6.5 A Parcel of Cakes
The references to a Christmas parcel of cakes in the interpolated letters equates elements of the physical birth of Christ with the ritual of eating his body. The inconsistencies between the various archaeological letters mirrors the fragmentation and distortion of the picture of HCE and his presence in the letter. The language of the Wake stresses the differences in the remnants of HCE, emphasising the resultant post-fall plurality and undermining the potency of the deity contrary to the perception of a unified HCE held to by Shaun and the Four Historians (see below,*). Nevertheless, it is possible to perceive amid the fragmentation of the interpolated letters the consistent theme of rebirth which it shares with the elusive content of Finnegans Wake itself. The theme of a Christmas parcel, or parcel of cakes, indicates the rebirth of a deity and can be perceived in all of the letters:
a muddy kissmans [...] and there's going to be a gorgeups truce for happinest childher everwere [...] foder allmichael and a lugly parson of cates. (FW 11.14-24)
born gentleman with a beautiful present of wedding cakes for dear thankyou Chriesty and a grand funferall of poor Father Michael. (FW 111.13-15)
I and we (tender condolences for happy funeral, one if) so sorry to (mention person suppressed for the moment, F.M.). [...] A lovely (introduce to domestic circles) pershan of cates. [...] With best from cinder Christinette if prints chumming. (FW 280.10-22)
gentlemine born, milady bread [...] If you could me lendtill my pascol's kondyl, sahib, and the price of a plate of poultice. Punked. With best apolojigs and merrymoney thanks to self for all the clerricals and again begs guerdon for bistrispissing on your bunificence. (FW 301.11-302.7)
for further oil mircles upon all herwayferer gods and reanouncing my deviltries as was I a locally person of caves until I got my purchase on her firmforhold. (FW 365.1-3)
To hear that lovelade parson, of case, of a bawl gentlemale, pour forther moracles. (FW 617.24-25)
While for whoever likes that urogynal pan of cakes one apiece it is thanks, beloved, to Adam, our former first Finnlatter and our grocerest churcher, as per Grippith's varuations, for his beautiful crossmess parzel. (FW 619.2-5).
The refreshment at HCE's wake describes a parallel between the sacrament of the eucharist in the Christian mass and his genetic reconstitution. On the one hand, Father Michael's name indicates an association with Shaun and his biological reproductive function, and Shem's entreaty to 'gentlemine born' (FW 301.11) cited above for a 'lentill' of money similarly indicates the Stanislaus/Shaun character. On the other, the parcel of cakes, as 'crossmess parzel' is related to the textual letter, and as a 'lugly parson', 'pershan of cates' and 'person of caves', the archaeological remains of HCE is indicated. The address of one letter to be delivered to HCE begins 'Gee. Gone' (FW 420.19) and is annotated upon its (non-)delivery as 'Noon sick parson' (FW 420.24). HCE expires at noon, the time of both the original sin and the writing of the letter, and as 'no such person', he is the parcel of cakes or 'parson' referred to in the letter. Father Michael on one level is Shaun in his incarnation as HCE, a pastor/Ondt/postman surrounded by adoring females, unsuccessfully denying his sexuality: 'jingaling his jellybags for, though he looked a young chapplie of sixtine, they could frole by his manhood that he was just the killingest ladykiller' (FW 430.30-33). Shaun's predilection for using violence against Issy has been discussed above (see*), and Issy's footnote to the letter reproduced in the Nightlessons chapter suggests that Father Michael uses his genitals/HCE cakes to betroth, betray, strangle or orally rape young girls, and she concludes her note with an 'amen' linking motherhood and feminine silence with the cycles of the Wake:
The good fother with the twingling in his eye will always have cakes in his pocket to bethroat us with for our allmichael good. Amum. Amum. And Amum again. (FW 279.N1.35-37)
Implicit in the Viconian repetition of the word 'Amum' is that the cycles of the Wake are predicated upon the silencing of the female through motherhood.