Now for the first time there rose distinctly in Theron’s mind that casual allusion which Father Forbes had made to the Turanians. He recalled, too, his momentary feeling of mortification at not knowing who the Turanians were, at the time. Possibly, if he had probed this matter more deeply, now as he walked and pondered in the little living-room, he might have traced the whole of the afternoon’s mental experiences to that chance remark of the Romish priest. But this speculation did not detain him. He mused instead upon the splendid library Father Forbes must have.
“Well, how does the book come on? Have you got to ‘my Lady Keturah’ yet?’”
It was Alice who spoke, opening the door from the kitchen, and putting in her head with a pretence of great and solemn caution, but with a correcting twinkle in her eyes.
“I haven’t got to anybody yet,” answered Theron, absently. “These big things must be approached slowly.”
“Come out to supper, then, while the beans are hot,” said Alice.
The young minister sat through this other meal, again in deep abstraction. His wife pursued her little pleasantry about Keturah, the second wife, urging him with mock gravity to scold her roundly for daring to usurp Sarah’s place, but Theron scarcely heard her, and said next to nothing. He ate sparingly, and fidgeted in his seat, waiting with obvious impatience for the finish of the meal. At last he rose abruptly.
“I’ve got a call to make—something with reference to the book,” he said. “I’ll run out now, I think, before it gets dark.”
He put on his hat, and strode out of the house as if his errand was of the utmost urgency. Once upon the street, however, his pace slackened. There was still a good deal of daylight outside, and he loitered aimlessly about, walking with bowed head and hands clasped behind him, until dusk fell. Then he squared his shoulders, and started straight as the crow flies toward the residence of Father Forbes.
The new Catholic church was the largest and most imposing public building in Octavius. Even in its unfinished condition, with a bald roofing of weather-beaten boards marking on the stunted tower the place where a spire was to begin later on, it dwarfed every other edifice of the sort in the town, just as it put them all to shame in the matter of the throngs it drew, rain or shine, to its services.