The road that ran from Clinton St. Mary to Borhaze across the moor was certainly a wild, rambling, beautiful affair, and when the sea-mists swept across it and the wind carried the cry of the Bell of Trezent Rock in and out above and below, you had a strange and moving experience. Mr. Lasher was certainly compelled to ride on his bicycle from Clinton St. Mary to Borhaze and back again, and never thought it either strange or moving. “Only ten at the Bible meeting to-night. Borhaze wants waking up. We’ll see what open-air services can do.” What the moor thought about Mr. Lasher it is impossible to know!
Hugh Seymour thought about the moor continually, but he was afraid to mention his ideas of it in public. There was a legend in the village that several hundred years ago some pirates, driven by storm into Borhaze, found their way on to the moor and, caught by the mist, perished there; they are to be seen, says the village, in powdered wigs, red coats, gold lace, and swords, haunting the sand-dunes. God help the poor soul who may fall into their hands! This was a very pleasant story, and Hugh Seymour’s thoughts often crept around and about it. He would like to find a pirate, to bring him to the vicarage, and present him to Mr. Lasher. He knew that Mrs. Lasher would say, “Fancy, a pirate. Well! now, fancy! Well, here’s a pirate!” And that Mr. Lasher would say, “It’s a pity, Hugh, that you don’t choose your company more carefully. Look at the man’s nose!”
Hugh, although he was only eleven, knew this. Hugh did on one occasion mention the pirates. “Dreaming again, Hugh! Pity they fill your head with such nonsense! If they read their Bibles more!”
Nevertheless, Hugh continued his dreaming. He dreamt of the moor, of the pirates, of the cobbled street in Borhaze, of the cry of the Trezent Bell, of the deep lanes and the smell of the flowers in them, of making five hundred not out at cricket, of doing a problem in Euclid to Mr. Lasher’s satisfaction, of having a collar at the end of the week as clean as it had been at the beginning, of discovering the way to make a straight parting in the hair, of not wriggling in bed when Mrs. Lasher kissed him at night, of many, many other things.
He was at this time a very lonely boy. Until Mr. Pidgen paid his visit he was most remarkably lonely. After that visit he was never lonely again.
Mr. Pidgen came on a visit to the vicarage three days before Christmas. Hugh Seymour saw him first from the garden. Mr. Pidgen was standing at the window of Mr. Lasher’s study; he was staring in front of him at the sheets of light that flashed and darkened and flashed again across the lawn, at the green cluster of holly-berries by the drive-gate, at the few flakes of snow that fell, lazily, carelessly, as though they were trying to decide whether they would make a grand affair of it or not, and perhaps