Vol. XXIV No. 7 — July 1946

A Masonic Dream

Jones came late to lodge and slipped in unnoticed. He had been sick for quite a long while. No one from lodge had been to see him, but he did not resent that; he had never visited any ill lodge member. In fact Jones knew very few members; he was usually too busy to come to lodge, or thought he was; there were always picture shows, or parties, or business meetings. . . .

But tonight was something special. The grand master was to be there; there was to be a speaker; it was supposed to be a “big night,” so Jones had come.

The grand master was an impressive figure in dress clothes; and his big jewel gleamed brightly. The master looked important, too, in his high silk hat and his blue trimmed apron. Idly Jones thought it might be nice to be a master and receive a grand master; nice to be a grand master and be received. He recalled, once when he was a young and enthusiastic new Mason, having attended grand lodge. He had thought the chairman of the committee on jurisprudence a spectacular figure, almost as great as the very old past grand master who knew so much about Masonry and answered so many questions with such profundity of knowledge there was nothing left to say on any question when he got through. Jones had been so impressed that he had gone home and ordered a dozen Masonic books to read — of course he never had had time to read them.

There was to be no degree tonight. Jones was sorry as he had not seen a degree for several years. The last one he had witnessed was not well done. The master in the East had been most unhappily imperfect and very un-dramatic in his work. . . .

“. . . the great pleasure and honor of introducing to you the speaker of the evening, the Honorable Simon. . . Someone coughed and Jones did not get the name. He settled back in his seat to enjoy the address.

Alas, it was not enjoyable. The Honorable Simon Something-or-other was one of that too common type of lodge speakers — a man well known in the civic or political world, trading on his reputation to make a speech in a lodge on a subject of which he knew little — Masonry. Therefore he soon branched off to something he did know. In this case it was game conservation and Jones was bored. The speaker had a monotonous voice and droned and droned — in his rear seat Jones nodded. He made a manful effort to keep awake but the room was warm, the drawling tones sang a lullaby and soon Jones settled back in his seat and went peacefully to sleep.

Dreams are odd things. They come without warning and combine the most curious ideas with others more natural . . . funny that he had no previous recollection of his assignment. Here he was up in the East on the platform, making a Masonic speech! The words came readily to his lips — he was quite proud of the Masonic knowledge that had somehow magically been acquired. It was interesting, too — all this about the old monk who wrote the Regius Poem and the first grand master, named Sayer, and Sir Christopher Wren and St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the cathedral builders and their lodge and the significance of a cornerstone . . . the audience was interested, too. He could see them leaning forward in their seats and you could have heard a pin drop.

It was really a fine address he made, and Jones was modestly proud of himself. Especially of his closing, which was really startling and dramatic. He could see the almost shocked surprise on many faces. He finished, bowed — the applause was deafening. The brethren rose to their feet to cheer him. Making a speech was really pleasant — besides, it was a service to his brethren, the lodge, the great Fraternity. He must accept some more invitations; let a few picture shows and parties go. . . .

It was odd to be in bed in dress clothes with a silk hat on and a jewel around his neck, but of course, those crowds of Masonic visitors who were so anxiously inquiring about him and being allowed a few at a time to enter his sick room, must be impressed. They were coming, of course, because he was so well-known and well liked a Mason — a brother you could depend on to give a great Masonic speech — one never too busy to do something for his brethren. It almost made it worthwhile to be sick to experience so delightful an afternoon as all the brethren in his lodge came crowding around his bed anxious to inquire for his welfare and hope for his speedy recovery. They were all there — the few he knew by name, the many he recognized only as lodge brethren — that odd chap with the long beard; the young fellow with a scar on his face; the fat little man who wheezed as he talked; the funny brother with the lopsided chin, the scraggly hair, and the soiled apron; and — Oh, there was the Master!

He had on a silk hat, too. Yes, of course. He had come to get Jones — there was a degree to be conferred, and the Master knew Jones could do it beautifully. He would go, of course. One always did a duty like that. And of course, he could put on the degree, how did it commence, now . . . “It was the custom of our Grand Master — twelve fellow-craft clothed in white — the sea-faring man sure, he knew it, knew it well.

It was really worthwhile coming to lodge to hear himself as Master put on a degree. His periods were so rounded, his elocution so forceful, his words so colored with deep and true Masonic meaning. “The candidate is impressed, you can see it” he thought exultantly. “There goes Smith, poor devil, stumbling first over his rod, then over his words. Pity he couldn’t memorize better. I’ll have to give Smith a few lessons.” A degree really should be well done. It is a fraud on the candidate not to give him a well done degree — he couldn’t quite remember who had told him that but it was certainly so. Well, never mind Smith . . . now for the raising, which must be very, very, very impressive indeed. . . .

Curious how his lodge changed into a grand lodge, like that. But of course it had to, since he was grand master. The jurisdiction had heard so much of his fine speeches and listened so often to his wonderful degree work they couldn’t elect anyone else grand master. A great grand lodge, this of his. And a great occasion. For was he not only grand master but also chairman of the jurisprudence committee? That chairman held the grand lodge in the hollow of his hand. Whatever he reported, the grand lodge voted. They should of course — the chairman was very learned.

