National Geographic : 1956 Apr
nursery classics owe to Lakeland. But once you know the secret and have visited Near Sawrey, you realize that Squirrel, Tom Kitten, Pigling Bland, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, and the rest are true Lake landers. Their background of farmyard kitchens, oak dressers, and grandfather clocks is Lakeland scenery copied faithfully from life. Hill Top is the perfect literary shrine: a house left with all its contents just as it was when the author died. The cottage is worth seeing for itself as a typical northwest farmhouse, and to Beatrix Potter fans it is a joy and delight. Children run here and there, recognizing the staircase where Tabitha Twitchit mewed, the old oak dresser that Anna Maria passed with her plate of dough; and the clock from The Tailor of Gloucester. Upstairs is a dolls' house; in one of its tiny rooms youthful enthusiasts can recognize the "two red lobsters, and a ham, a fish, a pudding, and some pears and oranges," of The Tale of Two Bad Mice. Beatrix Potter was a terrific stickler for accuracy. The secret of her art is contained in a note written when she was composing The Tale of Pigling Bland: "... I spent a very wet hour," she observed, "inside the pig-sty drawing the pig." Coniston Water Soothes a Critic I suppose no greater compliment was ever paid the lakes than John Ruskin's decision to live by Conis ton Water, three and a half miles from Near Sawrey. Here was no poor poet or farmer but a famous pontiff of esthetics, who, with a private fortune and a great * See "The Preservation of England's Historic and Scenic Treasures," by Eric Underwood, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGA ZINE, April, 1945. 529 Hikers Enjoy a Bit of Sun As They Await the Hostel Keeper These eager young sightseers prefer the leisure and economy of the rugged path to motorized comfort. Carrying 30-pound knapsacks day after day, they stroll con tentedly from camp to camp. At 5 o'clock the warden throws open the onetime shepherd's hut, whose door bears the symbol of the Youth Hostels Association. While he cooks dinner, the guests dust and sweep. - This German boy, who wears Youth Hostel badges of several countries, camped out in good weather. Trudging through mountains, he carried a 100-pound pack, including provisions for three days. An English vocabulary of about 50 words served him adequately. Studying a map, he rests beside a milestone between Am bleside and Keswick.