WHEN we drew up at the quayside of New York under the towering heights of " skyscraper " buildings, it was a biting cold day, with light frozen snow powdered over everything. Such a change from the tropical heat which we had left only three days ago !
On the wharf was a smart little troop of Boy Scouts, with both American and British flags, and they escorted me to my cab after handing me a greeting from the Scouts of America.
The curious thing that struck me was the immense desire of Americans to have photographs. I don't know how many times I had to undergo being photoed that day, but I don't believe it was much under one hundred times !
The Boy Scouts of America
The first real parade of Scouts that I saw was at Boston, when about 1000 paraded in the Drill Hall and gave demonstrations of first-aid, signalling, Sea Scouts' routine, and drill. The British flag was carried out before the assembled Scouts, and was given a general salute by the whole parade. In this way the American boys showed their friendship for their brother Scouts in Britain.
Then I went to Washington — the capital of the United States — and was received by the President, Mr. Taft, who spoke very kindly about the Boy Scouts. He is a great, burly man, cheery and kind-hearted, and he believes in the Scouts as manly and chivalrous fellows who will make the best of citizens when they grow up. The Scouts of Washington — and they number about five hundred-paraded before the President and the British Ambassador in America. They gave demonstrations of various kinds, such as signalling, first-aid, and bandaging, but those which attracted most attention were the wireless telegraph and fire-lighting.
The wireless was a small, portable affair, which the Scouts put up in a very few minutes, and messages were soon flying backwards and forwards.
For the fire-lighting the Scouts had no matches; they got their fire by twirling a pointed stick on a flat piece of wood by means of a bow-string. In this way the pointed stick worked a hole through the board, making a little pile of red-hot dust below; some dry shreds of cotton were put on to this and blown till flame was produced.
The Stars and Stripes
While at Washington we went to look at the Capitol — a huge, white-domed building which forms the Houses of Parliament of the United States.
In the central hall below the dome there is a series of fine pictures illustrating the history of America. There is the discovery of the country by Columbus. Then, a hundred years later, Capt. John Smith colonising Virginia, and Pocahontas, the Red Indian princess, being baptised as a Christian.
And then came the emigrants from England to New England, and the foundation of the country as a British Colony, 1607 and onwards.
But 150 years later troubles arose. The British colonists in America quarrelled with the old country over some taxes which they had been ordered to pay. Troops were sent to force them. They resisted, and after a war they defeated the British troops and formed themselves into an independent republic under their great leader, George Washington. His crest was an eagle, and his coat-of-arms was some stars and some stripes, from which come the American crest of an eagle and the "Stars and Stripes" flag.
There are forty-eight stars on that flag, which stand for the forty-eight States into which America is divided.
Detroit lies on a narrow channel which connects the two great lakes Erie and Huron.
When I saw it, this channel, which is a mile across, was covered with floating ice, so closely packed that a man might almost get across by skipping lightly from floe to floe; but the great ferry steamers were running, ploughing their way through it with some difficulty.
The opposite shore belongs to Canada, and the town which there faces Detroit is called Windsor.
Two fine troops of Canadian Boy Scouts came over to join their American brother Scouts in welcoming me, and when they marched in with the British flag flying they were tremendously cheered by the Americans.
A great sport which they have here at Detroit is sailing in ice-boats. These are a sort of toboggan with a mast and sail, with which you sail on the surface of the frozen lake. The speed at which you go is just that of the wind, and may be up to sixty or eighty miles an hour
In the city of Chicago there are 5000 Boy Scouts. That will show you that Chicago is not a small town; it is, in fact, a very big city, having two and a half millions of inhabitants.
Its streets are much like those of any other city so long as you keep your eyes down, but if you once begin to look upward you will notice that the houses run up to an enormous height, from ten to fifteen storeys being the usual height; and in walking the streets you cannot help feeling as if you were at the bottom of a deep pit or gully.
The city has a magnificent lake-front on Lake Michigan, just like a seaside esplanade on a very big scale. The lake itself looks exactly like the sea, since it is so big and wide that the other shores are entirely out of sight, and, with big steamships cruising about on a shoreless horizon, it might well be taken for the ocean.