As grand master in the East, Jones approved of himself as chairman of the jurisprudence committee. But Jones as chairman must not go too far. Now this, for instance — this legislation he was advocating — something to do with the Masonic home. Perhaps that better wait a while.

He brought his gavel down firmly. “Brother Jones” said Grand Master Jones to Chairman Jones, “Brother Jones, I think we will consider that later. It should go to the committee on social expenditures and entertainment. You may continue. . . .”

Brother Jones bowed to him obsequiously. Even the chairman of the jurisprudence committee has to bow to the grand master! It was good to be grand master, soothing to wear the purple. And every one of those past grand masters — they could speak if he let them, and he could refuse to let them speak if he wished!

That is, all but Venerable Brother. The chairman of the jurisprudence committee asked a question. Grand Master Jones knew the answer — indeed, he knew all the answers! But let Brother Venerable strut his stuff.

“We will let Brother Venerable answer that” he heard himself saying.

Brother Venerable rose, learning on his cane. The grand lodge, tired with sitting, rose too, to give him a round of applause. Grand Master Jones was not particularly surprised to see that Venerable Brother was really Venerable Brother Jones. Someone named Jones knew all the answers!

Venerable Brother Jones expounded at some length. When he had finished there was nothing more to say because it had all been said. At his finger tips Venerable Brother Jones had all the facts and quoted several authorities — Pike and Mackey and Johnson and Meekren and Hunt and. . . .

Grand Master Jones was proud of himself as Venerable Brother Jones and almost joined in the applause. Not quite, because a grand master must never lay down his gavel, and besides, it is not modest to applaud oneself.

Now, who was this? Oh, of course; Most Worshipful Brother Ritualist, the grand lecturer. This should be a report worth hearing. All over the state he went, Brother Ritualist, to instruct lodges in how to do the work. He was greatly respected and always beautifully entertained. The officers and ritualistically inclined brethren of the lodges he visited hung upon his words.

The Grand Lecturer reported. Then he began to describe some of the receptions and social functions he had attended. It was not odd that they were all triumphant tours — why, Brother Ritualist was really Brother Ritualist Jones! Jones had been doing this work for years. Of course the brethren wanted to hear how well he had been entertained and how much the lodges had made over him. That was only justly due and right for one who had done so much for ritual in the state. Had not he, as grand master, just said as much of himself as Brother Ritual Jones?

His own lodge, he recalled, needed a lot of instruction. None of the officers could put on a degree as he could. He must send Brother Ritual Jones to instruct his lodge and, when they were ready, he would go himself again to put on a degree and show them how it should be done. . .. When Grand Master Jones sends Ritual Brother Jones to instruct a lodge and Worshipful Master Jones then puts on the degree, it simply could not be other than perfect, and. . . .

Now, who is this? Oh, of course. Dear old Brother Librarian! He always has the prosiest kind of a report; just statistics of books received and books loaned out and and. . ..

“Brother Librarian, I think we will take the will for the deed and accept your report unread and. . . .”

Someone is interrupting! Why, that is the chairman of the jurisprudence committee . . . “Yes, Brother Chairman?” “Oh. It isn’t legal to accept a report unread? In that case, of course, Brother Librarian, you will proceed. . . .

It was prosy, too! Darn that chairman. I could have saved us all that. Well, never mind, I’ll make up for make a speech myself! Tisn’t every grand lodge that has a Grand Master Jones who is known all over the state as Orator Brother Jones, called for in every lodge, applauded to the echo. . .. “All those in favor of accepting the Librarian’s report make the voting sign of a Mason, carried. Next, Brother Grand Secretary?”

Curious the way they are getting dim, misty out there — and books — books — books — what are all those books doing in grand lodge. Why, this isn’t grand lodge, is it? It is the great library and there is Librarian beckoning me. . . . “Sure I’ve read that. Yes, and that, too. No, I don’t want to read that old thing — you know, I’ve read all the books you have worth reading — why doesn’t someone write a new, GOOD book on Masonry? What? Why, I never thought of it. I could do that, couldn’t I?”

“Clever man, that librarian. ‘Write it myself’ Well, why not? I know so much more about Masonry than anyone else in this state, I ought to. I’ll get to work on it right away. What will I call it. . . . What I know about Masonry! Too long for a title and besides, I couldn’t get it all in. Freemason’s Pocket Lexicon and Monitor. I think there is just a book, seems to me I have that at home. . . . Oh, I know. I’ll call it A Prophet Speaks on Masonry and my reputation will be. . . .”

They shouldn’t flash lights in a fellow’s face like that . . . and who is that talking? And what’s he talking about? “And in closing, my brethren, let me say that conservation of wildlife is a most important subject and one well repaying study. I thank you. . . .”

Jones shook himself. He must have dropped off to sleep. The boresome speech was finished, anyway. And what a dream — a set of dreams he had had!

He put on his hat and coat and left the temple thoughtfully.

At home his wife was waiting up for him. “My dear,” he said as he entered, “Will you get out those old Masonic books I bought and never read? I have an idea I’ve been neglecting something important. Maybe I better find out a little about Masonry — it WOULD be swell to be master or make a good speech or put on a degree. . . .

“Did you have a pleasant evening?” asked Mrs. Jones. “You’d be surprised!” answered Jones.

The Masonic Service Association of North America