Healing Line

Healing Line

The Reason Why She Didn't Become a Baptist

November 1990

Francis received this 1880's New York Times story from his sister and thought you might find it interesting.

It is very easy to say, now that the affair is over, that Miss Wilson ought to have left her cork leg at home. In that case, however, she would have been compelled either to limp to the water on crutches, or to he carried thither by self-sacrificing deacons. Moreover her appearance in public without her customary leg would have excited a great deal of remark, which would not only have shocked her sensitive feelings but would have detracted from the solemnity of the scene. When, in addition to these facts, we remember that she was a woman residing in a country town, to which champagne baskets rarely penetrated, and was hence presumably ignorant of the scientific fact that cork is light and buoyant, her neglect to remove her cork leg prior to the baptism, seems entirely excusable. So long as the water was only two feet deep. Miss Wilson, who weighed fully 200 pounds, managed to wade toward the minister, but so soon as the latter took her hand and led her into deeper water the cork leg asserted its buoyancy, and Miss Wilson was suddenly reversed. The minister, with much difficulty, placed her on her feet again, and rather surlily requesting her not to do that again, began to make a brief and formal address. Before he had spoken ten words, Miss Wilson with a wild shriek fell backward, and her cork leg shot swiftly upon the surface. Perhaps this is the point where a veil should be dropped. To finish the narrative in as few words as possible, it may be said, that after half a dozen futile efforts, the attempt to baptize Miss Wilson was abandoned. With all his skill and strength the minister could not counteract the effect of the cork leg, and could not keep the convert right side up long enough to baptize her. She bore it with patience until the minister called for a sixty-four pound weight, with a view to ballasting her, when she indignantly scrambled ashore, hastened home and subsequently joined the Presbyterians.

Francis MacNutt Francis MacNutt is a Founding Director and Executive Committee member of CHM. November 1990 Issue