Ancient Order Knights of the Mystic Chain

 Almost certainly a splinter group of the Knights of Pythias—21 of the founding members were Pythians.  There are numerous other similarities.  Like the Pythians, they called their lodges Castles and the MC Degrees of Esquire, Sir Knight, and Knight of the Round Table closely resemble the Pythian ranks of Page, Esquire, and Knight.

Their name has a Masonic connection.  In Masonry the Mystic Chain is the formation of the Brethren in a circle, holding each other by the hands.  Each brother crosses his arms in front of his body, giving his right hand to his left hand neighbor and his left hand to his right hand neighbor.  It is a symbol of the close connection of all Masons in a common brotherhood, and is usually practiced around the grave in Masonic Burials.

 The AOKMC was founded in Reading, Pennsylvania in 1870.  Though it seems to have been quite popular in PA, it doesn’t seem to have made much headway outside of that state—it is not listed among the top forty fraternal orders in the world almanac of 1896 and probably had no more than 10,000-15,000 members at its peak.  Like most small orders, it did not survive the Great Depression of the 1930’s.  Virtually all jewels, medals, and pins from this order seem to be found in Pennsylvania.

 It added a Military Rank in 1880 (the Pythian Uniformed Rank arrived in 1878) and the Degree of Naomi (or Daughters of Ruth) arrived in 1890 (Pythian Sisters in 1888).  Like the Pythians, the MC was not founded as a Fraternal Benefits Society and did not offer its members insurance until 1889.

 The Mark or Past Commander’s Degree (blue ribbon) was given to past officers and made them eligible to sit in the Select (State) Lodge.  There was also a Supreme Lodge though this seems a bit ambitious for an order that seems hardly to have made it outside the state of Pennsylvania. The red-ribboned piece is from the Military Rank. The Member’s jewel is silver plated brass and the gold fill and enamel work on the Commander’s jewel is not of the highest quality suggesting—again like the Pythians—that this was a working class order without a lot of money.  The pentagon motif so dear to the Pythians has been preserved in these jewels.

 Though the Pythian influences are overwhelmingly evident, It is difficult to determine the exact relationship of these two orders.  At the time of the MC founding, the Pythian Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania was in full-blown revolt against the Pythian Supreme Lodge.  The battle had been raging in one form or another since Rathbone had founded the order in 1864 and especially since he had tried to add a fourth degree.  The AOKMC is possibly related to Rathbone’s Order of Supreme Pythian Knighthood which got him expelled from the KoP.  Pennsylvania was certainly a hotbed of SPK activity.   See the Knights of Pythias page for a history of that order.

Now here’s a mystery.  In 1895 there existed in New Whatcom, Washington, something called the Supreme Lodge of the Mystic Chain.  The insurance policy shown was issued by them to a member of a subordinate lodge (#13) just down the road in Marysville.  New Whatcom is better known these days as Bellingham and is located 90 miles North of Seattle.  It is the County Seat of Whatcom County.

Is this somehow connected with the AOKMC?  Hard to say.  Axelrod notes that the AOKMC did have a Supreme Lodge.  But it seems most unlikely that they would establish their national headquarters all the way across the country from their place of founding.  This is especially true since the AOKMC was almost exclusively a Pennsylvania organization.  Aside from some farming and logging, there really wasn’t much happening in the Pacific Northwest in 1895.

So just what was the Supreme Lodge of the Mystic Chain of Washington State?  It appears to have functioned at least as a Grand Lodge with at least thirteen subordinate lodges under it.  (A Grand Lodge is a State governing body, as a rule.)  Just whether it had any connection—other than a common name—with the AOKMC is debatable.  (The term “AOKMC” does not appear on the insurance policy.)  It most likely was a separate organization—quite possibly founded by a member of the AOKMC.

People were moving west in the late 1800’s.  The railroad had been completed and the Alaskan gold rush made Seattle a provisioning point for those on the way to find their fortune in Alaska.  One of the traditions the easterners would have brought with them was the fraternal lodge and fraternal benefit societies.  Washington State had a strong and early tradition of fraternal orders with the Odd Fellows being especially well established.  It would have been fertile ground for new orders, especially those offering affordable life insurance.

Both the Ancient Order Knights of the Mystic Chain and the Supreme Lodge of the Mystic Chain  are long since defunct.  The National Fraternal Congress of America’s listing of name and status changes of fraternal benefit societies does not mention either of them.  This mystery may have to remain unsolved.  

"In early 2006, the Phoenixmasonry site received an email from an AOKMC member informing us that there was one lodge remaining, Castle # 23 in Vera Cruz, Pennsylvania.  It is not known if this Castle is still active."

 

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Degree of Knighthood

This ritual was adopted by the Supreme Lodge in July 1900.

Opening Ceremony
 
COMMANDER: Sir Knights, I am about to open a Lodge of the Knights of the Mystic Chain, and I ask your co-operation. Vice-Commander, are the officers at their stations?
VICE-COMMANDER: They are, Commander.
COMMANDER: Marshal, you will take up the password and ascertain if all present are Sir Knights.
MARSHAL, after taking up password: They are, Commander.
COMMANDER: Marshal, what is the first duty of the assembled Sir Knights?
MARSHAL: To guard the Lodge, Commander.
COMMANDER: Instruct the Sentry that a Lodge of the Knights of the Mystic Chain is in session, and that only those qualified can enter here.
MARSHAL, after instructing Sentry: The Lodge is guarded, Commander.
Commander gives three taps to call up the Lodge.
COMMANDER: Officers and Knights, you will rise and give me the countersign; its answer which is the same. The Recognition Sign; its answer. The Sign of Distress; its answer. The Distress Word; its answer. The Sign of Warning; its answer. The Voting Sign. The Sign of the Degree of Knighthood; its answer. Face each other and give the hand grasp.
COMMANDER: Officers and Knights, I will thank you for your attention and assistance in conducting the business of this Lodge. Our Chaplain will invoke divine aid.
CHAPLAIN, ex tempore or otherwise:
  Almighty Chief, we ask Thy aid,
To do the work that’s on us laid,
To earn the wage ere we are paid
For duty done.
 
We ask Thy help the sad to cheer,
Protect the helpless: loved so dear: 
From poverty and want and fear,
By duty done
 
To faithful work our hearts incline,
Our several powers and wills combine
In one fraternal battle line: 
Till victory’s won.
COMMANDER: I now declare ... Lodge, No. ..., of the Knights of the Mystic Chain of America, open. Illustrious Knights, I will thank you for your assistance in the preservation of order and decorum during the present convocation.
Commander gives one tap of gavel: Knights, be seated.
 