The Scouts here are a very smart lot both in appearance and in their work. They gave exhibitions of first aid work, saving life from drowning, wireless telegraphy, signalling, and fire-lighting without matches. This last was done by a number of boys, and is exceedingly interesting; they make their fire, as you know, by twirling a pointed stick on a piece of flat wood. It makes a very good competition, when a lot of fellows are doing it, as a race to see who can first get a flame.
The American Boy Scouts
We had a fine rally of the Boy Scouts in New York. Some 4000 attended in a big drill-hall, and a smart lot they were.
They gave some very good displays which included bridge-building, first-aid, knot-tying with hawsers, wireless telegraphy, signalling, and drill.
There was rather more drill than we care about in England, and not such interesting displays of pioneer and life-saving work as we get here. But, no doubt, our American brothers will soon go on to these as they gain experience, because they are so much more interesting to the onlookers as well as being more amusing and instructive to the Scouts who carry them out.
The American boy is very like his British cousin to look at; that is, he is a bright, cheery, healthy-looking chap, but he is a little different in some ways. For one thing I think he is sharper than the British boy and knows more for his age, and he has better chances of learning woodcraft than boys have at home.
But at the same time, the Britisher, I think, sticks better to his work and carries out his duties a little more earnestly because he is expected to, and because it is his job.
The best kind of British Scout does his work at a run, whereas the American is apt to do his in a more leisurely fashion, and on parade there is more talking and looking about in America than in England; but I think this is largely because the leaders of patrols in America have not yet taken charge of their Scouts quite so fully as they have done at home, and so this will come right in a very short time.
At any rate, the American Scouts are jolly keen, sharp fellows, and, my word, they can cheer.
The cordial way in which they received me was, indeed, astonishing and delightful. And when I told them that their brother Scouts in Great Britain would gladly welcome any of them in the Old Country, they sent up a cheer of greeting which might have been heard across the Atlantic.
An interesting point in the rally of the Scouts in New York was that among the troops on parade was one composed entirely of Chinese boys-and they drilled well and smartly; also one of negro boys; and also one composed half of blind boys, the other half of boys who could see, each of whom acted as leader and comrade to a blind boy. This idea might well be carried oat in other places.
From New York to Albany gives one an interesting run on the railway for miles alongside the great Hudson River, which at this season of the year is frozen over.
It is curious to see the ice harvest going on. Every half-mile or so is a great storehouse into which blocks of ice are being hauled. These are cut by means of ice-ploughs drawn by horses, which cut long, straight furrows followed by cross furrows, dividing the ice into neat squares. These are then split off by men with crowbars, and hooked up and slid along to the factory.
Over some parts of the frozen river, where ice-collecting is not going on, one sees ice-boats sailing about at tremendous speed. These are practically toboggans or sledges with masts and sails to them, and they move with a good breeze faster than any other kind of vehicle used by men.
At Albany we saw more Boy Scouts, and I was interested to hear that one English Boy Scout had come there and gone into a business house. Then it was that he did credit to the Scouts of the Old Country, for his new Scoutmaster soon found that he was different from the local Boy Scouts in one particular point.
The Albany Scouts were good fellows in camp and at woodcraft, manly and able to take care of themselves, but they lacked two things which the English boy had, and they were courtesy and politeness. He afforded them an example in his respect to his seniors, his saluting and calling them " sir," and general politeness, and showed that a Scout should be a gentleman as well as a backwoodsman; and the Albany Scouts have now taken up the idea.
They have some good patrol-leaders there, too.
One of them told me that he was going to take his patrol on a really fine "hike," or what we call a "tramp camp," of a hundred miles, but he would not start until every one of them had gained his first-class badge." He was not going to lead a lot of second-class fellows about the country."
A Boys' Republic
I visited a place that would be of great interest to Scouts, because, in some ways, it is like our Scouts' Farm at Buckhurst Place.
