13 NOVEMBER 1909, Page 17

[To THE EDITOR or THE " SPECTATOR."] SIR,—I should like,

with your consent, to make some reply to your correspondent "Member of Victoria League," who in your last number attacks the boys' official paper, the Scout, which he condemns as being full of " hairbreadth escapes " and "impossible descriptions of boys acting as amateur detectives." I do not think I can do better than quote Lieutenant-General Sir Robert Baden-Powell's own words r- " If you want to catch a fish, it is no use offering him the bait which you yourself fancy. So with a boy. If you try to preach to him what you yourself consider elevating matter, you won't catch him." It is surely easy to apply those remarks to the object of the stories in the Scout. Your correspondent advocates school stories in place of "blood and thunder," but it is plainly impossible to have four or five school yarns in one number. There is almost always one of this sort every week, and the rest is made up of a real-life adventure of some famous man, a yarn of some imaginary patrol of Scouts, a cowboy or redskin adventure on the lines of Fenimore Cooper, and then the official Reports of the progress of the movement, descriptions of scouting games, articles on machinery, &c., and various topics of interest. Your correspondent cannot be very well acquainted with the degrading trash that is studied by the average boy at present, or he would not accuse the Scout of not setting a high standard. No one will say that the Scout is perfect, but your correspondent can hardly deny that it is a very fair, and withal successful, attempt to give the British boy something to read which, without being unduly sober in a " grown-up " way, is really harmless to the boy