Anyone called to become a Servant of the Light must have certain essential qualities. He must be humble and wise, he must know the holy Word through and through, and it must shine not only in his mind but in his life. He must be sober and frugal, industrious, quiet in his ways; not hasty but patient and willing to hear other perspectives than his own. He must understand clearly that adverse circumstances are changeable weather to be addressed by abiding faith; so that his first instinct in any drama that unfolds is never panic or argument, but prayer. His household must be a place of healing and heartfelt hospitality; orderly and calm – the sort of place where folks feel their tensions sigh out of them as they step into the welcome of its peace. His wife must be a true believer, and her life must bear and reveal the Light as surely as his. His children must be serious and gentle, bearing and following the Light as they travel the Way with him.

With all this, the Servant of Light is essentially distinguished by a further quality; he must be absolutely discreet. He will hear the confidences of others, see their tears, hear their broken confessions, know their sins and their failures and doubts. Both he and his household must learn to carry the knowledge as though it had never been. Many a pastoral conundrum had Harold discussed with Harriet in the privacy of their bedchamber when all the hof had retired for the night; many more he had kept entirely to himself.

Eb had said nothing further about Florence after his time closeted with Harold, had eaten cheerfully the cookies Harriet had provided and gone his way with a merry step into the night. Harriet did not ask: but Harold wanted her counsel.

They moved quietly about their family room, doing the last chores of the day, and Harold brought the holy Word out of the quiet place, laying it on the kitchen table to finish the evening in its wise light. He paused in turning the pages, and asked Harriet: “How do you find Florence?”

“How do I find Florence?” Harriet echoed, as she took off her apron and hung it on the hook behind the door. “Easily. With no difficulty at all. Think pink.”

Harold grinned. “No! Really? And when you’ve found her – how do you find her then?”

Harriet laughed. “Oh, she’s a sweetie Harold. If you’re wondering will she do for Eb Stilleschuyler I should say ‘yes’ and ‘amen’ and ‘yes’ again. Florence is a darling; she’s modest and hardworking, she’s gentle; and plus she’s got her head screwed on right. There are no flies on Florence. She’ll do fine. Eb couldn’t have a better wife.”

Harold nodded. “Thank goodness. On the basis of far too little acquaintance, I just blessed his choice.”

Harriet smiled contentedly. “Then I am right glad. It will be well, I have no doubt.”