Boy Scouts Beyond The Seas
told that, a little while ago, a Vancouver man met a friend in the train and in conversation said “Have you been to Vancouver lately?”
“Yes,” said the friend, “I was there last week.” “Last week!” said the Vancouver man. “Oh! but my dear fellow, you should see it now.”
Well, I had not seen it for a year and a half, and in this time the change was marvellous. New streets and suburbs had sprung up in every direction, and 25,000 new citizens had come to live there.
I saw the Boy Scouts there, and a very smart lot they were, too. I must say I was glad to see the bare knees again, for in America nearly all the Scouts at present wear breeches and canvas gaiters, which don’t look half so well as the British bare- kneed system. Now that the Americans know that that is also the kit worn by explorers and big-game hunters and soldiers in Central Africa just as it is in India, they are wanting to change their long breeches for shorts.
A Lumber Camp
While at Vancouver I was able to visit a lumber camp, that is a place in the forest where the woodsmen are cutting timber and getting it out to the sawmills.
Most of the forests have streams or lakes in them, and the timber when it is cut is run down to these and then floated, sometimes for a hundred miles, down to the sawmill. In this particular forest there was not a river handy, so the owner had built a railway to carry the timber down.
We went up on this line for seven miles through beautiful woodland scenery, up and down hill till at length we reached the “camp.” This consisted of a few log houses or “bunk” houses in which the lumbermen lived, and a “mess house” in which they have their meals.
We got there just at dinner-time. The men had all come in from their work. An iron crowbar hanging from a tree was their dinner bell. When this was struck the first time it was the warning to get ready for dinner, and everybody got to work washing himself, brushing his hair, and generally tidying up. You have probably heard of the lumbermen being a pretty rough and tough crowd, but whatever they may be they are at any rate clean.
Then, when the second “bell” rang, they all walked very quietly into the mess house to dinner.
I have often pointed out to Boy Scouts that scouts of the woods always walk so lightly that, even when they come into a house with their heavy boots on, they make very little noise, so that you can tell them at once from a clodhopper who goes stamping about fit to smash the floor.
These lumberers not only walked very quietly, but also there was scarcely a sound while they ate their dinner, because they have a curious rule which does not allow any talking at meals.
The reason for this is that in a busy lumber camp the dinner-hour has to be short. The men are well fed by a cook and his mates, and, to get the food served quickly, everything has to be done in good order. This would be impossible if the men were all racketing about, and shouting and talking, and possibly arguing up to fighting point.
So, instead of a wild rollicking crew that one might expect in a lumber camp, one found a very clean, quiet, well-disciplined lot of men, and fine; healthy, active-looking fellows they were.
After a very good dinner of pork and beans, flapjacks, and pumpkin pie, we went and saw them at their work in the forest.
Here it was that one noticed not only their strength and skill, but more particularly their wonderful activity when skipping from log to log, or dodging falling timber and so on. Their way of felling a tree is first to scoop two little holes with their axes on opposite sides of the trunk, and