Ladies of the American Buffaloes
M., * *: If any are present who are not entitled to meet with us, they will kindly retire to the ante room. The marshals will present themselves to me for test.
Marshals arise, turn toward each other, advance each two steps, face M., and advance close to her. Each in tarn gives M. the annual pass-word and grip. Then inward face, face altar.
step forward to line to their chairs, and walk directly to them, seating themselves.
M.: Monitor, care for the door.
MON.: M.R.F., you will post the guards.
M.R.F. arises, proceeds to lower side of altar where she salutes Mon., goes toward Mon. and to door, where she stands facing Mon.
MON.: Inner guard, attend the outer door and ask the O.G. to present herself to the marshal for test.
I.G. passes out and O.G. enters, salutes Mon., goes to the left side of M.R.F., gives her pass-word and grip. and returns to outer door. I.G. returns, salutes Mon., does the same and remains standing at her station. M.R.F. returns to her station, saluting M. at the altar.
M.R.F.: Monitor, the guards are posted.
M.R.F. salutes Mon. and she and I.G. seat themselves.
M.: The marshals will take up the pass-word and grip from all present.
If any member can not give the password the marshal on that side will say: Mater, I find sister … without the pass-word.
M.: Scribe, is this member in good standing?
Scribe replies yes or no. If in good standing Mater says to the member: You may approach and receive the pass-word. Then the pass-word must be given to the Marshal.
If the member is suspended and pays her arrears the password may be given her, otherwise the password will not be given. A member in arrears can not vote or talk, hold office, or receive password until re-instated
Marshals return to altar together, both saluting.
M.R.F.: Mater, there are no strangers in the right flank.
M.L.F.: Mater, there are no strangers present in the left flank.
M.: Then we may proceed without fear.
Marshals both salute again, proceed to their chairs and seat themselves.
* * *.
Officers rise and as each is questioned she salutes and M. responds before she replies.
M.: Monitor, what are your duties?
MON.: Station No. 2. My duties are to assist the Mater by superintending the door and doing whatever requested by her.
M.: Chancelor and Scribe, what are your duties?
S.: Station No. 5. Mater, as Chancelor I keep in my possession all papers, seals and documents; as scribe, I keep a record of all transactions, conduct all correspondence, and receive the dues and assessments paid in by members.
M.: Banker, what are you answerable for?
B.: Station No. 4. Mater, I am answerable for all monies that pass through my hands. I pay all orders that are signed by yourself and the scribe, and no others. I keep an account of the disbursements, and present written report of the same to the managers twice a year.
M.: Marshals, what are your functions.
Both Marshals rise, step two steps to R. and L. of chairs respectively, and face obliquely toward Mater. M.L.F. salutes, saying: Station No. 7, and Mater responds. M.R.F. salutes and responds to query alone, thus:
M.R.P.: Our functions are, first, to collect pass-words from members; second, to examine visitors; third to conduct candidates through the initiation, and to act as pages to the matter.
M.: Inner Guard, what services do you perform?
I.G.: Station No. 8. My duties are to take up the pass-word and grip at the door, and allow none to enter who can not give those, unless so directed by the Mater.
MON.: Inner Guard, you may take the place of the outer guard and allow her to enter.
M.: Outer guard, what is your service to the Herd?
O.G., salutes: I guard all approaches to the Herd, I challenge all who enter and allow no strangers to molest.
MON.: Take your place again and bid the inner guard return
O.G. salutes Monitor going out and I.G. salutes her on coming in.
G.M., giving Mater’s salute: Mater, what duties devolve upon you?
M.: Station No. 1. Grand Mater, I preside at all meetings with justice, see that the officers learn and conduct their parts, enforce rules of the order, declare results of ballots, and am also the custodian of the charter.
G.M.: Let the officers do their best, and all members should become familiar with the ritualistic work of the Herd. Remains standing.
* * * *.
M.: Let us sing the opening ode.
Oh! our best, our noblest motives
Should direct this daily life;
Protect us from our evil passions,
Keep us from all rage and strife.
Thus, by daily upward striving,
We may turn away our past:
And by higher, better living,
Come into our own at last.
See the wealth of friendly feeling
In this band of sisters dear;
It turns our hearts from bitter dealing,
Makes the path to Kindness clear.
Thus our best, our guardian spirits,
Watching o’er us from afar,
Will have cause for great rejoicing
As they guide from star to star.
M.: I now declare ready for business Herd No. … of the Order of Ladies of the American Buffaloes.
M.: Marshal of the left flank, you will ascertain if there are any candidates in the ante room waiting to be admitted.
M.L.F. goes to altar, salutes monitor and passes out; returning, stops at altar and salutes Mater.
