« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
follow the outdoor trail as long as life lasted. The girl vowed to keep the code of honour of all woodcrafters to be truthful and kind, to develop stoical endurance, to help the wild people, to keep physically fit, to despise not the poor nor bow down before the rich, to help all in need, and to live and think cleanly. This code of honour all Camp Fire Girls strive to live up to. The Chief then enrolled the girl a member of the great company of those who know the value of a practice of camping and camp ceremony.
Several of the tribe next acted a scene from Kipling's "Jungle Book," in which Mowgli with the Red Flower leaves the jungle and goes back to his people. Bagheera, the panther, Shere Khan, the tiger, and Akela, the Chief of the Wolf Pack, were there wrapped in fur rugs playing their parts, with Mowgli as Man the Master. The tribe listened intently there was no sound save the voices of the players. The firemaker put another stick on the fire, a flame leapt up, the play ended.
Round the fire four girls grouped themselves for a dance; the tomtom beater sounded a few slow monotonous beats, the dance began. The four dancers with slow strides stepped to four corners, their arms raised. The poses were like those of the figures on a Greek vase; they turned and came back. The mood changed; they tripped lightly round the fire; the tomtom beat the rhythm. Yet again it changed; they hopped round like frogs up and down, and then the slow movements were resumed. The dance ended, and they were seated.
The herald gave out : "Minnehaha, the Tribal Teller of Tales, will spin a yarn." Minnehaha rose. In her hand she held a rolled-up reed. mat. This she unfolded slowly and with dignity; she sat down upon her mat cross-legged after the manner of an Eastern storyteller. She produced two candlesticks, into which were placed joss sticks-these she lit. The strong scent could be smelt by the whole tribe; it gave a touch of mystery to the proceedings. In a low voice she held forth : "This is the story of the Rajah of Petana: And it came to pass, in the days of a certain Rajah of Petana, that a beggar came to the city gate' Slowly she unfolded the plot, and then: "Thus the story
The fire was getting low; the stars had swung some distance round their circle since it was lit. The time had come when the tomtom must tattoo for the tribe to depart. In a few minutes all were gone, nothing remained, the fire had been put out, the turf replaced, the clearing was empty.
This record is not the remembrance of a dream. It is not a fairy story. It is all true: the Council fire was held, and everything as described actually took place. Few know what things go on round the magic camp fire. Nothing daunts us. If we cannot hold our meetings under the starlit sky, and have no clearing in a larch wood, we do the same things inside and our community centres around a symbolic fire. If we cannot have the beauty of the outdoor world around us, we bring into surroundings, however dull and drab, beautiful colouring, picturesque dresses, artistic headbands and dainty mocassins.
Sign and symbol, colour and picturesque ceremony, all can be brought out in any environment: that is the beauty and reasonableness of it all.
If a girl has never sat round a camp fire in the open her education is not complete. We, the Camp Fire Girls of England, realize the magic of the flame; we know of the wonders of the outdoor life. And we want to pass on our possessions to all, to share them with every girl in the Kingdom. We want to arouse in all girls of every rank the desire to follow the camp fire trail.
ABSTRACTS AND EXTRACTS.
Under this heading are gathered thoughts from literature, both ancient and modern, which seek to provide information likely to be of assistance to students of child life and practical workers for child welfare. It is hoped that our readers will co-operate in making this section both suggestive and serviceable.
INFANT AND CHILD MORTALITY.
