They stepped forward to stand before Harold. Flo gripped Eb’s hand tightly. He looked at her and smiled. His knees were shaking.
‘Ebenezer Theodorus Stilleschuyler, do you desire to share your lifepath with this Sister, Florence Line Sofie ten Eych? Will you be patient with her, faithful to her, gentle in your dealings with her, humbly sharing with her all that you are and have?’
‘By God’s calling and grace,’ Eb responded with the words of the marriage-making, ‘this is my heart’s desire and my pledged commitment’.
Father Whichart nodded at him. ‘Well done’, he said under his breath, and smiled, turning now to Flo.
‘Florence Line Sofie ten Eych, do you desire to share your lifepath with this Brother, Ebenezer Theodorus Stilleschuyler? Will you be patient with him, faithful to him, gentle in your dealings with him, humbly sharing with her all that you are and have?’
‘By God’s calling and grace,’ said Florence, ‘this is my heart’s desire and my pledged commitment’.
Gently, Father Whichart touched their hands clasped so tightly. ‘You have chosen well, you two’, he said softly. Then he raised his head and addressed the assembled Kindred.
‘You have heard their intention. Does anyone say them nay? If any troll knows of something hidden whereby this marriage cannot be made, speak now, and only now; hereafter never.’
The room was silent except for the small sounds of the stove.
‘Then join your hands,’ said Harold to Eb and Flo. Harriet stepped forward carrying a blue thread, followed by Hannah holding a red thread and Righteous with a gold thread.
Harriet tied her blue thread round their joined hands.
‘Blue is for peace, for simplicity, for purity, humility, truth and quietness,’ she said. ‘May you find a blue thread woven into the fabric of your life.’
She stepped back, and Hannah came forward with the red thread. Tears were running down her cheeks and fell upon the thread that she tied round their hands: but she took a deep breath, and her voice was firm as she said: ‘Red is for love and for courage, for passion, adventure, exhilaration and hope. May you trace a red thread woven into the fabric of your life.’
Then came Righteous with the golden thread. She glanced at each of them with a beaming smile of affirmation, before she applied herself to the tying of the thread and the traditional words spoken over it. ‘Gold is for the presence of God; golden is the invisible thread that runs among the kindred joining us all together. Gold is for the Light that inspires us, the wisdom that guides us, the grace that redeems us, and the ordinary, practical ability to earn a living and make ends meet. May you see the gold thread woven into the fabric of your life.’Righteous stepped back to stand by Hannah, gave her a dry hankie and put her arm round Hannah’s waist.
‘Brother Ebenezer, Sister Florence,’ said Harold, ‘May the love of God unite you, the grace of God uphold you, the wisdom of God inspire you, and the Light of God show you the way to go. May you live long and happily, may your home be a place of welcome and peace, may the love between you be a stream of blessing for the whole Kindred of Believers. What God has joined together, let no one put asunder. From now on, lifelong, you are one.’
There were some more hymns, also a certain amount of giggling as Hope and Esther helped them get their hands untied for the practical purpose of tucking into the massive and delicious feast that followed.