Methodist Order of Knighthood
Ritual of the Second or Esquire’s Degree
The P.M. shall arrive early, and, assisted by the M. and K.E., prepare the
room, and the Kt. Chancellor shall provide articles that are to be brought to
Instructions: In this degree all except Officers are called Comrades. The room is as ranged as for the Page’s degree, with the exception of one corner, which is enclosed by a form or two, and contains a table or box covered with white cloth, and three chairs. On the table are two biscuits or small cakes and two mugs of water. The mugs may be made of a cocoanut cut in halves, and the halves hollowed out till only wood remains. Two swords to be placed by the table, out of sight. One yard of calico and a safety pin in it, to be folded up and put on one of the chairs, for use by the K.Comp. A small pointed stick to he put on K.C.’s table, with Bible, pen, ink, and rubber stamp and pad used as seal of the Order Covered chair to be in front of K.C. as in first degree K.E. to have sword, and K.C. sceptre, and regalia, as described in the first degree, to be worn by all according to rank. Other instructions as given in preface to the fist degree All persons present will ho challenged and tested in the Esquires’ degree.
K.C., one loud knock on table: Officers and Comrades, assist me to open this assembly. Stand.
K.C.: We cordially welcome you to this assembly, Comrades. Before opening our proceedings, however, let me earnestly remind you that as courtesy is of the essence of knightliness, I must charge you, in the name of the Order, that you observe that quality in this Court’s proceedings, that all may be done in the spirit of goodwill. All give the sign of assent, as taught in the former degree Remain standing.
The ceremony proceeds, as in first degree, down to the giving of the sign of an Esquire, then:
K.C.: I acknowledge the correctness of this test also, and salute you all with the countersign. Sir Bp., will you please read to us from the Word of God, which is the sword of the Spirit? Reads Luke 12:2 to 4, or 3rd Epistle General of John, verses 1 to 8.
K.C. to Bp.: And now let us have the benefit of prayer.
Bp.: May the wisdom of the Lord our God direct us in all our proceedings this night, that we may learn the spirit of true comradeship to youth and maiden, man and woman and with Christian courtesy may we maintain the honour of our Order and the rights of those who are enduring wrong. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and King.
All: Amen. And Lord’s Prayer.
K.C.: Let us sing our opening hymn. Done.
K.C.: I now declare this Court opened in the Second or Esquires’ Degree.
K.C.: Be seated, Comrades.
Admission of late-comers. The usual business, etc , as in first degree. See Ritual.
K.C.: We are now ready to proceed to the business of initiating Pages into this Court of Esquires. Sir C.K., I will thank you to read us the names of those whom we have agreed to initiate at this Court. Reads them.
K.C.: Sir P.M. and M., I now direct you to take your staves and go outside, where you will at once prepare them for their initiation. When ready, you will each give your knocks.
Having securely blind-folded Page, they give him instructions to knock as a Page, while they each knock as Esquires afterwards.
K.E.: Sir K.C., there are knocks at the door; is it your will that I attend to the call?
K.C.: Yes, please, attend to it, Sir Kt., and report to me.
K.E., slightly opening door: Who goes there?
P.M. gives password in whisper, usual manner.
K.E.: Whom do you bring with you?
P.M.: One who, with the Court’s permission, I bring with me to be initiated as an Esquire.
K.E.: What is his name?
K.E. to Page: Have you the Password of a Page? Gives it in proper manner.
K.E.: Wait till I report. Shuts door.
K.E. gives sign: Sir K.C., outside stands Sir P.M. and M., who bring with them a Page named
Percivale, who, I am informed, comes with the permission of this Court, properly prepared to be made an Esquire.
K.C.: Has he the password of a Page, Sir Kt.
K.E.: Yes, Sire.
K.C.: As none who have not been regularly initiated into our mysteries may enter a Court of Esquires without also being blindfolded, I must first of all require you to see this done, then he may enter.
K.E. repeats this to P.M. Blindfold must not cover much of forehead, to enable cross, etc.
P.M.: The Companion is blindfolded, Sir Kt.: we thank you, and shall now enter. Admitted, and door securely closed. Stands with a Marshal each side of him, who carry their staves on the shoulder. They stand behind the Marshal’s chairs.
K.C.: Let us give heed to a portion of Scripture.
Bp. reads Exodus 34: 6.7.
