“Lookin’ at this case speritually, an’ as a minister o’ the Gospel,” says he, “it seems to me thet the question ain’t so much a question of doin’ ez it is a question of withholdin’. I don’t know,” says he, “ez I’ve got a right to withhold the sacrament o’ baptism from a child under these circumstances or to deny sech comfort to his parents ez lies in my power to bestow.”
An’, sir, with that he stepped out to the end o’ the po’ch, opened his book ag’in, an’ holdin’ up his right hand to’ards Sonny, settin’ on top o’ the bean-arbor in the rain, he commenced to read the service o’ baptism, an’ we stood proxies—which is a sort o’ a dummy substitutes—for whatever godfather an’ mother Sonny see fit to choose in after life.
Parson, he looked half like ez ef he’d laugh once-t. When he had thess opened his book and started to speak, a sudden streak o’ sunshine shot out an’ the rain started to ease up, an’ it looked for a minute ez ef he was goin’ to lose the baptismal waters. But d’rec’ly it come down stiddy ag’in an he’ went thoo the programme entire.
An’ Sonny, he behaved mighty purty; set up perfec’ly ca’m an’ composed thoo it all, an’ took everything in good part, though he didn’t p’intedly know who was bein’ baptized, ’cause, of co’se, he couldn’t hear the words with the rain in his ears.
He didn’t rightly sense the situation tell it come to the part where it says: “Name this child,” and, of co’se, I called out to Sonny to name hisself, which it had always been our intention to let him do.
“Name yo’self, right quick, like a good boy,” says I.
Of co’se Sonny had all his life heered me say thet I was Deuteronomy Jones, Senior, an’ thet I hoped some day when he got christened he’d be the junior. He knowed that by heart, an’ would agree to it or dispute it, ‘cordin’ to how the notion took him, and I sort o’ ca’culated thet he’d out with it now. But no, sir! Not a word! He thess sot up on thet bean-arbor an’ grinned.
An’ so, feelin’ put to it, with the services suspended over my head, I spoke up, an’ I says: “Parson,” says I, “I reckon ef he was to speak his little heart, he’d say Deuteronomy Jones, Junior.” An’ with thet what does Sonny do but conterdic’ me flat! “No, not Junior! I want to be named Deuteronomy Jones, Senior!” says he, thess so. An’ parson, he looked to’ards me, an’ I bowed my head an’ he pernouneed thess one single name, “Deuteronomy,” an’ I see he wasn’t goin’ to say no more an’ so I spoke up quick, an’ says I: “Parson,” says I, “he has spoke his heart’s desire. He has named hisself after me entire—Deuteronomy Jones, Senior.”
An’ so he was obligated to say it, an’ so it is writ in the family record colume in the big Bible, though I spelt his Senior with a little s, an’ writ him down ez the only son of the Senior with the big S, which it seems to me fixes it about right for the time bein’.
[Illustration: “An’ then Sonny, seein’ it all over, he come down.”]