A NEW GAME FOR BOYS.
pEACE-SCOUTING-" is a pastime which in theory turns a. boy, whether he live in the country or in the town, into something between a knight-errant and a
Fenimore Cooper hero. General Baden-Powell has been lecturing throughout the country on behalf of an organisation of "Boy Scouts" which he is himself establishing, and we certainly wish him success. Every scheme deserves success which cultivates patriotic service, observation, handiness, self- respect, independence, courtesy, and similar qualities. General Baden-Powell has just followed up his lectures by publishing Part 1. of a book called "Scouting for Boys" (London : Horace Cox, 4d. net), which is to be completed in six parts.
The first part gives an accurate enough notion of what General Baden-Powell hopes to achieve, and how. It is very unconventional, and whether the boyish fancy will be captured by the precise mixture of seriousness and madness which it prescribes as a working rule of life we cannot undertake to say. But let us hope that it will.
Whenever a new scheme for the regeneration of British manhood is launched, we wonder how much the existence of other organisations, all working for the same end, has been taken into account. The overlapping of kindred societies in England must cause an incalculable waste of energy. No one has hitherto invented a scheme for teaching boys to follow the spoors of life with tenacity and generosity and chivalry exactly like that of General Baden-Powell ; nor could any one have done so, for General Baden-Powell's scheme is all his own. But there are numerous societies, several of which General Baden-Powell mentions, which do aim ultimately at the same point, and we should like to know exactly how far General Baden-Powell is providing against doing again what has already been done. He speaks of scouting as an extra or parallel interest for boys, but we fear that lack of time would cause it to be simply a substitute for something else. The National League for Physical Improvement and Education was created for the very necessary work of co-ordination. It is intended to be the In- telligence Department of all voluntary effort towards improving the race in strength and health. Perhaps General Baden- Powell has scouted it out, consulted its officials, and carefully dovetailed his activities with those of which it already has cognisance. If not, we suggest that he and the National League should at once help one another. General Baden- Powell's first object is to "counteract the present tendency to degeneration and improve the material and moral standing of the nation's manhood,"—words which might have been taken from a Report of the National League. But we must proceed to the scheme. He says that if every young man in the country would take half-a-dozen boys in hand and teach them this so-called scouting, the end would soon be accomplished.
"Good citizenship would be taught by an attractive method." General Baden-Powell accepts the calculation that of the 2,000,000 boys in Great Britain, 1,730,000 are not under good influences. Of course, here is an enormous field for operations ; there ought to be plenty of room for all serious campaigners ; and yet, unhappily, we have learned from experience that philanthropic societies work and rework on the same material.
They often hinder one another from making the best of the small opportunities, and the greater part of the material is not touched at all. Well, we shall not despair. When the 1,730,000 boys have become scouts, the 270,000 may well be allowed to stand outside the ranks in order that there may be somebody to be hunted. To bring boys under your influence you must offer them what they like; it is useless to invite them to a new form of educational penance for the sake of their country. General Baden-Powell there- fore designs his "Peace-Scouting" on the lines of a vast game. When the boys have been formed in patrols and troops, have a uniform, and have learned their secret signs, they may exalt their spirits with a war-dance :--
" The boys then form into a wide circle, into the middle of which one steps forward and carries out a war dance, representing how he tracked and fought with one of his enemies. He goes through the whole fight in dumb show, until he finally kills his foe, the scouts meantime still singing the Ingonyama chorus, and dancing on their own ground. So soon as he finishes the fight, the leader starts the Be Prepared' chorus, which they repeat three times in honour of the scout who has just danced. Then they recommence the Ingonyama chorus, and another scout steps into the ring, and describes in dumb show how he stalked and killed a wild buffalo. While he does the creeping up and stalking the animal, the scouts all crouch and sing their chorus very softly, and as he gets more into the fight with the beast, they similarly spring up and dance and shout the chorus loudly. When he has slain the beast, the leader again gives the Be Prepared' chorus in his honour, which is repeated three times, the scouts banging their staffs on the ground at the same time as they stamp Bom ! born !' At the end of the third repetition, 'Born! born !' is repeated the second time. The circle then close together, turn to their left again, grasping shoulders with the left hand, and move off, singing the Ingonyama chorus, or, if it, is not desired to move away, they break up after the final Bona! bom !' " The "Ingonyama chorus," which is to be shouted on the march, or as applause at games, reminds us of American College yells. One of these, suggested by the Frogs' chorus in Avis- tophanes, was familiar for a short time in Erigland some years
ago : "Brakekeax, keax, keax, brakekeax, keax, keax, rah, rah, rah, Yale !" The leader of the Ingonyama chorus cries : " Een gonyttma, gonyttma," and the chorus answers : "Invooboo, Yalt bobt5 ! Yah bed Invooboo." These sentences, we are told, mean "He is a lion !" and " Yes ! he is better than that ; he is a hippopotamus !" We do not dispute that, but we do rather question whether English boys, who are self-conscious and fearful of ridicule, will perform the war-dance with the zest which alone could carry it off. Is it possible, we wonder, to make British boys proclaim entirely exotic sentiments with sincerity ? We have heard of converted natives who reverted from sedate English dancing into a frenzied cannibalistic war-dance when the fit came upon them ; but the tendency in this ease would be in the opposite direction, and the effect would be unimpressive from the point of view of a war-dance. Still, we may be wrong, and we hope we are, for we are certain that a little organised insanity is a sure key to a boy's heart when once he has entered into the spirit of the thing. A grotesque or extravagant treatment of indigenous senti- ments, however, would, we should think, be more likely to succeed. For all military and quasi-military purposes the true principle is to lay under contribution the natural pursuits and accomplishments of a nation, not to imitate those of others.