As you know, the Scouts there have their own farmsteads, and manage their own affairs, having a mayor and town council elected from among themselves.
Well, at this place which I visited, at Freeville, in America, there is a village occupied by boys and girls who manage their own affairs entirely, just as if they were a community of grown-up people, and they do it just as well as grown-ups could do it.
Most of the houses in the village are lodging-houses or hotels, some for boys, others for girls. Other buildings are the bakery, the laundry, the carpenter's, blacksmith's, printer's, and grocer's shops, the dairy and farm, the church, gymnasium, court-house, school, hospital, and hostel.
The "republic" is managed by one of the boys as president, and others as the chief justice, treasurer-general, secretary of state, chief of police, and so on.
These make laws and carry them out. If a citizen breaks the law, he is taken before the judge and tried by a jury of boys and girls in a regular court-house, and, if found guilty, he is condemned to a term of imprisonment in the gaol. All this is carried out exactly as it would be in a grown-up community.
The republic has its own money coinage, and every citizen has to pay his board and lodging in the ordinary way.
In order to get money for this he can engage himself to work in any one of the shops he likes. There he gets regular pay according to his ability as a workman. It just depends on himself what sort of food and lodging he can afford according as he earns little or much pay.
If he chooses to be idle and not earn anything he is "run in" as a vagrant and gets sentenced to hard labour. For this he receives pay, but unless he works hard it is only just sufficient to buy him plain food. The government do not feed him for nothing.
The citizens seem a delightful and happy lot.
I went to a supper party at one of the girls' hotels when they had boys in as their guests, and we had a very cheery party.
Also, they have their football, baseball, and basketball games, and I saw a fine match of basketball in which the republic played against a team from a neighbouring town. It is really a splendid game when well played and on strict rules as was the case here.
It was very interesting to see the boys working in the baker's shop; they turn out most excellent cakes and biscuits as well as bread. And the carpenter's and joiner's shops turn out excellent work for which they earn very good prices.
Altogether, the whole republic is exceedingly well managed and just shows that boys can be as sensible and hardworking as grown-up men if they have the right grit in them.
Niagara under Ice
The Niagara River forms the boundary between America and Canada, and close to Niagara City it makes a sharp bend where there is, a big cliff dropping down 160 ft., and the water falls over this in a magnificent cascade about three-quarters of a mile long.
In summer this causes clouds of spray to fly into the air and to fall like rain all around.
In winter this spray goes up, but as it falls it freezes and turns into snow and ice.
The consequence is that great mounds and hillocks of snow form on the rocks at the foot of the falls and keep on growing higher and higher till they become nearly as high as the falls themselves.
Then, wherever there are small trickles of water down the cliffs, the frost turns them into icicles, small at first but increasing day by day as the water continues to run down them till the whole of the cliffs are covered with immense icicles, and the rocks above and around the falls are similarly covered deep with snow and ice from frozen spray.
So you can imagine that the falls themselves are almost hidden in white, in which their green, foaming water makes a pleasing contrast as it pours roaring downwards.
Just at the foot of the falls the water was not frozen over, for it is here a mass of swirling currents; but within a few hundred yards, blocks of floating drift-ice had collected and gradually bound themselves together into a great, rough field of solid snow which stretched across the river for a quarter of a mile from shore to shore. This was called the Ice Bridge.
Immediately below it the river widens out and runs slowly and sluggishly for about a mile between great, high cliffs, which are topped with the huge factories and power works whose machinery is worked by water-sluices from the river above the falls.
Then the cliffs come nearer together, and as the river becomes narrower its current increases till it suddenly rushes down in a mighty torrent of swirling, racing, surging waves, in which nothing could live. These are known as the " Rapids," and they race and romp through the gorge for three-quarters of a mile till the river suddenly opens into a great circular pool from which it escapes by a side gorge at right angles to its former course.
In this pool — the "Whirlpool," as it is called-the waters slowly slide round and round until they eventually find their way out in the new direction.
The Ice Bridge Tragedy
Only a week before my visit to Niagara a sad tragedy had happened.
