Autobiography, with Letters

By William Lyon Phelps | Go to book overview
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3
BOYHOOD EXPERIENCES

AT Providence, 12 November 1875, when I was ten years old, I was examined by Dr. Emory Lyon at the University Grammar School, in Eaton's Common School Arithmetic; and a day or two later by Harmon S. Babcock in Latin and Geography. I was examined also in French by Dr. Lyon.

I wrote the following note at Providence, 14 March 1876. 'I was examined by Deacon Hall, Mr. Benson, and Papa, to be baptized. This happened Thursday, Feb. 24, 1876. I told my experience to the church, Feb. 25, 1876. I was baptized with Miss Whaley, Mrs. Allen, Lincoln Rose, my brother Arthur, on Feb. 27, 1876, Sunday eve. Papa preached the night I was baptized on Sodom and Gomorrah. It was a very solemn sermon. The text was "And Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom." He repeated some poetry of Arthur Coxe's. I remember that the sermon was so interesting, that I utterly forgot all about the baptism.'

After the sermon when my father called for the first person to come forward to be baptized, no one moved. Finally he said 'Let the first one come!' No one moved, so I stepped forward. I should have been baptized last, because the water in the baptistery would not have been nearly so deep; the clothes and the robes of each person take up a great deal of water. I remember distinctly that when I put my foot in, I gasped aloud, and the lady playing the organ looked at me in amazement. My father led me and the water came up to my chin.

Two years later, when I was graduated from the

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