Young Knights of the Empire

by Sir Robert Baden-Powell



_Decent Scouts look down upon silly youths who talk dirt, and they do not let themselves give way to temptation, either to talk it or to do anything dirty. A Scout is pure, and clean-minded, and manly._

When boys are getting big, they generally want to show off and to impress other boys with their "manliness"--or at least what they think is manliness.

It generally begins with smoking. They think it fine to smoke, so they suck and puff at cigarettes, partly because these are cheap, and partly because a pipe would make them sick.

The reason why half of them do it is because they are arrant cowards, and are afraid of being laughed at by the other boys if they don't do it. They think themselves tremendous heroes, while in reality they are little asses. Then they like to use swear words because they think this makes them appear tremendously ferocious and big. Also they think it the height of manliness to tell smutty stories and to talk dirt.

But these things don't say much for the boy who does them. He generally curls up and hides them directly a man is present. He only produces them for swanking in the presence of other boys, This shows that he is not really very proud of his accomplishments, and the boy who has a sense of honour in him knows at once that such things are against his conscience-law and he will have nothing to do with them.

This often puts him in a difficult position when among boys who are showing off, as they will be ready to jeer at him; but if he has honour and pluck--in a word, if he is a true Scout--he will brave it out and, as a result, he will come out the only real man of the party.

The probability will be that though they do not show it at the moment, some of the others will see that he is right and that they are wrong, and will pluck up courage themselves and follow his example in being clean and straight.

If, by his conduct, a Scout can in this way save one fellow, he will at any rate have done something in the world.

You may think there is no harm in a little joking of a risky kind, or in the occasional secret smoking of a cigarette, although you allow it may be silly; but if you look into it, and especially when you have, later on, seen results such as I have seen that come of it, you will at once understand there is great harm--great danger in it. It is the beginning; and the beginning of anything is very often the important point.

If you talk or listen to what is wrong, you get to think about what is wrong and very soon you get to doing what is wrong.

By doing things which you would not care to do before your father or mother, you are becoming a bit of a sneak. You do these things secretly, you are not straight.

A fellow who is not straight at starting is pretty sure to go on being crooked for the rest of his career. He knows all the time in his inmost heart that he is a sneak, and he can therefore never take a pride in himself and others are bound to find it out sooner or later, so he never gets a real friend nor a good employer.

Then these things are likely to do him bodily harm.

Smoking is poison to a growing lad. It may not do you much harm if you take to it when you are grown up; but while you are still forming your muscles as a lad it is almost certain to do damage to your heart, your wind, your digestion, and very likely your eyesight and teeth.

I take it that most boys want to be good healthy runners and able to play at all the games, and I am certain that every Scout wants to Be Prepared to be a good healthy man for his Country.

Well, you can't do it if you begin by smoking as a boy.

Drinking begins, like everything else, in a small way; but it very soon grows on a fellow unless he is on the look out to stop it. More than half the crime in Great Britain is due to drink, and so is most of the poverty, and three-quarters of the insanity. And it is much the same with thoughts about women; they soon grow into wrong action, and if these are kept up they grow into habits which lead in an awful number of cases to misery, disease, and madness.

Brace up!

Be a man! Keep off these dangers.

If fellows around you are swanking in dirt, leave them and go elsewhere.

Don't let yourself BEGIN loafing about, taking drinks, talking smut, or doing what you know is wrong; give yourself bettor things to do--games, handicrafts, good turns, work, and you will grow up a clean, straight, and happy fellow, and, what is more--a _man_.

* * * * *


Not long ago there was a lot of argument about certain music-halls in London. Many people were disgusted at the low and dirty talk or hints made by some of the performers. Most of these rotten ideas of half-dressed women, dancing about trying to look pretty, come from abroad, and do not really please the ordinary British man.

Harry Lauder is delightfully funny, but he is funny without being dirty, and so is Chevalier, the coster singer. Dan Leno made you laugh, but he was never dirty--and that was why he and these other singers have been so popular.

I saw a performance not long ago, where a half-dressed woman came and danced about on the stage, but, though she was tremendously advertised as the great attraction of the place, she got very little applause. Soon after her there came a bright-looking girl in ordinary clothes, who merely sang an English ballad, but she was cheered and applauded till she had to come on again and sing a second, and even a third time.

I believe that the proper, manly Britisher likes a good clean show on the stage; he likes to have a good hearty laugh, or to hear good music, but I believe it is only a very few (and those nearly all slackers and wasters) who care to go and see the nasty, half-indecent shows which come sometimes from other countries.

* * * * *


In the old days when being made Knights, members of the Order of the Bath used to go and take a bath as part of the ceremony. I was very glad to see in Hull during a visit there that at the Boys' Club every boy on coming into the club has a bath.

In the first room he comes into on entering the club he takes off all his clothes and puts them in a rack made for the purpose. Then he goes into a big warm plunge bath, from which he goes into a drying-room, and beyond this is a dressing-room, where he gets a club shirt and pair of shorts to wear for the evening, till it is time to get into his own clothes to go home again.