K.C.: Comrades, let us stand with bowed heads while Sir Bp. gives the Companion the benefit of prayer.
Bp.: Grant, Lord, Thy presence continually within the life of this Thy servant, now standing amongst us, that he may be made merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, as every true Knight ought to be. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and King. All say: Amen.
K.C.: Be seated, Comrades. Companion and Marshals remain standing.
K.C. to Companion: As the secrets of this degree must be kept with the same strict fidelity as enjoined upon you in the former degree, I have to ask you if you are now prepared to pledge yourself never to reveal any of the secrets belonging to this degree.
Companion: I am.
K.C.: You will then advance to my table, and kneel upon your left knee, when I will place your right hand upon the opened Bible thus does it. Now repeat after me this solemn pledge knocks, all stand with bowed heads:—On my word of honour, I promise to endeavour to be worthy of the honour about to be conferred upon me. I pledge myself to be a Comrade to my fellow Esquires, and to stand by them when they need my help. I further pledge myself never to be discourteous or impolite to women or girls, but, on the contrary, invariably to show them honour, gentleness, and courtesy, using my strength to guard their weakness, and to enforce similar conduct upon others. I promise to faithfully keep the secrets of this degree, and anything my Comrades may entrust to me as such, whether within the Court or not.
K.C.: Be seated, Comrades. Marshals and Companions remain as they were.
K.C.: The C.K. and D.K.C. (or P.K.C,) will show you the emblem of this degree. If more than one Candidate, the C.K. will be assisted by others. It consists of a cross, made upon the forehead, thus: K.C. makes a cross on his own forehead with his clean finger, while C.K. makes a cross with some soot, or other black substance, on the Companion’s forehead, simultaneously with the K.C.’s action, also saying, "Thus."
K.C. to Companion: You will need me to tell you that now appears upon your forehead a black cross, the meaning of which I shall presently explain to you. You will now raise your right hand to your forehead and …. Done. This is the sign of the degree, and when entering or leaving the assembly, when we are opening or closing, or when you are addressing the chair, you must give this sign, halting at the last part, which resembles a salute, with the palm of your hand turned inwards. As you draw your hand … in giving this sign, you momentarily shut both eyes, in remembrance that you were blindfolded when it was taught to you.
The countersign is to do with die left hand what you did with the right hand again moving from left to right, and pausing at the right side, closing your eyes for a moment as you make the sign. Whenever you are given the first sign by a comrade, you must answer with the second.
K.C.: I now raise you to your feet with the grip of an Esquire, thus: Rise, Comrade. He rises. P.M. removes blindfold. The knock is the same as that of the Page plus another soft knock: ―.―. I am now permitted, as Commander of this assembly, to inform you that the password is whispers: …. This word is to be given in two parts, as in the former degree.—S… first and C.... afterwards. With the aid of the C.K., you will now set out for King Arthur’s Court, where, let me assure you, you will meet the best and noblest, the most bountiful of men, called Knights. Marshal retires, P.M. remains P.H. tells Comrade to ask C.K. "Who are these?" Does.
C.K.: They are King Arthur’s Knights.
P.M.: His mother told him we were angels!
Kt. Ent. Says: One, two, three! On last word all give one clap and stamp simultaneously.
C.K.: Would you be a Knight also?
C.K.: Then we shall ask the K.C.
C.K. addressing K.C.: Sire, this comrade would he made a Knight.
K.C.: Right glad am I to hear it. It is the noblest Order in the world, and has the highest ideals of Christianity for its aims. A true Knight is a true Christian, and only those must be admitted to our Order of Knighthood who will maintain the honour of so noble a company by having proved himself a Comrade to all, especially to women and girls, and who have spent much time in doing knightly deeds. How old are you, Companion?
Comrade: Over seven.
