National Geographic : 1955 Sep
obliterated. One sequence of Sir John Buchan's famous spy story, The Thirty-nine Steps, was laid in this area. The British mined Dover beach in 1940 so that Germans attempting invasion might not reach the headlands from the beach. As I stood look ing at the white cliffs and the battered shore line that has defied the fury of enemy bombardments and thousands of storms, an immortal passage from Shakespeare's Richard II came to mind: This fortress built by Nature for herself Against infection and the hand of war, This happy breed of men, this little world, This precious stone set in the silver sea, Which serves it in the office of a wall, Or as a moat defensive to a house, Against the envy of less happier lands, This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England this England Samuel Johnsor A few days after our The Cheshire Che Canterbury trip we set to exclaim: "No, sir by which so much h out from London for green portrait is a copy o: Warwickshire and the Shakespeare country. This was a true literary pilgrimage, for almost every mile of our lei surely, roundabout journey was rife with ro mantic associations. Freedom Born at Runnymede Driving our little English Ford across a grassy plain on the bank of the Thames, we visited Runnymede. Here in 1215 the barons forced reluctant King John to sign the Magna Carta, which, imposing an epochal check on the tyranny of rulers, eventually became a cor nerstone of constitutional government every where.* Kipling in his poem The Reeds of Runnymede charges Englishmen: At Runnymede, at Runnymede, Your rights were won at Runnymede! .. 321 n Looks Down on a Traditional Dining Nook ese, just off Fleet Street, may have inspired Dr. Johnson ! there is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, appiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn." The f one by Sir Joshua Reynolds. Forget not, after all these years, The Charter signed at Runnymede.t We were fortunate in reaching Windsor on a day when, the royal family not being in resi dence, the state apartments in the castle were open to visitors. Going through the mag nificent rooms, I recalled Theodore Bonnet's popular novel, The Mudlark, and tried to trace the wanderings of the waterfront waif whom the author described as getting into the forbidden precincts and, after a series of comi cal adventures, receiving kindly treatment through the intercession of Queen Victoria's Prime Minister, Disraeli. * See "The British Way," by Sir Evelyn Wrench, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, April, 1949. t Quoted by courtesy of the poet's daughter, Mrs. George Bambridge.