EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


January 15, 2009

Presidents and poison kisses: an inaugural story



A little before eleven o'clock the doors of the President's gallery of the Senate were opened and the people entitled to admission were escorted in. ...

The arrival of the diplomatic corps, 50 strong, clad in their uniforms varying from silken robes and mandarin caps of Chinese to the gorgeous gold-bedecked dresses of the Europeans, occasioned a suspension of the buzz of conversation for the moment. They entered unannounced and were escorted to seats in front and upon the right of the chair. Just before the entry of the members of the supreme court, arraigned in their ample black silk gowns and preceded by their marshal, the annual act of turning back the hands of the Senate clock was performed by the veteran doorkeeper, Capt. Isaac Basset. The supreme court justices were placed upon the right front of the chair.


President Arthur was now announced and his coming was greeted with warm clapping of hands, in recognition of which he bowed gracefully to the assemblage. A moment later and the buzz of conversation was again suspended in anticipation of the announcement: "The President-elect of the United States."


Mr. Cleveland had already entered the hall with his escort and halted within the assemblage. On his arrival being announced there was applause and clapping of hands at first and then cheers loud and prolonged welcomed him, when a stalwart voice in the gallery arose above the din demanding "Three cheers for Grover Cleveland." This was not held by the assembly to be in good taste and Edmunds proclaimed that order must be maintained or the galleries will be cleared. ...


At precisely 12:30 P.M., the procession appeared, coming out of the east door of the capitol. President Arthur stepped to the front of the platform, followed by President-elect Cleveland, Chief Justice Waite and the Sergeant-at arms of the Senate. Cleveland then began his inaugural address to the vast throng, estimated by Senator Hawley at 150,000.

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