K.C.: Having become an Esquire, you will be asked instead, "How old are you, Comrade?" to which you will answer, "Not under fourteen," because it was after the Page had turned 14 that he was made an Esquire. When you are 21 we will, if your conduct commends itself to us, make you a Knight. Meantime, you will retire to the castle of King Pecheur, where you undergo a course of knightly preparation. The C.K. will conduct you thither, but as you will no doubt meet with adventures by the way, we will first of all ask your attention to the following:—
Comrade is permitted to sit between Marshals during lecture, and C.K. temporarily resumes his seat: You are being made to represent on this occasion a youth named Percivahe, whose father and brothers had died in battle, and who, as the only remaining son, his mother had taken into a solitary region, where he was brought up in total ignorance of the knighthood to which his ill-fated father and brothers belonged. The only weapon he was allowed was this hands to Comrade little spear of his father’s. Percivale became so clever in its use that he was able to kill even flying birds with it. One day five Knights appeared in the forest, all in armour. His mother told him they were angels, dreading lest he might find out they were members of that noble Order in the service of which his father and brothers had lost their lives, and might wish to join it On investigating for himself, they explained to hii-n that they were real Knights, and so earnest were his entreaties that his mother relented, and let him go to Arthur’s Court, to ask for knighthood. Having no saddle or regalia, he did as best he could, using vines and twisted twigs for harness, and riding a poor, bony, piebald horse, that brought him great ridicule His only weapon was the small spear he carried. On leaving, his mother said:
"At King Arthur’s Court you will meet the best, noblest, and most bountiful of men. On your way, when you pass a church, repeat to yourself the Lord’s Prayer (which was then called a Pater Noster). If you see meat and drink, and are hungry, help yourself, for that is the privilege of knighthood. A yet greater privilege is to hasten to any cry of distress, especially if it be that of a woman, to render whatever honourable service you may. For your mother’s sake, whom you love, honour the good, serve the weak, and give freely of all you have to those needier than yourself." With this good advice he went on his Journey, and with it I send you on yours. Go, and may Honour and Truth be with you!
Maiden’s Abode in the enclosure prepared in the corner, with table and chairs, etc. Kt Camp is to place the calico about him and pin it on, as if a skirt. He is a "maiden," and at this point will ask for help, saving "A boon, Fair Sirs, come hither with haste." Escorted by the C.K., Comrade enters.
Maid: Gentlemen, I perceive that you are Esquires, seekers in thought and deed for the honours of knighthood, and, as a defenceless maiden, I claim your protection. Yonder are evil men, who would plunder and burn my house. Give your secret whistle and your Knights will hunt them from the land.
C.K.: We are delighted to be of such service to you, for we were in search of just such an adventure, as we travelled to King Arthur’s Hall to ask for knighthood. This is Percivale, whom I will leave for a protector, while I go and call the Knights to your aid. Each Court will have its own secret whistle, to be decided upon in open assembly. Maid and Percivale eat. After delay:
C.K. gives the whistle from his own chair. All Officers, except the Maiden and Chancellor, crowd around the table, asking: What is the matter, Sir Kt.?
C.K.: A boon, Sir Kt. Commander. Will you send Knights to protect and deliver a beautiful maiden from the violence of robbers? I have left her under the care of Percivale. Maid and Percivale now come to table and maid speaks:
Maid: Sire, I come to thank you for the gallant Esquire, who has been my deliverer. While your chief Kt. had gone to seek reinforcements the robbers attacked, and by great bravery, armed only with the short spear you see him with he slew them all.
K.C.: Percivale, I congratulate you. Maid, I perceive you are in love with Percivale, and in that I congratulate you. He is a worthy lad, and, should he successfully complete his education as an Esquire, I will gladly endow so beautiful a maid with so chivalrous a Knight.
Maid: If he live, Sire, he will become one of the bravest and best of Knights. Noise. Comrades shuffle feet and Kt. Chancellor runs up the length of the room crying:
K.Ch.: Fie! Fie! Sire, the Queen has been boldly and basely insulted. Breathlessly.
K.C.: Eh? What’s that, Sir Kt.? Maid and Comrade stand back near P.M chairs.
K.Ch.: While sipping from her glass, a base Knight, a stranger, an enemy, trespassing on our hospitality, made it an occasion to insult the Queen by tipping the glass, while at her lips, and spilling it all over her dress
K.C.: And where is he now, Sir Chancellor Seneschal Sarcastically.
K.Ch.: Alas Sire, I am no match for him , he is strong. He should be in the dungeon by now , but I dared not. He awaits without, for any who will dare risk their heads, to avenge the Queen.
K.C.: Alas! Alas! Where is the brave fellow who will avenge these grievous wrongs? First, there is the abuse of hospitality. Who but a rogue will act discourteously, when enjoying another’s hospitality, unless provoked by that greater outrage, discourtesy on the part of the host or hostess? And in my absence he has wantonly insulted a fair and beautiful lady, the wife of your leader, and he is yet unpunished. Will none go?
