As Florence finished the story, she looked to Eb to see how it was received.

He looked at her kapp, raised his hand and lightly touched the embroidered letters HH. “Humble Hat,” he said quietly; “I like that.”

He thought for a moment, then asked her, “What about the Brothers? Didn’t they want to be part of this too?”

“Oh, yes!” Flo smiled. “When word got round the Brothers of the valley spirit vow, they were eager to join in: so the Sisters made them caps in a pillbox shape, or knitted hats for the cold weather, suitable for Brothers to wear, also embroidered with HH. I’ll make you one, if you like.”

A giggle rose up inside her seeing his sudden discomfiture. There is no greater anathema to Plain folk than to stand out from the crowd and be distinguished by something individual and singular.

“It’s okay, I understand,” she said: “but I’ll make you one nonetheless. You can wear it for a nightcap, and you’ll be glad of it anyway when the frosts come. I’ll make you a red one so nobody will notice you’re wearing it. Anyway, who knows, it might catch on. Eb Groundbreaker Stilleschuyler.”

“The only way I’m likely to break ground,” Eb said immediately, “is by the force of the crash when I slip up and stumble. “

She smiled, understanding why he said it; the ambition of aspiring to leadership and personal exaltation was not the Plain way. He had to refuse it, and she loved him for it. Knowing he would not want to get bogged down in inspection of motivations, or the rights and wrongs of making change, she jumped to her feet, keeping hold of his hand to pull him up after her.