Dr. J. Sheldon Withers, Medical Officer of Health for Sidmouth, contributes a suggestive summary of an address on "The Problem of Infantile and Child Mortality" to a recent issue of the Journal of the British Science Guild. Much valuable information is presented in condensed and convenient form, and we venture to abstract portions which are likely to be of service to practical workers for child betterment. From 80 to go per cent. of the children born in this country are born healthy, no matter what the condition of the mother may be. Probably half, possibly two-thirds, of the lives which are lost before they are well begun might be saved. They are lost from causes which are preventable. considerable reduction in the death-rates of young children has already been secured, though only during the last twenty years. Up to now it has not affected infants under 1 year to nearly the same extent as children between 1 and 5. Twice as many infants die in the first year of life as children in the succeeding four combined. Out of the 800,000 infants born every year in England and Wales, 100,000 never live to see their first birthday, and probably at least as many die before birth. Multitudes of others, who manage to struggle through, do so with impaired health, to become, sooner later, a burden to the State. The great mortality occurs chiefly in the large industrial towns of the north; to a lesser extent in smaller towns; least of all in the country. But between large towns there is a wide difference, for there is no necessary connection between size and mortality. The infant death-rate per 1,000 in the first year of life is as follows:
172 die against 67 in Hornsey
If we take the most crowded parts of towns we get much worse results, as is evident in the following returns :Middlesbrough (Canon Ward) 328 per 1,000 St. Helens (South Windle Ward) 354 ""
The injurious conditions, the effects of which are so disastrous to the young, are harmful to older people too. It is true they do not suffer to the same extent, but that is only because their powers of resistance are greater. What are the conditions which prove so fatal in our towns? They may be divided into two classes: (a) Those for which the home is mainly responsible: (1) ignorance and carelessness; (2) intemperance; (3) disease; (4) poverty. (b) Those for which the Government or local authority is mainly responsible (1) overcrowding; (2) vitated atmosphere; (3) impure milk; (4) defective sanitation.. Here are some of the chief causes of death in England and Wales under 5 years of age :
Bronchitis and pneumonia... 112,000 per annum Diarrhoea
Measles and whooping-cough (together)
Overcrowding is of two kinds: (1) Overcrowding of houses on space; (2) overcrowding in the houses themselves. There are 77,000,000 acres in the United Kingdom, and about 9,000,000 homes. If each family had half an acre, they would only occupy 4,500,000 out of the 77,000,000; yet we find the population in Bethnal Green (North) 365 per acre; in York (Skeldergate) 349 per acre. In large and small towns the child mortality is high wherever the proportion of overcrowding is high. The further we go north the more serious this becomes. In Durham 28.5 per cent. of entire population is overcrowded, and in Northumberland 32 per cent. Nearly one-fourth of dwellers in Scotland live four and more in one-room and two-room dwellings. In England and Wales the census returns for 1901 gave the following
507,763 lived in I room
The problem is urgent and complex; it has many factors and must be attacked in as many ways. The remedies are for the most part obvious. Here are the most important: (1) A better training for motherhood on the part of girls of all classes. (2) A wider distribution of our people to be brought about by: (a) making the country and country pursuits more attractive; (b) developing to the utmost the Garden City movement; (c) increasing transport facilities. In this latter respect much may be learnt from the example of Belgium, as it was before the War. Though only 23 per cent. of Belgian workers were actually engaged in the cultivation of the soil, 56 cent. lived in the country with enormous advantage to their own health and that of their children. (3) The gradual clearing out of slum areas. (4) An abatement, as far as possible, of the smoke nuisance. (5) An equitable solution of the drink problem, which can only be solved at all if made to go hand in hand with an improvement in the surroundings of the people and the provision of adequate recreation. (6) A pure milk supply. (7) The provision of well-trained midwives, health visitors, and maternity and child welfare centres. But the first stage of
the process must be to arouse the moral conscience of the nation, and to create an enlightened public opinion. Laws cannot be imposed from without in this country with any chance of their being obeyed. They can only become operative when they are the embodiment of the people's free will. It is necessary to recall some of the items of national expenditure in the treatment of our failures which we can trace, and to follow in imagination the life stories of multitudes of others which we cannot trace. We are spending in the United Kingdom £20,000,000 yearly in the mere relief of destitution, which does little to prevent its yearly recurrence. The Royal Commission revealed three roads along which all paupers came to destitution. The first two of these were: (1) Sickness and feeble-mindedness; (2) neglected infancy and childhood. Much