Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Camp Life for Boys by Gordon Stables MD RN. Part 2.

But the great baldheaded, toothless, puny-bodied Button Age hasn’t come yet, and men are still men, and boys want to be men, and will be men too, and the nearer they approach to what are called “pretty men” in Scotland – that is, strong, hardy fellows built of bone and muscle, without an ounce of fat – the better they like it. I know this from the constant enquiries our Editor has about how to grow tall, and about measurements of chest, calves, etc., and how to reduce fat.

Another fact is this, that we all love picnics. We all want at times to throw off the fetters and trammels of civilisation, and become, if only for a day, savages in the wilds.

When I am abroad every summer in my great caravan, it is wonderful how often the remark is made to me by visitors: “Oh, it is just the life I’ve often thought I’d like to lead.”

Only they didn’t put their thoughts into practice.

My own first experience of outdoor life was when I was a lad. My father happened to have a large hill where sheep strayed. It was called the blaeberry hill, owing to the number of whorts that grew there. But most of it was heather. It terminated in a forest, and our own wood lay between it and our fields. In order to be early among the rabbits and hares and wild pigeons, I used to throw my plaid around me in the evening, and with my beautiful dog and gun betake me to the hill. The plaid just kept my bare knees – of course I wore my native dress – from rain or dew. Tyro, my dog, was my pillow. He knew all about it. But when I awoke sometimes of a morning I found my pillow sitting by my side with his tongue hanging out, and a fine big hare lying near me which he had run down by speed of foot.

When I had time in autumn, I made me a true Highland bed of sheaves of blooming heather, with the bloom of course uppermost. Ah! I’m never so happy now as I was in those days.

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