Three people, a man and his wife and a boy of seventeen,
were walking across the ice bridge when it suddenly began to crack and partly to break up. The man and his wife found themselves on one floe of ice quietly floating away from the main pack, and the boy was on another.
All around them the water was covered with similar floating blocks of ice, grinding and bumping against each other, so that swimming was impossible, and no boat could get to them had one been available. So there they were at the mercy of the current, which here meandered slowly about, but gradually, slowly and surely, carrying them downstream towards those awful rapids a mile away.
People on the banks saw their dangerous position and thousands collected, but not one seemed able to do anything to help them. The course of the river would bring them under two bridges which spanned the river just before the rapids.
For an hour the poor wretches were floating along before they came to this point. On the bridges men had got long ropes (the bridges were 160 ft. above the water) which they lowered so as to hang in the way of the drifting people.
As they came along the boy managed to grasp a rope and willing hands proceeded to haul him up, but when they had got him a certain distance, poor fellow, he could hold on no longer and he fell down into the icy stream and was never seen again.
The man on the other floe also grasped a rope which he tried to fasten round his fainting wife so that she at any rate might be saved; but the tide was rushing them along, his hands were numb, he failed to fasten the rope, it slipped from his hands-and a few seconds later both he and his wife ended their tortures by being sucked under the waters in the heavy swirling rapids.
What a Scout Would Have Done
One of our Canadian Scoutmasters told me that he was travelling in a train shortly after this accident, when some of his fellow-travellers were talking it over. They did not know that he was connected with the Scouts in any way, and one of them said
"Well, I believe that if any Boy Scouts had been there they would have found some plan for saving those poor people."
The Use of Knots
One thing is to be noticed in this accident, and that is the value of being able to tie knots, as all Scouts can do.
People often think: "What is the good of learning so simple a thing ?"
Well, here was a case in which that knowledge might have saved three lives.
When the ropes were lowered from the bridge they should have had a loop or two tied in them for the rescued people to put round them; or to put their legs or arms through. As it was, the ropes had no loops, and the people, not knowing how to tie bow-lines or overhand loops, were unable to save themselves.
This city is on the shores of Lake Erie just where the Niagara River runs out of it, and is so called because in the old hunting days it used to be the haunt of the buffalo. But it doesn't show much sign now of ever having been a wild spot. It is a great manufacturing and commercial city, with fine streets and avenues, and what is most important, of course, a fine lot of Boy Scouts.
They gave a demonstration in a great hall which held over 4000 people, and it was packed full. In their demonstration there was not an item which showed any military drill, but they gave an excellent series of scenes illustrating the Scout Law.
Among other things they showed some very good work with a portable wireless telegraph mounted on a handcart. About 90 per cent. of the apparatus was made by the boys themselves. It worked perfectly; and carries messages five miles.
In the practice of first-aid one boy practised a novel way of dragging an insensible, person out of a house on fire or away from gas fumes. To do this he tied a handkerchief over his nose and mouth, and then laid the patient on his back, and with another handkerchief tied his two wrists securely together. Then he pushed his own head through the other boy's arms so that he had them fast round his neck. He then crawled along on all fours dragging the insensible boy with him.
Scouts Who Cannot See
At Louisville the Scouts gave a big demonstration on the occasion of my visit.
Around the hall were stalls showing the work of different troops, and there was a particularly good and interesting series of living pictures, or in some cases waxwork figures by different patrols, illustrating the Scout Law.
One of the most interesting shows was that given by a troop of blind Scouts. A few of them could see just a little, but most of them were totally blind, though their work did not show it in any way.
They did an excellent drill with staves to music played by their own blind band. They pulled a most exciting tug-of-war, and they exhibited a good show of basketwork, carpentering, raised map-making, sewing, and typewriting, all done by themselves.
They showed by their work that they were true Scouts, and although handicapped by being blind, they did not give way to hopelessness, but they pluckily did their best in spite of the difficulties with which they had to contend.
How Poor Boys Became Rich
Pittsburgh is a wonderful place.
