The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989 Page: 109
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J. Frank Dobie and Walter Prescott Webb
about sixty miles northeast of Cambridge. This was my second or third
visit to that beautiful place, which I found an inviting refuge from the
ordeal of bombing missions to Germany, of which, by this time, I had
survived some twenty or more of a number that was to reach a total
The beauties of Cambridge are indelibly stamped on my mind. The
gardens and sloping lawns around King's College are among the most
beautiful I have ever seen. The river Cam, with its boats and bridges,
even in wartime, was a scene to be remembered. King's College Chapel
was an unforgettable inspiration.
England in wartime was a somber scene. It had the drama of stark
terror. The German air force and the air raids were a constant threat.
On a cold autumn night the lights were dimmed to the point of near
obscurity. A hint of light at the lamppost was all that one might expect.
So it was that on such a night in Cambridge, at the edge of dusk in the
cold night, I was walking along a cobblestone street, and as the faint
glow of the street lamps began to appear, there emerged from the dark
an image so unexpected and yet so familiar that I knew at once it could
be only one person. Walking steadily toward me was a solid figure lean-
ing slightly into the wind, wearing a Stetson hat, well worn and comfor-
tably creased and shaped, and smoking a curved stem pipe, bearing all
the marks of the Southwest, in a place as remote as could be imagined.
With the hesitancy bordering on awe that I felt about J. Frank Dobie, I
slowed and stopped and spoke to him. The wrinkled cheeks were smil-
ing and the rather hoarse voice was warm and friendly and we had a
time of kinship and home and understanding that can only happen
with people far from their own country in strange surroundings.
The time was brief and I was timid in the presence of such a formi-
dable literary personage, come to Cambridge to teach the folklore of the
Southwest to the intelligentsia of England. The encounter was almost
ethereal-the faint street lights, the cold autumn night, the unlikely
presence of so rich a treasure of my home country, but it was neverthe-
less warm and friendly and intense, a moment to be related to my
grandchildren in some distant evening.
My one-day pass had almost expired, and our visit ended before
there was time for a serious conversation. All I have to show for it is a
book I cannot find, a faded green volume of Aristotle's Politics.
Dobie would have thought that apropos when he returned to battle
the regents and the legislature and others of lesser vision who some-
times inhabit the sanctuary of the giants whose strength and wisdom
and legendary past endure in Austin.
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989, periodical, 1989; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101212/m1/136/: accessed May 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.