 
Initiation
 
Officers to wear robes trimmed in gold and silver, and Turkish fezzes.
COMMANDER: Marshal, you will retire and report the names in waiting to be initiated in the Knighthood Degree of the Knights of the Mystic Chain.
MARSHAL salutes and retires; returns again, saying: Commander, I find Mr. ... ready to become a Sir Knight of this grand order.
COMMANDER: Recorder, has he been proposed and elected according to our prescribed rules?
RECORDER: He has, Commander.
COMMANDER: Has the required fee been received?
RECORDER: It has, Commander.
COMMANDER: I appoint Sir Knight ... to act with the Marshal as Aide for this occasion. Marshal, you will return to the ante-room and proceed to divest the candidate of all valuables in his possession, thoroughly searching, that nothing may escape you, and in doing so carefully drop this coin here Commander hands Marshal a coin into the breast pocket of his vest without his knowledge. You will then deliver the valuables to me at this station.
MARSHAL: I will obey your commands.
MARSHAL salutes Commander, retires to ante-room, requests the candidate to give up everything he has in his pockets, after which the Marshal inspects his pockets to see if everything is given up, and while searching in his inside vest pocket leaves therein the original coin. He does not leave him until thoroughly satisfied that he has all his money, and his vest has been rebuttoned, and after performing prescribed duties, works his way into Lodge and reports:  Commander, I have performed the duties entrusted to me.
COMMANDER: It is well. You will retire to the ante-room, conduct the candidate through the inner door. Aide, you will be in readiness to assist in receiving the candidate.
Marshal salutes Commander and retires, and when ready to enter gives rap at inner door. Aide thereupon takes position at inner door, and when Marshal and candidate enter the Aide assists in conducting candidate around the hall.
GUARD: Commander, there is an unusual alarm at the inner door.
COMMANDER: Ascertain the cause of the disturbance.
GUARD, opening wicket: Who comes here?
MARSHAL: A candidate seeking admission to the Knights of the Mystic Chain.
GUARD, leaving wicket open:  Commander, the Marshal has in charge a candidate who seeks admission into our grand order.
COMMANDER: Guard, you will admit him.
Marshal and Aide march candidate around the lodge room and stop, facing commander.
MARSHAL: Vice-Commander, this candidate, long anxious to receive the benefits of the Knights of the Mystic Chain, begs to be allowed to know the full benefits of the order, and to learn its mysteries.
VICE-COMMANDER: Has he the necessary qualifications? Is he straight of limb and sound of body, and able to undergo our trials and temptations?
GUIDE: He has the necessary qualifications.
VICE-COMMANDER: Candidate, do you declare upon your honor that you will conform to the laws, rules and usages of the Knights of the Mystic Chain?
CANDIDATE: I do.
VICE-COMMANDER: Then listen, my friend, and heed the words of advice and admonition I am about to give. Help thyself and God will help thee. Self-help is the basis of true independence and just pride of character. Only those who honestly and earnestly exert their utmost energies to succeed in life, and who eagerly embrace every opportunity for improving their condition and enhancing the comfort and happiness of those dependent upon them, can be accounted worthy members of this order, or can expect from it sympathy and assistance in the hour of need. The principal object, and most distinctive characteristic, of our order is the cultivation and exhibition of a sentiment of mutual help and assistance; but the order aims to bestow its benevolences only upon worthy and deserving members.
Let me admonish you not to complain of the hardships which may attend your struggles, nor to be unduly depressed at the disappointments you may encounter. Realize that life’s battle is real; that in your individual case all depends upon acting your part properly:
“Honor and shame from no condition rise,
Act well your part, there all the honor lies.”
Let a sensitive regard for your word and your obligations be the touchstone of your actions; and observe an inviolate fidelity to every duty, however humble or insignificant it may seem. It was the shepherd boy David who, faithful to his flock, was called to be the King of Israel, and his example may well inspire in you the expectation that, if you make him the model of your life and conduct, you will attain to a position of honor and esteem among your fellow-citizens.
Marshal takes candidate to the altar, placing him in proper attitude for obligation, facing the Chaplain. The Chaplain, Past-Commander, Commander, Vice-Commander and all Sir Knights assemble around the altar to witness the obligation. At this point the Commander should name some Knight to personate a beggar. He will post himself at once as to his duties, retire to the ante-room, clothe himself in a dilapidated hat, wig, beard, and ragged suit of clothes, with staff and tin cup in hand, and enter hall as soon as the Chaplain finishes the charge.
CHAPLAIN: My friend, you have heard the benefits of the Knights of the Mystic Chain. Are you willing to conform to our laws, rules and usages, and to make your vows and take your obligations?
CANDIDATE: I am.
Commander calls up Lodge by three taps.
CHAPLAIN, after advancing to the altar: Place your right hand over your heart and your left on the Bible. Say: I, pronounce your name in full, do solemnly promise, in the presence of these witnessing Knights, that I will never divulge the secrets of this order to any one, unless he be a true and lawful Knight. I further promise that I will obey all orders of this Lodge and of its regularly constituted officers, and all orders of the Grand Lodge, and of the Supreme Lodge. I do further solemnly promise that I will never reveal the signs, pass-words or hand-grasps, or any of the secret work of this order; and that I will endeavor, to the best of my ability, to advance the interests of the Knights of the Mystic Chain; to attend its meetings when practicable, and to help my brother Knights, or members of their families, whenever an opportunity presents itself to which I may be able to respond. I also promise that I will punctually pay all dues and monthly contributions of the Lodge, the Grand Lodge, or the Supreme Lodge, which may be legally required of me, for the discharge of current expenses and beneficiary obligations. And I solemnly affirm that I will to the best of my ability live up to the teachings and precepts of the order. And should I violate this, my explicit and solemn pledge, I hereby consent to be expelled from this order, and to incur the obloquy and shame of my disgraceful conduct; and may Almighty God enable me to keep and perform all of the obligations which I have assumed.
After the candidate has repeated the obligation, the Chaplain most solemnly re-read it, In order to doubly impress its importance upon the candidate’s mind, and get his renewed assent thereto. Do not allow the candidate to repeat at second reading, but the Chaplain’s remarks should be prefaced by saying that, as Chaplain of the Lodge, he is required to re-read this to the Candidate in order that he may thoroughly understand his obligation, which binds the members of this fraternity to one another.
CHAPLAIN: Let your every action be so open and straightforward that it will not be in the power of calumny, however cunningly contrived, to tarnish your reputation or impair your standing with your fellow-men. Be ever mindful of the rights, and considerate of the feelings, of others, and look with leniency upon their shortcomings. “Be to their faults a little blind, and to their virtues very kind.” Be tender, be just, be generous, be merciful; be slow to anger and quick to forgive. These are the lessons inculcated by our order; live up to them, and you will find that in every sphere of life, and every vicissitude of fortune, they will defend you from evil, and promote your temporal and eternal felicity. Marshal, take the candidate to the Vice-Commander; he may have a word to say to him.
At beginning of march a beggar, knocking on the door, is beard, and should be announced.
GUARD: Commander, a worthy Knight, who has been set upon by highwaymen, badly wounded, and robbed of all he had, seeks admission, that he may ask aid from his brother members.
COMMANDER: Admit him.
BEGGAR, entering: Good sirs and brothers, I pray you, help the unfortunate and needy this in a loud voice.
Beggar, making noise with stick as if he were a lame man, presents tin cup to the members, who drop coin, etc., with a rattle into the cup, and stops in front of candidate, to whom he says:
BEGGAR: Kind stranger, give me a penny.
VICE-COMMANDER, after a pause, to candidate:  Are you not going to give this poor man something? Will you pass him by after the obligation you have taken and the instructions you have received? This order, though it gives benefits, also teaches Charity. Give to the needy; help the blind and feed the poor. Have you no money about you? Answers No, prompted by Aide. Search your pocket. Searches. Have none, you say? Did you search carefully? Yes, prompted by Aide. Aide, you search candidates’ pockets. Aide finds the money. So you had money, but refused to give. Hand it to the poor man. It is always your duty to extend the hand of Charity. Hands coin to blind man, who passes out. I hardly know what to think of you. You must have known that the money was there. Knights, shall we forgive him, or shall he be punished as such conduct merits?
COMMANDER, solemnly: Fellow-officers and esteemed Knights, this candidate has wittingly or unintentionally committed a very grave offence; after having been solemnly admonished to respond to the calls of Charity, he has proven recreaut by turning a deaf ear to the poor and needy; and to make his offence the greater, he has attempted to deceive not only this poor beggar, but the members of this Lodge also. The fact that within the last quarter of an hour he has violated the most solemn obligation necessarily puts us upon our guard with reference to his further advancement in our order, in which we teach, by precept and example, Kindness, Mercy and Charity. I am reluctant to believe that this candidate with deliberate intent violated his obligation, but as we practice, above all other things, Charity, we must be charitable in our construction of his conduct until the charges are proven either false or true. He either did not realize where he was, or did not comprehend the lamentable condition of the poor beggar. It would seem that he must have forgotten the obligation just taken, or did not possess the will power to execute his convictions of duty. We are his friends, but it must be indelibly impressed upon him that if he does not realize at all times where he is, he is liable to speak of the mysteries of our order in the presence of strangers who have not earned the right to hear them. If his vision is deficient he would be unable to see a brother Knight in distress; if his hearing is imperfect he cannot hear the cries of distress; if his memory be not good we cannot depend upon him to keep inviolate the secrets of this fraternity; and if he does not possess the will power to execute his convictions of duty all of hits strength will be powerless to do justice to the principles of our order by responding to the necessities of the destitute and needy. Brother officers here assembled, you will kindly meet me at the altar and devise the punishment to be meted out to this candidate.
Here Commander, Past, Vice and Chaplain assemble at the altar, and after discussing the matter in an informal way, the Chaplain declares the verdict as hereinafter stated:
CHAPLAIN, all remaining at the altar: This man is manifestly deficient in something. He is lacking in some of the attributes of head or heart. This is the most charitable construction, for we should else be obliged to attribute his conduct to the despicable vice of avarice. If we could in any way ascertain what the deficiency is, it might be possible to supply the defect, in part at least, or else, to some extent, counteract the malign consequences of the dereliction, The case seems to justify a resort to the supernatural assistance of the Mystic Bowl. There is a cabalistic charm in the waters of that mysterious font which is able to render up the secret we desire. Shall this recusant candidate be required to search into the depths of the Mystic Bowl for a revelation of the attributes in which he is deficient? What say you?