A lady who came through it once in a night train said that she now had seen what hell was like, and meant to be very good in future.
Pittsburgh is one of the largest steel and iron factories in the world, and at night, when the great furnaces are sending out their glare on the clouds of smoke and steam, and the chimneys are blowing off blazing gases into the sky, the whole place looks like the inside of a fiery volcano.
But, apart from its appearance and work, the reason why it should interest Boy Scouts is because in Pittsburgh so very many poor ordinary boys have made their fortunes, and have risen to be great and prosperous men.
You have all heard of Andrew Carnegie, the great millionaire, who has done so much all over England and Scotland, as well as in America, with his gifts of libraries and rewards to life-saving heroes.
Carnegie began life as quite a poor boy in Scotland, and went to America as a lad, where he worked as a messenger boy.
Senator Oliver, another steel millionaire, was son of a saddler, and he, too, began life as a messenger boy. One day, when he was a great man, Oliver went down to visit his works on a Sunday. A new watchman was on duty who had never seen him before.
The man would not allow him to enter, and when he stuck to it the man threatened to throw him out; he would not be persuaded or bribed. So Mr. Oliver departed, but he wrote to the superintendent of the mill and recommended the man for promotion because he did his duty so well.
William Q. Brown, who has become a millionaire through his coal mines., was a farmer's son. He found some coal in the ground, which he took to digging out and selling by the barrowful to the neighbours.
After a time of hard work, he found he could afford a horse and cart and a helper. His wife kept the accounts. And so he gradually increased his business till he became a. rich and powerful man.
T. Mellon, the son of a farmer, became a rich banker. After he had got a beautiful home of his own, Mr. Mellon had a little thatched cottage built in his park, the exact copy of the one in which his grandfather had lived in Ireland. He had this done to remind his son that his grandfather had been a poor man, but that there was nothing to be ashamed of in that. He said:
“Thrift, energy, and enterprise are the only things that can make you rich and keep you rich."
That is a good motto for every boy to remember and to carry out.
Captain Jacob Vandergrift was at first a cabin-boy on a river steamer. By good work he came in the end to be captain, as many a cabin-boy had done before.
When petroleum oil wells were discovered, he invented a kind of barge for carrying the oil, and finally invented pipes by which it could be laid on to the places where it was to be used. In this way he made a huge fortune.
Henry Frick, accounting clerk in a distillery, foresaw that the coke business was going to be a big thing, borrowed money, and invested in it and made a huge fortune.
Benjamin Jones, another Pittsburgh millionaire, began his career by tramping on foot to Pittsburgh, and worked for a year as receiving clerk in a steamer office in return for his board and lodging.
Mr. Henry Phipps, who is partner with Andrew Carnegie, also began as a poor boy, his father being a cobbler.
Mr. Westinghouse, who invented the brake which is used all over the world for trains, began as a poor man in Pittsburgh.
Russell Boggs, another millionaire there, used to drive a milk cart, selling his father's milk in the streets. His partner, J. W. Marsh, drove a grocer's cart by day, and learnt shorthand at night.
Mr. J. Heinz, who preserves vegetables and fruits, began by selling horseradish on a wheelbarrow.
I was taken over the great Carnegie steelworks by the manager, who was a sort of king of the whole place, but a king who was evidently beloved by his subjects.
Presently he pointed out to me a man perched up in a little seat, where he was working a hydraulic crane, and he said
"That was my seat for a good many years."
He, like so many other Pittsburgh men, had begun at the bottom as an ordinary labourer, but, by his energy and good work, had raised himself to be the manager of the whole of that vast business.
When I inspected the 1500 Boy Scouts at Minneapolis, they gave several new shows in their display. One of them was cooking " flapjacks," or thick pancakes.
They had two small gas fires on the stage, and two Scout cooks went to work at each fire, and mixed their flour, made dough, and cooked the cakes very rapidly.
When cooked, they threw the flapjacks up and caught them again in their frying-pans, then threw them to each other and caught them in their pans, and then threw them out into the audience. Those who were lucky enough to get bits of them pronounced them "bully," which meant jolly good.
