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Day 34
The Christening of Soloman Grundy

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  Today we did christen Solomon Grundy . He was borned a week ago yesterday on Monday. That's why we did name him Solomon Grundy. And this being Tuesday we did christen him, for in the rhyme, the grandpa does sing to the children about Solomon Grundy being christened on Tuesday. Yesterday I made him a christening robe out of a new dishtowel that was flapping in the wind. But the aunt had no appreciation of the great need of a christening robe for Solomon Grundy. And my ears were slapped until I thought my head would pop open, but it didn't. It just ached. Last night when I went to bed I prayed for the ache to go away. This morning when I woke up it had gone out the window. I did feel good feels from my nightcap to my toes.
  I thought about the christening, and early on this morning, before I yet did eat my breakfast, I went out the window that the ache went out in the night. I went from the window to the pig-pen . I climbed into the pig-pen. I crawled on my hands and knees back under the shed where he and his sisters five and his little brother were all having breakfast from their mother. I gently did pull away by his hind legs, from among all those dear baby pigs, he who had the most curl in his tail.
  I took him to the pump and pumped water on him to get every speck of dirt off. He squealed because the water was cold. So I took some of the warm water the mamma was going to wash the milk pans in and I did give him a warm bath in the washpan. Then he was the pinkiest white pig you ever saw. I took the baby's talcum powder can and I shook it lots of times all over him. When the powder sprinkled in his eyes, he did object with a regular baby-pig squeal. And I climbed right out the bedroom window with him, coming fast. I did go to the barn in a hurry, for in the barn yesterday I did hide the christening robe . When I reached the top of the hay I stopped to put it on Solomon Grundy . Then we proceeded to the cathedral .
  A little ways we did go, and I remembered how on the borning day of him I did ask that grand fir tree, Good King Edward I , to be his god-father. And that smaller fir tree growing by his side -- the lovely Queen Eleanor of Castile -- I did ask to be his godmother. We went aside from the path that leads unto the cathedral . We went another way. We went adown the lane to where dwell Good King Edward I and the lovely Queen Eleanor. And there beside them Solomon Grundy was christened. They who were present at the christening were these -- Saint Louis and Charlemagne and Hugh Capet and King Alfred and Theodore Roosevelt and William Wordsworth and Homer and Cicero and Brave Horatius and Isaiah . These last two did arrive in a hurry in the midst of the service. Being dogs with understanding souls , they did realize the sacredness of the occasion and they stood silent near Charlemagne.
  When we got most to the end of the service just at that very solemn moment while I was waiting for Good King Edward I and his lovely Queen Eleanor of Castile to bestow their blessing upon the white head of the babe, he gave a squeal - - just the kind of a squeal all baby pigs give when they are wanting their dinner. After the naming of him, I placed around his neck a little wreath that I made in the evening yesterday for him. Then I did sing softly a hymn to the morning and came again home to the pig-pen with Solomon Grundy .
  When I got to the corner of the barn, I pulled off his christening robe . I did hide it again in the hay. Then I climbed into the pig-pen . I did say the Lord's prayer softly over the head of Solomon Grundy . After I said Amen I did poke him in among all his sisters and near unto his mother. Aphrodite gave a grunt of satisfaction, also did Solomon Grundy.
  I went to the house. I climbed in the window again. I took off my nightcap and my nightgown. I did get dressed in a quick way. The little girl was romping in the bed. I helped her to get her clothes on. Then we went to the kitchen for our breakfast. The mamma was in the cellar. She did hear me come into the kitchen. She came in. With her came a kindling and a hazel switch .
  After she did spank me, she told me to get the mush for the little girl's breakfast. It was in a kettle. I spooned it out into a blue dish that came as premium in the box of mush when they brought it new from the mill town . After we did eat our mush and drink our milk, the mamma told me to clear the table and go tend chickens. I carried feed to them. I scattered it in shakes. The chickens came in a quick way. Fifteen of those chickens I did give names to, but it's hard to tell some of them apart. Most of them have about the same number of speckles on them. I counted all the chickens that were there. There weren't as many there as ought to be there. Some came not. These were the hens setting in the chicken-house. I went in. I lifted them off. They were fidgety and fluffy and plucky. I did carry them out to the feed.
  While they were eating breakfast I counted their eggs. I made a discovery. Minerva hadn't as many eggs as the others. That meant she wouldn't have as many children as the others would have. I did begin to feel sorry about that, because already I had picked out names for her fifteen children and there in her nest there were only twelve eggs. I didn't know what to do, and then I had a think what to do. I did it. I took an egg from each nest of the three other setting hens. That fixed things.
  Then I thought I would go on an exploration trip and to the nursery , and there I would give the folks a talk on geology. But then the mamma called me to scour the pots and pans. That is something I do not like to do at all. So all the time I'm scouring them I keep saying lovely verses that helps so much and by and by the pots and pans are all clean. After that all day the mamma did have more works for me to do. There was more wood to bring in. There was steps to scrub. There was cream to be shaked into butter . There was raking to do in the yard. There was carpet strings to sew together. In-between times there was the baby to tend .
  And all the time all day long I did have longings to go on exploration trips. The fields were calling. The woods were calling. I heard the wind. He was making music in the forest. It was soft music. It was low. It was an echo of the songs the flowers were singing. Even if there was much works to do, hearing the voices helped me to get the works done in the way they ought to be done.
  The most hurry time of all was the time near eventime , for there was going to be company to eat at the table. The mamma was in a hurry to get supper. So I helped her. She only had time to give one shake of salt to the potatoes, so I gave them three more. She did not have time to put sauce on the peas, so I flavored them with lemon extract, for the mamma is so fond of lemon flavoring in lemon pies. When she made the biscuits, she was in such a hurry she forgot to set them on a box back of the stove for an airing, as usual, before putting them in the oven. Being as she forgot to do it, while she was in the cellar to get the butter I did take the pan of biscuits out of the oven and put them under the stove so they would not miss their usual airing. Then I did go to the woodshed for more wood. When I did put it in the woodbox the mamma reached over for me. She jerked me. She spanked me with her hand and the hairbrush and the pancake-turner. Then she shoved me out the door. She said for me to get out and stay out of her way.
  I came here to the barn. I sit here printing. In-between times I stretch out on the hay. I feel tired and sore all over. I wonder for what it was the mamma gave me that spanking. I have tried so hard to help her to-day. Solomon Grundy is grunting here beside me. I went by and got him as I came along. Here on the hay I showed to him the writings in the two books my Angel Father and Angel Mother made for me. These books are such a comfort , and when I have them right along with me, Angel Father and Angel Mother do seem nearer.
Follow One Character I did bow my head and ask my guardian angel to tell them there in heaven about Solomon Grundy being christened today. Then I drew him up closer to my gingham apron and I patted him often. And some of the pats I gave to him were for the lovely Peter Paul Rubens that used to be. And the more pats I gave Solomon Grundy, the closer he snuggled up beside me. Tonight I shall sing to him a lullaby song as I cuddle him up all snowy white in his christening robe , before I take him out to his mother Aphrodite in the pig-pen .

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