3.10.10


As the talk and laughter began to mellow and the plates of food to look dishevelled if scarcely diminished, some of those who had offered to clear tables began to pour last cups of spiced tea. It would soon be time for the concert, and Flo was just reflecting that the choir’s stomachs might be a little full for singing when Eb leaned over her shoulder; ‘Flo – Flo Stilleschuyler – come with me a moment.’

She got up from her seat and Eb took her hand – ‘Just for a moment’ – he said, leading her to the door of the barn, lifting the shawl of an unknown Sister from the coat pegs as they passed. He opened the door quietly, just enough for them to slip through, and closed it as quietly behind. He wrapped the soft shawl round her shoulders in the frosty-breath cold of the dark. ‘Come,’ he said. Her hand in his, they slipped like shadows around the corner of the barn into the silent cover of night. And then in the privacy of the winter dark, he turned to face her, looked at her with such serious happy joy; ‘Oh, Flo!’ – took her into his arms there under the stars, and kissed her for about a quarter of an hour.