Another very good and exciting show — and one which was done at most of the Scout displays that I saw — was fire-lighting without matches.
Another good "stunt" was archery by one troop who had made their own bows and arrows, and they were all good shots at the target — the best of them being equally good when shooting with either the right hand or the left.
From Denver City, on the great prairie upland in the centre of America, one sees stretched out, like a long bank of lilac-and-white clouds above the plain, the mighty range of the Rocky Mountains.
Denver itself was formerly a great scene of fighting the Red Indians, buffalo hunting, gold prospecting, and expeditions into the mountains after grizzly bears. But now it is a great city with all the most up-to-date modern fittings.
And it has its Boy Scouts, and a fine lot they are, too. Many of them are grandsons of the old trappers, hunters, and scouts, so that they have got scouting in their blood, and plenty of good country round about for practising over.
One of the best shows of their display was, however, a particularly modern one, and that was a wireless telegraph apparatus, made by the Scouts themselves. The parts which they had bought for it did not cost more than fifteen shillings, all the rest they had made themselves, and it worked quite well.
The railway which takes one from Denver on across America to the Pacific coast seems to enjoy doing odd things just to please the passengers.
For instance, when it leaves Denver in the early morning, it runs south along the front of the Rockies for about three hours, so that you can have a good look at their snowy peaks and steep faces. Then it turns straight into them and runs westward through them by a pass which gets narrower as it gets deeper and deeper.
At last there seems only just room for the single line of railway and the rushing torrent of the Arkansas River, between high cliffs and buttresses of rock over two thousand feet high. In fact, the gorge or canyon is so narrow at one place that the railway has been slung from overhead girders over the stream.
As we went twisting and turning through this wonderful gorge, we kept peering up at the crags high over our heads, and at one place we were rewarded by seeing a number of wild mountain sheep.
All that day and all night, our train went puffing on through gorges and over passes among snow-covered peaks.
The following day we came suddenly on to a grand view of a vast valley spread out below us with its towns, villages, and woods, and then a huge expanse of water, one hundred miles across, known as the Great Salt Lake.
On every side around this valley could be seen ranges of snow-capped mountains in the far distance. Altogether it made a beautiful scene.
Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City is a great place lying near the flat swamp which forms the beginning of the lake and is backed by the Wahsatch Mountains. This is where the Mormons started their country some sixty years ago. They were men whose religion allowed them to marry several wives each, but this has now been put a stop to by law.
In Salt Lake City are some fine public buildings, and the Temple is a very handsome one with several steeples to it; but alongside it is the Tabernacle, a very different looking affair; it is a huge low building with a curved roof over the whole which makes it look almost like a big airship squatting on the ground. But it can take a very large number of people inside it-something like 12,000.
After leaving Ogden, a few miles west of Salt Lake City, our railway performs one of its pleasing tricks again, for it suddenly turns south and runs out along a pier straight to seaward across the great lake.
For twenty-three miles this pier or causeway runs till at last it reaches the far shore. Of course, the lake is very shallow, but it is strange to find yourself travelling apparently on the sea almost out of sight of the shore in a railway train.
All night again in the train, till in the early morning we find ourselves once more twisting and turning among the mountains of the Sierra Nevada, which is the Spanish for "Snowy Mountains."
And they are snowy.
They are covered with forests of fir trees and all under deep fresh snow. It is all very beautiful, and the railway twists and turns in a marvellous fashion round the great shoulders of the mountains, along the faces of steep precipices where you look down on the tree-tops far below, and on frozen streams right down in the bottom of the valleys.
However, a great deal of the view is shut out from you, for, for thirty-seven miles, the railway runs through a wooden tunnel which is put up to protect the line from the deep snowdrifts which would otherwise block it up.
Windows have been left here and there in the sides of the tunnel, so that passengers can get a glimpse every now and then of the scenery they are passing through.
Disappearance of a City
With the exception of my old friend Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil, San Francisco is the most beautifully situated city that I have seen. It stands on a number of hills forming an arm of land which locks in a great bay from the Pacific Ocean.
