Miriam stood at the bulletin board waiting for it to sprout news, delaying the dust mopping to which she had been unjustly assigned. The Men’s and Women’s Work Distributors allotted Saturday-­morning chores to all in the community unblessed with offspring and so still at risk for idling. This was the sort of information available on the bulletin board in the Meeting Hall vestibule:

“Peter Wyatt Maendel, 7 pounds 7 ounces, born to Adam and Siri in Gracefield, as yet unphotographed but represented here by a dear little blue-bootied illustration.”

“Please return all emptied birthday baskets to Stores.”

“Tom Kleiner seeks fellow rook enthusiasts to begin a weekly rook tally, for more information see Tom.”

Alan Lefebvre, lately returned to the Brotherhood after three years in experimental apostasy, joined Miriam in observing no news. He was purely medium in all physical qualities, although his name suggested the tan and musk of the Old World. As a woman who was not his mother, she lacked cause to speak to him, and so had communicated only silently and with perfect clarity since his appearance at Evergreen. 

The Lefebvre family was a small node by community standards. Miriam knew that Alan’s parents, concerned about warmongering and private property, had joined from French Canada and produced five children. Only once before had she lived on the same Hof as a Lefebvre, when Alan’s youngest sister, Sophie, spent eight months in Evergreen failing to offend. 

“Looks like I’ll be going on the El Salvador mission,” said Alan, still at the bulletin board. “Just found out today.” Miriam froze into a disguise of herself. “We’re supposed to get back before first advent.”

And though Logic, little dictator, indicated otherwise, she now knew when and whom she would marry.