252 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF lOHN FRITZ
It is known to a few present that originally it was intended to have this a smaU dumer given at a hotel, but when the announcement was made that a dinner was to be given John Fritz by his friends, so numerous were the persons who wished to have a part in it that the hotel had to be given up, and even a large hall was found too smaU, and tlfls Opera House was the only avaflable place to be had, and, had the dinner been postponed a week longer, we would have been obliged to bufld a special auditorium.
A few days ago, as you aU know, Pennsylvania Avenue was filled with old and battle-scarred veterans, who were marching under waving banners of red, white, and blue, along that historic avenue, many of them for the last time. Among them was the remnant of a regiment known as the Twenty-ninth Ohio, and in the ranks and beside the old soldiers, sorely wounded as many of them were by the arrows of nflsfortune and poverty, there walked a man who was once their colonel, and once the President of the United States; and, in the time to come, when Rutherford B. Hayes comes to be better known and better appreciated, one of the grandest tributes paid to his memory will be the story that on that last march of the old veterans through the capital of the nation, he took his place in the ranks, and alongside of what Abraham Lincoln was pleased to caU " the plain people." And now for the secret I have to teU you. When it was announced that this anniversary dinner was to be given in this large Opera House, the prisoner at the bar, who had asked nothing for himself, came to us and said that, " if there was plenty of room, and no one would be cUscommoded in the least, he would so much Uke to have some of his reliable workmen who had been with him for so many years, and on whom he had so much reUed, to have a place at the table and a part in the exercises." I need not teU you how promptly he was told that there was a place