I missed Mary again in the morning and went out to find her. I found her digging up tired old vines and planting new ones, putting in as much effort as the labourer working alongside her. Other farm hands were clearing the adjoining field, which I could have sworn used to be part of Matthias’ land, and preparing it to take yet more vines. I don’t know where all the new stock came from but I could sense the involvement of Cyrus.
Mary said she would happily talk to me if I would take the labourer’s place, so I rolled up my sleeves and started digging. I was of course too slow and clumsy, and I soon started to tire, but she was quite forgiving provided I allowed her to tease me.
“So when are you going to find the courage to tell me you’ve booked a new date for the end of the world and you need funds for the mission?” she asked eventually after a longer than usual gap in our conversation. Typical woman. She had been quicker and nimbler than me in her head as well as with the planting.
I told her my plans and gave her an idea of numbers and timescales and locations, and she started doing the sums in her head.
“I’m going to need some extra help with this,” she said after a while, “but luckily I’ve had a few offers in the past from women friends of independent means (she sometimes actually talks like this). I’ve always turned them down but I know they’d still be keen if I asked. It’s hard for a woman to join your band of close followers, but they want to support the mission in their own way. Goodness knows what they see in you.”
I was about to protest that it was the mission to save the people of Israel they would be supporting, not me, but I realised she was teasing me again.
So that was it. Theoretically I had got what I came for and could have stopped work then, but it was good to be working with my hands again and I enjoyed being with my wife, so I stayed out all day and intend to join her again tomorrow.