roton, August 1666
Reverend Samuel Willard's most prominent feature was his nose--long, straight, narrow, with a hooked tip. He'd inherited it from his father, Major Simon Willard, veteran of the Pequot War of 1637. The son's nose was all that detracted from an otherwise handsome face. The young minister parted medium brown hair in the middle, and it fell in loose waves to his shoulders. Nature had evenly dealt out a broad forehead, high cheekbones, square jaw, and cleft chin. His wide mouth, which rarely curled in a smile, was belied by deep-set eyes that gave him a demeanor of quizzical kindness. The overall effect was the face of an intelligent and approachable young man. Suzanne was surprised at how young. Accustomed to her previous minister in Watertown, who was older than her father, she found the man standing at her door disturbing. Are we to seek spiritual counsel from a youth? She couldn't help thinking.
"Goody Morse," he said, "I had hoped to visit when you first came to Groton, but with the meetinghouse still in progress, I'd taken the opportunity to visit other parishes. Now Abigail and I are back, we want to welcome you to our meetings." He pulled his wife forward, nodding as he spoke. Suzanne knew Abigail as her Watertown minister's daughter, but Abigail Sherman had been a girl then, too young for more than a nodding acquaintance. She'd only a year ago married Reverend Willard.
His voice impressed Suzanne, a speech with a mid range resonance that pleased her ears; she'd find later that most of the parish would agree. "Honey tongued," they said of him.
"Welcome, Reverend, and Mrs. Willard.
"Oh, please call me Abigail," she said.
"If you wish," Suzanne said. "I'm so happy to meet you. "Joseph is clearing the garden. I will call him immediately. Please, won't you sit?" She gestured to the bench at the rough table, uneven planks stretched across sawhorses. "I'll not be a minute." Suzanne fit the mold for most of the Sherborns: medium height, a stocky but well-proportioned, compact frame, and thick, wavy brown hair. Her most distinguishing features, inherited from her mother, were high cheekbones, a broad forehead, and a straight nose that gave her the look of a leader, a trait that she neither felt, nor claimed. Not inclined to assume authority, she found that people made the decision for her.
Her guests were happy to sit; though a mile walk was hardly considered a long distance, the day was hot. "We will, and thank you," Reverend Willard said.
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