“Yes, you lawyers must run against some pretty snide specimens,” remarked the photographer, lifting one of the cases from its sockets.
Theron spent half an hour in aimless strolling about the streets. From earliest boyhood his mind had always worked most clearly when he walked alone. Every mental process which had left a mark upon his memory and his career—the daydreams of future academic greatness and fame which had fashioned themselves in his brain as a farm lad; the meditations, raptures, and high resolves of his student period at the seminary; the more notable sermons and powerful discourse by which he had revealed the genius that was in him to astonished and delighted assemblages—all were associated in his retrospective thoughts with solitary rambles.
He had a very direct and vivid consciousness now that it was good to be on his legs, and alone. He had never in his life been more sensible of the charm of his own companionship. The encounter with Gorringe seemed to have cleared all the clouds out of his brain, and restored lightness to his heart. After such an object lesson, the impossibility of his continuing to sacrifice himself to a notion of duty to these low-minded and coarse-natured villagers was beyond all argument. There could no longer be any doubt about his moral right to turn his back upon them, to wash his hands of the miserable combination of hypocrisy and hysterics which they called their spiritual life.
And the question of Gorringe and Alice, that too stood precisely where he wanted it. Even in his own thoughts, he preferred to pursue it no further. Between them somewhere an offence of concealment, it might be of conspiracy, had been committed against him. It was no business of his to say more, or to think more. He rested his case simply on the fact, which could not be denied, and which he was not in the least interested to have explained, one way or the other. The recollection of Gorringe’s obvious disturbance of mind was especially pleasant to him. He himself had been magnanimous almost to the point of weakness. He had gone out of his way to call the man “brother,” and to give him an opportunity of behaving like a gentleman; but his kindly forbearance had been wasted. Gorringe was not the man to understand generous feelings, much less rise to their level. He had merely shown that he would be vicious if he knew how. It was more important and satisfactory to recall that he had also shown a complete comprehension of the injured husband’s grievance. The fact that he had recognized it was enough—was, in fact, everything.
In the background of his thoughts Theron had carried along a notion of going and dining with Father Forbes when the time for the evening meal should arrive. The idea in itself attracted him, as a fitting capstone to his resolve not to go home to supper. It gave just the right kind of character to his domestic revolt. But when at last he stood on the doorstep of the pastorate, waiting for an answer to the tinkle of the electric bell he had heard ring inside, his mind contained only the single thought that now he should hear something about Celia. Perhaps he might even find her there; but he put that suggestion aside as slightly unpleasant.