MEMBERS, all speaking at same time: Let him be taken to the Mystic Bowl.
COMMANDER: Friend, the members of this Lodge demand that you shall inquire of the Mystic Bowl for a revelation of the traits in which you appear to be deficient, and without which it is not possible to fulfill the character of the perfect Knight. Are you willing to learn wherein your greatest lack doth lie?
CANDIDATE, prompted by Aide: I am.
The Mystic Bowl consists of a basin of water placed upon a small table or stand, and charged with electricity. In front of the table or stand is spread a metallic mat, such as is usually placed under a stove. A battery should be concealed behind a screen, two wires from the battery secretly connecting, the one with the Mystic Bowl and the other with the mat. As the candidate stands upon the mat and dips his hands into the water the circuit is completed and the shock imparted to the candidate, in the bottom of the basin there is placed a metallic plate, on which are imprinted the words: “Practice in all thy dealings Kindness, Mercy, Charity.” These preparations being ready, a brief intermission may be bad to enable the members to gather around to witness the ceremony The candidate is now conducted o the Bowl, his shoes having been removed, and care being taken that he stands upon the mat.
COMMANDER: Candidate, you have given your assent to a most solemn rite. Nothing short of supernatural power possessed by this Bowl could enable it to reveal traits of your character that are hidden from the scrutiny of your closest friends, and perhaps unsuspected by yourself. You are about, therefore, to come into contact with one of the most awful and mysterious auguries of nature, so to speak; and you should approach it with the reverence of the man of God who, on ascending the Sacred Mount, was commanded to remove his shoes, “for,” as the divine voice proclaimed, “the place whereon thou standest is sacred ground.” The Marshal will now remove your shoes.
This being done, the Marshal conducts the candidate to the Mystic Bowl.
COMMANDER: Candidate, having removed your shoes, in token of reverence, you will wash your hands as a symbol of the cleanliness and purification with which you should approach the mysterious ceremony.
The candidate now dips his hands into the Bowl, and is surprised by receiving an electric shock. The suddenness with which he will withdraw and the look of astonishment upon his face will be positively ludicrous.
COMMANDER: Stretch forth thy hand and delve to the bottom of the Mystic Bowl. Perchance you may there find some record, or intelligible clue to the attributes in which you are deficient; and rest assured there will be revealed only what is for thy good.
The candidate, who is probably unsuccessful in his first attempts, finally succeeds in plunging his hand to the bottom of the Bowl, and draws out the tin or copper plate. The amount of electricity can be increased or diminished an ordinary battery, as may be necessary.
CHAPLAIN, after candidate has drawn forth the plate: What is the motto which you find mysteriously inscribed upon the plate?
CANDIDATE, reads aloud the inscription: “Practice in all thy dealings, Kindness, Mercy, Charity.”
CHAPLAIN: You have now, through the supernatural efficacy of the Mystic Bowl, been apprised of the natural defects in your character, namely, Kindness, Mercy, Charity. These are the cardinal virtues of this order, and the solemn vow you have taken imposes upon you an obligation to religiously observe and practice them in the future; and may the Supreme Searcher of Hearts enable you to perform this vow, and discharge this is obligation.
Officers will now assume their stations, and members return to their seats. Marshal conducts candidate to Past-Commander and seats him.
PAST-COMMANDER, attired in a bearded wig, wearing Turkish fez and robe: Thrice welcome, my friend. The scene you have just witnessed and in which you have taken a part was not intended to be an occasion of amusement, but a device by which we have wisely chosen to impart to you certain lessons which inculcate the cardinal principles of our fraternity, and your relation thereto. The harmless deception practiced upon you by placing the coin in your pocket, and the results following its discovery, were intended to impress upon your mind the importance of being ever straightforward in your dealings with your fellow man, and of ever bearing in mind, and putting into practice, the beautiful and heaven-sanctioned trait of one of the mottoes of our order and of this degree, Charity. Live up to this motto and you will always be a worthy member of society and will command the respect and confidence of all. The object of the Knights of the Mystic Chain is, in a spirit of charity, to give moral and material aid to each other; to provide for the intelligent enjoyment of its members; to give attention and relief to the sick, and to assist those out of employment to obtain positions; to encourage each other in business; to create a fund for the relief of the members in case of accidents, and make a suitable provision for their wives and little ones when deprived by death of their natural protector, and to advance the common interests of humanity by mutual charity and protection. The results sought to be accomplished are only such as are prompted by the purest motives and the most disinterested benevolence, and tend to develop only such qualities as are characteristic of an advanced civilization. I commend you for the advance you have made in our progressive order. Let your inspiring principle of action be to “look up, not down; to look forward, not backward.”
Let the dead past bury its dead. The field of present endeavor is the inviting domain of opportunities which extend their solicitations to you with the enchantment of a siren’s song. Have you the heart and the hardihood to avail yourself of the precious opportunity? Much depends upon the answer which you can give to this inquiry. The prizes of life are won, not by dreamy longings, or inane aspirations; but by resolute purpose, steady pursuit, stout heart, indomitable will, and unceasing endeavor. These are the sterner virtues; but the softer qualities of the heart must exercise their appropriate part. Kindness, Mercy and Charity are our cardinal virtues. They all abide in their proper spheres, but the greatest of them all is Charity. Charity, or love, is like the ladder on which the beloved Apostle, in the Island of Patmos, was enabled to mount, and gain a glimpse of the celestial world. Universal in its sway, and eternal in its duration, is the influence of this principle of love.
“In peace, Love tunes the shepherd’s reed;
In war, he mounts the warriors steed;
In halls, in gay attire is seen;
In hamlets, dances on the green.
Love rules the court, the camp, the grove,
And men below, and saints above,
For love is heaven, and heaven is love.”
By kindness we mean the warm sympathy and generous philanthropy which prompts us to acts of friendship and benevolence. By mercy we mean the heaven-instilled principle which melts the heart in the presence of anguish and distress.
“The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed:
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.”
All that is great and good in this world partakes of the attributes of clemency and mercy. Carry this lesson with you through life, and you will possess the priceless charm that assuages the sorrows and mitigates the calamities of envious fortune, and even relentless fate, and which in your declining days will soothe the pillow of pain and strew with flowers the pathway to the tomb.
Marshal, you will now conduct the candidate to our Commander, who will instruct him in the secret work of the order.
Marshal takes candidate to Commander.
COMMANDER: The liberal and enlightened principles upon which this order is founded should commend themselves to your earnest consideration. Our order does not tolerate vice, in either its open and repulsive forms, or the insinuating disguises under which it makes its most seductive appeals. Our first lesson is Kindness: a due consideration of the privileges and rights and needs and wants of our brothers. Who is the true brother? The parable of the Good Samaritan teaches us that most beautiful lesson. Kindness is our first lesson; our second is that heaven-born quality, Mercy, which is ever ready to stoop to the assistance of the lowliest, to all who are in trouble or distress.
“Teach me to feel another’s woe
To hide the fault I see;
That mercy I to others show
That mercy show to me.”
In conclusion, ever bear in mind that your conduct will affect the world for good or evil. The crown and glory of life is character. It is the noblest possession of man. It exercises a greater power than wealth, and secures all the honors without the jealousies of fame. Character is human nature in its best form. When seasoned with Charity it partakes of the divine, and becomes immortal. Charity, like the sun, brightens every object upon which it shines.
Let me impress upon your mind the importance of being ever straightforward in your dealings with your fellow-man and of ever bearing in mind and putting into practice the beautiful and heaven-sanctioned trait, which is the third motto of this order, Charity. Live up to this motto and you will always be a worthy member of society and will command the respect and confidence of all. In this one word is embodied well-nigh all the virtues, and no one can do his duty in life without exercising it. “For, though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing; and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”
I will now instruct you in the secret work of this degree, in which all business of the order is transacted.
In order to gain admission to a Lodge of the Knights of the Mystic Chain, you will approach the ante-room door, attract the attention of the Sentry, who will raise the wicket and say, “Who comes here?” You will reply, “A Knight of the Mystic Chain.” The Sentry will respond, “Approach, Sir K night, and give the password,” which you will do, when you will be admitted to the ante-room.
After properly attiring yourself (with a metal badge of the order, if any have been provided), you will approach the Lodge room door, answered by the Guard, upon which the Guard will raise the wicket and ask, “Who comes here?” You will give him in a whisper your name, and the name and number of your Lodge. The wicket will then be closed and Guard reports to Vice-Commander, who, if it be correct, will order him to receive the pass-word and admit you. The Guard will then raise the wicket. The door is then opened and you pass to the altar, saluting the Commander with the countersign, which I will now explain, with its significance.
The Commander will answer by same sign, after which you face about and salute the Vice-Commander with the sign of the Degree of Knighthood, thus: ...; he will answer by same sign; then you may take your seat. This sign is given by all Sir Knights on leaving or entering the Lodge room, while the Lodge is in session, and by all Knights when the Lodge is opened in the degree of Knighthood.
COMMANDER: Friend, you will now go to the Recorder and in his presence sign the order’s Book of Fidelity; this done, you will return to this station. Marshal, take the candidate to the Recorder, that he may sign the Book of Fidelity.
The Recorder must read the obligation to candidate, who, after signing, is taken before the Commander.
Kneel on your right knee, my friend.
Commander, laying sword on candidate’s shoulder.
I pronounce thee a Knight of the Mystic Chain. Arise, Sir Knight extending his hand, that I may greet thee with the hand-grasp of the Knights of the Mystic Chain.
Commander here explains the grip.
COMMANDER: The Lodge will now take a recess to welcome our new Sir Knight.
 
