“And now take Soulsby,” she went on. “Of course I take it for granted there’s a good deal that he has never felt called upon to mention. He hasn’t what you may call a talkative temperament. But there is also a good deal that I do know. He’s been an actor, too, and to this day I’d back him against Edwin Booth himself to recite ‘Clarence’s Dream.’ And he’s been a medium, and then he was a travelling phrenologist, and for a long time he was advance agent for a British Blondes show, and when I first saw him he was lecturing on female diseases—and he had his little turn with a grand jury too. In fact, he was what you may call a regular bad old rooster.”
Again Theron suffered the pause to lapse without comment—save for an amorphous sort of conversation which he felt to be going on between his eyes and those of Sister Soulsby.
“Well, then,” she resumed, “so much for us apart. Now about us together. We liked each other from the start. We compared notes, and we found that we had both soured on living by fakes, and that we were tired of the road, and wanted to settle down and be respectable in our old age. We had a little money—enough to see us through a year or two. Soulsby had always hungered and longed to own a garden and raise flowers, and had never been able to stay long enough in one place to see so much as a bean-pod ripen. So we took a little place in a quiet country village down on the Southern Tier, and he planted everything three deep all over the place, and I bought a roomful of cheap good books, and we started in. We took to it like ducks to water for a while, and I don’t say that we couldn’t have stood it out, just doing nothing, to this very day; but as luck would have it, during the first winter there was a revival at the local Methodist church, and we went every evening—at first just to kill time, and then because we found we liked the noise and excitement and general racket of the thing. After it was all over each of us found that the other had been mighty near going up to the rail and joining the mourners. And another thing had occurred to each of us, too—that is, what tremendous improvements there were possible in the way that amateur revivalist worked up his business. This stuck in our crops, and we figured on it all through the winter.—Well, to make a long story short, we finally went into the thing ourselves.”
“Tell me one thing,” interposed Theron. “I’m anxious to understand it all as we go along. Were you and he at any time sincerely converted?—that is, I mean, genuinely convicted of sin and conscious of—you know what I mean!”
“Oh, bless you, yes,” responded Sister Soulsby. “Not only once—dozens of times—I may say every time. We couldn’t do good work if we weren’t. But that’s a matter of temperament—of emotions.”
“Precisely. That was what I was getting at,” explained Theron.