They stood there in silence for a time....
At last they turned back and walked slowly home, the intimacy of their new friendship growing with their silence. Hugh was happier than he had ever been before. Behind the quiet evening light he saw wonderful prospects, a new life in which he might dream as he pleased, a new friend to whom he might tell these dreams, a new confidence in his own power....
But it was not to be.
That very night Mr. Pidgen died, very peacefully, in his sleep, from heart failure. He had had, as he had himself said, a happy life.
Years passed and Hugh Seymour grew up. I do not wish here to say much more about him. It happened that when he was twenty-four his work compelled him to live in that Square in London known as March Square (it will be very carefully described in a minute). Here he lived for five years, and, during that time, he was happy enough to gain the intimacy and confidence of some of the children who played in the Gardens there. They trusted him and told him more than they told many people. He had never forgotten Mr. Pidgen; that walk, that vision of the Scarecrow, stood, as such childish things will, for a landmark in his history. He came to believe that those experiences that he knew, in his own life, to be true, were true also for some others. That’s as it may be. I can only say that Barbara and Angelina, Bim and even Sarah Trefusis were his friends. I daresay his theory is all wrong.
I can only say that I know that they were his friends; perhaps, after all, the Scarecrow is shining somewhere in golden armour. Perhaps, after all, one need not be so lonely as one often fancies that one is.
HENRY FITZGEORGE STRETHER
March Square is not very far from Hyde Park Corner in London Town. Behind the whir and rattle of the traffic it stands, spacious and cool and very old, muffled by the little streets that guard it, happily unconscious, you would suppose, that there were any in all the world so unfortunate as to have less than five thousand a year for their support. Perhaps a hundred years ago March Square might boast of such superior ignorance, but fashions change, to prevent, it may be, our own too easily irritated monotonies, and, for some time now, the Square has been compelled, here, there, in one corner and another, to admit the invader. It is true that the solemn, respectable grey house, No. 3, can boast that it is the town residence of His Grace the Duke of Crole and his beautiful young Duchess, née Miss Jane Tunster of New York City, but it is also true that No. —— is in the possession of Mr. Munty Ross of Potted Shrimp fame, and there are Dr. Cruthen, the Misses Dent, Herbert Hoskins and his wife, whose incomes are certainly nearer to £500 than £5,000. Yes, rents and blue blood have come down in March Square; it is, certainly, not the less interesting for that, but——