A SUGGESTION FOR CHARACTER TRAINING
Lieut.-General Sir R. BADEN-POWELL, K.C.B,
A SUGGESTION FOR CHARACTER TRAINING
PAMPHLET A.— Suggests the Organisation of Girl Guides.
PAMPHLET B.—Gives subjects of Training.
N O T E.
THE following address may be used to explain to would-be " Guides " what is the aim of their training, and the details which they will practise.
Appended to it are actual letters which passed between a mother in India and her daughter at school in England on the subject of Girls' Scouting. I reproduce them as showing the possible evils of such movement.
The mother's objections to Scouting," with which I cordially agree, will, I hope, be met by the institution of Girl Guides. This organisation, although on parallel lines with that of the Boy Scouts, is different in its aims and details. Whereas the teaching of the Boy Scouts develops manliness, that of the Girl Guides makes for womanliness, in both cases by means which appeal to the young people themselves.
116, VICTORIA STREET, S.W.
GIRLS ! imagine that a battle has taken place in and around your town or village—it is a thing that may very likely happen in the case of invasion by a foreign enemy.
What are you going to do ?
Are you going to sit down, and wring your hands, and cry ? Or are you going to be plucky and go out and do something to help your brothers and fathers who are fighting and falling in your behalf ?
Of course you cannot see them lying there, bleeding and in pain, without doing something to relieve them. What are you going to do ? How are you going to do it ? You don't know ! You only have some vague notion of rendering "First Aid."
But that is not enough. If you are going to be any good to your country in a time like that you must prepare yourself for it in peace-time ; you must learn and practise such things as these that I am going to tell you now while you have the chance.
It is too late when the enemy are at your door.
You can understand that a General commanding an army is anxious to get on as fast as he can after a battle, whether it is to attack afresh or to retire to
safety. But he is hampered and delayed by having to send out in every direction to collect his wounded and to form hospitals for them.
The Duty of the Girl Guides.
This is the work which we women can do among
us; and if every village takes its share our
Generals will have this care taken off their
shoulders, and can afford to go ahead without
troubling about their wounded, knowing that
they will all be picked up and well cared for
by us. The Girl Guides are therefore being
formed as a corps for this work.
In the first place we must learn how to find the
wounded. They creep away out of the fight
or to where they can get water in ditches and
woods. We must be able to follow their
tracks and to search hidden places quickly
till we find them. But we must know enough
woodcraft not to get lost ourselves in doing so.
Then we must be able to send messages by
signalling to say when we have found them
and where the ambulance should come to.
We must know how to tie up their wounds
temporarily till they can be properly dressed
Transport of Wounded.
Then we have to move the wounded to the
hospital. For this we must know how to make
stretchers out of poles and cloaks, blankets.
mates, etc. How to make barrows, handcarts,
carriages, etc., into ambulances, and so on.
Then we must be able to pitch tents, or build
huts and shelters ; or to convert barns and
churches into hospitals.
Of course we must be able to rip off the men's
dirty, bloodstained clothing, and put them into
clean, comfortable hospital garments.
These garments we must make beforehand—
now, in the winter evenings, as also the
bandages—and all the lint that will be wanted.
The men will want soup, poultices, or hot water
for fomentations on the field, so we must be
able to light fires out in the open and boil and
And they will require well-cooked, tempting food,
all of which we shall have to prepare. So we
must learn and practise cooking both out of
doors as well as in a kitchen.
All the clothing and bandages, drugs and
splints should be properly stored in peace-
time so that they can at once be got at
without difficulty and in good order when
wanted. So we must arrange storerooms
and storekeepers among ourselves and
practise the work.
The more severely wounded men will need
careful nursing, and their lives may depend
upon our knowing exactly how to look after
them, how to dress their wounds, give
them medicine, change their sheets, and
generally to keep the wards clean and fresh,
warm and ventilated.
Pluck and Chivalry.
A great many of us seem to imagine that
because we are wonen we cannot, therefore,
face dangers or should faint at the sight of
blood. Well, that is all nonsense
are every bit as brave as men, if they
like to command themselves.
That is the wole thing, you have only to
force yourself to be calm and not to shirk it
a: the critical moment, and it all comes as
easy as shelling peas. In a word, as in
everything else, you must carry out our
motto and " Be Prepared "
When the men have got over the worst of their
illness they have to be nursed back to health
as convalescents, and we have a good deal of
work here in the way of preparing best kind
of food for them, and in cheering them up by
reading, playing or singing to them.
After a battle there will not only be our own
men to deal with, but the enemy's wounded
also ; and it will be well for us to know other
languages, so that we can converse with
them—thus girls who know French, German,
or Esperanto will be of value as interpreters.
Although we may never be called upon to carry
out Hospital duties on battle-fields in our own
civilized country, many of us will go out to
live in back parts of one or other of the
Colonies, and in some of these war with
natives is still not uncommon. We ought to
know all about the Colonies of the Empire
and their histories and inhabitants. Our
training will also come in useful there. But,
in addition to tending our wounded, we should
also know how to act in our own defence.