of our pauperism is due to mental and physical infirmities, many of them inherited. The cost to the community of the offspring of the mentally and physically infirm is appalling. It was noted in our workhouses by the Commissioners that sixteen feeble-minded women had produced 116 children, and out of one family of fourteen, the circumstances of which were known, only four had been able to do remunerative work. The history of one such family was thoroughly investigated in the United States over a long period. The descendants of five sisters were estimated to have cost the State £260,000, whilst the indirect loss could not be estimated. On Census day, 1901, there were in the United Kingdom 483,000 degenerates (feebleminded, insane, criminals, epileptics, &c.). These cost the nation directly in asylums, prisons, reformatories, &c., £13,000,000 annually. And this does not include expenditure under Poor Law, private hospitals, or judicature. The medical officer of a large prison considers that 40 per cent. of the boys admitted are mentally defective; 70 per cent. of those in homes of retreat are said to be in the same condition. And yet we allow these unfortunate people to go on reproducing their kind. The reports upon the physical and mental condition of children in elementary schools indicate our neglect of preventive measures. His Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools, speaking of a school
in a bad district of London, gave it as his opinion that the great majority were unable to profit by their lessons owing to physical conditions. A few years ago the physical state of school children was examined in York: Amongst the poorest 2.8 per cent. were found to be very good, 14.6 per cent. good, 31 per cent. fair, and 51.6 per cent. were bad. A similar investigation made in Bradford in 1907 revealed that the nutrition was good in 30 per cent., below normal in 35 per cent., poor or very poor in 34 per cent. The estimated annual expenditure, direct and indirect, upon tuberculosis is £7,000,000. Old Age Pensions were costing us recently something like £16,000,000. The lessons to be learnt from this evidence are mainly two: (1) The paramount importance of striking at the root of evils instead of adopting mere palliatives. (2) The necessity of concentrating national effort and national expenditure upon child welfare work. "The essential factor in the rise and fall of nations is the quality of their people." It is in the early period of life that the quality of a people is determined.
"The Choice Before the Nation: Some Amendments to the Education Bill by the Workers' Education Association," issued from the offices of the Workers' Educational Association, 14, Red Lion Square, W.C. (price 2d.), provides, in wellordered form, a concise exposition of the great Education Bill now before Parliament. The tract suggests a number of reasonable amendments which would strengthen the Bill and bring nearer a realization of the objects stated in its preamble and emphasized repeatedly Dy the President of the Board of Education. This valuable publication of the W.E.A. deserves to be distributed broadcast throughout the land.
"Coal Economy: How to Lay and Manage a Fire so as to Save Half the Coals while Increasing the Warmth of the Room" is an illustrated pamphlet of practical instruction likely to be of service to teachers of homecraft. It is issued from the Bottega, 4, Ravenscourt Avenue, King Street, Hammersmith, W.6.
"A Study of School Recesses," by W. H. Heck, Professor of Education in the University of Virginia, is the sixth study in a series on the School-child's Day. It is issued as No. 1 of Vol. III of the "University of Virginia RecordExtension Series." The monograph seeks to show that a recess wisely ordered should be a means whereby children gain in powers for "health and happiness, initiative and persistence, courtesy and consideration, fellowship and service."
"Has Dr. Montessori made a True Contribution to Science?" by C. A. Claremont, formerly Assistant and Interpreter to Dr. Montessori, and now Staff-Sergeant, R.E., is a suggestive study of Montessori principles and practice which teachers of young children will find of practical service. Copies may be obtained on application to Mrs. A. W. Claremont, 7, West Heath Avenue, Hampstead, N.W.3.
Bharata," by Kedar Nath Das Gupta in conjunction with Margaret G. Mitchell, published by the Union of the East and West, 14, St. Mark's Crescent, N.W.1 (price is. net), is a four-act play dedicated to " My little friends of the West and to those who want a match to light a torch to search the treasure-troves of India." The aim is to indicate something of the Asrama institutions of India, and the ideal life of the Aryan Hindu. The play throws much suggestive light on the thought and ways of life in India.
Mr. Thomas Holmes, the Founder, Hon. Organizer and Manager of "The Home Workers Aid Association," 12, Bedford Road, South Tottenham, N. 15, has just issued as "An Appeal to the Workers of Great Britain " an interesting booklet entitled "An Infantryman on Strikes," written by his son, Mr. H. V. Holmes, a Sergeant in the London Scottish. As we go to press we hear that Thomas Holmes is dead. This Greatheart was a man of exceptional powers and possessed real literary genius. was energized by boundless sympathy for the poor and distressed, and had full understanding of the needs of home-working women and children. Mr. Holmes established a holiday home for homeworkers at Walton-on-the-Naze.