 
Closing Ceremonies
 
COMMANDER, one rap:  Esteemed Knights, there being no further business before the Lodge, we will proceed to close. Let us return thanks for the good accomplished.
Three raps to call up the Lodge.
CHAPLAIN, tune: Troyte No. 1.:
Our thanks receive, Almighty Chief,
For present good, and grant relief
To all in sorrow or in grief,
Till next we meet.
 
And, as life’s battle must be fought,
And face to duty all are brought,
Give strength to fight it as we ought,
Till next we meet.
 
Life’s battle fought, the victory won,
Our earthly work forever done,
To Heaven’s roll transfer each one: 
May all there meet.
COMMANDER: Marshal, take up the Rituals and deliver them at this station.
Marshal collects and delivers Rituals. The Lodge cannot be closed until the Rituals are in possession of Commander or accounted for.
COMMANDER: Attention, Sir Knights.
PAST COMMANDER: We thank you for your presence tonight, and cordially invite your attendance at our future meetings.
The Knights face the Commander and give the sign of the Degree of Knighthood.
COMMANDER: Esteemed Knights, by virtue of the power vested in me, I now declare ... Lodge, No. ... duly closed. One rap.


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Degree of Mystery

This ritual was adopted by the Supreme Lodge in 1900.

Preparations
 
Officers should wear robes, Turkish fezzes, wigs and beard. The following articles should be on hand: Regulation sword and belt, hoodwink, one pair roller skates, one old shirt, one old hat, shaving outfit (consisting of one large wooden razor, piece of oil cloth to fit around candidate during the shaving act, or large sheet will answer the purpose), water pail, lather pail, large paint brush and cake of soap, towel, bottle of seltzer water, one saw-horse, old saw, stick of wood, oil can for water, tin-seated chair, spirit or oil lamp, tunnel de trouble and ball.
 
 
Opening
 
COMMANDER: The officers will assume their stations. If any are present who are not qualified to sit with us in the Degree of Mystery, they will please retire. Marshal, you will satisfy yourself that all present are chosen Mysterious Sir Knights.
MARSHAL, after examining Sir Knights, retires to Degree of Mystery, and says: Your instructions have been obeyed, and I am satisfied that all present are qualified to remain with us.
COMMANDER: Vice Commander, are you perfectly satisfied that all present are qualified Sir Knights of the Degree of Mystery?
VICE-COMMANDER, shall satisfy himself and say: I am.
COMMANDER: Chaplain, are you perfectly satisfied that all present are qualified Sir Knights of the Degree of Mystery?
CHAPLAIN, shall satisfy himself and say: I am.
COMMANDER: Guard, are you perfectly satisfied that all present are qualified Sir Knights of the Degree of Mystery?
GUARD, shall satisfy himself and say: I am.
COMMANDER: I do then declare this Degree Lodge open for the degree of Mystery; let us direct our deliberations with brotherly dignity, and with due regard for our fraternal obligations. One rap.
 