And also in peace time, in a Colony, a woman
must know how to do many things which she
finds done for her at home in civilization ; in
the backwood, if you want a thing done you
have got to do it yourself.
You have, for instance, to be able to bake and
cook, as well as to make clothes and to wash
them, to paint the doors and mend the
You have to understand a bit about farming,
about the cows and milking, the bees, and the
poultry; and must be able to harness a
horse, and to ride or drive him, and also to
cultivate the garden.
Life in a solitary farm will be very dull if you
cannot, when the day's work is over, play
music, sing, or draw.
And children have to be brought up without the
aid of nursemaids and governesses, which
means you have to learn all about children's
ailments and how to deal with them ; and also
how to teach them their first lessons by
methods which they can understand, and as
they grow older to teach them their duties to
their country and themselves.
Even if after learning all these useful bits of
knowledge you did not go out of your own
country they cannot fail to be of use to you,
and more especially if you take up that excel-
lent work which so many women are now
doing—namely, visiting the poor and sick in
their homes either in town or country, and
giving them a helping hand, especially in
times of epidemics, such as cholera,
And also in knowing what to do in case of
accidents and doing it. And again in helping
policemen, firemen and others.
It is our work, as the Guides, to fit ourselves
to carry out all the duties which I have
now explained ; but we cannot do this unless
we have Endurance, which is of two kinds:
Endurance of body—that is health and strength
which are got by body exercises, proper feeding,
cleanliness and rest.
Endurance of mind—that is patience, courage
and good temper which are got by daily
practice of good turns to other people and by
prayer and knowledge of God.
THE GIRL GUIDES.
Guide's Organisation, Uniform, Badges, &c.
These are described in Pamphlet A.
A Woman's Duties.
The whole duty of woman is so aptly summarised
in the Book of Proverbs that I add an extract for
study and guidance.
PROVERBS OF SOLOMON. CHAPTER 31.
10 Who can find a virtuous woman ? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants' ships ; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
i8 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good : her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reach-
eth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry ;her clothing is silk and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it ; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and honour are her clothing ; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom ; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed ; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain : but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands ; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
28th May, '09.
DARLING MUV. AND DAD,
Do you mean that I am never to Scout again, Muv., or
only leave off for a while after measles ? Oh ! you can't mean
that I'm to give it up altogether, Muv. If you really do, I'll
stop without any fuss, but I couldn't and wouldn't believe it.
I thought that perhaps you had got a wrong idea of "Scouting for Girls" from my letters, which, I own, were rather excited ones, and I want to say that we are not rude and rough, that, in fact, we are quite quiet, and are as keen as ever, and love it even better than before, though, having got used to it, we take it quietly and as a matter of course, and don't get wild with
excitement when we go out. We are getting on so beautifully ;
we have a troop now with three patrols the Wolf, the Fox,
and the Ram. Mrs. A--- is very interested, and is going to
come out some day and teach us Cooking, and one of the High
School Mistresses has offered to teach us "First-Aid." Captain
and Mrs. T-- think it " delightful" though Capt. T-- rather laughs at us, but neither of them, nor we, are " sick " of it. I am one of the youngest in the troop. There are a good many other Patrols of Girls besides ourselves in B---, and there are hundreds all over Great Britain. In speaking about Scouting in general people do not say, as they used to, "B-P's Boy Scouts," but "B.P.'s Boy and GIRL Scouts." Nearly all the Mistresses in the High School know about it and are very interested. We all tell every boy and girl we know about it, and try to get
recruits for the cause. "Scouting for Boys" is sold out, and a new edition is coming out, in which, so I hear, there will be something about Girl Scouts. I have never heard of anything that I have loved so much as Scouting—I mean a scheme like that. Once you begin to love it, you go on, till you love nothing, no kind of game better, and the great thing about it is, that to be a good Scout does not make you shirk your work or anything like that, but helps you in a thousand different ways—helps you to be cheerful, loyal, and courteous, to be truthful, and above all, to help others.
Say at once if you really mean me to stop, Muv., and do
so at once, but if you'd let me go on till I am fifteen the whole Patrol will be so pleased. None of the others will stop on my account, of course, so it would he rather lonely, and if I wanted to go for a walk on Saturdays, there would be no one to go with, because all the others will be out Scouting. Don't think, please, that I allow Scouting to interfere in any way with my work or my practising; in fact, as I said before, it helps very much, not only for work, but in play, and every moment of my life. Ever so many times when I have felt cross with Miss
M__ or and nearly said something rude, I say to the
first—" No, I am a Scout, I won't, a Scout is courteous," and I don't ; and to the second, " No, a Scout wouldn't, D-- is
younger than me, I won't be cross to him," so I begin to
whistle, then D--- begins to whistle, and we end by shaking hands!
Lots of love to all, from
Your loving Girl Scout,
11th June, '09.
