Harriet closed her eyes in concentration and frowned slightly, summoning the familiar words to her mind.

“ 'Whoever finds a really good wife has something of more worth than a whole bag of rubies.

Her husband can trust her completely, and so much benefit will come to him from her.

She will never damage him in any way, she’ll be a blessing to him.

She knows how to grade and select good quality wool and flax, and her hands set to work eagerly.

She comes back from market laden with shopping like a merchant ship coming in full sail back to harbour.

She wakes up early and lies there thinking what has to be done, and gets up while it is still dark (that’s the bit that makes me feel successful in winter – the sun is generally up before me on a summer’s day); she provides food for her family, with something nice set aside for the girls who help out around the homestead as well.

She has the judgement and know-how to look over a field and get the purchase sorted – and she thinks ahead so that after she’s bought it she still has enough put by to set the canes and plant and wires for a new vineyard.
She doesn’t slouch around – not she! – but bustles about with a will; she really builds up some muscle doing all the chores around the place!

She keeps an eye on all the household transactions, and in the evening if you see a lamp shining through the window, it’s probably her still looking over the household accounts.

She’s a dab hand with a distaff, and she spins at the speed of light.

But somehow she isn’t too busy for other people: she makes sure there’s something to help out when people are short of money, and she does what she can when folk are struggling.

When the snows come, she doesn’t fret in case her folks are cold – she’s already knitted up scarlet sweaters and hats and mufflers – they can go out and play snowballs wrapped up cosy!

She’s a mistress of the quilter’s art, and she’s all turned out neat and modest herself in the finest homespun – fair linen for her under-things and covering and pinny, and a purple dress: beautiful.

Her husband is held in high esteem at the elder’s meeting, because his household is such an example to the Kindred.

His wife is a good seamstress, and runs up aprons and head-coverings, jumpers and underdresses, selling them on her market stall, plus ties and belts for the English shops, made from the off-cuts.

She is sturdy and modest, someone with real dignity about her; she has a merry, quiet heart because her foresight and capable management have made a bulwark against hard times for all her family.

You want to listen to her, because what she says is wise and worth hearing; what she teaches you is going to be dependable.

She keeps an eye on everything at home, and doesn’t fritter away the entire day chatting over coffee and cake.

Her children think she’s amazing; so does her husband – and he remembers to tell her so!

He says; ‘There are some fab hausfraas on our hof; but, honey, you take the biscuit!’

Cutesy feminine wiles are shallow; prettiness is nice but doesn’t last – the one you’re looking for, the one you should really admire, is the troll who walks in the way of the Lord.

And she should be shown due respect, and someone ought to mention it at the elders’ meeting’.”

Flo listened to this with interest.

“Is that what it really says in the holy Word?” she asked.

“Well – “ Harriet opened her eyes and smiled at her; “I guess I may have tweaked it a bit here and there from just the exact way my mother copied it out of the holy Word into my little book; but yes, if you rightly divide the holy Word, I think you’ll find that’s within a hair of what it’s saying. It’s a high standard by anybody’s reckoning – but always just that tiny bit easier in the winter, I feel – with the few extra hours snuggle-down time before chores have to be started.”