 
Initiation
 
COMMANDER: Marshal, you will retire and report the names in waiting to be initiated in the Degree of Mystery of the Knights of the Mystic Chain.
Marshal salutes and retires; returns again, saying:
MARSHAL: Commander, I find ... ready to become a Mysterious Knight.
COMMANDER: Recorder, has ... been proposed and elected according to the rules of the Mystic Chain?
RECORDER: He has, Commander.
COMMANDER: Has the required fee been received?
RECORDER: It has, Commander.
COMMANDER: I appoint Sir Knight ... to act with the Marshal as Aide for this occasion. Marshal, you will go to the ante-room, prepare the candidate, if be able to undergo our trials and temptations.
MARSHAL: I will obey your commands retires to the ante-room.
In Ante-Room.
MARSHAL: Before proceeding on the journey you have requested permission to make, I must require of you certain pledges: First, will you promise upon your honor as a man to obey the officers during your journey? I await your answer?
CANDIDATE: I will.
MARSHAL: you promise not to reveal to any human being anything that would give them knowledge of any of this degree or work, or private transactions of the Knights of the Mystic Chain? I await your answer.
CANDIDATE: I will.
MARSHAL: Are you perfectly willing to submit yourself to severe and searching tests, in order that you may he able to demonstrate your sincerity and good intentions, and will you absolve the officers and Sir Knights from all blame or censure, should they in any manner displease or offend you in their efforts this night to impress upon your heart the sentiments and teachings of Kindness, Mercy and Charity, the cardinal virtues of the Knights of the Mystic Chain?
CANDIDATE: Yes.
If he declines to answer in the affirmative to all, he cannot be admitted.
MARSHAL: I now have your voluntary pledge of obedience, but it is still time for you to retire if you fear the consequences of the ceremonies into which you are about to enter. Are you satisfied to proceed?
CANDIDATE: I am.
MARSHAL: Then submit to this hoodwink. Your eyes must be securely covered, so that you cannot gaze upon the mysteries of the Mystic Chain until you shall earn that right. Raps at door.
GUARD: Who comes here? What are your wants?
MARSHAL: A candidate, long anxious to behold the mysteries of the Knights of the Mystic Chain, for whom we vouch.
GUARD, reporting to Vice-Commander, keeping wicket open: A candidate, long anxious to receive the benefits of the Knights of the Mystic Chain, vouched for by Knights of the order, stands waiting to enter.
VICE-COMMANDER: Let him enter with those who avouch him.
Guard opens door, and Marshal, Aide and candidate march twice around the hail, and are stopped by the Guard. Candidate should have on a pair of roller skates, but must be supported by Marshal and Aide, who can allow him to slide about, but care should he taken that he does not fall. Candidate should also have on an old torn shirt and dilapidated hat.
GUARD: Great Cesar! Marshal, what have you there?
MARSHAL: A candidate, whom I am taking to the Vice-Commander.
GUARD: Have you the audacity to present a stranger to the Vice-Commander in that condition? Look he has his skates on, and his toilet generally needs arranging.
MARSHAL: He will be all right shortly; don’t fear.
GUARD: I cannot permit any one to pass in that condition. Marshal, you had better spruce him up a bit; put a coat upon him, shine his shoes, and make him look presentable.
Marshal, aide, and candidate retire to ante-room, remove skates and torn shirt; and the candidate, having put his coat on, they re-enter, and stop before the guard.
MARSHAL: Everything you mention has been done.
GUARD: Well, he can: but say, Marshal, have you shaved him?
MARSHAL: Have I shaved him? No, I forgot that.
GUARD: Well, he must be shaved before you apply for admission here for him.
Marshal and aide move to the centre of the room. Aide throws oil-cloth over the candidate and ties it about his neck, so that his clothes cannot be soiled. The oil-cloth about the neck should have a row of sponges about it, in order that no water may go down the neck. Candidate is placed in a chair, partly reclining, to resemble a barber’s chair. Aide should have a bucket of lather, large brush, and wooden razor, also a syphon bottle of seltzer.
MARSHAL to candidate, as he is appearing to arrange matters for business: It is a long time since you have been shaved here. I thought I was going to lose your custom. How are they voting down your way this season? Politics lively as usual?
The marshal can ask such questions as come to mind while arranging the candidate. When all is ready, the aide will apply the lather in goodly quantities. If he splutter. and fumes, when it gets in his mouth and nose, use the syphon of seltzer to remove a portion of the lather, standing at the side of the candidate, so as not to force it straight into his mouth or nose; then proceed to remove the lather with a wooden razor. When the shaving is completed, take the candidate to the ante-room, bathe his face in Florida water, etc., and get him in a good humor. The Marshal re-enters with the candidate, who is taken once around the hall, stopping before the Guard.
MARSHAL: All the details have been carried out.
GUARD: Pass on.
Candidate is marched to Vice-Commander.
MARSHAL: Vice-Commander, this candidate, long anxious to behold the mysteries of the Knights of the Mystic Chain, begs to be allowed to know what are the full benefits of the Order, and to learn its mysteries.
VICE-COMMANDER: Has he the necessary qualifications? Is he straight of limb and sound of body, and able to undergo our trials and temptations?
GUIDE: He has the necessary qualifications.
VICE-COMMANDER: Candidate, do you reaffirm upon your honor that you will conform to the laws, rules and usages of the Order, and the Degree of Mystery, which is now being conferred?
CANDIDATE: I do.
VICE-COMMANDER: Then listen and profit, my friend. We believe the Supreme Being gave intelligence to us to devise means for self-help in time of need. It is a part of His divine plan that we should avail ourselves of the methods when devised, and secure the help needed.
In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of life,
Be not like dumb driven cattle,
Be a hero in the strife.
The mysteries can only be learned from our Commander, and I now release you to your guides, who will conduct you on your journey through the Mystic Chain, and at last send you to the Commander. “Remember to be kind to one another.” Marshal, present this candidate to the Chaplain, that he may there take his obligation.
Marshal, candidate and Aide now march around hall and are stopped by Guard.
GUARD: Who comes here?
MARSHAL: A candidate instructed by the Vice-Commander, and sent to our Chaplain to take the obligation.
GUARD: Is he worthy?
MARSHAL: He is.
GUARD: How do you know, have you tried him?
MARSHAL: No, not having had an opportunity.
GUARD: I like that. This indiscriminate presenting to Chaplain must stop. We haven’t time for drones and dullards, but only those with sound head, good heart, and willing hand can pass these portals. Only those who succeed by honest labor deserve our consideration or the benefits of our order; so you must understand that every one must prove himself deserving before he passes this way.
MARSHAL: I have not had an opportunity to personally test this candidate, yet he is of good report and I will vouch for him.
GUARD: Nothing short of proof will do.
MARSHAL: How can he prove it tonight, at this late hour, when honest labor is all at an end?
GUARD: He might augment our winter store of wood, which, as Mystic Chainers, we provide; try him on that wood-pile over there and we can soon tell if he be used to honest labor.
Marshal takes candidate to center of room where a saw-horse, saw and stick of wood should be at hand. Candidate, blindfolded, is placed in position, given a saw and told to go to work. Aide should have a can of water ready and liberally apply so as to bind the saw. Members should encourage candidate by advice and witticisms. When the wood is sawed, Marshal and candidate go to the Guard.
MARSHAL: Guard, this candidate has proven himself worthy to take his obligation.
GUARD: Pass on.
Candidate is marched before Chaplain.
MARSHAL: Chaplain, this candidate has heard the benefits of the Knights of the Mystic Chain from our Vice-Commander, and comes to you that he may make his vow.
CHAPLAIN: My friend, you have heard the benefits of the Knights of the Mystic Chain. Are you willing to conform to our laws, rules and usages, and to make your vows and take your obligations?
Commander calls up Lodge by three raps, followed by Past Commander, Vice-Commander and Chaplain.
CANDIDATE: I am.
Marshal removes blindfold.
