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An Ordnance Map
by [?]

Spring calls to us to be up and about. It shouts to us to stand bareheaded upon hills and look down upon little woods and tiny red cottages, and away up to where the pines stand straight into the sky. Let the road, thin and white, wander on alone; we shall meet it again, and it shall lead us if it will to some comfortable inn; but now we are for the footpath and the stile–we are to stand in the fields and listen to the skylark.

Must you stay and work in London? But you will have ten minutes to spare. Look, I have an ordnance map–let us take our walk upon that.

We will start, if you please, at Buckley Cross. That is the best of walking on the map; you may start where you like, and there are no trains to catch. Our road goes north through the village–shall we stop a moment to buy an apple or two? Apples go well in the open air; we shall sit upon a gate presently and eat them before we light our pipes and join the road again. A pound, if you will–and now with bulging pockets for the north.

Over Buckley Common. You see by the dotted lines that it is an unfenced road, as, indeed, it should be over gorse and heather. A mile of it, and then it branches into two. Let us take this lane on the left; the way seems more wooded to the west.

By now we should be passing Buckley Grove. Perhaps it is for sale. If so, we might stop for a minute or two and buy it. We can work out how many acres it is, because it is about three-quarters of an inch each way, and if we could only remember how many acres went to a square mile–well, anyhow, it is a good-sized place. But three miles from a station, you say? Ah yes, but look at that little mark there just round the corner. Do you know what that stands for? A wind pump. How jolly to have one at your very door. “Shall we go and look at the wind pump?” you would say casually to your guests.

Let us leave the road. Do you see those dots going off to the right? That is a footpath. I have an idea that that will take us to the skylark. They do not mark skylarks on the map–I cannot say why–but something tells me that about a mile farther on, where the dots begin to bend…. Ah, do you hear? Up and up and up he goes into the blue, fainter and fainter falls the music. He calls to us to follow him to the clean morning of the world, whose magic light has shone for us in our dreams so long, yet ever eluded us waking. Bathed in that light, Youth is not so young as we, nor Beauty more beautiful; in that light Happiness is ours at last, for Endeavour shall have its perfect fulfilment, a fulfilment without regret….

Yes, let us have an apple.

Our path seems to end suddenly here. We shall have to go through this farm. All the dogs barking, all the fowls cluttering, all the lambs galloping–what a jolly, friendly commotion we’ve made! But we can get into the road again this way. Indeed, we must get into the road soon because it is hungry work out in the air, and two inches to the north-west is written a word full of meaning–the most purposeful word that can be written upon a map. “Inn,” So now for a steady climb. We have dropped down to “200” by the farmhouse, and the inn is marked “500.” But it is only two miles–well, barely that. Come along.