M.L.F.: Mater, I find: … gives full name of candidate who wishes to be admitted to this Herd.
Resumes her seat.
M.: Scribe, have these candidates paid their assessments and dues?
If S. says they have not mater continues:
M.: Scribe, you will repair to the ante room, accompanied by the marshal of the left flank, and make the necessary financial arrangements with the candidates.
Scribe and M.L.F. approach altar, salute Mon., and retire to ante room, where scribe collects dues and assessments.
As soon as they have left the room mater calls someone to the chair and the officers leave the room to put on their regalia and when ready to return march in, following line of march for opening rites. Orator remains in ante room.
SCRIBE: Mater, the arrangements are perfected and the candidate is ready.
M.: Marshals, you will prepare the candidates for the ceremony of initiation.
Marshals arise, go to altar, salute mater, turn, salute monitor, and leave the room, and the room is arranged as is necessary.
M.R.F in reception room to candidate: You need have no fears: we will not play any tricks upon you, nor hurt you in any way, but, you must let me take you into a room which is dark, where you will sit alone long enough to think over your past life quietly.
M.L.F. also assures her that no one will her or lay hands on her, and that they (the marshals) will be just outside the door and will come to her when it is time.
The O.G. and marshals stay on outside of outer door after they have seated candidate just inside the door of the ante room, which is absolutely dark. The orator allows complete silence to last until candidate has become in an expectant mood, then speaks slowly and distinctly.
O.: As this darkness which surrounds you is void and repellant, so is the evil which darkens the soul of man. As Stygian darkness enveloped the spirits of Hades, while they were conveyed in silence over the River of Death, so does this gloom pervade the space around you; as this darkness so are the fetters of the evil one, which he lays heavily on the soul burdened with wrong.
Draws a long sigh and rattles a heavy chain.
But a clear conscience will make all darkness clear as noonday, and solitude merely allows quiet for reflection.
Short pause. Heavy bell strikes once. Would sound best if struck by I.G. near wicket of inner door.
O.: The bell strikes one. We take no note of time, but from its loss; to give it then a tongue is wise in man.
O.: Before you enter the portals of yonder hall, consider why you do so. Is it solely for amusement? for selfish gain? for idle curiosity? If so, then I would advise you not to enter─for those who enter into this sisterhood must labor for a common cause, and earnestly endeavor to upbuild the institution. Listen to these scriptural admonitions.
1. A tale bearer revealeth secrets. She that is wise concealeth the matter.
2. And lo! when thy friend was said to do wrong, consider, for it may be she hath not done it.
3. For often it is but slander, and believe not every tale.
4. Stretch out your hand to the poor; reach forth your hands to the needy.
5. For who so stoppeth her ears at t he cry of the poor, she shall also cry herself, but shall not be heard.
6. Be in haste to visit the sick, and comfort them that be in sorrow.
Are you willing to meet with the rich and the poor, and to do what good you can in this short life?
Candidate answers: ….
O.: Then you may proceed upon your journey. Farewell.
Orator covers face and head in cloak, sheet, or any covering, so as to remain unknown, while marshals return to ante room, turn on the light and blindfold the candidate. Marshals inform I.G. that they are ready to enter and the organist begins soft and slow music. In the hall between station No. 2 and station No. 4, somewhat nearer No. 3, is a bier, on which lies a member in the attitude of death, covered, face and all with a sheet. This is placed with head toward No. 2 and at the foot of the bier stands a member holding overhead a torch. A candle may be used instead of a torch. This is the only light in the room. Four or five members stand between bier and wall near the bier, in the attitude of mourners. Mourners and orator should wear long black robe with cowl. The remainder of the members should remain far enough away so as not to be seen, or a black curtain may be stretched across the room on lower side of altar.
Orator has entered hail after candidate was blindfolded, and stands near organ, or near mourners as she prefers.
Marshals escort candidate up to station No. 4 where they pause. On the way M.R.F. speaks:
M.R.F.: How dark and dreary seems the plain on which our Herd is gathered. The skies are overcast, and an oppressive stillness in the air.
Bell tolls. Deep sounding bell or heavy bass triangle should be struck slowly several times to imitate a bell. Marshal remains standing near station No. 4.
Orator speaks or intones clearly, while organist plays very soft accompanying strains.
O.: Man is like to vanity, his days are as a shadow that passeth away; They are passed away as the swift ship; as the eagle that hasteth to the prey.
We are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow. In a moment we shall die, and the mighty shall he taken away.
Moving to line of altar.
M.R.F.: This must be the death watch of one of the members of the Herd.
