Baden Powell – from a slob to a scout

Lord Baden Powell's Adventuring to Manhood (London 1936)

A book for 'boys of all ages from 10 to 90' full of useful tips and info. A scout was expected to carpenter, paint, plumb and make knives from branches of trees and cups from birch bark. He was also expected to avoid being a 'slob.'


That is what this book is for; to show how real men can be made out of slobs and how slobs can make themselves into men if they like to try.

What on earth is a slob you may ask well – I don't know myself. The word doesn't come up in any dictionary that I know of, but I take it to mean the slot was a boy was inclined to look on the games all work rather than joining them himself, who likes to go to the "flicks"  (if other people pay for his seat) and who smokes cigarettes in the hope of looking manly when it only makes him look a young fool.

In other words, a slob is a young slacker. Yet a slacker, who leads a miserable life, no good to himself or to anyone else, can, if he likes, be turned into a hefty, happy and useful MAN.

Lord B-P may have been wrong about 'slob' not being in any dictionary. It’s been traced to Irish slab, meaning “mud,” “mud flat,” “muck” or “mess,” but it also appears to owe something to “slobber,” which once meant “mud” or “slime” as well as “drool,” and also to “slubber” (“to stain” or “to soil,” or “to do slovenly work”) and to “slop” and “sloppy.” The meaning "untidy person" is first recorded in 1861.

The book ends '...make yourself strong in Body and Mind and Spirit, and stick to your scout promise all your life, and you will be a real MAN – and not a slob!'

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