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Day 9
Making a Potato Choir

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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.
  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.
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.
  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.
  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.
  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.
  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.
  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."
  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.
  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.
  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.
  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.
  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.

Chapter Day Scene Paragraph
6 9 14 74


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