Dogs Are Smart
All Hallows’ Eve (2)

All Hallows’ Eve

On this day I like to browse a bit in Charles Williams’s wonderful novel by that name. Here is an account of a baptism. The speaker is a young woman who was intended from her conception to play a role in a very evil scheme. But she was secretly baptized by her nurse, a crucial event in the story. This is how she remembers the baptism, at a time when she is partly in the next world and can see spiritual reality. I don’t think she even knows what she’s describing:

“I know I needn’t [be afraid]—when I think of the lake; at least I suppose it was a lake. If it was a river, it was very broad. I must have been very small indeed, because, you know, it always seems as if I’d only just floated up through the lake, which is nonsense. But sometimes I almost think I did, because deep down I can remember the fishes, though not so as to describe them, and none of them took any notice of me, except one with a kind of great horned head which was swimming round me and diving under me. It was quite clear there under the water and I didn’t even know I was there. I mean I wasn’t thinking of myself. And then presently the fish dived again and went below me, and I felt him lifting me up with his back, and then the water plunged under me and lifted me, and I came out on the surface. And there I lay; it was sunny and bright, and I drifted in the sun—it was almost as if I was lying on the sunlight itself—and presently I saw the shore—a few steps in a low cliff, and a woman standing there. I didn't know who she was, but I know now, since you made me remember—Lester, I do owe you such a lot—it was a nurse I once had, but not for very long. She bent down and lifted me out of the water. I didn’t want to leave it. But I liked her; it was almost as if she was my real mother, and she said: ‘There, dearie, no one can undo that; bless God for it.’”

No one can undo that.



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