CHAPLAIN: Say, pronouncing your name in full and repeating after me: I, ..., do solemnly promise, in the presence of God and these witnessing Knights, that I will never divulge the secrets of the Knights of the Mystic Chain. I further promise that I will obey all orders issued by this Lodge, its officers acting as such the Grand Lodge under whose jurisdiction it may be, and will pay due respect to the Supreme Lodge. So help me God.
I further do solemnly and sincerely promise that I will never reveal any of the signs, pass-words, hand grasps, or any of the secret work of the Degree of Mystery of this order.
Further, I do solemnly affirm that I will, to the best of my ability, live and practice the teachings of this order, and be ready, at all times, to warn a brother against danger, and assist him in distress when in my power.
Replace blindfold.
Marshal, present this candidate to the Past Commander for further instruction.
Marshal and candidate march around hall and are stopped by the Guard.
GUARD: Slay! What are your wants?
MARSHAL: A candidate who has been instructed by the Vice-Commander, and has made his obligation to the Chaplain, now seeks wisdom from the Past Commander.
GUARD to candidate: Give me the instructions received by you from the Vice-Commander.
Guard waits a moment for reply.
GUARD: Away with him.
MARSHAL: No; let him think a moment.
GUARD: Well, sit down I have some. business to look after and may he you can in a few minutes recall the instructions given you.
Marshal seats candidate upon a tin-seated chair, under which is placed a spirit lamp, which should he lighted from a candle, so that no noise of lighting may be heard after seating candidate. Candidate is allowed to leave chair of his own free will, and is then prompted by the Marshal to give the Vice-Commander’s instructions: “Remember to he kind to one another.”
GUARD, as candidate rises: Now give the instructions you received from the Vice-Commander.
CANDIDATE:  “Remember to be kind to one another.”
GUARD: Pass on.
Guides now march candidate to Past Commander’s chair.
Marshal: Past Commander, this candidate has heard the benefits of Knights of the Mystic Chain from our Vice-Commander, and has made his obligations to our Chaplain, and is sent to you for further instruction.
PAST COMMANDER: Welcome, my friend; the true-hearted are always gladly received. I am glad to see you thus advancing in our progressive order. I trust that you will lay to heart the instructions you have thus far received, and will with a receptive mind and loyal heart harken to those that may hereafter be given you. I will not detain you on your pathway through the stages of the Mystic Chain further than to impress upon you the crowning grace and glory of our order: the heaven descended attribute of love. Love is the ladder on which we mount from earth to the radiant regions above. Plant your aspiring feet upon the successive rounds of this ladder:
Thus alone shall you attain
To that summit whence the eye
Sees the world as one vast plain,
And one boundless reach of sky.
Your guides will now take you on your way, and will at last send you to our Commander. The journey is short, up hill and down dale.
Candidate is taken before Guard.
MARSHAL: Guard, this candidate, after receiving some of the lessons this degree imparts, desires to be allowed to see our Commander, and there to receive his commands.
GUARD: Friend, go with our Marshal and prove that you have not only the physical ability, but the disposition, will and determined spirit to overcome all impediments in your desire to see our Commander, who sits the other side of yonder wall. Go, but many will try to thwart you in your passage.
Marshal takes candidate a few feet further on and makes him crawl on hands and knees into the tunnel, telling him not to brook any attempt to prevent his passage, but to push right along. The Aide is sent in at the other end (or the other candidate, if two are going through). After several minutes exercise the Aide or second candidate may he withdrawn.
The tunnel is made from netting, or small cord; is from thirty to thirty-six feet long, twenty-four inches in diameter; six hoops of same diameter placed at different positions hold the tunnel in proper shape. Guy ropes should he attached to several of the hoops for members to hold, which tends to keep it in better shape during use.
A round ball twenty inches in diameter, stuffed with resilient material is used in the tunnel to impede the progress of the candidate in making his way to the Commander. This ball should be between the candidate and the Aide, who usually goes in to assist in impeding the progress of the candidate.
MARSHAL, as candidate advances into tunnel: Listen, friend; you are now to work your way into the inner circle of the Mystic Chain. The passage is roughly constructed, and multitudes of opposing obstacles are found therein; failures are frequent; brook no interference; push right along. Energy, pluck and determination always win. Should you succeed in reaching the inner circle you will there be introduced to our Commander, who will give you such instructions as will inure to your good. Make no haste; proceed slowly; push everything before you.
The Aide or second candidate should be withdrawn. Marshal takes candidate to ante-room, removes blindfold, while Aide clears Lodge room, after which Marshal enters with candidate and presents him to Commander.
MARSHAL: Commander, I have in charge a candidate who has shown a desire to become a Mysterious Knight of the Mystic Chain. He has worked his way through the crowded tunnel, and by perseverance and toil has overcome all obstacles found in the way, and has at last reached thus far. He now stands before you, and it gives me great pleasure to introduce him to you for further instructions.
COMMANDER:  I welcome and congratulate you. Your progress has been one of toil and difficulty. May it impress upon you what was intended in the lesson of this degree. The broad and liberal principles upon which this order is founded should commend themselves to your earnest consideration. This order does not tolerate licentiousness or vice. We desire to live in conformity to law, and upon religion is based our strongest lessons. Our first lesson is Kindness: a due consideration of our brothers’ privileges and wants. Our second is that heaven-born quality, Mercy, which is ever ready to stoop to the lowest when in distress or trouble. In conclusion, ever bear in mind that your character will affect the world for good or evil. The crown and glory of life is character. It is the noblest possession of man. Prize it above wealth, above all that glittering gold can bestow. A good name is the jewel of the soul.
Who steals my purse steals trash , ‘tis something, nothing;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him
And makes me poor indeed.
I will now instruct you in the secret work of this degree. In order to gain admission to the Degree of Mystery of a lodge of the Knights of the Mystic Chain, you will approach the ante-room door and attract the attention of the Sentry, who will raise the wicket, and ask, “Who comes here?” You will reply, “A Mysterious Sir Knight of the Mystic Chain.” The Sentry will respond, “Approach, Mysterious Sir Knight, and give the pass-word,” which you will do by whispering the word “Kindness”, when you will be admitted to the ante-room. You will then approach the Lodge room door (giving one rap), which will be answered by the Guard (giving one rap), and replied to by you, giving the same (one rap), when the wicket will be raised and the Guard will ask, “Who comes here?” You will respond, “A Mysterious Sir Knight of the Mystic Chain,” giving name and number of your Lodge and rank. The wicket is then closed. The Guard then reports to Vice-Commander, who, if it be correct, orders him to receive the pass-word and admit you. The Guard will then raise the wicket and say, “Approach, Mysterious Sir Knight, and give the pass-word,” which you will do by whispering the word “sum”, which is interpreted I am. You will then be admitted to the Lodge, if working in Degree of Mystery, when you will approach the altar and salute the Commander with the sign of this degree, by placing index finger of the right hand perpendicularly on chin, other fingers closed. The Commander will respond with a salute, after which you may take your seat.
This sign is given by all Mysterious Sir Knights on leaving or entering the Lodge room while the Lodge is in session, and by all Knights when the Lodge is open in the Degree of Mystery. Kneel on your right knee. Commander, laying sword lightly on right shoulder of candidate, says: “I pronounce you a Mysterious Sir Knight of the Mystic Chain.” “Arise, Mysterious Sir Knight.” Commander gives three taps, likewise Past Commander, Vice-Commander and Chaplain, to call up the Lodge. Marshal, you will face Mysterious Sir Knight to the Lodge. We will now take a recess to welcome and congratulate the obligated Mysterious Sir Knight, who has successfully passed through the Degree of Mystery.
MEMBERS (in chorus): Welcome, Mysterious Sir Knight.
 
