STATISTICIANS tell us that since the war the proportion of male births has strikingly increased, and there is a theory that this increase represents the will of the Life Force working to remedy the ravages of the war. One wonders how much the recent vogue for walking, games, nude‐culture and hazardous exploits is attributable to the same cause. The significance of the hiking movement, which arose in war‐racked Germany and swept across the world, will not be overlooked by the social investigator of to‐morrow. It is true that there have always been hikers. But they were a small and scattered and unself‐conscious clan, usually nature lovers or naturalists, who walked, so to speak, casually and for the fun of it. Your latterday hiker is rather a hierophant of a cult. He has turned walking into a technique which he practises with a grim relish. He is distinctively—often clamorously—dressed. The heavy shoes, the iron‐shod stick, the aching feet, the perspiration, the sun‐vexed neck, the backbone cracking beneath prodigious impedimenta: the picture has been familiarized by the humorous journals from Punch upwards.
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