M.L.F.: It surely is. One of the members has died and her sisters are weeping with those that weep, and mourning with those that mourn. To candidate: We would have you see how tenderly these women care for one another.
Removes blindfold. They approach bier passing the lower side of altar.
Mourners chant: She sleeps,
Our sister sleeps;
Free from care and sorrow,
Our sister sleeps.
They kneel about the bier with lowered heads. Torch hearer remains standing, lowers torch, and raises her face. The tableau thus formed is maintained until candidate is blindfolded. M.R.F. waits a moment for effect of tableau, then she blindfolds candidate again, saving:
M.R.F.: That is a sad scene, but it shows kind attention to the sick, and respectful care of the dead on the part of these ladies who belong to this noble order. Let us take another path and see if we cannot gain entrance to the Herd itself.
As they escort candidate to the ante room, (beyond which she is not allowed to stray) Orator resumes reading and organist plays.
O.: Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? All flesh shall perish together, but they that mourn are blessed, and shall be comforted, themselves.
As soon as candidate and marshals have gone into ante room, the ball is lighted and everything made ready for next scene; the hail is restored to its usual order, officers resume their proper places, lights are turned on, and candidate is brought to entrance door. Marshals notify I.G. when ready, and mater gives four raps. All arise and begin to sing initiation ode, when marshals enter with candidate and march her around the room, stopping her at altar facing monitor. At close of ode mater seats all with one rap.
Welcome, welcome stranger,
Come abide you here,
Come be one of us,
There is naught to fear.
Here Kindness and Fidelity,
Love and Truth hold sway,
Justice rules our actions,
So come with us to stay.
MON.: My friends, we desire that you realize the full value of our obligation. Do you feel confident that we would in no wise require you to do or say ought against your conscience?
Candidate: I do.
MON.: Or against your civil or religious liberty?
Candidate: I do.
MON.: That we would not curtail your usefulness to friends, but rather help you to a life of worth?
Candidate: I do.
MON.: The marshals will conduct you to station No. 3, and our banker will question you further.
Marshals conduct candidate to station No. 3. facing station No. 4.
B.: Do you know that Sorosis means a sisterhood, and that in a sisterhood the members are as one family?
Candidate: I do.
B.: Do you know that in a society of this kind you are to bury all hatred for individuals and to cultivate a spirit of kindness toward all?
Candidate: I do.
B.: Do you believe you can always lay aside all ill will toward these your sisters so that you may deal fairly by all?
Candidate: I do.
B.: Then you are ready for the obligation which will he administered to you by our grand mater.
Marshals take candidate to lower side of altar facing mater. G.M. approaches upper side of altar and faces candidate. The by laws may be placed on bible or may be substituted for the bible it any object to its being used in this way.
Mater gives four raps of gavel.
G.M.: Place your right hand on your heart, your left hand on the bible (or) the by laws of our society. Say I, give your own name, and repeat after me, thus:
G.M. says: I, candidate repeats: I, and gives her own name, and G. M. proceeds with the obligation, section by section, candidate repeating it after her.
I, …, do hereby promise that I will hold forever sacred all the secret work of this order of whatsoever kind which may be intrusted to me never revealing it to any save those entitled to receive it. I promise to obey the laws customs and requirements of the Supreme Herd; to faithfully work for the best interests of the order and of any Herd thereof.
To uphold the good name of all members. To attend, whenever possible, all meetings of this Herd and to assist at all times cheerfully in the business or work required of its members.
I vow and affirm in the presence of these witnesses that I will faithfully observe this obligation or suffer the displeasure and discipline of this society.
Response by all members: We hear and will remember this vow. Mater gives one rap of gavel.
G.M.: You may resume your natural position and our characters ‘sill proclaim themselves.
When the proper character is in her place according to the drill book, she will take one step forward, present banner and deliver her part speaking distinctly and effectively. Then the others in their turn, will do likewise.
KINDESS: Be kind! be good, and let who will be clever.
In presenting to you our doctrines, we wish to impress upon you the need of humanity, of benevolence, and good deeds. We have constant demands made on our sympathies by friends and neighbors, by kinsfolk, and also the stranger that is within our gates. Let us not become callous, nor let our hearts get cold, but be ever ready to befriend the needy, defend the helpless and bestow kindness with open hand.
Points to symbol on banner: In faith and hope the world will disagree,
But all mankind’s concern is charity.
The escort on her left steps forward holding lighted candle. If electric lights are used in hall, turn the switch at word charity, leaving the candle the only light in room; lights to be turned on when K. has finished, when she and her escort step back to place.
K., pointing with left forefinger to candle: See how far that little candle throws its beams: So shines a good deed in this naughty world of ours.
