In the novel, Mr. Hislop is the minister of the Presbyterian Church. Mrs. Hislop is briefly introduced in Chapter 3. She demonstrates a rather absent-minded personality.
When Mr. Hislop asks his wife where the keys to the church are, Mrs. Hislop answers that she is not quite sure where she put them after Mrs. Abercrombie borrowed them for the Auxiliary meeting. She suggests some places where the keys would likely be; other than that, she isn't very helpful.
"Hanging behind the front door-or on the hall table...Look in the top drawer of the sewing machine- I can't- they might be on the mantel. I don't remember exactly where I put them after Mrs. Abercrombie borrowed them for Auxiliary."
Mr. Hislop wants the keys to the church because little Brian O'Connal wants to make a visit to the Almighty that day. In the end, after much searching, Mr. Hislop manages to find the keys despite a lack of help from his absent-minded wife. He and Brian both make their way to the church.