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Chapter 6
Opal Gives Wisdom to the Potatoes, Cleanliness to the Family Clothes, and a Delicate Dinner to Thomas Chatterton Jupiter Zeus

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  Today the grandpa dug potatoes in the field. Too, the chore boy did dig potatoes in the field. I followed along after. My work was to pick up the potatoes they got out of the ground. I picked them up and piled them in piles. Some of them were very plump. Some of them were not big. All of them wore brown dresses. When they were in piles, I did stop to take looks at them. I walked up close. I looked them all over. I walked off and took a long look at them. Potatoes are very interesting folks. I think they must see a lot of what is going on in the earth; they have so many eyes. And after I did look those looks as I did go along, I did count the eyes that every potato did have, and their numbers were in blessings. 74 }
  To some piles I did stop to give geology lectures , and some I did tell about the nursery and the caterpillars in it—the caterpillars that are going to hiver sleep in silken cradles, and some in woolen so go. To more potatoes I did tell about my hospital at St.Germain-en-Laye in the near woods , and all about the folks that were in it and that are in it, and how much prayers and songs and mentholatum helps them to have well feels. 75 }
Follow One Character And to some other potatoes I did talk about my friends -- about the talks that William Shakespeare and I do have together; and about how Lars Porsena of Clusium does have a fondness for collecting things; and how he does hide them in the oak tree near unto the house we live in ; and about Elizabeth Barrett Browning and the poetry in her tracks . And one I did tell about the new ribbon Aphrodite has to wear, and how she does have a fondness for chocolate creams. To the potato most near unto it I did tell of the little bell that Peter Paul Rubens does wear to cathedral service. To the one next to it I did tell how Louis II, le Grand Condé , is a mouse of gentle ways, and how he does have likings to ride in my sleeve. 76 }
  And all the times I was picking up potatoes I did have conversations with them. Too, I did have thinks of all their growing days there in the ground, and all the things they did hear. Earth-voices are glad voices, and earth-songs come up from the ground through the plants; and in their flowering and in the days before these days are come, they do tell the earth-songs to the wind. And the wind in her goings does whisper them to folks to print for other folks. So other folks do have knowing of earth's songs. When I grow up I am going to write for children - - and grown-ups that haven't grown up too much - - all the earth-songs I now do hear. 77 }
  I have thinks these potatoes growing here did have knowings of star-songs . I have kept watch in the field at night and I have seen the stars look kindness down upon them. And I have walked between the rows of potatoes, and I have watched the stargleams on their leaves. And I have heard the wind ask of them the star-songs the star-gleams did tell in shadows on their leaves. And as the wind did go walking in the field talking to the earth-voices there, I did follow her down the rows. I did have feels of her presence near. And her goings by made ripples on my nightgown Thomas Chatterton Jupiter Zeus did cuddle more close up in my arms. And Brave Horatius followed after. 78 }
  Sometimes, when a time long it is I have been walking and listening to the voices of the night, then it is Brave Horatius does catch the corner of my nightgown in his mouth and he pulls -- he pulls most hard in the way that does go to the house we live in . After he does pull, he barks the barks he always does bark when he has thinks it is homegoing time. I listen. Sometimes I go back. He goes with me. Sometimes I go on. He goes with me. And often it is he is here come with me to this field where the potatoes grow. And he knows most all the poetry I have told them. 79 }
  On the afternoon of today, when I did have a goodly number of potatoes in piles, I did have thinks as how this was the going-away day of Saint François of Assisi and the borning day of Jean François Millet; so I did take as many potatoes as the years they did dwell upon earth. Forty-four potatoes I so took for Saint François of Assisi, for his years were near unto forty-four. Sixty potatoes I so took for lean François Millet, for his years were sixty years. All these potatoes I did lay in two rows. In one row was forty-four and in the other row was sixty. 80 }
  And as I had seeing of them all there, I did have thinks to have a choir. First I did sing, " Sanctus, sanetus, sanctus, Dominus Deus ." After I did sing it three times, I did have thinks as how it would be nice to have more in the choir. And I did have remembers as how to-morrow is the going-away day of Philippe III, roi de France; and so for the forty years that were his years I did bring forty more potatoes in a row. That made more in the choir. Then I did sing three times over, " Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritu Sancto. Hosanna in excelsis ." Before I did get all through the last time with Hosanna in excelsis, I did have thinks as how the next day after that day would be the borning day of Louis Philippe, roi de France, and the going-away day of Alfred Tennyson. And I did bring more potatoes for the choir. Seventy-six I did so bring for the years that were the years of Louis Philippe, roi de France. Eighty-three I so did bring for the years that were the years of Alfred Tennyson. And the choir - - there was a goodly number of folks in it - - all potato folks wearing brown robes. Then I did sing one "Ave Maria." 81 }
