“I was just wondering,” said Eb, “how Flo’s mother and sisters will be travelling. If they can come in a cart or a wagon instead of a trap, they could bring any of Flo’s belongings. What have you got to bring Flo? Anything much more than a couple of chests and a favourite rocking chair and I’d better get down to the carpenters’ shop and put together the makings of an extension.”

“Flo smiled at him happily. “I haven’t much. My hope chest. I brought my clothes with me to Dorcas’ already. A couple of little treasures from the bedroom at home. My bookcase, and the books obviously.”

Hannah listened to this with interest.

“Bookcase?” said Eb. “What books have you got?”

Flo shrugged. “The usual. Some song books and some poetry. A herbal and a book of birds; some books about having babies and caring for health. A few story books. Some about sewing and gardening – recipe books, I shall need those! A bit of theology and a couple of biology textbooks. A book on Hindu dharma, one or two things about world religions, some Buddhist writings and a copy of the Tao. Journals and a prayer book or two. A thesaurus and a dictionary. Different translations of the Bible. Oh, I don’t know – all the usual things – not many.”
She looked from one to the other; Hannah’s eyes were shining with amusement, as she looked at her son, who sat in stunned silence.

“What?” said Flo.

She cast her mind back to Eb’s cottage. She glanced round Hannah’s kitchen. She thought of the Lightfoots’ house, where a small bookcase sufficed for the precious collection Dorcas had brought with her when she married: and of the Whicharts’ home, where Harriet’s recipe book lay on the kitchen counter, and the Quiet Place had a shelf for the holy Word and one or two devotional volumes.

“You don’t really have books much, here, do you?” she said, suddenly uncertain of herself.