<> Hanna002 Part One Linen Hall Library 1951 Linen Hall Library Thursday, April 7, 2016 TIFF Hanna002 Manuscript Communion, Marriage English https://www.niliteraryarchive.com/content/hanna002 Linen Hall Library Linen Hall Library Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike CC BY-NC-SA https://www.niliteraryarchive.com/sites/default/files/Hanna002_2.jpg LHL Archive DECEMBER BRIDE Chapter One RAVARA MEETING-HOUSE MOULDERED among its gravestones like a mother surrounded by her spinster children. Today the winter wind poured across the fields. It flung a handful of starlings over the church and plucked the caps and skirts of the men and women sheltering behind the gravestones. A man, with a billhook in his hand, broke through the hedge that surrounded the churchyard and hurried towards the gravelled path, Along the hedge bordering the road the weak sun glinted on curves and ellipses of bicycle wheels. In the church, with his back to the communion rail, and the book in his hand open at the marriage service, stood the reverend Isaac Sorleyson. The man and woman before him, Hamilton Echlin and Sarah Gomartin, were elderly, stooped, huddled together as if for protection. The whimpering wind and the breathless silence of the churoh heightened the loneliness of the two and gave an impression absurd and pathetic to the ceremony. Behind the bridegroom stood a youth of about nineteen years of age. Throughout the service he had strained to follow the minister’s words, only relaxing to glance back into the glimmering church or to reassure himself that the wedding ring was still embedded in his sweating palm. "Do you, Hamilton, take this woman, Sarah, to be your lawfuily wedded wife ...” The responses were given, and at a sign from Sorleyson, the young man dropped the ring into the dark cupped hand of the bridegroom. Echlin took his bride’s hand, and with her Text