Katherine’s lip quivered slightly at this caustic remark and the accompanying scorn on the high-bred face; and the flush which had risen to her cheek a moment before vanished, leaving her quite pale, although in no way disconcerted.
“But I believe the catalogue states that there is no sectarianism in Hilton Seminary, that the broadest possible religious tolerance prevails here,” she remarked, with a sweet gentleness which, under any other circumstances, would have instantly disarmed her companion.
But, as it happened, he was a bitter opponent of the “false doctrine,” and the term “Science” applied to Christianity was a rank offense to his rigid Presbyterian opinions, as was also the fact that a woman had dared to face the world with it!
“I do not recognize Christian Science, so-called, as a religion,” he retorted, with a sharpness in marked contrast to Katherine’s sweetness. “In my opinion, it is simply a device and snare of Satan himself to deceive the very elect; and Miss Minturn”—this with frowning emphasis—“I will not, for a moment, tolerate the promulgation of its fallacious teachings in this school. I trust I make myself understood.”
Katherine had not once removed her clear, brown eyes from his countenance during this speech, but there was not the slightest manifestation of resentment on her own—only an expression of tender regret, as if she were sorry for him, because of the sense of discord that seemed to hold possession of him.
“You mean that I am not to talk it here?” she said.
“Exactly; nor flaunt it in any way.”
“I will not, sir,” with gentle gravity; then a little smile curving her red lips, she added: “Christian Science, Prof. Seabrook, is a religion of Love, and I will simply try to live it.”
The principal of Hilton flushed to his brows before this unassuming girl, a circumstance unprecedented in the annals of the institution.
Her look, her tone, the softly spoken words—all radiated love, and his arrogant spirit felt the gentle rebuke.
“Have you that book, ‘Science and Health,’ with you?” he curtly demanded.
Katherine’s heart leaped within her. Did he mean to deprive her of her daily bread?
“Yes, sir,” with unfaltering glance and voice.
“Then keep it out of sight,” he briefly commanded, adding, in a tone of dismissal, as he took up his pen: “That is all, Miss Minturn.”
Katherine bowed respectfully, then quietly followed Jennie Wild from the room.
Katherine and her roommate.
As the two girls were passing through the main building on their way to number fifteen, west wing, Katherine turned to her companion and observed, in a friendly tone:
“So this is your first year in Hilton Seminary, Miss Wild?”
Jennie, who had been “just boiling”—as she told her later—over the professor’s recent crankiness and severity, turned to Katherine in unfeigned surprise, for there was not the slightest trace of resentment or personal affront in either her voice or manner.