 
Closing
 
COMMANDER (one rap): Sir Knights of the Degree of Mystery, having concluded our deliberations, we will retire from our Degree Lodge, resolved to be benefited by the lessons learned. Let each and every one of us show by our conduct that we are true and upright, Mysterious Knights. Marshal, you will take up the Rituals and deliver them at this station. Sir Knights of Mystery, advance the sign of this degree. Commander will answer by the same sign. Now, by authority vested in me, I do declare this Degree Lodge closed until we shall meet again, and I bid you all an affectionate good-night.

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Degree of Chivalry

  This ritual was adopted by the Supreme Lodge in 1900.

Preparations
 
Officers should wear regalia as prescribed in the Degree of Chivalry. The following articles should be made ready for properly and speedily giving the work: One paper dunce-cap, one wooden shoe, one large stool, twenty-five feet rope, one steeled collar, one tight-fitting sleeveless jacket (if the jacket is not convenient, rope may be used), one large cotton sheet, about thirty-six by nine feet, one mystic chair, one large tin basin, one K.M.C. spanker. Recorder should have ready prepared his burlesque resignation; Guard should have a note prepared for Commander, which he should hand him at proper time.
 
 
Opening
 
COMMANDER: The officers will assume their stations. If any are present who are not qualified to sit with us in the Degree of Chivalry, they will please retire. Marshal, you will satisfy yourself that all present are chosen Chivalrous Sir Knights.
MARSHAL, after examining Sir Knights, retires to Degree of Chivalry, and says: Your instructions have been obeyed, and I am satisfied that all present are qualified to remain with us.
COMMANDER: Vice Commander, are you perfectly satisfied that all present are qualified Sir Knights of the Degree of Chivalry?
VICE-COMMANDER, shall satisfy himself and say: I am.
COMMANDER: Chaplain, are you perfectly satisfied that all present are qualified Sir Knights of the Degree of Chivalry?
CHAPLAIN, shall satisfy himself and say: I am.
COMMANDER: Guard, are you perfectly satisfied that all present are qualified Sir Knights of the Degree of Chivalry?
GUARD, shall satisfy himself and say: I am.
COMMANDER: I do then declare this Degree Lodge open for the degree of Chivalry; let us direct our deliberations with brotherly dignity, and with due regard for our fraternal obligations. One rap.
 
