It remained to decide what he would do with his discovery, now that it had been so satisfactorily made. As yet, he had given this hardly a thought. Even now, it did not thrust itself forward as a thing demanding instant attention. It was much more important, first of all, to get a good breakfast. He had learned that there was another and less formal eating-place, downstairs in the basement by the bar, with an entrance from the street. He walked down by the inner stairway instead, feeling himself already at home in the big hotel. He ordered an ample breakfast, and came out while it was being served to wash and have his boots blacked, and he gave the man a quarter of a dollar. His pockets were filled with silver quarters, half-dollars, and dollars almost to a burdensome point, and in his valise was a bag full of smaller change, including many rolls of copper cents which Alice always counted and packed up on Mondays. In the hurry of leaving he had brought with him the church collections for the past two weeks. It occurred to him that he must keep a strict account of his expenditure. Meanwhile he gave ten cents to another man in a silk-sleeved cardigan jacket, who had merely stood by and looked at him while his boots were being polished. There was a sense of metropolitan affluence in the very atmosphere.
The little table in the adjoining room, on which Theron found his meal in waiting for him, seemed a vision of delicate napery and refined appointments in his eyes. He was wolfishly hungry, and the dishes he looked upon gave him back assurances by sight and smell that he was very happy as well. The servant in attendance had an extremely white apron and a kindly black face. He bowed when Theron looked at him, with the air of a lifelong admirer and humble friend.
“I suppose you’ll have claret with your breakfast, sir?” he remarked, as if it were a matter of course.
“Why, certainly,” answered Theron, stretching his legs contentedly under the table, and tucking the corner of his napkin in his neckband.—“Certainly, my good man.”
At ten o’clock Theron, loitering near the bookstall in the corridor, saw Father Forbes come downstairs, pass out through the big front doors, get into a carriage, and drive away.
This relieved him of a certain sense of responsibility, and he retired to a corner sofa and sat down. The detective side of him being off duty, so to speak, there was leisure at last for reflection upon the other aspects of his mission. Yes; it was high time for him to consider what he should do next.