DISCRETION, pointing to symbol on banner: The symbol of Discretion is the key which keeps close shut the spirit of misrule. ‘‘Discretion is the better part of valor.’’
How true it is that prudence will disarm violence; will keep in check those hasty words and actions that unbridled might lead to dispute and ruptured friendships; will act as a handmaid unto wisdom, and keeps the tongue from unwise utterance. Bear in mind the proverb of the Silent Arab, "Remember thy friend has a friend and thy friend’s friend has a friend", therefore be discreet.
FIDELITY: The faithful soul is the one who never shrinks from duty’s calls; whose loyalty as a member of our society is unquestioned; whose fealty to her friends is never quenched; who responds alike to demands made upon her strength, her time, her friendship or her piety.
Points to symbol on banner: Fidelity clasps hands with Dependence on the shield of protection over the cross of misfortune.
"For friendship, of itself an holy tie,
Is made more sacred by adversity."
TRUTH: A deaf mute was asked to define truth. He drew upon a paper a straight line. He was asked to define a lie and he drew a crooked line. How potent was this answer. The, child who could not speak, neither could he hear, still had the clearest insight as to the meaning of this word; the wonderful points to arrow on banner accuracy, exactness and directness of truth. Truth is simplicity itself, and yet this world has been made so crooked, so warped and twisted, that we seldom see her face.
The ancients said Truth lay at the bottom of a deep well, where few could find her, and she was ever seeking the light. But she is always here. Oh, do not obscure her visage but let her dwell with us on these our own green plains.
MON.: The marshals will guide the candidate to the station of the mater.
M.R.F.: Mater, we have brought to you this lady for instruction.
M.: The marshals will seat you.
Marshals place chairs for themselves and candidates about five feet from mater’s station facing her.
M.: You will pay close attention to the instruction I now give you.
Our permanent password will now be given you.
Directs M.R.F. to do so.
M.: This is never used in the Herd, but is used as a test of membership. If you wish to test the membership of a lady ask her to spell the test word of our order. She must begin with B─I; You will respond with S, and she must complete it with O─N. The annual password will now be given you.
Directs M.L.F. to give this.
M.: If you are late at any meeting, knock at the outer door with any knock you please, and when the outer guard appears at wicket, you will give the first of the words lust given you, when you will be admitted to the ante room. Here you will give five raps on the inner door in this manner: ** ** *.
The inner guard will demand the password from you and you will give her the last of the two words lust given you. The inner guard will now admit you to the Herd, but will demand the grip from you as soon as you have passed the door. This is given in the following manner: The hands are clasped as in shaking hands but each person makes pressure with the thumb and forefinger.
Then you will advance up the side of the room to station No. 3 and cross over to the altar. Here you will give the salute, which is made in this way: right hand on level with face; middle fingers clasped with thumb, fore and little fingers extended, palm forward.
The mater will respond with this salute: the hand with extended fingers and thumb is brought to right temple and thrust four inches forward and back.
Then you will take your seat. If you wish to retire or cross the room you will arise from your seat, say Mater, and saluting her, ask the desired permission. If she makes the response to the salute you have received permission. Otherwise you will resume your seat. On leaving the room, salute the Monitor, standing with back to altar to do so.
The traveling or recognition sign is made thus: Fingers held same as in the salute with thumb under chin, extended fingers on right cheek, then sweep little finger down, sweep forefinger down.
The response to it is made same as salute with tip of forefinger stroking the right eyebrow outward.
The sign of recognition between the American Buffaloes and L.O.A.B. is the same as the Mater’s salute except that it is made with the left hand. The grand honors are given to visiting members or to your own members for recognition of special services and other like occasions and are given thus: right hand at shoulder, left hand at waist, palm up strike right on left three times, strike left on right three times and then right on left three times.
The minor honors are given on receiving the pass-word, and may be given spontaneously whenever occasion suggests its use. This consists of the handkerchief waved rapidly in the right hand.
Two raps of the gavel calls to order.
Three calls up the officers.
Four calls up the members.
One seats all
Our colors are green and white, indicative of the verdant summer and the winter’s snow, denoting that even as the perpetuity of the seasons, so shall our order endure.
Our flower is the sunflower, and its color, gold, may be added to the green and white when further decoration is needed.
Our motto is Nulli secundis; pro bono publico: second to none for the good of the people.
Being in full possession of the secret work of our order, you will now sign the constitution and by-laws.
Here candidate is escorted to table of the scribe, where she inscribes her name in a hook kept for that purpose. If more than one candidate they are taken one by one to the desk. When this is finished the candidate is brought directly up to the mater and she presents her with a flower, a badge, a knot of green and white ribbon or some little token, while candidate’s chair is removed. Marshals wheel candidate around facing altar, and about half way between the altar and station No. 1.