This daily bath is an excellent thing for keeping a fellow healthy and strong--and the most important part of it is the rubbing with the towel.

Well, it is often difficult for a Scout to get a bath. Sometimes in his home there are no means for doing it, and often out on the veldt or desert there is very little water, but if he has a towel, especially a damp one, he can always give himself a good rub down with it--he should scrub himself well all over! and that is what I should like every Scout to do every morning when he gets up. It will not only keep him clean, but will make him grow far more healthy and happy and strong, because it cleans the skin and wakes up the blood so that it rushes through his veins and brings him health.

So get yourself a towel, every Scout; and carry out your rubbing every day when you get up.

In the same way see that you clean your teeth regularly night and morning--not because it will help you to pass the time away, but because it will prevent your teeth from getting rotten, thus saving you from toothache.

* * * * *


"Gentlemen _do_ not spit; men _must_ not spit" is a notice which may be seen in an American city; also there is a similar one which says: "If you _expect to rate_ as a gentleman, don't _expectorate_."

On the steamships to South America the English passengers were often disgusted by the amount of spitting about the decks done by some of the foreigners on board.

One of the captains thought of a good idea; he ordered a sailor, carrying a mop, to follow each of these foreigners where-ever he went; whenever the foreigner spat, the sailor used the mop, and in a short time _all_ the foreigners learnt that if they behaved like other gentlemen and did not spit, they were spared having an attendant with a mop, so they soon gave up the dirty habit.

When I was in charge of a public building in Malta, which was guarded at night by Maltese watchmen, I soon found that I need not be always going round to see that they were alert, because their habit of constantly spitting showed me next morning whether they had been awake and where they had stood or walked during the night.

One day I found the pavement of one man's beat quite clean and dry, so I had him up and accused him of having been absent without leave. He did not know how I found it out, so confessed that he had been away to see a friend, thinking there was no harm in it, since the place was all locked up and secure.

Englishmen are fortunately not so dirty in their habits as to be always spitting, but, still; there is a little of it going on in our streets; and even a little is a bad thing.

It is not only a habit that is nasty to other people, but it is dangerous as well, for the following reason;

So many men are suffering from consumption or disease of the lungs even without knowing it. When they spit they throw out a number of tiny "germs," which, although too small to be seen, get into the air and are very easily breathed in again by other passers-by; and these germs contain the seeds of the disease, which are thus sown in healthy people, and make them "consumptives" also.

Unhappily people are rather fond of spitting in railway carriages. A man doing this was fined ten shillings and two guineas costs not long since.

His excuse was that he had a bad cough.

Any Scout could have told him, apart from the dirty, disgusting part of the habit, how very dangerous to other passengers it is for a person with a bad cough to indulge in this habit.

Little living seeds of disease are in this way let loose to get into other people's throats and lungs, and possibly to bring them illness and death.

* * * * *


Sixty thousand people die every year of consumption in Great Britain.

One death in every eight is from consumption.

Two hundred and fifty thousand people, or one in every two hundred, have the disease in them.

Consumption is caught through carelessness or ignorance, by breathing the germs, or in drinking them in milk.

The following are a few simple rules which, if followed, should help to prevent you from getting it:

1. Live much in the open air.
2. Sleep with the window open.
3. Breathe through the nose.
4. If you drink milk, be sure that it is pure.
5. Keep your blood healthy with exercise, good and plain food.
6. Keep your home clean and well ventilated.
7. Never neglect a cold.

Here are some pictures showing how people get the germs of consumption into them unless they are very careful.

A large number of cows have the germs or seeds of consumption in them, and they give out these germs in their milk. So milk ought to be "sterilised," that is to say, it should be made so hot that the germs are killed before it is drunk.


Then a large number of people have the consumption germs in them, although they may not yet be ill with it. They will get ill sooner or later, and they give out germs whenever they cough or spit.


A man spits and the germs rise. They try a boy who breathes through the nose, but get thrown out again. Then they try another boy who breathes through his open mouth, and so they get into his lungs.]

These germs get blown about in the air with the dust, and get into other people's mouths, and so into their lungs--that is, if the other people go about with their mouths partly open. If they breathe through their nose only, as I hope all Scouts do, there is less chance of the germs getting into the lungs, as they get caught in the sticky liquid in the nostrils, and get driven out again when you blow your nose.

It is the same with other diseases besides consumption.

The Missioner Scout can safely go about among people who are ill with colds, measles, and other sicknesses, if he breathes only through his nose. All illnesses that are "catching" are spread by germs flying from one person to another.

The consumptive germs get into you and go for your lungs, which are big sponges inside you, through which your blood gets the air, which is necessary to keep it healthy. Consumption germs "consume" your lungs.

The nasty little germ of disease thrives in dirt, and dark and muggy _air_, and so he grips even the healthiest people in rooms that are dark and dirty, and where the windows are not kept open.

Fresh air, sunlight, and cleanliness kill the germs.

Now that you know what consumption is, you will be doing a good turn to get other people to understand it.

I _want_ every _Scout who reads this to show the pictures to at least five other people, AND EXPLAIN them. He may thus save lives._

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