In thanks for her hospitality, Florence tried while she was with the Forest Kindred to make herself useful in the Whichart household as well as to Dorcas. She sat in the kitchen with Harriet peeling onions, to make chutney and soup with the onions and dye for some fleece with the skins. It was early afternoon; Florence had tidied up for Dorcas and hung a line of washing to air in the yard, set a big pot of stew to simmer for the evening meal, then stepped across the way to spend some time with Harriet while Dorcas and the baby took a nap.

“ I always feel more successful in winter,” said Harriet Whichart with a smile, as she threw another onion skin into the pan.

Florence looked at her, waiting for illumination: “Because of the dark mornings,” added Harriet.

“When Harold and I first got married, my mother gave me a little book about being a godly wife, and it started with that wonderful passage from right at the end of the Book of Proverbs – you know? About the good hausfraa. I learned it off by heart – do you remember it Flo?”

“I’ve read it,” said Florence, “what Sister hasn’t? But I can never remember it all; it’s so long. If you can say it without going to fetch the holy Word, tell me it again.”