You plead your cause so well, it deserves to be. recon-
sidered. I told you long ago that I thought you had brains
enough to organize a Girls' Patrol on quite different lines to
the Boy Scouts—a poor imitation is not worth anything, and
girls who copy boys can only be " a poor imitation." There is
so much talk about women and women's rights just now, that
I think we lose sight of the fact that it is our right to be
women. A woman can be quite as splendid a creation as a
man—was intended to be so by God, but if He had wished
them—men and women—to be and do the same things, why
did He choose quite another pattern for women ? They are
more beautiful, more delicately made, more " fine " than men
—why ?because they were to set before men high ideals, to
lead them by gentleness and beauty. In addition to this, there
is the work that women have to do in the world, and that is
varied enough to please any mind. A woman can do anything
that is not rough and coarse and cruel. You will say that no
one you know wants to be rough and coarse and cruel, but
you must go back a bit—these horrid traits are the fruit of cer-
tain habits, they begin in loud ways, careless words and deeds.
There is not one standard for men and women, and there
never can be. Since you are to be a woman, keep your eyes
on beautiful ideals of women don't look at and sigh for a
man's ideal life—it is sheer waste of time, spoils your chances
of being great and good in the state of life to which God has
called you and certainly does not bring you any nearer to
being a man.
Now I will tell you where I think your Scouting is on
wrong lines. First—to dress in a conspicuous and clumsy
fashion, by way of being practical, very short skirts, in order
to vault gates, is quite unnecessary and very dangerous ;
woman's interior economy is not built for violent jerks and jars,
and harm has been done for an entire lifetime by too energetic
gymnastics—harm which was only discovered when the girl
had become a woman with a woman's duties to perform.
Bare brown hands and arms are first rate for flinging sticks
and stones for dogs, for digging and what not—but how about
nursing sick people, playing the piano or violin, etc. ? No
harm - but not fine and beautiful as a woman should be if
she can. A workwoman's hands are not unbeautiful because
they are rough and worn, because that is in the performance of
the duties to which she has been called, and in the battle of
life may be regarded as honourable scars. I do not mean that
a girl is to say, " Oh, I can't help that dog (or that child, or
that person) because I should spoil my hands," or " I cannot
play in the sun because I shall get sunburnt," but I do say—do
not unnecessarily let yourself go, keep as fair and dainty as
you can, don't seek rough games and exposure. Then as to
what made me say your Scouting had better be stopped. I
gather you do make yourselves remarkable, as M-- does feel
sometimes rather shy at being seen with such a queer little
crew, though she is very sweet about it—that is her woman's
instinct, and it is right. You must not lose your modesty,
and to have people staring after you should not be " a lark "
and excite you pleasantly ; it ought to make you uncomfort-
able—that is the warning of instinct and of good breeding—
that means you come of a race of well-born people. What
you say about Scouting having helped you to have more self-
control is, of course, all to the good, but why whistle to work
off your feelings ? You do not want to have a man's mouth, I
suppose, with big strong lips, and perhaps a moustache (!)
you would not be a man even then. Do you know that there
are more girls nowadays with hairy lips than formerly, and
I believe it is due to the violent exercise they take, and
romping it generally—it's no joke. No—if Scouting for girls
is going to do good and produce lovable, splendid women,
it must be on its own lines, and certain things must be given
up and others cultivated. Nov, set your clever little brain to
work and think it out. It will be something to send to the
new Editor, and will, I feel sure, create quite a sensation
and be far more original than just copying Scouting for boys.
Most of the games you can keep to, observing, signalling,
archery, and even target-shooting, if some man will help
you ; train eye and hand, but do not disdain gloves that keep
your hands clean and sweet, so that one would love to feel
them stroke one's face, and not have to shiver and wonder it
they are clean ! Hard little horny hands are not so useful to
a woman as firm soft ones, strong and tender, not rough.
Dress smartly (that means nattily), not loose and slouching,
but trim and neat—well-gartered stockings, well-fitting boots--
not muddy if it can possibly be helped ; if it can't be
helped then it must be borne, but not liked - leather gloves,
neat hair. Above all, try not to look peculiar or in any way
remarkable, except "remarkably neat." All men like and
admire that in themselves and in us.
Now, as to what a girl scout must try to be and have—
a clear low voice, no shouting and yelling, sensible language, no silly vulgar slang, such as " topping" and " ripping," and " what ho ! " etc. (all picked up from boys). She must be particular about her hands, keeping her nails clean, if she has to do dirty work, to wash her hands as soon as possible, and not to sit at meals or piano with black nails, and think it does not matter (as boys do) ! To always try to look as nice as possible, and to be as nice as she looks. To be graceful in movement, walk or run swiftly, but not flinging and banging about (like clumsy boys) —pretty feet modestly used, not stuck out or cocked up—not straddled wide apart—very ugly and what use ?—hands that can sew and cook—write and draw—hold firm and steady and to do anything that necessity calls for, but not hands that are habitually dirty and rough, with no reason but " for fun." Be true and faithful, tender-hearted, gentle, strong, patient, courteous, unselfish, dean and dainty, loving beauty and beautifying everything about you. Look forward to being a woman, a strong, loving, tender woman, to whom sad hearts will come for comfort, and children will love and trust.
Oh, what a long letter !
From your loving
The Bishopsgate Press, Bishopsgare, London E.C.
22 DE 09