“One thing is, I do want to marry Eb, but I shall miss the Quiet Way terribly; my mother and my sisters, and the way of life there. I think to a worldly person, the Kindred of the Quiet Way and the Old Order Forest Kindred of Believers are as good as interchangeable – quaint Plain folk living old-fashioned lives in strange clothes for incomprehensible religious reasons. But to us, the Quiet Way and the Old Order are separated by huge divides. I can make the journey. It just feels right. But even now, it doesn’t feel as though it will be easy. It’s the path where my feet are taking me, and my feet are only following the light of the Kindly Lantern – but, Harriet – I think I’m going to need a lot of help.”

Harriet nodded.

Jah. I shall be here,” she said as she turned the sock around.

“And the other thing – I’m not so sure I’m going to make a very good wife, Harriet. I’m not very submissive; not even always very respectful. I’m quite impetuous and headstrong, and I have to go my own way.”

She looked to Harriet, troubled. Harriet was laughing.

“Like Eb is very authoritarian and has to dominate!” she chuckled. “I think it may be as well, Flo. Eb has his own strange thoughts he thinks it better for the most part to keep to himself. Any Brother that takes to a little place out in the woods when he could have been waited on like a king at his mother’s table must surely have space in his imagination for independent thinking.”

She looked very directly, then, at Flo.

“ I have a lot of time for Eb Stilleschuyler. In the course of a long life, I’ve met some trolls who have taken the notion of being made in the image of God altogether too personally. Eb is humble. He looks at himself with a truthful eye. Just now he thinks he’s been blessed beyond his wildest dreams. It’s true I don’t know you so well, my Flo; but it doesn’t generally take me too long to size up a person – and from what I’ve seen of you so far, I’m inclined to agree with him. Could you reach me that basket of mending, my love? This one’s all done.”

She picked another sock out of the basket. They were all black, so she didn’t need to change the wool.

“Harriet – I’m going to feel so far from home, I just know I am. Will you be my mother for me, while I am here?”

Harriet looked calmly down at the sock, getting the first few stitches right, that would keep the darning wool firmly in place. She thought that Hannah might very much have liked to be the one to receive that request: but she also knew that as Flo came to know Hannah, understanding would grow.

“Yes, I will,” she said; “but when you draw the circle, draw it to close Hannah in too.”

“I need you both! I have the whole of two weeks to get ready this wedding!”

Harriet smiled.

“Fetch a pencil and paper from the counter there. I think you may have ten minutes still before Lightfoot 6 wakes up: and I think I feel a list coming on.”