I realized, to my consternation, that up to that time I had been living in a state of delusion, and that instead of the free and unlim