11 DECEMBER 1909, Page 14

I - TO THE EDITOR OF THE " SPECTATOE."1 Sin,—Having been in

a certain limited sense an advocate of some outdoor organisation for girls planned on lines parallel with, but entirely separate and distinct from, that known as the "Boy Scouts," the letter of Miss Violet Markham in the Spectator of the 4th inst. is more than disconcerting: it is deafly a distinct danger-signal to all those who have the true woman- liness of our girls at heart. Fortunately, however, for his own peace of mind, though the present writer has published some few letters and articles on the subject of some form of outdoor game or minor tactical exercises for girls, he and his friends have always and consistently advocated (1) leadership of girls by educated and refined gentlewomen only ; (2) the use of no lethal weapons whatever, nor of anything in the shape of such ; and (3) the camping out or bivouacking in summer to be utilised in the domesticities of life under con- ditions such as prevail in the Colonies and elsewhere, where women may need to pose both as housekeepers, nurses, and even—for want of skilled help—as physicians on emergency. But in nothing said or practised by those of the writer's school of thought has there been a suggestion of mixed classes of instruction, or of the intervention of men or boys in the theoretical or practical outdoor game which long before "Boy Scouts" were introduced your present correspondent recommended as an auxiliary to lawn tennis and croquet as played by girls, or for street play in the case of the neglected masses. No; one's crude idea was that girls might be taught by well-bred and well-educated women to study Nature by living with Nature ; to acquire the rudiments of combined movement in close and extended order without loss of feminine grace and modesty; and to assimilate the art of eye-sketching and of map-reading without risking the grave dangers of indiscriminate association with movements such as those of the Church Lads' Brigade, the Boys' Brigade, and the Boy Scouts, which are essentially the outcome of a manly endeavour to produce men of grit and Empire-builders of the future out of the human "flotsam and jetsam" of city, town, and hamlet. But this is no argument in favour of "Girl Scouts" brigaded or associated with the other sex ; and if Miss Markham's letter has done no more, it has sounded in the ears of one at least of your constant readers