M., * * * *: Daughters, stand at attention!
Members step forward on right foot, salute, and remain in this position till mater gives response.
M.: Form the circle of Sorosis around your new sister.
Members clasp each the hand of the one next, raise the clasped hands to a level of the breast. Then all circle past stations No. 4, No. 1, and No. 3, making a complete circuit of hall.
M.: Break circle!
Members drop hands.
M.: Salute! *.
Marshals wheel candidate facing Mater.
M.: You are now a member of a Sorosis banded together for kind and noble deeds. In the journey you have taken about our plains to-night, you were placed in positions where you could not help but learn that to gain admission to our Herd was a matter of some seriousness.
You were conducted into the Chamber of Darkness that you might have space to reflect upon the nature of your undertaking. You were led into the Chamber of Death that you might observe for yourself the nature of the ministrations of these sisters one to another, as in the Death Watch, and from this scene you learned what is expected of us in our care of ailing members.
In the brighter scenes, our ceremonies were designed to teach you useful lessons. In the obligation you took at the altar you promised to do your full duty as a member, and to defend the good name of all members.
Though we believe that most of our members are strong and upright, yet human nature is weak, and some will err. When rumors of ill behavior reach your ears concerning a member, defend her name, and if proof positive shows the rumors to be true and your defence will no longer defend, then at least be silent, and do not add to the weight that drags her clown.
Remember what is said of "Slander, whose tongue is sharper than the sword whose tongue outvenoms all the worms of Nile."
Also remember that a true sister of our order does no other woman a wrong. hut with friendship and KINDNESS for all, she acts with that DISCRETION which marks every successful life; she clings to the TRUTH, and by her FIDELITY proves herself a worthy member of a useful sisterhood.
Turns the empty hour glass which is at her side so that the sands begin to run.
Even as the sands run through the hour glass, so do the moments of your life pass swiftly away. See that these golden moments do not run to waste.
"Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing leave behind us
Footprints in the sands of time.
Let us then be up and doing
With a heart for any fate.
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait."
M.: I now declare you a member of … Herd, No. …, Ladies of the American Buffaloes.
We will give you the grand honors and the minor honors, after which you will be seated with the members.
Mater leads the honors. *.
M.: Monitor, have you in mind anything which should be brought before us now?
MON.: No, Mater, all has been said and done that should be.
M.: Characters, you will lay your banners on the altar. Marshals, lay your spears upon the altar. They do so.
* * * *.
Members stand at attention.
Marshal of the right flank, at the close of the singing you will gather up the cards and rituals and bring them to the scribe, who, in her capacity of Chancelor, will keep them under lock and key.
Marshal of the left flank, during the singing you will gather up the regalia and deliver them to the inner guard.
Marshals meet at altar and both salute M., then they cross past each other. M.R.F. nearest altar, and M.R.F. proceeds to manager’s Station, where she waits until the ode is sung. M.L.F. goes to scribe’s desk, down that side, going to foot of hall, crossing directly in front of station No. 2, gathering up regalia as she goes, and gives the same to I.G. Then she proceeds directly to stations 9, 10, and 11, gathering up regalia from that side, which she takes to I.G. and returns to her station, going past station 3. At close of ode, M.R.F. proceeds around entire wall of room, gathers up the rituals and ode cards, taking them to the scribe, and goes to her seat.
M.: Let us sing the closing ode.
Oh Ladies of the Buffaloes,
Now we look to you
To lie always cheerful,
Loyal, right and true;
Ever up and ready
To battle ‘gainst the wrong;
Thus to make life’s Journey
As one grand sweet song.
Always help each other,
Let friendship never fail,
Be ye Sisters truly,
Let loving hearts prevail;
High, oh raise your standard,
With good your lives imbue;
Dear Ladies of the Buffaloes:
For this we look to you
M.: Grand Mater, have you a word to say to the members?
G.M.: Yes mater, I have. I would remind our friends that we must never forget during the intervals between the meetings, to practice what we preach, to carry into our homes the lessons we learn when gathered in the Herd.
M.: Let us remember the parting injunctions of our Grand Mater and practice our duties during the days of our separation.
Form the circle of Sorosis.
Mater steps into circle, but remains near her station.
I hope this evening has been profitable to some one, either in our Herd or some other of all those assembled under the evening sky; That you, my friends, may recall our past meetings with pleasure, and that all our members may be present at our next meeting. Meantime may we all be well and happy. Daughters, good-night.
All respond: Mater, good-night.