K.Ch.: Who comes here? Ha! Hal Ha! Look at his piebald hatrack, and its harness of twigs ! Laughingly.
Maid: How dare you, sir! Chancellor pushes her down.
K.C.: Hence! Away with you, you coward! To Chancellor: Comrades, lift her up. C.K. lifts her. Who is it that comes, Sir K.E.?
K.E.: Percivale comes, sitting on a piebald horse, that resembles a hatrack, or the shadow of one, the harness of which is twisted twigs, and his armour a little sharppointed stick. In this, his armour, he comes to seek a quest. Laughs.
K.C.: Sir C.K., you will now assist the D.K.C. to show the Comrade the manner of Percivahe’s approach to the King. He approached on a horse which seemed to travel by three irregular steps, the first a short one; the next a longer one; the next a still longer one. You will now form a chair seat (as in ambulance work) with your hands and the D.K.C.’s and carry the Comrade once around the assembly saying with me, "Faith, Hope, Love," as you repeat those respective steps in your journey. He having been seated securely they take a short step and say Faith, a longer and say Hope, and still longer and say Love, and as they say Love, each member shoots once with clap and foot. This is repeated all the way around till they reach the last "Love," near the point of starting, when the K.C. says:
K.C.: Sir C.K., let us now give the Comrade the honour of sitting in Merlin’s famous chair. They carry him to the Siege Perilous, which is covered with the Flag draped over seat and back. Turning round, so as to gently drop tire Comrade on the chair, without removing the cover, he is let down, and at the same time is almost pushed on to the floor C.K. pacifies Candidate, and stands by him as they face the chair. K.C. resumes his seat and says:
K.C.: That chair in which you narrowly escaped with your life is called the Siege Perilous, and was once occupied by Judas Iscariot, the traitor. None may sit in it but a Knight; and he may sit therein only if his heart is pure and his conscience clear of ever revealing any of the secrets of the Order. Merlin met an untimely death by essaying to sit therein, and you yourself have but narrowly escaped. Preserve in your mind the experience through which you have just passed, and remember that none can ride the Esquire’s horse successfully until they have learned to make all the steps of life’s journey in the spirit of Faith, Hope, and Love. Why have you come hither?
C.K.: He has come, Sire, to ask for the privilege of being sent on a quest. Having learned that the Queen has been insulted by a Knight outside who boasts of his foul deed, he craves permission of you to be her champion.
K.Ch.: Ha! ha! ha! Laughs. Let him go Sire; he will look better in that Knight’s rig than in his own. Ha, ha, ha! Loud laugh—and goes to far end of room.
K.C.: I hike not to discourage your bravery. Go, young fellow, and should you slay him, don his armour and ride hither on his horse, and great honour shall be yours. Comrade retires to far corner of room. He is invested with the regalia of an Esquire and two swords, then returns with the C.K., who carries with. him a pointed stick, says:
C.K.: The Chancellor lies wounded for insulting a maiden, and the imposter and enemy of the Queen is slain, both by this youth, whose only weapon in the unequal encounter was this small spear. He now carries the swords of the Knights, which he presents to you, hoping that in due course you will return one to him with the degree of knighthood. Gives two swords.
K.C.: Pray be seated. Two chairs are brought by the Marshals. I congratulate and thank you heartily, Comrade. As a reward, I have a message of gratitude to you from the Queen herself. She is much delighted with the honour you pay to girls and women, and highly commends your chivalry shown tonight to the Queen and the maiden. If you always show the gracious spirit you have displayed tonight to such as they, you will well merit the honours of knighthood, even that of being Commander of the Order. Let me tell you that the Queen has so much appreciated your chivalry that she has charged me to entrust you with a charm, which will drive away all evil from you, when you may unwittingly be deceived by its appearance. Sir Percivale of old was met by a beautiful Princess who, however, was the Devil in disguise. She tempted him so cunningly, and with such show of affection, that he believed her to be good. There are many today who do the same evil deeds. She made him promise to do whatever she wished, and in making his promise, as was the custom, he made the sign of his word of honour, which is a cross, with his finger on the forehead, using the right hand, and tracing the cross thus. Comrade copies K.C. Immediately upon this sign being made, she vanished, and all her train. This explains a former part of the ceremony, which the Queen charges you never to forget. For if ever you are tempted with evil, think of the Cross of that dear Saviour, who loved you and gave Himself for you, and the spell of evil will vanish, while you remain pure and good. Remember the Knight’s motto: Knocks.