 
Initiation
 
COMMANDER: Marshal, you will retire to the anteroom, receive and introduce the candidate.
Marshal salutes Commander, retires, and, when ready to enter with candidate, approaches inner door, and gives ... raps.
GUARD: Vice-Commander, there is an alarm at the door.
VICE-COMMANDER: Attend to the alarm.
GUARD, raising wicket: Who comes here?
MARSHAL: A candidate now seeks to advance.
GUARD, leaving wicket open: Vice-Commander, a candidate now seeks to advance.
VICE COMMANDER: A commendable desire, indeed. Admit him.
Marshal and Aide enter with candidate blindfolded: candidate being dressed in an old dilapidated night-shirt, wearing a paper fool’s-cap, and a wooden shoe upon his left foot. They march around the hall twice and stop before Vice-Commander.
MARSHAL: Vice-Commander, I take pleasure in presenting a candidate who desires to become more fully acquainted with the secrets of this Order.
VICE-COMMANDER: Is it your sincere desire to become further wrought into the membership of our order?
CANDIDATE: It is.
VICE-COMMANDER: This order conforms to law, religion, friendship, kindness, mercy and charity. We demand from our members, whom we style Knights, the most exact compliance with our obligation. Here honor lives and asserts her sway. I would impress upon you the importance of building up a good character. I command you to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly in the sight of God.
Let me admonish you never to complain of your employment or your hardships. Realize that life’s battle is real; that in your individual case all depends upon acting your part well.
“You should then he up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.”
Marshal, you will now conduct the candidate to our Chaplain.
Marshal and candidate march around the hall three times, stopping before Chaplain.
CHAPLAIN: Be an honest man; let your deeds attest that you are such. There are knaves and thieves of many kinds on the road of life. Watch yourself and see that you do not fall into their hands. Ever be mindful of the rights of others; hold in sacred esteem the welfare of your brother, and always forgive his faults and remember his virtues. Live an honest, sober and righteous life, so that no man shall ever have occasion to regret his association with you.
From close inspection, friend, I fear you have had troubles of your own; an accident, perchance, although our worthy medicus doth say some people are born that way.
Pointing at candidate’s foot.
MARSHAL: Nay, nay; he, like many others, had his leg pulled a few days since. Hence this deformity.
CHAPLAIN: How fortunate. Sit thee down, friend, on yonder stool, and, thanks to the K.M.C., thy misfortunes will be quickly remedied.
Candidate is seated upon a low stool, and a rope tied about the short foot.
CHAPLAIN: Marshal, after doing thy act of surgery, have this candidate taken to our Past Commander.
Marshal and aide drag candidate across hall to Past Commander. Care should be taken not to handle candidate roughly, or in any way hurt him.
PAST COMMANDER, as candidate is dragged before him: Marshal, why come you thus?
MARSHAL: I am bringing a candidate who has been instructed by the Vice-Commander. Our Chaplain, on imposing upon him the obligation of the order, noticed that one leg seemed longer than the other, and suggested the remedy of pulling the other leg. Marshal removes false foot. See, he now stands before you, his legs physically correct.
PAST COMMANDER: Friend, despise not this simple remedy. You are only exemplifying the story of Balaam, who rode through Jerusalem on his ass. Profit thou by his example. If your legs had not been restored to their original state by nature, you would have gone limping through life. Akin to the material is the moral constitution of man. If any of your mental or moral faculties are dwarfed, you must pass among your fellow-men as a mental or moral cripple, and cannot maintain that erect attitude and bearing to which every man of proper pride and lofty character aspires as the greatest boon of existence. Marshal, you will now journey on.
Marshal and candidate go slowly toward the Guard, who is standing near the Vice-Commander.
MARSHAL: Remember the words of our Past Commander. The road is now short but rough marching towards Guard’s station. Here is our Commander’s Guard.
GUARD: Stay ! What are your wants?
MARSHAL: I have a candidate whom I am taking to our Commander.
GUARD: What, at this late hour!
MARSHAL: Yes, he must see the Commander tonight.
GUARD: Well, hurry, hurry, if your friend is to see our Commander tonight. Take him by the straight ways.
Marshal now takes candidate before Vice-Commander, winding long rope around candidate, holding his hands down by his side. The candidate is now laid flat on a piece of loose carpet, which suns full length of ball (a stuffed collar of hair is put about candidate’s neck to protect nose; the collar is about six inches thick), the two Sir Knights each holding end of carpet. Commander taps gong four times.
GUARD: Hurry, hurry, or the door will be closed.
The two Sir Knights go on full run toward Commander, pulling the carpet, and candidate rolling over and over. Marshal and Aide have hurried around to receive candidate when he rolls up to the Commander.
Raising him to his feet.
COMMANDER: What is this disturbance at this late hour? Guides, what have you here?
MARSHAL: A friend who desires to complete his journey and become a Chivalrous Knight of the Mystic Chain, having taken his obligation and received instructions from the Vice-Commander and Past Commander, now comes to you to be instructed in the secret work of the Degree of Chivalry.
COMMANDER: It is well. Remove the blindfold. He has overcome many trials and tribulations. My friend, you look as if you had hurried somewhat on your journey. Pause. The experiences you have undergone may seem to you strange and uncalled for. Such is not the case, however, for through these experiences wholesome lessons have been taught you. In the days of chivalry a warrior could not gain his spurs until he had proved himself worthy to wear them. He must be brave and fearless, and must flinch not in the face of danger; he must scorn all deceit and guile, and he must know how to take a joke. In the tournaments of those old days many hard blows were given in play. You have been duly instructed in the cardinal virtues of Kindness, Mercy, Charity, and I need not further inculcate their importance upon you. But you must bear in mind that without diligence in business and unceasing endeavor you most likely will not have it in your power to exercise the benevolence required by these attributes. And even if the chance of inherited wealth should absolve you from the necessity of labor and the diligent pursuit of business, this is nevertheless imposed upon you by an inexorable law of human nature as the condition of happiness. A life of sloth and indolence is invariably attended with dreary inanition, discontent and unhappiness. Heed the story of the Abyssinian prince. Imprisoned in an earthly paradise, he was condemned to a life of inert luxury, which
brought only satiety and misery. Every want, every wish was supplied with a lavish profusion of all that could minister to the senses or please the palate. From the mountains on every side rivulets descended and filled with verdure the valley in which he was confined. The sides of the mountains were covered with trees; the banks of the brooks were diversified with flowers; every blast shook spices from the rocks, and every month dropped fruits upon the ground. On one part were flocks and herds feeding in the pastures; on another all the beasts of the chase frisking in the lawns. All the diversities of the world were brought together; the blessings of nature were collected, and the evils extracted and excluded. And yet in the midst of this prodigal supply of all that the imagination could conceive, or ingenuity and limitless wealth supply, the prince condemned to a life of indolence was a miserable creature. Kneel. Candidate kneels. Commander taking sword and lightly laying on candidate’s shoulder. I pronounce thee a Chivalrous Knight of the Mystic Chain. Arise, Chivalrous Knight.
GUARD: Commander, a note for you.
Guard takes note to Commander, who reads it.
COMMANDER: Knights, this note from a friend who is very ill, and whom I left to attend this meeting, states that I must now return to him. As you know, it is the Commander’s prerogative to fill the chair, and I shall leave our new member to conduct the remaining business of our meeting. Commander seats candidate in chair, saying: You must govern the Lodge in my absence. Knights, present your new Commander.
Commander and Knights walk in front of the chair and salute. All being seated.
RECORDER: Commander, I am sorry to have to read the following reads his own resignation.
VICE-COMMANDER: Commander, I beg the vacancy just created be filled at once. The office is the most important one in the Lodge. I therefore ask you to order a nomination.
CANDIDATE: Nominations for office of Recorder.
Here several ask the candidate to appoint them, and any witticisms coming to mind are indulged in at the candidate’s expense. General disorder prevails, and all Knights rush toward the chair. Marshal and Aide catch the candidate by legs and arms, lift him briskly out of chair (care should be taken not to hit candidate’s head against chair or otherwise hurt him), and place him on his back on the floor. A small mattress may be used on the floor to lay him on, or when lodges are sufficiently able, the Mystic Chain can be used effectively, which is a neat affair, so arranged that the legs are separated as soon as the candidate sits upon it. A stick should be provided with a stung near the top, placed directly under the chair, so that it will not separate until the proper time, which can be accomplished by jerking the stick out, after which you can proceed as above, and the chair assumes its original position, which is equally astonishing to the victim when he looks at it and finds it standing just as he last saw it. Upon candidate regaining his feet, the Aide goes to him, telling him to request the Commander to take the chair and close the degree, which candidate does.
COMMANDER, calling Lodge to order, leaving Guides and candidate standing before him: Friend, this lesson was intended to impress upon you how disastrous it is for anyone to assume an office unless thoroughly qualified to fill it. Let this experience always guide you. I will now instruct you in the secret work of this degree. In order to secure admission to the ante-room you must attract the attention of the Sentry. He will raise the wicket and you will then give him in a whisper the pass-word of this degree, which is .... He will admit you to the ante-room, and after properly attiring yourself you will approach the inner door and .... This will be answered by the Guard in the same way. You will then repeat this signal, when the wicket will be opened and the Guard will whisper “Who comes there?” You then give him in a whisper your name, and the name and number of your Lodge. The wicket is then dropped and the Guard communicates this to the Vice-Commander, who, if it be correct, orders him to receive the password and admit you. The Guard will then raise the wicket and .... The door is then opened, and you pass to the altar and salute the Commander thus: .... The Commander will answer by the same sign. You will then take your seat. This sign is given by all Knights on leaving or entering the Lodge hall while the Lodge is in session, and by all Knights when the Lodge is open in the Degree of Chivalry. You will please kneel on your right knee.
Commander laying sword lightly on right shoulder of candidate.
I pronounce thee a Chivalrous Knight of the Mystic Chain.
Replace blindfold.
I have three questions to ask you; and, as I ask them, you will signify your answer and submission thereto by a salaam, or bow, made by touching the head to the floor.
Two aides, one on each side, go through actions, to give candidate confidence.
COMMANDER: Do you promise to always temper your acts by kindness? Salaam.
A large pan of water, three inches deep, is now placed so that candidate will plunge his head in it when bowing the second time to the floor. Aide should he watching and gently press his head into the basin.
COMMANDER: Do you promise always to be merciful in your dealings with mankind? Salaam.
After candidate has dried himself and order been restored, he must kneel (hands and knees). Commander here gives one tap.
COMMANDER: Lastly, will you promise to carefully heed the cry of a brother Knight and be charitable in your dealings with your fellow-men?
CANDIDATE, prompted by aide: I will.
COMMANDER: Failure on your part means that something will drop.
The Marshal quickly and soundly lets the spanker drop.
COMMANDER, slowly: Just - like - that.
Arise, Chivalrous Sir Knight. Remove blindfold.
The Lodge will now take a recess to welcome the new Chivalrous Sir Knight.
MEMBERS, in chorus:  Welcome, Chivalrous Sir Knight!
 
 
Closing
 
COMMANDER (one rap): Sir Knights of the Degree of Chivalry, having concluded our deliberations, we will retire from our Degree Lodge, resolved to be benefited by the lessons learned. Let each and every one of us show by our conduct that we are true and upright, Chivalrous Knights. Marshal, you will take up the Rituals and deliver them at this station. Sir Knights of Chivalry, advance the sign of this degree. Commander will answer by the same sign. Now, by authority vested in me, I do declare this Degree Lodge closed until we shall meet again, and I bid you all an affectionate good-night.

 

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