"Where were you last evening, Teddy?"
"Went down to the country."
"Well you missed the meeting of your life. The Grand Master
was here, we had an orchestra, the lodge room was beautifully
decorated with palms and cut flowers and the banquet that
followed was a peach. You surely missed it, Teddy."
"I attended a meeting of a country lodge that night."
"Wouldn't some of those country Masons open their eyes if they
could see a blow-out like the one we had last night?"
"Yes, I guess they would, but they made me open my eyes at
their meeting all right."
"In the first place it was held in the village schoolhouse, a
two story brick building erected by this Masonic Lodge and
given rent free to the county for school purposes all except
the large hall on the second floor."
"I was told about the meeting the day before and expressed
my desire to attend, and the Master took me down to the
butcher shop and told Chris Johnson, the butcher, what I
wanted and requested him to get two more of the boys and
examine me. Chris told me to come back after supper, and when
I did there were exactly nine of the local members present,
and they made a function of the examination and used up three
hours asking me from how many wives King Solomon had to where
the Master hung his hat."
"They enjoyed themselves fine and I had a time that still
seems like a bad dream to me. But from the moment that
examination was over my standing in the village changed. I
was the guest of the town and treated like a prince."
"Next day, the farmers commenced coming in at daylight and at
eleven o'clock the back fence of the court house was hitched
full of gray mares, each with a colt at their heels, and the
schoolhouse fence were full of farmers in their Sunday clothes
each one whittling a stick and talking 'Masonary'."
"At noon the real function of the day came in the shape of a
dinner served by the wives of the Masons in the lodge room.
I expected a luncheon, but I found a feast instead! Whole hams,
whole turkeys with the stuffing sticking out and running over
the plate, armfuls of celery, gallons and gallons of gravy,
and right in front of me a whole roasted pig with an apple in
its mouth, and do you know, that pig looked like he was glad
he had died to grace so noble a feast."
"Honestly, the tables had to stand cross-legged to keep from
falling down with their load, and when we got up a little
child gathered up over a pint of buttons from under the table.
Every night when I go to sleep I see that pig on that plate
and a nice old lady that kept handing me glasses of boiled
custard at that feed."
"Well, I won't make you hungry telling you about it. Enough
to say that we ate and talked until four o'clock in the after-
noon and I never had such a time in my life. They made me
make a speech and I told all the stories that I had heard in
the theaters this winter till the Master said I ought to
travel with a show."
"Then the women cleared up the place while we men went out and
sat on the fence and smoked like furnaces."
"At six o'clock the lodge was opened and although the Master
wore a slouch hat, and although there was not a dress suit
in the room and although the Senior Warden ( who was a farmer)
had his favorite fox hound sitting solemnly beside his chair,
I have never seen a more beautiful opening ceremony or a
better rendered degree. It was the third and when the one
candidate had finished the degree and listened to the lecture,
I thought the work was over. But I was mistaken. The Master
finished all the work in the ritual when he added something
"Jim, you are now a Mason. I fear that it will be many years
before you know what that means. There is not a man in this
room, Jim, that hasn't watched you grow up from a little shaver
in a calico dress to manhood. There is not a man in this room
who did not watch you all through school, and although you
have thought all through life that you had no father, I want
to tell you that you had a hundred."
"Your father belonged to this lodge, Jim,-was Master of it and
although you can hardly remember him, every man in this room
followed him to his grave and every one of us knows that his
life was as spotless and square as a man's life can be and,
Jim, while we don't know much about heaven, our innermost
souls cry out the truthfulness of the life to come, and we
know that somewhere in that great beyond your father is
looking down on you and me this minute and is glad, and will
watch your career as a man and a Mason with renewed confidence
and hope. He and we will watch you from now on, Jim."
"He knew when you got into the habit of playing ten-cent
limit with the gang down at the hotel and it hurt him and
it hurt us."
"All your future life, Jim, try to remember that he is looking
down at you, and when there comes up a question of right and
wrong to decide, try to think what he would like to have you
do, and remember you have the honor of this old lodge to
sustain now- the lodge that your father loved and was Master
of. Of course you are a man now, Jim, but when you were a boy,
a very little boy, your daddy used to take you in his arms
and pray God that He would guide you in the path that you
have started in tonight and partly for your daddy's sake,
partly for God's sake, partly for the sake of the honor of
this old lodge, but mostly for your own sake, Jim. I beg you
never to take a step that will make us regret what we have
"Jim was in tears and I will admit that I was sniffing some
myself when the old man got through. Somehow I had forgotten
that he did not have on a tuxedo suit, somehow the fact that
he had on a slouch hat instead of a plug, slipped out of my
mind, and all that I remember and realize was that he was a
"And now, my brethren,
What came you here to do?
When you joined our mystic circle,
Had you a purpose in your heart
To be of service to your fellow man,
And perform your allotted part?
Or came you out of curiosity
Or motives personal in view?
Tell me, brother of the square,
What came you here to do?
Have you failed to grasp the meaning
Of the symbols of our chart?
Have you failed to learned to subdue your passions
And make improvements in your art?
Do you always, always uphold the trusts
On which we firmly stand,
Teaching the Fatherhood of God
And the Brotherhood of Man?
Have you willing to Aid the brother
When life surges were fierce and wild?
Have you offered cheer and comfort
To the Mason's widow, wife and child?
If you have done so, my brother,
You are a Mason good and true,
And can give a correct answer
What came you here to do? "