All stand and say:
"Live Pure, speak True, right Wrong;
Follow the Christ, the King; else wherefore born?"
Sit. Be seated, Comrades.
K.C.: Thus, Comrade, have you shown true Comradeship to women. In addition to this, we have been rejoiced to see in you the grace of courtesy, and right heartily do I commend you for it. It is like the oil upon the port-cullis, without which there would be friction, heat, and much trouble. It is cheap, costing little, but of great value in all walks of life. Discourtesy is vulgar, showing poor breeding and low morals. From the knightly qualities you have displayed to-night, I may assure you that upon the successful completion of your education, under King Pecheur, I shall be never more happy than in making so promising a youth a Knight of this Order. Sir C.K., you will now give the candidate the necessary directions as to the completion of his education.
C.K., taking his proper place and standing: Comrade, when Percivale had overthrown the offending Knights, he refused the invitation of the Queen to join in the festivities of the Court, being a bush boy and unversed in courtly manners; but he retired to the Castle of King Pecheur, his uncle, where he was taught knightly manners and the use of weapons. This course I now commend to you. You will there set yourself to learn the following:
You will learn to
1. Recite the Ten Commandments
2. Recite the Beatitudes (Matt., v. 3 to 52).
3. Declare on your honour that you have read right through one of the sacred Books of the New Testament given in the following list:—Gospels, Acts, Galatians to Colossians.
4. Declare on your honour that you have done a daily good turn for at least a week continuously, without taking reward.
5. Recite the Knight’s law.
6. Have a hobby, to be described by an essay or exhibit. If without one, you must make a start, and I will be pleased to assist you in choosing one.
The Knights’ law is as follows:
The Knights’ Law
1. A Knight is a sincere believer in the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour and King, and is a member or adherent of the Methodist Church.
2. A Knight regards the true purpose of life to be the realisation of self in the attainment of the full stature of manhood―physical, mental, and spiritual―in Jesus Christ.
3. A Knight is loyal to the King, to all duly constituted authority in Church and State, and to the Officers and Companions of the Order.
4. A Knight is honourable in all his dealings, fulfilling his promises and pledges faithfully, and speaking and acting with a strict observance of truth.
5. A Knight acknowledges the responsibilities of his citizenship, and seeks to prepare himself for the social duties which lie before him.
6. A Knight as courteous and kindly in his relations with all people, whether they be rich or poor, remembering that "One is our Master, and all we are brethren."
7. A Knight is chaste in conversation and conduct, and even seeks that personal purity, without which no man can see God.
Our test questions are two:
How old are you, Comrade?
Answer: Not under 14 fourteen years old.
Can you ride, Comrade?
Answer: Yes, since I was 14.
The Esquire’s mark is an oblong divided into three unequal spaces, inscribed F for Faith, H for Hope, and L for Love, thus:
The Esquires’ cypher is written thus: First write two meaningless letters, then the first letter in your word; again two dummies, and the second letter of your worth, and so on, till the end of your word, when you add still two more. Thus yes is written, "Boythielossy." Read the third, sixth, and ninth letters; the rest are dummies. Do this with each word. Can you read this?
Trocareudareterop askarnoeilngethastessol: Order Knights.
Our whistle, Sir … will give for your instruction? First eight notes of chorus of "Rule Britannia".
Our secret step is: …. A few paces so walked will discover to you a Comrade.
Our secret cough is similar: ….
K.C.: Thus, Comrade, is the ceremony of your promotion complete. I now shake hands with a Comrade. Sir Kt. Companion, I will appoint you to escort the Comrade around the assembly to receive the congratulations of his Comrades. Does so. As he sits:
K.C.: Let us give our new Comrade the welcome honours in knighthood. Be upstanding, Comrades. Counts 1 to 7 quickly, but the seventh is a clap, etc as in first degree.
K.C.: Once more let me remind you that as seven was the perfect number in Scripture, we have applauded you seven times to assure you of the most perfect welcome into our midst. Be seated, Comrades.
The P.M. shall arrive early, and, assisted by the M. and K.E., prepare the
room, and the Kt. Chancellor shall provide articles that are to be brought to