The qualities of the good scout are all desirable, and are all well described by General Baden-Powell. When Kim became an agent of the Government Intelligence Department in India, he was taught to become a quick observer. He was shown a tray full of various precious stones, and when he had looked at it for a minute the tray was covered and he was told to say what he had seen. At first he could only remember a few things, but soon he became quick and accurate. In many ways he practised and developed his observation, till he could deduce conclusions from tiny signs which would have meant nothing to him before be began his social "scouting." General Baden-Powell suggests games of observation, and all these are delightful. They are not only amusing in themselves, but they "give an object" to the most
familiar walk and the most familiar scene. In " Morgan's Game," for example, "scouts are ordered to run to a certain hoarding where an umpire is already posted to time them. They are each allowed to look at this for one minute, and then they run back to headquarters and report to the instructor
all that was on the hoarding in the way of advertisements." Similarly quickness of eyesight and hearing would be developed. Just as the fisherman can see the trout moving among the weeds, although the unversed eye sees nothing, so would the scout have opened up to him a new world of significant sights and sounds. No boy would walk without noticing the lie of the ground, the speed of streams, the direction and force of the wind, the character of the trees, the contents of shops, the appearance of buildings, and so forth. General Baden- Powell proposes that every patrol of scouts be named after some animal. Thus they may be known as the "Wolves," the "Curlews," or the "Eagles." The cry of the animal or bird would be the sign of the patrol. To pass the second- class test a boy must tie four of the following knots in less than thirty seconds for each knot : bowline, fisherman's bend, reef knot, clove hitch, and sheet bend ; he must track a spoor for a quarter of a mile in not more than fifteen minutes, or describe satisfactorily the contents of one shop-window out of four observed for one minute each; and he must go at scout's pace for one mile in not more than thirteen minutes, know the scouts' laws and signs, and know the right way to fly the Union Jack. To become a first-class scout a boy, in addition to this test, must indicate the points of the compass from where he stands, make a journey alone of not less than fifteen miles from point to point, describe the proper means of saving life in various accidents, be able to read and write, have at least sixpence in the Savings Bank, prove that he has brought a recruit and taught him to tie the six principal knots, and lay and light a fire, using not more than two matches, and cook a quarter of a pound of flour and two potatoes without using cooking utensils. As another example of a game we may give the one called "Scout meets scout" :—
" Single scouts, or complete patrols or pairs of scouts, to be taken out about two miles apart, and made to work towards each other, either alongside a road, or by giving each side a landmark to work to, such as a steep hill or big tree, which is directly behind the other party, and will thus insure their coming together. The patrol which first sees the other wins. This is signified by the patrol leader holding up his patrol flag for the umpire to see, and sounding his whistle. A patrol need not keep together, but that patrol wins which first holds out its flag, so it is well for the scouts to be in touch with their patrol leaders by signal, voice, or message. Scouts may employ any ruse they like, such as climbing into trees, hiding in carts, etc., but they must not dress up in disguise."
We have said nothing of the rules for chivalry, considerate- ness, cheerfulness, and the like, but these are all beyond reproach in principle. They would soon teach a boy the rather important lesson that politeness is not the same as subservience. Some of the laws, however, seem to us to need modification or further explanation, such as that which says : "A scout goes about with a smile on and whistling. It cheers him and cheers other people, especially in time of danger, for
he keeps it up then all the same." We should have thought that whistling would add considerably to the dangers of scouting, and reduce the likelihood of its success ; is it not on record that a humorous general once issued the following order during manceuvres ; "Volunteer bands must not play when in ambush " ? Again, we may be perverse, but we
are seldom cheered ourselves by the whistling of others. " Country first, self second,' should be your motto," says General Baden-Powell. That is so sound that we can only regret that General Baden-Powell should give the captious cause to think that he has suggested a different order in choosing for the motto of the whole organisation his own initials : " B(e) P(repared)."