There is one narrow channel between headlands which connects the bay with the sea, but from the seaward this channel does not show at all. The coast looks like a solid line of cliffs, so that this entrance, which is known as "The Golden Gate," escaped even the keen eye of that great sea scout Sir Francis Drake, when he came sailing up that way.
He had sailed all that immense distance from England down to South America., round the southern end of it, through the Magellan Straits, and then all the thousands of miles up past Valparaiso and Panama to California. Just close to the Golden Gate is a sheltered little bay, and here Drake landed, and, like a good scout, gave thanks to God, as his first step on landing, for having brought him safely so far.
A monument has been put up to mark the place where this, the first Christian service, was held in this part of the world.
The splendid harbour afforded by the bay soon made it the great port of Western America for ships sailing to the South Sea Islands and to Japan, and what we call the East (though to America it is the west). Thus the town of San Francisco has grown into a huge seaport and city.
It was here that Robert Louis Stevenson, the writer of "Kidnapped" and many another good book of adventure, used to meet with the old sailors of the South Seas and learn their experiences.
In the city, near the docks, there is a little green sloping garden where Stevenson used to sit and talk with the sailors, and a monument has there been set up to him by the Americans, for they admire his writings just as much as we do.
In April, 1906, just seven years ago, this beautiful city was waking up to its day's work, the men preparing to go to their business and the boys and girls to go to school, when suddenly, as one of the inhabitants described it to me, there came a rumbling roar as of low thunder, the floor of her room seemed to heave up under her feet, and she felt twisted violently half round and back again, which gave her a feeling of sickness.
Then the clattering of falling bricks and groaning of timbers made her realise that it was an earthquake; so she ran to the door and flung it open so that it would not get jammed tight, and she stood in the doorway where the overhead arch would be a protection and less likely than the ceiling to fall in upon her.
A man told me that at the moment of the earthquake he was riding in a tramcar, and though he heard the roar he did not feel much more than the ordinary bumping and slewing of the car.
But suddenly he noticed people running out of their houses into the street.
The person who chiefly caught his attention was a woman in her nightdress, with her hair down her back, followed closely by a man who was half dressed and carrying an open razor in his hand.
The first idea that occurred to my friend was that this man was trying to murder the woman and that the other people were rushing out to prevent him, but the falling of chimneys and of walls of houses soon showed him that an earthquake was in progress.
The earthquake lasted some minutes, shock succeeding shock. Houses in some cases collapsed or fell partly, the roadways and pavements buckled up or split open in places.
Then fires broke out in several places from the breaking of gas-pipes and fusing of wires.
The fire brigades soon got to work, but it was then found that the water-mains were broken underground by the earthquake and no water was forthcoming at the fire-plugs.
A strong wind carried the flames and sparks quickly from one building to the next, and in a short time hundreds of houses were blazing.
Hour after hour went by, the conflagration spreading all the time. Rich and poor, high and low, were in the streets trying to save what they could carry away before the flames should reach them. But very little could be done, and, before the day was out, what had been a beautiful bright city at dawn was a smoking heap of ashes at dusk.
However, directly the disaster was over, the people lost no time in starting to rebuild their homes, and now there is once more a splendid modern city standing, of some 600,000 inhabitants.
Socialists and Scouts
Portland in Oregon is another fine city near the west coast of America. There is a high hill back of the town on which the citizens have most beautiful homes looking out over a wide range of country to great snow-capped mountains in the background.
At Oregon the Socialists came to the meeting which I held for Scouts and schoolboys and protested against our making boys into soldiers. They seemed to think that Scouts were armed with rifles and were learning military drill and playing at being soldiers, and they said they would not allow any boys to become Scouts.
So I explained to them what scouting really was, that it is to make boys into good backwoodsmen and life-savers, and not into soldiers.
The boys themselves did not like the idea of being prevented from enjoying the fun of camp life and scouting, and they crowded round me after the meeting more than they had done anywhere before, asking how they could become Scouts.
Lewis P. Orans, 2002