“What is needful, Flo, for the wedding? What are the customs of the Quiet Way? Harold tells me your ceremony is to come on Christmas Eve, when the Kindred will anyway be gathered for the Christkind Welcome Circle, so the feast that follows will just expand its intention a little to encompass our family celebration. Here the bride generally wears blue, and she would have friends or her own sisters in attendance, each in nothing more elaborate that her own good dress. If the bridegroom is clean and tidy and comes to his bride with his hair brushed and no cow-dung on his feet, why then we feel honour is satisfied and we don’t push it by asking for top hat and tails.”

Flo giggled. She liked the vision this conjured in her mind, of Eb in morning dress, appreciating the surreal quality of the vision.

“In the Quiet Way, the ceremony is simple,” she said. “The Kindred usually make an archway of flowers or greenery for the couple to pass through as they come into the Gathering House. The bride always wears a garland in her hair, and oftentimes other folk do, as they feel inspired to make them – just for joy, not for unimpeachable custom. The bride would wear whatever good dress she has, or most often the Sisters will make her a new one. I’d be very happy to wear blue, if the Sisters in the sewing room here will let me have the cloth.”

Hannah shook her head.

“ ‘Let you have the cloth!’ It will be made for you! Come and be measured if Dorcas can spare you for an hour. Then it sounds as though all is straightforward. Can any of your family come? Is your mother coming? Will she be like to be my guest here? I have Eb’s room and bed here still.”

Florence smiled. “I think you and my mother will really love each other,” she said. “She is coming, and two of my sisters; the unmarried ones. Christmas Eve is not the best time to be away from home, so my married sisters will stay with their families, but Hope and Esther will come.”

Hannah nodded. “Jah, that sounds good. Nice to have someone from home beside you, What is your mother’s name, Flo?”

“She is called Righteous,” said Flo. “My father was Abimelech, but he is dead these five years come March.”

“Righteous ten Eych;” Hannah tried out the name. “She will be welcome here. The food, as I say, will be covered by the Christkind feast, so I think all is plain and simple, just as should be. You are quiet, my son? What are you thinking?”