  I was going to sing one more, when I did have thinks as how the next day after the next day after the next day would be the going-away day of Sir Philip Sidney ; so I did bring thirty-one more potatoes for the choir. It did take a more long time to bring them, because all the potatoes near about were already in the choir. Brave Horatius did walk by my side, and he did have seeing as how I was bringing potatoes to the choir. And so he did bring some -- one at a time he did pick them up and bring them, just like he does pick up a stick of wood in his mouth when I am carrying in wood. He is a most helpful dog. 82 }
  Today I did have needs to keep watches. I did so have needs to see that he put not more potatoes in the other choir-rows. First time he did bring a potato, he did lay it down by the choir-row of Alfred Tennyson. Next potato he did bring he did lay it by the choir-row of Jean François Millet. Next time I made a quick run when I did have seeing of him going to lay it down by the choir-row of Philippe III, roi de France. I did pat my foot and tell him where to lay it for the choir-row of Sir Philip Sidney . He so did. We did go for more. 83 }
  When there were thirty-one potatoes in the choir row of Sir Philip Sidney , we did start service again. I did begin with "Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, Dominus Deus." And Brave Horatius did bark Amen. Then I did begin all over, and he did so again. After we had prayers I did sing one more "Ave Maria." Then I did begin to sing " Deo Gratias, Hosanna in excelsis ," but I came not unto its ending. Brave Horatius did bark Amen before I was half done. I just went on. He walked in front of me and did bark Amen three times. 84 }
  I was just going to sing the all of it. I did not so. I so did not because the chore boy did have steps behind me. He gave me three shoulder-shakes , and he did tell me to get a hurry on me and get those potatoes picked up. I so did. I so did in a most quick way. The time it did take to pick them up -- it was not a long time. And after that there was more potatoes to pick up. Brave Horatius did follow after. He gave helps. He did lay the potatoes he did pick up on the piles I did pick up. He is a most good dog. 85 }
  When near gray-light-time was come, the chore boy went from the field. When most-dark-time was come Brave Horatius and I so went. When we were come to the house we live in , the folks was gone to visit at the house of Elsie . I did take my bowl of bread and milk, and I did eat it on the back steps. Brave Horatius ate his supper near me. He did eat his all long before I did mine. So I did give him some of mine. Then we watched the stars come out. 86 }
Follow One Character I did not have goings to school today, for this is washday and the mamma did have needs of me at home. There was baby clothes to wash. The mamma does say that is my work, and I do try to do it in the proper way she does say it ought to be done. It does take quite a long time, and all the time it is taking I do have longings to go on exploration trips. And I do want to go talk with William Shakespeare there where he is pulling logs in the near woods . And I do want to go talk with Elizabeth Barrett Browning in the pasture, and with Peter Paul Rubens and Aphrodite in the pig-pens . All the time it does take to wash the clothes of the baby -- it is a long time. And I do stop at in-between times to listen to the voices. They are always talking. And the brook that does go by our house is always bringing songs from the hills. 87 }
  When the clothes of the baby were most white, I did bring them again to the wash-bench that does set on the porch that does go out from our back door. Then there was the chickens to feed, and the Stockings were to rub. Stockings do have needs of many rubs. That makes them clean. While I did do the rubs, I did sing little songs to the grasses that grow about our door. After the stockings did have many rubs, the baby it was to tend . I did sing it songs of songs Angel Mother did sing to me. And sleeps came upon the baby. But she is a baby that does have wake-ups between times. Today she had a goodly number . 88 }
  By-and-by, when the washing was part done, then the mamma went away to the grandma's house to get some soap. When she went away she did say she wished she didn't have to bother with carrying water to scrub the floor. She doesn't. While she has been gone a good while, I have plenty of water on the floor for her to mop it when she gets back. When she did go away, she said to me to wring the clothes out of the wash. There were a lot of clothes in the wash -- skirts and aprons and shirts and dresses and clothes that you wear under dresses. Every bit of clothes I took out of the tubs I carried into the kitchen and squeezed all the water out on the kitchen floor. That makes lots of water everywhere -- under the cook-table and under the cupboard and under the stove . Why, there is most enough water to mop the three floors, and then some water would be left over. I did feel glad feels because it was so as the mamma did want it. 89 }
  While I did wait for her coming, I did make prints and mind the baby . When the mamma was come, she did look not glad looks at the water on the floor. She did only look looks for the switches over the kitchen window. After I did have many sore feels, she put me out the door to stay out. I did have sorry feels for her. I did so try hard to be helps. 90 }
  When a little way I was gone from the door, I did look looks about. I saw brown leaves and brown birds. Brown leaves were érable leaves and chêne leaves, and the brown birds were wrens. And all their ways were hurry ways. I did turn about and I did go in a hurry way to a root in the near woods . I so went to get my little candle. 91 }
  Then I did go to the Jardin des Tuileries. Often it is I do go there near unto the near woods . Many days after I was here come, I did go ways to look for Jardin des Tuileries. I found it not. Sadie McKibben did say there is none such here. Then being needs for it and it being not, I did have it so. And in it I have put statues of hiver and all the others, and here I do plant plants and little trees. And every little tree that I did plant it was for someone that was. And on their borning days I do hold services by the trees I have so planted for them. 92 }
  Today I did go in quick steps to the tree I have planted for Louis Philippe, roi de France, for this is the day of his borning in 1773. I did have prayers. Then I did light my little candle. Seventy-six big candles Angel Father did so light for him, but so I cannot do, for only one little candle I have. It did burn in a bright way. Then I did sing "Deo Gratias." I so did sing for the borning day of Louis Philippe, roi de France. Then I did sing "Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, Dominus Deus." 93 }
  Afterwards I did have thinks about Thomas Chatterton Jupiter Zeus -- about his nose, its feels. I so went in the way that does go to the hospital . That dear pet rat's nose is getting well. Some way he got his nose too near that trap they set for rats in the barn. Of course, when I found him that morning I let him right out of the trap. He has a ward all to himself in the hospital. For breakfast he has some of my oatmeal. For dinner he has some of my dinner. And for supper I carry to him corn in a jar lid. Sadie McKibben , who has on her face many freckles and a kind heart, gives me enough mentholatum to put on his nose seven times a day. And he is growing better. And today when I was come to the hospital, I took him in my arms. He did cuddle up. 94 }
  Too, he gave his cheese squeak. That made me have lonesome feels. I can't carry cheese to him any more out of the house we live in . I can't because, when the mamma learned that I was carrying cheese to Thomas Chatterton Jupiter Zeus , she said to me while she did apply a kindling to the back part of me "Don't you dare carry any more cheese out to that rat." And since then I do not carry cheese out to Thomas Chatterton Jupiter Zeus, but I do carry him into the kitchen to the cheese. I let him sniff long sniffs at it. Then I push his nose back and I cut from the big piece of cheese delicate slices for Thomas Chatterton Jupiter Zeus. This I do when the mamma isn't at home. 95 }
  Today, she being come again to the house we live in , I could not have goings there for Thomas Chatterton Jupiter Zeus to the cheese. I did go the way that goes to the house of Sadie McKibben . I did go that way so she might have knowings of the nose improvements of Thomas Chatterton Jupiter Zeus. When I was most come here he did squeak more of his cheese squeaks. It was most hard -- having hearing of him and not having cheese for him. I could hardly keep from crying. He is a most lovely wood-rat, and all his ways are ways gentleness. And he is just like the mamma's baby -- when he squeaks he does have expects to get what he squeaks for. I did cuddle him up more close in my arms. And he had not squeaks again for some little time. It was when I was talking to Sadie McKibben about the chateau of Neuilly that I do have most part done. It was then he did give his squeaks. He began and went on and did continue so. I just couldn't keep from crying. His cheese longings are like my longings for Angel Mother and Angel Father . He did just crawl up and put his nose against my curls. I did stand first on one foot and then on the other. The things I was going to say did go in a swallow down my throat. 96 }
  Sadie McKibben did wipe her hands on her blue gingham apron with cross stitches on it. She did have askings what was the matter with Thomas Chatterton Jupiter Zeus . And I just said, "O Sadie McKibben, it's his cheese squeak." And she said not a word but she did go in a quick way to her kitchen. She brought back a piece of cheese. It wasn't a little piece. It was a great big piece. There's enough in it for four breakfasts and six McKibben dinners. When Sadie did give it to me for him, she did smooth back my curls and she did give me three kisses -- one on each cheek and one on the nose. She smiled her smile upon us, and we were most happy, and we did go from her house to the cathedral . There I did have a thank service for the goodness of God and the goodness of Sadie McKibben, and the piece of cheese that did bring peace to the lovely Thomas Chatterton Jupiter Zeus. 97 }

Chapter Day Scene Paragraph
6 9 14 74


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